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Sep 13, 2009 07:47 PM

Cooking for one.

Since the Furmeister left for PNG, I've resisted the siren song of easy crap for dinner. I've cooked a"normal" amount and frozen curries/chillies/risottos in single serve containers.

I've bought single steaks and felt so holier-than-thou when I make poached eggs on toast for my dinner.

I roasted a chicken over the weekend, and quaintly plated it up, complete with roasted veggies (pumpkin, sweet potato, capsicum and gravy) and frozen it.

The thing though, is that no matter how made-of-awesome my chicken dinner is, 3 out of 4 servers are going to taste like microwaved re-heats. **sigh**

Sometime soon, I KNOW that I am going to get sick of the effort of cooking great grub, only to have most portions nuked.

And that's when I fear that I will be unable to resist the insidious come-hither call of dim sims. And McCain's lasagne.

I mean, if it's going to taste like micro-nuked food, why go to all the bother of cooking in the first place?

So, any tips for a first-time-in-a-long-time solo cook?

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  1. Make stuff in a sauce that you can reheat over a stove top....meatballs come to mind. You can also do ribs that way.

    Leftover rice can be used in fried fact is should be leftover and not freshly-made. You can throw in some of that leftover chicken

    1. Judith Jones of Julia Child fame, has a book coming out in a couple of weeks that looks interesting. "The Pleasures of Cooking for One"

      1. marinate thinly sliced tenderloin (pork or beef)- you can flash-fry these really quickly. my favorite marinades are"

        -pesto (sprinkle with parmesan after flash-frying).
        -honey, soy sauce, sesame seeds.
        -barbecue sauce and garlic.

        these go really well with pita bread and hummous or sour dough and your favorite horseradish.

        1. What season is it in Australia? I can come up with some ideas from there.

          IMO, the cooking is not any different. The difference is in the shopping.

          Go to a good butcher and buy a single, chop or sausage. Get individual serving sizes at the fishmonger. If you enjoy cooking, then just downsize the recipes.

          This is also a good time to experiment, cooking things your SO might not like but you've always wanted to try.

          I spent most of my life cooking for one and even now my SO is so busy we rarely eat together. The thing for me is that I hate cooking, so it doesn't matter if I'm cooking for one or a crowd, I don't enjoy it.

          Of course, one can't entirely eat in restaurants. My strategy is buying top quality stuff and something I've never tried before and learn how to cook it. So I frequent a lot of farmers markets and snap up anything that is new and different. By shopping the farms and farmers markets I can buy small quantities and just what I want.

          1. hmmmmm... I'm trying to figure out if there's something wrong with my taste buds or your microwave? I cook large quantities and freeze what I don't eat and have never once throught, "This food tastes nuked." Is it because I have unlimited control over how fast or slow I nuke things? Maybe you're just bored with food?

            I'm really not trying to make light of your problem, but it does sound a bit "unusual" to me. I've tossed food becase it tasted off after nuking, probably from being in the freezer too long, but never because it tasted like it had been heated in the microwave. Well, unless it was bread that was rubbery from being nuked too long. Would it taste better if you were sharing it with someone? Could that be the problem instead of the microwave?

            4 Replies
            1. re: Caroline1

              Caroline, I've had the same problem with food in the mickey. Certain things heat up beautifully, but chicken for instance I find rubbery no matter how carefully I reheat.

              P_G: I cook for just myself 95% of the time, and I find that things like soup, risotto, gravy-based curries, and the like reheat very well. I don't think meat reheats well in general unless it's in a soup or gravy, which is one of the reasons I don't eat much meat! Steaks and chops, if you're craving meat, are the same price generally whether you buy one or ten.

              Dishes based on pasta and dishes based on eggs are a go-to for busy nights -- and I'd say that a perfectly-poached egg quivering atop toasty homemade bread is awfully close to the perfect meal. I definitely don't feel deprived when I eat stuff like that!

              1. re: LauraGrace

                Can't help you much on the chicken. For me, "Chicken" and "unappetizing" have pretty much become synonyms. Not to mention that the cholesterol in duck is MUCH healthier for you than chicken. I just can't figure out why I can buy a whole cooked duck cheaper in a Chinese restaurant than I can buy a whole raw duck in a supermarket. Doesn't seem logical to me, but it's a fact.

                Now, for warming up meats (and yes, it works with chicken too, if you must) set the meat on top of a leaf of iceberg lettuce and then put another leaf on top when reheating. Or even wrap it in iceberg leaves and reheat. You'll get moist, delicious meat. A trick I've been using for about a half a century and I have no recollection where I learned about it, but it works. And for that I'm grateful. '-)

                1. re: Caroline1

                  Caroline, I have to say I always enjoy reading your posts. They are amusing, informed, etc.