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Cooking for One

I'm trying to find simple, easy and affordable recipes geared for cooking for one. I was told that I could simply make a big batch of something and then eat it throughout the entire week. I guess that is an option for me, for things like soup, chilis or using leftover chicken and meats. But sometimes, eating the same thing over the entire week can be boring.

Are there any simple dishes that you know of geared for eating for one? Is it just simply reducing the cooking serving to a smaller portion? (I have no idea about cooking)

As well, what are some staples that keep long in the fridge? I've noticed apples keep for at least a month in the fridge, so I can stock up on those by buying in bulk to save money. What else does?

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  1. Some things I keep refrdgerated after opening are miso, anchovies, most cheese, cured meat and fish, nut butters, and concentrated stocks. Once in awhile I have some sort of confit, but that is rare.

    With a pressure cooker or a crock pot, you can quickly learn to put together meat, vegs, and stock, for a rich stew, good for several days.

    Miso soup or ramen, with sliced leftovers, makes a quick meal.Packaged kits are helpful.

    I always have frozen shrimp or scallops available; they cook quickly, and are often better than frozen fish.

    5 Replies
    1. re: jayt90

      I struggled with this for a while. For me, it was not necessarily finding “recipes for one” that was the issue. The recipe was the recipe, except for the quantity of the ingredients, nothing changed at all. I just had to get into the habit of carefully reducing the recipes so that, at most, I’d only have leftovers for one meal (which I like) rather than a whole week. This was not easy for me and took some thought. Once I did it a while, I became very good at it, and my meals tasted just as great as the full recipe.

      The other thing I tried was “buying for one” but that didn’t work either. I figured if I bought less, I’d cook and waste less. It just was not economical to buy for one. It was always less expensive to buy in bulk, so I just learned how to prepackage and freeze. Even a pound of hamburger needs to be sectioned for one. If I buy six pork chops, they are frozen in groups of two. Whole chicken, I cut up and again freeze in groups of two. So your still getting the benefit of buying more but not cooking it all at the same time so your not wasting it or eating it for the rest of the week.

      For produce I stop at a little farmers market at least two times a week and buy whatever he’s got that’s fresh, in season, and cheap. Example: the last of the corn was in last week 5/$1, head cabbage $1, and zucchini 3 nice one for $1. That’s enough for a week rotating them with whatever additions I might have left from last week.
      After I got real diligent about doing the above I found I could take ANY recipe I found in a cookbook or the web and I could modify it so that it would produce great results for one, one-in-a-half, or two people. So as I see it there is no recipe that is off-limits for me cooking for one. I find I love researching and cooking like this and I’ve made a lot of things I never thought I would ever try.

      That’s just my experience struggling with cooking for one. Good luck!

      1. re: Rocky Road

        Sorry Jay, looks like I posted this response to you in error. I meant to post to shdiep. New here so just feeling my way around.

        1. re: Rocky Road

          Thanks Rocky Road.
          Freezing seems like a definite option for me. I have a tendency to freeze my own vegetables, but do I need to do any prep work prior to freezing them to ensure that they last longer in the freezer? Blanching them?

          1. re: shdiep

            I am single and do the same as Rocky. I also have a chest freezer in the basement, allowing for more storage. If I buy pork chops or ground beef or chicken, they get proportioned into individual packages (a single hamburger or b/s chicken breast or chicken thigh, a single pork chop). If I want to make enough for 2+ meals, and they aren't Frankenchicken pieces <g> I'll take two out to defrost.

            For fresh vegetables, blanching is advised if you're going to buy in bulk. But I usually buy what I need for about a week. Green beans, broccoli, carrots, etc. all last awhile in the crisper drawer. If you see condensation inside the bag, tuck in a paper towel to soak up the water.

            As for using recipes, most are for 4, 6 or 8 people. If you want to make beef stew, make the whole recipe and freeze 3/4's of it. If you want to make Chicken Whatever and it usually serves 6, cut it by 2/3rds and you should be OK.

            1. re: shdiep

              I don't freeze to many veggies. Like Linda below, I don't mind stopping off for a quick produce run a couple of times a week just to eat fresh stuff. I do freeze green onions because it's either 3 for $.099, or 1 for $0.50. I chop them up and freeze for later use in Kalbi marinade, soba, stir-fry, and really anything. Chopped green onions freeze great. I have four bags of strawberries I froze for the winter. They are so inexpensive in the summer, but I can never eat the three pints so I freeze two for winter smoothies or yogurt.

