Saturday, June 25, 2011

Gourmet Meals for One!

Recently, I've been trying new things to motivate myself to cook at home for one. Normally, by the time I get home from work, I'm completely exhausted. The last thing I want to do is cook just for me, then have to deal with a lot of left overs. Times like these, its so much easier to just order in or pick up something on the way home. But few days of that and I start to feel unwell- stomach goes completely out of whack. Not to mention, my waistline has no control these days and I'm not fitting in to any of my work clothes.

The solution was to eat healthier at home, but that doesn't solve the problem of never being able to cook enough just for one. Grocery shopping here is definitely tailored for families or couples, not for single ppl with small appetites. I've been freezing left overs a lot but now my freezer is about to explode, I can barely close the door. I was in a similar predicament the other day when I thawed out a pack of chicken breast. It was almost 2 lbs worth and I didn't really feel like having left overs for the next 3 days! Here is what I did:

Dinner on night one: Fresh pesto and tomato pasta with grilled chicken

Lunch 2 days later: Pesto chicken salad sandwich

Because I also had a fresh Basil plant that really needed to be used, I made a big batch of pesto. I used the pesto with pasta the first night and then mixed it in with cream cheese and diced chicken to make a gourmet chicken salad. Because the pesto is so flavorful and had olive oil and cheese, I added a small amount of cream cheese and even smaller amount of mayo. This was not only a more flavorful chicken salad, it was healthier without all the mayo I normally use.

For the pasta:

I boiled enough spaghetti for dinner and a small lunch portion. I steamed the chicken without anything except a pinch of salt (2 medium breast pieces) and diced them in 1 inch cubes. I chopped up some tomato and then tossed everything together with the pesto. It was fresh, light and quick.

For the chicken salad:

I steamed the remaining chicken breast (3 medium and 1 small breast pieces) with just a little bit of olive oil, salt and garlic. Once cooked through, I stored it in the fridge- in an airtight container with all of the remaining juices from the pan. Two days later, I diced it up added some pesto, cream cheese, celery, tiny bit of salt and a tiny bit of mayo. The chicken salad is definitely more than one portion, but this can be had as a sandwich one time and then over a bed of lettuce and cucumbers as a refreshing salad the next day. It can also be stored in the fridge for a couple days or in the freezer for up to a month.

Hope this was helpful for you single people out there. We don't always have to resort to hot dogs or Ramen Noodles when we cook for one! There are healthier and easy options, it just takes a bit of thinking and planning.

Happy eating everyone!