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Dinner for One?

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For the next month and a half, my partner will be traveling for business and will be gone more often than she's home. Unfortunately, I can't go with her, so I'll be home alone and cooking for only myself. Wondering if anyone has some good "cooking for one" type recipes they could share. Obviously, I know anything I have can be scaled back, but I'm wanting to use this time apart as a chance to try some new recipes, as my partner is a notoriously picky eater.

I love to cook, and for the most part, time isn't a factor (ie, not looking for "quickie" type meals). Definitely not looking for "make a big pot of X and eat it in different ways all week" type recipes either. I prefer beef, chicken and pork, but am eager to try new things too. So.... anyone?

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  1. Whenever I am left unattended I make miso soup with tofu and scallion and a big spinach salad. Then it is ice cream and a good classic Western.

    4 Replies
    1. re: CCSPRINGS

      With you right up to the classic Western :-) Love good miso, and we're coming into our rainy season here, so that sounds tasty. Usually my go to I'm all alone meal would be an udon soup of some stripe, or udon with spicy peanut sauce and some grilled chicken.

      1. re: CCSPRINGS

        "left unattended" lol --
        I hope you have seen "Bad Day at Black Rock" my favorite classic.
        Which/what spinach salad?

        1. re: blue room

          That was a good movie. Not being familiar with the film before watching it I was surprised it was contemporary ( for the 50's) and not a period film as most westerns tend to be.

          Spinach salad of choice will has lots of mushrooms and artichoke hearts. Anchovies are always welcome too.

        2. re: CCSPRINGS

          Do you like kimchi? to that basic miso broth I would add the tofu, udon or soba noodles, bok choy or spinach, asparagus, maybe salmon instead of tofu, and as much kimchi as you can stand--the heat mellows as it cooks and creates a wonderfully rich broth.

        3. Don't fritter (no pun) away the time! Do a little web surfing and decide on specific dishes you'd like to try, then make the effort. Keep your partner's preferences in mind so you can see stuff readily that you'll both like too. I discovered Pad Thai when on my own a few years ago, now it's a favorite for both of us. Also Dutch pancakes!

          1. When my husband goes away I make dishes that involve ingredients he's not particularly fond of--clams, shrimp and sour cream. When I go away, he eats steak.

            1. You might try this thread. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7651...

              I had Judith Jones' The Pleasures of Cooking for One out of the library after it first came out (just to read it: I didn't cook out of it alas). I'd check that out again if I had a month and a half to entertain myself.

              Here's some sample recipes
              http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/1...

              http://www.oprah.com/food/Judith-Jone...

              http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001...

              http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/j...

              http://projects.washingtonpost.com/re...

              ~TDQ

              1 Reply
              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                I'm so used to halving recipes, night be nice to double some for a change.
                And how nice to make a cheese souffle for oneself!

              2. I live alone and cook for one 24/7/365 except for weekend parties or when helping do a BBQ function.

                Sunday gravy/marinara is always in my fridge and made in batches large enough to freeze and portion.

                If you are not a "leftover" type person, then it certainly becomes a menu planning exercise, especially with no store in a reasonable distance.

                I keep all sushi supplies on hand except proteins and the accenting veggies, do beans-and-greens a lot with leftovers, and even do a lot of frozen proteins that I cook and then pair with carbs and veggies as I feel.

                Last nite was oven fried breaded shrimp tossed with the Bang-Bang shrimp sauce (mix of mayo,mae ploy sweet chili sauce and schrichi) on leaf lettuce , steamed fresh broccoli and a side of pesto (boiled drained pasta and pesto from my frozen summer stash). Restaurant quality food for 1 with most of it fridge, freezer or pantry stash.

                The freezer is ur friend as is making things in batches for 4 and refridgerating or freezing.

                1. Many, many years ago when I was married and my now ex-husband was deployed (USN), I would take the time when he was away and experiment with foods that he didn't like. So I'd concentrate first on foods and ingredients that she doesn't like and then take it from there.

                  Since it is always "Dinner for One" here, I just cook whatever I please and many times it is something when I get home, then maybe a different idea an hour or so later, or another dish even later.

                  1. The Washington Post food section has a column about cooking for one that you might find inspiring. They even get into baking! http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...

                    1. I do two things when I'm cooking for just myself: I focus on those foods that my spouse does not like, and I experiment, creating my own recipes on the fly. Just last night I roasted some cod, put it on top of garlic mashed potatoes, and topped it withbaby bellas sauteed with madeira. It was frickin' awesome but had it turned out poorly I would not have had someone sitting across the table from me chewing slowly with a strained expression on her face.

                      While she loves beef she is not a huge fan of steak or cheese in cooking. So one of my favorites...a ribeye cooked black and blue over a grill that was preheated for 30 minutes and topped with a slice of bluecheese...I would never get to eat it if she did not travel now and then.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: LovinSpoonful

                        Ah yes, the expression of a spouse that is not satisfied with what you cooked. Although my husband has gotten a little more relaxed on the subject and does most of the cooking, whenever I try something new or different, I wait for that look of disappointment. My husband looks upon every meal that fails as a lost opportunity for greatness!

                      2. Big chunks of our early married life were spent apart for education reasons. We took turns finishing our degrees/being avail to our growing family.

                        We have the cooking for one down to a science. We embrace the small portion menus out there. We're not big on leftovers, more the repurpose types. I'd begin with roasting a chicken and making a variety of meals from the parts. Same with a nice pork loin (which is a smaller portion that a big ham/pork roast). Eggs! Man, breakfast, lunch & dinner eggs sure have unending uses. Breakfast for dinner (along the lines of french toast, special flavored pancakes, potato bakes, apple fritters and the like). Do you own a crockpot? Pasta is easy to portion. Salads; especially some of the heartier styles like cobb and chef salad. Pizza for one. A nice steak the way you like it! See...not hard-the choices are great. Best of luck!

                        1. I cook for one quite often. I like to eat fish (Tilapia,Basa) fillets. You never feel stuffed and you can do so much with them. Risotto is a good solo meal. It can be augmented by many things. Roasted veggies have become a staple of single dining. You can go to your local produce mart and buy as little as you need for yourself.