Saturday, 28 July 2018

Cooking for One.................

.......................and saved by frozen vegetables.

I've cooked meals almost every night since July 1975 that's  43 years. 38 of those with Colin.

Say averaging 300 meals year (allowing for not cooking on Sundays just recently, takeaways, holidays and meals out with family etc) multiplied by 43 years, I make that roughly 12,900 meals planned, cooked and served, probably more.

That's why, newly alone, I've had enough of cooking a full meal, often with meat, at a set time and will gratefully never eat mashed potatoes ever again......especially with cold meat and pickles!
On the other hand I don't want to  eat supermarket ready meals, things in packets or raw food for the rest of my life either. I'm a live-to-eat sort of person rather than an eat-to-live, in fact I like food (some would say too much given that I'm overweight!).

I don't like meal planning either.................. I know....shame on me!

So now I'm on my own I've been eating things...............
  • that are shoved in the oven easy, like chicken thighs,  fish, fish cakes, veggie/nut burgers, pizza with home made topping. 
  • or pasta with home made sauces that I batch cook and freeze.
  •  every now and again I make a quiche which serves me for several days or 
  • cook sausages to have once hot for dinner and then cold for lunches 
  • or do a stir-fry with a chicken breast.(buying 1 carrot at a time!)
  • And the other day in honour of John  (Going Gently) I made scotch eggs! 

 But what to do about veg? I've got new potatoes, green beans and courgettes in the garden at the moment but not for every day and I've twice forgotten about fresh carrots lurking in the fridge drawer (Tut tut at the food waste!) and if I was to buy a whole cabbage or cauliflower I would be fed up with it before it was finished and as for a big bag of potatoes, that's something I'll never buy again.

To the rescue came these just 82p for 1kg and perfectly good, no waste, quick to cook too.
ASDA Smartprice Mixed Vegetables (1Kg)

And waste here either.
Aunt Bessie's Crispy Homestyle Roast Potatoes (1.4Kg)

By the way...............I'm still  baking cakes........that's a totally different thing!

Any debate on healthy eating for one probably doesn't include cakes!

Coincidentally, a phone conversation with Eldest Daughter during the week, before she arrived to stay yesterday, went like  this...............
 Me "I'm shopping later what shall I get in for Jacob apart from yoghurt".
E.D "I was going to stop on the way up and get something to cook for us for Saturday dinner because I don't expect you are eating properly".
 Me "Of course I'm eating...............probably too much!"
 E.D. " I can imagine you just eating meals from the freezer".
 Me "well yes, most of the dinner does come out of the freezer but I've got batches of tomato and aubergine sauce and bolognese sauce in there that I've made and home made pizza topping and Asda nut burgers which are delicious in a bread bap loaded up with my Red Hot Relish and tomato, cucumber and lettuce - By the way I've got loads of tomatoes and cucumbers in the greenhouse so don't buy those"

I can't remember how this discussion ended. But it so up hot driving up  that she didn't feel like stopping for shopping at all!

Back Monday
PS Whoop Whoop we had good rain yesterday from 8.30pm and fantastic thunder and lightning.
( Which meant no sign of the lunar eclipse!)


  1. I have never seen so much lightning! What storms! But no moon. I have been eating alone for years because Peter often used to eat with his mother. I cook a proper meal most nights or have cold meats and salad or Cromer crab, easily available here and cheap. No ready meals. Frozen peas are good. Aunt Bessie Yorkshire Puddings are a must for my beef and gravy night and I also cook on my small BBQ 2 or 3 times a week at the moment. I haven't got a freezer or microwave, just an ice box for the peas and Aunt Bessies.

    1. And I definitely don't meal plan! It is beyond me.

    2. The lightening was pretty spectacular here too, all round all at once. Had to shut the windows because of the rain but then we sweltered for a while before the storms calmed down a bit.
      Nearly an inch of rain in the rain gauge, should have helped a bit

  2. Thankfully we have had rain in Dorset but too late for the grain I fear. Another who has lived alone for years and loathes cooking, never mind meal planning, what a grotesque idea! Good bread and cheese, fruit, yoga, olives and salad do me. I neither eat flesh nor fowl or alcohol, so really good fresh local produce suffices. I realise how lucky I am to live in a village with a good shop.

