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Ender

Single Cooking

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Ender

I'm curious how other adults that live ALONE manage their cooking and buying of food. Please do not reply if you do not live ALONE or have never lived ALONE for any signicant amount of time.

My previous strategy was to cook a marathon pot of something and eat that almost exclusively for 3-5 days until it was gone. There are a number of boring reasons why I did that, but it's just not healthy to eat the same thing every day, especially if you make the same thing several times in a row (yes, I can easily go a month or more eating the same damn thing at almost every meal).

I'm just not sure how people do variety. Things like buying 1 pound of meat to cook with is A LOT for a single person. I mean, even for very, very meaty spaghetti, that's still about 10 meals worth! Buying at the counter so you buy less can be more expensive per pound, because you don't catch the specials. A loaf of bread is hard to eat before it turns bad. It's possible to buy a half gallon of milk, though it's more costly per ounce, but you understand where I'm going with all this?

Also, I'm not fond of freezing things. I tend to forget about them and/or I think they look or smell "funny" when they thaw, get weirded out, and toss them away. The last time I tried to freeze portions of what I cooked (and only two or three different options), my freezer was more full than the fridge and I ended up getting very weirded out and so confused by all of it that I ended up throwing it all out one afternoon (and feeling really guilty about how much food I wasted). :(

Surely there has to be a better way? I'm looking for tips and tricks so I don't end up wasting all that food again. I really can't afford it.

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Oggygon

Yes I am the same. A marathon cooking session with the left overs refrigerated to support me for days. Isn't that the way of all single cooking ? :D

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piranin

I often don't like leftovers, so I try to fix very small portions, which is possible for some things like pasta and rice. I try to find ways to not be wasteful by creating leftovers that I won't eat. For example, last time I made muffins I saved half the mix and only baked 6 at the time. Sometimes I end up reducing recipes several times over--my calculator is my friend.

I don't cook with raw meat very often, and when I do, it's usually to make tacos, which I don't mind eating for days in a row, so I can't really offer advice there. As for bread, I've heard recently that if you refrigerate it, it will keep longer, so I'm trying that. I think my grocery shopping philosophy is that you're only wasting money if you take advantage of bulk deals that you won't be able to consume entirely, so it's not bad to buy just what you need, even if less is a bit more expensive per ---.

My way may not be the most cost efficient, but for my cooking style and usual appetite level, it works. (Also, as I type this, it is very late and I am quite tired, so I apologize if this post is a bit unintelligible.)

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Appledoll

yup, not a huge fan of leftovers either,

so i divide in portions that can be put in the freezer and fridge..

so i can make a small dinner every day.

you could always start marking things in the freezer with a label of date and what it is.

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Aase

yup, not a huge fan of leftovers either,

so i divide in portions that can be put in the freezer and fridge..

so i can make a small dinner every day.

you could always start marking things in the freezer with a label of date and what it is.

Yep. Invest in some good quality freezer bags and make sure you clearly label things. :) Living alone doesn't necessarily mean eating alone all the time, invite friends over a little more often. I go to grocery outlet a lot (a chain supermarket with LOTS of discounted frozen foods) and I have a freezer stuffed full of stuff that's easy and fast to make. I cook for a living so when I'm home alone I don't want to cook a damn thing.

Oh, and nice things about stuff like produce you only buy the amount you want, plus it's usually pretty cheap so utilize it. :D (Also if you go to specialty markets, or butcher shops or whatnot you can buy the weight of food you want, and you can save money that way if you go with whats on sale.)

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AFlyingPiglet

I rely on the freezer a lot - I just don't like to see food wasted. When I used to rent, one place I lived didn't have a freezer at all, and although that was a number of years ago, I still haven't forgotten what a luxury item a freezer (let alone a fridge) is and how much money it saves.

I prefer freezing stuff rather than having to eat the same meal for days on end. Date labelling stuff in the freezer is a good idea or maybe having the same meal maybe a couple of times a week rather than every night for days on end.

Even though I live on my own, I eat to enjoy the food (as well as eating because I need to). I can't really throw any inspired tips at the moment, but I am thankful that, living on my own, I can eat what I want when I want :)

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PiF

At my most basic of times i shopped as i needed with some small mass bulk stuff

sounds very "I used to live in a cardboard box" but after my last stay in a unit when it was time to come out i was homless and so when a flat was finally allocated to me money was tight..

