My husband passed away in November, after a long illness. He was my constant companion in my cooking and easting adventures, my cheerleader and sous chef, so figuring out how to cook for one isn't easy.
I have strategies.
- Some days I eat a big late lunch out and don't much bother with dinner.
- Some days I make a real dinner, just as if I were cooking for two, with smaller portions. This works if I pick something I really feel llike eating and it isn't too complicated to cook -- like grilled lamb chops and a baked sweet potato with a salad.
- Some days I make a big pot of something, planning to eat it off and on for a while. This seems to work reallly well for my favorite vegetarian pasta sauce, not so well with soups which I quickly tire of. I think I'll try freezing them in one-meal portions.
- Sometimes I eat junk food. My favorite is Stouffer's Pizza Breads. They're not really bad for you, except that they have so many calories. I think I'm going to learn how to make my own pizzas witih less cheese and healthier toppings -- I like things like anchovies and garlic which aren't mainstream enough to turn up in the supermarket freezer but are much better for you.
And sometimes I give in and invite someone over for "dinner." This works really well when I have plenty of time for shopping and planning and cooking so I can do it in stages -- no helper on hand. So far I've found several meals that suit my new style and my guests. No doubt I'll find more.
Tea Party - Don't let anyone tell you this is only for ladies. Remember that serving wine (or champagne) is entirely appropriate, along with the tea. I usually provide lots of tea sandwiches, incluiding things like smoked salmon and Boursin cheese on dark bread and sweet onion rounds on white bread with mayonnaise, dipped in chopped parsley, both filling and suitable for gentlemen callers. We also offer scones with jam or lemon curd and butter and/or clotted cream and some kind of cakes or cookies. By the time everyone has enjoyed all this, dinner is out of the question. Soon I think I'll add someothing a bit more substantial -- perhaps a casserole of some sort like the fancy macaroni and cheese with ham bits that we used to get in Vienna.
Roast of Something - This is lots of impressive food for not much work. I serve a salad first -- usually Caesar or Mixed greens with goat cheese croutons -- and then a roasted leg of lamb (boned) or a pork loin roast or a beef delmonico (boneless rib roast), cooked as rare as I can get away with (so the leftovers are good cold), with either a pommes gratin or roasted veggies (potatoes, parsnips, carrots, garlic), and something green (asparagus, green beans, broccolli . . .). Fruit (usually mimxed berries) or something from the bakery for dessert. If I'm very ambitious I might make an apple or pear crisp.
I'm new at this so I know I need to get better. No one with 5,000 cookbooks is going to stick to such a limited routine for long!