AAs the holiday season approaches its climax, the chaos of Christmas preparations can leave even the most seasoned cook feeling overwhelmed.
Enter Sorted, a YouTube channel founded by college friends Benjamin Ebrell, Michael Huttlestone, Jamie Spafford and Barry Taylor, who tapped into the wisdom of their 2.8 million audience to reveal the ultimate kitchen hack.
After surveying the masses, they revealed the eight best food hacks with one clear winner: one-pan baking.
The best food hacks on the internet
1. Bake in one pan – the easiest way to prepare dinner! All in one pot/pan, one timer, absorbent hack for dishes like rice and no other washing up
2. Flavor bombs for ice cubes – using ice cube trays to freeze flavorful ingredients like butter, herbs and stock not only helps reduce waste, but makes adding flavor to your cooking easier than ever.
3. Cutting scissors – this easy way to cut herbs, vegetables and even pizza is very popular in Korean cuisine.
4. Microwave mashed potatoes – this makes the process much quicker, plus it means no peeling or waiting for water to boil.
5. Table scraper – from cleaning work surfaces, scraping flour, cutting dough and moving vegetables and herbs from a cutting board to a pan, this multi-tasking tool comes in handy in many different scenarios.
6. Shred the chicken with a hand blender – much faster, less mess. Need I say more?
7. Speckkoking chicken – This helps the chicken taste better and takes less time to cook.
8. Bi-carbohydrates – Add to speed up the cooking of onions or make baked potatoes crispier.
These kitchen hacks set the stage for stress-free cooking, but let’s focus on the star of the show: baking in one pan. “They’re perfect for a midweek meal—you just mix all your ingredients in a pan, pop it in the oven to bake, and relax,” says Ebrell. “Plus, you only have one tray to wash up at the end – you couldn’t find a much easier way to cook delicious, nourishing meals that suit a variety of cuisines.”
Embrace the simplicity, enjoy the flavors and let these one pan recipes save you from Christmas kitchen chaos.
Pancetta and roasted tomato risotto in one pan
A hearty dish of juicy pancetta and sweet cherry tomatoes cooked together with rice, finished with a pile of crème fraîche and cheese.
140 g diced pancetta
200 g cherry tomatoes
200 g arborio rice
150 g of crème fraîche
50 g of hard Italian cheese
1. Heat the oven to 210C and put a kettle on to boil.
2. Place 140g pancetta in a medium baking tray. Halve 200g of cherry tomatoes and pound them as well. Spread everything in an even layer and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, until golden in places.
3. Pour 200 g of rice into the pan and mix everything well.
4. Pour 800ml of hot water from the kettle into the pan and give it a good stir, scraping up any stuck bits of pancetta and tomato from the bottom of the pan as you stir to make sure they’re incorporated – this will intensify the flavour!
5. Season with a generous pinch of salt and a good grind of pepper, then slide the tray back into the oven. Cook for another 20-22 minutes, making sure to stir everything every 5 minutes, until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid and the grains are soft and fluffy. Most of the liquid should be absorbed and the grains should be soft and fluffy. Grab the pan from the oven.
6. After the rice is ready, pour 150 g of crème fraîche and finely grate 40 g of cheese. Fold everything together and season to taste with salt and pepper if needed.
7. Divide the risotto into serving bowls and grate the remaining 10 g of cheese. Stuffing!
Greek-style chicken orzo in a pan with feta
This recipe works best in a 20cm x 20cm baking tray.
5 fresh onions
1 red pepper
2 boneless and skinless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
1 tsp hot red pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons of olive oil
200 g of orzo
1 cube of chicken stock
100 g of feta
15 g of fresh mint
1. Preheat the oven to 210C, then fill a kettle with water and bring it to the boil – we’ll need this later.
2. Chop the vegetables. Remove the roots from 5 green onions and cut them crosswise at 1 cm intervals. Clean 1 pepper and cut it into pieces.
3. Cut the meat. Cut 2 chicken thighs into bite size pieces.
4. Assemble. Add the vegetables and chicken to a roasting pan. Add 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon oregano, and ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, season with a generous pinch of salt and rub everything together. Spread the meat and vegetables in 1 even layer. Wash your hands thoroughly, then tackle the rest of the dish.
5. Add orzo. Sprinkle 200g orzo over the top of the meat and vegetables, then crumble over 1 stock cube.
6. Add the water. Add 500ml of boiling water from the kettle, season with a pinch of salt and give it a quick stir.
7. Cover and bake. Cover tightly with tin foil and bake for 15 minutes until the orzo is almost tender. Follow up with some washing while you wait.
8. Bake again. Once the orzo is almost soft, remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes, until all the water is absorbed and the orzo is soft but still has a slight bite.
9. Serve. Mix everything well in the pan, crumble over 100g feta, tear 15g mint leaves and serve.
A tray of chickpeas and paneer curry
Take curry from the fridge to the fork with minimal effort – cook chunks of paneer in a rich, spiced tomato sauce with chickpeas in this roasting pan.
400 g chopped canned tomatoes
400 g of canned chickpeas
1 tsp powdered sugar
1½ tablespoons curry powder
225 g paneer
15 g fresh coriander
250 g of brown rice in a microwave oven
1. Heat the oven to 200C.
2. Assemble the sauce. Place one 400g tin of tomatoes in a large baking tray with one undrained 400g tin of chickpeas, 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1½ tablespoons of curry powder. Season with a generous pinch of salt, then mix everything well.
3. Prepare the paneer. Cut one 225g paneer block into 9-12 equal sized cubes.
4. Add the panel. Arrange the paneer on top of the rest of the ingredients in the pan.
5. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the paneer is golden and the sauce is reduced by half.
6. Finely chop 15 g of coriander.
7. Boil the rice. After the curry has had about 2 minutes, reheat the rice in the microwave according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
8. Stir it up. Fold ¾ of the cilantro through the curry – we will use the rest as a garnish. Season again with salt.
9. Serve. Divide the rice and curry into bowls – scatter over the remaining coriander and serve.
Sausage, pui lentils and leeks
2 large leeks (about 300g each)
1 grani smith apple
250g microwaveable lentils
½ cube of chicken stock
2 cloves of garlic
6 pork sausages
40 g of unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1. Heat the oven to 200C. Fill a kettle with water and bring it to a boil.
2. Prepare the leek and apple. Cut 2 leeks in half lengthwise and wash under running water. Cut into 1 cm intervals crosswise. Coarsely grate 1 apple around the core on the same board.
3. Assemble. Place one 250g bag of lentils in a medium baking tray. Add the leek and apple, crush ½ stock cube and add 100ml of water from the pot.
4. Stir. Grate 2 peeled cloves of garlic, season with a pinch of salt and mix everything in the pan.
5. Add the sausages. The sausages are placed on top of everything and sprinkled with knobs of 40g of butter.
6. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the sausages are golden brown.
7. Serve. Divide the pan among plates and finish with 2 tablespoons of mustard.
Chef’s tip: If you can’t find a bag of cooked Puy lentils, feel free to use a drained can of green lentils for this recipe.
Learn more about Sorted and their nifty Sidekick meal planning app at sortedfood.com/sidekick.