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What Is a Dutch Oven? How It Works and 4 Tasty Treats to Make

A dutch oven

If you enjoy creating delicious dishes in the kitchen, you probably have an interest in different contraptions that can help you do this. One of these contraptions is a Dutch oven. If you’re not familiar with these, you might wonder: What is a Dutch oven?

What Is a Dutch Oven?

A Dutch oven can be an integral part of your kitchen. You may still be wondering though, what is a Dutch oven?

Simply put, a Dutch oven is a heavy cooking pot that has a tightly fitting lid. It’s good for a variety of purposes, including braising, making soups and stews, and making a variety of sweet treats.

If you want to know how a Dutch oven works, you should just start by thinking of your conventional oven at home. It’s self-contained, and whatever you put in there will be surrounded by heat on all sides.

A Dutch oven works similarly to a regular oven. The bottom, top, and sides of the Dutch oven all radiate heat inward at once. This allows the oven to cook the food inside from all directions at equal temperatures.

So, again, what is a Dutch oven? It’s a pot that acts a lot like a small, self-contained oven.

Typically, a Dutch oven is made from cast iron. You can use it either on the stovetop or in the oven. If it’s made of cast iron, you need to season it before using it, just like you need to do with any cast iron cookware.

Cast iron Dutch ovens can withstand very high levels of heat. This makes them good tools that you can use for deep frying.

Manufacturers design Dutch ovens for both indoor and outdoor use. The indoor ones don’t have legs, so you can effectively put it right over a burning stove. Outdoor Dutch ovens have legs, which help when you’re using them for cooking over an open fire.

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Things You Can Do with a Dutch Oven

You now know a little bit more about the answer to the question: What is a Dutch oven? Now that you have this information, you might want to know how you can use one. There are many uses for a Dutch oven.

Since most of them are cast iron, they are poor conductors of heat. That means it takes them a long time to heat up, but they retain their heat for a long time once they’re hot.

So, what is a Dutch oven? An answer to this question wouldn’t be complete without letting you know everything that a Dutch oven can do, which is more than you probably think.

Cooking a stew

You can take advantage of the properties of the Dutch oven. For example, because it retains heat for a long time, it is ideal if you’re trying to braise meat or slow-cook a stew.

Once liquid inside the Dutch oven reaches a gentle simmer, it doesn’t require a lot of energy to maintain that temperature. Meaning, you can keep it at a somewhat low temperature, or even turn it off if you’re close to the end of cooking time. This won’t stop the food inside the Dutch oven from continuing to cook.

If you’re trying to cook a stew or otherwise braise meat, a Dutch oven can be perfect for this purpose.

Baking bread?

You might be surprised to know that you can also bake with a Dutch oven. You can use it for baking cakes, pizzas, bread, and a variety of desserts. All you need to do is put hot coals on top of the lid and underneath the Dutch oven as well.

Be sure to consider the diameter of your Dutch oven. To figure out how many coals to put on top, add three to the diameter of the oven in inches, and that’s how many coals you need. Subtract three for the number that you put on the bottom. You should always put more coals on top than on the bottom, to prevent food on the bottom from burning.

If you’re doing this indoors, you can simply put the Dutch oven into your conventional oven instead of using coals.

Need a skillet?

To quickly make some breakfast, you can actually turn the lid upside down and use it as a skillet. Just put it directly on either hot coals or your stovetop, depending on whether it’s an outdoor or indoor Dutch oven.

Most Dutch oven lids are somewhat shallow, and they have a dip in the middle, so they’re capable of holding runny ingredients, such as eggs and pancake batter.

In the mood for a roast?

Because Dutch ovens are so capable of maintaining heat for long periods, they’re good if you want to roast a large cut of meat. You can heat it on your stove top or in your oven, adding liquid and any vegetables you want while you’re cooking the roast.

Cook two things at once!

If you want to, you can use your Dutch oven for cooking a stew along with a side of green vegetables, or any other combination of two dishes.

You can also get creative with your Dutch oven. All you need is an extra accessory, such as a steamer basket or wire rack. If you know how to use your Dutch oven, it can be extremely versatile.

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Four Tasty Treats You Can Make with a Dutch Oven

Initially, you were wondering, what is a Dutch oven? Now, you know that it has a plethora of different uses. And we have a few tasty treats that you can make in your Dutch oven very easily.

1. No-knead bread

This recipe is simple, even if you’re not an experienced baker. You only need a few ingredients.

These include:

  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour (plus a little more flour for shaping later)
  • 1 teaspoon of active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons of sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of warm water

To start, just whisk the flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl until it’s mixed well. Pour in the warm water, and stir everything with a wooden spoon until you get a sticky dough. Then, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap end set it aside in a warm area for 8 to 18 hours so that the dough can rise.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and put your Dutch oven with the cover into the oven 30 minutes before you start baking.

Now, punch down the dough. Cover a sheet of parchment paper with flour, put the dough on the parchment paper, and quickly shape it into a ball. Let it sit for 30 minutes, and then put it into the Dutch oven.

Let the Dutch oven sit in your oven for 45 minutes covered, and then another 10 or 15 minutes uncovered. Your bread should be ready now.

2. Homemade applesauce

This applesauce is pretty easy to make as well. You’ll need:

  • 6 to 8 Granny Smith apples
  • 6 to 8 sweet red apples
  • 1 juiced and zested lemon
  • 2 juiced and zested large navel oranges
  • 1/2 cup of packed light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, put the juice and zest of the lemon and oranges into a large bowl. Peel the apples, remove the cores, and slice them up into the juice.

Put the mixture, along with the rest of the ingredients, into the Dutch oven. Bake everything for about 90 minutes. Then, mix it with a whisk until the mixture is smooth.

You can serve it either warm or at room temperature.

