Honored Contributor
Posts: 14,000
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: New to cooking for 1..need advice

I'm not one to freeze cooked leftovers, so this advice is only for like-minded people. Buy your ground meat in one lb. packages.  Divide in half to make two meals out of it.  Here I will freeze the extra meat if I don't have another ground meat meal planned within a couple days.  For chili just add onions and green peppers after you brown the meat.  Then add one can of diced tomatoes and one can of your favorite beans.  I use taco seasoning for flavor.  This will give you two hearty meals for yourself or one if you really love chili.  I do the same for spaghetti, using 8 ounces of meat, onions and peppers,  and one jar of Paul Newman's sauce.  You will soon learn how to measure the amount of spaghetti noodles to boil, from 1/8 to 1/4 of the box.  I used to cook for one when DH was still working, often gone for three weeks at a time. 


Let me add my sympathy on the loss of your husband.  This board is a great place to find company and advice.  Its also a great way to pass extra time. 

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,740
Registered: ‎04-11-2010

Re: New to cooking for 1..need advice

So very sorry for your loss. Being on your own is hard but from my experience you will be able to cope and adjust over time.


As for cooking for one - cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery deli is a life saver. A chicken dinner the first day, baked potato (microwaved), veggies or salad and cranberry sauce. I buy one a week until I'm tired of chicken. Sandwiches, cut up chicken in spahetti (ziti, linguine), chicken salad, pieces added to microwave soup for a quick meal, for examples.


Rolls from the bakery. You'll find that full loaves of bread are impossible for one person to consume. I use one or two rolls and freeze one or two. Salads.


Deli sandwiches on bulky rolls. Make your own or buy one or two small subs from Subway type store. Small pizzas. Just some things for a quick meal at home. I also go through the drive-ups when I'm just too tired to cook. I omit or go easy on the fries. Cole slaw for a side dish.


Panera's menu is good for healthy choices. My small local grocery store has a prepared food section that's cooked with little or no salt and serves single servings.


One week of buying at a time. That's tough and the food industry likes family sized everything but you'll get the hang of it. Best wishes.





Honored Contributor
Posts: 15,843
Registered: ‎09-01-2010

Re: New to cooking for 1..need advice


My deepest sympathy in the loss of your husband and all the adjustments you are facing.   

I watched my mother go thru this same adjustment when my dad passed, and she actually benefitted health-wise from cooking and eating less of the heavy foods my dad loved.   

I do urge you to continue cooking, as my mother did not, and now at 87, with dementia, she can't.   It's actually been about 2 years since she was able to cook anything close to edible.  My brothers and I carry all food in to her now.    

It's easy to buy small packages of beef, chicken, or pork, freeze in individual portions, then do a one skillet meat and vegetable stir fry, or cook as a sheet pan meal in a toaster oven.   Quick fix frozen entrees are great occasionally, but the carbs and sodium catch up with you eventually.  


Some restaurant meals are enough for 2 servings.  My husband and I have used most of our restaurant gift cards in the last few months, by ordering a breakfast or lunch meal, and eating half then, and the rest of the meal in the evening.  

I'm used to cooking for 6, and am not always in the mood to cook for 2, so an occasional take out meal makes things a lot easier for us.  

I've really tried to help my husband see the food choices we can make at this stage in life, in the event I go first and he has to figure out this same situation.   


Regular Contributor
Posts: 218
Registered: ‎03-12-2010

Re: New to cooking for 1..need advice

Sharke and everyone....thank you so much for your advice. I have put my husband and children first and now I feel I can finally concentrate on myself without feeling guilty.

Every decision I made was what he wanted from where we lived to the color of our car.

I appreciate you all being so honest with me. I've felt alone in this journey but now I see I'm not.

I also went the cremation route but that's what he wanted. 
God bless all you terrific women.......marmot

Valued Contributor
Posts: 550
Registered: ‎08-01-2010

Re: New to cooking for 1..need advice

[ Edited ]

So sorry for your loss.  


Depending on what it is, you can usually freeze it.  Potatoes and pasta don't freeze that well but you can adjust those as you plan your meal. Everything in my freezer is individually wrapped so I don't have to have the same thing every day.


I've found that one box of pasta is 5 meals for me.  I open the box, take out a fistfull, put the rest in my L&L until next time, and I have just enough for one meal.  If I get a pack of pork chops I have one for the current meal and wrap the other 2 or 3 individually, freeze them, and take them out one at a time as needed for one meal.  If I make a pot of broth (I save all chicken and meat bones) I have some for the current meal and freeze the rest in individual containers.  Also, I add carrots & potatoes to the soup as I take it out of the freezer so the juices from the carrots & potatoes flavor the soup as they cook.  Sometimes I add a fistfull of pasta as it cooks too.  If I open a jar of pasta sauce, I use what I need at the moment and then freeze the rest in small containers and take out them out one at a time when needed.  You'll get the hang of it.


As others have said, the freezer is your friend.    :smileyhappy:



Honored Contributor
Posts: 13,637
Registered: ‎07-15-2016

Re: New to cooking for 1..need advice



It took me a while to get used to it..  


There are a lot of "cookng for one" cookbooks, and online recipes.  


Check them out.  Google "allrecipes cookng for one" - it's a good place to start.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 13,510
Registered: ‎05-23-2010

Re: New to cooking for 1..need advice

@marmot24 @Amy's frozen meals are delicious and healthy. 

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,548
Registered: ‎08-28-2010

Re: New to cooking for 1..need advice

My better half travels a lot for work.  When it is going to be just me, I will halved a recipe and freeze the excess.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 7,666
Registered: ‎03-30-2014

Re: New to cooking for 1..need advice

Cooking for one, for me, often means having less variety per meal.  It evens out, but just can't see baking 1/2 a potato for instance.  Over the week it is fine, but per meal ?

Honored Contributor
Posts: 10,098
Registered: ‎03-26-2010

Re: New to cooking for 1..need advice

@marmot24 ....I am so sorry for your loss and understand how lonely you must feel.  I can't relate to that situation yet.   But, I remember when my father passed away and my mother was suddenly alone for the first time.  It is not easy and no one can ease your pain.  I have read many good suggestions here but you just have to take it a day at a time.  I do remember my mother purchased a small toaster oven to use.  She was able to reheat leftovers or frozen meals easily instead of using big oven.  She also purchased a small electric griddle (Presto-Amazon) and loved fixing grilled cheese sandwiches.  We started to call her our mouse she ate so many!   I do think the store delis now are a big help.  I could go through and easily get good meals....just to tide you over until you feel like cooking again. 

Most important....get your rest....make yourself eat to keep strength up and stay healthy. Hugs to you!