Happy Wednesday! It came quickly this week, since we had Monday off. I loved having an extra day to sleep in and lay by the pool, but it’s kind of gotten me thrown off a bit! I kept thinking Monday was Sunday and Tuesday was Monday, and I’m always wishing it was Friday. I digress.
I love to cook. I remember being so excited to escape the greasy campus food when I moved out of the dorm and into a house with a kitchen in college. I was going to cook every day and love life! But that proved to be a challenge. I was used to helping my mom cook dinner for our family of four, so when I started making dinner for just myself, I wasn’t sure where to begin! Over the past few years, I’ve perfected the art of cooking for one, and it’s actually not as difficult as you’d think! Here are some of my favorite tips for those of you just moving into your first kitchen!
1. The freezer is your friend!
Every two weeks or so, I buy a package of chicken tenders from the meat section of the grocery store, take it home and wrap each one individually in foil and pop it in the freezer. In the past, I bought the huge bag of IQF frozen chicken breasts, but then they started to get really gross (think blood and bones-ick.). This may be slightly more expensive and doesn’t last as long, but they’re definitely better quality! Plus, it’s super easy to just move one from the freezer to the fridge in the morning to thaw for dinner that night!
In addition to chicken, I will occasionally buy a big piece of salmon and cut it into thirds or quarters, depending on the size, and freeze that as well. However, I would recommend eating the salmon within the week!
I also like to keep a bag of frozen corn and a bag of frozen peas on hand in my freezer. If I don’t feel like cooking a vegetable I’ll just heat up a small bowl of one of those, or if I’m making stir fry I’ll just toss in a handful! These last forever and they’re super cheap!
2. Try to repurpose your leftovers in creative ways.
I’m usually okay with leftovers, but when you live alone, leftovers can last a while longer than you want them to. I don’t know about you, but eating something every day for dinner (and sometimes lunch also) makes me never want to eat it again. Typically, I try to avoid leftovers, but sometimes it can’t be helped! Let’s say you made a pound of hamburger meat for stuffed bell peppers one night, and you still have a lot left. Well, you could make tacos the next day, or you could make a small pot of chili!
3. Buy perishables in small quantities.
Sometimes it’s super tempting to buy both asparagus AND Brussels sprouts, but don’t. You will regret it and it will be a waste of money, because one will definitely go bad before you can eat it. You might think that you’ll get tired of the same vegetable every night, but if you prepare it a little differently, that will shake things up a bit! I like to roast Brussels sprouts, but sometimes I sprinkle them with red pepper, or toss them in sriracha, or sprinkle them with goat cheese!
4. If you want something big, invite friends over!
I love lasagna and enchiladas, but if I made them for just myself, I could never eat it all! If I’m dying to have something different, I will whip it up and invite a few friends over to help me eat it. And depending on how many people you have/what you make, you may still have some leftover for lunch!
5. Don’t be afraid to experiment
I will often find recipes on Pinterest that look delicious, but they typically feed a small country. If I want to try it, I’ll peruse the ingredients and come up with a smaller version for myself! Or, I will add the ingredients on top of a pizza or mix them into pasta for something easy and different. Just make sure you scale everything down evenly, or else the flavors will be off and it will not be delicious.
Cooking for one can seem boring, but it doesn’t have to be! Hopefully you learned something new today. If you have any tips or yummy recipes for just one person, let me know! Also, be sure to check out all of my recipes– most of them have a serving size of one person!
That’s all for meow!
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