Now the reason for the mention

because money was so tight I could not afford a washing machine a fridge or cooker..yes i know the social do loans..but I didn't want to have one

so I had a microwave

i lived..amazingly 30 metres from a launderette and 200 yards from a tesco

so daily i would got to the cheap counter..you know the one they knock the price off because the display date is that day or the next...and from thier I would buy food for that evening/next morning...plenty of pasta's, sandwiches pies, fruit etc

then as a back up I would buy the home brand stuff ...like soups, beans etc stuff with long experation dates ..and with no fridge..1 pint milk cartons will normally last two days before going stinky

so single and broke I shopped fresh everyday..cool

as an added benefit..it meant with no fridge, cooker or washing machine my eletric bill was miniscule

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Saggia

I don't care much for leftovers either. During my starving student days I pretty much lived on blue box mac & cheese and ramen noodles (so often that they gag me now). I still love good peanut butter and jelly. I'm not much of a meat eater, so what I did was purchase one chicken, or a pound of hamburger and cook it up. I'd put the leftover in the fridge and add it to soup, tacos, or some kind of casserole. Back in those days it used to cost less than $1.75 for a bean burrito and a coke at Taco Bell. They saved my life in grad school.

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newgirl

I buy a lot of TV dinners

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daveb

It depends:

Some things I will eat 2 or more times in a row and freeze some for another time

For example, I'll cook up several chicken breasts, eat one foe each of my next 2 dinners, and freeze some to use in future dishes (like a pasta dish with chopped chicken added)

Other things, especially if it only makes a couple of servings I'll eat up in the course of 2 or 3 days.

I do keep bread in the fridge and usually finish it off before it even gets close to going stale. I go through a gallon or more of milk a week, so I usually get a full gallon and a pint during my weekly grocery shopping trip.

If you don't like to freeze stuff I guess you're left with trying to reduce the quantity you cook. Sometimes you can do that by reducing the recipe. I'm sure I've seen cookbooks for recipes for one. I would be surprised if you couldn't find similar recipes online.

I also do buy some canned or frozen meals/dishes - things like individual-serving pizzas, single-serving lasagna, etc.

I think of cooking for myself to be a good thing, not a problem - I can make the stuff I like and not worry about offending someone else when they make things I don't like. I've been cooking for myself for a few decades now and occasionally add new things to my repertoire. I also enjoy the occasional meal out or provided by someone else.

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RandomDent

Box of cereal. Bottle of milk.

This is food for several meals. Honest!

It was for me anyway XD

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CreakyKeegan

I just make smaller meals.

:)

I don't like leftovers, or even having the prospect of food I have cooked in the freezer.

If I don't eat it all, I toss it... even though that's wasteful D;.

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hopelessly

I don't live alone..but I hate home cooked meals.. So I usually eat out, get take out/delivery(like tonight), or eat TV dinners. It kind of solves the portions thing imo.

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Friday

Because i love you all, i will share with you the greatest "just for one" recipe in the entire world!

It's called MUG CAKE!!! and it will own your soul!!!

Ingredients

• 4 tbs / 45 gms self raising flour

• 4 tbs / 55gms caster sugar

• 2 tbs / 17gms cocoa powder

• 1 egg

• 3 tbs / 43 mls milk

• 3 tbs / 25 mls vegetable oil

• 3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)

• A small dash of vanilla extract

• The biggest mug you can find!

• Double cream or creme fraiche - optional for serving

Method

1. Add dry ingredients to the mug, and mix well.

2. Add the egg and mix thoroughly

3. Add the milk and oil - mix well (don't forget the corners / edges of the mug).

4. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again

5. Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes (in a 1000 watt microwave).

6. The cake will rise above the top of the mug, but don't worry it’s supposed to!

7. Allow to cool a little, tip out onto a plate.

It's not good for you, but damn it tastes good!!! and it's uber easy to change as well, you can use dried fruit and cinnamon if you don't like chocolate, just use vanilla and eat with mayple syrup etc

Eat up! :D

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Plaid

Oh my god, mug cake is the best thing ever. Don't even bother with the plate, eat it out of the mug. XD Less dishes and easier.

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daveb

I think I'll have to try that! I saw part of a "food network" show recently with Alton Brown, about cup cakes. He made some in mugs. Apparently they did similar cakes even back in colonial American times.

Thanks! Mug :cake: for you! :)

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chipmunkgirl

My strategy is to cook a massive meal, freeze half of it, and eat the other half for 2-3 days (and repeat). I label everything with the date in the freezer. When I've accumulated enough in the freezer I spend a week polishing those off instead of cooking meals.

Which is more or less what you are doing...

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cold fire

i just recently moved into my own home, and to be honest, i don't cook much. sometimes i just eat frozen meals, totino pizzas, and things like that. there are some things that i can cook that make a single meal or two. a little while ago, i had gotten a gift certificate for a free turkey. so, i bought one, cut it up in parts, and froze them individually. most nights, though, i just don't feel like cooking. i prefer something that i can just stick in the microwave or oven.

