March 09, 2011

Whether you live alone, have a roommate (and cook separately), or can remember, once upon at time, what it was like being single, most everyone has had to cook a meal for one before. And it's easy, when flying solo, to lapse into the land of snacking for all three meals. Without proper motivation such as company/guests, a family, etc., it's tough to toil in the kitchen after a long work day, and here we are with March's Healthy Habit, asking you to cook more.

When cooking for myself, I try to make dishes that fall into one of two categories:

1) Quick & Easy
Have a few staple dishes that you know always turn out well that you can whip up without poring over a recipe.
- Think seafood. It cooks up quickly (especially fish), and you can simply add your favorite grain side or green to round out the meal. A little bit of seasoning also goes a long way.
- Think vegetarian. Aside from prepping and washing, veggies (especially leafy greens) cook quickly. Quick-cooking grains, such as brown rice, bulgur, and quinoa, are fantastic for a weeknight.


2) Tasty Leftovers
The key is picking dishes you'll be excited to eat more than once. Make a batch large enough to feed 4-6 people and just reheat it as the week goes on. If you make a dish on a Sunday night, you have lunch to bring to work or a ready-made dinner for the rest of the week (just prepare a fresh side every night).
- Use your dutch oven or slow cooker. I'm not a leftovers kind of gal, but when it comes to slow-cooked meals like braised meat dishes, the more you cook them, the better they taste. Leftovers, as a result, become spectacular. With these, I don't even feel the need to reinvent the dish as something new (like using the meat for sandwiches).
- Go for soups. They get richer and a more intense flavor when reheated. 
- Some tried and true favorites: Beef Daube ProvencalClassic Beef Pot RoastBalsamic-Braised Short Ribs

Does anyone have any tips on cooking solo? How do you Get Cooking for yourself? 

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