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No dishwasher? No problem: 3 easy one-dish dinner recipes

Ramona King

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf with Roasted Potatoes


No dishwasher? No problem: 12 easy one-dish dinner recipes

We've all been there. Dinner plates are empty, the final glasses of wine has been drunk and you're ready to plop down on the couch or get ready for bed, but there's a looming pile of dishes in the sink standing between you and your lastest Netflix binge. Fortunately, there's an easy solution: plan more one-dish meals.

When your whole meal is cooked in a single vessel, you've only got to worry about that one pot, a few dinner plates and silverware — a 10 minute clean-up, at most. If you don't have a dishwasher, recipes like these are a lifesaver. And if you do have one, you'll save even more time. It's a win-win.

Here are three of our favorite one-dish recipes, from spicy jambalaya to healthy salmon cooked in foil packets.

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf with Roasted 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.
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Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

You may think it would take countless pans and many hours to develop the savory flavors of Cajun jambalaya, but, really, all it takes is a heavy Dutch oven and about an hour of your time. Deeply browning the meats is the secret to success with this recipe. Both the dark fond built up on the pot and the caramelized meats will impart their finger-licking umami into the rice as it cooks, resulting in a one-pot dish that'll have everyone coming back for seconds. While the cook time may be a little much for a weeknight dish, this jambalaya will be a hit at any tailgate or casual dinner party, and you'll only have a single pot to clean up afterward.
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Salmon in Foil Packets

Looking for a lighter option? Salmon cooked in a mess-free foil packet with a generous heap of vegetables gets points for its ease, speed and tender texture. A naturally fatty fish like salmon holds up beautifully to being cooked in this way, especially when you add a splash of vermouth to each packet. This moisture- and flavor-booster creates enough steam to lightly soften the vegetables and keep the salmon from drying out. On top, we like to generously drizzle an amped-up vinaigrette, chock full of anise-forward tarragon and crunchy celery. To make this dish the ultimate weeknight success story, build the packets the night before and make the vinaigrette while the salmon cooks. You'll have dinner in less than 20 minutes with zero mess.
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Cast Iron Pork Chop with Red-Eye Gravy

Known for its sharp notes of black coffee, red eye gravy is traditionally served alongside country ham. This recipe captures the flavors of red eye gravy, but also combines both fresh and cured pork. Instead of serving the gravy atop the country ham, the ham is becomes part of the gravy, which we serve on top of a pork chop. The whole dish is best served with a side of grits or biscuits — or both.
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Carolina Chicken Bog

Originating around Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, chicken bog is a distant cousin to chicken purloo (or pilaf), which consists of pulled chicken cooked together with rice and sausage. Bogs generally have a little more broth in them, making them slightly soupier or “boggier” than traditional purloos. No matter the name, we love this dish for its one-pot simplicity — you've got protein, veggies and starch all in one pot with abundant flavor to boot. We like to deeply brown the sausage before cooking any other ingredients; as with jambalaya, the caramelized meats lend an astonishing level of complexity to the final dish. Another tip? Make use of a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken and store-bought broth instead of cooking chicken and broth from scratch. With all that browned sausage goodness going on, you won't be able to tell the difference, and you'll be able to cut out that second pot.
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Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo

Making a roux requires both time and patience. As the roux cooks, the flour will darken and thin out slightly. Stir constantly so that the roux will eventually turn the color of chocolate, but does not burn. In lieu of roasting a chicken, you could make a rich chicken stock out of a 3 1/2-pound whole chicken, then pull the meat from the bones and use the stock in the gumbo. However, pulling a store-bought rotisserie chicken and using commercial chicken broth is a good way to save time. Traditional gumbo recipes call for green bell peppers, but we prefer to use more-flavorful poblanos instead. Feel free to substitute one diced green bell pepper for the poblano if you prefer. We like to use Texas Pete hot sauce in this recipe.
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One Pan Shake and Bake Pork Chops with Roasted Broccoli
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.
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Cast Iron Barbecue Pork Pizza

What could be more Southern than barbecue pork pizza, cooked in a cast iron skillet? Feel free to use store-bought pork, barbecue sauce and pizza dough here; there’s no need to make those from scratch. Crank the oven up to its highest temperature — but not broil, lest the cheese burn to a crisp. Get all of your toppings ready to go before heating the skillet; the process moves quickly once you add the dough to the skillet.
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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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Instant Pot Pork Green Chili

Where a red chili might have more of a robust, smoky flavor, green chili packs a bright, acidic punch from the tomatillos and is livened up even more by the addition of fresh cilantro. Using an Instant Pot or pressure cooker will cut the cook time significantly, making this a perfect weeknight meal.
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Roasted Salmon with Summer Vegetables and Basil Pistou

This is about as easy of a summertime weeknight supper as it gets. All the cooking happens on a single sheet pan, and the sauce comes together while the fish and vegetables are in the oven. If you want to line your sheet pan with parchment paper, you might make cleanup even easier. Even if eating salmon with the skin on isn’t your cup of tea, try cooking it with the skin on, then removing it. The natural fattiness underneath the salmon skin provides an extra layer of moisture and insulation as the fish cooks.
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Instant Pot Barbecue Pork Shoulder

Instant Pots are some of the most popular pressure cookers on the market these days, and they can can make tough cuts of meat, such as pork shoulder, tender in no time at all. This barbecue-style pork recipe is ultra easy — you won’t even need to pull out a knife. Simply season the pork and combine everything in the Instant Pot to cook. The braising liquid is delicious served over grits or mashed potatoes, or when reduced, can act as a tasty barbecue sauce for a pulled pork sandwich. We like to use Texas Pete hot sauce in this recipe. While we developed this recipe in an Instant Pot, you can also use a different brand of pressure cooker. Cook the pork on high pressure and use the quick-release after 90 minutes.
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Photo (Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya, Salmon in Foil Packets, Carolina Chicken Bog): Maura Friedman
Photos (Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo, Cast Iron Barbecue Pork Pizza, Instant Pot Pork Green Chili, Instant Pot Barbecue Pork Shoulder): Ramona King
Photo (Roasted Salmon with Summer Vegetables and Basil Pistou): Kate Williams


Author image

Kate Williams is the former editor-in-chief of Southern Kitchen. She was also the on-air personality on our podcast, Sunday Supper. She's worked in food since 2009, including a two-year stint at America’s Test Kitchen. Kate has been a personal chef, recipe developer, the food editor at a hyperlocal news site in Berkeley and a freelance writer for publications such as Serious Eats, Anova Culinary, The Cook’s Cook and Berkeleyside. Kate is also an avid rock climber and occasionally dabbles in long-distance running. She makes a mean peach pie and likes her bourbon neat.