6 One Pot Quick and Easy Healthy Meals for Seniors
Have you collected more than your fair share of kitchen gadgets over the years? If that large pile of cooking gear you’ve accumulated is making you crazy it’s probably time to think about taking steps to live a simpler, more minimalist life. You may even be thinking of selling your home in the not-too-distant future and downsizing to a condo in a 55+ community or small apartment in an assisted living facility.
Part of staying healthy as you age is eating well. Meal prep doesn’t have to be a chore even if you live in a tiny house with a small kitchenette. We’ve got you covered with some ideas for easy-to-make meals that require minimal culinary equipment. All you need is one pot, one pan, or one bowl to start cooking delicious, healthy meals.
Medicare Benefits Solutions
Feb 18, 2022
What is a One Pot Meal?
One pot meals are as simple as grabbing your crock pot, slow cooker, Instapot, Ninja Foodi, or rice cooker with a steamer basket. These easy-to-prepare no-fuss recipes can be made in a single pan, casserole dish, or sheet pan.
One pan recipes are a simple way of cooking in smaller spaces such as a townhome, studio apartment, hotel room, Airbnb, or RV. Instead of lugging out half your kitchen gadgets, bowls, pots and pans to cook a single meal, these recipes are simplified down to a single cooking appliance.
6 Quick and Easy One Pan Recipes
It’s surprising the different types of meals you can prepare in your kitchen using minimal equipment. And, BONUS POINTS, most of these recipe ideas make multiple servings. This will give you enough food for dinner with a friend or two or plenty of next day leftovers.
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Oven roasted sheet pan dinner
Sheet pans, AKA baking pans or cookie sheets, make for fast and healthy meals. Simply dump all your ingredients onto the tray, toss with a bit of oil, sprinkle with a bit of seasoning, then stick it in the oven to bake.
Sheet pan meals let you cook both your entree and vegetables in the same pan for easy prep and washing-up. For an even simpler clean-up, line your sheet pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil before adding all your ingredients.
Sheet pan dinner ingredients:
- 6 to 8 chicken thighs – bone-in and skin-on
- 1 pound small new potatoes – scrubbed clean
- 1 to 2 onions – peeled and sliced
- 4 large carrots – peeled and cut into chunks
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 to 2 tsp mixed dried herbs – rosemary, oregano, thyme, or parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
Sheet pan dinner directions:
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees
- Place the chicken thighs and vegetables on a large baking sheet
- Drizzle with the oil and toss to coat
- Sprinkle the dried herb mixture over the top
- Cook for 25 to 35 minutes or until the veggies are well roasted and the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 170 to 175 degrees
- Season with salt and pepper if desired
You can use almost any root vegetable in this recipe such as parsnips, turnips, or even sweet potatoes. Let’s file this one under winner – winner – chicken – sheet – pan – dinner!
One bowl salad nicoise
Salad nicoise is a classic tuna dish that includes olives, green beans, potatoes and other delicious ingredients. If you’re not a fan of tuna you can substitute a can of premium white meat chicken breast.
Salad nicoise ingredients:
- 1 can tuna – drained and chunked
- 1 ½ cups cooked green beans or substitute 3-bean salad from the deli
- 1 can (15 oz) cooked whole potatoes – drained and chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes – sliced in half
- ⅓ cup sliced black olives
- 1 head Romaine lettuce
- 4 hard boiled eggs – peeled and quartered
- ¼ to ⅓ cup balsamic vinaigrette or Italian dressing
Salad nicoise directions:
- Tear up the lettuce into bite-size pieces and place in the bottom of a large bowl or serving platter
- Mound the potatoes on top of the lettuce in the center of the bowl
- Surround the potatoes with the green beans
- Arrange the chunked tuna, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, and black olives around the outside edges of the platter
- Cover lightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and chill in the refrigerator
- Drizzle the salad dressing on top right before serving
Salad nicoise can be varied according to taste – try adding marinated mushrooms, artichoke hearts, chopped up radish, or sun-dried tomatoes in oil for a nice change. You can also substitute 1 cup of potato salad for the chopped cooked potatoes if desired.
Quick and easy pizza
Using a ready-made pizza crust is the key to making your own quick and easy pizza at home. Choose a flavored sauce like marinara, bolognese, roasted tomato, or herb and garlic, toss on some cheese, then add your favorite toppings and you’ll be good to go.
