Cooking Tips

I originally wrote “Cooking tips for one” early last year….two or three weeks into me blogging.  A small fish in the big world of blogging – scheduling topics, choosing best times to write and post about the recipes created; praying for long lasting natural light to take pictures; recipe testing and giving cooking advice.  Was I even ready for this?  Hell, back then I didn’t even refer to myself as a blogger.  But the knowledge I gained from years of practice, cooking under the tutelage of my mother and chef instructors, training in a professional kitchen and the ability to cook for myself at home had to be highlighted.  Cooking in my apartment kitchen in smaller portions, the culinary creativity shown through everyday ingredients and the visually appealing presentation of food on the colorful, sometimes mismatched dinnerware pieces I own.  Since then I’ve welcomed and answered many questions from readers, including questions on what is meant when I boast of single life cooking.  To clarify, single life cooking/cooking for one includes all my brothas and sistas, the home cooks of all ages that are not only single by choice, but also the grad student, the empty nester, the divorcee that LOVE to cook but need not cook in large portions.  Real simple.

As much as I appreciate and miss cooking for an army of people, I enjoy cooking for one.  How food tastes or how well a person cooks can’t be measured by the size of the pot or how many people sit at the dinner table, yuh know.  I take great pride in preparing meals for myself at home from the market list to place settings, and so should you.

When cooking for one, general tips make my life easier and it will help you in preparing meals for your amazing single life cooking.

Be Practical
Cooking for one is not cooking one portion, I always cook at least of two servings to create a next day meal for lunch or dinner.

The Freezer Is Your Friend
For instance when I cook soup, after it’s cooled, I instantly portion half in a freezer-safe container and freeze it.  Instead of having it every day until it’s done.  So when I want to eat something different or save a little cash, I can reach into my freezer.

The “One-Cup” Rule
I can always EAT.  But since using my one cup rule, I’m not cooking a lot of food and therefore, I’m not overeating.  This rule helps when I cook grains, legumes, cakes, biscuits, and scones for myself.  And I’m not left with much wastage of ingredients either.

Note: Measuring cups are used to measure volumes of liquid and measuring spoons are used for dry ingredients.

I stay away from buying grocery items in bulk – six cans of this or four boxers of that.  For my lifestyle, it makes no sense.  Grocery stores like Wholefoods make it easy for the single home cook to try new recipes. You can find anything from single 8oz packs of organic stocks to a wide array of grains, legumes and dried fruit dispensers to name a few.  So if the recipe calls for a cup, you don’t have to buy the entire pound.

Buy With Your Eyes
What does a half pound look like?  When buying fresh meats and fish I always ask to see a half pound cut first before I commit to more.

FYI: Butchers and fishmongers are great people to ask for cooking instructions and recipes.

Before I go grocery shopping I scan the circular to see what’s on sale.  Coupons for organic brands are printed directly from the company’s website.  Like me, you can sign up for instant member coupons from Horizon Organic for dairy and all other products.

Virtual Grocery Shopping
Not everyone has time or patience like me to peruse the aisles of the grocery store or green market.  One of my fav online one-stop shop for all grocery needs is FreshDirect.  With their user-friendly website and many sales & deals, I shop virtually for fresh meats, fruits, vegetables and dry goods.  They can deliver as early as 6:30am and late as 11:30pm.  Mobile apps, office deliveries and an EBT pay program, it’s easy for you to never physically go grocery shopping again.

Table Settings
Pier 1 Imports is one of my favorite stores for home decor (yes, I have a lot of favorites).  But I’m ‘bougie on a budget’ and try not to buy full price items when I can.  Their clearance and sale aisle is very impressive and relatively priced.  I’m always lucky to discover different dinnerware, chargers and table linen to make a new set.

Do you have any cooking tips you’ve put to the test and would like to share?  I would love to hear about them.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Finally got around to reading the entire post. And I really liked this one as a single guy. It’s insightful as well since I can relate to doing some things on the list. A few things I could do better also. Life is an ever improving process.

    The Peir 1 is a good one and idea. I used to like going there to get stuff to decorate. But can’t remember the last time I’ve even seen a Peir 1 store. I’ll have to look and good idea for table decor stuff for plating. Like the virtual grocery store idea, though I’m not always sure just quite what I’ll need or what I’ll be cooking.

    Only thing I can add to the list is to try and occasionally visit a Farmers Market for fresh local and seasonal ingredients. Farmers Market are tax-free I’ve found also. It’s one the place i visit every weekend because i have the patience to do so. My Garlic from Farmers Market is so much better than any place I’ve shopped at. Don’t need to pick up everything there, but for the things you do use often, they are a good choice.


    1. Chef LAM says:

      Thanks! I’m all into the experience not being limited to only dining out or with friends. Farmers market deals are good. Some things are pricey but worth it. No gmo crap, fruits and veggies last longer and taste better and you learn much from the farmers. And yes, tax free! You should give the virtual grocery shopping at least one try. Think about your schedule, $$ and get things you need and the items you get all the time, not for speciality foods. That’s what I do.


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