Two Casserole-style “one-pot” meals

Debbie was out of town at the end of last week and so I was forced into  cooking action.

It’s a paradox, since the original intent (and much of the moral juice) for the Crummycook effort was to spell Debbie at cooking.  Which I do from time to time, but, sadly, I really jump into action when she’s out of town.

At least part of the problem is that I have nowhere to hide when she’s gone.  I have to cook, or, after I run out of leftovers, I might starve.


My scheme last week was to do some of Rachael Ray’s “30-minutes tops” meals.  And somewhere along the way I got the idea of doing a one-pot meal.  Heck.  I have penchant for one-pot meals.  I sort of like the mixture of flavors, and they’re easy as leftovers.  Just measure and nuke.

Unfortunately, Rachael Ray’s magazine website was terribly slow when I first went to look for recipes (Tuesday or Wednesday).  I didn’t have the sense to look at RachaelRayShow or Food Network, which might have been alternatives.

So my first shot at one-potted-ness was from Epicurious, which yielded, together with an old Ziploc freezer bag full of boneless chicken thighs, this Moroccon Tagine-style dish.

I see “tagine-style” because my impression is that real tagines take hours of slow cooking and maybe even special cookware, no?  This recipe was easy-peasy.


Here’s the meal just before serving.  The couscous, the raisins, the garbanzos, the red onion, all visible.  The chicken is a bit back-in-the-mix.

By Friday I actually got onto the Rachael Ray site and did her Savory and Sweet Pork Stew with Ancho Chiles.

I like her stuff, and I like her TV persona (FWIW).  It’s simple, but, unlike others, it’s not cheesy.   Count me as a fan.


Here’s the stew ready to eat.  I didn’t have tortillas so I put it on corn tortilla chips.  It was really pretty good.

And when Debbie got home on Saturday night she had some of this and thought it was pretty good too.  So a minor-league “spelling Debbie at cooking” Crummycook function was served.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

I’m on sort of a “blast from the past” jag here with Crummycook-ing.  First coleslaw, now tuna noodle casserole.

On the surface, the motivation was quite different.  Debbie and I had bought a boatload of canned tuna at Costco and then more — on sale — at Giant, so we had a surfeit of tuna.

In addition, Debbie had, some years ago, attempted to recreate the tuna noodle casserole of her childhood, complete with potato chips on top.  As I recall, it was OK.  She seemed more wounded by the experience.  Her typical comment: “I thought that the potato chips on top would rescue it.”

So it kind of had to be a retro cut at tuna noodle casserole to honor Debbie’s bad experience, but it didn’t have to use cream of mushroom soup or any of the classic shortcuts.

So I found two recipes in Epicurious, a more classic one, albeit with a real Bechamel sauce and real sauteed mushrooms rather than soup.  And a more healthful one, which appealed to me because it had fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme which I could bring in from my herb garden.

Debbie didn’t like the looks of the healthful one, but I set out to get some missing ingredients for it anyhow.  Fortunately I had the presence of mind to get some cheddar cheese for the classic one, because, when I got home, that’s the one I proceeded to make.

Good news.  It turned out really tasty.  Debbie had small seconds last night, and some for lunch again this noon.  Her only beef was how many dishes it took me to make it.  I do a pretty OCD mise en place, with containers for everything, and the recipe called for three or four different pots and pans — a skillet for the mushroom mixture, a dutch oven for the roux and to combine everything, a baking dish for the sojourn in the oven.  I managed to use just a baking dish and a casserole, so I feel a bit falsely accused of too many pots, but she’s right, really.  I have to learn how to use fewer.