Shopping and cooking for one

mimosas4youFebruary 24, 2006

I have just found this place and it's great! Being a fairly "new" widow (no kids) and a business owner, cooking is a challenge, but I LOVE cooking and got fast food/restaurant burn-out many years ago when my job required constant travel. Therefore, I cook, every night, even though it is now "dinner for one" I am making.

I have come up with many money and time saving tips for those of us who are busy and/or cooking for one or two, but I'm always looking for more. Thanks for jogging my memory about the foodsaver. I had one years ago and I loved it.

I always buy meats in quantity and freeze individual portions for later use. If I have a hankering for a casserole, I'll do that on weekends. I buy the disposable loaf pans in the individual size and make up a perfect casserole for one. I then have several waiting in the freezer for those "I don't want to mess with this" nights. Bagged frozen veggies are great too, easy to portion for one. Same goes for frozen biscuits and rolls. If you are not a big milk person, small cans of evaporated milk are a pantry MUST. Perfect for cooking.

Any other singles out there who have some good tips? All input is appreciated in my hectic life! j lynne

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cathys_crew

I just found this forum myself. I no longer cook just for myself but I remember when I did, I hope you aare still at this forum.
you could try the cook once for twice method. lets say your tacos one night cook enough for an additional meal or two like chili or even another taco night etc, the seasonings are the same then toss it in the freezer. after freezing the flavors are all blended together and taste even better.

if you add tomatoes you can make mexi- mac: ground beef seasoned with taco seasoning, stewed tomatoes, canned red beans, corn added, elbow mac or even boxed mac and cheese precooked of course, add a can of red beans serve it with tortillas lightly spread with margarine. don't forget to top it with shredded cheddar. you can also freeze the mexi- mac if you choose.
I have other suggestions let me know if these work for you.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2006 at 7:47PM
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ritaotay

Just came up with this one a few weeks ago... When I grind up beef or pork for dinner I do a bit more than what I need and make 'minute' steaks.. Take a small portion of meat, a tablespoon or two, and roll it out, really thin, between plastic wrap, fold over the ends of the plastic wrap and toss in the freezer... Any time I want something quick I take one out, toss in it a frying pan, brown on both sides and slap it between two slices of bread... lol

Rita

    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 4:10AM
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oakleif

Came across this thread and am bumping it back up as i need some ideas also.
thanks

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 5:04AM
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lindakimy

I find one of the most difficult things for single cooks to manage is vegetables. Both my mother and mother-in-law handled it by going right ahead and preparing in-season veggies, storing the leftovers, and then making a nice pot of soup for dinner one day a week. If you have leftover soup, it can go in the freezer or become a nice lunch.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 8:38AM
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plumfield

I'm not single, but I agree about the veggies, and how handy soup is for making sure there is an easy way to eat them. When I was single, I did a lot of soup and quick stir fry. Similar to your idea of using small loaf pans for casseroles, I like using ramekins or big muffin pans to do mini casseroles, things that are easy to warm up because they are so small. Baked egg casseroles of different types make a really special breakfast OR dinner. Quiche ditto.

Back to veggies, and fruits too, this is SO important. If you want to feel really fantastic every day, you might try smoothies for breakfast, but add a leaf or two of lettuce to your basic banana and frozen berries or cherries, etc. A Vitamix or similar blender will do the best job of pulverizing the green leaves for maximum nutrition to you. I can barely taste the green.

Also, when it comes to produce, it is difficult to buy some things in portions that make sense for a single person. I even have a hard time with that with a small family, sometimes! One solution that I've really enjoyed has been the Aerogarden (so much so that I just got two more). I really dislike wasting lettuce, but when I grow lettuce in my aerogarden, I have enough lettuce for a nice side salad about three times a week, in addition to pulling a few leaves off when making sandwiches for lunch. I spent almost nothing on lettuce during the 3-4 months that my aerogarden was producing its cut-and-come-again lettuce.

They also do heirloom cherry tomatoes, peppers, different herbs, strawberries, flowers, and even have a master kit for people to try whatever they want. Some people are experimenting with dwarf eggplants and things like that.
When I did one of the mixed herb kits, my favorite was the green Basil -- we made pesto and bruschetta until it was running out of our ears, it produced so well! I can't wait to try them all, and to have all the lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, strawberries, etc, that I want to have on hand.

There isn't another small, table-top aeroponic or hydroponic system like it...in particular, the grow-lights are an integral part of the unit, and they are automated to stay on the right amount of time for the sort of plants you are growing. Feeding is a breeze because, unlike most hydroponic systems that need a lot of attention to nutrient concentrations, the Aerogarden only needs nutrient tablets every two weeks (they come with each kit), and since the machine reminds you when to add the nutrient, it is very, very easy to take care of. Watering varies by the maturity of the plants, but there is an indicator on the unit that tells you when to water. In the beginning, I usually only have to water every 2 weeks. When the plants are in full growth and production, I may add water once or twice a week. I know to water it when I see the "needs water" light turn on...and I also know, now that when I begin to hear the pump, I can add water. Periodically remove any brown leaves (the plants get so bushy that some of the underleaves don't get as much light, and harvest.

I love these so much I just got two more, and the company threw in a free wall unit so I can mount them neatly in a column. If you have a Sur La Table near you, they may have one growing as a demo. Tres impressive. The company is branching out and will be creating less expensive models soon, to be available at a wide variety of retailers.

Their main site is www.aerogrow.com. Check out their stop-motion animated movie comparing the growth of their aeroponic pods vs the same seeds in soil, both underneath the same grow-lights. They also have (or had) videos with chefs and a host from a garden show on hgtv, talking about how they use it and like it.

I waited a long time to buy this little jewel (it isn't cheap), but I have been so happy with it because it has helped keep me eating green without extra trips to the grocery store.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 1:45AM
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stripedone

I joined a cooking club. We get together monthly do a shopping list and a vote on recipes. We then get together one night and do a large cook. We then break that down into portions we want and then freeze. We don't get through everything by the next time we cook, but that then gives us the varieties we want later. It is great idea for singles, or for those that aren't great in the kitchen. One painless day and you are set.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2007 at 4:10PM
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finchelover

can someone provide me with a simple bruschetta recipe'
A friend brought some to my daughters for a holiday dinner and I really liked it,all I can remember it was real simple.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2007 at 11:14AM
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