Recipe ideas with (almost) no washing up

July 22nd, 2015

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Washing up isn’t fun to do.  This is a fact.  Regardless of whether you find it easier to wash up by hand in the kitchen sink, or load up a dishwasher to do the work for you, it’s not the part of the day that many people look forward to.

Here are a few ideas for recipes that let you get out of doing the washing up* while still eating in a relatively healthy fashion.

*Well, MOST of the washing up. You may still need to wash up some plates, chopping boards and cutlery, but that’s really not much in the scheme of things…

Fish in foil

One way to get out of doing the dishes is to just not use any dishes.  With most of this meal cooked, and possibly even served, in aluminium foil, all you’ll really need to do at the end of the night is kick open the bin.

Cod Baked in Foil with Leeks and Carrots source: on Flickr

The recipe is fairly flexible, to suit your tastes and what you have available.  Take a piece of fish.  Any will do – salmon, cod, whatever.  Put it in foil.  Drizzle it with oil and whatever additives you like.  Garlic and lemon is good, as is pepper.  You could even stick some tomatoes, capsicums, onions, or any other favourite veggies in with the fish.

Wrap the foil around the dressed fish to create a little parcel, stick it in the oven and leave it to bake.  If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even try steaming the fish in your dishwasher (actually, don’t do this – your warranty will not love you for it).

Don’t think that this meal is only for lazy, unhealthy people, either – the highly active and fit folks over at the Australian Institute of Sport have not one, but TWO variations on the recipe available: Fish In Foil, and Fish In Foil Parcels.

One pot stew

Entire cookbooks have been written of recipes that use only one pot, keeping things simple and minimising the amount of washing up required.  Soups, stews, casseroles… the list just goes on and on.

lamb stew with leeks, lentils, yellow (heirloom) and orange carrots, rosemary, and other spices source: FiveRings at Wikimedia Commons

Depending on what exactly you’re making, the recipe will vary. But at the core is taking a bunch of ingredients that taste good, putting them all in a pot, and boiling them until they start smelling even better.

You could cook up your one-pot meal on the cooktop, or take your time by using a slow cooker. Depending on how attractive your cookware is, you can even serve up the final product in the pot itself.

To further minimise your washing up, if you’re cooking with meat, try browning it in your pot before you start adding the other ingredients, rather than frying iy up separately. This not only means one less pan to wash, but it ensures that more of the meat’s juices remain in your cooking, enhancing its flavour.

Breakfast casserole

Hung over?  Want to indulge in the full English breakfast experience?  Not in the mood to wash up multiple greasy frying pans afterwards?  Willing to brave the massive heart attack risks? Then read on!

the breakfast sausage + bacon casserole source: brandon schauer on Flickr

Stews and curries aren’t the only thing that can be prepared in one pot. You can also make a great breakfast casserole by sticking all of your eggs, bacon, sausage and more in a pot and baking it in the oven until delicious.

You probably shouldn’t eat an entire breakfast casserole by yourself, especially if you’re planning to take a cholesterol test at any point this millenium.  Share the love with your mates instead.

Pita bread pizza

Making pizza from scratch can be fun, but tends to get messy, what with mixing and kneading dough and chopping ingredients.  Even using a store-bought base and pre-chopped ingredients to create a home-made masterpiece still requires a decent-sized tray that may require a bit of extra effort to properly wash up afterwards.

Pizza on a whole wheat pitasource: jefferyw on Wikimedia Commons

Those looking for something simple and tasty can try using a bit of flat pita bread as a substitute for a pizza base.  You can still add as many interesting ingredients as you like – even tailor each pizza to each guest’s tastes, so you won’t need to share.

Plus, the individual mini-pizzas are small enough to fit in the microwave, meaning it’ll be that much longer before you need to clean the oven.

Omelette in a bag!

On paper, this may sound like a crazy idea, like bacon pancakes, an everything burrito, or cooking a steak on a car’s exhaust pipe, but I’m keen to find out if it would actually work.

The challenge is – make one of these…


…inside one of these…

800px-Ziplocksource: Mattes on Wikimedia Commons

No pressure.

ABC Canberra’s Genevieve Jacobs gave this recipe a go and… well, it didn’t turn out as well as she’d hoped. But that doesn’t mean you can’t try it yourself!

Basically, take all of the elements of your favourite omelette recipe (eggs, milk or butter, herbs, maybe some cheese or mushrooms), stick them all in the plastic bag, make sure that it’s well-sealed, then give it a good hard shake. Then, either place the bag in a pot of boiling water, or nuke it in the microwave until cooked.

A word of caution – choose your bags wisely before attempting this recipe, as there’s a risk that the plastic could be damaged by the heat of your cooking, or even melt! You don’t want to eat that. A microwave-safe bag is probably a good option (especially when microwaving your bag-omelette), but the safest choice would be to contact the manufacturer to check.

Your turn:

What’s your secret recipe that lets you get out of doing the washing up?

Mark joined Appliances Online in November 2011 and has since learned more than he ever expected to know about appliances. He enjoys looking for new and unusual ways for to solve everyday problems using typical household appliances. When he’s not toiling at the desks of Appliances Online and Big Brown Box, he tries to find time to write the next big bestseller and draw satirical cartoons, but is too easily distracted by TV, music and video games. Mark’s favourite appliance is the Dyson Groom Tool, as he loves the concept of vacuuming your dog. Google+

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