The conundrum of cooking for 1. Am I right? Cereal for dinner? Yes, please.
I used to love to cook. Putting meals together was something I did well and enjoyed. I felt like feeding my family was a gift I could give them and I did it well. Pinterest was my recipe book and I used real ingredients and the meals were always healthy.
My first month on the road I was good about cooking every night. There wasn’t much else to do where I was staying in Crawfordville, FL. But, as I ventured into more states, I have found that:
1. I want to be out and about while I am seeing the country (check out my restaurant finds in Chattanooga)
2. Cooking for myself is not as much fun as it was to cook for the family or my significant other.
I’m into month 4 of my trip and I am back to wanting to cook! But the question I ran into for myself was “What do I make for just me that I won’t get sick of?” I came up with a few yummy ideas that I enjoy preparing and that do need a ton of ingredients. These are also quite versatile. I can mix them a couple of different ways throughout the week to change things up.
Chicken and Rice Soup
I know this is fairly easy, but for me being gluten-free, it’s tough to find soups that don’t have gluten in them. So if I make my own I can control how it’s prepared.
Rice (jasmine or basmati are my favorites)
Pull all the chicken off the bones and place bones/fat in a pot and season with dried seasonings, for instance: garlic salt, oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, sage (really any seasoning you like). Cover the bones with water, and set on the stove.
Allow water to boil, then turn down to low, cover, and simmer for at least a couple of hours. You will want the water to look like broth (yellowish in color).
Once you have the broth prepared, dispose of the bones and fat. I strain it through a colander and return the broth to the same pot.
In the meantime cut up and sauté the veggies with olive oil and your favorite seasonings.
Cook the rice according to package instructions.
Once everything has cooked, add chicken, rice, and veggies (your choice on how little or much) to your broth and let simmer until you’re ready to eat.
(I have also added butternut squash and zucchini). You can freeze and reheat the soup as you like.
Hot chicken and sweet potato
I cook chicken breasts in the air fryer with mayo. This adds juiciness to the chicken and keeps it moist. Smother chicken breasts in mayo and garlic salt, place in the air fryer on 400 for at least 10 minutes. Check for doneness and add time as needed.
After the breasts have cooked, cut into bite-sized pieces and place in a Tupperware container and shake to mix it all up (as much or as little as you like).
Cook your sweet potato whichever way you like. Microwave, air fryer, or oven. Once the sweet potato has cooked, cut it down the middle and open it up. Use a fork to fluff it up, then put the hot sauce chicken on top. Cover with your favorite ranch dressing.
This recipe is full of flavor and very filling. If you make more than one breast you can add it to salads or other meals the rest of the week.
I call it an unsalad because I don’t use any lettuce
Heart of palm
Chop up all the ingredients and toss them in a bowl. You can also add a protein to all these ingredients, like: chicken, pepperoni, or even cut up turkey burger.
Mix all ingredients together and grill or put in the oven (you can also make turkey meatballs out of this). This is very versatile and can be used in many meals throughout the week:
Put on top of any salad
Add some pickles, tater tots, and a salad and you have a whole “meal”
Mix with marinara and gluten-free noodles and it’s spaghetti night
Use with leftover roasted potatoes and green beans or broccoli and you have an easy dish
Add salsa and cheese and put into a taco shell or corn tortilla and it’s taco night!
When cooking for 1 it’s a great idea to have very versatile protein that can be used in several different recipes throughout the week so you don’t get bored. And I love grabbing a rotisserie chicken and using it for multiple meals throughout the week.
Note: I am gluten-free and don’t eat red meat. All my recipe suggestions will not include these things, but feel free to be as creative as you like with any of these recipes for 1.
If you have an idea for me, I’m open to trying new things!