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 Post subject: Dinner for one.
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:17 pm 
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I'm no stranger to cooking, I've done all the cooking in our house for the last three years and at least half of it prior to that. I quite enjoy it when I have the time, (or perhaps more accurately when there's nowt else I want to do).

With my wife currently in hospital and likely to be there for a couple of weeks before a place becomes available at the Neuro. Rehab. ward, which is almost certain to entail a stay of a further couple of weeks I'm finding it hard to work up any enthusiasm to cook a meal for one.

I will however continue to cook proper meals for myself. I'm not interested in junk food or ready prepared meals (and not really enthusiastic about batch cooking/freezing etc.), but I'm reluctant to just scale down our normal meals and am looking for ideas for simple, quick, and good eats.

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 Post subject: Re: Dinner for one.
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:31 pm 
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Here is one I picked up off the net a while ago we do half for the two of us but it reheats ok or just adjust to your appetite.


Sweet and Sour Chicken
This recipe is for kids but I've made it several times for OH and myself.
It serves four so I usually half the recipe.

9 tbsp tomato ketchup---------------------------------------------------------------4½
3tbsp malt vinegar--------------------------------------------------------------------1½
4 tbsp dark muscavado sugar-------------------------------------------------------2
2 garlic cloves crushed--------------------------------------------------------------1
4 boneless chicken breasts cut into chunks.--------------------------------------2
1 small onion peeled and roughly chopped---------------------------------------½
2 red peppers, seeded and cut into chunks----------------------------------------1
227g can pineapple pieces in juice drained---see note--------------------------227
100g sugar snap peas, roughly sliced----------------------------------------------50g
Handful of salted roasted cashew nuts(optional)

1. In a large microwave dish, mix the ketchup, vinegar, sugar and garlic thoroughly with the chicken, onion and peppers. Microwave uncovered on High for 8-10 mins until the chicken is starting to cook and the sauce is sizzling.
2. Stir in the pineapple pieces and sugar snap peas and return to the microwave for another 3-5 mins until the chicken is completely cooked.
3. Leave to stand for a few minutes then stir in the cashews (if using) and serve.
I don't usually add the nuts.
I like this recipe as you only need one dish and it's fairly quick as well as being tasty.
Hope you like it
Von

Note ½ recipe but whole 227g chunks added

If the dish looks a little dry after the first 8-10 minutes, you can make a sauce up with cornflower, tomato puree, tomato ketchup & chicken oxo and add for the 2nd microwave period.



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 Post subject: Re: Dinner for one.
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:19 pm 
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Assuming you shop at a supermarket... then you have to think of portions for one... and assuming you are are busy with hospital visits and such like then you want quick and easy.

Steak rump/sirloin are quick to cook and come in packs of one. same with some fish (portions for one) frozen food (veg/prawns etc) can be easily portioned and are as good as the fresh equivalent.

Pasta dishes can easily be downsized for one (most of them anyway)

also look at buying from a local butcher as you can buy exactly what you need (1 pork loin chop or whatever)

No "recipes" from me because I don't use them.

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 Post subject: Re: Dinner for one.
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:53 pm 
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You say you are not interested in batch cooking, which I can understand, but for the most part any dish that you can cook for one take no more time or effort to cook for two. So wherever possible cook something that can be frozen then you have an easy meal waiting for you.

Whenever I make a pasta sauce for instance I almost always cook enough for 2 or 3 portions, put the spare in the fridge or freezer and then you only need boil up a bit of pasta and you have a meal, same goes with things that are served with rice or potato.

A meal I often enjoy is rice and tinned fish (in a sauce), very easy to do, healthy and tasty. I use the rice cooker to do 2 or 3 portions of rice which keep well in the fridge and can be re-heated in the microwave or eaten cold. I don't freeze rice though.