              Again, like Linda below, I found proportioning the meats and seafood, frequent trips for fresh produce (for me it's close so it's easy), and having a nice white rice, or some other sort of starch on hand and I've got it made.

              The key again for me was getting used to sitting down and reducing those recipes. When you get used that it also helps the proportioning because you know exactly how much to section off. Good luck.

        2. " Is it just simply reducing the cooking serving to a smaller portion?"

          Yes :) Fish, chicken, chop, steak, whatever. Just do one if you don't want leftovers. Easy to steam a green veggie for just one. And I'd do a starch that will serve for several meals, i.e., rice, pasta. And, if you cook a large portion of something, you can freeze leftovers in individual portions and not have to eat the same thing every night. I LOVE leftovers - a free meal.

          1. I ussually cook for a couple of people, but do know I'd hate eating the same meal all week. Plus in the interest of dietary concens and rotating foods to prevent food issues from developing its not the best idea.
            When cooking for myself I do eat a lot of stir fry type meals, pad thai, yaki soba.Poke, fresh rolls. Rice the first night as plain side, makes nice fried rice or coquettes, or soup addition. I keep some frozen ravioli, easy and I can cook just a few. Another meal I like when its just me is to make a salad and then put my protein on top. My current fav is chicken piccata with lots of lemon and capers - sauce makes a kind of dressing.Taco salad. I would make meatloaf and make them small and freeze a couple, I would make lasagna and freeze the rest.
            staples - potatoes, cheese, cryovaced meats, bacon, onions, carrots( most of your root vegetables) pickled item, eggs. Items that are less shelf stable can processed for later, like a red pepper - roasted and drizzled wih oil it wil last longer than whole

            5 Replies
            1. re: coastie

              Speaking of eggs, I like to buy egg whites/eggs in the carton. Is it bad if you use it after 7 days of refrigeration? I tend to consume them quite slowly, because I can't really eat that many eggs or I get a stomach ache.

                1. re: shdiep

                  eggs have a long shelf life - buy them as fresh as you can - You can you them to bake and cook for a very long time..month...maybe 45 days.( I think it may even be 60 days) To eat as an egg itself I would guess that you are easily good for 2 weeks especially if you are buying them very fresh. My eggs are 2 weeks old by the time I even get them from store due to my remote location. Yolks breaking very easily is a sign eggs are old as is a lot of space in the shell. I would still bake with these. Eggs make no mistake about telling you they are bad. Bacteria like salmonella is either there or not age isn't a factor.
                  Also - most places sell cute little half dozen

                  1. re: coastie

                    I think Shdiep was referring to the "milk carton" style eggs, like Egg Beaters. Those can be frozen. As for regular egg cartons, the 3-digit number on the end of the carton is the day of the year they were packed, e.g. 001 is January 1, 095 is April 5.... Don't know the interval between laying and packing, but I assume it's not more than a fewe days. With a very fresh egg, the whites don't spread much when cracked into the pan for frying, and the yolk is a high mound. Most of us don't often get to see that. For hard-boiled eggs, you want them older - the fresher they are, the harder to peel. Easier if you've had them a week or two before boiling them.

                    1. re: greygarious

                      Thanks for the information greygarious! Very helpful.

                      How would I go about using these frozen egg beaters though? Hit defrost in the microwave?

              1. If you have a freezer, you don't have to eat the same thing all week. Invest in some plastic containers, foil and butcher paper.

                You can make lasagna, chili, quiche, soups, veggie kugel, casseroles, etc. If you freeze them all in single portions, you can easily take one out at a time--so you might have lasagna once a week for 6-8 weeks instead of for 6-8 days in a row. I live in a Manhattan rental so my freezer is not huge and I can't keep many large containers in it anyways. I save money by getting big batches of veggies from the farmers market, blanching them and then freezing small amounts in individual ziploc bags. That way, I can throw a few things over rice or pasta or into an omelet for a quick cheap dinner. This method also works with things like beans or chick peas. If you eat meat, you can buy a chicken or even a pack of breasts/thighs/whatever and portion those the same way (uncooked), so you can throw them into stir fry or over rice or into pasta. It's much cheaper and more time efficient to buy a larger amount and freeze it in small portions. You feel like you're eating different things, but it's also nice because a couple hours of prep work on the weekend keep you from reaching for the takeout menu after work. A good meal formula is protein item + whole grain item + at least one vegetable item.

