Cooking for One -- and eating alone

tamariskFebruary 27, 2007

I know we have a thread for eating out alone, but then there's the rest of us who eat at home alone.

Do you actually prepare full meals for yourself on a regular basis? Do you cook up a lot at one time and then freeze individual portions? Do you tend to just eat whatever cheese and crackers might be on hand? Do you rely heavily on just salads? Do you eat a lot of frozen Lean Cuisine dinners or other frozen meals? If you live and/or work in town to you pick up take out often?

So far as dining alone, do you try to have fresh flowers and candles whenever possible? Do you watch TV while you eat or have lovely music playing somewhere in the background?...Or do you tend to eat standing at the kitchen sink or perched on a bar stool?

I know you likely do a little of all the above just as I do, but I am really trying to make an effort to have a sit-down-at-the-table type meal more often. It's not easy, after being much more casual for so long.


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I used to do the stouffers, lean cousin and all of those frozen dinners practically every night. Then the quality went way down and haven't used them in some time, more than a year. I hate cooking so I don't make anything fancy. Cheeseburgers, grilled chicken or shake & bake, hot dogs, tuna, pasta. I sometime buy babyback ribs (precooked) and heat them up. You can forget about any kind of seafood in north georgia unless you go catch it yourself or take it out of a can. I get the pizza crusts and make pizza with shredded mozz and ragu pizza sauce. Much quicker (10 mins bake time) to make than the frozen pizzas and tastes a million times better. On very rare occasions I'll go get fried chicken from the deli.

And yes, I find cooking for one to be impractical and expensive so I don't have 3 course meals. Sometimes I cook two nights of dinner at once then keep it in a fridge, just to save time if I'm expecting a hectic or busy day.

Most of the time I sit at the kitchen table and watch tv. One or two nights a year the weather permits outdoor seating so I go on the deck. I don't use the breakfast bar ever despite there being more than enough barstools there!! On the weekends I often eat lunch on the sofa in front of the tv. Which incidently is where I used to eat pretty much all meals.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 12:03PM
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Oh. by the way, I don't use a gas grill. Takes too long and weather seldom permits. Instead I use George Foreman grill with the dishwashable platens. Great invention. Saves a lot of time.

For side dishes I'll do mashed potates from Idahoan flakes, veggies come out of a can, campbells soup, rice- usually the microwavable kind. I don't do salads anymore since all the recalls with bagged greens and a washing a head of lettuce is just too complicated for me.

Did I mention I hate cooking?

One thing I discovered about the frozen dinners that I wish I had discovered sooner is that you can make the same things out of fresh food in less time or in as much time as using a conventional oven for heating them up. Such as with the george foreman grill. The meatloaf you might as well just get fresh pre-seasoned meatloaf. And best of all it costs about the same thing, sometimes less.

That is how I do things. Hope that was helpful.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 12:20PM
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I was just wondering in the last few days if I wanted to post this on the eating out alone thread...but...

I have started really trying out cooking different dishes, at home, and LOVE it. I have had a few culinary duds in the last couple of weeks, after a string of hits, yummy dishes. (just can't think of what Tofu will take on the flavor of, besides soy sauce) But this, for me, does tie in with the eating out alone thread, because I am finding it so much more enjoyable to stay home, cook my own dishes, and be in comfort and privacy of home. I do sit at my dinette table to eat my cooking.

What started it was the combination of feeling increasingly uncomfortable eating out alone, (which I did quite often, since basically the only thing I had ever tried to cook, was spaghetti) the discomfort of eating out alone combined with my doctor telling me I would never lose weight if I kept eating out. So one day, at a Target store, I came across an electric skillet that they had on sale, and on the outside of the box, it said "perfect for one dish meals" And I have been cooking since...this was about a month and a half ago, and I hope I continue...I have been printing recipes individually off the Internet, one a time, and for now, this is working---if the individual recipe turns out to be a dud, I can throw the recipe out.

