Cooking for one doesn’t shouldn’t mean picking up a stack of TV dinners for the week. In fact, cooking for one is a great opportunity to experiment with the ingredients you LOVE and not worry about feeding any picky eaters. It’s also a lot better for your health!
Tips to cooking for one:
- Load up on meats, breads, frozen/fresh vegetables, pantry items like pastas and canned goods when they’re on sale.
- Wrap meats in individual portions using freezer bags or plastic containers and label them with the date you freeze them. Here’s a great chart that will help you figure out how long chicken cuts can be frozen.
- Frozen vegetable are a great alternative to fresh because you can use exactly the amount you need, without any waste. If you are using some fresh vegetables, chop, slice or dice what you need for a recipe ahead of time and store them in the fridge air tight containers until you are ready to use them.
- Leftover canned ingredients should always be stored in plastic or glass containers and keep well in the fridge.
- Freeze half a loaf of bread. You’ll probably only go through half a loaf of bread or less over the course of a week, so freeze what you don’t plan on using.
- Whole grain pasta stores well and you can prepare as much or as little as you want.
- Canned beans, tomato sauces and diced tomatoes are a pantry must have. I keep my pantry stocked with these items. Canned beans are high in fibre and can be used in salads, soups and chilis. Tomato sauce makes a really easy dinner of chicken parmesan and you can use the leftover sauce for pasta.
- Think batch cooking - by preparing a large meal in advance, you can freeze the rest or refrigerate some and have meals that you can enjoy later in the week for lunch or dinner. For big batch meals, I suggest using a recipe that freezes well like one of these from www.chicken.ca
- Invest in a slow cooker, especially if you have a busy schedule or plan on doing some big batch cooking. By preparing a chili or one of your favourite slow cooker recipes on a lazy weekend, you’ll be set for the week.
- An indoor grill is also a great way to enjoy a single serving of chicken, quesadillas or a grilled Panini style sandwich.
- If you’re trying a recipe for the first time, cut the ingredients by half or less than half. Most recipes serve between 6-8 people so wait to see if you actually like it.
- Think about the types of food you prepare and how you can use leftovers. Chicken chili is great served on its own but it’s also great served in a soft tortilla shell, sprinkled with lettuce and cheese, or use it to make a small batch of nachos with some of your favourite toppings.
- By cooking a whole chicken or a few chicken breasts, you’ll have dinner and leftovers to make a sandwich or salad the next day.
See, cooking for one is easy and you’ll save yourself some money!