Easy Weeknight Dutch Oven Dinner Recipes
Enjoy cooking fast, convenient meals, but also value the time it takes to slowly cook a 2 hour Julia Child-like recipe every once in a while? Do I have news for you! You can cook to your heart’s desire, EASILY, by using a Dutch Oven.
A dutch oven is said to have been created back in the early 16th Century, is a cast-iron, ceramic, or aluminum cooking pot with thick walls and a secure lid. This design allows ample temperature distribution, making it great for simmering things fast on high heat such as fajita veggies and pasta while also working great for slow temperature cooking, such as, when crafting stews, soups, and certain chili's.
Since this heavy duty pot has a reputation for only being used to cook 5-star, time consuming meals, we thought it would be great to debunk the myth and show you some easy weeknight dinner recipes that can be whipped up in a jiffy!
Lentil and Butternut Squash Chili Recipe:
Delicious. Seasonal. And protein packed. What’s not to love? This perfectly savory meal doesn’t take too much time in your kitchen and certain ingredients can be prepped (such as pre-chopping certain vegetables) in advance to avoid slaving over a hot stove.
MAKES: 8 servings. PREP TIME: 30 mins. COOK TIME: 15 mins.
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 bell pepper
- 3 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 2 ½ tbsp mild chili powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 can unsalted diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
- 1 ½ cups pureed butternut squash
- 2 cups vegetable broth or water
- 3 cups of cooked lentils
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Toppings: sliced avocado, fresh cilantro, crushed tortilla chips
- Chop onion, carrot and bell pepper into small chunks (using a food chopper will make this task easier)
- Place your Dutch oven on the stove and heat olive oil over medium heat.
- Add chopped veggies and cook until brown (this should take 5 mins).
- Throw in garlic, cumin and cook for 30 seconds. Yes, seconds. Add tomatoes, butternut squash, vegetable broth and lentils and stir to combine or use an immersion blender for creaminess. Turn down the heat and allow to simmer for 15 mins. It’s important to stir periodically.
- As soon as it’s done, add your lemon juice, stir, and serve with your fave toppings right away! A dollop of Crème Fraise adds a tantalizing spark!
Sloppy Joe’s Recipe:
A childhood favorite! Delve back to simpler times with this easy to make crowd-pleaser. Not a meat eater, not a problem, you can easily make it vegetarian or vegan as well. However, this recipe calls for lean ground beef.
MAKES: 10 servings. PREP TIME: 15 mins. COOK TIME: 35 mins.
- 2 pounds protein of lean ground beef
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- ¼ cup chopped green pepper
- 1 can unsalted crushed tomatoes (15 oz)
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp steak sauce
- ½ tsp garlic salt (SO GOOD)
- ¼ tsp ground mustard
- ¼ tsp paprika
- 10 buns of choice…
- Dice onions, celery and green pepper.
- In a Dutch Oven over medium heat, brown ground beef. Once browned, add onions, celery and green pepper and cook until translucent. Stir the mixture constantly until the beef is browned and forms small crumbles, about 10 minutes.
- When beef and your veggies are nice and tender, pour contents into a strainer and drain.
- Place beef and veggies back into pan.
- Stir in can of unsalted crushed tomatoes, ketchup, brown sugar, white vinegar, Worchestershire sauce, steak sauce, garlic salt, ground mustard and paprika.
- Allow to simmer uncovered for 35-40 minutes until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally
- Place ½ cup amounts of your Sloppy Joe mixture onto each set of buns.
- Eat and Enjoy with a side of fries!
One Pot Baked Ziti
For a taste of a decadent Italian meal in the middle of the week, opt for this super simple one pot baked Ziti! Leftovers are the cat's meow with this recipe, as we all know, a pasta dish is always better the next day! Again this can be made vegetarian or vegan too! See ingredients list for easy swap outs.
MAKES: 4-6 servings. PREP TIME: 40 mins. COOK TIME: 20 mins.
- 8 oz Italian sausage (can be made from beef, chicken, seitan, or tofu), slice into ½ inch thick pieces
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1 can tomato sauce (28 oz)
- 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp sugar
- ⅛ tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 cups water
- 3 ¾ cups Ziti (12 oz; can choose gluten-free pasta as well)
- 6 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- 6 cups baby spinach (6 oz)
- 6 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (vegan store-bought brands exist as well)
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (vegan store-bought brands exist as well)
- 8 oz ricotta cheese (vegan store-bought brands exist as well)
- Heat Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook sausage of choice until browned (5 mins) and crumble. Add garlic, cook for about 30 seconds, then add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes (include liquid from can), salt, oregano, sugar and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat (to medium-low) and let simmer until thickened (10 mins).
- Add water, pasta, and basil, then increase your heat back up to high, bringing your pot to a boil once again. Reduce back to medium low heat and allow to simmer while stirring periodically. You want the pasta to be Al Dente (6-8 mins). In the meantime, make sure oven rack is 8 inches from broiler then heat that broiler up!
- Remove your Dutch oven from the heat. Stir in spinach through Parmesan. Add even scoops of ricotta across the top then top with the rest of your mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
- Stick your Dutch oven of cheesey-pasta-goodness into the oven so that it browns (5-7 mins). Take out of oven and allow it to cool (10 mins). Use remaining basil as a topper and serve!
MAKE YOUR COOKING EVEN EASIER:
Shop from our list of tools specially designed for the above recipes to make cooking even easier:
- Our Le Creuset Dutch Ovens (many of which are on sale!) https://www.williamsfoodequipment.com/catalogsearch/result/index/?p=1&q=dutch+oven+le+creuset
- Zwilling J.A. Henckels Knives https://www.williamsfoodequipment.com/zwilling-j-a-henckels-5-bob-kramer-euroline-essential-collection-utility-knife-34980-131
- Wusthaf Classic Knife Set https://www.williamsfoodequipment.com/wusthof-2-pc-classic-knife-set-9755