3. Fruit cobbler

You can make any kind of cobbler you want using a Dutch oven. All you need is:

  • 4 cups of the fruit of your choice
  • 1/2 box of vanilla cake mix
  • 1 cup of lemon-lime soda
  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter

Also, you should preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the cake mix and lemon-lime soda in a medium bowl. Put your fruit in the Dutch oven, and spoon the cake mix batter over the top. Then, top it with bits of butter and sugar.

If the Dutch oven was already at 350 degrees, it should take about 30 minutes to cook this cobbler. You should check on it about every 10 minutes. It’s done when the topping is golden brown, and you see the fruit juices bubbling.

4. Raspberry rose jam

For this recipe, you’ll need:

  • 2 pounds of raspberries
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of rosewater
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

Begin by tossing the sugar and raspberries into your Dutch oven, and let it sit until the raspberries begin to release their juices, which should take about 20 to 30 minutes.

Start heating your Dutch oven on medium heat above your stove top. Start stirring occasionally, and then, as the mixture starts to get thicker, stir it more often to prevent the jam from scorching. Do this until most of the liquid evaporates, and the mixture is thick, which should take about 30 to 40 minutes.

Take the mixture away from the heat source, and then stir in the rosewater and lemon juice. Now, you can put it into jars or whatever container you wish.

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Now We’re Cooking!

As you can see, a Dutch oven is much more useful and versatile than most people know. You probably got much more than you bargained for when you first pondered the question: What is a Dutch oven?

A Dutch oven is great for all sorts of culinary projects that you might have in mind. You can use it to make a stew, a daily breakfast, or even make bread. Because of its properties, it’s ideal for anyone who wants to let something cook for several hours while you do something else.

If you have an interest in using a Dutch oven yourself, there’s no time like the present. You can make all the tasty treats we mentioned above with minimal effort.

What do you think about a Dutch oven? Have you ever used one? Feel free to let us know in the comments section!

The Healthiest Cookware for Your Organic Meal Prep

Cooked Vegetables and Meat

Many people eat organic food without realizing they’re not preparing it in the healthiest cookware available. Society is learning more about the importance of eating all-natural foods, but most people don’t know pots and pans can be harmful. If you’re not a scientist — or even if you are — you might not think twice about what your cookware is made of. You might read nutrition labels, but you probably don’t look up the substances that are in your pots, pans, and plastic containers.

The good news is, more information is becoming available to help you make smart choices. It is more expensive to eat organic foods or buy greenware, but it’s worth the money. You might not be able to shield yourself from every toxic chemical out there completely. But you can certainly protect yourself and your family from consuming harmful chemicals on a regular basis.

What It Means to Eat Organic

The term organic refers to the way agricultural food is grown and processed. Regulations differ from country to country, but according to U.S. standards, organic crops must not contain synthetic pesticides, GMOs, petroleum-based fertilizers, or sewage sludge-based fertilizers. And for meat, eggs, and dairy products, the animals must have access to the outside and be supplied organic feed. Furthermore, they can’t consume antibiotics, growth hormones, or any animal by-products.

There are a few other factors that separate organic foods from conventionally grown foods. All-natural produce is grown with natural fertilizers like manure compost. Farmers use weed control techniques like crop rotation, handing weeding, and tilling, and use birds, insects, traps, and naturally-derived pesticides to protect crops from pests. Conversely, non-organic farmers grow their produce with chemical fertilizers and treat weeds and pests with synthetic herbicides and pesticides.

Additionally, organic livestock consumes hormone and GMO-free feed. Farmers control disease through rotational grazing and a healthy diet. However, conventional farmers raise meat animals with growth hormones and GMOs. They also use antibiotics and medications to treat and prevent disease in livestock.

The benefits of eating organic foods

Vegetables

Organic foods don’t contain synthetic hormones, which can cause an increased risk of cancer. All-natural food doesn’t contain preservatives that help it last longer. Therefore it’s better for you. Not to mention organic farming is better for the environment. It reduces pollution, conserves water, increased soil fertility, and uses less energy. Also, organic meat and milk have more nutrients; omega- 3 fatty acids are generally 50 percent higher in organic meat and dairy.

There are a few foods that you should try to buy organic when you go the to the grocery store. Strawberries are riskier when you don’t buy them organic. They’re treated with multiple chemicals, and the seed pockets on the fruit make it hard to wash off. Popcorn is another food that needs caution. It’s a tasty snack, but the lining of the microwave bags may contain toxic chemicals; perfluorooctanoic acid is the substance used to help prevent the food from sticking to the paper. And of course, another major food item to buy organic is beef. The estrogen-like agents that used on cattle could increase the risk of cancer.

Why You Should Use the Healthiest Cookware for Your Meals

Believe it or not, the pots and pans we use are just as important as the food we eat. Unfortunately, most cookware contains toxins that seep into food while being cooked. There’s debate as to whether stainless steel is harmful or not; however, some studies have found that it can be harmful. Not only that, but aluminum isn’t the healthiest cookware either. It leaches easily when heated or exposed to acidic foods like tomatoes. The most important thing is to avoid cheap aluminum and try to find a pan that protects the aluminum. You also want to be aware of Teflon because it releases toxic fumes into the air when overheated. Additionally, you should be careful not to scratch the bottom of your cookware because it exposes your food to metals and toxins.

The healthiest cookware other the market is old-fashioned material like cast iron. It cooks foods well and is mostly non-stick. You can also try enameled cast iron. It’s easy to cook with and to clean, plus it’s dishwasher safe. Unfortunately, enameled cast iron is expensive; nonetheless, it’s worth the investment. But, if you want to switch over to safer cookware without breaking the bank, try using ceramic. However, make sure you buy ceramic from a domestic merchant because foreign products might contain lead.

