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Cooking for One – or Two

Cooking for One – or Two

Once we reside alone or with only one other individual, it can be exhausting to scale down portion sizes so that you simply don’t waste a variety of meals or end up throwing your grocery cash in the trash.

Food waste is an enormous drawback in America. Some sources estimate that we waste as much as 40 % of our groceries as a result of we purchase them but don’t eat them. In 2016, People wasted almost 24 billion tons of meals – sufficient to fill the Empire State Constructing 91 occasions.

It’s not solely a poor monetary funding, it’s just a sin to waste that a lot meals! So how can we avoid tossing out as a lot meals as we eat?

No. 1: Planning. Make out your menus for the week. Work out what you’ll need for those dishes. In case your listing calls for one green pepper, don’t purchase three because they appear good! Don’t simply plan essential meals, both – additionally plan on the best way to use the leftovers, too. Write it down so that you don’t overlook that you simply meant to make barbecued beef sandwiches together with your leftover Sunday roast.

I’ve all the time made menus for the week on Friday night time, made a grocery record based mostly on these menus and gone to the shop on Saturday morning before it gets too busy. If I spot lettuce on sale but don’t have it on my menu, I can do considered one of two issues: Skip it (it doesn’t prevent money to purchase it on sale if it rots in the fridge); or change the menu. Perhaps make a taco salad as an alternative of tacos.

No. 2: Go recent. Prepackaged and canned foods have set quantities. Typically you’ll be able to’t help that – you’re in all probability not going to make a bit batch of spaghetti sauce from scratch. Shopping for recent provides you options. You should purchase one zucchini, a handful of recent green beans, and so on. Some shops bundle their produce, so you must purchase three heads of broccoli or six giant carrots. See if the produce stocker will break up a bunch for you. I’ve requested they usually have been joyful to do it. They even gave me half a dozen clementines once!

No. 3: The meat dilemma. Can’t find a small beef roast? High-quality. Purchase a bigger one and reduce it in half and freeze half for another time. Are the packages of hen breasts an excessive amount of? Purchase one anyway and individually wrap every one and freeze them. Or purchase a package deal of hen tenders, especially should you just need it for a salad or stir-fry. You should purchase smaller parts of some things in the recent meat case, however they are often costlier. So purchase a pound of floor meat and divide it into 4 portions, wrap and freeze. Do it instantly or you’ll freeze it all after which be caught with an entire pound of meat to cope with.

Should you find a grocery retailer with a pleasant meat guy, he might break up a package deal of pork chops or hen thighs for you. I haven’t discovered this man, so I just break the package deal down once I get house.

The seafood case is a superb place to get small parts. They’ll weigh out a quarter pound of salmon or six giant shrimp, no drawback.

No. 3: The freezer is your pal! In case you’re going to break down a package deal of meat into particular person parts, make sure to wrap every portion properly in cling wrap, then place right into a freezer bag. Label and date all the things! Examine your freezer every week earlier than you make your grocery listing. Some weeks, I have sufficient of the whole lot I don’t even need to buy any meat in any respect.

No. 4: Contemplate the deli. A rotisserie hen might be your greatest buy ever. First, you could have a warm hen for dinner. Eat the elements you want greatest. Save the leftovers for next-day lunch or dinner and eventually prepare dinner the carcass with the remaining meat for a pot of soup. You could have three or four good meals for the worth of one meat entrée. In the deli, there are also tubs of already-cooked hen breast meat. In the event you make enchiladas, burritos, hen salad or soup at house, it’s a no-waste deal.

Take a look at the deli’s different choices. You should purchase only one stuffed pepper, one burrito, one hen thigh, or a small container of your favorite salad. Many even have Asian, Mediterranean and other more unique offerings.

No. 5: Take a look at the frozen meals aisle. Particular person pizzas, meals for one and luggage of vegetables the place you’ll be able to just take out what you need for one serving are time-savers and avoid food waste. Small portions might value slightly more, however you gained’t have them hanging around till they get stale.

A number of the frozen stuff isn’t excellent. Some could be very excessive in fat or sodium. Learn the labels.However some issues are good for a single diner. So purchase a bag of frozen dinner rolls or shrimp, and simply thaw and use what you want each time. Simply don’t let issues cling around within the freezer too long.

My mom nonetheless buys these huge plastic buckets of vanilla ice cream. She has lived alone for 18 years but she still buys them. She says they’re cheaper that method. However half method by way of each bucket, the cats get a treat as a result of the ice cream has gotten crystalized or gummy. I swear she really buys them for the cats. And the buckets – she likes the buckets.

