Wouldn’t it be nice if making dinner was as simple as throwing everything in the oven and, voila, out comes a perfectly-cooked meal? Well, Molly Gilbert’s new cookbook gets you about as close to that dream as you can get. One Pan & Done: Hassle-Free Meals from the Oven to Your Table gives you recipes that, while not exactly work-free, still allows the oven to finish the main course while you are getting everything else on the table. No laborious stirring over the stove or hovering over a grill, no worry about keeping the meat warm while the vegetables finish.
“In ‘One Pan & Done’ I will show you how to use your oven to your advantage, letting it do most of the work to turn out juicy, crispy roasts, succulent vegetables, rich stews, flaky fish, and, of course, the occasional (likely chocolate, maybe fruity, possibly crumbly, probably buttery) sweet treat.”
Mostly Gilbert does a good job sticking to this premise. The first couple of chapters, for Breakfasts/Brunches and Starters/Snacks, are mostly not revolutionary in their preparation or style – egg casseroles, muffins, dips and salads – but do present several unique combinations, such as Orange Sugar Monkey Bread or Baked Watermelon with Balsamic and Feta. Gilbert really hits her stride as she steps into the main dishes, featuring Veggies, Poultry, Fish, or Meats. These are where her One-Pan techniques really shine, and where readers will truly see the benefit of this way of cooking. For many meals, that single recipe will be sufficient for dinner; to others you may want to add a salad or rice or some crusty bread; but the star attraction is contained in that one baking or cooking dish. There are some quick desserts as well; one that is particularly brilliant is a rich brownie that is both mixed and baked in the cast-iron skillet.
Gilbert’s chatty text is friendly and comfortable, and her recipes are easy to follow and clearly written, using easy-to-find ingredients and even some simple, ready-made substitutions (such as refrigerated biscuit dough) for those crazy mornings or weeknights. This will not be your definitive cookbook for one-dish meals, but it has a good selection and variety of recipes that will get you started with this type of easy cooking.