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 Post subject: Re: Dinner for one.
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:08 pm 
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i love batch cooking i only have to cook every 8 to 10 days :lol:
dont do breakfast but have home made soup every day with a bread roll
soup =
3 or four large carrots grated
2 medium onions
large leek
mug and a half [about 250g] red lentils
200g cubed cooking bacon
stock cube
1 tspn
mixed herbs
curry powder
garlic granuals
crushed chillies
fresh ground peppers
smoked papprika
if you dont like heat 1/3 a spoonfull last 4
if spicyy 1/2 last 4
a bit hot 2/3
this will make 3L off soup enough for 9-11 days dependant on portions
freeze half the pan contents to keep fresh
place the other half in the fridge will keep fresh for at least 6 days
will give quite a thick soup so adding about 10-20% liquid at the eating stage to give the bread something to soak up

after i have done the soup i use the same pan and cook curry and rice /spag balls /stir fry and noodles what ever in about 5-7 portions for evening meals

for the afternoon i use the forman grill
about 100g chips[3.5% fat]for 12 mins pie/pastie/slice for a further 4 mins with100g frozen veg 6 mins in the micro total time 18mins
you can do fish/battered fish but need to be added 5 mins into the cooking
all ingrediants cooked from 3 degrees or more nothing from frozen

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 Post subject: Re: Dinner for one.
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:19 pm 
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It's proving harder than I thought: the main problem may well be psychological, I think it just seems like a lot of effort cooking for one, but I'm aware of that and it's why I said in my original post that I intend to continue to cook proper meals for myself.

Wine~o has got the right idea, it's got to be quick and simple, but I don't want to eat steak every night. Last night I had seared tuna, crushed new pots and a green salad, tonight, kidneys cooked with onions and white wine on bruschetta and again with some salad. Tomorrow I shall probably have a thick smoked haddock soup (might add some spinach to that) and some crusty bread. These are all simple and quick, very little prep required.

@ Toolbox, I appreciate your suggestion but we're just so far apart, tomato ketchup is not in my store cupboard, four tablespoons of sugar is probably as much as I've used in the last ten years, I'm not keen on sweet and sour, or fruit with meat, and don't really cook much more than spuds in a microwave.

I've tried batch cooking before, stuff just gets lost in the freezer, labels wear/fall off, I'm just not organised enough to make it work and other than my own version of Bolognese sauce I don't think i ever make a pasta sauce the same twice.

I still think the real problem is psychological/mental, but I have no idea what to do about that.

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 Post subject: Re: Dinner for one.
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:23 pm 
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Half way between microwave ready meals & cooking from scratch, when I was left on my own (OH travelled abroad for long periods with her job), usually something I didn't normally have as she didn't like it*.

1) Fray Bentos Puff Pastry Steak Pie* (or Suet Pudding Steak & Kidney*) open the tin, put in the oven - jug of frozen peas m/waved - tinned boiled potatoes* (Jersey Royals, buttered!) - yum.

2) Supermarket battered chicken nuggets (kids portion?) or pieces, baked on high to go crispy - above mentioned home-made sweet'n'sour sauce* (or sachet of lemon sauce) poured over + pot of s/market egg fried rice.

3) Above mentioned piece of ribeye steak (single - off the reduced counter) - a tin of artichokes, drained then sauted in a saucepan with garlic & butter. Reduced stuffed mushroom if available.

A bottle of wine all to myself and whatever *I* wanted to watch on TV - Wheeler Dealers or anything on Quest. I used to visit the reduced counter on way home from work, never knew what I was having until I got there.

Egg fried rice is very easy to make in a wok after a boil in the bag rice, goes with anything oriental. Pasta Carbonara is also dead easy to make, with some chopped up ham & frozen peas. Egg is the operative element in both cases, it may well go wrong the first time (scrambles) but that doesn't matter, 'coz you did it yourself. Also, try gnocchi dishes. You probably can't be bothered with pizza dough but it's dead simple and tops with anything you have.

Instructions online, let us know how you get on. All the best, Paul.

Edit, your post beat me, sauted kidneys SWMBO hates but I love 'em & they're dead cheap, especially when reduced. Sorry about the sweet'n'sour suggestion then.



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 Post subject: Re: Dinner for one.
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:24 pm 
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big-all wrote:
i love batch cooking i only have to cook every 8 to 10 days :lol:
dont do breakfast but have home made soup every day with a bread roll
soup =
3 or four large carrots grated
2 medium onions
large leek
mug and a half [about 250g] red lentils
200g cubed cooking bacon
stock cube
1 tspn
mixed herbs
curry powder
garlic granuals
crushed chillies
fresh ground peppers
smoked papprika
if you dont like heat 1/3 a spoonfull last 4
if spicyy 1/2 last 4
a bit hot 2/3
this will make 3L off soup enough for 9-11 days dependant on portions
freeze half the pan contents to keep fresh
place the other half in the fridge will keep fresh for at least 6 days
will give quite a thick soup so adding about 10-20% liquid at the eating stage to give the bread something to soak up

after i have done the soup i use the same pan and cook curry and rice /spag balls /stir fry and noodles what ever in about 5-7 portions for evening meals

for the afternoon i use the forman grill
about 100g chips[3.5% fat]for 12 mins pie/pastie/slice for a further 4 mins with100g frozen veg 6 mins in the micro total time 18mins
you can do fish/battered fish but need to be added 5 mins into the cooking
all ingrediants cooked from 3 degrees or more nothing from frozen