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Moondragon007

Milk can be frozen pretty well, if you use the right container. Next time you buy a half-gallon, buy it in the plastic jug, drink it up, and rinse out the jug and dry it well. Next milk purchase, buy a gallon and put half in the washed-out jug (don't top it off or the jug will burst when the frozen milk expands) and use up the rest of the gallon jug. Works for me!

Also, bread freezes well, and thaws quickly. You can freeze a half a loaf and use up the rest, and the frozen half stays good.

Tortillas are tasty and last a long time if stored in an air-tight container. You can also keep them in the fridge, since they don't go stale with the cold like bread does.

I also buy a lot of canned soups and pastas (Chef Boyardee type)

Someone else mentioned rice. Cooked rice can also be frozen successfully.

When you buy meat, separate it into serving sizes in freezer bags. That way you can thaw them out as needed.

Invest in a good set of freezer containers. They have the "disposable" kind that are very affordable. Good freezer containers prevent freezer burn and keep your frozen food edible for longer.

Google 'cooking for one' for lots of other tips and recipes. If you still want to do the marathon cooking sessions, google "once a month cooking" or "oamc". There's various sites on how to choose recipes, how to plan your cooking sessions, what foods freeze well and how to prepare it for freezing, and so on.

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PinkOlorin

Regarding meat: my mom told me that if you buy raw, unfrozen meat, you *must* cook it before freezing it. Is this true?

Generally, I cook my meat in a dish, like a stew or a soup, so once I've done that, I can't reuse it in something else!

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Saggia

Regarding meat: my mom told me that if you buy raw, unfrozen meat, you *must* cook it before freezing it. Is this true?

Generally, I cook my meat in a dish, like a stew or a soup, so once I've done that, I can't reuse it in something else!

No, you can freeze raw meat. You need to wrap it very well to prevent freezer burn, and you should use it within - mounths. It will not spoil, but it does start to loose some of it's flavor.

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Moondragon007

Regarding meat: my mom told me that if you buy raw, unfrozen meat, you *must* cook it before freezing it. Is this true?

Generally, I cook my meat in a dish, like a stew or a soup, so once I've done that, I can't reuse it in something else!

Nooooo! In fact, I think meat freezes better raw. It can get a rubbery texture when you freeze cooked meat at home. I don't know how the commercial frozen food companies freeze cooked meat without it turning rubbery.

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Preskom

I pretty much freeze everything...I rarely buy groceries.

I have a big freezer, and I got an ultra mini refrigirator that I use almost only for milk an eggs (sometimes alcool)

Oh, an about meat: You can freeze it raw, but if the meat has already been frozen once in its lifetime, you can't re-freeze-it a 2rd time.

Meaning, if you buy something at a grocery store that says 'unfrozen' on the package, it means it was de-frosted so you can't freeze it home unless you cook it first.

anyways, thats what my mommy once told me...

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sexualwithasexual

I'm vegetarian. So when I lived alone, I lived on sandwiches. This helped me use up the bread faster, no leftovers, and I didn't have to cook! Except I did eat a lot of grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches! I never freeze stuff either. You can add a salad portion for a fuller, healthier meal. I'd shop at farmers markets and get the best, whole wheat bread possible, fresh greens and tomatoes and apples! You can live off of that! If I wanted, sometimes I'd saute up a nice batch of spinach. Only takes about 3 minutes! Delish. You can also cook up a weeks worth of brown rice on the weekend. It will store in the fridge. Then stir fry a portion of it up with something that cooks fast and easily, like greens, carrots, cabbage and or squash. I also eat warmed up brown rice for breakfast. With a little milk (soy milk) margarine and sugar. Yum!

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one1one1ygir1

i go back and fourth between freezing and not freezing.. i think the only thing that i like to make that freezes really well is beef or chicken stew... but when i make that it take so long to make (between 2 and 3 hours) that i would NEVER make a tiny pot of it so i usually make a big pot that fills 8 tupperware containers that i fill and freeze and i usually still have a bowl to eat right then and there. It's super delicious and well worth it though.

I'll give an example of my grocery shopping for a week by using last week....

I bought 1 gallon of milk and 1 box of special k vanilla almond cereal

1 bunch of 6 bananas

5 apples

5 navel oranges

7 dannon light and fit yogurts

1 container of crystal light iced tea

1 loaf bread

1 1 lb pkg of turkey deli meat... I allready had some cheese singles left over at home (they come in pkgs of 24 so that lasts me a few weeks)

2 bags of salad

8 roma tomatoes

2 cucumbers

1 green pepper

2 bunches of green onions

and last but not least....

1 pkg of boneless skinless chicken breasts.. there were 3 breasts.. it was on sale for 1.98 a lb... (a steal around here) and the pkg was 1.4 pounds if i remember correctly...

