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catfish nicoise

Ramona King

One-pan catfish "nicoise" is a perfect date night dinner -- with easy clean-up.

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27 easy one-pot, pan and skillet meals that are big on flavor and light on clean-up

Let's face it, the phrase "one-pot meal" doesn't always send us running into the kitchen with excitement. These meals are typically reserved for those nights when you're super short on time or just plain don't feel like expending a lot of effort in the kitchen (read: Monday through Friday). But that doesn't need to be the case.

Exciting, flavor-packed one-pot meals are getting easier and easier to achieve, thanks to the proliferation of devices like the Instant Pot and various slow cookers, along with other clever recipe tweaks. We've rounded up 27 of our favorite single pot recipes for you to add to your meal plans, and we've even organized them into different categories based on the number of people you're serving. (You're welcome.)

Friends and family
When cooking for a larger group, you'll want to straddle the line between delicious and easy to prepare. Thankfully all of the dishes here can be made in large batches and served right as guests arrive. By cooking a meal in a single pot you can control things like temperature and quantity, while at the same time ensuring that when everyone leaves, you aren't left with an absolute disaster to clean up. Instant Pot Barbecue Pork Shoulder
When you pull this one out your guests are going to wonder what they did to deserve being treated so well. For this short cut barbecue pork shoulder, all you need to do is season the meat liberally with salt, pepper, whole-grain mustard and light brown sugar. After 90 minutes in an Instant Pot (or any other pressure cooker, for that matter) with a bottle of beer, you're left with perfectly seasoned and insanely tender pork. For guests, you can serve this meat with a bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce and fresh burger buns. Talk about a hostess with the mostest. 
Get the recipeInstant Pot Jambalaya
This recipe does the Crescent City right. Andouille sausage, the Holy Trinity, shrimp and chicken? What more could your guests possibly want? The best part is that all of these ingredients are not only incredibly easy to find in a grocery store, but they're also inexpensive, which means you can feed your greedy guests well without taking a hit to your pockets. Oh, and this diner is ready in under 40 minutes. Score!
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Virginia Willis' Quick Chicken and Dumplings
Chicken and dumplings is just one of those comfort food dishes you have to make at least once a year. It also has the benefit of being so hearty you could feed half of your neighbors with just one pot. While this recipe does ask you to make your own dumplings, they're super easy, and it lets you take a few other shortcuts (read: rotisserie chicken and store-bought broth) to save you time.
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Sheet Pan Low Country Boil
Who needs a large stockpot, propane burner or a big group of people when you can capture all the flavors of a Low Country boil on a single sheet pan? Make sure to partially roast the potatoes before adding the remaining ingredients so everything is properly cooked at the end. Otherwise, you’d end up with rubbery shrimp and undercooked potatoes.
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Campfire Peach Cobbler
If you didn't think there would be a dessert in this round-up, you're sadly mistaken. With the temperatures finally cooling off, this is the perfect time to make our campfire peach cobbler. This recipe is essentially a traditional peach cobbler but made over the smoky flames of an outdoor fire. Try making this the next time you gather the group for a camping trip. And if you can't find acceptable peaches? This recipe will work just fine with peeled and sliced apples.
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Date Night
It may be a special occasion, but that doesn't mean you should overlook one-pot meal options. After all, when you decide to cook a delicious dinner for your significant other, you don't want to spend the rest of the evening fighting over whose turn it is to bust the suds.

