Tuesday, March 22, 2011

dinner for one

You know what I hate about Andrew being away? Whether he's away for long periods of time or just for an evening, I hate dinner. I hate it. Cooking for one seems like SO much work and since I'm only a fan of leftovers for a day or two, I end up with a lot of food that I can never finish.

I hate it.

When Andrew was at OCS, I don't really know what I ate. There were some frozen dinners. And some sandwiches. But there were also some spoonfuls of peanut butter and some rootbeer floats and some take out. There was a lot of take out.

No bueno.

There are a lot of reasons why I wanted to do things differently this time and Andrew made me promise to take better care of myself, so I've been trying super super hard to make healthy dinners a priority. He's been gone for 11 days, so let's see where I've netted out, shall we?

Day 1: Leftover Mellow Mushroom.
Day 2: A salad with avocado, mandarin oranges and almonds with a baked potato.
Day 3: Homegroup! A pasta dish with sausage, caprese salad and garlic bread
Day 4: Sauteed scallops with whole wheat pasta and avocado
Day 5: Leftovers.
Day 6: Panera, just to get out of the house. Smoked turkey panini with chicken noodle soup.
Day 7: Friday Night Page Night (Formerly known as Friday Night Date Night)! I woke up from a nap craving chinese, so I went for a mongolian grill where you pick all of the fresh ingredients and they cook it up in front of you. YUM.
Day 8: Don't judge me, but I had a cheeseburger from Sonic. I can't even begin to tell you how happy it made me.
Day 9: Southwest salad with avocado, black beans, corn and tortilla chips and a sweet potato.
Day 10: Homegroup! Lasagna with salad and bread. And some ice cream.
Day 11: Grits and some leftover salad.

Minus the whole cheeseburger thing and the fact that I've eaten out three times, I'm doing okay. Right? I mean, there's room for improvement but it's not a rootbeer float. And I'll be the first to tell you that weekends are my weakness - it's so tempting to just eat out. But I'm working on it!

Tell me, folks. What are some things that a single-for-now gal can eat without a lot of fuss?

(PS: Can you believe I just remembered all of my dinners for the last week and a half? I'm a machine.)

5 friends said...:

  1. black beans. all the time. black bean soup. black bean salsa. black beans on salad. black beans by themselves. black bean burritos.

    tacos. soft tacos. hard tacos. taco salad. taco mess with chips.

    eggs. fried with grits. scrambled with cheddar, onions, garlic and green pepper. made into a frittata with garlic, parmesan, parsley and leftover pasta.

    homemade teriyaki. steak plus peppers and onions plus ginger, garlic, onion, ground mustard, and soy sauce. use the leftover sauce to pour over broccoli.

    aaaand that's pretty much what i eat. that, and cookout. it's cheap and on my way home from work and i can get three meals out of four and a half bucks. good luck!!

  2. Wow. You two r impressive!!

  3. First of all, I think you are doing awesome! I have a horrible time motivating myself to cook for just me. One thing you might try is freezing stuff in single servings. That way you can make your favorites and freeze 3 to 7 add'l servings and just pull them out over the next few weeks. As for one night options, I am not a good one to ask...freezer pizza is one of my favorite foods...but don't tell!

  4. The freezer is your friend!

    I like to make a batch quesadillas and freeze them. My favorite is Monterrey chicken (cooked, cut-up chicken + bbq sauce + sauteed onions + crumbled crispy bacon + shredded Monterrey Jack cheese). Make a whole batch on a Sunday afternoon and freeze individually. Add lettuce, salsa, olives or avocado (or whatever) to make it a meal.

    Heat your oven and bake six or seven potatoes at once. Then wrap them individually in foil and freeze. Thaw and warm up (super quick), then top with whatever you like + a salad. You can do this with sweet potatoes too.

    This may seem like madness for one person, but buy a whole chicken and roast it. Sunday afternoon...what else do you have to do? ;-) Then cut it up for meals all week. Top a Caesar salad, toss with a single serving of pasta and sauce, build a chicken-salad sandwich, grill up quesadillas (see above!), or make a healthy wrap (chicken + shredded carrot + lettuce + chopped cukes + hoisin-mayo dressing).

    I sometimes make a batch of pasta salad or a bowl of fruit salad for the week. Some refrigerated salads (bean salads, pasta salads) taste better every day. A bean salad with some feta and parsley is great as a sandwich stuffing in a pita with some lettuce.

    Just some of my favorites. These are my go-to lunches for the kids, but I don't see why they couldn't also be single-gal dinners.

    I agree with Laura: Black beans! Any and every way.

    Yes, we're all impressed that you remembered your entire meal plan for the last week+. :-)

  5. Page,
    My biggest challenge when Brian is gone is: protein! I love fruits and veggies (& fixing single servings of those = easy), but that's really not enough to sustain me, much less you and your growing baby. :) At Costco, though, I stumbled on frozen, single-serving edamame - that only take three minutes to cook in the microwave. Protein genius.

    I also worked out a trade with a good friend of mine, whose husband was also deployed: I would babysit her kids while she was on call (she's a pediatrician), and she would cook dinner for me the nights I was at her house. So, it might be worth checking with spouses of other guys that are gone, to see if you could trade off cooking once or twice a week? That way, you have good company AND good food.

    When all else fails: cereal. Or, I second the taco lovers above!


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