Harmful Effects of Toxic Cookware

Most people love cooking with non-stick pots and pans, but unfortunately, it contains the most damaging substances. Mixing harmful elements with high temperatures leads to toxic side effects. According to one study, prenatal exposure to perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) can cause delays in development amongst children. Mothers who had high levels of PFOS in their system had babies who were less likely to reach developmental milestones. Unsafe cookware can also cause allergies and flu-like symptoms because nonstick pans create toxic fumes. Additionally, perfluorochemicals can cause liver inflammation, a weakened immune system, abnormal thyroid hormone levels, and higher cholesterol. And sadly, studies have found that there is a potential link between PFOA and cancer.

Delicious Organic Meals

Now that you know how to shop for organic foods and the healthiest cookware to use, you should be ready to cook some scrumptious meals.

Fajita Omelet

Fajita Omelets are a tasty option for quick morning breakfast. Start by preheating a skillet over medium heat. Add in one-half cup of sliced green pepper, and one-quarter cup of sliced onion and saute until tender. In a mixing bowl, whisk six organic eggs, and a cup of organic milk, then pour in one packet of organic fajita mix. Pour the mixture over the sauteed onions and peppers until it cooks. Top with all-natural shredded cheese. Serve it with a side of guacamole to boost the flavor.

Stuffed Beef Tenderloin

Blend one packet of Caesar dressing mix and 4 ounces of blue cheese in a bowl. Lay out 2 pounds of tenderloin on the healthiest cookware that you have, and spoon the mix into the center of the meat. Fold the beef over and secure it with a toothpick. Broil for 20 minutes or until done. Top the beef with the remaining cheese mixture. You can top it with sauteed mushrooms to add flavor.

Cumin Roasted Corn

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spread the corn over a large rimmed baking sheet. You can use canned or frozen kernels or fresh ears of corn. Sprinkle on extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, and cumin. Roast for 15 minutes or until your desired crispiness.

Hacks for Meal Prepping Organic Food

If you’re pressed for time, it might be tempting to make poor food choices while on the go. However, meal prepping is a great way to ensure you have healthy meals on hand.

Prepare two meals at a time

Chicken and some vegetable salad

The first hack you can try is preparing multiple meals at the same time. For instance, if the meal you’re eating on Wednesday requires butternut squash, cook it the day before while you’re making the current meal. That way, once Wednesday rolls around, the squash is already done and will save you time. It’s a good practice to double up meal prep when you plan to cook food that takes more than an hour to prepare.

Cut vegetables beforehand

Couple cooking together

Another great tip is to chop your veggies ahead of time. So once you get home from the grocery store, go ahead and slice onions and peppers, cucumbers and other vegetables so that they’re done when you start cooking.

Make multiple meals from one dish

Cook prepares food on the table

Instead of making a different food item each day, make one starch or protein for the week and add different flavorings as you go. For instance, prepare chicken breast plain with basic seasonings like salt and pepper. But instead of preparing teriyaki chicken for the entire week, make it versatile. Add curry onto the chicken one day, teriyaki the next day, salsa for another day… You get the point. Doing this ensures you won’t get bored with your meal prep, but provides read to eat food. You can do the same thing with your starches. Make brown rice in the healthiest cookware that you have, and prepare it differently. Add sauteed onions and peppers, or peas and carrots; whatever you’d like.

Crockpot meals

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Crockpots are lifesavers. You can prepare delicious meals with little effort. One a week put together two meals you’d like to have the following week. Once they’re done, freeze them and save them for the days you want to have them. The night before, take out the freezer meals so that it unthaws. Before you leave for work the next morning, placed the thawed meal into your slow cooker, and dinner will be ready when you get home. It’s incredible!

Leftovers are your best friend

Food that are leftovers

Perhaps the simplest method to meal prepping is to reuse leftovers. When you cook, make a little extra so that you have some for the next day. You can eat the extra food the next day for lunch or for dinner. Instead of preparing half a pack of chicken in your healthiest cookware, make the whole thing. It’ll guarantee you extra and a break from cooking the next day.

Why You Should Use Non-Toxic Containers

Now that you know that’s important to cook food in the healthiest cookware available, it’s time to learn about containers. That’s right; what you store food in is just as important as what you cook it in. Conventional food containers consist of plastic. Unfortunately, no plastic is entirely safe, but some of them are extra harmful. Plastic can leach chemicals into your food, which eventually enter your body. Plastic is super convenient and easy to store in cabinets. But to be careful, it’s best to store your food in glass containers. Here are some harmful substances found in plastic look out for:

Bisphenol A

Bisphenol A, also known as BPA is a material used for making containers and other consumer products. BPA can leach endocrine disruptors into your food. These chemicals act like estrogen which has negative effects on your body. As a result, there is damage to your reproductive and hormonal system.

Bisphenol S Plastic

Bisphenol S, or BPS, is a replacement for BPA. Sadly, BPS isn’t safer that BPA and also puts estrogen-mimicking chemicals into your body as well. Studies have shown that exposure to small amounts of BPS can hinder development and behavior in animals.

Phthalates

Phthalates make containers more sturdy; however, these chemicals can seep into your food. Oils and fatty foods absorb them the most and heating the containers increases leaching. Exposure to phthalates might harm your reproductive system and other parts of the body. It can also affect brain development and cause weight gain.

On the Road to a Healthier You

This article contains a lot of information, but hopefully, it’ll help you understand the importance of eating organically. And also to prepare your meals in the healthiest cookware available. Unfortunately, if you want to go the extra mile to protect yourself, it requires more than eating healthy. Don’t misunderstand, eating healthy is great. But if you’re not taking precautions to avoid toxic materials, you could expose yourself to some harmful substances. This information isn’t to make you paranoid or feel as if everything will make you sick.