- Boboli or other pre-made pizza crust
- ¼ to ⅓ cup spaghetti sauce
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- Favorite pizza toppings such as thinly sliced pepperoni, mushrooms, and onions
- Preheat oven to 425 Fahrenheit
- Place the pizza crust on a cookie sheet or baking pan
- Spread the sauce evenly on the crust
- Top with the shredded cheese
- Add toppings of your choice
- Place in the oven and bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until the cheese is nice and melted and beginning to turn golden brown on top
- Remove from the oven and use a pizza wheel to cut into 6 to 8 slices
TIP: If you are following a gluten-free diet, you can find grain-free, premade cauliflower pizza crusts in the frozen food section of most grocery stores.
One pot corn chowder
This recipe for one pot creamy corn chowder is courtesy of the prepper’s pantry at The Creative Cottage. Serve this delicious soup with a side salad and some freshly baked biscuits or dinner rolls for a complete meal.
Corn chowder ingredients:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 onion – peeled and chopped fine
- 3 to 4 stalks celery – chopped
- 3 to 4 large carrots – peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic – minced
- 1 can corn – drained
- 1 can (15 oz.) of whole cooked potatoes – drain off water and roughly chop
- 1 can – cream of celery or cream of broccoli soup
- 3 cups – low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 cup – shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
- 1 tablespoon – chopped chives (optional)
Corn chowder directions:
- Add the olive oil and butter to a large pot and place over low heat
- Add the chopped onion, celery and carrots to the pan and stir occasionally
- Once the veggies start to soften, stir in the garlic, potatoes and corn and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes
- Whisk in the cream of celery soup and veggie or chicken broth
- Turn the heat up to medium and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes while stirring occasionally
- Turn the heat back down to low and whisk in the cheddar cheese. ¼ cup at a time, until melted
- At this point, if the chowder is thicker than you like, stir in a bit more broth or a tiny bit of water
- Serve the corn chowder in individual serving bowls and garnish with some of the chopped chives if desired
- Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days
For a super hearty version of this dish, that’s perfect to serve on a cold and blustery day, add some chopped-up leftover rotisserie chicken to your corn chowder.
Did you know you don’t actually have to cook oatmeal to enjoy a yummy breakfast treat? That’s right, this hearty oatmeal dish is made overnight in your refrigerator – amazing! Depending on how tart your yogurt is, and if you’re using sweetened or unsweetened non-dairy milk, you may want to add a teaspoon or two of Agave syrup or another sweetener.
Overnight oatmeal ingredients:
- 1/2 cup yogurt – Greek, vanilla, or fruit-flavored
- 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup Almond milk or another non-dairy sweetener
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp chia seeds
- 1/2 cup fresh raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries
- 1-2 tbsp Agave syrup (optional)
Overnight oatmeal directions:
- Add all ingredients to a pint-sized Mason jar
- Stir until well combined
- Place the lid on the jar and put it in the fridge overnight
- Prior to serving, stir the oatmeal and add additional milk or sweetener if necessary
- Top with sunflower seeds or nuts like pecans or sliced almonds
Overnight oats keep in the fridge for one or two days. You can even change up the flavorings – peanut butter with banana, cocoa powder with chocolate chips, and pineapple with shredded coconut are all classic overnight oats variations.
One pot spaghetti
Pinterest has even gotten in on the one pot recipe craze. One pot spaghetti was all the rage a few years ago and it’s making a comeback now that Instapot and similar cooking devices are so popular.
The beauty of this recipe is that you can use almost any kind of vegetable. If you don’t like asparagus or mushrooms you can substitute onions, spinach, broccoli, eggplant, zucchini, carrots and more.
One pot spaghetti ingredients:
- 1 box spaghetti – broken in half
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
- 4 cups tomatoes – chopped
- 1 container fresh mushrooms – brushed clean and sliced
- 1 cup asparagus – ends trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 to 4 cloves garlic – peeled and minced
- 4+ cups low sodium vegetable broth – enough to cover all the ingredients
- 1/3 cup minced fresh herbs – choose from parsley, basil, oregano, or marjoram
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
One pot spaghetti directions:
- Add all the ingredients to a large stock pot
- Make sure you add enough broth or water so all the ingredients including the uncooked spaghetti are completely covered
- Place a lid on top, then bring to a boil
- Remove the lid and turn the heat down to medium
- Stir the spaghetti every few minutes to prevent sticking
- Continue cooking until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the spaghetti is cooked through
- Turn the heat off and stir in the cheese if using
- If you have any leftovers, you can store them in the refrigerator for a couple of days
So, there you have it – Instapot recipes and quick and easy meals for seniors. There’s nothing more convenient than one pot, one pan, one bowl recipes to make your life easier!
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