What are some great recipes for just one person? How do you handle shopping, cooking, and eating for one? Do you have any kitchen advice or cooking tips for singles? (Thanks to Bek and Laura for suggesting we give this one another go!)
I feel like the absolute last person to write about this topic. In my single days, some meals were nothing more than tortilla chips and shredded Mexican cheese by the fistful (an afternoon snack that turned into dinner, it was so filling). And canned soups and microwaveable meals (Healthy choice steamers are my personal favorite) were just so easy. But every now and then, I got my act together and ate something my doctor would approve of.
- Be okay with leftovers, except in certain circumstances. (See next bullet point.) Most meals/recipes are easier, better, and frankly, cheaper to make in the “serves __” suggestion.
- Some meals can be whipped together without creating 4 more dishes of the same thing to eat the rest of the week. For example, Perdue makes different flavors or plain chicken breasts, packaged individually in a bag of five servings. Coupons.com occasionally has one, and grocers like Stop n Shop (but rarely Big Y) offer specials on them. Same for hamburger (or veggie substitutes) patties. Defrost the meat, throw on a George Foreman grill, and ten minutes later, you have your protein. Steam a portion of frozen veggies, and cook up some rice just once a week, or you can nuke a baked potato. Or, pretty simply, spaghetti, whose jarred sauce you can make your own by adding seasoning, bay leaves, or wine.
- If you have time or are ambitious after an okay day and commute at work, bake up a whole package of chicken (usually cheaper) at once, but create different marinades using olive oil and various seasonings. You can also experiment with different packets sold at the store. For example, tonight, my husband and I may sample a Baja Citrus rub on some frozen salmon (again, packaged individually).
- Get inspired. Pinterest has many good, tasty ideas, particularly for bake ahead meals. One day I will try the scrambled eggs and ham cups, I will.
- You don’t need to pay for cookbooks. Seriously. PJ and I have received four since we got engaged and married. A very lovely gesture, and we’re trying to experiment, but so many have things we may never wish to try based on tastes/health reasons. A MUCH better way to experiment with new recipes (because you don’t mind leftovers), is to check them out from your local library. Copy down on a card or type up on your tablet your favorites, return in a couple weeks, and try another! Do not photocopy and/or distribute without attribution or for monetary gain.
- Meal swap/lessons! I never did this, but would have loved to. Like a cookie swap, attendees have whipped up a dinner (about 8-10 servings)–like a casserole or containers of stew, and you all get one of each kind. Bam! 8-10 unique meals to eat or freeze. An acquaintance of mine from my previous town has started a make-ahead meal class. For a small fee, probably less than the groceries, you go over, she shares how to cook up three meals, with the ingredients, and Kapow! Food to eat or freeze. Come to think of it, I could probably ask her if she could Skype these sessions…
- Invest in Pyrex/other glass storage dishes. While I usually give some side-eye to the plethora of reports about how such-and-such product that seems necessary now appears to have hormone disruptors, I really, really do believe in not microwaving plastic, ever. There are even cute dishes that have a thermal wrapping, so you don’t need oven mitts to remove them.
- Coupons.com and a local paper with all the local stores’ offers. PJ and I pick our weekly grocery stop based on how we can combine the coupons and deals from the stores. Saving on packaged goods we usually get and are short-use items helps lower a bill when it’s got things like meat or bags of potatoes that are a larger upfront cost but last longer.
That’s all I’ve got. How ’bout you?