Look at it this way; you wear a coat in the winter to avoid getting the flu. You tie your shoe so that you don’t fall. Well, eating organic foods and using safe cookware is the same thing. It’s a precautionary measure that ensures you won’t have complications down the road. Living a healthy lifestyle is all about doing what’s right for your body. So with that said, do whatever you can to make sure you’re treating yourself with love and kindness. Rethink the way you view food, and use the healthiest cookware for your overall well-being.

The Best Cookware for Producing Healthy Organic Meals

A shiny stack of the best cookware

If you’re someone who cooks at home on a regular basis, you know how important it is to have the best cookware. Besides the aesthetics, you should be extra careful about the safety of your cookware. Therefore, it makes sense to explore your options in detail. Ask yourself: what makes cookware safe?

It’s surprising how different each type of cookware is from the other. But having healthy cookware is an often overlooked aspect that you shouldn’t ignore any longer.

Not sure why you should be switching to cookware that is safe and healthy for the entire family? Let’s explore everything about the best cookware, why you should get it, and which ones to choose.

Why You Want the Best Cookware

There are many types of cookware available today, with many cooks thinking that they’re mostly the same. Nothing could be further from the truth, though. Since so many parents and individuals are realizing the importance of a clean and healthy diet, it’s only natural to check our cookware as well. After all, even the healthiest organic food won’t remain so if it’s cooked in a chemical-leaching pot.

What makes toxic cookware toxic, and why it’s dangerous

Just what is the unhealthy kind of cookware and why is it so dangerous for us?

The information about both kinds of cookware can be confusing, so we’ll break it down here: most kinds of cookware are actually very prone to leaching toxins. This means that they contain harmful chemicals that get into our food when we cook with them. The two most toxic choices for cookware include Teflon and Aluminum.

Why the best cookware is safer for preparing organic meals

Also called eco-conscious cookware, the best cookware doesn’t contain artificial substances leading to the release of carcinogenic chemicals, which are extremely dangerous for our health. Even if you’re preparing organic meals, you cannot benefit fully from a meal prepared in cookware that is not safe from these harmful chemicals.

Teflon cookware

Teflon cookware

Teflon is a type of non-stick coating common in cookware. When it overheats, it releases toxic fumes. Another unhealthy aspect of this cookware is that it scratches and flakes easily. You have to be extremely careful not to use a steel spatula or steel wool on such pots. Even the tiniest scratch may result in flakes of the black non-stick coating contaminating your food.

Additionally, the scratching reveals the aluminum underneath. This may expose you to the danger of this metal as well as the Teflon.

Aluminum cookware

Silver Aluminum frying pan

Your aluminum pots could be leaching a bit of their own metal into your food. This isn’t good news since this is a toxic metal, known to contribute towards disturbing conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Unfortunately, aluminum pots are common due to their fast heat conduction. When they’re heated or have acidic foods like tomatoes cooked in them, the dangers could be serious.

You might have cookware with an aluminum core encased within a safe cooking material. This is a better choice as long as you make sure not to damage or scratch the surface to reveal the aluminum inside. It’s alright to use aluminum as a quick conductor, but not when it comes into direct contact with your food.

Types of Healthy Cookware

Fortunately, safe and healthy cookware is slowly but surely making a comeback into many kitchens. These are the types of cookware that may take longer to prepare organic meals. But the good thing is that they’re safe to use.

Copper

Pans and pots

Copper is the best cookware if you’re looking for an attractive option that also conducts heat quickly. However, this also means that it’s one of the most expensive options out there. However, it may turn out to be a toxic metal if used on the inside of a pot. Therefore, you should make sure to get copper pots and pans that use this metal on the outside only. The inside lining is usually of stainless steel or tin.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel pots are somewhat controversial in the debate about healthy cookware. Some say they’re safe for cooking, while others would say that they leach nickel, cobalt, chromium, and other toxic metals into food.

If you do use stainless steel, keep in mind that the best quality stainless steel pots often also include chromium and nickel to reinforce them. The metals aren’t good for our health, so make sure you don’t use them to cook acidic foods.

Ceramic

If you can find an old-fashioned ceramic pan or pot, you’re in safe hands. This is one of the best cookware types and will also give a nostalgic touch to your cooking. Such pots are sometimes even attractive enough to go straight from the stove to your table.

Be cautious that the ceramic glaze used in many modern designs, though, can contain lead. It’s hence best to go with well-known brands that can testify about their pots having unadulterated, healthy ceramic.

Cast iron

Cast iron just might be among the best cookware to invest in. Once you get used to handling it, cast iron pots and pans even provide a non-stick experience without the chemical risk.

You can also season it. Seasoning refers to coating the cookware with a bit of oil and baking it in a very hot oven for around an hour. Some brands of the best cookware come with special instructions for seasoning.

The downsides to cast iron, however, are that it’s a bit expensive and is definitely heavy. This would limit a cook who isn’t very strong. However, this is by far one of the healthiest choices and should account for at least a few pieces in every kitchen.

Things to Consider Before Choosing the Best Cookware

If you want the best cookware in every manner possible, there are a few factors to consider. Make sure you conduct your research beforehand, otherwise, your search might leave you dissatisfied.

Choose safe materials

The safest choices for the best cookware include tempered glass, cast iron, lava rock, carbon steel, ceramic, and tempered clay. Stainless steel could leach harmful metals into your food, so reserve those pots for non-acidic cooking and dishes that don’t require simmering.

Avoid Teflon, non-stick, and aluminum like the plague. These are known as possibly exacerbating several diseases and disorders. There have even been documentaries and studies on these issues, which you can easily look up.

Look at the ergonomics

If you’re buying new cookware, watch out for some excellent new features that may be available to you. These include heat-resistant handles, sturdier construction, and induction surfaces for better heat conduction. Such options increase the enjoyment of your cooking, prevent vibrations, and enhance the durability of the cookware.

