Living solo can have its advantages. The feeling of freedom in solitude can be truly welcome, and, hey, you’re your own boss.
But some aspects of living alone can be daunting, especially if you’ve been used to sharing space and expenses with others.
The kitchen is one place where the adjustment is most apparent: how do you cook for one person when recipes and container sizes often seem meant for more?
Fear not, apartment dweller! We’ve got tips ahead for cooking alone… and loving it.
Eggs, individually-wrapped cheeses, microwaveable bacon, canned items and single-serve condiments like jalapenos can be used in a single meal — without leftovers, if you prefer.
Just don’t get too carried away with packaged single-serve items, however, as they often cost more for the convenience. When possible, buy items in their whole state, only look for the smallest sizes. When it comes to produce and fruit, buy separate pieces, rather than bags, which may spoil before you get around to eating the whole amount.
Love your freezer
The option to freeze certain foods means you can buy a whole pack of sausages or hot dogs, for instance, and use only some of the item at a time without worrying about spoiling. Simply break packages into single servings before freezing.
Items that work well for freezing include:
- Bread, buns and bagels
- Shredded cheese
- Hamburger or salmon patties
- Individually-wrapped steaks
- Fish or chicken fillets
- Breakfast meats
- Vegetarian “faux meat” options
One of the greatest benefits of all is to be able to make larger-than-you-need batches of food to freeze in separate servings. There is no waste, and you’ve got ready meals available when you have no time or desire to cook.
Use common ingredients to your advantage
Cooking for one is easier and more economical when you can use ingredients you have on hand. Buying exotic or expensive foods for a single meal typically isn’t cost-effective, so look for recipes that contain basic ingredients you regularly keep in stock, like:
- Canned or frozen meats or fish
- Fresh or frozen vegetables
Similarly, you can repurpose the foods you prepare one night for other meals. A roast chicken or pot roast can create soup, fajitas and chicken salad. What you can’t finish in a few days can be stored in the freezer for even more mileage.
Oh, Solo Menu!
Now, let’s get to the menu(s). The challenge for the solo chef is to find dishes that will be worth taking the time to prepare. Ideally, quick, easy and delicious are the key experiences you’re looking for. Salads and sandwiches are typical go-to’s that can inspire infinite combinations. When shopping for your favorite proteins, select options that will make just the right amount, depending on your liking for leftovers.
Check out sites like these for easy, solo-cooking recipes you’ll crave:
- Delish.com, 14 Simple Dinners for One
- FoodNetwork.com, Single Person Cooking
- BBCGoodFood.com, Meals-for-one Recipes
- MarieClaire.com, Cooking for One
Cooking for one doesn’t have to be a chore or an exercise in waste. Instead, embrace the freedom to eat what you want, when you want and only as much as you need.
Photo credits: Shutterstock / Chinaview, Aaron Amat, MSPhotographic