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Topic: Cooking for a single girl

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Subject: Cooking for a single girl
Date Posted: 8/23/2009 8:06 PM ET
Member Since: 6/22/2009
Posts: 784
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I am single, live alone in an apartment. I end up eating so much out of a can or a box. I can cook pretty good, if I have a recipe....but I'm hopeless at it if I have to come up with something on my own. Does anyone know of a cookbook with small meals, that will give you a shopping list to get you ready for the week...or even a website that will do that for you? I've wishlisted the "Saving Dinner" cookbook already...but am interested in more. Thanks!

Date Posted: 8/24/2009 12:04 AM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
Posts: 78
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I receive a free email menu plan with shopping list. It is www.menus4moms.com/basic_signup.php It is geared to families but you could probably get some ideas from it. The site also has several pay subscription menus, maybe one of those would be better suited to you.

I have the Saving Dinner book and I have paid for her email menus in the past but I never used them. They would be too expensive for me as my husband and I have a very limited food budget. I haven't looked lately but maybe she has a single person or small family version now.

Date Posted: 8/27/2009 10:58 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2008
Posts: 42
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http://www.mealsmatter.org/MealPlanning/ Mealsmatter.org meal planning and shopping list

http://allrecipes.com/Help/Questions/FAQ/clipboard.aspx  creating shopping lists at allrecipes.com   Some cooking websites, such as allrecipes.com  have scaling tools that allow users to scale recipes from one to xxx or even xxxx.  You don't have to join but if you do you'll have access to the site's toolbox

http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/shopping-storing/recipe-shopping-lists-00000000012352/ realsimple.com recipes and shopping lists

http://www.mealsforyou.com/  mealsforyou.com, recipes and shopping list

http://recipes.prevention.com/ShoppingList.aspx Rodale health recipe finder and shopping list

http://www.mealmixer.com/ this is a pay site, but looks very nice: meal categories include everyday meals, dieter, allergy meals, diabetic meals, and a 10-day free trial is offered.


There are cookbooks that have recipes for one and/or two people. A cookbook that has recipes for two is good because you can halve the ingredients and cook for one, or you can cook the full recipe and save half for later.

A superficial google search found this book at amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Cooking-Cookbook-Katherine-Greenberg-Barbara/dp/1558670890

This particular book may not be to your taste or for your skill level, but check out the rating system (based on stars) just below the book title and if the book is rated (signified by the stars -- some are not rated) there will be reviews toward the bottom of the screen. Read the reviews; even the ones that do not favor the book can be useful because some people mention other books they like better, as is the case among reviewers of this book.

AND if you look at the prices listed beneath the title  you'll see "used starting at".... seek books that you can get for one penny plus shipping (I usually opt for this and if I don't like the book I give it away or list at pbs), or find the book you want and then search at PBS (I have found wonderful cookbooks here).

Notice also that there will be a selection of similar books -- in this case recipes for singles and for two -- displayed under "customers who bought this item also bought...". Using that tool you can find other books that may suit your tastes and skill level.

 At your house, you are the most important person, the star of the show. Enjoy your singularity and make meals wonderful and special.


Last Edited on: 8/27/09 11:16 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 10/10/2009 2:25 PM ET
Member Since: 9/29/2009
Posts: 1,260
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The Hungry girl cook books are great. They have most of their recipes designed for one person meals and so far in my own experience its all pretty easy to make.

Date Posted: 10/11/2009 12:32 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2006
Posts: 1,069
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I ordered the cookbook A MAN, A CAN, A PLAN   isbn 1579546072   for a friend of mine. She is the last to arrive home a few evenings a week from work and this is an easy cookbook that her husband uses sometimes so he can have supper ready. It is very simple, has loads of pictures, tells you exactly what you need---fast and easy. And the recipes they tried they enjoyed.  Even though it is geared to be simple for a man to use, it can be used by anyone.

Last Edited on: 10/11/09 12:38 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/12/2009 1:53 PM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2007
Posts: 13,991
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"Hungry Girl" and "A Man A Can etc as mentioned above are excellent.

Also, if you use your local library, check the cookbook section. There are many books at mine geared for the solo diner.....I love trying out a cookbook like that before making a money committment to buy it.

Date Posted: 10/14/2009 12:25 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 8,411
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I agree with the Hungry Girl recs!  :)

Date Posted: 10/17/2009 5:35 AM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2007
Posts: 1,157
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Cassie, I'm a single guy. I have to deal with the same issue.