                As for things that keep in the fridge, here's a few I have: soy milk, eggs, yogurt, cheese (not sliced), carrots, chipotles in adobo (in a glass jar, they will last a year), grapefruits. There are these tablets on amazon some people have mentioned on chow somewhere that you can throw in your veggie bin and they are supposed to slow the aging process of produce. I've never used them, so you might have to search around.

                Pantry items: quinoa, rice, pasta, beans (canned or dried), lentils, flour, olive oil, soy sauce, sriracha, vinegar, sherry. You can make the base for a lot of meals with these items.

                4 Replies
                1. re: bookmonger

                  Great suggestions! I will be sure to do freezing!

                  Does sliced cheese not last as long as a blocked cheese?

                  1. re: bookmonger

                    What's the preferred way to freeze raw meat, poultry and fish for a long time? Original packaging? Ziplock bags? Wrapped in foil? Wax paper?

                    1. re: taos

                      Ziplock freezer bags are made specifically to freeze foods such as raw meats and keep them from getting freezer burnt

                      1. re: taos

                        I've been using the Ziploc vacuum seal bags and they work pretty well. Otherwise, I wrap in foil as it adheres well to the meat.

                        NEVER the original packaging (unless it's a cryovac'd package)...too much air in there to cause freezer burn.

                    2. I cook for myself all the time. Things I do:

                      1. cut meat into single serving portions before freezing
                      2. it's easy to cook veggies for one and veggies are the most important part of the meal
                      3. if I cook a large recipe, I freeze the surplus because it is boring to eat the same thing every day
                      4. I make my own salad dressings and that gives me a feeling of decadence. They keep longer than you would think.
                      5. I freeze carbs - risotto, pasta, rice, etc. in single portion sizes.

                      I have a hard time thinking this through because I have been cooking for one for so many years. Just think - small portions, freezability, quality.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: sarah galvin

                        When you freeze the carbohydrates in single portion sizes, do you put them in ziploc bags or do they have to go in containers? I don't have that many containers. -lol-

                        1. re: shdiep

                          Ziplocks are fine - if your freezer tends to lead to freezer burn, you may want to wrap in foil/wax paper as well.

                          1. re: sarah galvin

                            Do you mean that you freeze cooked pasta? I tried with a pasta bake once and never got around to eating it. What happens to the texture once you heat it up again? Reheat slowly in oven?

                            1. re: foxy fairy

                              Its not as good as the first time around - but fine. Ever had frozen lasagna.....if its not commercial, its a great "I don't want to cook" meal. Oven, micro work for reheat, always better in oven. You will lose some quality - sometimes you need "fast" food. I don't like the commercial (for the most part) options.

                              1. re: coastie

                                I have frozen cooked spaghetti and noodles plain - then microwaved in the ziploc bag or a covered container to reheat before adding sauce. It's fine. Usually if you freeze something with spaghetti sauce, like lasagna, it exudes water upon reheating

                              2. re: foxy fairy

                                I froze cooked pasta and the texture was just fine. I would include a sauce. I did a kitchen reno and had no kitchen for 3 months so this was how I survived.

                              3. Stir-fry dishes are always good for solo diners.

                                And sometimes you can make several individual meals from a single dish.

                                For example, roast a chicken, then make stock from the carcass, and use the stock for soups and stews, congee, rice, etc.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  Yes -- I am a fan of transforming so I don't get bored. When you roast a chicken, then turn some into chicken salad, some into chicken club sandwiches with bacon (have some bacon for breakfast on a weekend, then the rest for sandwiches during the week).

                                2. You have gotten a ton of good strategy advice, and I cannot emphasize enough that the freezer is your friend, but really only if you label everything with what it is and the date you made it. Then either keep a list or do what I do and about once a month rummage around to see what is lurking there (often a pleasant surprise!) and what needs to be used because it’s getting old. (How long things last in the freezer: http://www.realsimple.com/realsimple/...