  3. Plenty of refreshing rain here too and this morning delightful. I'm used to Cooking for one, do plan but don't always stick to it and relish in being able to eat just what I fancy rather than having to fit in with someone else's wishes. It took me a long time to get to that point but, for me, given the necessity, it's a good place to be.
    I'm happy to have the same thing two days on the trot, which helps a lot.

    I found a BBC site for cooking for one which had some interesting ideas.

    1. Wow, I cook for 2 in California and love the ideas on the BBC website. Thanks.

  4. We had several showers yesterday eve and in the night, but no lightening ! Thankfully it is so much cooler today. A few days respite before it gets hot again next week !

  5. I do plan what we eat but a rough guide not at all rigid. This is more because of how far we have to drive to the supermarket (27 miles each way)than anything else. Some beautiful cloud formations but no sight of the lunar eclipse.

  6. I too have been cooking for one for several years. When making sauces, casseroles, etc I usually make enough for two (It's a habit I cannot stop after doing it for 43 years) and then put a portion in the freezer. It's good for days when I don't feel like cooking. I still struggle with getting veg portions the right size, but I don't mind just eating a plate of nice veg for my dinner. I've been in the garden this morning and all the plants look a lot better for last night's rain and the air is clearer too! We need more but I hear it will be hot again next week.

  7. Don’t meal plan either, Sue, especially in this weather. We try to eat as seasonally as possible buy I use frozen veg and fruit. Last night we had greek yoghurt and tinned peaches for after-delicious. I very seldom bale these days as I have absolutely no will power when it’s home made. Enjoy the time with your family.

  8. the rain was most welcome! Violet and I went outside and danced in it, came back in drenched to the skin. It was wonderful! x

  9. 10/10 cloud cover here too (typical of Wales, after having clear skies for months on end) so no lunar eclipse seen. We did have a bit of thundre and heavy rain for a while, but not enough to top up the ponds which are very low. Tomorrow is meant to be better (e.g. rain all day!!)

    I quite often cook different meals for myself and Keith, as he is very fussy and wouldn't dream of eating pasta or rice dishes, curry, pizza, most vegetables and his mum's version of a casserole had just meat and carrots in it. I don't blame you for eating what you feel like and WHEN you want to eat it either. On my own, I would probably have my main meal at lunch time and just a snack at teatime.

  10. Do you remember Delias-One-Is-Fun? Some recipes are available online
    This is where it's handy when supermarkets sell loose produce you can pack yourself. You can also get small cabbages and cauliflowers (veg one day, cauli cheese the next) or some sell packets of ready prepared veg, which are ok for a couple of servings. Farm shops could also be a good source.

  11. Firstly we had rain, it is hard cooking smaller meals, we batch cook which is great, some days we only have to ping home made meals. We love Aunty Bessie roast spuds.

  12. Whilst we have been helping at daughter's house with the decorating we have been having something bought - a quiche, veg samosas, nut cutlets, M&S crispbakes to go with a few new potatoes and salad, so they are fairly quick meals when we are tired and hot.
    I found it hard cutting down from the 4 of us to only 2 so I am sure it is really hard to get down to one.
    You can buy small packets of broccoli and cauliflower from the chiller cabinets in the veg section in Sainsbury's - they do cost more than buying a whole cauliflower and broccoli but only if you could eat it all and then there would be a few meals in that. I sometimes buy these smaller ready cut and washed packets if I just want to do a quick cauliflower and broccoli cheese dish with baked potatoes for the two of us.
    It is sweet that your daughter is concerned for you and that you are eating well - a bit of a role reversal maybe?

  13. Yes - marvellous rain but sad about lunar eclipse - same here.
    I shall look for those Asda Nut burgers - like you cooking for one is a bind. I eat out with a friend at least twice a week, I have courgettes in the garden - you can't imagine how many ways have eaten them!

  14. After 51 years, I no longer want to plan meals but one has to eat. My Retired Man and I started getting these boxes of ingredients that are delivered to our house that have ingredients and recipes for three meals for two people. We were doing it every other week, but now only once a month. They are very good and preparing these are fun. We figured it costs just a small amount more than if we shopped but there is no waste. Everything is fresh and the meats are tender and the meals (we choose three out of nine offerings) turn out like something we would get in a restaurant. The other days we eat very simply (salads, soup, and whatever is in the freezer) so we really look forwards to our monthly gourmet meals.

