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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 14, 2000
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    Clarksdale, MS--the golden buckle on the cotton belt
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    Default Cooking for One--recipes and tricks?

    When you live alone, cooking for one is difficult. I have a cookbook called "Cooking for One can be Fun", but I doubt it, as that's not my experience. If I make a normal recipe, I get really tired of eating the same thing day after day.

    Shopping for one is also difficult. I seem to end up with far more than I can ever use, so my freezer is crammed.
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
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    16,783

    Default

    Not an expert, but some minor things that I do might help you:

    1) When you buy meat, do it like everyone else and buy big packs to freeze. But before you freeze it, divide it into 1 or 2 meal portions that you put into cheap ziplock baggies. Thaw those dinky ones as needed.

    2) I like my little crock pot-- it's cheap and easy but doesn't commit you to an endless supply of whatever you make.

    3) Keep a variety of spices around. You can change a lot with spice.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 11, 2009
    Location
    New England
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    944

    Default

    I suck at cooking for one so I can't really help you, lols. I used to cooking for everyone!



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec. 1, 1999
    Location
    flyover country
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    2,441

    Default I tend to stick to burger recipies

    You know, Chili, spaghetti, meat loaf, and if I am feeling adventurous, Stuffed cabbage rolls. I make mine a bit differently from most I know by making a bit of a meatsauce and stuffing that into the cabbage leaves. If you know anyone who doesn't get enough to eat, [elderly neighbors?] take them some extra. Crock pot is your friend. Make a big batch and freeze some. I get tired of looking at the same meal 3 days in a row, but if I freeze some, good stuff for later.
    P. S. a tip for your meatsauce-experiment with different spices to see what you like and what goes with the particuliar thing you are making. And I ALWAYS add some brown sugar to anything with tomato sauce. Makes it more better good!
    Another killer of threads



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct. 29, 2007
    Location
    TN
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    1,875

    Default

    I love love love my toaster oven. It heats up a lot faster than the real oven (and doesn't heat up the whole kitchen) and is just the right size for a chicken breast. I alternate between making easy single serve meals and making a lot of something and freezing left overs. If you plan well enough you can keep a variety of things in the freezer so you're not eating the same thing for 5 days.

    I also divvy up fish fillets/chicken breasts/ground meat before freezing it. That way you just have to pull one out to defrost, and you're not stuck eating 3 chicken breasts in rapid succession.
    "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden

    Phoenix Animal Rescue



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2009
    Location
    Virginia
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    716

    Default

    I buy an assortment of fresh vegetables each week, mixing it up with what's in season. Most of them get cut up and mixed up in a container for the fridge. Then each day, I can either throw some into a salad, or steam them, or do a quick stir fry.

    Bags of frozen veggies work too. You can take out enough for a single serving and elastic clip the rest for later.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar. 28, 2002
    Location
    East of Dog River
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    6,100

    Default

    It ain't much fun cooking for one but I manage by picking up large packs of pork chops, chicken parts, etc, and breaking the packs into single serving portions and freezing. I will also buy the single serving of flash frozen fish fillets as they are the same price per pound as 'real' fish. In winter, I will make things like stuffed peppers and cabbage rolls and freeze them after they are cooked - just nuke and eat. I buy frozen veg - gardening for one isn't much of a savings; same with potatoes. I do find, however, that I will make one all veg meal per day and one meat and bread meal - not great but I really am not a good cook, so just muddle along.
    Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 21, 1999
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    Dela...where?
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    3,053

    Default

    Cooking for one is easy!!!! Just cook the normal amount! Eat as much as you can then lay around wondering why the hell you don't feel good. Once you pry yourself off the couch, pack up the leftovers and do the same thing tomorrow ! That's what I do!!!!

    In all seriousness, I cook quite a bit for someone my own age (26). I do have a very large appetite combined with a speedy metabolism so it works out pretty well for me. My dinner is the biggest meal of the day since I'm in school all day long. Breakfast is yogurt while lunch usually consists of either pasta salad or a panini that I made at 6:30 that morning then shoved into a lunch box. I refuse to eat out every day. It's $$$ and the choices aren't very healthy most of the time.
    Quote Originally Posted by JSwan View Post
    Prove it....Otherwise, you're just coming off as a whackjob.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug. 10, 2009
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    1,039

    Default

    I don't cook a lot for just myself. My favorite dinner is caprese salad...just slice some tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, put a basil leaf in between and drizzle with olive oil. If I'm super hungry, I add a slice of crusty bread. I always have the preportioned chicken breasts in my freezer, I can thaw and grill or sautee one, steam some veggies, and be done with dinner. I love my crockpot, but even that makes too much for me most times. I hate leftovers.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug. 14, 2000
    Location
    Clarksdale, MS--the golden buckle on the cotton belt
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    Default

    I have cravings for food that I have no idea how to cook in small portions.

    Right now I'm having a craving for stewed tomatoes and okra, cornbread, turnip greens and fried catfish with swamp gravy. The catfish is easy to do for one, as are the turnip greens, the stewed tomatoes and okra are doable, but I'm hornswoggled about the cornbread. If I make a normal pan, it will mold before it's all eaten. And it doesn't freeze well.

    Or spoonbread, which absolutely does not freeze.
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
    Thread killer Extraordinaire



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug. 21, 2002
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    597

    Default

    might make good breadcrumbs ? frozen veg are a godsend - with peas, corn, brocoli and chopped spinach - at least i will avoid the obvious vitamin deficiencies> winter veg - potatoes, squash, yams, onions, parsnips and and carrots are also very useful



  12. #12
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    Aug. 10, 2009
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    Default

    vineyridge, how about making the cornbread into muffins? you can eat what you want and then take the leftovers to work/the barn and share. That's what I usually do when I crave something that comes in large batches.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov. 7, 2008
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by vineyridge View Post
    I have cravings for food that I have no idea how to cook in small portions.