Make a Budget

Unfortunately, the unhealthiest types of cookware are also the cheapest. Keep in mind, though, that not even the best bargain is worth your health or that of your family’s. Save up a little and replace one piece of cookware with a healthier type at a time. Think of the new, safe cookware as an investment that will eventually pay for itself.

How We Reviewed

To make finding the best cookware easy for you, we’ve reviewed some of the top-rated options online. We then compared them to each other and looked at reviews from real customers. You’ll get an unbiased and reliable range of choices here, so be sure to consider these options when you’re looking for the healthiest and best cookware.

Best Cookware of the Year

We now come to the best cookware of 2018. These options are a great way to make your cooking and eating as healthy as possible.

Ozeri Stone Earth Frying Pans

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The Ozeri Stone Earth Frying Pans are both healthy and easy to use. They’re completely free of PFOA or Teflon coating and won’t leach chemicals into your food. What’s even better is that they have a safe non-stick coating, so even sticky foods like fish or eggs can be cooked easily.

GreenLife 14-Piece Non-stick Cookware Set

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GreenLife cookware, designed for making a chef out of anyone, uses premium materials. Including a Thermolon nonstick coating, that lock in every flavor and nutrient. This will make sure that the final result is tasty and healthy.

Tramontina 15-Piece Hard Anodized Cookware Set

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Tramontina provides a nonstick experience without the harmful leaching. It’s also extremely long-lasting and ready to use, so there shouldn’t be any worries for novice cooks.

GreenPan Paris 10-piece Cookware Set

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This GreenPan cookware comes with the renowned Thermolon that can withstand temperatures up to 500 degrees Celsius. The coating is nonstick, but it’s not the dangerous PFOA kind.

StoneLine Non-stick Stone PFOA Free Cookware Set

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The StoneLine brand comes all the way from Germany. It’s a unique offering when it comes to the best cookware. The surface is created by tiny particles of stone. This is overall the best option for cooking in an ancient manner with modern convenience.

Rachael Ray Hard Anodized II 10-Piece Cookware Set

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The Rachael Ray Hard Anodized set is an excellent option in itself, but the endorsement by the famous chef does reassure us of its authenticity. You’ll get all the pots and pans you need here at an amazing budget. The hard anodized aluminum heats quickly and saves your foods from any negative effects.

Calphalon Commercial Hard-Anodized 13-pc. Cookware Set

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This Calphalon Commercial Hard-Anodized set will protect you from the toxic risks of cooking with aluminum or non-stick options. This is because of the searing and deglazing features that protect you from the aluminum inside. The handles won’t even get hot during cooking, making for a much safer experience.

WearEver Pure Cookware Set

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The WearEver option is the best cookware if you’re looking for an environmentally friendly and healthy set. It’s PFOA-free, PTFE-free, and also cadmium-free. The ceramic coating makes the dishes non-stick, so one can also stay healthy by using less butter and oil.

Anolon Advanced Nonstick Bronze Cookware Set

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This Anolon Advanced cookware set is safe for the dishwasher and only requires a tiny bit of oil for sautéing and frying. This makes for a healthier style of cooking. Each piece is highly durable and extremely tough, even more so than stainless steel.

Le Creuset Signature 5-Piece Cast Iron Cookware Set

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While this Le Creuset is one of the most expensive options on this list, it’s worth the budget because of its health factor and the attractive color. Besides its cast iron properties, it includes a porcelain enamel to make things even safer. What’s more, this makes cleanup extremely easy.

Our Verdict

While all the products reviewed above are among the best cookware options, there are a few that stand out. While the Le Creuset set is expensive, it’s one of the best cookware options available in terms of looks and performance. There isn’t even any need to season the pots or pans, so this makes it a convenient option. But if Le Creuset seems too expensive, we highly recommend the StoneLine option. This will make for delicious and safe cooking, allowing you to use metal utensils without the fear of scratching or denting.

Featured Image via Amazon

Best Cooking Pans for People Who Live Organic Lifestyles

Say you spend months growing, harvesting, and preparing your own food from scratch. Since you grew it yourself, you know precisely where it all came from and that it is chemical free. So when you sit down to eat it, you know you aren’t getting anything extra that you shouldn’t eat, right? Well, depending on what you used to cook that food, you could be wrong. The best cooking pans for your household should give off nothing but heat — and science has proved that popular non-stick pans actually secrete much more than that. Things that could be making you or your family sick.

Don’t worry because there are a ton of really cool, easy-to-use alternatives. The market for non-toxic pots and pans took off after the warnings started coming back about the dangers. We took the time to find some of the best cooking pans out there at the moment.

The Hidden Dangers of Commonly Used Pots and Pans

In 2017, Americans spent 1.47 billion on Teflon pans. Sadly, that means that there are a lot of people out there who haven’t heard the news. In May 2015, The Green Science Policy Institute from Berkley signed a petition called the Madrid Statement. Over 226 scientists from 40 different countries joined them in signing the document in the hopes of highlighting the extreme health risks associated with the continued use of products that contain PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

In case you aren’t a chemist, PFAS chemicals are humanmade substances designed to withstand heat, water, and oil. The Teflon coating on non-stick pans, for example, contains PFAS chemicals. For a list of the things that may contain these harmful chemicals, click here. That list is only a small percentage, though, and you should research this topic further on your own.

What do PFAS chemicals do to the human body?

In 2014 the European Safety Authority assessed a large number of studies that tested the “oral toxicity of PFASs in humans.” Indeed, they found in a large number of those studies that PFAS chemicals “appear to correlate with cytotoxicity.” Scientists have only studied a small number of the compounds, though, and the results of each are varied. However, knowing those chemicals cause harm on a cellular level, even if it’s only a few, that’s certainly enough to make most people stop using pans coated in the stuff.

