I'm a Military Blogger


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cooking For One

I had to write it, because I know some of you child-less spouses are in the same boat: cooking meals for ONE person.

There are several reasons I cook for one rather than just doing the regular-sized recipes and putting it in the fridge:

1. It's easier to portion what I eat
2. I'm less likely to go back for "seconds" and/or binge eat the entire meal
3. It saves me money and results in less food waste
4. I'm more likely to actually cook than do take out

I was noticing that week after week I was throwing out a lot of food. Not because I was buying too much but because I wasn't eating what I was buying because it was a hassle to cook a meal for 3-4 people and then have to store it.

So what I did this past week is I bought 2 weeks worth of food at the commissary. It cost me $91.00. I bought some boxes of cheap noodles, ramen, pasta sauce, vegetables, fruit, milk, cheese, beef, and chicken (among other things).

The chicken was on sale, so I bought 6 breasts. Each breast was pretty big, so it was more like 8 meals worth of chicken. I got home and cut up all the breasts into cubes, put them in quart-sized freezer bags in the freezer. Each bag has just enough for 1 meal. When I want to cook with the chicken, I just take out 1 bag from the freezer. There's no thawing and re-thawing or chicken waste.

I did the same thing with the beef. I portioned it into 3 servings, wrapped it in plastic and foil and froze it. With the other pound of beef I made a meatloaf and I baked it in little individual-sized pans. I got 4 mini-loafs out of the mix, and I wrapped and froze those as well.

With the vegetables, I washed and cut them and then blanched my carrots, broccolli, and peppers before putting them in plastic storage containers and freezing those. With my strawberries I washed and cut those and froze them in individual baggies for one-cup smoothies.

I happened to have leftover thanksgiving turkey carcass and thighs in the freezer. So I put the carcass and the thighs in a pot with water, celery, onions, and carrots and boiled it to make a broth. Then I strained it, picked back over the meat, put it back into the soup with the veggies and seasoned it. I save all my jars, so I simply poured the soup into old sauce jars and froze those too.

I also made some homemade salad dressing and froze it in an ice cube tray.

There are some things that can't really be frozen, such as lettuce, so I washed and dried it as best I could and put it in a special cloth "lettuce bag" that is supposed to keep lettuce longer. I'l probably end up going back to the store next week for some more lettuce though, which is fine.

Cheese was on sale, so I bought 2 cubes and froze one. I know from personal experience that cheddar cheese actually freezes quite well. So does butter.

So far things have been going well. I don't make elaborate meals each night (usually just chicken with some sort of seasoning lol), but knowing that every time I cook it's just for 1 person takes a ton of stress off. Esecially since I'm trying to lose weight, so I don't have to worry about eating an ENTIRE recipe.


Chantal said...

These are some awesome ideas!! I'm always left with leftovers, though I have been getting better at splitting my meat up individually. Thanks for the post!

Jordan Streetman said...


These ideas are so have no idea how much food I waste...and being a college student, wasting that food makes me so mad! You should do a post on recipes for one that you make!

Jeanne said...

Such great ideas! I didn't know you could freeze cheese. Did you know that if you freeze the chicken with a sauce on it you can marinate it while it's defrosting? I usually have some sort of bbq or stir fry sauce with chicken in my freezer.

Anonymous said...

These are awesome ideas. It feels like such a waste when I throw out a lot of food so I've been eating fast food a lot lately. I know, not the wisest idea. Maybe I will go back to home cooking with these ideas though