Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind

Cooking for one


Weight Watchers New Complete CookbookWhen I cook, I have problems getting all of the separate foods ready at the same time. It’s a good thing I’m not cooking for a family who expects to have everything on the table all at once for a sit-down meal. I’ve never had that pressure and I don’t really care if I eat in stages as things happen to be done. It extends the meal and forces me to take more time eating, which gives my brain time to register that I’m getting full in ways that don’t happen so much when it’s all on one plate at one time.

Usually I start with a salad or the vegetables because they steam faster than anything else cooks. Then I have a carb, maybe a sweet potato or couscous or a potato roll, and then the meat. Sometimes I’m smart or lucky and get two things done at once and can enjoy them together. In the summer I do a bang-up job of timing things with the George Foreman grill, steamed veggies, and sliced tomatoes. But that’s not a hard meal.

I also do a lot of one-pot things in the crockpot, which is my best friend. Well, okay, maybe not my BEST friend but I do love it. I make big pots of soup (Taco Soup or Vegetable Beef or Bean Soup are my favorites) or stew or meat sauce, though the meat sauce I only make on the weekend because it doesn’t need to cook all day and my crockpot doesn’t have a “keep warm” setting. I can cook a single pot of whole wheat pasta, drain it, and divvy it up into single-serving containers that are perfect for portion-controlled pre-made meals, then divide up the sauce on top. This usually gives me six meals, one to eat while it’s hot, a few to put in the fridge for the next few days, and the rest to go in the freezer for later.

I like to cook but I’m basically pretty lazy and not terribly adventurous. There are things that I’ve tried and simply adored – steel cut oatmeal, sweet potato and apple casserole, pudding yogurt, and roasted vegetables are all staples of my food plan and I haven’t been eating them all that long. I’m on the Hungry Girl email list and try to incorporate one new food or recipe a week for variety. The problem is that if I buy or make it and it’s terrible, there is no one to help eat it and I hate “wasting” food and throwing it away after taking the time to decide to buy/make it. If it’s horrible instead of just bleh, it’s easier to make that decision.

My cookbook shelf contains almost all the new Weight Watchers cookbooks that come out and I love to read the recipes but sometimes they seem more complicated than worthwhile. Maybe we should start posting names of recipes we love and the cookbooks they came from so others can dig into the resources they already have but aren’t using (*raises her hand guiltily*). I think I’ll spend some time tonight checking out one or two and picking something new to try that won’t make pots of food. Recommendations would help so much!  Do you have one to share?

5 thoughts on “Cooking for one

  1. I have this book but I haven’t used that much; it’s a reflection on me, not the book.

    It’s by Frances Price and it’s called Healthy Cooking for Two (or Just One). She was the food editor of the Times-Dispatch and the recipes are pretty good. She gives the recipes two ways for different servings.

    And, since I live alone, I cook the same way; actually when I was living with my husband, I’d cook the same way.

    I throw stuff away. I’m becoming very ruthless about this. My mother and grandmother would be appalled but hey, better the trashcan than my stomach.

  2. My absolute-no-competition-all-time-favorite cookbook is Moosewood Low-Fat Favorites. They use lots of herbs and other healthy things and list nutrition information for all their recipes (some other Moosewood cookbooks do that too). I have never made a bad recipe from MLFF — it’s just YUMMY. Try it!! 🙂

  3. I’m a single person who loves cooking and cookbooks but who hates the fact the vast majority of the recipes are geared toward 4+ people (I have a small freezer and I hate leftovers anyways). So I’m always on a search for cookbooks meant for solo or “small batch” cooks. These are a few of my favorites (be advised, not all of them are extremely low-calorie, particularly the baking books):

    -Weight Watchers Dining for Two (not available on Amazon – I got mine on Ebay)
    -EatingWell Serves Two: 150 Healthy in a Hurry Suppers
    -Little Cakes : Classic Recipes for any Occasion by Susan Waggoner
    -Student’s Go Vegan Cookbook: Over 135 Quick, Easy, Cheap, and Tasty Vegan Recipes by Carole Raymond (2006)
    -Student’s Vegetarian Cookbook, Revised: Quick, Easy, Cheap, and Tasty Vegetarian Recipes by Carole Raymond (2003)
    -Cooking for Yourself (Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles , Vol 12, No 20) by Janet Kessel Fletcher (1999)
    -Small-Batch Baking

    I also torture myself by reading food blogs. Occasionally someone will post something divine that’s intended for only 1-2 people. (I have yet to come across a food blog that’s intended for the solo cook though – I really hope that niche gets filled soon.)

    Love your blog! Best wishes on your weight-loss journey!

  4. I love my crock pot too! I use it (believe it or not) in the summer months!!! I don’t have to heat up the whole kitchen with the oven. (Our kitchen has 2 huge wall size windows in breakfast nook and one window over sink – so very very warm in summer months). Let me do some research and I will email you.

  5. Nice blog, I will come back and keep reading. Please take a look at mine, it’s about slow cooker recipes.

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