No. 6: Purchase in bulk. The majority bin aisle isn’t simply for people who purchase giant quantities of granola or roasted almonds. You can even buy a LITTLE BIT! Just a handful. It’s OK. They don’t thoughts.

No. 7: Eggs are the right one-portion package deal. They’re excessive in protein and other vitamins, and may make a great meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Make a scorching breakfast sandwich with an English muffin, a slice of Canadian bacon and a scrambled egg. Prime with a slice of cheese. Cheaper and higher than McDonald’s! Good for any meal.

No. eight: Use assets which might be obtainable. The web is your buddy and has LOTS of ideas for recipes for one or two individuals. There are “cooking for one” cookbooks – verify the sale rack at Barnes & Noble or visit a reduction bookstore or a used bookstore. Should you go browsing, simply search “cooking for one” and you’ll get tons of recipes.


A stuffed baked potato can embrace all of your food groups in a single dish. Bake it, cut up it, add bacon or ham, some cooked spinach or broccoli and prime with cheese, then broil for a few minutes to melt the cheese and heat the opposite elements.

An omelet makes a fast meal for one. It’s a good way to use leftover vegetables, a bit of ham, a bit of cheese or no matter. Use one egg when you have a light-weight urge for food, two or three for those who’re hungry.

Salad night time. Salads don’t’ need to be aspect dishes. Prime your favourite greens with cooked hen, steak or shrimp. Add a hard-boiled egg, reduce into quarters. Then pile on your favourite raw veggies – tomatoes, purple onions or scallions, avocado, black olives, and so on. Refreshing in summer time.

Cream of something soup: Empty one can of cream of hen soup into a blender. Add a can-full of milk and about half a cup of leftover cooked spinach, broccoli or asparagus. Add a half teaspoon of onion powder. Whirl to mix, then warmth in a pan. Sprinkle in some grated cheese to melt on the finish, should you like. Two servings.

Fried rice: Say you got Chinese language take-out and you have this tub of rice leftover. Or perhaps you made rice one night time and you’ve got a few of it left. Make your personal fried rice by stir-frying it in a pan with somewhat bit of corn oil, a touch of sesame oil when you have it, some bits of vegetables (like peas and carrots) and meat (cooked hen, shrimp or pork are good) you could have in the fridge, and a few soy sauce to taste. Scramble one egg and stir that in at the end.

Quick chili: Brown half a pound of floor beef or turkey in a skillet. Add ¼ cup minced onion (elective). Then add a can of both black beans or chili beans in sauce, a can of petite diced tomatoes and a small can of inexperienced chiles. Season with chili powder, garlic powder and cumin to taste. Convey to a bubble, then simmer for about half an hour. Makes Four servings, however you possibly can freeze half and use it later. Also makes good chili canine!

Pasta. This is a simple one. Make one serving of pasta and toss with just a little butter, garlic and Parmesan cheese for a principal dish. Add a salad on the aspect for a meatless meal. Or buy your favorite spaghetti sauce and heat up just enough for yourself. The remaining will hold every week or extra in the fridge. You should purchase ready-made meatballs within the freezer case if you wish to add a pair to the sauce.

Take-out. On the rare occasion that we agree on what we would like, my husband and I will take out one meal and share it. Typically we get mu shu hen or pork and cut up that. There are STILL leftovers! Typically we get a Greek salad from Panera Bread and share that. If we get two cups of soup, we each get soup and salad and it comes with their yummy French bread!

Previous favorites. It’s exhausting to make a small pot of vegetable soup or a small pan of lasagna. However you are able to do certainly one of two issues: You can do the maths and minimize the recipe in half. Or make the complete lasagna recipe however divide it into two or even four pans. Have one for dinner and freeze the others for later. Or perhaps you have got a pal who can be grateful for a ready-made meal.

Desserts. Dessert may be tough, in the event you love baked goods. Does your recipe name for one egg? Arduous to split – so simply use the egg white. Nevertheless, some manufacturers have gotten sensible. You will get mug muffins, muffins that just make 2-Four servings, and you should purchase individual parts in the freezer case and the bakery. Or bake an apple, cored and full of raisins, brown sugar, nuts and oatmeal. Recent fruit is straightforward, in fact. And ice cream – when you don’t purchase it by the bucket – may be eaten in a couple of sittings.

For extra Dwelling on the Low cost articles:

Vacuum sealers: are they well worth the worth?

Fast and straightforward methods to make use of leftover turkey

How one can minimize your grocery bill in half

Make your personal Pop-Tarts and other comfort meals

Soup recipes for cold days

Guide and recipes for low cost meals



More Ways to Stay Nicely for Much less

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