                                  I try to make one or two batches of things every weekend that I portion into single servings and freeze so I have quite a variety of things to choose from according to my mood: several soups, chili, mini-meatloaves, salmon cakes, several pasta sauces. Also I freeze a variety of sausages singly (snack size zip-locks are great for this) as well as chicken pieces, pork chops and so on. I always have garlic, olive oil, pasta, beans and grains in the pantry and onions, lemons and some green vegetable or other in the fridge. It is amazing how much I have reduced take-out usage by doing all of this.

                                  Now, you asked about recipes too. Any recipe can be made in a single serving if it is not something that will freeze well. What I would suggest is choosing your 2 or 3 favorite dishes and learning to make them, then a couple more, until you have a set of recipes you really feel comfortable making. Most of us have a core set of things we really like and can cook almost without thinking about it and go back to time after time (you’ll often hear that referred to as our “regular rotation”). If you enjoy cooking you also like to play around with new recipes or new cuisines. If not, having that core set of recipes keeps you well-fed and happy. Let us know if you need help finding recipes for your favorite foods.

                                  You might also find some good ideas in this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/448865

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: GretchenS

                                    Thanks GretchenS! I ended up getting lots of freezer ziploc bags!

                                    1. re: shdiep

                                      Seal the bag almost completely, then use a straw to suck the air out and quickly complete the seal. This will help prevent crystallization and freezer burn. I invested in an electric vacuum sealer, which maintains quality longer - Reynolds makes a $10 battery-op sealer which has received both raves and pans on the Cookware board. The inexpensive freezer containers sold in packs of 3 and 5 (Gladware, etc) alongside the zipper bags are good. Wish they'd come out BEFORE I invested in a collection of Rubbermaid containers!

                                      You are apparently new to cooking, so you will learn more by cooking daily or nearly daily. But when you're more experienced the enjoyment may lessen...I love to cook but in hot weather can't face the idea. On cooler days, I cook large batches of, then freeze in smaller amounts. For example, rather than making a meat sauce for pasta, make meatballs separately, and a good marinara, adding extra grated vegetables like carrots, zucchini, eggplant, if you wish. Now you've got, among other possibilities: spaghetti and meatballs, the makings of a sauceless equivalent of a meatloaf sandwich, and a sauce for chicken parmesan.

                                      The other day I bought 12 turkey cutlets. I pounded them, dredged them in flour and dipped in egg wash before breading them in a home-made crumb mixture for which I used stale whole wheat bread, honey-mustard pretzel nuggets, minced dried onion, garlic powder, and leftover potato chips, all whirled in the food processor. Letting them sit on a cake rack in the fridge for an hour helps dry them so the crumbs adhere well. Wrapped in plastic wrap, then bagged for the freezer, they are ready to be thawed for one-at-a-time sauteeing as is, or with any number of sauce options.

                                      I'd also recommend a V-slicer/mandoline (see Cookware for recommendations). This makes produce prep fun. Spend a few hours slicing or julienning veggies before freezing will reduce the time spent when preparing a specific dish. Incidentally, because freezing breaks down cell walls, ingredients like onions and peppers saute faster, even unthawed, than fresh-cut.

                                      Be aware that roasted meats taste different when re-heated. I for one do not care for the change. I find it preferable to let leftover roast bird or beast come to room temp, microwave it on low power only enough to get it warm, then spoon some hot gravy/sauce over it.

                                  2. I am terrible about cooking for myself when my husband is away, but am trying to be better about it. A couple of ideas:

                                    1. Most tomato based pasta sauces freeze well, so you can make a full batch and then freeze the leftover sauce in ziplock bags individual portions.

                                    2. Roast a chicken - use leftovers to make chicken salad, the carcass to make chicken soup. You can also use shredded chicken in a lot of Asian dishes or in a salad.

                                    3. Simple protein based dishes are pretty easy - one steak, a couple of lamb chops, one salmon, filet, etc. Buy small amounts of vegetables so that you don't get bored with them. Serve with a salad. It's easy to boil up just a couple of potatoes to round out the meal.

                                    1. I would add that its important to find a meat counter and fish counter that will sell you individual sized portions. A single chicken breast, a single filet of fish, 4-5 large shrimp, etc. Then it very easy to sautee up something with a quick pan sauce and not have a mountain of leftovers to freeze.
                                      Steam yourself some veggies or add a quickie green salad and you've got dinner!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Mellicita

                                        I agree with that suggestion. In Manhattan, I've found that it's pretty easy to do that - in some other areas, though, it seems as if in grocery stores proteins are pre-packaged, and it may be more difficult to get single servings. However, if that's the case, I'd suggest buying the larger packages, and then freezing, individually, the pieces you won't use right away.

