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8 one-pot meals that come together in a snap for busy families

Cooking for a family is a part-time job itself. Between meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, and clean-up, it’s no surprise fast food places flourish. But if you have these one-pot recipes at your disposal, you won’t want to go through the drive-thru or head straight to the frozen pizza aisle.

Being able to toss everything in at once and still serve your family a delicious meal makes dinner time less of a hassle. Plus, if you get those liners for the Crockpot, clean-up isn’t so bad either. Save yourself some stress and take a bit of your time back with these one-pot meals.

A woman making dinner in a large pot.

One-pot meals the whole family will enjoy

1. Tortilla soup

Let’s start with soup, which is not just for winter! Paired with fresh bread, you’ll have a little bit of heaven for dinner. There are so many ways you can adapt this tortilla soup to fit your family. You can make it as hot or mild as you want, and you can serve the toppings on the side for those picky eaters.

Some recipes want you to cook certain ingredients in a separate pan. Don’t listen to that negativity and put it all in the Crockpot instead. Some might also call to make the tortilla crisps yourself by baking fresh tortillas. You can buy the bagged stuff and your kids will never know.

2. Chicken bacon broccoli potato soup

We know: that’s a mouthful. But we promise every person at the dinner table will enjoy every bite of this soup. This is a tried-and-true recipe that you can’t go wrong with — we promise!

You can always switch out carrots for broccoli if the kids like broccoli better. Another option is to put a chicken breast in first, and once that’s shredded up, you can add the rest of the ingredients. But with or without the chicken, you can bet your family will enjoy this Crockpot meal as much as you’ll enjoy throwing it all in there without having to do a sink full of dishes.

3. American goulash

There’s something about recreating those dishes from childhood that leaves you with a warm feeling. The Americanized version of goulash from I Heart Naptime does the trick. No matter what recipe you use, if you use fresh garlic and chop fresh tomatoes, your family will love how it tastes.

It’s pretty common to have it with corn but feel free to make goulash yours. Garnish with freshly grated cheese, green onion, parsley, basil, or a dollop of sour cream to jazz it up.

4. Vegetarian risotto

This veggie risotto from One Good Thing tastes as good as it looks. It’s also a healthy option for the family to dig into. This recipe uses mushrooms and zucchinis, but we also suggest trying asparagus and spinach.

It takes a bit of arm muscle to keep up with the stirring, but only needing one pan makes it worth it. Maybe have the kids take turns stirring for you to make it easier.

Someone making a meal in a pan.

5. Chicken tortellini bake with mushrooms and tomatoes

There is nothing that hits the spot like creamy pasta. Add in freshly chopped tomatoes and mushrooms, and everyone will leave the table full. You might need the stovetop and the oven for this tortellini bake, but it’s all going in the same pan.

The fact that this whole dish only takes about 30 minutes means more time at the table and less time rushing through eating so you can start the clean-up game. This one is easy to accommodate families who like different foods mixed in. You can put tomatoes, mushrooms, and spinach on the side for the fam to add in whatever they like.

6. Veggie frittata

There are times when breakfast for dinner sounds amazing. But if you don’t want to stand over the stove making everything separately, a frittata is your answer. This recipe from NYTimes Baking is a great option for vegetarians! We love a good frittata because of the endless combinations and variations.

If you have a few smaller skillets you can make a couple of different frittatas to let everyone pick and choose. Leftovers will also have breakfast sorted the next day! A win-win for everyone.

7. Salmon and veggies

We love when you can roast the entire dinner in the oven all on the same pan. The only trick to this salmon and vegetable dish is to make sure you put the veggie that takes the longest to cook in the oven first and by itself. Don’t make the mistake of cooking things out of order and regretting it. With salmon, red potatoes, and asparagus, the whole family gets a nutritious and tasty meal.

A family cooking dinner together.

8. Lasagna

We have yet to meet a family that couldn’t devour a pan of lasagna. But putting together all of the layers and then cleaning all of the pots and pans you dirty makes it such a hassle. And the time for lasagna to cook in the oven takes forever. No wonder you only make it every so often. Using just one pan will mean more lasagna more often for everyone.

Dinner should be easy

Whether you have to pick up a different kid here and there all night and need an easier dinner option, or you just don’t feel like washing 10 pans after eating, these easy one-pot meals will always be there for you. Since everything goes in the same pan, even the kids can help throw ingredients in. So, toss dinner in the pot, let the heat do its magic, and know you’ll only have one thing to clean before you can hit the couch.

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