While this isn’t a traditional recipe for mac and cheese, cooking it all in one frying pan - from beginning to end - can still be done. You just cook the pasta in the pan with just enough water and then stir in the ingredients for the creamy, cheesy sauce. Serves 2.
150g macaroni or other small pasta shape (ditalini would also be good)
150ml creme fraiche
good pinch of garlic salt
60g (about half a ball) mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese
Pour the water into a large frying pan and bring to a simmer. Tip in the macaroni and cook, stirring for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on the water, making sure it doesn't dry up (add a little splash more if it needs it). You should end up with the pasta just cooked, but still slightly al dente - and a couple of tablespoons worth of water still in the pan.
Stir in the creme fraiche, along with the pinch of garlic salt. Once the macaroni is all coated with the creme fraiche, break up the mozzarella and dot all over the pan. Once everything’s bubbling away, sprinkle over the Parmesan or Grana Padano and slide under a preheated grill. The cheese on top will turn brown and golden. Taste the pasta - it should now be properly cooked. Transfer into bowls and serve straight away.
A Steak and Chips Dinner
With this recipe, you won’t need to wash up an oven tray for the chips - here, the chips, steak and veg are all cooked in the same pan. The best part is that the chips and veggies finish cooking in the juices from the beef, adding lots of flavour. Serves 1.
2 tbsp olive oil
4 Jersey Royal new potatoes, scrubbed
pinch of salt
1 thin-cut rib-eye steak, at room temperature
handful fresh spinach leaves
4 cherry tomatoes
First, cut the potatoes up into fairly thin chips. Leave the skin on. Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized frying pan and add the chips, stir-frying them for about 5 minutes, turning regularly. By now, the chips should be mostly cooked but still slightly raw in the centre. Add a small pinch of salt and push them over to one side of the pan.
Add a little more oil if you need it and season the steak before laying it into the now empty side of the hot pan. Fry the steak for about 2-3 minutes per side, until it’s cooked to your liking. The chips should be cooked and nicely golden now, too. Take out the steak with tongs, and place it on a warmed plate to rest.
Add the spinach, which will wilt very quickly and add the cherry tomatoes to the pan to heat up.
Serve the chips with the steak, the wilted spinach and the burnished cherry tomatoes on top.
Toad in the Hole
It’s usually cooked in an oven, but you can make Toad in the Hole in a frying pan, too. Delia Smith made a frying pan version of the dish in her TV series, One is Fun, back in 1985. Here’s our version: bite-sized, skinless sausage and crispy red onions, cooked in an eggy batter - in around 15 minutes. Serves 1-2.
2 tsp oil (I used coconut oil)
1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
4 chipolata pork sausages, the skin removed
good pinch of salt
50g plain flour
a couple of fresh thyme sprigs
Melt the oil in a medium-sized, non-stick frying pan and fry the onion slices until softened, and just beginning to turn slightly golden at the edges. Break the now skinless sausages up each into three pieces and drop them into the pan with the onions, frying them until they’re browned and just cooked all the way through.
To make the batter, measure out the milk in a measuring jug and crack in the egg. Add a pinch of salt. Measure out the flour into a mixing bowl and whisk in the milk mixture, mixing well so you don’t get any lumps.
Turn the heat up under the frying pan and immediately pour in the batter. Give the pan a shake and leave to bubble for a minute or two, until you see it start to set and turn a bit crisp around the edges.
Turn off the hob and turn on the grill to high. Slide the frying pan under the grill and continue to cook, until the batter starts to puff up, and turn golden and crisp. After 5 minutes, give the pan a jiggle to check it’s set in the centre and then quickly throw on the thyme sprigs. Slide back under the grill for another minute. Once it’s all cooked, season with salt and pepper and serve straight away.
Got any all-in-one frying pan dinners you like to make? Tell us about them in the comments!
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