Table for One?

We all know eating alone has its perks. You can make whatever you want, and even eat in the living room in your pajamas if you so choose, but cooking for one is not always super motivating. In fact, whipping up a good meal for just yourself can sometimes feel like an expensive endeavor that’s not worth the effort; however, it doesn’t have to.

Cooking for yourself will be more

affordable, delicious and inspiring.

Truth be told, there are a few challenges to grocery shopping and cooking for one. But with the help of these tips, cooking for yourself will be more affordable, delicious and inspiring.

Don’t Overbuy Fruits and Veggies

This time of year especially, the produce section of the grocery store can be almost intoxicating—all those colors and smells. But before you fill your cart with the latest harvest, consider what you will truly have time and inclination to use. Unless you can freeze or can it, unused fresh produce will likely end up in your compost bin.

Right-Size Your Ingredients

The bulk section of most stores is pretty impressive these days. Learn your way around it. Buying smaller, loose quantities of beans, grains, nuts, seeds and other staples will help keep costs down and your ingredients as fresh as possible. The deli counter is also a great resource for single cooks. You can get everything from a single chicken breast to a mere three pieces of sliced cheese.

The trick is just learning how to
calculate culinary math.

Scale Down Recipes

Most recipes are designed for at least 2–4 people, so it’s helpful to get good at scaling them down to a single serving. The trick is just learning how to calculate culinary math—the Internet is a great resource for conversions. For example, you can type in “divide 1 cup by 5,” or “how many tablespoons is 1/8 cup?” Of course, there will be recipes that might not work when scaled down, such as soups or chili. In those cases, freezing extras for another day is a perfect way to prevent waste and stock your freezer.

Reinvent Leftovers

Certain dishes are even better the next day—think chili—but others just feel repetitive on day two. To prevent food fatigue, learn how to reinvent your leftovers. Roasted chicken one day can become chicken salad or chicken tacos the next. Extra sautéed veggies can be transformed into a soup or a breakfast of colorful scrambled tofu. Getting creative with your leftovers is liberating, and makes cooking for one a whole lot more satisfying and economical.

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