In West Virginia recently, some alarming data was released about one of the chemicals we are talking about called C8 or perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA. The study revealed links between C8 and cancer in the liver and kidneys, liver malfunction, thyroid disruption, hormonal changes, obesity, high cholesterol, low birth weight and size, and ulcerative colitis. The authors of the report are careful to point out that these chemicals are in the water, and not applied to household items. However, it’s difficult to ignore that a compound very much like C8 resides in millions of American households — and they are cooking on it.

Keep your family safe with non-toxic cooking pans

Now that you know the truth about the non-stick stuff, you are probably wondering what the best cooking pans for you and your family are. That’s what we are here to help you figure out. There are a ton of non-toxic pots and pans out there just waiting to become part of your household. Some of them have special instructions, or you need to season them. It’s totally worth it, though, to keep dangerous chemicals away from your loved ones.

Here’s a list of keywords that mean the pans are non-toxic:

  • carbon steel
  • ceramic
  • lava rock
  • porcelain enamel
  • tempered glass
  • stainless steel
  • cast iron

The stainless steel and the cast iron can leach heavy metals into your food. The stainless steel could leach nickel, and the cast iron could leach iron. If you live in a household where extra iron is a good idea, then cast iron is the way to go. But if someone in your household suffers from certain disorders, cast iron pans are not an option.

Additionally, please note that there are no pure ceramic pans on our list today. While these are a gorgeous option and reportedly cook food beautifully, they are incredibly tricky to work with. When we researched the reviews, there was an overwhelming number of people talking about just how easy it was to break them.

Words to look out for when you are shopping for pots and pans

When you are shopping for the best pots and pans, you already know that you want to look out for the word Teflon. Additionally, there is conflicting information about the use of aluminum. A 2013 study found elevated aluminum levels in patients that suffered from central nervous system problems like Alzheimer’s, ALS, and autism spectrum disorders.

However, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report that said aluminum is naturally already in some of the food we consume. Adults can safely consume 50 milligrams of aluminum every day without harming themselves.

Insofar as safety is concerned when using aluminum pans, even that has conflicting information. First, the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) found that increased levels of aluminum leached into the food when cooking acidic foods like tomato sauce. However, Cook’s Illustrated (America’s Test Kitchen) did an independent study in 2012 and found that after leaving tomato sauce in a pan overnight it only contained 0.0024 milligrams of aluminum. So, there will be a few pans on the list that have aluminum bottoms, but they are all lined with something else — your food will never touch the aluminum. It’s entirely up to you where you land on the great aluminum debate.

Special instructions for your new pots and pans

Remember, that the instructions for how to care for your pots and pans will vary depending on what you get. This section is just a general overview of the best way to care for some of the cookware we are talking about today.

First, please stock your house with wooden, plastic, or silicone utensils. Any utensil made out of metal will scratch much of this cookware, so why take the risk? Secondly, some of these pans will require you to season them before you use them — click here for instructions. Some of the items on our list today say that they are dishwasher safe. However, we highly recommend that you wash them by hand, anyway. Some pans recommend that you do not use spray oil, only the traditional kind. And finally, you cannot traditionally stack some of these pots. We will include a link to the care instructions for each item on our list if it’s available.

How We Reviewed the Best Cooking Pans Available

Just so you know we did our homework, here’s how we reviewed these to find the best cooking pans on the market right now. First, we hit up all the trusted organic lifestyle sites to see what all the bloggers thought. Then we made a huge list and compared that to the reviews we found on Amazon, to make sure everything matched. We ended up with a complete list of the hottest stuff out there right now.

Top Five Best Cooking Pans for Organic Households

Here we are, and boy, do we have some cool stuff to talk about below. Now that you know how to take care of your new pots and pans, and where to shop, let’s really dig in and see what’s available. Please note that this list of the best cooking pans is in no particular order.

DaTerra Cucina – Vesuvio Ceramic Coated 11″ Nonstick Frying Pan

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The DaTerra Cucina Vesuvio 11″ Frying Pan is completely toxin-free as well as being nonstick. It does have an aluminum base, but also “a natural volcanic ceramic coating.” The aluminum allows the pan to heat faster than ceramic alone, and the ceramic coating ensures even heat distribution.

Pros

  • Roomy interior: 11 inches across and a depth of 2.5 inches ensures that you can also use it to deep fry
  • Oven safe: you can go directly from stove-top into the oven up to 450 degrees
  • Long silicone grip on the handle
  • Lightweight
  • Comes with a one-year warranty
  • Also comes in other sizes

Cons

  • Budget
  • Negative reviews about food eventually sticking to the pan*

Vremi 8 Piece Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Set

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Next up on the list is a ceramic set from Vremi. This set is attractive for many reasons, even outside the cool color palette you can choose from — bright blue, green, or yellow.

Pros

  • Set includes two Dutch oven pots, one casserole pot with lids, and two angled frying pans
  • Designed to go directly from the stovetop for use as serving dishes
  • Ceramic marble nonstick coating ensures even heating
  • There’s a small space between the body of the pan and the lid for easy steam escape
  • Easy to hold bakelite handles (these do get hot, and you will need potholders)
  • Induction friendly as long as the burner is not larger than the pan

Cons

  • Budget
  • Handles get hot
  • A few issues with things sticking eventually

Stoneline Xtreme Series 8 Piece Nonstick Non-toxic Stone Coating Cookware

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The next item on the list is another set. This Stoneline Xtreme set is from Germany, and the ratings are through the roof. Customers say these are the best cooking pans they have ever used. Other’s call this set, “effortless,” and say it “cleans like a breeze.” Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most expensive sets on the list — but you get a ton of stuff in this package.

