HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Feb 9, 2011 02:40 PM

Cooking for One

I most cook for myself these days and find it very difficult. I get bored very easy and do not particular like leftovers. So when I make a normal recipe - serves four - I end up throwing some of it away. I tried freezing and sometimes it is OK - recent successes have been individual leek and turkey pies, chicken curry with pineapple, mushroom and barley soup. Other things just sit in the freezer and I have no desire to take them out... I have Joyce Goldstein "Solo Suppers" and like some (but unfortunately not too many) of her recipes - persian soup with meatballs, farro salad, lobster, poached salmon - but didn't like her duck recipes, saltimbocca, chicken recipes. Took Toni Lydecker's Serves One out of the library the other day and am left complete uninspired:(

Any suggestions? Would love to hear your thoughts!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Tell us more about why you don't like leftovers, what flavors you do like etc. It's hard to say what will work without knowing what you'd like.

    1 Reply
    1. re: escondido123

      I guess I spent too many years in Asia where no one eats leftovers:) I prefer something freshly cooked and do not mind cooking it:)

      I love lots of cusines - asian, indian, middle eastern, italian, spanish, french... mainly savoury, hardly ever crave sweets aside from dark chocolate.

      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        Thank you, TDQ! Great-great threads - why was I not able to find them on my own?!

        1. re: herby

          ALWAYS click the Advanced Search options on the initial search results page, to allow you to expand your results.

      2. I love "Healthy Cooking for Two-Or Just You" by Price.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ann_l

          I used to have this book and gave it to a friend in need of a cooking for one book never to be seen again...

        2. I'm exactly the same. I can't stand leftovers, and cooking for one was a struggle as it's just impossible to scale some things down to just make a perfect portion size. Also, I hated cooking for one. The hobos were really well fed and I was losing weight...

          Unfortunately, I don't have any great suggestions for you. The boyfriend came on the scene and thinks I'm a kitchen genius, and has a huge appetite and a fondness for leftovers. I'm dreading the day I have to cook for one again; I tend to rely on takeaways or prepare from frozen meals (boxed fish and prepared veg) when he's away for somewhat longer periods.

          4 Replies
          1. re: haiku.

            People who throw away leftovers rather than eating them waste enough money that they are probably better off eating out instead.

            1. re: greygarious

              You are absolutely right, greygarious! I like to cook and eat at home though and try not to throw leftovers away but I do not like to eat them either. I was thinking about it after I started the thread and realized that as I child I hardly ever had leftovers and when I cooked for my kids we alsways had something new even if super quick. It seems that my dislike of leftovers ha a long history:)

              1. re: greygarious

                I refuse to throw out food; I gave it to the homeless people I would see often near where I lived.

              2. re: haiku.

                I started seeing someone and am having trouble letting go of my well-honed arsenal of cooking-for-one habits :-P

              3. Judith Jones' book "Cooking for One" advocates using leftovers to make another meal (i.e. 1 C of rice can become ...............) so this might not be very helpful for you. When I was alone, I relished finding something in the fridge that I could build around. Have you had success combining buying some prepared things and cooking the rest of the meal? A single steak or game hen is a tidy serving, it's easy to bake a single sweet or russet potato and toss a salad for a no-brainer dinner. Substituting some interesting salad-side dish for the (boring) potato-salad might be an answer. A sobo-peanut-bok choy salad would be my first thought, then it's on to Mexican green chile rice or some saag aloo. Risotto for one is a snap as are many pasta dishes.

                I found it an enormous challenge to go from cooking for a family to having grown sons away at school and being widowed at a (relatively) young age. There were days I had popcorn & martinis for supper; that wasn't all bad. When I was energetic, I made a large pot of red sauce and ate from that, freezing some for later. My fallback favorite became Garbage Quesadillas - tortillas filled with whatever sounded good, topped with some kind of cheese.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Sherri

                  Cooking for One by Jones is indeed an excellent cookbook. Some of it is outside of my range (duck) but it really is a great resource.