Writing about "Cooking for One" has never been something I've been dying to do. The whole "Meal for one" craze never bit because, well let's be honest here, cooking for one is not nearly as fun as cooking for more than one. Whether it be 2, 4 , 6 or really any number over one (except for when you hit 30 +. Like this summer when I had my cooking class and was preparing to feed 30 mouths. Not so much fun. Quality in any catering seems afterthought for the sake of quantity. Not my kind of cooking.) But I do this to help you guys and "cooking healthy for one" is an area some of you have asked about.
Like I said, it's a rare occasion when cooking alone, I get the urge to pull out all the pots and pans to cook and fork out some $30 on one solid meal that I plan to partake of in solitude. No thanks. I'd rather spend $30 on a night that consists of sushi, a movie and coffee with the company of friends. When I do have a spare night to cook, I make something simple like roasted fish or herbed chicken stir fry along with a simple salad or roasted vegetables. And normally enough for leftovers. Cause I'm weird and I love leftovers.
So how do you eat healthy and under $10? Simple, make the dish satisfying and sustaining.
This meal I had last night and sat down realizing, gosh this is probably the kind of stuff people want to learn about.
A few random leftovers I had in the fridge:
Baby Romaine Salad with carrots, celery & cucumber
Lime Balsamic Vinegarette : a squeeze of lime, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar & extra virgin olive oil
Avocado wedge with sea salt, pepper and a squeeze of lime
Whole grain toast
To the side was a little bubbly (aka sparkling WATER, always drinking water - diet drinks are a joke and sugary sodas are like sucking on a lollipop during your meal.)
When eating on your own it's easy to eat too much or too much of one type of food. So here are some things to keep in mind when concocting your solo meal.
1. Make 50% of your meal greens or veggies
2. Include lean protein lik fish, chicken, turkey, venison or tuna
3. Add fresh herbs (like cilantro, basil, oregano, italian parsely, mint), spices ( ginger, red pepper, paprika) and fresh citrus ( like a squeez or lime or lemon) to add flavor and depth to your meal.
4. Don't snack while your cooking or just before, because it's too easy to loose your appetite due to handfuls or pretzels or m&ms.
5. Try something new. We tend to be creatures of habit & habits are great, but try a new fish or a new recipe. New doesn't always have to be difficult and time-consuming.
6. Pay attention to what you're in the mood for (granted this doesn't mean whip up kraft mac & cheese every night) but maybe one night your feeling pasta with fresh basil, lemon and some grated parmesan with a salad and another your craving roasted chicken or maybe even breakfast for dinner. Don't be dogmatic about being healthy. Healthy should taste good.
7. Get creative with leftovers. Leftovers are sometimes my favorite, because you just open the fridge and voila, there's dinner.
Toss last night's roasted veggies in some greens (like baby romaine or arugula) with balsamic vinegar & extra virgin olive oil. My favorite Italian restaurant in NYC serves this as there house salad (soooooo gooood.)
Use leftover chicken meat in fajitas or leftover fish in tacos.
Make dinner more like a meal of tapas with several small portions of leftovers: cut up leftover frittata, chicken, some cheese and crackers, cold brown rice made into a salad. leftover grilled broccoli & garlic with lemon juice, then maybe some olives and pickles.
Though I'm not married to this "cooking for one" concept, I'll send more meal ideas as they come...