Restaurants are opening back up, and suddenly, the appeals of making sourdough bread, perfect pizza doughs, handmade noodles and fancy meals at home may have withered a bit. Perhaps, it’s the relief of not having to figure out what to make anymore, or maybe it’s the joy of avoiding a constant influx of dirty dishes.

But, most of us can’t eat out all the time. Lately, one of my biggest kitchen goals is to stick to one- to two-pot meals, use as few kitchen tools as possible for easier cleanup, and find shortcuts where I can.

Limit the mess with the recipes below, with timesaving tricks and one-pot (or pan) options. If the recipes below seem like too much work, you can, of course, keep it ultra low-effort and dive into sandwiches.

Cold Tahini Noodles With Vegetables, pictured above. One of the best things about this recipe is how adaptable it is with the veggies you have on hand. All you need to do is boil your noodles, make a sauce, throw in the veg you want and mix together. Best of all, you won’t produce too many dirty dishes, and you can make a large batch to have lunch on later days, because it’s designed to taste good cold.

Black Bean and Chorizo Nachos. Nachos are dinner! An especially fun dinner when you don’t want to bother with plates. Use canned beans, pile everything on a sheet tray and let it get hot and bubbly in the oven.


Garlicky Broccoli and Beans With Pesto. This recipe uses a smart hack to quickly blanch broccoli. Instead of waiting for a pot of water to come to a boil, just turn the kettle on and pour over top the broccoli for a super-fast blanch.


One-Pot Pasta. Here’s an ultrasimple one-pot dish that you can tweak using Becky Krystal’s one-pot-pasta guidelines here. The stars of this one are kale and tomatoes, but because one-pot pastas are so adaptable, you can learn to incorporate your favorite ingredients.

Simplest Lentil Curry. You only need one pot to make this easy, flavorful lentil curry, which is an ideal partner to rice. Life hack: Rice freezes really well, so you can cook up a big batch, freeze and microwave any time you want it alongside this curry.

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