Okay, so I’m not a chef…or a wizard for that matter. Sorry to get your hopes up.
But, I do have a set of Paula Deen knives, a 10-piece Paula Deen cookware set, and a stove, so that’s got to account for something, right?
Living life in the single lane has its definite perks. But when it comes to the kitchen, my choices and my on-the-go lifestyle left me in a rut because cooking-for-one can be difficult at best when every recipe you find has a yield of four servings. I won’t lie to you; I’ve had my fair share of eating out, eating on the go, toaster pastries for dinner, and diets consisting completely of cereal.
As of late, though, I’ve decided to take back my kitchen and turn it into a place where not only I can learn, but you can too.
To get us started, here are some golden rules to single-living and cooking-for-one, as far as I see it:
One-dish meals are your savior.
From soups to stews, and from casseroles to quiches, not only are they easy to prepare, but you can also make excess and have some to eat off of for the rest of the week.
Mix it up.
Cooking-for-one can be carb-heavy and oftentimes unbalanced if you’re not careful. I find myself making a lot of pasta dishes and pizzas, because they’re easy to reheat, and the leftovers save me money. But to keep myself from committing total carb-icide, I mix it up with different vegetables.
Experiment with different flavors you have in your kitchen. Instead of a cheese and pepperoni pizza, try spinach and feta, or chicken and broccoli. Pasta again? Grab a bag of frozen or fresh vegetables and toss them into your homemade (or store-bought, in my case) sauce for an easy pasta primavera.
Think about your next meal.
When I grocery shop, not only do I have to think about a budget, but I have to think about not wasting ingredients. I try to think about things I would like to try and make for the week and stick to it as much as possible. For example, if I know one night I’m only going to chop half of an onion, I’ll try to come up with another way that I can use the rest of that onion the same week.
Keep your staples on hand.
In a tight fix, you’d be surprised just what your imagination can come up with when you keep common ingredients on had. Things I like to keep in my kitchen at all times are milk, eggs, bread, butter, salt and pepper (and other seasonsings), some kind of lunch meat, and canned or frozen vegetables.
When I used to think of cooking-for-one, I used to think of drab, tasteless meals and freezer entrees. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ashamed to admit that I still keep freezer meals on-hand.) But it just simply doesn’t have to be that way. Cooking shouldn’t be a chore, but a nice reward. Because if you’re not having fun, then it’s just not worth it.
Here’s a recipe I found and tweaked to my liking, it’s a good start!
Quiche with Chicken and Broccoli
5 large eggs
1 cup rotisserie chicken (I found some in the sandwich meat section of my local grocery store)
1 cup frozen broccoli florets, thawed and drained
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup milk
1 refrigerated piecrust
1/2 cup Kraft Savory Garlic Cooking Crème
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F, and bake the piecrust in a pie plate for 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Make sure to place a pie weight in the center of the crust. Remove from oven.
2. Beat eggs, and incorporate milk, cooking crème, cheddar cheese, chicken and broccoli in a mixing bowl.
3. Pour egg mixture into the piecrust and return to the oven at 300 degrees F. Bake for and additional 35 to 40 minutes, or until lightly browned and a knife inserted comes out clean. (I found that it took a little longer than 40 minutes to finish.)
It was delicious! This recipe is great to share with friends, or reheat it later for lunch or dinner the next day.