Cooking for one

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2006
Cooking for one
14
Fri, 01-20-2012 - 3:45pm
As much as my DD eats I find it much harder to figure out budgeting and food when she is gone (70% of the year). I don't eat a lot of fresh foods because I find it hard to use it up before it goes bad unless I eat the same thing four days in a row. Any ideas?

Pages

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2006
Fri, 01-20-2012 - 4:20pm
I don't mind eating the same thing a few days in a row, in fact I find it helpful for weight control to keep my food choices pretty limited . But here are s few things that might help. I bake chicken breasts every week. They are good in salads, soup, sliced with potatoes and a veggie, with pasta an't tomato sauce. I find that a jar of pasta sauce will keep for a few weeks in the refrigerator. Pasta you can cook a much as you need. I freeze hamburg in single patties and take out one or two. I break it up and cook it with onions, peppers, and mushrooms and add pasta sauce. Same with sausage. I freeze those in twos and defrost what I need. Carrots last and are good cooked or raw, in stews or by themselves. Spinach can be cooked or used in sale and soup. I buy frozen dingle serve lasagna - on sale. I have never been ambitious enough to make lasagna from scratch but you can do that, divide and freeze. If I cook a roast, I use it or a meal or two, in sandwiches and salads. Best wishes SJ
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2001
Fri, 01-20-2012 - 5:17pm

I know what you mean.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Fri, 01-20-2012 - 6:14pm
The other posters have great ideas.

I don't need to cook for one, but I do buy frozen hamburger patties. The fresh ones always cost more, so I get the pre-frozen packages. Watch for the fat ratio though. They come in really handy not only when deciding how many hamburgers to make, but they also defrost quicker than a chunk of beef. I hate that you are at the mercy of pre-packaged weights, so the frozen patties work for me. I can put one or two in mac and cheese, or add one or two to a recipie to make sure there is enough when DSS17 is home for dinner.

As far as fresh food, it is tough. It may pan out in the long run, if there is a store close by, to simply frequent the store more often. The other option is some fruits come fresh frozen. I tried some peaches and they actually were pretty good. I also keep a frozen berry mixture in the freezer and use in yogurt and granola.

Maybe do a little homework on what freezes well, and what does not.

Serenity
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2006
Sat, 01-21-2012 - 1:15am
Thanks for the ideas. I'm in dire need of help. I actually ate a pan of instant mashed potatoes for dinner the other night. I live less than a block from several restaurants and a Starbucks, so it's way too easy to just eat out, but that doesn't work with my budget any more.
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-01-2009
Sat, 01-21-2012 - 2:35am
Are there any european meat stores or vegetable and fruit sellers?

During the week I cook only for one or two and I love the process of it.

I tend to shop in small quantities daily and buy everything fresh...no wastage and everything is so delicious.

Duke
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2001
Sat, 01-21-2012 - 3:37pm

Another thing I do is make either a veggie stirfry or crockpot soup (I call it "garbage stew) with all my leftover produce when I think they might go bad.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2006
Sat, 01-21-2012 - 4:13pm
I also frequently cook one day ahead. I make soup on Sunday for Mondat, Tuesday, and sometimes if there is a lot, Wednesday. Then on Wednesday, I make a dinner for Thursday and Friday. That way, when iam walking home passed my favorite restaurant I can tell myself 'you have a delicious dinner waiting st home for you'. I like to cook but have trouble having everything ready at once, so the cook ahead method is good for me. I puttee met in the oven while I sm heating up that night's dinner, and then peel the potatoes and cut up the veggies after I eat. That way, I am not hungry and waiting for food to cook - it is pop in the microwave ready. I find many things taste even better the second day - stews, even stirfrys... SJ
Avatar for poorboy2011
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-02-2011
Sat, 01-21-2012 - 4:53pm
bumblingalong wrote:

Another thing I do is make either a veggie stirfry or crockpot soup (I call it "garbage stew) with all my leftover produce when I think they might go bad.

That's similar to the idea of chop suey ("miscellaneous"). Early Chinese restauranteurs had to get rid of the extra ingredients at the end of the day, so they combined them in an ad hoc fashion to make a new dish for the customers. Then it became a real dish when some customers got used to it.

It seems the problem here is convenience vs. variety. You can either cook a big batch of food at once, saving time in shopping and preparation, or you can cook every day for freshness and variety. The former means you have to eat more or less the same things for days on end. The latter means you have to spend a significant amount of time cooking small amounts of food every day.

I myself am largely OK with monotony, partly because I have to follow a strict diet for medical reasons. I try to switch things up so I have sets A and B (Day 1: A for lunch and B for dinner, and Day 2: B for lunch and A for dinner! Wow!!!). I do eat less because I find food boring as a consequence of my restictive diet, not because of monotony. (I used to cook fancy stuff that would sustain me for the whole week.)

*Sigh* I used to bake my own bread (baguette, brioche, challah), make my own pizza with super yummy ingredients. Truffle paste, mozzarella di bufala from Campana, etc. Now I'm just filling my stomach.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-09-2002
Sat, 01-21-2012 - 7:07pm
My husband is only home about 10 days a month, so it is usually just me. Even when he is home, we just make our own thing (different gym schedules, I don't eat red meat so if he wants a steak, he makes it, etc.) and honestly, after pricing out some things recently, some nights it is less expensive for me to grab dinner for $4 on the way home versus cooking at home. (A simple kabob, etc.) I try not to spend $5 on a meal ever though unless it is a "night out" so it does limit the options. Otherwise, I buy alot of frozen veggies for the same reason - so the food doesn't go bad. I also make alot of smoothies with frozen fruit and whey protein for quick easily and (nearly) balanced meals. I could eat the same thing forever. I eat the same lunch at work everyday so I am pretty boring that way!!
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2010
Tue, 01-24-2012 - 3:52pm
I would suggest putting some things in your pantry/freezer that help you make meals because mashed potatoes is just not going to get it and provide you with all your nutritional needs.
I suggest starting with a menu plan - what do you want to eat each day - then see if you can combine things.

1. Frozen chicken breasts - they have these in a bag, individually frozen (IQF Individially Quick Frozen) and you can pull just ONE out, put it in a bag under running cool water to thaw slightly, then put it on a grill, bake it or saute it. You can grill and add to lettuce to make a salad, bake with mushroom soup and rice with broccoli for a nice dinner, or saute with some tomato sauce and serve over pasta. You get lean protein in very creative ways.
2. If you like fish some stores have individual frozen portions you can take out one at a time.
3. Meatballs - make a bunch and freeze or buy them frozen. Now you have a base for spaghetti and meatballs, Swedish meatballs (with brown gravy over egg noodles) or anything else you want.
4. Bag of salad - a small bag of salad will stay good for a week, and you can have a salad every day. Croutons are stale anyway, good to put on top and keep long in a pantry.
5. Small packages of sauces - easy to keep and low in cost.
6. Eggs - who said you can't have eggs for dinner? They are high in protein and you can use that chicken or meatballs and make a little omelet for dinner.

Key is to think creatively on Saturday, note what you do have and make a menu plan. Then you get just what you need for the menu and come home knowing what you are making.

You CAN do this!

-Marie
#Marie

Pages