Honestly ba, I really couldn't bear the thought of eating the same thing every day for 8-10 days, even my breakfast is different every day, although it's usually based on two slices of toast, but always with different accompaniments.

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 Post subject: Re: Dinner for one.
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:26 pm 
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Bloody hell, everyone's woken up all of a sudden! :shock:

Back tomorrow. :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Dinner for one.
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:28 pm 
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you dont need lables if you have say beef curry/chillie con carne will have white rice
chicken curry yellow[turmeric] rice
beef/chicken stirfry tagitelli
spag balls with pasta
in other words the rice/pasta choice tells you what it is
as i freeze the complete meal :thumbright:

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 Post subject: Re: Dinner for one.
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:37 pm 
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After my first wife left me in 1988, some bright soul gave me two books, something like "Cooking For One" & "Easy Cooking for Single Beginners" and when I've been on my own since, even while SWMBO was abroad on business, I've often referred to them - the pancakes page (p.212) is now unreadable being covered in gunk.

Happily now on a third relationship for eighteen years, I don't need them any more but they are still in my Memories Box! Just in case.


Last edited by arco_iris on Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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 Post subject: Re: Dinner for one.
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:38 pm 
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you dont have to eat soup every day if you fancy it twice a week the just freeze two portions worth :lol:
it is so cheap and easy to make
cooking bacon about 30p
lentils about 30p
leek about 50p
onions about 20p
stock cube 20p
carrots about 20p
£1.50 for 10 portions :lol:
so the roll costs about the same as the soup

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 Post subject: Re: Dinner for one.
PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:11 am 
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i think the problem you have is a quick cooked meal for one will be say 85% the time and effort off a meal for six with around another 5% time and effort for an additional 2 portions
the only way you can simplify is by using preprepared ingredients or simplifying meals to salads chopped uncooked vegetables or ingredients
its a fine balance really
i have a home made kebab one evening a week with onion iceberg lettuce tomato onion ect no oil no fat no cream but very fatty iceland kebab meat :huray:
i will also have 2 tuna salad rolls as an evening meal or perhaps a blt with loads off salad and perhaps a brown sauce roll with sausages
you need to feel reasonably full to stop you snacking on too much junk but you also need to be aware off unheathy food

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 Post subject: Re: Dinner for one.
PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:34 am 
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big-all wrote:
you dont have to eat soup every day if you fancy it twice a week the just freeze two portions worth :lol:
it is so cheap and easy to make
cooking bacon about 30p
lentils about 30p
leek about 50p
onions about 20p
stock cube 20p
carrots about 20p
£1.50 for 10 portions :lol:
so the roll costs about the same as the soup



In the winter the OH likes soup for her lunch at work. I start in october making a different soup each weekend for 4 or 5 weeks, each pot making 7-10 portions. Once these are in the freezer we can cut it down to making a soup every 2-3 weekends. Doing it this way she can have a different soup every day of the week. I also keep some of the vegetable based soups plain on purpose so she can add her own finishing touches, soy sauce, chilli sauce, mango chutney, yoghurt etc, and keep some chopped cooked meats like chicken or ham in the freezer too for adding. It's a simple way to keep a varied diet that is also interesting.
It's a damn site cheaper than buying tins of soup and MUCH healthier too as all the soups I make are low fat, low salt, low sugar and packed with vegetables.



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 Post subject: Re: Dinner for one.
PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:32 am 
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Steak tip - don't eat it 'whole'. Make a meal using finely sliced steak (done in mushrooms, peppers and spices it makes a great chinese-like dish) as it goes MUCH further. Steaks that used to be for 'one' in our house now do a meal for two easily.

As for cooking - in the last couple of days I've made 140 curries (assorted) both for customers and stock for our 'shop'. My back is killing me!

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