Being single and never having been married… I’ve pretty much MASTERED the cooking for one concept. I used to cook WAY too much every time that I would fire up the stove, but now… I’ve really changed my ways.
I received a question from one of my dear readers asking for tips about how I handle cooking for one, and I’m going to share how I do it; however, I’d love to hear other ideas for how you guys do it! See Pam’s question below!
I Never Make A Full Recipe… Ever
You’ve probably noticed this in my recipes that I feature here on NTTC. When a recipe makes enough for 5-6 servings, I can guarantee that I am going to be done eating it once there are about 4 servings left. So, I simply cut the recipes in half.
If you are cutting recipes in half, two items will be your friend: 1) Food Scale 2) Google
Food Scale – I use my food scale to measure out things like 1/2 a packet of ranch dressing mix or 1/2 of a cake mix. You can easily check the package’s label to find out how many ounces are in the entire package and then do your math from there. I definitely recommend a digital scale, but a traditional one will work as well. Scales are also super-helpful for measuring out a serving of pasta so that you don’t make more than your serving(s).
Google – When I’m halving my recipes, I am constantly googling things like: How many Tbsp are there in a 1/4 cup? or How many tsp. in a Tbsp? This way, I can split the recipes easily and not sacrifice the original flavor.
Lastly, something great about making half a recipe… is that you can save the leftovers in serving size containers. This makes it easy for you to reheat and helps you to avoid overeating. PRESTO!
Let the Freezer Be Your Friend!
When I buy chicken breasts, I split the package before I freeze them. I put each breast in a snack-sized ziploc bag, and then put all of the breasts in a larger quart sized bag. This way, I can take the breasts out one at a time, without wasting any of the others.
When I finish a recipe if it makes a little too much, I put a serving immediately in the freezer in a freezer-safe container.
I Go the The Grocery Store A LOT
I tend to go to the grocery store a few times a week, and it is very rare that I make a huge haul. I get a few things each time, things that I am hungry for… things that I am going to cook in the next 48 hours.
I find that if I buy a LOT of stuff on the weekend, I forget what’s in the fridge later in the week. I’ve thrown away WAY too many veggies this way. If I’m hungry for pears, I’ll buy TWO not five. If I have a taste for them, the two I bought will get eaten and then I can reassess what I need from there. I find that when I buy a bag of something…. that’s where I run into trouble and where the food goes to waste.
As for Sam’s and Costco, I also avoid these places except for staples: Fiber One bars, cocktail cucumbers, and sometimes green beans or asparagus or brussels sprouts (never all at once!). Again, I have to be hungry for the item before I’m willing to purchase it. If it has a limited shelf life, the LAST thing I need to do is buy it in mass quantity.
I wish I were better at meal planning, and I could probably do a once a week trip, but this works for me.
I lean on Jenny meals
When I’m in a rush, when I don’t know what to cook, when I feel like I want something that I shouldn’t be eating, I reach for a Jenny Craig frozen meal. Afterall, there are so many Jenny meals that I love.
This pre-packaged and pre-portioned out wonder saves me a few times a week. These are also really helpful when I don’t feel like going to the grocery store, as well….
Truth: Ingredients Sometimes Go to Waste
This one I haven’t quite figured out. My friend Angela has actually mentioned the same, that when she makes a meal that has special ingredients… those ingredients get wasted.
I really suggest only buying the amount you need for the recipe whenever possible… and using up the leftovers in whatever creation you can. I often try to buy from the bulk bins, whenever possible, and to weigh out exactly how much of a certain veggie I’ll need. I don’t need extras… and I don’t need for ingredients to shrivel up in my fridge.
Most likely to die in my fridge: Cilantro, milk, yogurt, extra sour cream, prosciutto, veggies if I don’t slice them right away. Lately, tomatoes have also been going bad. GASP! I love tomatoes, but I’m not feeling them these days, I guess. So, I need to take a break from buying them until I’m really committed to eating them or making a recipe with them.