Pros

  • 8-inch frying pan, 9.6-inch saute pan, 2.2-liter pot, 4.5-liter roasting pot, 2.6-liter pot
  • Three pouring rim lids that work on all the pots
  • The coating is 10 times more durable than other nonstick pans
  • Pouring rim to decant and pour liquids quickly
  • Lids have integrated pouring sieves
  • You can tilt the lid and keep it attached to the pan
  • You can put it in your oven up to 356 degrees
  • 12-year factory warranty

Cons

  • Budget

Ozero Stone Earth All-In-One Sauce Pan

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Next, we have the Ozero Stone Earth Sauce Pan. This pan is a budget-friendly option that comes pretty highly rated even though the budget is lower than others on the list.

Pros

  • Non-toxic 5.3 Quart sauce pan
  • German stone-derived coating with aluminum core
  • Induction stove ready
  • Silicon-coated handle
  • Side-helper handle
  • Tempered glass lid with a heat resistant knob and steam release
  • Budget

Cons

  • Concerns about the non-stick coating wearing off
  • Not for use in the oven

Concord 3 Piece Ceramic Coated Copper Frying Pan Cookware Set

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Finally, we will finish up with the Concord three-piece frying pan set. This set of frying pans is another that may appeal to those with a tighter budget.

Pros

  • High-grade ceramic coating
  • Stainless steel handle
  • Includes one each: 8-inch, 9.5-inch, and 12-inch frying pans
  • Budget

Cons

  • No silicon protection on the handle
  • Nonstick capabilities seem to go away after a while (this could be user error)

What You Cook It on Matters

Now, ladies and gentlemen, we come to the end of this amazing and informational list. No matter what you decide, at least now you understand that what you cook your food on is just as important as where you buy your food. There are enough dangers in the world already, and this is one that you can certainly deal with — all you have to do is replace those nasty Teflon and pure aluminum pans with any of the items on our list of the best cooking pans. As you can see, there are a ton of options for any size budget. No matter what you do, make sure you follow the care instructions for the pan that you choose.

Cooking Pot Hacks: Organic Meal Prep Made Easy

Eating healthy is important, but it’s not always easy. When you have a busy schedule, it’s all too tempting to succumb to the quick fix of fast food, and not everyone has time to complete extensive meal prep every weekend. With cooking pot recipes you prepare multiple servings of delicious and nutritious meals using only one pot. That makes them an excellent fit for anyone looking to live well with limited time to cook.

Using a single cooking pot for your meal prep may seem limiting, but you’d be amazed at the variety available. From stews to chicken tacos, and everything in between, your options are nearly limitless. If you’ve ever considered getting started with meal prep, organic single-pot recipes are an excellent way to see what it’s all about.

About Organic Cooking

The organic label is one of the most confusing things you’ll find on the shelves of a grocery store. If you find yourself wondering what “Organic” really means, you’re not alone. The simple answer is: food created and cultivated with minimal pesticides. Foods labeled as 100% organic have never had pesticides used in their production. With produce, the food is grown using natural fertilizers and pest controls. Organic meat products are raised on organic feed, given ample time out of pens, and not treated with antibiotics and other medication.

Organic food fans prefer it to traditionally produced food for many reasons. Food grown with fewer pesticides is believed to be safer for consumption, and a lack of preservatives means you’re preparing fresher food. Organic farming also releases fewer dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere, making it a more responsible way to grow produce and raise animals.

Finding the Best Organic Meal Prep Recipes for a Cooking Pot

To help you create the best possible meal plan, we scoured the internet to find the tastiest single cooking pot meals available. After compiling a list of delicious and nutritious options, we selected meals which offered a diverse range of tastes. There’s something for everybody on this list. Just find a meal that sounds good to you and give it a go! You’ll be eating well in no time.

The Best Organic Cooking Pot for Meal Prep

You have multiple options when choosing a single-pot recipe, including the type of pot you want to cook with. Whether you choose a stock pot, slow cooker or Instant Pot, there are pros and cons to consider.

Stock Pot

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The easiest pot to acquire, stock pots are very affordable and you probably already have one in your home right now. They offer familiarity for inexperienced cooks and have cook times somewhere between Instant Pots and slow cookers. A stock pot is, essentially, a large cooking pot.

Slow Cooker

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A slow cooker, or crockpot, is a stand-alone pot which does just what its name implies — cooks your meal slowly. The upside of this slower method is it gives your meals more time for flavors to come together. Meats in slow cookers are also very tender. While the long cook times associated with a crock pot mean you can set it and forget it, if you are trying to fit your meal prepping into a tight window around the home, a slow cooker may not work for you.

Instant Pot

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A stand-alone version of a pressure cooker, Instant Pots use high pressure to allow you to cook dishes in a much faster time than the other methods. The increased pressure leads to flavors infusing more quickly, and many dishes which would be long processes in a stock pot will see you spending more time on preparing your ingredients than actually cooking them. It’s not your typical cooking pot

7 Best Organic Cooking Pot Meal Prep Recipes

The right recipe for you is the meal you like to eat. A cooking pot is a versatile tool in the kitchen, so no matter what your flavor preferences are, you’ve got options.

Chicken Quinoa Soup

Chicken Quinoa Soup

Chicken is a popular protein choice due to its affordability and versatility. This soup combines it with some healthy quinoa for a midday meal that’s as good for your body as it is on your tongue.

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 7 cups chicken stock
  • 5 sliced carrots
  • 5 sliced celery sticks
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons seasoning salt
  • 1 bay leaf

Directions

  1. Pour the chicken stock into a large crockpot, then add the remaining ingredients.
  2. Cook the pot on high for three hours.
  3. Remove the chicken breasts and place them on a clean cutting board.
  4. Hold a chicken breast in place with one fork, then insert a second fork and pull away to shred the breast. Repeat for all three breasts.
  5. Add the chicken back into the pot and continue cooking for an additional half hour to complete your soup.

