Cooking for One – Simple Meals (and a Taco Salad Recipe)

Cooking for one can be fun with simple meals. What foods do you enjoy? Make them part of your weekly menus.

What to Do to Make Cooking for One More Interesting

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Don’t like cooking because it’s just you that you’re preparing the meals for? Here are a few pointers to help you start enjoying cooking:

  • First, write down a list of foods you like for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
  • Look in your fridge, freezer, and pantry to see which of the items you already have on hand.
  • Next, write a grocery list of the foods you need, and plan a week’s menu. Keep it simple so that you don’t become overwhelmed.
  • After your grocery list is done (and before you drive to the supermarket), make a note of the kitchen cooking appliances you use. Consider purchasing one that is convenient for the person cooking for one – like a small air fryer (I’ve cooked with a small Sam’s Club air fryer, perfect size for one person). You can cook all kinds of food in it such as a grilled cheese sandwich, chicken (wings, breast, drumsticks, etc.), hamburger patty, and on and on. You probably have an electric griddle. If not, think about buying one. You can cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the griddle (I’ve had to do that before when a stove my husband and I had needed repair.)
  • Add a few entertaining table-top decor pieces you like to your shopping list – for entertaining yourself as well as guests. For example, choose a pretty candle that smells pleasant, a set of placemats, or even two new colorful plates to serve a meal for yourself and a guest.
  • When you come back home with the groceries, new cooking appliance, and/or a table-top decorative item, you’ll be all set for your new cooking adventure.
  • It’s time for you to follow through with the first day’s menu plan.

Keep It Simple

When planning food for the week, keep it simple. Perhaps, you cooked big meals in the past for your family but now there’s only you. Some days eating alone seems boring, and other days you’re busy and don’t feel up to cooking. Let’s face it, none of us feel like cooking on hectic days. Fill the freezer with easy-to-cook breakfasts, vegetables, and nutritious entrees that can be microwaved or cooked in the toaster.

Buy easy-to-fix refrigerated foods like cottage cheese, string cheese, carrot and celery sticks (they both taste good dipped in great peanut butter – yes, even carrot sticks!), and other light meal items. Stock your pantry with canned tuna and chicken. Simple freezer, fridge, and pantry foods are important to keep on hand. However, don’t be afraid to venture out to experiment on different foods and cooking appliances that make cooking for one easier and more enjoyable.

Breakfast

Breakfast is so easy and doesn’t take long to cook. Pop a slice of bread in the toaster if that’s all you want. Fry an egg for protein and/or cook oatmeal for fiber. If you like pancakes, cook a small batch. You don’t even have to make them from scratch. Remember, you want to keep cooking simple. So buy a boxed pancake mix, and mix only half the serving size. Or, make a large batch and freeze what you don’t eat. Then you’ll have already-made pancakes that can be microwaved, an easy and fast breakfast. Use your favorite syrup, light a candle, and sit down to enjoy a delicious breakfast.

The following photo is of a boxed pancake-mix breakfast, a half serving. These are mini pancakes and were very light and fluffy. Tasted yummy!

.pancakes

Mini Pancakes for One

Lunch and Dinner

Foods prepared for lunch can also be good for dinner. No need to cook complete meals for both. Eat a light lunch from your freezer, fridge, and pantry foods. Or, eat leftovers. Like taco salad, for instance. Think of all the different meals you can come up with from ground beef mixed with your choice of beans, onions, and any other vegetables you like for a taco salad.

 

Suggestions for a week with taco meat:

  1. Day One – taco salad
  2. Day Two – tacos
  3. Day Three – taco burger
  4. Day Four – taco quesadilla
  5. Day Five – taco nachos
  6. Day Six – taco Frito pie
  7. Day Seven – taco soup

Here’s an easy-to-make taco salad recipe with hamburger meat cooked in a pressure cooker:

taco salads
Taco Salad

This is a sponsored post with Santa Fe Seasons. Thank you for supporting the companies I collaborate with to bring you tasty new recipes. I was not financially compensated for this post. I received samples for recipe purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience and recipes that I have created.  

Taco Salad

Taco salad with pressure cooked ground beef

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 12

Ingredients

  • 3 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 tablespoon Santa Fe Seasons Desert Blend Grill Rub and Seasoning Blend of Santa Fe's Favorite Herbs & Spices
  • 1 tablespoon Santa Fe Seasons Six Seasonings
  • 1 can Southwestern pinto beans
  • 1 bag shredded lettuce
  • 1 bag shredded cheese
  • 1 tomato, chopped

Instructions

  1. Cook the ground beef in a pressure cooker with the lid open (Farberware pressure cooker, Sear/Roast mode) with chopped onions.

  2. Cook with the lid open until the hamburger meat is done, stirring often.

  3. Stir in the beans when the meat is done, and cook for another five minutes.

  4. Make a bed of lettuce in a serving bowl, and add a serving of the meat mixture on top.

  5. Top with chopped tomatoes, shredded cheese, and any other desired toppings.

Recipe Notes

Don't have Santa Fe Seasons seasonings? Order from Apple Canyon Gourmet, Inc., 800-866-4695. Or choose your favorite taco salad seasonings.

When I cook hamburgers or ground beef for myself when my husband is on the road (he is a professional semi driver), I still make extra – leftovers for the week and for the freezer. That’s why this recipe includes three pounds of meat. However, you may prefer to adapt the recipe and cook less ground beef. Season according to your tastes.

If I cooked this recipe with the Santa Fe Seasons seasonings for one pound of ground beef, I would use approximately one-half teaspoon of the Desert Blend and one teaspoon of the Six Seasonings. Desert Blend includes sea salt in the ingredients. The Six Seasonings blend, however, doesn’t contain any salt, and I LOVE its flavor. Therefore, if I go overboard with the Six Seasonings, the extra herbs and spices taste great to me.

seasonings
Santa Fe Seasons Six Seasonings

I discovered Santa Fe Seasons’ seasonings in New Mexico when traveling with my husband on road trips with him in the big rig. Six Seasonings has been my go-to seasoning ever since. I use it regularly in my recipes. After enjoying the Six Seasonings so much, I began to experiment with the Desert Blend. Though I don’t make a habit of cooking with much salt, I was pleased with the combination of the two blends in this taco meat recipe.

 

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