20 Something: Cooking for One

So, I’ve finally started making some small in-roads into cooking at home again. I used to cook all the time when I lived with my boyfriend. Cooking for two is actually quite easy, especially when the second person consuming the meal eats as much as he did. Cooking for one sucks. It’s made more difficult by the fact that no matter if my only meal of the day has consisted of half a honey bun and a cup of coffee, I will still only manage to eat as if I were a mouse who had recently gorged on the entire pantry of a wealthy family.

I love food. I like the way a good dish can fill the kitchen with both delicious heat and wonderful fragrance. I love taking a bunch of unappetizing ingredients and mixing them together to create something tasty. Cooking really is fascinating in that raw noodles look like something a peasant might use to plug up holes in the wall, but when boiled, and then smothered in something creamy, they are fantastic. This idea especially applies to meat. I’m looking at you, chicken.

Despite my love of food, my lack of ability to eat much of it often makes me opt out of real cooking these days. I could save the extras for lunch the next day, I suppose. However, when I was a kid, I often refused to eat leftovers. As I grew older, I began to appreciate the convenience and now I basically never leave my grandparents without something in a tupperware container. Still, somehow I have retained that younger aversion to reheated food. I do save leftovers, and my fears that they won’t be as good the second time often prove unfounded, yet it still serves as a barrier to cooking. If it were anyone else, I would most likely use the word “lazy,” but because I am talking about myself, I’ll go with the term “energy-conscious.”

However, this evening, I decided to cook. Mostly because I got out chicken to thaw in the fridge the other night, and it would probably be worthless if I didn’t cook it today to be safe. So, tonight I made a lovely chicken and mushroom dish that I found on the allrecipes app, which incidentally is my go-to for new recipes. The backlog of things that I have saved to my recipe box but still have not tried is growing weekly despite my reluctance to cook. I usually just whip up a pasta side when I bake chicken, but last week I found a recipe for broccoli bites on Pinterest, and I decided that the bag of frozen broccoli had been taking up space in the freezer for long enough now.

The chicken was scrumptious. The broccoli bites were too salty, not enough cheesy, so that needs to be tinkered with on my part. Granted, I didn’t bother measuring anything for that one, so if anyone uses that recipe, perhaps stick a bit more to the measurements suggested, and it’ll be fine. (Also, I think the recipe calls for grated cheese, but I used shredded because it’s what I had on hand). Now, fingers crossed that those both reheat well because despite cutting the recipes, (in half for the chicken, and by an undecided fraction on the broccoli) I still have too much food. I did offer it to my roommate, though. So, maybe he’ll take it off my hands later.

Unfortunately, I did not have the foresight to photograph the food before either a) eating it, or b) putting it in the fridge, so no one has to pretend to care what my dinner looked like. However, I do recommend both of these to any adventurous spirits. They’re both pretty simple recipes. But tasty. And after all, that’s the most important thing for food to be.

Random Photo: Ok, so I used to be one of those people who takes pictures of their food. Thus, I have a backlog. Here’s some salmon with super runny hollandaise sauce. First (and last) attempt.

Salmon with Hollandaise Sauce. And pasta side.

Salmon with Hollandaise Sauce. And pasta side.

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