Quinoa and Sweet Potato Chili

Quinoa and Sweet Potato Chili

Nobody said organic cooking doesn’t have pop. A tasty chilli is a treat for your taste buds and works as a small between-meal snack or in a larger serving as an entree.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 5 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 can black beans (29 ounces)
  • 32 ounces vegetable broth
  • 1 peeled sweet potato
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa

Directions

  1. Rinse and drain the black beans.
  2. Dice the sweet potato into chunks approximately 1-inch in size.
  3. Pour the olive oil into your pot and heat medium-low.
  4. Add the onion once the oil is hot and cook until soft and gently browned.
  5. Add the minced garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes, stirring throughout to prevent burning.
  6. Pour the beans, sweet potato chunks and broth into the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste, and cook for five minutes.
  7. Add the quinoa and allow to simmer until cooking is complete and the chili begins to thicken. This will take between 15 and 30 minutes.

Instant Pot Pulled Chicken Tacos

Instant Pot Pulled Chicken Tacos

Who doesn’t love tacos? This recipe utilizes the speed of an Instant Pot and creates the base for a whole week’s worth of taco deliciousness. Just bring a container of taco filling with you and wrap it in a tortilla or spread it over nachos.

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • Corn tortillas (or nachos)

Directions

  1. Preheat the pot, then add the broth, taco seasoning, honey, olive oil, lime juice, chicken and half the cilantro.
  2. Cook on high for three to five minutes.
  3. Vent the pressure in the pot, then remove the chicken breasts to a clean cutting board.
  4. Hold a chicken breast in place with one fork, then insert a second fork and pull away to shred the breast. Repeat for all three breasts.
  5. Return the chicken to the pot, then stir thoroughly to create an even mix of ingredients.
  6. Serve with a slotted spoon for draining, and sprinkle the remaining cilantro on your tacos.

Vegetable Stew

Vegetable Stew

For simplicity, it’s hard to beat a stew. Made my simply combining your ingredients and simmering them, this simple cooking pot style still is capable of truly mouth-watering dishes.

  • 32 ounces bone broth
  • 1 diced yellow onion
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 3 chopped carrots
  • 1 peeled and chopped sweet potato
  • 3 chopped celery stalks
  • 1 chopped yellow squash
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

Directions

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a single cooking pot over high heat until boiling.
  2. Decrease heat to low and let simmer for 30 minutes. If using a crockpot, instead cook on low for 6 hours.

Cinnamon Crunch Oatmeal

Cinnamon Crunch Oatmeal

Cinnamon Toast Crunch is popular with kids because the flavor combination works. This grown-up take on the cereal uses the same palette in a healthier form and is easy to make with the help of a pressure cooker.

  • 4 cups of riced cauliflower (or 1 medium head of cauliflower, grated)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
  • 1 cup toasted nuts
  • Additional toppings to taste

Directions

  1. Combine milk, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla extract in an Instant Pot and stir.
  2. Add cauliflower to the pressure cooker.
  3. Seal the pot cooker and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Release the pressure, then sprinkle in the tapioca starch and stir until thickened. Increasing the starch creates a thicker mixture while decreasing will create a smoother mix.
  5. Top with a garnishing element of your choice. Dried fruit or nuts are both great, healthy options, while chocolate chips provide a nice treat.

Instant Pot Sweet-and-Spicy Chicken

Instant Pot Sweet-and-Spicy Chicken

Sweet-and-spicy chicken is a classic cooking pot dish which combines the best of both worlds. This dish takes advantage of the speed of an Instant Pot and yields a delicious chicken meal in no time at all.

  • 2 pounds trimmed, skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions

  1. Combine the broth, honey, garlic, sauce, ginger, cayenne and chili flakes in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
  2. Sprinkle the chicken thighs with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Set the instant pot to saute and add the butter, then place chicken thighs in the pot. Cook on each side for 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Pour the mixing bowl into the pot and cool on poultry mode for 20 minutes.
  5. Serve with the chicken thighs intact, or remove the chicken and shred separately with two forks on a clean cutting board, to taste.

Thai Shrimp with Quinoa

Thai Shrimp with Quinoa

If chicken is not your favorite, you’re not resigned to protein-free one-pot cooking pot dishes. Quinoa is always a healthy choice for a meal, and shrimp is a scrumptious protein.

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 sliced bell peppers
  • 2 large carrots
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1-½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1½ cups uncooked quinoa
  • 1 pound raw jumbo shrimp
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ lime

Directions

  1. Cut the carrots into thin sticks.
  2. Peel and devein the shrimp, then remove the tails.
  3. Combine coconut oil, fish sauce and sesame oil in a pot and cook on medium-high for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the onion, bell peppers and carrots.
  5. Sprinkle ginger and one teaspoon of salt into the pot, then cook for an additional five minutes.
  6. Add the garlic, then allow to cook for 30 seconds before adding milk, chicken stock, and quinoa.
  7. Stir the pot, then cook covered for 15 minutes.
  8. Remove the lid then place the shrimp atop the contents of the pot. Sprinkle red pepper flakes and the remaining salt, then cook until the shrimp is cooked through. That will take about five minutes.
  9. Cut the lime into wedges, then squeeze lime juice over the contents of the pot.

To Our Table’s Choice

With these meal prep options, you can create an entire day’s worth of meals to take on the go. Start your day with a breakfast of cinnamon oatmeal crunch, and bring some quinoa and sweet potato chili to work with you for lunch. Round your day out at home with some chicken tacos on corn tortillas.

Do you have a favorite single cooking pot meal that you prep at the start of your week? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.