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By Thea Theresa English

Strategies for cooking solo

Cooking for one is a challenge, but it can be done with meal planning, creativity and wise shopping strategies. If you cook only for yourself, you should have a well stocked pantry, since this helps resist the temptation to buy food every day, and it helps you get creative in the kitchen and not keep making the same dishes every day. Some pantry essentials include eggs, milk, butter, meats, frozen produce, rice and bread.

Freeze those meals

Another cool strategy is to freeze meals so that you can take out as much as you need at a time. A slow cooker is one of the best ways to prepare meals to place in the freezer. Another idea is to freeze ingredients so that when it is time to cook, you will have the right ingredients for single serving meals. When freezing meals, the best containers to use are plastic zipper bags or plastic bowls with lids. Mason jars can also be used.

Recipe modification

For those who cook only for themselves, recipe modification is a great strategy. These persons can reduce the amount of ingredients they use or prepare mostly recipes that are designed for one to two people. By doing this the cooks are not wasting food and the meals will still be delicious. Another benefit is that it keeps the pantry full longer.

Shop once a week

To reduce the time you spend at the store, it is a good idea to shop once a week or month for key ingredients that can be used to prepare multiple meals. If you buy apples, you can prepare a different dessert each day. Or if you purchase chicken leg quarters, you can have a different entree each day. This allows experimentation with a single food staple.

Think one-dish meals

When it comes to cooking solo, one-dish meals work well. Some examples include lasagna, chili, bean soup, pot roast, roast chicken, and baked macaroni and cheese. These dishes are easy to prepare and can be frozen successfully.

Sandwich meats in bulk

Sometimes solo cooks do not feel like eating hot meals. In these cases they can buy sandwich meats in bulk along with breads. This is a healthy and convenient way to eat at home. Salami, bologna, ham and smoked turkey are popular choices.

Speedy desserts

Why make a big cake or pie when you can have speedy desserts? Purchase a store-bought small cake and have it with berries and cream. And here is a recipe for another speedy dessert for the solo cook: Nutella banana ice cream. In a food processor combine 5 frozen bananas, 3/4 cup of Nutella and vanilla. Pulse until well blended.

Cooking for one person is a challenge, but with the above-mentioned strategies solo cooks can enjoy great meals without the hassle. These individuals can talk to other solo cooks and get advice. Solo cooks are sustainable in their approach to meal preparation and it saves them money long term. These cooks understand how to stretch their pantries for weeks or months.

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