I am a 24 year old girl living by herself who loves to cook but dreads cooking for just myself and trying to lose weight by limiting my calories. I am looking for some tips and/or healthy recipes for cooking for one. I need more recipes than just making eggs, which is my no fail backup plan. Thanks!!!
The best bet I find is to slice or chop and bag fresh veggies, like various coloured peppers, some onion, and any other veggies, that can be eaten raw or cooked. I also do the same for my salads, as I tend to like blends of lettuce. For the raw/cooked versatile blend I use this most often for steamed veggies and chicken, or sausage over rice or whole wheat pasta. If it's all ready to go in the fridge you'll be more likely to eat it.
I try to make enough only for one serving at a time though, cause if it's in the fridge cooked, I'll tend to eat it even if I'm not hungry. Freezing it would work as well, but it tastes so much better fresh.
Minestrone or chili - my version is bean and veggie heavy: I saute onion, carrot and celery, add in some zucchini and mushroom and saute (and some Tofurkey Italian sausage if I feel like it), and finally some garlic; then I like a bit of corn for flavor (keep a bag of frozen), cabbage if you like; then add in a can of beans (14oz, drained and rinsed, black or pinto for chili, cannellini or kidney for minestrone), a can of crushed tomato (14 oz), broth as needed, and seasonings (chili powder & cayenne for chili; basil, oregano, rosemary, etc, as preferred for minestrone), and heat through. If I have time, I let it simmer longer. At the end, I add cilantro to chili, parsley to minestrone. This is super easy once you get the hang of it, quick when you want it to be, and freezes fabulously for a really tasty alternative to processed frozen meals. I usually grate some parmesan over it after heating. Low calorie and very filling. I get about 3 servings out of it.
Pita pizzas (whole wheat) - For a single person, I keep them in the freezer so I can take a month to go through them. The key is to toast the pita (plain or with a bit of olive) oil in the oven before adding the sauce, so it gets nice and crunchy (at least, that's how I love it). Add a little marinara (if it's too runny, try draining through a coffee filter - a single person can only keep so many versions of tomato sauce around). Another good idea is to saute your veggies first - they brown better than they will in the oven, and your pizza will be less watery. I like mushroom, onion, bell pepper and olives. I usually just add some parm towards the end. This is also super easy and tasty. A bit of sausage is also nice sometimes on this.
Stirfries are great. Easy, lots of veggies, tasty, and you can use up whatever you have. The key is to brown and partly cook your meat or tofu first, then remove and do the veggies. Add the meat or tofu back in with the sauce. The other key is a really hot pan, otherwise you're sauteeing instead of stirfrying. And if some veggies are still more raw than you like, you can steam them a bit first (super easy in the microwave - broccoli is one I do this with as I'm not fond of raw-ish broccoli). Some cornstarch in your sauce (if homemade) helps thicken it. Sauce is easy - soy sauce, broth, rice vinegar, even a little wine if it's on hand. I love stirfry leftovers cold stirred into whole grain spaghetti for lunch. Fresh ginger is really nice, and pretty single-woman friendly. Get a smallish knob, you can store it just loose in the fridge (I drop mine in a cup), cut off a thin slice before using.
I probably forgot some bits doing this from memory, but hopefully not anything critical!
Started 4/14/08 LINK TO PROGRESS PICS 1/1/2009
"It is impossible to live pleasurably without living wisely, well, and justly, and it is impossible to live wisely, well, and justly without living pleasurably" Epicurus
I still cook some things big, but I separate them into containers right away, add some frozen veggies, and freeze the whole thing. Home made frozen dinners. I bring them to work/school for lunch/dinner. ESPECIALLY for chilli and tomato sauce.
When I was single and dieting I would cook recipes for two and then either eat the other portion for lunch the next day or for dinner the next night. You could also freeze the other portion for later use.
Most recipes make four servings, so I would just use regular recipes and then half everything.
On the other hand, for those nights when you want an elegant meal and to make the person you are cooking for feel really special, I recommend this cookbook: The Pleasures of Cooking for One.
Remember, if you do not pamper yourself, who is going to?
Anyway, this cookbook is full of good healthy elegant foods that are (usually) not too fussy to make, and it gives you ideas of what to do with the leftovers so you get two or more meals out of a cooking session.
I gave this book to the woman who would be my mother in law is I were married, and she loves it. I haven't tried it myself, as I have far more cookbooks than I have time to cook out of them.