I absolutely love cooking. I get to destress and focus on something else, and by the time I’m done, I have something delicious to eat. However, I know that not everyone else has this same loving feeling towards cooking, and sometimes that can be because you are just cooking for yourself. When you are cooking for yourself, and have no one else to worry about feeding, you can often get quite tired of it or think about reasons not to. It takes too much time, it is far easier to just go out or order takeaways, or simply you don’t feel like it. Well, today I am putting a stop to those feelings because cooking for one doesn’t have to be something cumbersome. In fact, cooking for one can actually be a lot easier, cheaper and more fun when you do it the right way. Today, I will be sharing a few tips and tricks for cooking for one so if you happen to be living on your own or fending for yourself this weekend, the thought of putting on an apron doesn’t make you break out in a cold sweat. If you implement one or two of these tips and tricks, you may soon find that you actually enjoy cooking for yourself, it is saving you money because you don’t aren’t ordering takeouts six times a week, and it is no longer a hardship you have to force yourself to do. Here are my nine tips and tricks for cooking for one – I hope you enjoy!
As hard as it can be, sometimes, meal planning is a great thing to try and get into for several reasons. Especially if you are cooking just for yourself. Meal planning is excellent because it helps you plan your week in terms of what you are going to eat, so you will be able to look forward to your tasty dinner and can plan accordingly because you will know how long the meal will take to make. Another great thing about meal planning is that it makes grocery shopping easier and cheaper. If you already know what you will be cooking for the week, you know what you need to buy so you won’t be faced with pacing up and down the aisles trying to think about what you can make. It will also be cheaper to grocery shop when you meal plan because you won’t be putting things in your basket because “you might just-in-case need this perhaps for some meal this week that you haven’t thought about yet.” So meal planning is a great idea to try not only because it helps you organise and plan your week better, but it will also help save you time and money. If that doesn’t sound like a great idea, then I don’t know what is.
Overbuying is like overpacking, and we are all guilty of doing it, myself included. We see those delicious fresh fruits and think “mhm I will enjoy those maybe I should get extra?” and then the extra sits in our fridge until it starts to become a self-sustaining ecosystem and we are forced to throw it away. Now overbuying is not our fault, but when cooking just for yourself, overbuying can end up being not only a waste of food but also a waste of money and that is definitely something we all want to avoid. So, when you go grocery shopping, try not to overbuy things, especially produce. Unless you use it or freeze it in time, all that good food will have to be thrown away. Focus on buying just what you need (meal planning will be able to help you with this) and remember it is usually better to go shopping one extra time rather than buying too much the first time and having to throw a third of it out.
Fill the freezer
Most of us, I assume, are quite busy and don’t have time to cook ourselves delicious and healthy meals for three meals a day, seven days a week. Sometimes the workday gets away from us, and we end up getting home too late and tired to think about cooking something from scratch, and that is perfectly okay because there is a solution to getting around this. Fill up your freezer. Freezing meals ahead of time is a great way to ensure you have a yummy dinner to eat even if your day gets away from you and you don’t have time to cook. So, if you know that your weeks can get quite busy, why not make a big portion of something over the weekend, divide it into a few servings and freeze it. Meals for the week all sorted on the weekend so that if you end up coming home too exhausted to cook, all you have to do is take your meal out the freezer, heat it up and you are good to go.
Not all recipes are single-serving recipes, so once we have finished cooking and eating, we can often end up with leftovers. Even though we don’t want to waste, seeing the remnants of last night’s dinner sitting in your fridge as what you will be eating tonight can be a rather unappealing thought. The way to fix this is to repurpose leftovers because that way the food is not going to waste, but you also aren’t forced to eat the same meal twice in a row. If you decided to treat yourself to a roast chicken, why not turn the leftovers into a pie, soup or even a quesadilla? There is always a way to turn leftovers from one meal into something new in another, so just because you have leftovers that you need to eat, don’t let that stop you from enjoying a nice meal by turning them into something new.