I did break my streak of home cooked dinners sometime last week when I got a take out sandwich from Quizno's, and after all the comfort of eating at home, I wasn't even that comfortable waiting 5 minutes at Quizno's for them to make my to go order.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 4:24PM
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I do not like cooking unless I am in the mood, BUT I also do not like tv dinners, canned or boxed foods, etc. I have eliminated lots of artificial coloring and flavoring, and preservatives from my foods.

My solution is to cook larger meals including soups, and freeze in smaller portions. I also grill chicken breasts or salmon steaks (enough for a couple of dinners) and place these on top of salad greens - to me, these are the best and easiest meals. I do have In N Out (burgers) every Tuesday when my grandson gets out of school early. We always eat there because their food is acceptable in keeping with the exclusion of artificial stuff and preservatives.

I go out to eat with friends every once in a while, but I hate to see something dirty in restaurants because this will keep me from eating out for a long time. I either eat on a small kitchen table or on the couch in front of the tv.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 9:26AM
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Eating alone kicks ass. Just like drinking alone and playing with loaded guns alone.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 3:42PM
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I suppose your post should not be respond to, but I will. What are you implying? There is absolutely nothing wrong with eating alone. This doesn't mean that peoplde who eat alone do so ALL the time, or that they have no other life.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2007 at 11:35AM
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Please re-read the original post. I think the OP is giving us some food for thought. Eating alone can be more enjoyable if one takes the time to make things look nice, such as setting the table with the good china, silverware, crystal. Have a nice table cloth, linen napkins instead of paper towels, and flowers and candles add a beautiful touch.

Eating alone can be exactly what you make of it: A very fine, almost formal dining experience; a fun, casual dining experience if you sit at the kitchen bar; or-- something akin to slopping the hogs.

It would be my guess that not many of us "loners" here drink, and I'm sure no one sits around playing with loaded guns. I just don't see the connection.

Have a good day.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2007 at 1:15PM
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errr, nevermind me, I just hate the world.

*inserts darkly sarcastic comment*

Im going back to praying for a killer asteroid. Bye.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 12:26AM
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Why would drinking alone be a problem?

As for the original poster's questions...

I tend to eat half my meals on the road because I commute to work. The only take-out available is bar food because this is a rural area. I used to say I don't have a television but then I inherited one from my grandfather. Someday I may plug it in and eat next to it. Internet news is my prefered dining spot. I have a dining room and sometimes entertain myself by sitting there.

As for the actual cooking anything I want. Leftovers don't bother me one bit so I cook pots of soup or pasta. Rice is a favorite because it is so fast and easy. Some of the more busy forums have long entertaining discussions about what was for dinner. I enjoy wild game and will hunt only when hungry for a particular meat.... meaning I don't hunt for sport or trophy.

Some of the best things about eating single at home:

I can throw in another habenera pepper.... with a little cayenne and some jalapeno.

I don't want green olives on my pizza... they belong in a martini.... and that is the way it IS!

The cat can have some if she wants.

No guilt over eating the last portion.

Never worry about what to wear.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 1:48PM
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Hey where did you get that cool pic of me?!?!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 6:24PM
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Why would you not cook for just yourself? Aren't you worth a healthy meal. I live alone and enjoy eating by myself. I make myself a homemade meal 3X a day. It is vey important for me to eat healthy organic meals.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 7:36AM
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eating healthy organic meals if for wimps and hippies. I hate cooking unless it's grilling or frying something, and I am always tired when I get home. I usually heat something up. And the less I cook the less I have to clean up.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 5:14PM
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black, you are number 1 in negativity!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2007 at 3:37PM
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I take that as a compliment.

Nun more negative!

