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The Joy of (Single) Cooking

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Okay, so I feel like I'm somewhat rehashing the "Cook's Treat" thread, but...

Cooking for one can be annoying. Most recipes and the dishes from my youth are designed to feed a family of 4. There's nothing wrong with that, but I generally find myself cooking the full amount and then getting sick of the leftovers by serving #4. Yeah, you can scale things down, but economies of scale DO kick in - cooking 4 servings rarely takes 4x as long as cooking one. And dammit, sometimes you just really want to roast a chicken.

Which brings me to my point. Tonight, I roasted a modest (<4lb) chicken. I made one serving of each of my side dishes, because a) neither would have made good leftovers and b) I am powerless against duck-fat roasted potatoes and they never would have made it to tomorrow's home-fries anyway. The leftover chicken will be fabulous in salads, stir-fries, etc. later this week.

But the chicken SKIN...that will never be as good as it is RIGHT NOW.

So yeah, I peeled that bad boy. I only took the crispy parts....and loved every minute of it.

If my household included even one other person, that skin would not be mine. MUAHAHAHAHAHA!

So I ask the others out there cooking for one...what perks have you discovered?

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  1. <what perks have you discovered>

    I can cook whatever I want, however I like at whatever time I like. This is much like the joy of living alone vs having roommates.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      Along with the opportunity of eating a whole box of Kraft mac & cheese by one's self if the mood strikes.

      1. re: EWSflash

        For me, I can cook in pajama if I like at 2 AM and playing various youtube video in the background. :)

    2. I cook for one at lunch every day (unless I'm eating out), usually one night each week when Mrs. O hangs with her old school buds, and several days at a time when she's out of town. As she has gone more or less totally veggie, and that's how I cook when she's around, I've gotten a bit more deliberate about choosing how I'll feed myself in her absence. Shopping in the mornings often yields a nice choice T-bone or porterhouse in the Manager's Special bin for not much money; a porterhouse is two good meals, with the sirloin portion plenty for supper with potato and salad or something, and then the tenderloin will get sliced and sizzled the next day for a steak-and-eggs lunch. I braised a whole lamb shoulder roast for one meal, de-boned and cut up the leftover meat and froze that with the gravy I'd made from the drippings, and a month or so later had a splendid two-meal batch of lamb and pappardelle.

      Every so often she'll come home when I've been cooking something and say how nice the place smells, with no hint of regret unless I've been cooking bacon. So I try to avoid doing that, at least late in the day …

      1 Reply
      1. re: Will Owen

        .

      2. Among other faults, my ex took ALL of the chicken skin. Now I get it all.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JonParker

          WOW. Takes "the bitch took everything" to a whole 'nother level.

        2. I love oven-roasted vidalia onions. I cook 'em long and low, and then eat them with whatever i have on hand - tomatoes, mushrooms, romaine lettuce, fresh spinach, chicken breasts, whatever. When I'm on my own I get to indulge my strange taste; i find that others aren't as enamored of the onions and all that come along with it (onion breath, anyone?)

          2 Replies
          1. re: ahuva

            I get all the browned bits of cheese when I make a cheesy casserole. Yum! All mine!

            1. re: Miri1

              This is what I mean about piggybacking on the "cook's treat" thread. :D

              Regarding onions....I love the taste, don't care about the breath or the coming-out-of-my-pores effect...but my coat closet is located unfortunately downwind of my kitchen, so I tend to smell onions well after I've cooked them, but only when I'm headed to work or out to socialize. Must remember to close that door more often...

          2. I've been vegetarian for eight years and I fear the day I have to share my life with a meat-eater.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jetgirly

              I used to say the same about vegetarians. You'd be surprised how easy it is to coexist with a fellow food-nerd with a different philosophy. See: Will Owen's response above. Also, you'd be surprised how much separate pots and pans, a good exhaust fan, and a common passion can unite people. It's all in how you communicate, and how strongly you connect over non-food issues.

              But back to the spirit of this thread...revel in your veggie-ness! I celebrate your freedom from the smell of meat as much as I wallow in my freedom from tofu! ;)

            2. Yes, the chicken skin. And ChemKin, you can also cook without PJs. But the best? Gives you an excuse to get a dog!

              1. I'm not a fan of chicken skin, but when I'm cooking for myself i do love to makes dishes with "strong" vegetables, prominently featured. Tonight was tomato cauliflower soup; other dishes in my regular rotation include Brussels sprouts omelets and radicchio pasta. I wouldn't serve them to guests, but they make me very happy.

                1. I'm finally enjoying cooking for one after nearly 2 years alone.

                  As mentioned before - what I want when I want. The only time I have to share is if the cats get to feeling greedy.

                  Not being a fan of veggies and the smell of them cooking, I only purchase those I intend to use soon, and make sure to keep the place aired out. When I was really ill for awhile, the ex-bf sauteeing his veggies on the stove would seriously send me out the door gagging.

                  I finally figured out where I'd have the room and power outlet for a chest freezer, so I can buy and vacuum-seal family size deals on meats and things, and make and freeze large batches of things. This last weekend, I made up crab cakes to freeze in 2-packs, and froze up a bunch of bone-in, skin on chicken thighs. The exes always went for boneless skinless breasts, which I've never been fond of.

                  In my kitchen, it's all about me!!!

                  1. I'm single and cook for just myself about twice a week. There is almost no benefit to cooking for one as far as I can tell. It's cheaper and easier to get something out than it is to make anything on my own, in most cases. I only cook for myself because I get bored with the local selections and/or I want to try something different...