Sheet Pan Catfish Nicoise
Cooking meals in a parchment paper pouch (or aluminum foil if origami isn’t your thing) is great for convenience, and it also allows all the flavors inside to come together as they gently cook. Here, we've transformed the Southern catfish into a warm nicoise-style dinner, complete with roasted potatoes, vegetables and olive tapenade.
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Skillet Pork Chops with Cabbage and Sweet Potatoes
Talk about a "wow" factor. These juicy pork chops are brined in a mixture of water, brown, sugar and salt, which helps lock in their moisture and prevent them from drying out. The vegetables are sauteed in the rendered pork fat, and after a few moments on the stove top, everything gets popped in the oven for about 10 minutes. Dinner is served. 
Get the recipeSlow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup
There is nothing quite like a hot bowl of chicken noodle soup. The very name brings up memories of comforting days past during your childhood. Think of this soup as an sophisticated version of a beloved classic. Fresh herbs, roasted chicken and white wine make this soup one you'll proudly serve to the one you love. Another perk? Leftovers. 
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One-Pan Shake and Bake with Roast Vegetables
Many of us grew up eating the convenient packaged meat and poultry breading known as Shake ‘n Bake. Making the mixture yourself allows you to customize the flavors to your preference, rather than just taking what you get out of the package. Pop those pork chops on a sheet pan with a mess of vegetables and you've got an easy meal.
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Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs
Think of this as a fancy version of a beef stew. When preparing this recipe, the short ribs are first browned to render the excess fat and build a strong foundation for the dish. Then, the short ribs are gently braised in a combination of wine resulting in tender, but super flavorful meat. For a truly one-pot meal, skip the grits and serve this dish with the best crusty bread you can get your hands on.
Get the recipeSouthern Soda Bread
What else is going to sop up all that good juice from your meal? That's right, you can make bread in one pot. This take on an Irish classic is made more Southern with the inclusion of corn meal. Try making it today — it's easier (and far quicker) than you think. 
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Now you're just showing off
Okay, this is the big leagues. Each of the following recipes are so impressive that your dinner guests won't be able to believe that you made them in one single pot. Instant Pot Shrimp and Grits
Southerners take a lot of pride in their shrimp and grits. Everyone has their own way of doing it, but in the end what you'll want to achieve is creamy grits and flavor-packed, perfectly cooked shrimp. Who knew you could get all of that done in an Instant Pot in a quarter of the time? 
Get the recipeInstant Pot Pork Green Chili
Should you ever find yourself tired of traditional chili you might consider giving this pork-filled green stew a try. This recipe packs a lot of flavor and doesn't shy away from a little heat, either. The onion, cilantro and cheese only help to further transform this dish into a must-have dinner table staple. 
Get the recipeBraised Pot Roast with Sweet Onion Gravy
We had to include this classic one-pot dish. Pot roast was made for a heavy bottomed pot and the warmth of an oven. In addition to being beautiful, this dish by Anne Bryn couldn't be easier to prepare. Not going to lie to you, this isn't a quick weekday meal; however, the work is so worth it. 
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Sheet Pan Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf and Potatoes
If a Western cheeseburger and traditional meatloaf made a delicious hybrid, it would look something like this recipe. Instead of adding flavorings like ketchup, mustard and Worcestershire sauce, barbecue sauce is acting not only as our catch-all flavoring, but also as our finishing sauce. Cheddar cheese helps keep the meatloaf moist while adding its own distinct flavors to the party. Add a pile of potato wedges to the sheet pan and you've got yourself a classic American dinner in a flash.
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Want even more one pot recipes? Find them here:
One-Pot Carolina Chicken Bog
BBQ Brunswick Stew
One-Pot Turkey Pumpkin Chili
Chicken Tetrazzini
One-Pot Early Fall Minestrone
Virginia Willis' Instant Pot Turkey and Black Bean Chili
West African Chicken Stew with Collard Greens and Peanuts
Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff
Instant Pot Spinach Artichoke Dip
Instant Pot Collard Greens
Instant Pot Oatmeal with Dried Fruit
Sheet Pan Salmon with Summer Vegetables

Photos (pork shoulder, low country boil, peach cobbler, nicoise, chicken noodle soup, shake and bake, shrimp and grits, chili, meatloaf): Ramona King
Photo (jambalaya): Julie Koppman
Photos (chicken and dumplings, skillet pork chops, short ribs): Virginia Willis
Photo (soda bread): Kate Williams
Photo (pot roast): Danielle Atkins


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Ryan Hughley is the editor-in-chief at Southern Kitchen. Though originally from Los Angeles, she has lived in Atlanta since early 2017 and cannot imagine calling any other city home (except maybe New Orleans). Before joining Southern Kitchen's staff, Ryan worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on public policy issues. When she's not at work, she enjoys hunting down the best Mexican food in the city and drinking whiskey, obviously. 

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