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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Monday, November 07, 2011

Frugal Kitchens 101 - Cooking for One

Frugal Kitchens 101

My husband goes to hunt camp for a week each year which basically leaves me to my own devices with respect to cooking.  The reality is very little changes even though I am cooking for one.  Oh yes the temptation to eat out is there but instead I take this opportunity to experiment with food.  From time to time in any relationship there will be periods of where you are cooking for one or you may be a university student, bachelor,  bachelorette, widow or widower.   Many find the adjustment of reducing to cooking for one a challenge.  I don't and it really need not be.  All the principles of bulk cooking and pre-planned left overs apply.  This week's Frugal Kitchens 101discusses a few tips for cooking for one.

  • avoid the temptation for convenience - Convenience always comes with a price tag.  Yes you can buy a box of cookies for $3 but a batch of homemade cookies that will last the week and freeze well.  It only takes about a half hour if that and costs under $1 and you get to control the ingredients.  See where I'm going here?
  • avoid the temptation of eating out - Most meals eaten out are going to come into the $10 or more range although breakfast is less expensive.  Consider though that $10 will easily feed you one nice home cooked meal with two left in the freezer for later use.  When my husband is away for a week, I allow myself two meals out which is in keeping with our normal routine  but in reality because I choose to spend my time experimenting with food, I seldom take this opportunity to eat out.
  • look for inspiration - I'm always looking for cooking inspiration but when cooking for one, it is almost a must.  Check magazines, cookbooks and online.  If you have a digital camera go to your local library where you can browse a lot of resources without costing you a penny.  Take pictures of those recipes you would like to try.
  • invest in good freezer ware and a vacuum food sealer - Both will help you effectively store left-overs.  This is not a new concept just it will be used more when cooking for one.  So go ahead and make the recipe that gives a yield for 8 servings.  Eat one then freeze the remainder in convenient individual sized packages or containers for later use.
  • pare down the recipe - Many recipes can be adjusted from 8 or whatever servings by dividing the amount of each ingredient by the total number of servings to give you the amount for one serving.  Some online recipe sites do this for you as well.  I use this method a lot not only when I'm cooking for myself but also when I'm testing a recipe.
  • bulk cooking - In most cases bulk cooking is not thought of when cooking for one but it makes perfect sense.  Use the slow cooker to make a large batch of chili, eat one or two meal then freeze the rest in meal sized portions.

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