First, realize that being single doesn't mean you have to cook for one. Don't cook for one. Cook for twelve. Seriously, it's 90% as much effort to cook for one as it is to cook for twelve, so just make a ton of food when you cook, eat one portion, and package and freeze the rest in individual servings so when you come home you can take out one serving and heat it up. Soups work well for this, as do stews. Stews are very easy to prepare in a crock pot, too. Think about it this way: if you cook a few times a week and make a lot and freeze the extra, quickly you'll have a freezer full of multiple selections of quality homemade food you can just heat and eat. It's also great for unexpected guests: "Oh hi! I was just going to have dinner. Would you like beef stew or leek and potato soup? Or I might have some chicken cordon bleu left, let me see..." Also, pasta dishes, if refrigerated and covered with plastic wrap or in tupperware, will last up to 4 or 5 days easily, so you can supplement your frozen bounty with a fresh pasta dish prepared once or twice a week.

Second, let me recommend "Microwaving Meals in 30 Minutes", by Barbara Methven. It's available on PBS right now as I write this. It's a microwave cookbook from about 1980, back when people took cooking with the microwave seriously, instead of thinking of it as a device for reheating coffee and pizza and making popcorn. The book is all about meals that you can prepare in the microwave quickly and easily, and it has an intro which discusses meal planning. All the books in the series have great looking food and good recipes. 

Cook's Illustrated has several books you might be interested in as well. "The Best 30 Minute Recipe", "The Best Make-Ahead Recipe", "Cooking For Two", etc. You can find them on amazon or you can google their web site. A friend of mine who is a very serious gourmet has been raving to me about how great "cooking for two" is.

Remember that while you're single is a perfect time to experiment with gourmet cooking. Buy a Julia Child book and start making masterpieces! (I recommend you start with "The Way To Cook" instead of "Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 1" however. It's more approachable.) Go wild! Since there's nobody waiting for you to serve dinner except you, you can take your time to learn and improve. A friend of mine decided about a year ago that he wanted to improve his cooking, and in that time he has gone from "let's get a burger at BK" to churning out fabulous gourmet meals that any fine french restaurant would be proud to serve, and he's having fun doing it. Go be adventurous and enjoy it!

Date Posted: 11/29/2009 11:02 PM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2009
Posts: 7,620
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Last Edited on: 8/21/12 12:29 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/7/2010 11:02 PM ET
Member Since: 6/29/2009
Posts: 53
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I was a single mom for years & even when not I enjoy FOOD to much to eat out very often!  I totally agree with cooking more than you need, and freezing it.  Yahoo has a group called frozen assets which is fantastic & experts help you.  First of all, don't be afraid to jump in.  Do get yourself a George forman grill or similar;  that is what the best restaurants use & will make everything taste wonderful! (saves $ on electricity as well!)

Find out about spices: dill, lemon pepper, rosemary etc can usually be found in "bulk" sections of stores; get a tiny bit to try to see what you like.  Once you start, it will be easy to do. Soups are so easy to make and so delicious, I don't know why anyone buys canned! When I first tried baking bread, I could never make "white" bread; did'nt stop me tho; learned  to use part wheat & white & its wroked every time!  Yes, you will have disastors but it's part of life!

Don't think "its to hard" because it really isn't ; If you have a friend or neighbor see if they will help you or work together one day a month to "cook" for a day (and then freeze); I also make the "mixes" up ahead: so only have to add oil, eggs, etc: the net is wonderful to get recipes from; including bar b q sause recipes: soon you'll be baking up a storm!  

Seriously depending on what you put on chicken, pork chops, fish: it can taste entirely different. Keep the ones you love in a recipe box. Do try yams,  sweet potatoes: just prick with fork,   put on baking sheet & cook like baked potatoes;  they "ooze" so you need a sheet. Try the Grand Reserve Balsamic Vinegar; Best I have ever come across; superb flavor;  and salads I love are made from spinach: adding green onions, tomatos, avacado, etc;  Do get yourself a pepper  mill & use fresh ground pepper; same with sea salt; I use the pink Himalayan salt & its superb.

You can find cloned or just like recipes for your favorite foods on line: most are very good. When possible, buy the freshest ingredients: like from local farmers markets; oh, the difference between home grown carrots even as opposed to cello wrapped is amazing.

Date Posted: 2/1/2010 8:31 AM ET
Member Since: 6/22/2009
Posts: 784
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Thanks for all the great ideas everyone!

Date Posted: 2/2/2010 2:32 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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I cook for myself also and freeze the leftovers or eat the same stuff for a few  meals in a row or over a 3 days or so. I did find a cookbook once for cooking for 1-2 and the darned thing had crazy measurements that would have taken forever to measure..like someone just took a recipe and divided it by 8 or something. I know allrecipes.com lets you change the number of servings but some of those  measurements are 'strange' too or would waste part of a can of something.