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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I cook for 2 people, my husband and I . I really have no problem cooking everyday. There are so many things out there to buy almost ready . Meats and fish are already cut in portions , boil some rice, it only takes a few min. and if you have a microwave, there are those vegetables that are already marinated or plain frozen if you want to add your own things to it , little cheese or some spices or your own favorite flavours. Thank you for the article though very inspiring . Reminds me there is really nothing to complain about.
2/23/2009 11:05:18 AM
Why is it we singles always get told to batch cook. Not sure what size freeze others have but mine is the top of the apartment size fridge I have. Not alot of room. Plus I do not want to eat the same thing forever. Eating with friends is nice, but as a older single most of my friends are married so this isn't a great option. And if you could list some of these great single person cook books that would be great as I have yet to find them at bookstores and libraiers in my area.
I still live at home, so I don't have to do a lot of cooking. But when my parents are on holiday, I just love to cook for myself. I love searching for recepies and then making something I want and don't get to eat otherwice. It's sometimes hard to know how much to cook, but I don't mind eating the leftovers the next day, with a little something different added.
good article, but batch cooking for me often results in eating the same thing over & over.
What I find myself most in need of is simple recipes that result in 2-4 servings at most. It is enough to have for another meal later, but not 10 meals later.
2/22/2009 12:54:35 PM
one of my nutrition goals is to cook a new recipe each week. this keeps me motivated to cook AT ALL. also, me and my gym buddy decided to have a healthy meal night, where we alternate weeks and cook for each other, we usually try a new recipe from spark. It's been great so far, it gives me someone to share food with, and it gives me a night where i dont have to cook, but i get to eat great (and free!). We always usually end up hanging out wayyy after dinner is over, it's definitely something i look forward to each week.
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