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Cooking for One: Seven Secrets to Make Cooking After Graduation Easier

22 October 2020 62 views 2 Comments

Let’s face it - after graduation, we don’t all move in with a significant other or even roommates. Lots of young adults live alone, and love it. Problem is, cooking for one can be tough. Sure, there are some mighty tasty frozen meals out there, but at the end of the day, cooking on your own (at least a few times a week) is always healthier to make your own meals. So how can you cook for one when most food items come in larger quantities? Use the following seven tips:

1. Check out recipes you can freeze.

There are tons of recipes that fare well in the freezer. Potatoes generally do not do well, but most meets and sides can be frozen and thawed later. Soups are especially good. So, you can make a full four-portion meal and freeze out portions to eat later. Actually, you can do a week of cooking and be prepared with tons of meal options for the rest of the month!

2. Turn one meal into two or more.

Side dishes are generally easier to make in small quantities. You can make the carrots you want and keep the rest raw in the refrigerator. However, you don’t want to keep an open package of raw chicken half-used chicken in your fridge. So, cook the chicken and use it in a variety of dishes. Make chicken pot pie one night, and chicken Parmesan the next. One meat can be transformed into dozens of dishes. Even make desserts, like cookies and brownies are easy to freeze!

3. Talk to friends about a weekly round-robin.

I’m willing to bet that some of your co-workers and neighbors live alone too. Find a few who also like to cook and take turns making dinner. You’ll spend the time and money to make a full meal once every week or so, but then you’ll eat for free and have to do no worker other nights of the week. Bonus points: you’ll get to hang out with people you enjoy!

4. Get involved with community organizations.

I can’t tell you how often community organizations hold pot luck dinners. The more involved you are in religious activities, community centers, and even organizations relating to work (like a company softball team), the more pot lucks you’ll attend. You make one dish to take, but you’ll have tons of choices in a buffet-style dinner.

5. Think about non-meat options.

As long as you eat a balanced diet with plenty of protein, there is no rule that you have to eat meat with your meals. Pasta dishes, vegetarian options, and other meat-less meals are often easier to make in smaller quantities.

6. Reinvent your leftovers.

If you don’t want to be stuck eating the same thing for four days, think about ways you can change things up a bit. For example, if you make steak and potatoes on Monday, you can use the rest of the steak by heating up from veggies and rice for stir-fry on Tuesday and make potato pancakes on Wednesday.

7. Buy at the counter.

Lastly, do your shopping at the meat and fish counter instead of in the pre-packaged cases. Better yet, shop at a butcher shop or farmer’s market. When things are packaged, you can purchase just a single chicken breast or single pork chop (and so forth) if you want.

Have a “cooking for one” tip? Leave a comment below!

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  • Kristan said:

    Instead of buying individual fresh meat from the butcher, which is probably much more expensive than may always fit in a post-graduate budget, what about buying bags of individually frozen chicken breasts or fish fillets, etc.? I’m a dietitian and anything that gets people eating better makes me happy - so thanks for this post!

  • Wingnut said:

    I like to make enough dinner to have leftovers for lunch the next day. I really like the idea about doing a round-robin with friends. That would be a fun.

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