Cooking for One

Discussion in 'Food & Wine' started by Dragonlady, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. Dragonlady
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    Dragonlady Designing Woman

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    As a single, retired person who lives alone on a fixed income, I have developed an effective and low cost way of eating well and staying healthy. But I'm curious what others here who live alone are doing.

    When I get my pension cheque, I do a big household shopping, and fill my pantry with everything I'll need for the coming month, including tooth paste, shampoo, laundry detergent and softener and food. I use coupons and sales flyers to find the best deals and spend a couple of days making the rounds of the local stores. I also have a menu for the month, so that there's little waste or unnecessary purchases.

    Next comes "cooking week". Every day for a week, I make a new dish. I like "one pot meals", like stew, lasagna, or shepherds pie, which make 6 to 8 portions. I freeze the leftovers in one or two portion size containers. By the end of cooking week, I have enough entrees to last until the end of the month. I also make pancakes and giant breakfast muffins and freeze the leftovers.

    For the rest of the month, I simply thaw and nuke. The only things I have to buy are fresh milk, bananas or berries for desserts, and salad greens.

    I've also done some canning this summer and have enough homemade jam to last until next summer, as well as canned tomatoes to last until at least March.

    I buy eat mostly organic fresh foods, but I make everything, including salad dressings, soups. And occasionally, bread. Total grocery costs, including cat food, laundry stuff and personal care items is around $7 a day even buying organic.
     
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  2. Pogo
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    Pogo Diamond Member

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    I shop much the same way but don't do so much in the way of preparing bigger quantities and freezing for later. I tend to just make a meal at a time, which is often too big but not enough to freeze for future. But I never nuke, matter of fact I have never used a microwave at all.

    I never plan a menu though. I have no idea what tonight's dinner will be and probably won't until I start making it (sometimes not even then) :) I just hate to be locked into a predetermined plan because I like options. I tend to make a lot of Asian meals -- curries and Thai noodle dishes and such.

    Don't know nearly as much about canning/preserving as I'd like to. I'm venturing into making hot sauces soon, using close to 100 Ghost and Carolina Reaper peppers I've grown over the summer.
     
  3. Cellblock2429
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    Cellblock2429 Gold Member

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    /----/ Good for you. Well done. I don't know how old you are or your health, but you may want to get a part time job at a local restaurant. Most let the employees take home prepared food that wasn't sold that day at no cost.
     
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  4. williepete
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    williepete Gold Member

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    ^^^!

    This is one of the ways I worked my way through college. After books, tuition and rent, there was very little money for food. The boss said it was part of my pay. It was a blessing.
     
  5. Dragonlady
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    I have arthritis in my knees, hips and back which isn't generally a problem, but I can't stand for long periods. I can walk for miles but standing bring pain in a very short time.

    I also have issues with chemicals in foods which is why I eat organic. Serious life-long issues. They're inherited. My younger sister died from the same thing and another sister is in very poor health. I'm the only organic in the family.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  6. Xelor
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    Xelor Gold Member

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    I tried to be pretty efficient re: food back in my college days. I found that roasting -- chicken, pork butt or shoulder, beef flanks -- and cooking eggs and oatmeal, and complementing the proteins with tomatoes, onions, apples, pasta, and potatoes got me the longest way on the least amount of money. I also cooked big pots of spaghetti sauce, collard greens or green beans quite often. Cheese was also something I at a lot of.

    Roasting was particularly great because it let me use cheap cuts tasted great but that needed the time low-n-slow cooking to make them taste really good. Once cooked, they were good hot, cold, warm, eaten as an entree, used on sandwiches, diced and tossed into an omelette when there wasn't enough left for a full portion, etc. Roasting was also very studying-friendly because they'd only take 10 minutes to prepare and then I had anywhere from 1.5 hours to four hours of unbroken study time, and when the food was cooked, it stayed in its cooking pot until it was gone and then it was time to use that pot to roast the next thing.

    A Boston butt would get me through a whole or most of a week. The fat sliced off the pork shoulder became the seasoning meat for my collards and green beans. A roasted chicken would make it through two days at the most, and I'd freeze the carcass until the next time I roasted chicken and then put them both in a pot to make chicken soup.
     
  7. ChrisL
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    ChrisL Diamond Member

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    That is a really good idea. I just eat on the run most days because of my work hours. I do enjoy cooking though. I can't help but think, what a MESS you have to clean up on your cooking day though! :lol:
     
  8. Dragonlady
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    This is what's in my freezer now:

    Canadian baked beans and weiners (2 portions)
    Spaghetti sauce (4 portions)
    Pastitsio - Greek mac n cheese with ground beef (1 portion) all of which are left from last month

    This month's dinners

    Pulled pork (2 portions). I love pulled pork and have eaten it 5 times in the past 2 weeks since I made it.
    Beef stew (5 portions)
    Curried lamb (4 portions)
    Hamburgers - just the cooked 5 oz. patties (3 portions). I have them with fresh salad, and fruit for dessert
    Butter chicken (3 portions) first time recipe. A lot of work but well worth the trouble
     
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  9. ChrisL
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    ChrisL Diamond Member

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    I am actually cooking up some frozen egg roll things. They are spicy chicken mini egg rolls. I will eat 3 of them, clean up and then get ready to go to work where I will have an ice coffee and eat M&M's all night. Lol. I used to eat healthier but my work hours make it difficult. I love the idea of making dinners in advance and freezing them though. That could be really useful for me.
     
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  10. Dragonlady
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    I do one dish a day but yeah, the kitchen is generally trashed every day during cooking week.

    On a positive note, I have very few dishes the rest of the month.
     
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