Honestly, cooking for one is difficult. I always find great recipes, but I have to set aside time to adapt it from feeding a family of 5 to just 1. I also really hate eating the same thing day after day, night after night, which happens often if you cook a full recipe thats meant to feed that family of 5.
I know take-out is so easy and accessible, but cooking for one is worth it. It also tends to be more economical. Getting back into the kitchen is a great way to kick off a healthy spring and get back into the swing of things.
It seems obvious, but planning meals ahead of time helps avoid over-buying produce, which I am frequently guilty of. I plan my meals at the beginning of the month, so that way regardless of how busy I am, I know what I’m eating. I try to use the same vegetables throughout the week so I eat it all and don’t end up wasting money by it going bad. Cooking small batches of recipes tends to result in leftover ingredients, so planning ahead of time how to use these leftover ingredients is important so I don’t waste money.
I also tend to buy certain ingredients that I know I like, don’t go bad fast, and that I frequently use in bulk. When I moved into my first apartment I bought a 20 pound bag of rice for $20 and I am finally nearing the end of that bag, nearly two years later. Prior to this, I bought small bags of rice every week and I easily spent that $20 in one month just on maybe 6 pounds of rice?
I’m super busy, so sometimes instead of scaling down a recipe I just make the full recipe and freeze the leftovers. I love having home cooked meals prepped so I don’t just pick up take out on my way home. My crock pot has been a lifesaver in this aspect as well. I modify the recipe to feed 2 so that way I get dinner and lunch for the next day. I love being able to come home and dinner is waiting for me.
It took me FOREVER to figure out that one cup of pasta was the perfect serving for me. There are still days where I over measure rice. I learned that I have to be willing to accept that there are going to be meals where I waste ingredients or just absolutely hate this new recipe that I found on Pinterest (which happens more than I’m willing to admit).
I try to force myself to be in the kitchen at least four days in the week. I haven’t burned it down yet and reminding myself that If I don’t cook, I don’t eat, has been a pretty effective way of getting the cooking done. But when all else fails, maybe cookies for dinner should be tonight’s special.
“There has never been a sadness that can’t be cured by breakfast food.” -Ron Swanson