You know what the hardest thing about being 24 is? Cooking for yourself. I'm not saying this because I don't know how to cook, or because the only thing I CAN make is peanut butter and jelly. I'm saying this, because cooking for one............sucks. Have you ever seen a recipe for single serving soup? Lasagna? Coq au vin? Have you ever walked into a grocery store and bought just one tablespoon of chives? Nope. Eating for one is inevitably the art of lean cuisine meals, or the power to distinguish exactly when the leftovers from that giant pot of chili you made need to be thrown out. But of course, then you have to feel guilty about wasting food.
Don't be guilty! You shouldn't feel ashamed for wanting to eat well with only one or two people!!!
Free yourself from your disgusting microwave meal chains!!!
FREEDOM PEOPLE!!! THIS IS AMERICA!
Don't worry, we can make it through together. The key to being able to eat for one, is knowing how to modify recipes and craft your pantry. Keeping a perfect pantry is an art. I'm sure you've seen people who have a billion condiments and nothing to eat, and I'm sure you've seen people who seem to always whip something up from stuff they just have lying around. The latter isn't necessarily a better cook, they just have a better pantry. Here are a few things you should always have on hand:
In your cupboards
Your favorite jarred pasta sauce
Both a long and short pasta (like linguini and rotini)
Chicken broth in 1 C packages (have you ever ACTUALLY used the whole thing of those giant containers? buying in smaller packages means less has to be thrown out)
Cans of black beans, kidney beans, and chickpeas
Cans of clams
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
An ever expanding spice rack
Taco seasoning (seriously this stuff is crazy versatile)
In your refrigerator
Fresh herbs (stick the stems of cilantro, parsley and other long stem herbs in a glass of water and they'll stay perky longer)
Unsalted Butter (you can add the salt yourself and have way more control over how much)
Plain Yogurt (you know how I feel about yogurt)
Cheese (won't go bad until you open the package!)
Spinach or other leafy green (Take it out of the package, rinse, dry thoroughly, wrap in a paper towel and store in tupperware--any moisture will make it wilt faster)
In your freezer
Vodka (I had to)
Bacon (freeze in individual servings so you don't have to use the whole thing at once)
Chicken (again, freeze in individual servings of whole breasts, strips, and cubed)
Ground turkey (or beef if that's your jam)
Frozen vegetables like artichoke hearts and broccoli(fun fact: frozen vegetables are usually MORE fresh than non frozen because they're flash frozen on site when ripe. Unless you absolutely need fresh, frozen vegetables are cheaper and healthier)
Frozen fruits (smoothie heaven!)
Ben and Jerry's
So now that you have all this stuff, what on earth can you make? Almost anything! And since you've packaged all of your meats and perishables individually, making just one (or two) servings is exponentially easier with little to no waste.
Just a few examples:
Yogurt+ frozen berries+ milk= Breakfast smoothie
Eggs+black beans+ avacado+ cheese= Breakfast scramble
Eggs+ single serving bacon+ tomato= Egg cups
Linguine+Chicken breast+ pasta sauce+ cheese= chicken parm
Ground Turkey+taco seasoning+ frozen vegetables +mashed potatoes= Shepherd's pie (bake in a bowl in the toaster oven for 1!)
Rotini+ spinach+ sundried tomatoes+ artichoke heart+ cheese= yummy pasta
Frozen berries+flour+sugar+baking soda= berry cobbler
Clams+olive oil+ garlic+ linguine= pasta with clam sauce
Linguine+bacon+eggs+cheese= linguine carbonara
Ground turkey+ onion+ ketchup+ breadcrumbs+ egg+ thyme= turkey meatloaf
Arborio rice+ chicken broth+ onions+ sundried tomatoes+ cheese= risotto
p.s. what do you guys think of the new layout??