  15. I find it very hard to get enthusiastic about cooking at all after decades of doing meals. And like you, I hate to waste produce, but it is hard to eat it quickly enough before it starts to go bad--especially lettuces (no garden). Glad your daughter is looking out for you (yes, role reversal!) and that you will have some grandchildren around for a bit. Especially happy you had some rain and a little break from the heat.

  16. That is a lot of cooking! You are entitled to have just what you fancy. It has been too hot to put the oven on.

  17. I think you are doing really well and should do whatever works for you. In the Summer I say that I like to assemble meals rather than cook much. In a morning when it's a bit cooler I might roast a batch of veggies, cook a tray full of chicken pieces and do a pot of grains. With a bag or box of a couple of different salads, some hard boiled eggs & cheese, I can make meals all week long.
    And yes, frozen veg - and fruit - are a God send when cooking for one - you can keep a good variety on hand without worrying about waste.

  18. I hope you are having a wonderful time with your daughter and Jacob.

    I don't meal plan these days, it is enough that I cook a meal each day. I open the fridge/freezer/pantry doors and hope for inspiration. Bad housewife, I know, but seeing those numbers, I now understand why! Almost 13,000 meals...pass me the smelling salts.

  19. There are two cookbooks titled "Mug Meals" and "Mug Desserts" that are a boon when you want a small tasty meal.

    I ordered the "Bookworm" book you wrote about recently. It arrived yesterday and I'm enjoying it so much, laughing out loud at some of the author's remarks. TA!

  20. I love cooking just for one....I can make what I like just for me. I do a lot of stir fries in a pan. After buying fresh or cooked meat it is portioned up in the freezer and then I can take one portion out of the freezer and stir fry it up with whatever veges are ready for harvest in the garden. Add different sauces or spices as liked.

  21. Just a quick note about cauli and broccoli - I buy a normal sized portion and quickly divide into florets the bits I’m not going to use, pop them in the freezer in a bag and use them as and when. I don’t bother blanching, and they seem fine! Hope you’re having a lovely time with your daughter xxx

  22. I hardly ever buy cauliflower as it is so expensive here. But right now they are just $3 so I will make a batch of soup with half of it and make cauliflower rosti (like potato pancakes) with the rest. That is a meal in itself.

  23. Delia Smith did a cookery book on cooking for one. It was ages ago so I dont know if it is still in print but I have always found her a good companion in the kitchen

  24. Been cooking for myself for about 15 years now. I don't meal plan as such but I have a four week meal 'idea' sheet that I use as my shopping list. I eat my version of salad with a small pizza or cheese and onion slice etc and I think it's a fairly healthy meal. I don't bother to put lettuce in my salad as it's too much faff to wash and dry and I find the bagged salads give me stomach cramps (obviously something in the chemical wash they use on the leaves). My salad is usually tomatoes, onion, cucumber, radishes, gherkins, jalapenos, pumpkin seeds and a splash of (bought) dressing. Yums.

  25. Aree you aware that asda (& the other supermarkets), have recently recalled a lot of their smart price range of frozen veg, due to superbug outbreak at the factories? You can take your veg back and get a refund. If you google it, you'll find the details. I have just chucked out my bag of asda s/p frozen sweetcorn, better safe than sorry.

  26. Not to worry. I'm not on my own but I've still had enough of cooking and so has Tom.
    If we had the money we would eat out all of the time. lol

  27. I've sort of been cooking for one for over 20 years ~ because I'm vegetarian, so I've been cooking two meals at every meal time now for the past ten years, but now I am, sadly, cooking for just me. When you are not used to it, it does cause problems. I find it useful to do the whole vegetable, then freeze what I don't use for a later time. It's so easy to just pop in the shop on the way home and pick up a salt, sugar and fat laden ready meal, a habit I could easily fall in to, but trying not to. Over buying is a huge issue, and major readjustments are on the cards.

  28. Cooking for one is easy, it is just half cooking for two. I fail to see what the "bind" is that Weaver is talking about. Having cooked for one for most of my adult life, except Christmas Day, I suppose I am an old hand at it.