One Pan and Done
The One-Pan College Cookbook
Two Recipes Included!
By guest author, Bobbie Kitto
About this time of year we begin dragging out our holiday shopping lists for those perfect gifts and stocking stuffers, well with this one book, The One-pan College Cookbook, you can check off a whole lot of names.
Don’t let the name fool you, this book is perfect for a lot of different people not just the college student away from home. Although I can see giving this book to your college bound student, I can also visualize giving this to a young married couple just starting out, both working and maybe going to school at the same time. This book would help solve the problem of making dinner when their schedules don’t match up and meals need to be made in a very short time.
The One-pan College Cookbook would also be great for someone just leaving home and having to juggle living on their own and finding out that fast food is more expensive than they thought and not as satisfying or healthy as a home cooked meal. I can see giving this book to someone who has just had their life turned upside down either by divorce or a death of their significant other. Sometimes cooking for one can be just as daunting as cooking for many.
The author MJ Hong, does a spectacular job of taking the reader thru her system of how to cook over 80 uncomplicated recipes for a fast and delicious meal for one to four people. She tells you how you can cook any of her recipes in one skillet with no other fancy equipment needed. MJ also gives tips on how to shop so that you get the most out of your food budget monies and how to substitute ingredients if you find you don’t have all the exact ingredients. Couple this with what to do with left overs to stretch your budget and you have the perfect cookbook.
I was introduced to this book by a video called The One-Pan college cookbook found on Melissa’s Produce YouTube. In this video MJ demonstrates her one pan cooking skills with Breakfast Veggie Skillet (page 32) and her Thai inspired Lettuce Wraps (page 60). By the time the short video was over, I was looking for my electric skillet to try my hand at making these mouthwatering sounding creations.
Although this book was sent to me for review, I find that it is one that if I had seen it in the bookstore, I would have purchased it after reading the introduction by the author. MJ Hong is a recipe developer and culinary instructor and this with experience MJ definitely knows her audience from teaching more than 10,000 students how to cook. She also teaches cooking and food and wine pairing classes in person and virtually. You can visit her on line.
I gave this book a solid 5 because after reading it, I honestly felt this book and an electric skillet might be a life changing event for a lot of people we all know.
Take the book for a taste spin.
Breakfast Veggie Skillet
An easy recipe that’s perfect for using up veggies you have on hand. Make a double batch to have lunch or dinner ready to reheat in the pan, or for a heartier option, add cooked rice or quinoa.
PREP TIME: 5 minutes COOK TIME: 10 minutes TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped vegetables, such as bell peppers, broccoli, or mushrooms
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 handfuls baby spinach or baby kale
2 large eggs
- In a pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chopped vegetables, oregano, salt, and pepper and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and tender.
- Add the garlic and spinach and cook, stirring often, for about 30 seconds.
- Using a spatula or a wooden spoon, create two wells in the veggie mixture and break 1 egg into each one. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until the eggs are cooked soft or firm to your liking.
- Transfer to plates and serve.
Thai-Inspired Lettuce Wraps
Fresh and tangy flavors paired with crunchy vegetables make for a satisfying bite in these refreshing lettuce wraps. Use your favorite ground meat or omit it altogether and double up on the vegetables. You can also make this into a bowl and serve it over chopped fresh lettuce or cooked rice.
PREP TIME: 15 minutes COOK TIME: 10 minutes TOTAL TIME: 25 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound ground chicken, turkey, pork, or beef
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 carrot, diced or grated
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon peanut butter or any nut butter
1 scallion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
Romaine or iceberg lettuce leaves
- In a pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the meat and cook, using a wooden spoon to break it up, for about 3 minutes, or until no longer pink.
- Add the garlic, ginger, carrot, bell pepper, hoisin sauce, and peanut butter and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the scallion, cilantro, and lime juice.
- To serve, separate the lettuce leaves and place on a plate. Add a couple of spoonfuls of the filling into the center of each leaf and eat taco-style.
REMIX TIP: For a Korean-inspired flavor, omit the hoisin sauce and peanut butter and instead add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar. For spice, add 1 tablespoon of gochujang (Korean red chili paste).
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Note: Roberta (Bobbie) Kitto is a freelance writer based out of Laughlin, NV. Her interests include travel, culinary pursuits and gardening. No fee was paid for this article, but she did receive a copy of the book to review . Her opinions are her own.
To make the best of each recipe, use quality ingredients! I highly reccomend products from Melissa’s Produce, available at many markets.