Any of you ladys like hanging out in cemeteries and driniking red wine?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2007 at 10:24PM
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Only if you're the one six feet under and we're toasting your demise.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2007 at 10:06AM
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he's totally digging on this!
he is one twisted sister!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2007 at 12:55PM
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I only cook breakfast 4 or 5 times a week. I have an occasional sandwich during the week. All other meals I eat out. My experience with my mom and her family and what my doctor said.... I eat what I want the way I want it. My Mom is 95 years old and still living alone. Her family all lived until they were between 85 and 90. They ate food fried in lard, they rarely baked meat because of using a wood stove. I don't buy into the fat free diets or the chloresteral bit. My doctor said to eat a variety of food and all in moderation. He said my Mom (who loves sweets), can eat anything she wants because she is no longer building strong bones and body. My Dad died in an accident, but his family has the same history, long life and good health.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 9:11PM
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"Everyday Food" magazine has a regular section called "Cooking for One". I have the May and June copies here and the recipes are Fried Chicken with Vine-ripened Tomato Salad and Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Arugula.

These recipes look like they would be very helpful for people who like to cook but don't want a lot of leftovers.

This magazine is often available at supermarket checkouts.


    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 1:09PM
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I like to cook as a creative exercise. I don't cook everyday, no time and only myself and my daughter to eat it. When I do cook, I tend to cook for a battalion so I often share portions with friends or my ex. Yes, he misses my cooking!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 7:00PM
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We goto Dinner Done!!!! We do this as a couple and I go when my wife is away, so it does work for a single person!! Each month they have around 14 meal selections. At each station is a meal. Everything u need to make the meal is at that station. All cut up, fat trimmed off, correct measurement spoons in spices, super easy, no clean up!!!! Everythin gincluding the storage containers is there, included in the price!! Of course there are other companies that do this, we have just used this one!! And you can put how many servings into a package!! So its very convenient, and healthy!! Most are straight from the freezer to the oven!! as well its a great place to meet other people. A chicken breast meal, comes with 4 to 6 chicken breats. Each meal is suppose to feed bewtween 4 to 6 people. A minimum ordfer is 8 meal selections, and each meal gives 4 to 6 servings, so close to 48 single meals!!! Belive it works out to just over $3 a serving. We love it, makes suppers so much more relaxing, get to meet new people, and no clean up,lol. I have heard some of these companies do singles events!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Dinner Done

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 12:16PM
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Hi Airforceguy! I go to Dinner Done too.
I do it with a girlfriend and we just split the meals and the costs.

Besides Dinner Done, there's Let's Eat which is expanding all over the US. In fact, it's founders were former attorneys at the law firm in which I still work.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 3:49PM
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We love it!! There are about 4 other types as well in the DC area, but havent tried them!! Love how easy it is and no clean up,lol I wish Dinner Done would have desserts (which i do not need,lol) I know some of the other ones do.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 7:49AM
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The best thing about cooking for yourself is that there are no rules! I like to grill and eat on my patio in the summer and on cold winter nights, I love a cup of soup in front of the TV.

On the other hand sometimes I eat chocolate ice-cream standing in front the of the freezer!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 12:17PM
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Now that's a good idea bonelady!! I know because I done it myself.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 9:25PM
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I don't mind cooking for one. Although I will say, that when I cook, I cook as I used to before my husband died. My daughter in law suggested to me to do that and then freeze the remaining into microwaveable portions. Mostly I don't mind eating left overs. I find that I cook less in the summer then winter. This is a small apartment and it can heat up dramatically in here fast. And, oh my goodness, I have to remember to turn on the hood vent over the stove for anything toasted or fried, or I had to get the broom out, and wave it at the fire alarm, open doors and windows.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 7:00AM
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I think the single's scene is why GE invented the Advantium Speedcook oven - I'm getting one! It took me a few years to learn to scale back. You would have thought an army was coming to my house for dinner. I used to fuss at my single sister because her frig was always EMPTY - not even a stick of butter. Now I buy butter when I have to. I think those savings went to my gas tank though!

Hi everyone!


    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 12:25AM
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