Introducing Cooking and Saving for One

A few weeks ago, my Mom was watching me make my lunch for work the next day, and she commented,

"It must be so easy cooking for one."

At first I wanted to say, "Why yes, it is!" But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this is not necessarily the case. There are some ways in which cooking for one is no different than cooking for several.

For instance...

I still have to pull out all the same ingredients for a recipe or dish no matter how many people are eating it. 
I probably have to dirty the same amount of dishes, too. 
Cooking for one does mean smaller quantities. But it also means things go bad before you can eat them up. 
It also means you might be eating the same dish several times to eat up all the leftovers before they go bad.

Cooking for one may not have the same challenges as cooking for a crowd, but it does have its own set of challenges to work through! So with that in mind I'd like to share some of the tips, recipes, and money-saving ideas I've learned while cooking for one.

Let me begin by sharing how I got started:

The first time I was presented with the task of cooking only for myself was several years ago while volunteering in Florida. My mom had taught me to cook, but I was used to cooking for at least 7 people or more all the time. So cooking for one was a new concept for me! Lets just say there were a lot of leftovers those first few meals!

Shopping for one was a learning curve as well. I had watched my mom coupon and come home with 8 cake mixes for 50 cents each, but what on earth was a single girl going to do with 8 cake mixes?? And 10 tubes of toothpaste??

And then there was the fresh So. FL we had several great markets with yummy fresh fruits and vegetables. I wanted them all! Sadly, most got thrown away before I could eat them...they don't last long in that heat!

Slowly, I learned that there was a balance. A balance between saving money and only buying what I needed and what I could eat up. A balance between buying non-perishables when they were on sale and buying only what I truly was going to use. 

Now that I am living in Maine, there are new challenges. We don't have all the fresh fruits and markets year round. I need meals I can prepare quickly or take as lunches to work.  I also have limited storage and freezer space to take into consideration.

And perhaps the most complicated part? I'm trying to save money for a vehicle, so I want to do it all on a budget, but not a ramen-noodles budget. I want to eat clean, healthy foods that are going to benefit me physically (and I am a big eater!) but I don't want to spend a crazy exorbitant amount of money. Really, is that too much to ask?? ;)

It takes planning and work. I am still learning, and what I have learned has definitely been through trial and error! It is a fun challenge though, and I enjoy finding new ways to save, new recipes that I can adapt for one person, and new ways to simplify my routines to be more efficient.

I'll share some of my tips, strategies and how I organize it all in the next few weeks. I'd love to hear any tips or suggestions you have that might help me out! What stage of your life are you in right now, and what cooking challenges does it bring?

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  1. i'm in that category - and i'll take any tips i can - one question now - how do you reduce the amounts in a recipe if you ARE trying to adapt for us singles?

    1. Thanks for is always encouraging to hear of others in the same boat!

      When I adapt a recipe, I usually just cut it in half. That is easiest as far as figuring out the amounts of everything! I still end up with leftovers, but that can be a blessing so I don't have to cook the next day. ;)

      I am planning to share some of my adapted recipes along the way, so check back in! I hope they are a help to you!

  2. Now I'm cooking for two, but I cooked for one for a looong time! Lots of yummy chicken, stir fry, salads, etc! Leftovers will be your friend!

    1. I do TONS of is the easiest! Thanks for commenting! =)

  3. I totally remember cooking for just my husband and myself, and it was hard! It was more expensive it seemed too... so I can only imagine cooking for one...
    Thanks for sharing your tips


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    1. I agree with you, it does seem more expensive, if that is possible. You would think it would be cheaper! I'm slowly learning (through trial and error) how to save on groceries. I'll be sharing those ideas soon! Thanks for commenting! =)

  4. I'm in this category with a twist. I am eat a gluten free vegetarian diet while my husband eats bread and meat... Every night I cook two meals (each for ONE person!!) ...... I've been at it for some time now and it does get easier. I have lots of recipes that I make in bulk and freeze. For example - if he wants BBQ chicken, I will BBQ four of them and freeze 3. Lasagna and stews are also great to make in bulk........... the other thing I do is I don't waste ANY thing. My husband made some scallops with leeks - I used his left over leeks and one lonesome potato to make potato leek soup and I froze it. Pinterest has become my friend for using up left over stuff and making things like casseroles and soups. Look forward to hearing about your journey :)

    1. Wow, sounds like you have some GREAT ideas! I'd love to hear more! Also kudos to you for all that extra work you do. Meal planning and cooking is hard enough when you are just making one meal. I admire the work you put into eating well! Thanks for sharing! =)

  5. Yep, I remember that cooking for one or two was a bit of a challenge because I would find a great recipe but would feed a crowd and I was never sure how well something would freeze. Now I'm on the other end of it and have hard time trying to figure out if I'm making enough for the whole family! :)

    1. I guess every stage of cooking life has its challenges, doesn't it? Thanks for chiming in with a comment! :)


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