Single Baby Boomers Cooking for One
Leftovers again! Do you notice yourself thinking that just like you did when you were a kid? However, this time you’re older and only know how to cook for a family. You may be an empty nester, lost a spouse through death or divorce or have another reason for being a single. No matter what the reason, if you’ve tried to cook for one instead of calling Grub Hub or stopping for fast food on the way home, you may like these suggestions offered by my readers, online sites and my experience.
There are days when I just ‘eat out of the fridge’, as I call it. I may make a meal of fruit, raw vegies, some olives, salsa, cheese and a drink. If I add an item from the cupboard like chips, I have a satisfactory taco salad or nachos. If I add some leftover rotisserie chicken, it’s even better. That leads me to my love affair with rotisserie chicken. That mouthwatering roasted chicken that you brought home from the grocery store can provide you with a number or diverse dishes after you eat it the first day. What I’m saying about rotisserie chicken can be applied to beef or pork roasts, hamburger, ham and any other poultry, especially that huge turkey you make for yourself, because you grew up having it for Thanksgiving. Any of these can be transformed into salads, chilies, stir fries, stews, curries, pizzas, soups, pot pies and casseroles with a little imagination and a few extra ingredients.
I grow herbs and stock a variety of spices, breads, pastas, rice and other grains like quinoa, beans, shredded cheeses, frozen vegetables, canned tomatoes in all of its forms, soups, eggs, condiments and any other foods that I really like and are nutritious. When I find I’ve extra meat, fish or anything else, I get creative. Extra spaghetti sauce and other tomato based sauces can be turned into pizza sauce one night and chili the next. Breads such as tortillas, pitas, flat bread, baguettes, naan or bagels can be the base for all sorts of delicious pizzas. Refrigerated biscuits or crescent rolls also work well. They can also make stews into pot pies, act as dumplings in soups and gravies and of course, are needed for the old childhood staple-pigs in a blanket. Pastas, rice and other grains, both leftover and freshly cooked, can make wonderful side dishes, stir fries, soups, casseroles and soups. Chili needs beans, but they can be used in all Tex-Mex foods and other recipes to add protein and flavor. Shredded cheese can be used as an ingredient or a topping with many leftovers. Make a tasty, cheesy stuffed potato, pizza, tortilla or even a grilled cheese sandwich. Frozen vegetables are now packaged for soups, stews, stir fries and singly for side dishes. I add frozen or fresh peppers, spinach, mushrooms and summer squash to my spaghetti sauce to meet my recommended daily servings of vegetables. If I make it into something else later, they just add more flavor. Canned soups and broths can be used with extra meat or vegies to make casseroles, stews, other soups and pot pies. The use for eggs is endless from rancho huevos to egg salad sandwiches.
The worse that can happen is that these additional item that you added to your leftovers can make them last longer. If you reach that date when your original leftover is reaching its refrigerated expiration date, you can always transfer it to the freezer. Single servings or extra sauces, soups, fresh herbs, veggies, meat or cookie dough can be frozen in muffin cups, ice cube trays and on cookie sheets. After they’re frozen, put them into freezer bags. There are many plastic and stoneware container that can store frozen leftovers. Some can go from freezer to oven or microwave. If you buy freezable items in bulk to save money, small freezer bags can make it easy to store single servings for you to pull out and defrost overnight or in the microwave. Remember to label and date, so you don’t have mystery foods or food with freezer burn.
Many websites are devoted to cooking for one especially if you want to cook in a mug. It seems you can cook a variety of desserts, egg dishes and even macaroni and cheese that way. See https://www.pinterest.com/ for a myriad of ideas. This site, http://allrecipes.com/recipes/15050/everyday-cooking/cooking-for-one, offers 220 recipes for singles. Also, take a look at http://www.eatingwell.com for many delicious dishes. Making breakfast can be easy if you visit http://www.budgetbytes.com/2014/01/heat-eat-oatmeal, a site that offers many other tips such as how to freeze wine for cooking. Sounds like a fantastic idea to me. If you want to adjust ingredients in their recipes so you can cook for one, go to http://allrecipes.com . You can also input the ingredients in your recipe into a calculator at this site, http://www.free-online-calculator-use.com/recipe-conversion-calculator.html, and it’ll create a new recipe for a single serving or two. There are many such calculators online. I’ve found that if you have to use a portion of an egg, just put in the whole thing and it won’t make any difference in the final product. For other excess ingredients, use the freezing suggestions above to save for other recipes.
The most important advice you should take away from this blog is that if you’re creative you can make single servings from leftovers and not have to eat the same food for a week. Even if you don’t have extra meat or vegetables, you can use what’s in your refrigerator, freezer or pantry to make a quick, easy meal for one. I hope you’re feeling inspired and will share your successes and even failures with my readers on this blog or my Facebook Page, Single Boomer Life.
Next week I’ll discuss the dreaded, but necessary topic of how single baby boomers can age gracefully through regular exercise. Don’t say UGH! You know we all need to get out there and get our blood pumping even if we’re doing it alone. What do you do to stay motivated? Let me know, so that I can share it with others. Consider it a public service.
Try at least one new recipe this week. You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised. Have a wonderful week.