I have discovered the world of cookbooks that are specifically designed with the single person in mind—cooking for one. Many offer cooking tips, ideas for shopping, storing food, etc., but what really has stood out for me as I pondered helpful hints for cooking single, is that everyone, in fact, at one time or another, eats alone. It is something we all have in common. How we all do this is what creates the variance.
If eating a microwaved meal over the kitchen sink or grabbing bites from take out while catching up on the news sounds familiar, you are in good company. The sheer freedom of eating what I wanted and how I wanted was somehow comforting. I am an adventurous eater, so picking any cuisine for dinner, even if it meant ordered out, felt eventful, and I didn’t have to worry about pleasing anyone’s palate but my own. Eventually though, the take out loses its luster and the economy forces us to reconsider how and where we eat.
Of course there are several challenges with cooking for yourself. While not insurmountable, they do require a bit of thought and planning. I hate wasting food; it is probably one of my biggest peeves. It happens, mainly, when I don’t plan out a menu for using what I purchase or properly store what I don’t need for use another time. I am an impulse shopper and can easily get swept into trying this or that just because something looks new and different—thank you Trader Joe’s.
There is total truth to this statement: food shop after a good meal. You tend to stick to your menu that way and only buy what you need. Your debit card will thank you for that one!
Store and freeze anything you can—it really does help! One of my best kitchen gadgets is a food sealer. I love it for freezing—especially homemade guacamole, which I like to bring out for guests as a quick appetizer.
Let’s face it. Cooking from scratch generally means more than 1 pot to wash. There is just no avoiding it. Perhaps this is no big deal if you make a big batch of spaghetti and plan to eat it all week. I am terrible about eating leftovers for any more than lunch the next day, so I try to make my meals for 1 or 2. For that reason, I tend to keep my cooking only kinda-sorta homemade. It helps keep the dishes down, and I tend to wash as I go, so it doesn’t feel like a mountain of work.
Ok, I fudge a bit on that—thank you cupcakes (yes, I did jump into that cupcake craze.)
But, I am able to keep my food costs down, my time reasonable, and my food waste to a minimum. I still eat healthier than a lot of to-go meals; although, I suppose this might be challenged from time to time. So, in the spirit of saving, time, money and dish washing soap, here are some small dishes to try that will provide a meal for 1 or 2. Or, as we like to say in the Hey Good Cookin’ kitchen, for dinner and lunch the next day!
- Chicken and Rice Bake for One
- Elegent Pasta Salad
- Light and Easy Country Frittata
- Simple Chicken Pot Pie
- Three Cheese Scalloped Potatoes
Do you have a favorite small dish recipe that will feed yourself and then some? How about some tips for going solo in the kitchen? Please share your feedback and recipes with all of us!