Reader question: Your meals are more “healthy” than my family is used to. Thus, they won’t eat it. Is there a way to make your dishes more MODERATELY healthy while still reaping the benefits of one pot cooking?
Thanks for any advice you can give on adapting your recipes. I saw you on PBS AGES ago.
– Barbara, Denver
I wish I could feign surprise, Barbara, but I’ve heard occasional variations of this lament over the years. Usually it is something along the lines of: “We’re not used to eating so low-fat and are missing it. Why can’t you write a cookbook where your recipes include a stick of butter?”
To which, I answer, “You are welcome to eat whatever you want to eat. You can put whatever you want into your own Glorious One-Pot Meal — even a stick of butter — when you make it at home, that is part of the beauty of this cooking method, but if you want a cookbook that contains these kinds of recipes, there are lots out there and mine is not one of them. The first titles that come to mind are those of Paula Deen, who famously insists you can’t make anything without a stick of butter. Not to be snarky at all, because I do admire her in many ways, but look where that got her.
But, I poised this question to a group of GOPM-lovers recently and here is a sampling of what they said:
— “You gave us the technique, but it is up to us to decide what we put inside the pot. Include things your family already loves, like sausages and potatoes, and then add some things they don’t know they love yet, like vegetables.”
— “Try the Glorious Macaroni and Cheese recipe from the cookbook — it’s got all that gooey cheesy goodness, but is healthier than the mix from a box. My family loves it!”
— “Use fattier cuts of meat and bone-in/skin-on chicken pieces. The resulting sauce will be savory and contain more fat, which gives it more mouth-satisfaction and of course, renders it a little less healthy.”
— “Use your favorite prepared sauces, salad dressings, or marinades. Bottled barbecue sauce does a great turn on meat in a GOPM, for instance. Just because Elizabeth prefers organic brands doesn’t mean you can’t use your own favorite versions.”
All of these are great ideas. A couple more I could add to help ease your family into the GOPM-way of cooking:
— Start with recipes that have sauces, like African Peanut Butter Chicken, Chicken Satay, or Chicken with Savory Port Mushroom Sauce (all found in the Glorious One-Pot Meals cookbook published in 2009).
— Try recipes that use ingredients you already know your your family likes, like Fiesta Steak or Honey and Spice Pork.
— Of course, you can always add butter! I would start with 1-2 tablespoons of butter in a 2-quart Dutch oven, and I might place it on top of the protein, so that it sinks into the flesh. This is a restaurant trick, as in the reason why that steak at the steakhouse tastes so much better there than at home is because it is soaked with butter before being grilled. Of course, it will add calories and saturated fat, too, but then, isn’t that what you’re looking for?
— You could add more oil. Try drizzling olive oil over the meat and veggies before putting the pot into the oil. Or drop a tablespoon of coconut oil in the base of the pot after greasing the dish.
— Don’t tell anyone everything cooked in one pot! If they don’t see it, they won’t know to complain. See the above photo of Honey and Spice Pork: I don’t think that plate looks like it was all cooked in one pot, even though it was. Separate out the ingredients when you’re serving.
— And finally, start off by following your first few GOPM recipes to the letter until you get the hang of it and you’ll have better results than if you wing it out of the gate. Check out these free video cooking demonstrations to see what its all about.
Hope this helps ease your family into healthier eating with Glorious One-Pot Meals! Happy cooking!