                                      2. I've used leftover meatloaf in a number of different ways as well. First night, regular meatloaf, cut off a couple of slices for meatloaf sandwiches, next night I'll cut a slice into small-ish cubes and throw them in a quick tomato sauce and serve over pasta, the night after that, make a stir-fry with more cubed bits (thai flavors tend to be better at blending with any ketchup glaze & spices in meatloaf for this use), and if I still have any meatloaf left, I'll finish it up crumbled into sloppy joes or a stroganoff-style dish.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. My husband is gone for weeks at a time, so I know what it is like having to cook for one a lot. I used to do the same thing, cook a big batch of something then eat it over and over until you never wanted to see that dish again. Then I figured out that I needed to take one main food item like chicken, cook it up and then I could just freeze it and pull it out whenever I needed it.

                                          For example, I would cook up about 4 chicken breasts with whatever light seasoning I wanted then freeze them in individual baggies. Then, I could take them out one at a time and just heat them up since they were already fully cooked, make a quick side or cut up the chicken and put it on a salad. I find that cooking up the main meat item and freezing them in individual baggies really helped cut down on the needless munching and trying to figure out what to make. I do the same thing with big pots of soup, chili or stew, just freeze them in single serving bags so that if I am in the mood for them, I can just heat them up but don't have to eat them every night to ensure it doesn't go bad.

                                          1. Jane Black of the Washington Post had this piece that's been syndicated about scaling down a recipe that I thought you might be interested in. She gives all kinds of practical tips, including choosing the right recipe (ie., avoid recipes that call for eggs because eggs can be hard to divide) and using the right sized pan. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...

                                            But, the even more amazing thing is when I went to look for this piece, I discovered that the Washington Post carries a column called "Cooking for One" here's a link to today's article. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...


                                            1 Reply
                                            1. It can be challenging to eat for one, I had to learn how to do it properly through trial and error and at the moment I think I'm just getting the hang of it. I'm used to cooking "big" family style meals, so I used to do just that, as you mentioned and eat it throughout the week but it gets boring.

                                              Now I try to keep it simple, buy fresh fish and cook it real simple on the stove or in the oven. Different types of fish to keep things interesting and when you're one person you don't have to buy much.
                                              Get some great marinade sauces, they're excellent, I have a korean BBQ and piri piri which I'm just loving because it's flavourful and easy to just quickly marinade a fish and bake/cook it.
                                              As to spices, I buy my spices in small quantities or borrow from family members just what I need in small amounts.

                                              I've discovered how to cook small portions of rice just perfectly, even my mom was surprised because she taught me how and the min. we'd make was 2 cups, but I found for me 1/2 cup was perfect.
                                              I generally soak the rice in advance for at least 15 mins, drain and rinse it a few times. Boil the kettle then add a bit of oil to the pot and when it's hot I add the rice and let the grains get coated nicely then add water (3/4 Cup works well for 1/2 cup of Say Basmati rice, traditionally I cook the sushi type rice too but frying it in oil as mentioned above, jasmine rice works well too, but those are the three types of rices I've used so I can't guarantee it to work for others kinds) .. add salt (usually 1/4-1/2 tsp or depeneding on your taste, let it come to a hard boil, if it looks like the rice is visible and there isn't enough water can add a tbsp more or so, simmer, cover and wait 12 mins or so.

                                              Couscous is another wonderful "emergency" food because I can spend time making a nice "stew" and then the couscous just comes to life instantly. If you never made couscous it's basically a matter of pouring 1/4 cup or so into a bowl
                                              Add a tiny bit of olive oil, coating the dry couscous with a spoon or fork

                                              For liquid it's about equal amounts to the couscous, but I add just a tad bit less. Liquid is ieither stock (boiled) or boiling water and a bit of a soup cube (just a tiny piece of it, or just salt would work fine)
                                              Cover with cling wrap, when it looks like it's one piece, and you can kind of tilt the bowl and it looks solid (5-7) mins, fluff it up with a fork and enjoy.

