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Practical Cooking Tips for Singles

Save Time, Money and Reduce Waste

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  • @Alicotter - Just thought of another cookbook I own: "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Recipes for Two" by Beth Hensperger. This was a gift so I haven't tried any recipes yet, but I like her other books so I think it'll be fine. I usually check out cookbooks from the library and if I like them, I buy them. Maybe now that you have some titles/authors, you might be able to find them in your library too. {I hope my posting of book titles does not violate the Community Guideline on advertising - I have no affiliation with any of these books. I just like them.} - 1/18/2010 3:24:53 PM
  • Good article. I do batch cooking of soups and chili but otherwise, my go to technique is planned leftovers. Luckily I don't mind eating leftovers a couple of times, but I prefer to turn them into something else so I'm not eating the same thing over and over. A roast made on the weekend can be sandwiches, salads, pizza, soup, frittata or stir fry later in the week. A Pad Thai recipe became a noodle soup which toned down the sauce that I didn't care for. (I made a Vietnamese style broth and called it fake Pho.)

    @Alicotter...the three cookbooks I own that have small recipes:
    - "Serves One" by Toni Lydecker
    - "Solo Suppers" by Joyce Goldstein
    - "Cooking for Two: A Healthy Exchanges Cookbook" by JoAnna M. Lund

    "Cooking for Two" has nutrition information for all the recipes so you don't have to plug them into SparkRecipes to find out. The others do not have nutrition info printed in them. I also checked out "What We Eat When We Eat Alone" from the library. It has some recipes in it as well. I know I've read others but I don't recall the titles right now.

    Taste of Home published a magazine called "Cooking for Two." I don't know if it was a special issue or if it stopped publishing but they still have a website with recipes that can be found with an easy web search. - 1/18/2010 3:10:49 PM
  • Great info here...and even if you DO feed a family, there are times when I find I am at home alone for lunch, due to my work schedule and want something 'good' for lunch. I go to my freezer....where I have packed away my own 'single serving meals'. - 1/18/2010 3:01:08 PM
  • Pleasures-Cooking-One-Judith-Jones this is a great book and a great story - if cooking for one you don't have to give up the quality.

    I like batch cooking although my batches are usually only 4-6 servings for DH and I. Still they make great lunches during the work week! - 1/18/2010 12:38:52 PM
  • ALICOTTER
    YAAAAA is me screaming. Batch cooking is not a solution. What freezer, I have the top of my apartment size fridge. Not alot of room. Friends over, most are married, again not a great option. And lastly name those cook books. I can never find them at my library, or bookstores. - 1/18/2010 10:48:57 AM
  • Was single for 50 plus years, now am single again...but even when my husband was aliive, I'd make my 'mom's recipes ..family sized dishes.. at least once a week. I'd always f reeze things in small containers to take with me to work, and now, even though semi-retired, I continue to do the same thing. Just made a huge pot of soup..enough for two meals right away, and froze enough for four. Have ribs in the oven right now..enough for three meals; one I'll freeze for one of those nights I know I'll be working late. I love have homemade meals to pull out of the freezer when I know I have busy days/nights ahead..Oh, I bought a small chest freezer about four years ago and keep a list of what's in it,. and even have room for frozen veggies from my garden.
    thanks for the tips..I always forget about freeziing bananas! - 10/18/2009 2:32:37 PM
  • I cook for myself almost every night and I love it! The one thing that I rely on constantly is cutting down recipes I want to try. I frequently cut them in half, in thirds, even in fourths to get the 1-2 servings I want. Once you do it a lot, it almost becomes second nature. (And if you do screw up a measurement -- like I did the other day with a zucchini lasagna recipe -- it still usually comes out okay!)

    One thing that has totally saved me is a modified version of batch cooking, which is being bashed in the comments. But i don't make a vat of soup and eat it for two weeks until I'm so sick of soup I want to kill myself! Ha. My version of "batch" cooking is to make things like homemade marinara sauce and freeze in 1 cup sized portions. Then it's ready to take out and defrost at a moment's notice for pizza, pasta, ratattouille, etc. Also, frequently at the beginning of the week I'll make a big batch of roasted vegetables as a side dish for some chicken and fish, and throughout the week throw the leftover veggies into various other things, like pasta, a burrito, a quesadilla, a pizza, anything! It really makes it easy to get more vegetables into my diet. - 8/27/2009 11:05:57 AM
  • As a single mom, it can be even more difficult to cook for 1 1/2! But I've used a lot of these tips for success, especially freezing my leftovers (which I don't do often, only when it's clear I've made too much) and prepping my vegetables as soon as I get home from the grocery store. I make veggie packs that are an assortment of fresh vegetables that I chop up into bite size pieces, combine it all together, then portion out into baggies so that when I want to add veggies to a salad, I just grab the baggie and go. When I want to saute some veggies for stir fry or to add to a meal, I just grab a baggie and go. I make about 10 baggies a week of mixed veggies, so one a day plus some extras for meals during the week - and each has about 2 cups of mixed veggies - so this makes it a lot easier to meet my daily servings, too! - 8/14/2009 10:03:16 AM
  • I suggest investing in a crockpot (small ones are available). When I was single coming home to a warm meal all ready in my crockpot was a real treat! - 6/29/2009 6:17:44 PM
  • I have a small size George Foreman grill that I use a lot, it's just the right size for one person. And it's not hard to clean either; after I unplug it, I wet a few layers of paper towels, wring them out, and lay them in the grill and put the top done. While I am eating, anything baked on is steamed off, and by then the grill is cool enough to just wipe the residue off. - 6/29/2009 2:42:09 PM
  • OXFORDLASS
    I'd never heard of freezing bananas. Thanks. - 3/7/2009 8:43:28 AM
  • I HATE LEFTOVERS. I absolutly will not eat something over and over again. I just cant do it. Call me crazy but, it just weirds me out. It has to be fresh and just made. Allrecipes.com allows you to adjust the number of servings- it has been my lifesavour. - 2/23/2009 8:25:10 PM
  • Also, you learn how to make single cooking easy. Frozen veggies and ziplock steamer bags have made my dinners so simple! I make one serving of rice in my rice cooker (also a single staple) and then have frozen chicken breasts and tilapia filets in my freezer. - 2/23/2009 12:53:13 PM
  • My biggest anit-cooking for one thing is the fact that whether you cook for one or five, the amount of pots and pans, baking dishes etc. remains the same. I can handle five plates or cups or forks, but when the actual hardware used to cook for one adds up, well it's no fun doing dishes by yourself...every night. - 2/23/2009 12:50:01 PM
  • I love cooking for myself - I do it almost every night! It's almost like a great form of therapy, after the work or the gym taking 30 minutes to saute some veggies and bake chicken gets me more excited to eat my meal than if I'd just dropped by Chili's on my way home. The anticipation from the smell is the best!

    There are nights when I just don't want to deal with it. That's usually when it's Lean Cuisine to the rescue. - 2/23/2009 12:49:19 PM

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