Cooking For 1. I find this to be one of the most difficult things about living alone. I was raised in a Greek-Italian household by both of my parents and with two other siblings. Whenever I watched my mom cook, it was never small dishes. Everything was made to feed a family of five and still have leftovers for lunch the next day. This is how I cook now, but with only one person eating, I often find my fridge or freezer overflowing with leftovers. Soups. I only know how to make a large stock pot of soup…how do you make a small serving of soup from scratch? Pasta. I’ll typically throw the whole box into that pot of lightly salted, boiling water. Everyone loves pasta the next day, and the next, and the next…
During our years of living apart, Keegan and I often had to find recipes with a serving of 1-2. It’s difficult and a lot of food ends up in the freezer for another day (I’ve only been in Louisiana a little over a month and my freezer is already filled with rice and beans, tomato-based stew, and a few other things in plastic bags frozen for future meals).
Here are some lessons I have learned along the way when it comes to eating solo:
1. One Pot wonders are your friend
One person means one pot, no more. I try for this as often as I can because eating alone inevitably means cleaning up alone. (See below for some one pot/pan friendly recipes)
2. If you have to break the one pot rule, then make sure to Clean as You Cook whenever possible! The reason most recipes are so time-consuming is because they’re inefficient. Take a moment and do some extra cleaning to take the stress out of cooking and lighten the pile of dirty dishes when you’re done!
3. Appreciate the Peace…Alone and lonely are not synonymous
Remember, you get to cook your favorite things and then enjoy them in peace…and you don’t have to share! (Also, the alone vs. lonely was an important discussion I had with my 7th graders last year. They are not the same thing!).
4. Cooking for yourself will make you a better cook
When I’m cooking for myself, I’m far more likely to take a risk and experiment with different flavors. The pressure of feeding the masses is lifted when you’re the only one who has to try your creation. Even if it doesn’t work, consider it a lesson learned!
An easy meal for one involves eggs. A fried egg on some multigrain toast is always a satisfying answer to a rumbling stomach. This morning I whipped this up fairly quickly, and with minimal damage to my clean kitchen:
- 2 eggs, pan fried with unsalted butter, salt, pepper, and garlic powder
- 2 slices of Muenster cheese
- 2 slices of Multigrain toast (aggressively toasted in my toaster oven which only seems to have two settings: crispy or not)
- A handful of Arugula (I put this on or with everything…remember my pizza? It adds a nice bit of crunch and a fresh, peppery bite to whatever it is paired with). The heat from the toast and the egg will wilt the leaves ever so slightly and make everything meld together harmoniously in your mouth.
- A drizzle of Siracha hot chili sauce. This is a must-have in any well-equipped kitchen. I’ve put Siracha on everything from eggs to soups to macaroni and cheese. It has a definite kick, but with flavor (and I don’t like hot sauce!)
Here are some more small serving recipes:
~Stale Bread? Make this Panzanella Salad from PBS Fresh Tastes~
~Use your leftovers to make a delicious Frittata (recipe from Mealime)~