When the kids went off to college, we went from cooking for 4 to 3 and then to 2.  (Our son ate a ton, so it was more like going from 5 to 2.)  At 2, not only did we find ourselves with a lot of leftovers, but things like half-gallons of milk would go bad before we could finish them.  That was 25 years ago.  Now, I’m cooking for one and going through that process again.  Here are a few thoughts:

  • There are a number of web sites dedicated to cooking for one. Allrecipes https://www.allrecipes.com/recipes/15050/everyday-cooking/cooking-for-one/ has 490 recipes you can browse.  You might hate many of them, but there are a lot to choose from.  What is neat about their site is that you can search for recipes by explicitly stating items you want in the recipe (like chicken) and things that you want excluded (like mustard).  You can also provide keywords like “saute”.
  • PBS also has a cooking-for-one website http://www.pbs.org/food/theme/cooking-for-one/ with browsing capability.
  • When you go to the supermarket you see almost every kind of dinner in a frozen package. Obviously you can but them, and some are surprisingly good.  But this should also prove to you that almost everything you cook can be frozen.  You might want to experiment, but things like stews work well, as does corned beef, as do a lot of vegetables as long as there is enough liquid to keep them from getting freezer burn.  Cookies, of course, freeze very well.  As does a half-gallon container of your favorite ice cream.
  • Be careful of over-shopping. Don’t buy a bag of potatoes or 6 grapefruit, or a pound of whole swiss cheese.  This is most important for produce which spoils.
  • Almost any recipe can be scaled down with just a little math. Just remember that there are 8 ounces in a cup, 16 ounces in a pound, 3 teaspoons in a tablespoon, etc.
  • HOWEVER: scaling cooking time is another kettle of fish. Microwave times are roughly proportional to weight. So two potatoes take twice as long as one potato.  In the regular oven, two potatoes take the same time as one.  A 10” pie takes more time to cook than an 8” pie except if your only concern is that the top crust bakes properly.  In that case they are about the same.
  • You can even go to Amazon and look for Cooking-for-one Cookbooks https://www.amazon.com/Cooking-One-Cookbook-Beginners-Breakfast-ebook/dp/B00LH2YIX0 This is just one of the books, but there are many
  • And lastly you can have the same meal multiple nights in a row, maybe with some modification. So buy the whole chicken, but not one that is 6#, and after a couple of days of roasted chicken, there is chicken ala king, chicken salad, etc.
Our BOLLI Matters Chef  John Rudy

John says that it was his mother who inspired his love of cooking and baking at an early age.  (She cooked vegetables in boil-able packages.)