Cooking for One
Frugal Cooking for One
Food Buying for One
Savings for Singles
Cooking for One?
I live alone, and I find myself buying a lot of "convenience" foods or going out to eat quite often simply because I don't have the refrigerator space to save all of my leftovers if I cook for 4 (which is what most recipes feed) every night, and many recipes are difficult to quarter. Does anyone know of any good recipes that feed only one or two?
Half is Enough
I completely understand your sutuation. I, too, live alone and come from a family of 8. Whether I realize it or not, I often cook for an army! The recipes that you follow can easily be adjusted. Simply use half of the ingredients and your meal will serve two (dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow or the day after if you need more variety). Because I cook so much so often, I can put some away in the freezer or portion out lunches for the week. I also share with one of my neighbors in my apartment complex and she reciprocates. I cook less often now and try new foods without even leaving my house. I save money (electricity from not cooking every night AND less groceries) and time at the stove and dishwashing. I know you'll find a solution that works for you.
Some Menu Suggestions
Since I live by myself in a studio and I have a *lot* of stuff, my biggest problem is space, and food is no exception. My eating habits include mainly food that can easily be divided and don't take much time to cook
- Pasta and sauce (ready-made or you can make your own and freeze it)
- Cereals and toasts (there's nothing like breakfast for dinner!)
- Sandwiches (with anything you like in them).
- Stir-fried *anything*
- Rice (might want to get a rice cooker, it's worth it!) and season to taste.
- Canned vegetables (and keep the juice and drink it or use it in soup)
- Make your own desserts (cut the cost and enjoy the taste, and they will last a while!)
- Make your own pizzas out of pita, baguette (take the white out), or any kind of bread, and season to taste
- Make your own salsa and eat it with your favourite cheap tortillas - salsa's full of great stuff!
Remember that most recipes can be easily divided in two (just divide all ingredients, keep an eye on cooking times). Also, think about getting the cookbook The Campus Cookbook. It's full of high energy recipe for one or two that keep well and are great without taking too much time to cook!
Try looking in Taste of Home magazine or Quick Cooking magazine. Both are by Reiman Publications. They have a section in each for cooking for one or two people. Both have delicious recipes with simple ingredients. I get both magazines from my public library but they are available by subscription also.
Mary, Sturgeon Bay, WI
Leftovers from the four person meals don't take up much room if you do a one dish meal/casserole and store in meal sized square/rectangular containers (look for the canning/freezing supplies for cheap containers that work well)
Do stir-fries or marinades where you make and store enough mix for a month or two in bottles or other containers in the fridge. Then you only use enough sauce for the amount you are cooking. Don't put used marinade back in the bottle though- the meat would get bacteria on it. Oriental recipes sometimes base the sauce on some bottled sauce (hoisin, oyster...) so I usually use up part of the bottle, then dump the ingredients into the bottle and all I have to do is dump out approximately the right amount.
Take a look at some of those mix cookbooks (Make a Mix wasn't my style of diet though) and find something like pre-browned ground beef that you add to different things. You could also find stuff like white sauce mix, so you could make your own pasta and sauce instead of the boxes/bags. Or get jars/cans of spaghetti sauce (if you get it on sale, not much more expensive than the raw ingredients) and use small amounts for individual dinners.
More Storage Advice
Not a recipe suggestion, but rather than save the leftovers in the refrigerator, what I did is buy several of those plastic food containers (like Tupperware) that have 3 sections and lids, and when I cook something, I make my own TV dinners with the leftovers. Then, basically, you are cooking for multiple dinners at once, and what you end up doing is less cooking, less convenience foods and less trash, which are all good end benefits, in time, money, and protecting the environment. You can use the homemade TV dinners for lunches at work (assuming there is a microwave), or when you don't feel like cooking or whatever.
Find a Friend
Long ago, before hubby and children, I found three friends that were single and didn't want to cook for one. We each took a night to fix dinner and then delivered to the others. It is helpful if they live close by. This is a wonderful way to get to eat healthy, homecooked meals and not spend alot of time in the kitchen. You also get the benefit of finding new recipes. We agreed to a cap on how much money would go into ingredients. Occasionally, we would give the week a "topic" such as soup, new recipes, casseroles, etc.
Try County Extension
A great source of info is your local County Extension office. Not only do they have written advice on people, plant and animal care, but they offer classes taught by experts. I have received great booklets from them with recipes for 'One or Two' at no cost. Other than the Net, they are my first stop for practical advice.
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor: Click Here
We're still paying off last Christmas and worry how we'll afford the holidays this year without charging it again! Tell us: Yes, we could use help getting out of the debt trap we're in! or No, debt is not a problem for us but I'm always looking for ways to trim my family's expenses further!
More Money-Saving Tips for Families
- Snap up these 9 deals in August
- 5 big bills you can cut fast
- 5 frugal ways to expand your living space
- 4 steps to a simpler (and more frugal) life
- Choosing a guardian for your child
- 3 fun party ideas your nearly teen will love
- How much do kids need to know about the family budget?
- This week's Readers' Tips