                                              At the supermarkets sometimes they have a tray of presliced veg. or from a dipping tray, I'll buy it and make stew out of it, there is celery, carrots, cauliflower (perfect for a curry?) I'm not always able to buy all the veg. seperately because it's just too much and I would hate to waste it. Sometimes nearby there is a little baggie or precut squashes which works nicely too.

                                              Pastas can be boiled in a small amount and tossed with a quick sauce.
                                              I even make veggie soup for one, at the end of the week I throw in all the leftover bits and pieces of veggies I got in the fridge and make a nice veggie soup then add a handful of pasta in at the end, or lentils. Like minestrone type of soup.

                                              I like quick stir-fries so I keep baby bok choy on hand.
                                              Celery snack packs are great too because they're good for snacking and if you need a bit of celery for something without having to actually have the entire piece on hand all the time. Mind you, I'm obsessed with freshness so it's not like I'm compromising anything, this is just to make life simpler.

                                              Cheese is a good to have on hand.

                                              Pizza is easy to make using a greek style flat bread (which I keep in the fridge at all times because they last and don't dry out like pitas which are better fresh), when I'm in a hurry I generally just put some tomato sauce on it, pesto, cheese, mushrooms or just slices of tomato and olives then give it a quick grill in the oven, it tastes great.
                                              Hummus and dips are easy to whip up and will last in the fridge, can buy a smaller can of chickpeas and blend it with a tiny bit of garlic, tahini, salt and lemon juice (or a drop of the pickle jar water :P )

                                              I'm trying not to teach you how to "shop" here, hehe. I just felt it was important to talk about cooking and shopping because that has been what I have struggled with, going shopping filling up the entire veg. drawer and then get stuck with things that just won't last on me because I tried to buy enough stuff to have on hand and "cook" proper" recipes.

                                              Most of the time you can make recipes in smaller portions, at least that's what I found.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: BamiaWruz

                                                Definitely great tips! And I thank you for them!

                                                I have been meaning to try hummus, but I smelled it, and it wasn't too appealing for me. But other than that, stir fries would be an excellent quick and easy thing for me - thanks!

                                              2. I'm a bit late I see but hope you still follow your threads. I always have cheese, salsa and tortillas and usually some kind of frozen meat...chicken, turkey, pork whatever. You can make tacos, wraps, quesadillas, enchiladas, burritos, chilequiles or invent something new. What I like about this food is I can make as little or as much as I need at the time. I usually make a fair sized pan of say enchiladas because the flavor improves the next couple of days. I love breakfast burros and chilequiles will absorb almost anything. You can get really creative with tacos. Salsas can be made with different chiles and mixed with avocados and many fruits...mangoes, pineapple, peaches, whatever appeals. Experiment with different cheeses. Tortillas of flour, corn , whole wheat or even other type of flat breads. Wraps with great greens, meat, veggies cooked or raw. Especially great, refreshing and easy to prepare without much cooking in the summer when an abundance of produce is available. Try wraps with tzaziki or hummus.
                                                Cold soups also great in summer and can be made in small batches.
                                                Bruschetta is another favorite. Good for snacks or light meal.
                                                Crockpots are lifesavers in cold weather.
                                                Some great tips on this thread. It's nice to share.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: P Macias

                                                  I am not a big fan of cheeses, but I will try tortillas, because that sounds like an easy meal all on its own!

                                                  Investing in a crockpot sounds appealing - I was thinking of that, or one of those grills that you can cook anything on, like those 4 in 1 grills. I am still pondering though, because they aren't too cheap!

                                                2. My guy is out of town this week and I am generally terrible about cooking for myself when he's gone. I generally do things like making extra of an ingredient I can repurpose over the span of a few days.
                                                  Example: Day one, grill a few well marinated chicken breasts and for first meal have chicken breast and steamed veg. Day two use some left over grilled chicken for chicken caeser salad. Day 3 chicken salad sandwich, or chicken stirfry or chicken based frittata(sp?), etc.
                                                  Tonight I made Salad Lyonnaise, I'm currently addicted, and it took only about 10 minutes to pull together since I had prewashed greens on hand. It's an easy and satisfying meal for one. http://rawforamonth.blogspot.com/2008...
                                                  Last night was cereal, and tomorrow I intend to take myself out for sushi=)

                                                  1. The other day I bought a package of pork blade chops (the really large ones). They were marked down because they were approaching their sell-by date. I neglected to repackage and freeze for a few days and didn't want to run the risk of their continuing to age in the freezer. So I grilled them all (salt, pepper and a drizzle of evoo first) perhaps 4 minutes a side (I never overcook any meat). It's very easy to reheat in the microwave without drying out if you take it really slow. Depending on the size, I might start with 7 seconds, turn and another 7 seconds. I've done this for years with all different kinds of meat and poultry. I think it helps if there's a little fat on/in the meat. You can also use defrost power but still take it really, really slow.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                      Wow, thanks for the suggestion!

