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Best one pot winter meals to save energy

With less washing up, less energy and tonnes of flavour, one pot meals are a real winter saviour.

This time of year can be tough both financially and physically, as cold weather and post-Christmas bills all hit hard, but these nourishing and affordable recipes are full of flavour and warmth.

Compared to eating out or takeaways it’s cheaper to cook at home, even when factoring in the cost of energy. Plus cooking from scratch using whole foods means less plastic and minimal processing.

Shakshuka is a convenient one-pot meal that makes an unbeatable brunch, light lunch or supper. There are many different versions of this North African recipe: you could add feta, preserved lemons, olives or chorizo. To try making it, click here.

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Risottos are a popular go-to recipe, but this easy one pot Basque chicken is a cross between a stew and a paella. The rice soaks up all the flavours from the stock and chorizo, and the chicken cooks gently in the steam. For the recipe, click here.

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Tinned pulses are a great standby as the lengthy pre-cooking is done for you. Filling, cheap and delicious ribollita is a thick, stewy Tuscan-style soup made using seasonal greens and cannellini or borlotti beans. It also makes use of stale, torn bread chunks – for this great zero waste recipe, click here.

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Moroccan style spinach, sweet potato and lentil stew is a delicately spiced vegetable dish filled with lentils and chickpeas, based on a Moroccan harira soup. Protein-rich red lentils are quick to cook, and this recipe is a great one for batch cooking. For the recipe, click here.

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Quinoa is also packed with protein and great at soaking up flavour, making it ideal for curries. A healthy and nutritious one-pot dish, curried parsnip quinoa with apple and toasted hazelnuts is laced through with warming spices and full of seasonal veg. To try making it, click here.

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Batch cooking and freezing portions, then reheating in your microwave is a really efficient way to cook, and there are some other simple steps that can reduce your energy use further:

-Putting a pan lid on when bringing something to the boil and turning off the hob a couple of minutes before your meal is fully cooked so the residual heat finishes the cooking all add up to energy savings.

-Only use as much water as you need and boil it in a kettle, rather than on the stove, then transfer to your pan.

-Choose the right pan for the hob. If the flames are licking on the side of the pan, or you can see the heating element it’s too small, which wastes heat.

-Invest in good kitchen kit; sturdy, thick-walled pans distribute heat well and store it for longer.

-Slow cookers have an average hourly running cost of less than 1p, and many recipes can be adapted for cooking in one; a great item to borrow or buy if you are looking to cut costs.

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