Cooking for one can be really boring and uninspiring. I know I often can’t be bothered to put much effort in when I know that however nice something is, I’ll be the only one to taste it. And because everything comes in bigger packs and recipes are never really written for one, cooking for one can be a hassle and result in lots of wasted money. There are things you can do, though, to at least make cooking for one easier and more economical.
1. Buy Some Good Storage Tubs
I know it sounds weird, but sometimes you have to spend some money to save more in the long run. When cooking for one, there will always be occasions when you have to make more than you need because things need using up. If you invest in some good quality freezer-safe tubs you can freeze the extras (divided into portions first) and eat them the following week or even month. That way, you’re not eating the same thing over and over.
2. Cook without Recipes
The fact that most recipes are made for 2 or more can leave you limited when it comes to a choice of recipes, and halving them is all very well, but then you often end up with extra ingredients that go off. But the lack of recipes actually allows you to be creative. See what you’ve got in the cupboard and use your imagination, and you could create something amazing.
3. Know Your Stuff
Many people allow things to go out of date because they don’t know the true shelf life of items or realize how many things you can actually freeze! For example, eggs, butter, milk, brown rice, fresh herbs and many other items can be frozen. Learn some of the basics of how to make food last longer or how best to store it.
4. Avoid Recipes with Rare Ingredients
If you’re cooking for one, be careful about what recipes you use. Anything that uses everyday items that you will use up is fine, but try to avoid recipes that require rare or unusual items, or anything that you don’t use very often. Otherwise, you might have to buy a whole jar or big tub of something, only to forget about it, not know what to do with it and have to chuck it away after it’s sat there neglected because it’s gone out of date.
5. Buy Little and Often
One big weekly food shop might be ok for larger families, but if it’s just you, try going every couple of days, just picking up a couple of different vegetables and using them in different ways. This way, everything is always fresh and you’re less likely to waste things.
6. Cook En Papillote
It may have a fancy French name, but cooking en papillote is simply wrapping meat or veggies in parchment paper and putting them in the oven. It’s quick, easy, seals in the moisture and doesn’t create any washing up. You can even cook things like this in the toaster!
7. Shop in Bulk Bins
Pre-packaged food is in larger quantities than you need if you’re cooking for one, so get ingredients from bulk bins where you can just pay for exactly the amount that you need. You can also get greater variety this way as you can often buy a small amount of several different items for the same price as lots of one item.
Cooking for one doesn’t have to be a chore, and if you do things sensibly you can make delicious, healthy meals without too much effort or wasting loads of money. What tips would you share about cooking for one?