Quick-and-Easy Meals Using One Little Dish

Product Reviewed
Emile Henry Sauce Pot

Ever since my children left for college and I became an empty-nester, I wanted to downscale and simplify my life. I still like to cook; however, I’m no longer inclined to prepare elaborate meals just for myself and the occasional guest. Cooking for one presents different challenges than cooking for a family. I now prize kitchen utensils designed for making small portions, and with effortless heating on the stovetop, in the oven, or in the microwave without much further ado.

In keeping with my commitment to healthy eating, I choose recipes that use only fresh ingredients and lean cooking techniques. Cook- and bakeware products by Emile Henry — such as this one-quart saucepot — come in handy in that quest, and I am pleased with the ease they can be put to work.

Emile Henry is a French manufacturer going back to the mid-1800s. The company’s specialty is making ceramic products, exclusively from Burgundy clay, which is a natural material that can withstand both extreme cold and heat without cracking or chipping. They also clean easily due to their non-sticking surfaces. Not unimportantly, no lead or cadmium is used in the glaze, so there is no risk of health hazards from chemical substances. And they are also attractive to look at.

Most often, I use a single small pot that lets me quickly throw together egg dishes like frittata or a scramble mixed in with fresh vegetables for a nutritious breakfast; or some risotto or other rice combo; or an almost endless array of soups and stews (such as the one below), which can be reheated for multiple uses. None of these take very long to prepare and yield plenty for one or two servings.

Thai Shrimp Soup

Recipe by Timi Gustafson, RD

4 to 6 shrimp (prawns), peeled and deveined
4 shiitake mushrooms
2 cups fish broth (best if made from scratch)
1 clove garlic
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 lemongrass stalk, peeled, finely sliced or crushed
1 tablespoon of peanut oil
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon lime zest, finely grated
Black pepper and a sprinkle of Thai basil to taste


  1. Combine garlic, shallot, cilantro, lime zest, pepper and basil, mix well.
  2. Slice shiitake mushrooms, remove stems if desired. In the pot, heat oil and sauté the mushrooms until slightly tender, about 2 minutes.
  3. Pour in the fish broth and bring to a boil. Add the mixture of garlic, shallot, cilantro, lime zest, pepper and basil.
  4. Add the lemongrass. Reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in shrimp and watch color change as they cook, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Serve in the pot or in separate bowl(s). Makes 1 to 2 servings.
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Timi Gustafson
Timi Gustafson, RD, LDN, FAND, is a clinical dietitian and author of the book, The Healthy Diner: How to Eat Right and Still Have Fun, which is available on her blog, Food and Health with Timi Gustafson R.D.. Follow Timi on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.