    Right now I'm having a craving for stewed tomatoes and okra, cornbread, turnip greens and fried catfish with swamp gravy. The catfish is easy to do for one, as are the turnip greens, the stewed tomatoes and okra are doable, but I'm hornswoggled about the cornbread. If I make a normal pan, it will mold before it's all eaten. And it doesn't freeze well.

    Or spoonbread, which absolutely does not freeze.
    Check out some of the books aimed at busy moms that talk about things like once-a-month or once-a-week cooking. They normally have some good sections about what you can prepare in advance, how to keep it, how to adapt things so they will freeze well, etc. One of them might be useful for you in adapting your own stuff. (I'd actually go to a bookstore to check 'em out, though, so you can see what's what.)

    Kind of confused why you can't freeze cornbread, though... What happens to it that you don't like when you try to freeze it? (I'm picturing a cake-texture type cornbread, here, though. I know there are regional differences.)



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep. 27, 2000
    Location
    Southern California - on a freeway someplace
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    10,172

    Default

    You can either roast a chicken or buy one of the supermarket cooked ones (which might be cheaper in the long run, especially if you factor in cleaning the oven). Eat some warm the first night. Make some chicken soup. Some chicken tacos. Some chicken salad and make a sandwich. Add some to a salad. And that's probably more than one chicken's worth.

    TJ's frozen meatballs (or meatless meatballs, but not sure they still have those) plus jarred sauce plus pasta. Make 3 portions and put the other 2 away in separate containers so it's easy to use one at a time.

    I just finished eating a week of chicken teriyaki. First meal hot. Assorted packed lunches (again, packed some in individual bags so I could easily grab them). One rice bowl, using the left-over rice from the first night. Two chicken salads, one using the remaining rice along with the last piece of chicken.

    Like someone else said, you're probably going to appreciate that last portion or two of Tortilla soup (or whatever) a lot more a few weeks later, so freeze some.

    When I feel like baking something, I generally bring the excess to the barn, often in the form of cupcakes or muffins.
    The Evil Chem Prof



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun. 21, 1999
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    Dela...where?
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Peggy View Post
    You can either roast a chicken or buy one of the supermarket cooked ones (which might be cheaper in the long run, especially if you factor in cleaning the oven). Eat some warm the first night. Make some chicken soup. Some chicken tacos. Some chicken salad and make a sandwich. Add some to a salad. And that's probably more than one chicken's worth.
    I also do this. I prefer to buy my own and cook it, that way I can add whatever spices and herbs I want. The Giant near me usually has them for about $.99 a lb too! You can also save the carcass for chicken stock then freeze it for later. As far as cupcakes go, you can buy halfboxes now. It's wonderful!
    Quote Originally Posted by JSwan View Post
    Prove it....Otherwise, you're just coming off as a whackjob.
    Founding member of the "Not too Klassy for Boxed Wine" Clique



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug. 14, 2000
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    Clarksdale, MS--the golden buckle on the cotton belt
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    Default

    I got a pack of yellowfin tuna steaks, pan grilled one and froze two.

    Anyone have ideas on what to do with these? Good marinades? Vegetables that go with them? I don't mind if they end up half raw.
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
    Thread killer Extraordinaire



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov. 7, 2008
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by vineyridge View Post
    I got a pack of yellowfin tuna steaks, pan grilled one and froze two.

    Anyone have ideas on what to do with these? Good marinades? Vegetables that go with them? I don't mind if they end up half raw.
    Depending on how thick they are, you may want to try marinading in olive oil - particularly for thin ones, it helps keep them from drying out when cooked. (Stole that idea from Cook's Illustrated - and olive oil is a 'good' fat, as are the fats in tuna, so marinading in it isn't the end of the world. )

    If you're a salad person, I did that (olive oil marinade) and whisked up a simple vinaigrette dressing. BRIEFLY marinaded the tuna in that right before putting it on the grill, then had the grilled tuna over a salad of arugula/rocket leaves and grape/cherry tomatoes dressed with some of the reserved vinaigrette. Worked out quite nice - very tasty, simple, quick. (I could've added more vegetables to the salad, I'm sure, it's just that's what I had that needed using up at the time. )



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct. 12, 2009
    Location
    College View
    Posts
    1,304

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by vineyridge View Post
    I have cravings for food that I have no idea how to cook in small portions.

    Right now I'm having a craving for stewed tomatoes and okra, cornbread, turnip greens and fried catfish with swamp gravy. The catfish is easy to do for one, as are the turnip greens, the stewed tomatoes and okra are doable, but I'm hornswoggled about the cornbread. If I make a normal pan, it will mold before it's all eaten. And it doesn't freeze well.

    Or spoonbread, which absolutely does not freeze.
    Check your grocery store! Ours has individual sized cornbread loaves (2 in by like 5 in) in the deli area, near the self-serve soup and chili! And they are delicious!



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2001
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    In Jingle Town
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    35,053

    Default

    cooking for one is expensive.

    A friend of mine lives alone and on a tight budget.

    She buys family packs of such things as chicken and ground beef, cooks them up and freezes them to use in recipes later.

    I don't know how big a normal pan of cornbread is around here we use the baggy mix like Martha White or such, makes about a 9 inch diameter pan.

    (but corn bread is cheap enough to use the left overs for bird food )
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
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