I'm really ok with eating the same things over and over again because I've learned to choose healthy things with less processed foods and more nutritional value.... if i were eating cheesy hamburger helper every day or ramen noodles then i would say that's not good to have over and over again. and there are always of course things that change your meal plans once in a while like going out to lunch or dinner with friends etc..

every day i ate a bowl of cereal with the banana in the cereal or on the side..

every day i took a turkey sandwhich (bread, turkey, cheese, mustard and miracle whip) a cup of yogurt, an apple and an orange to work. i have 3 breaks, 2 15 minutes and 1 hour long lunch.. on my lunch break i eat the sandwich and either the apple or orange... during my 15 minute breaks i have the yogurt (usually on the first break before lunch) and whichever fruit ... eating throughout the work day is what gives me energy to deal with my boss.

on Sunday after i had gone grocery shopping i took the time to pre cook my chicken which i was going to use to make a salad with grilled chicken. the 3 breasts were almost 8 ounces each and a serving of chicken is 4 ounces so i split each breast into half and spiced them and put them all on my foreman grill.. cut each half into little strips and i have snack sized ziplock bags that were perfect for storing each half... initially i put all the little bags of chicken in the freezer except for 1 that i was going to use the next day i kept in the fridge... I also premade my sandwiches on sunday as well (5 for the work week)

having things preplanned/made makes life so much easier.. every morning i have breakfast then grab the items i take to work and put them in my bag and i take a bag of chicken from the freezer and put it in the fridge so it defrosts.. by the time i come home it is defrosted completely but still cold like i like it for the salad... 1 bag of salad greens usually goes in 3 servings... i grab a big hand full, cut 1 roma maybe 2 if i'm in a tomatoey mood.. a few green onions, a third to a half of a cucumber and maybe a piece of the green bell pepper.. that cutting takes all of 5 minutes.. put the chicken on and salt pepper and olive oil/vinegar....

this week instead of salads i made a batch of pasta... 1 box of pasta separated into 6 containers... again a pkg of chicken about the same size separated into 6, 1 jar of spaghetti sauce 1 onion 1 green pepper and a couple tomatoes with tons of dry spices added... for the sandwiches i got honey ham instead and i have a little bit of turkey left over so some of my sandwiches were fancy and had both. i got the special k with redberries cereal instead...

the possibilities are endless and if you have a super walmart you are going to save a ton of money by shopping there vs virtually anywhere else.

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Guest FrozenCherry

I love to make food but I do not want to make dishes aftr it... What a mess... But I make all food by myself and I also cook for my dog.

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Glyn

I just eat whatever I fancy on the day, but often it's quick'n'easy stuff. I buy most of my food in bulk once a month, so things like bread get frozen until I need a new loaf.

And I am lucky in that I work in a kitchen, so I get half my meals for free at the end of the meal time for the customers!

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notapianokey

I like to cook items with multiple uses so I won't get bored. For example I'll cook up a meatloaf, eat one portion the first night and fridge the rest. The next night I'll add lettuce, tomato, and a bun and eat it as hamburger, and the next night grind it up for use in either pasta or rice. The same goes for chicken breasts, which I'll use for chicken parmigan, a salad topper, and a sandwich part.

I like to use Matzah instead of bread for sandwiches because it takes far longer to go bad and I can break it up for use in soup or to make a tuna dish (canned tuna being one of my favorite items). I also buy soy milk instead of regular milk as it can last up to two weeks in the fridge and several months unopened on a shelf and can be purchased a half gallon/dollar at Dollar Tree.

I do love cereal but I hate eating the same variety every day and if I don't, it tends to become stale before I get more than half-way through. Buying the dollar off-brand smaller versions does allow for the right amount before spoiling, but some just can't compare to name-brand versions. So I'm still working on figuring that one out.

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oneofthesun

Just because you cook your own food doesn't mean it has to be anything fancy lol. I usually just cook large batches of meat without any flavoring and freeze the extra. I add spices or sauce when I eat it so if I want a different flavor the next day it's no problem. Then I add a carb and some mixed frozen vegetables and I'm set. If I want some kind of fancy dish I eat out (or better yet go to mom's).

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Sally

I like to use Matzah instead of bread for sandwiches because it takes far longer to go bad and I can break it up for use in soup or to make a tuna dish (canned tuna being one of my favorite items). .

Yup -- I seem to end up with a number of old packages of matzah in the cupboard and none of it tastes any worse than it did when I bought it fresh (which tells you something about matzah :lol: ) It has no shortening in it so it doesn't get stale or moldy. You can make up tunafish or egg salad or absolutely anything and use matzah sticks to eat it and you don't have to really cook.

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