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Being single never tasted so good: tips to make cooking for one delicious and easy

By Hilary Meyer, April 15, 2013 - 5:30pm

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Being single never tasted so good: tips to make cooking for one delicious and easy

You know what the best part of cooking for one is? You don’t have to cater to anyone else’s dietary restrictions and YOU can make exactly what YOU want to eat. Sure, it may be a little tricky finding recipes for one or to find the inspiration to get out your pots and pans instead of ordering takeout. But with a few simple tips and easy recipes, you can make delicious meals for yourself without wasting food and save money by not eating out.

Recipes to Try: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Recipes for One

1. Avoid prepackaged foods
Everything from produce to spices comes in containers these days and the quantities these items are sold in are not always thrifty if you’re cooking for one. If you can, buy in bulk so you can get the exact amount you need, even if it seems ridiculously tiny. Only need 3 mushrooms? Then buy 3 loose mushrooms and skip the 8-ounce package unless you have plans to use them. Also, take note of what you’re buying. Is the price per each or per pound? Per pound gives you more flexibility. Don’t be afraid to break up a bunch of broccoli crowns or bananas (if they’re being sold by the pound!).

2. Embrace breakfast for dinner
No, I’m not talking about cereal. That’s not dinner. But eggs make the best single-serving meal (you can have just one!). They’re quick to make and if you throw in some vegetables or leftover meat from the night before, you’ve got a fast, healthy dinner.

Don't Miss: 5 Healthy Breakfast-for-Dinner Recipes & Ideas

3. Find a recipe for two and divide it
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s much easier to divide a recipe in half than it is to reduce a 4-serving (or more) recipe. Plus recipes for two are most likely already using the same equipment (smaller pots and pans to accommodate smaller amounts of food, for example) that you would use to cook for one.

Recipes to Try: Quick Dinner Recipes for Two

4. Find a friend and do a meal trade
Know anyone else who’s dining solo? Suggest that each of you find a recipe that serves two and whip it up. Keep one portion for yourself and trade the second portion so you’ll have two different single-serving meals. And the more the merrier when it comes to the food exchange. More people = more variety. One tip: Make sure the meals you’re cooking are still good the next day or can be frozen. That way your friends don’t have to eat it right away and can still enjoy it later.

5. Make friends with your freezer
One of the best gifts you can receive from someone is the gift of a home-cooked meal. So why not give that gift to yourself, by making a large freezable meal that you can divvy up into single portions to heat and eat at a later time? By freezing a larger meal instead of just keeping it in your fridge, you won’t be stuck eating it over and over again. You can find freezable food-storage containers for single-serving portions at most supermarkets and home stores.

Don’t Miss: Healthy Freezer-Friendly Recipes

6. Cook once, eat all week
Invest in a whole chicken, ham or even pot roast. Yes, that’s a lot of food for one person, and it takes some time to make these recipes, but the beauty of cooking up a large amount of meat is that you can use it over the course of a few days and it can be something different every time (and you can freeze some for later use too!). A whole chicken becomes chicken salad on Monday, then a chicken taco on Tuesday. A pot roast can get sliced thinly and used in a wrap one day, then chopped up and added to soup the next. Just make sure you don’t go too big: you don’t want to store meat in your fridge for more than 3 or 4 days. If you’re having trouble getting through it all, put it in your freezer and use it later.

Try It: Recipes for Leftover Chicken and Turkey

TAGS: Hilary Meyer, Food Blog, Budget meals, Cooking tips, Dinner

Hilary Meyer
EatingWell Associate Food Editor Hilary Meyer spends much of her time in the EatingWell Test Kitchen, testing and developing healthy recipes. She is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute.

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