June 16, 2009

Cooking for one?

I know that Katie and I make two, but we're not sold on the idea that cooking for one is too difficult or too expensive. Disagreement is welcome.

In the meantime, here are a few dishes that have become staples (and please share your suggestions), mixed in with our tips about stretching ingredients:

1. Veggie stretch
Your veggies don't need to go bad. In a given week, we'll come home with three bell peppers, an onion, and a X-factor veggie (tomato, scallion, cucumber). We'll use those in a salad (which stretches over multiple lunches/dinners), then in quesadillas, and to bolster a simple pasta. No waste.

2. Salad boost
A salad is so much better with a dash of fruit, nuts, or croutons in addition to the core lettuce and veggies.

3. Bulk section
Everything in the bulk section is cheap. Good for snacks: banana chips, craisins, dates, and non-pareils chocolates. Also good for nuts for salad and oatmeal.

4. Menu planning
Even with our staple dishes, we still let veggies turn to garbage (compost) if we don't plan out a weeklong menu before heading to work Monday morning. With all the bonus wedding paper around, we write out fancy little menus and try to stick to them. Mixed among ambitious meals are super simple pastas, frozen pizzas, baked potatoes, or other non-recipe items.

5. Katie's suggestion
"Bake lots of cakes because they taste good."

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Blogger Chase said...

I don't think cooking for one has to be wasteful...if anything I'm more aware of cross-using my food and eating more healthily because of it.

I'm more careful about the vegetables that I buy...but always have baby spinach, romaine lettuce, carrots and onion. I think I eat a salad almost every day.

Also, I agree about fruit/nuts in salads.

Usually I stick with bananas and apples for fruit, but have ventured into strawberries. Usually one apple or banana gets a ride in my 'work bag' with my notes for morning nibs.

The grocery store up the street from me doesn't really have a 'bulk section,' per se. So I've not taken advantage of that so much. Also, being here for only three months has me shying away from too much bulk buying.

I also plan my meals, but find my menu changes depending upon how late I get home. On the aver 9 hour day I'll stick to the plan, but after 11 or 12 hours I usually only have the energy/patience to make a chicken salad sandich...or PB&J.

The only area I get freaked out by are breads and milk. But that's because of the whole mold factor. I give all slices of bread thorough inspections if it's been open for more than 3 days.

June 16, 2009 at 1:47 AM 
Blogger JHitts said...

I'd cook more simple shit if i actually had things like a kitchen sink and a freezer.

June 16, 2009 at 3:03 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Chase. You and your mold phobia...

June 16, 2009 at 9:06 AM 
Blogger Tony said...

Chase: Bulk doesn't have to be bulky. For about $1 you can get a reasonable sized snack bag of just about anything. Good mention of the fruit. We definitely mix it up with raspberries, etc.

Jack: No sink?

June 16, 2009 at 11:17 AM 
Blogger JHitts said...

I have a bathroom sink but no kitchen sink. Meaning that cleaning large dishes like big boiling pots and pans is nearly impossible.

Also, if I didn't work 12 hour days I'd be more willing to actually attempt to cook more.

June 16, 2009 at 2:43 PM 
Blogger Erin said...

Freezing is always a great option for single people as well, I have realized.
A few things I have made this summer thus far that I am proud of include vegetable curry, wild rice and turkey soup (delicish), and pizza. And I didn't buy the pre-made pizza dough.
Cooking for one sucks in a way, though, because there is no anticipation for sharing the meal with people. But, so it goes.

June 24, 2009 at 9:31 PM 

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