Scale down larger recipes for one
Looking past the last point I made about leftovers, sometimes some recipes are just too big for one person to eat because they are supposed to be enough for a meal for 6-8 people. One way to fix this, especially if this is a meal you really enjoy, is to try and scale it down so that instead of it being for a large group of people, it can just be a meal for one. Now, this doesn’t work for all recipes (because let’s face it there isn’t a way to scale down a whole roast chicken into a meal for one), but it can work for quite a few. Pasta dishes can be reduced to single-servings, and so can a lot of protein and vegetable dishes (so long as you aren’t using, say, a whole roast chicken). That way, you can still enjoy a recipe you love without worrying that you’ll have made too much food.
Make a list of your favourite single-serving recipes
A great way to make your cooking-for-one life easier is to make a list of your favourite recipes that happen to be single-serving recipes. That way, you don’t have to try and figure out how to scale it down each time and have a list of tasty meals ready to go that you know won’t result in loads of leftovers. Some great single-serving recipes that I love are omelettes, smoothies, salad, stir-fries, and chicken breasts because all of these are really easy to make for just one person. Popcorn is also a great snack that can be in single-servings or just really great for when you are binge-watching movies. Either way, having a list of your favourite single-serving recipes ready to go will be very helpful because you know how much they make and you already know you enjoy them.
Do some research
My best advice if you are struggling with cooking for yourself is to do some research. By this, I mean look up the type of foods and meals you enjoy and see what recipes come up. There are millions of recipes available on the internet, just waiting for you to discover them and add them to your list of favourites. Whenever I am not in the mood for the same boring recipes I have been making, I open my phone and start scrolling through Google or Pinterest and before long I have a dozen new recipes, single-serving recipes, that I can’t wait to make for myself. There are so many resources and recipes available so use them to your advantage, and you’ll soon be full of inspiration to make all kinds of recipes for yourself, whether they are incredibly simple or a challenge that has tickled your taste buds (pun was definitely intended).
Know your appliances
One thing that can make cooking for yourself a lot easier is if you know how to use all of your appliances to your advantage. For example, you can use a microwave for far more things than preheating your frozen meals. You can make yourself gourmet stuffed potatoes in the microwave, or microwave mug cakes that only take 10 minutes to make overall compared to the hour and a half it would take to bake a regular cake that would take you a week to eat. You can also steam your vegetables in the microwave if you don’t feel like cooking them in a pot on the stove, but please don’t try to cook protein in the microwave. The only thing that will come out is rubber that looks like protein. So, if you do have a few kitchen appliances to work with, try and see what you can do with them because not only will it help make cooking go a little faster, but it can also make cooking a lot easier when your appliances are working for you in all ways they can.
Make it fun
The very last tip I have for you is to try and make cooking for yourself something fun rather than a chore or hardship that you are only doing because you need to feed yourself. You will be more inclined to give up and order a takeaway when cooking seems like a hardship, and while there is nothing wrong with getting takeaway, it can become a problem when you continually turn to it instead of cooking yourself. The trick is to try and make cooking fun. Think about all the reasons why cooking for yourself is good like you can make whatever you want whenever you want. You can also turn on your tunes and have a little dance party while you cook, and you can even cook in your pyjamas and have a movie playing on your laptop while your dinner is in the oven. There are so many ways to make cooking enjoyable – you just have to find the one that works for you.
So there you have it. I hope after reading this blog post, you no longer think about the next meal you cook as a chore you simply need to get through and that if you are someone who has to cook for themselves regularly, that this makes your cooking life at least a little bit easier. If you have any tips for cooking for one that you’d like to share, please share them in the comments section, and if you have a favourite recipe, I’d love to hear it! Please don’t forget to like this post if you haven’t already and subscribe so that you don’t miss out on more posts on Tall Blonde Tales. Otherwise, that is all I have for you today everyone – have an awesome weekend!
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx