Seven Day Sample recipe for singles / students
I guess it's hard to cook for oneself because one has to balance portion, taste and health.
I always cook too much and leave tons of waste if the cooking doesn't turn out right.
I wonder if anyone has suggestions for a weekly recipe that is simple (under an hour with few ingredients) and healthy.....
You didn't mention economy as a motivation in cooking for oneself. But I suppose that there would be no harm in considering frugality. Several years ago a SF Bay Area chowhounder named rworange experimented on how a person could eat well with meals prepared at home on a budget of $3/day. She chose that budget because, for someone receiving food stamps, that was what the benefit was worth then.
She started a number of threads where she posted results and observations about her month-long experiment along with sample menus and recipes. Her conclusion was eating well on $3/day is entirely possible. She spent some time seeking out bargain deals on good quality ingredients. She acknowledged that she does not particularly enjoy cooking and lacks patience for time consuming recipes.
I also cook for one from scratch most of the time but I'm not on such a meager budget. I usually end up with leftovers going into the fridge but that's something I don't mind at all.
Here's one I do frequently in my toaster oven. Lay some chicken parts in a baking pan, say 5 or 6 drumsticks or thighs . Sprinkle with seasoning of your choice. Pour in some juice, soda pop (ginger ale is nice), other liquid or just water. This should come up about 1/3" in the pan.
Lay some long green veggies around the edges or on top, like green beans, asparagus, or zucchini. Put a yam or sweet potato or piece of winter squash in the oven with a little foil underneath to catch any drips. Bake at, say 350, for about 40 minutes.
If you are so inspired, you can dump some sauce over the pan, such as curry sauce, BBQ sauce, teriyaki, or whatever appeals to you. Do the sauce thing about 15 minutes before things are done.
This meal is cheap, brainless, good and well-balanced. You may have some chicken left over.
You are going to have to implement strict portion control in order not to waste food. Try to emulate the Japanese Samurai who would end a meal slightly hungry, rather than stuffed to the gills. (If you have ever caught a trout during a mayfly hatch, you would know where this phrase originated from.)
By choice, I live on a boat without refrigeration. I will keep a meal diary and get back to you in the next week or so.
You haven't mentioned your kitchen setup. Oven? Freezer? How often do you food shop? Anything you don't enjoy eating or avoid eating? Do you like to bake?
But, what comes to mind if you also have time to prep in advance:
homemade pizza for one; making your own pizza dough-even 2 or 3 batches ahead (they freeze well) has loads of possibilities. Small pizza, calzone, fried dough treats, bread to go with a simple pasta dish.
Vegetables roasted, stir fried, grilled with a protein.
Salads as dinner with add ins like cooked chicken, sliced beef, loads of fresh vegetables.
You can portion starches for one pretty easily and get creative with potatoes or rice as a side dish or main.
I like things that fit well into leftovers that are very different from the first serving like meats that are served one way the first time, like roasted or braised, and the rest gets used in panini, diced for use in pasta sauce,etc. ditto for carbs...orzo with olive oil as a side, hold some out and make a salad with curried mayonnaise, raisins, honey,and celery. ditto for vegetables...steamed broccoli one night, broccoli fritatta the next. Pot of beans one day, purée the leftovers and use in lieu of frijoles or sub for the chickpeas in a hummus like approach. Chili one night, chunks of chili meat on nachos the next. I make batches of roasted peppers and tomatoes and frequently use them to add a little interest to leftovers. Also homemade broth, usually chicken or vegetable, can turn almost any leftover into a good soup.