Cooking for one can sometimes be a difficult task, but with a little careful planning it doesn’t have to be, and it sure beats eating something out of a can or a box or the frozen food section. You can easily prepare a meal for one that you would be happy to serve special company. And you can set a beautiful table for one with some great thrift store finds. I love collecting plates and am on the lookout for sweet ones everywhere I go. Most can be found for less than a dollar. The same is true of pretty goblets and flatware. So for now, YOU are the honored guest. Set a table with a pretty little plate and linen napkin and invite yourself to a meal made for a very special person – YOU!
Pancakes for One
Who doesn’t love pancakes? This little recipe is a gem and they whip up in a jiffy! So grab the Sunday paper, squeeze some fresh orange juice and brew a pot of coffee and get cooking. Sunday morning never tasted so good.
1 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ T sugar
¼ tsp salt
¾ c milk
1 T melted butter
Additional butter for griddle or skillet
Whisk together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine egg, milk and melted butter. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix (there will be lumps, but that’s ok)
Heat griddle or skillet and coat well with additional butter. Drop with ladle on hot griddle and turn when golden. Serve with butter and syrup.
These are also delicious with the addition of chopped nuts, blueberries, or chocolate chips
Ground Beef Filling Done Three Ways
These three great fillings can be used a multitude of ways. Make them ahead and freeze them in individual serving portions. Remove from freezer and use following these suggestions, or make up your own creations. The sky’s the limit!
This first filling is great for making stuffed peppers! Just hollow out colored peppers, and place in baking dish with a little water. Spoon in filling and top with cheese. Bake uncovered in 350 oven until warmed through and cheese is melted. It can also be used in burritos, on nachos, in scrambled eggs, even stuffed potatoes or zucchini.
1 lb. ground beef
½ tsp salt
½ tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp garlic powder
1 c cooked rice
1 10 oz. can black beans
½ c frozen corn
Water to moisten
Brown beef and onion and drain well. Return to skillet and add seasonings. Stir in rice, beans and corn and enough salsa to coat and moisten. If additional moisture is needed, stir in a little water. Garnish with cilantro and shredded cheese
Try this one in a couple of stuffed pasta shells or make mini lasagna rolls using lasagna noodles or zucchini sliced in long planks. Put it atop a thick slice of French bread for a mini pizza or use it as a Bruschetta topping. Or simply over your favorite cooked pasta shape.
1 lb. ground beef
1 c spaghetti sauce
2 t Italian seasoning
¾ tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper
3 T Parmesan
½ c Italian Blend cheese
Brown beef and drain. Stir in onion and seasonings and warm through. Season with salt and pepper and toss with Parmesan and Italian Blend cheese.
This last filling might be the most versatile one yet. Serve it over Lo Mein noodles, in lettuce wraps or make a stir fry with the addition of some Chinese style veggies like snow peas, bean sprouts or baby corn.
1 lb. ground beef
1 T oil
½ red bell pepper-chopped
1 medium onion-chopped
2 cloves garlic-finely minced
4 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp Sriracha or other hot sauce
2 tsp minced fresh ginger or about ¾ tsp powdered ginger
2 tsp honey
1 tsp vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste
14 oz. shredded cabbage
Brown ground beef in oil until cooked. Add vegetables (except cabbage) and cook until wilted. Combine soy sauce, hot sauce, ginger, honey, vinegar, sesame oil and salt and pepper in small bowl. Stir to combine and pour over cooked meat and vegetables. Stir and heat until through. Stir in cabbage and cook until just slightly wilted.
*Ground Turkey or Chicken may be substituted for the beef in any of these recipes.
And we aren’t finished with these three great fillings, just yet! They can also be transformed into soups in a snap. Just add one of your prepared fillings to a pot with a little broth (chicken or beef) and customize the additional ingredients to make a delicious soup.
To the Mexican Filling and broth add some additional corn, tomatoes or black beans, top with some tortilla chips and avocado and a sprinkling of cheese
To the Italian Filling and broth add some fresh vegetables like zucchini, tomatoes (canned or fresh) or green beans, top with some shredded mozzarella and basil.
To the Asian Filling and broth add snow peas, carrots, ginger, garlic and bean sprouts and sprinkle with a few green onions
Countertop Tomato Sauce
You will love this one! A fix and forget it sauce you prepare in the morning, and let it “cook” on your countertop all day. When ready to serve, boil some pasta, make a nice salad and pour yourself a glass of wine. In ten minutes, dinner is done!
6 medium tomatoes (cherry tomatoes can also be used)
3-6 cloves garlic (depending on your taste) – crushed
½ c olive oil
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy)
1 T dried oregano
1 c loosely packed basil leaves
Core tomatoes and tear into pieces into a large bowl. (If using cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half) Add crushed garlic cloves, olive oil and seasonings. Mash lightly with spoon. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave on counter for 8 hours. When ready to serve, boil pasta and drain. Immediately toss pasta with parmesan cheese and top with sauce. Garnish with additional basil if desired.
In the next issue, we will be exploring more fun ways to cook for one.
Christy Johnson, is a native Texan, transplanted to a small rural town in south central Nebraska. Married and a mother of two wonderful daughters, her motto for life is “Bloom Where You Are Planted” She loves cooking, gardening, reading and rescuing animals in need. Their farm family currently includes 1 dog, ten cats, two Quaker parrots and 10 hens. And a happy family it is!