                                                      I don't mind buying items that are close to the sell-by-date, because the freezer comes in handy. And thanks for the information about simply not overcooking the meat! That is such a great suggestion! Thank you!

                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                        There are more than just hi and defrost settings on a microwave.
                                                        most people when reheating something will just toss it in the mic and hit 1 min.. the edges will get hot the middle might get lightly warm and they do another minute. then the edges are over done and middle is finally hot.

                                                        for single sized portions, try using the 50% setting with 3 or 4 minutes . works wonders to heat everything fairly evenly. if it isn't warm enough, the entire dish is at least similarly warmed that 20-60 seconds more on high will make it plenty hot enough.

                                                      2. I lived alone for 2 and a half years and definitely got into the swing of cooking for just one. I don't really like eating leftovers (though I will do it since I dislike wasting food even more!), so cooking a big batch and eating something for a week would have driven me nuts.

                                                        I highly reccomend the cookbook "Going Solo in the Kitchen" by Jane Doerfer. Good variety of recipes converted to single person servings, and good suggestions on repurposing leftovers into new and different dishes.

                                                        Also, the guys at the meat counter of almost every store I've ever walked into are thrilled to have something, anything, to do, and are always willing to cut me a smaller portion of meat than is available prepackaged, same price per weight, so it was no less economical.

                                                        I really enjoyed living on my own and cooking for myself. Of course, I now really like living with my husband who just made amazing heuvos rancheros for breakfast... :), but cooking can be very joyful, creative and tasty all on your own. You really get to figure out exactly what you like and experiment without worrying what anyone else will think

                                                        1. cornish hen is just the right size for one person

                                                          1. Most important thing is not to give up- it's awfully easy if you're cooking for yourself to get into a routine of easy dishes that require little cleanup and shopping, repeated too often- it's just a lot easier to motivate if there are others involved. Dividing recipes is usually pretty straightforward, but there can be difficulties, especially with baking. You can get into weird stuff like 3/7 of an egg, or trying to insert a thermometer into a puddle of stuff 1/4" deep. Most other dishes, the quantities are more guidelines anyway, and you can adjust easily.

                                                            1. After years of cooking tons of food, it was an adjustment for me to learn to cook for just myself.  Great tips above. Thought I would share some that worked for me.   

                                                              I start with the smaller pots.  Lol. May sound silly, but I grab my small pots now to make only a few cups of soup instead of breaking of the stock pot.   I'm not one to follow a recipe to the letter or measure, and the smaller pots and pans, keep my portions in check.   I always loved my crock pot, and used it all the time, so I purchased a small one which has been great!  I got so much use out of it this summer cooking meals that don't heat up my kitchen.    I also love my mini chopper/food processor.  

                                                              If I do make a little more than I need for dinner I often eat it the next day for brunch in a fritatta, omelet, fried egg over top, mixed into a savory oatmeal, over some grits or fried polenta, and even made into a soup for lunch.   

                                                              I always keep my 3 grain rice pilaf in the freezer.  Prepackaged in single servings to use in stir fry, soup, or as a side dish for a protein.  

                                                              I like to prep my veggies when I get home from the store that I'm going to use for a few days.   I will dice up an onion, and put it in a container.   Prep, say, a green, a red, and yellow pepper.    Then use the pre prepped veg the next couple days in dishes like, a western omelet for brunch, sausage and peppers, fried rice, or maybe an étouffée.   Same prepped veg, but changing up the proteins and seasonings gives you variety.  

                                                              Which leads me to my next point.  A well stocked pantry of key condiments and items that have a long shelf life.  Things like dried beans, oatmeal, polenta, rice, pasta, barley, bulgur, flours,   potatoes, sweet potatoes, hard skinned winter squash, citrus, carrots, dried fruits, pumpkins... Will make it easier to put together some great dishes.