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    Posted: 01 August 2012 at 12:21am
I'm heading into my fourth year of college and I will now have an apartment-type dorm, and with it, comes a kitchen. woo! 

Thing is, I really don't know how to cook for myself. Sure, I could make a decent meal for a few people, but I am having issues planning on what to cook for myself, or how to do it. Since many of you are a few years older than me (although a few people used to think I was 40, or something) and have probably cooked for yourselves at some point, I would like some advice. Recipes, suggestions, etc. I want something other than taylor ham, frozen hamburger patties and canned corned beef hash.

Bonus points if the ingredients don't need to be refrigerated or frozen. Freezer/fridge space is prime real estate and I'm sure I am going to get salmonella one day from poor preparation of chicken.

TL;DR: Recipes for cooking for one person, please. I can't live off of doritos.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote procarbinefreak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 August 2012 at 12:51am
I find it pretty tough to cook for one.  I used to cook up a lot of meals that revolved around pasta.  chicken parm is fairly easy, pound out a chicken breast a little bit, bread it, cook it through, toss that on top of some spaghetti with some sauce and cheese.  

I used to eat a lot of pork chops too since they seemed to go on sale often.  I would grab one of the bottled marinades that are near the ketchup in the grocery store for those, or just salt and pepper.  I used to do that, then bake a potato and load that up.  

One of my favorite go to meals is a crock pot meal, but it's not for one person at all.  you take a chuck roast... about 3-4 pounds, add one can of cream of mushroom soup, a packet of onion soup mix, and a soup can full of red wine if you have it.  throw it all in the slow cooker and cook on low for 10 hours or so.  When its done you can just shred the beef in the pot and serve over egg noodles or bread.  If you have room for leftovers, it reheats well so you can eat it for a few days.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote trytokeep_TEMPO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 August 2012 at 1:40am
...I grew up in a broken home so I know a thing or 2 about cheep food for 1. lets start with the geto basics :) hot dog-now u can vary this resiepe any way u want 2 lol ketchup mustard or if ur really feeling crazy u can throw a bun on the sucker lmao :0 but seriously just be broke and ud be amazed at what u come up with...left overs are the key though try 2 keep them simple so that u can change them up ie. if u make food with grownd beef try to make the beef plain or lightly seasoned so that tacos can become an extra topping on the next pizza u order not the best example but u get the point, hamberger helper is great as far as Im concerned and yes I remember no fridge room(try creags list for a miny fridge)but they reheat great ull get the jist of it-if its a lil old throw some water in it and cover it with a paper plate while u nooke it. but the dry food-BE CREATIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!-I cant stress that enough.-chilly its good just plain, or eat it with crackers, throw some graded cheese on top,cut up hot dogs and chuck them in there, there are currently like 4 difrent kinds of chily in my cubbard-hot-reg-walla walla onion-thick- be creative and make something that sounds good. now on 2 the pe-est-A-resist-on-ce romen.....romen is ur friend it comes in all different flavors and is quick easy and CHEEP!!! now let me drop some roman knoladge on u- plane romen is grubben but if u take it after u cook it (before u throw in the saus packet) and drain out all the water then sprinkle the packet over the cooked romen mix it in a bit take some beens-chilly whatever ur taste is bite a beef jurky stick into chunks and wrap it all into a tortilla oh man is that good, its a bit much 2 make and takes some time but once u figure out how u like it its soooooo good but most people would rather just get taco bell than try that, roman with egg,roman with peanut butter(sounds grose I know took me a few mo. to actually try it)just like a halfa spoon full per bag if that-mix it in. raveolies are ok,chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese,TV dinners(ya I know) u will get it down pat in a few mo. Im sure.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BARREL BREAK Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 August 2012 at 2:00am

Cooking is cooking, college or not. Buy your vegetables in season, learn to love beans (buy em dried and in bulk), rice, and stir-frying.

If your grocery store has reasonably priced bulk quinoa it is an excellent base, as along with some beans it provides a full protein load as well as essentially filling in on all rice-related duties, and it's extra-easy to cook to boot, just put it in a pot with twice its volume in water or stock, spice, bring to a boil and then cover and put on low until done. Top with roasted or stir-fried vegetables, beans, lime and some variety of sauce and you have a complete meal.

http://www.seriouseats.com/  http://budgetbytes.blogspot.com/ are a couple good places to just browse around and look for ideas. Especially like http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/dinner_tonight/

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tallen702 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 August 2012 at 2:01am
Originally posted by procarbinefreak procarbinefreak wrote:

I find it pretty tough to cook for one.


This! Hell, it's even tough to cook for two. I'm about ready to go ahead and have kids just so we don't waste so much food!

Seriously though, I'd get together with your roomie and figure on cooking a few nights a week (maybe 2 or 3?) and planning what you guys want so you can actually save money on food instead of buying enough to feed 4 but only eating half of it.

Start with pretty basic stuff and work your way up from there. PCF's Chic Parm suggestion is a good one. Also, remember that you don't have to cook stuff from scratch. It's just good to "doctor" RTU (ready-to-use) sauces and dishes. Most church and Jr. League-style cookbooks are based around that idea anyway. You aren't going to become a great chef, or even a restaurant quality cook, by cooking for yourself and a roomie or two, but you CAN become proficient enough to actually enjoy the process and both get better sustenance than you would at the dining hall and save some money in the long run.

Also, you will need to make sure you have Goya Adobo Seasoning in your kitchen and a cheap spice set from Macy's or some such with Italian seasoning, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, and herbs de provence if possible. Herbs (fresh or dried) make a world of difference. So does a little kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tallen702 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 August 2012 at 2:05am
Originally posted by BARREL BREAK BARREL BREAK wrote:

If your grocery store has reasonably priced bulk quinoa it is an excellent base, as along with some beans it provides a full protein load as well as essentially filling in on all rice-related duties


Actually, you don't need beans to complete the protein with quinoa like you would if you were using rice. Quinoa is the "miracle grain" in the fact that it contains all 20 amino acids necessary for a complete protein as well as abundant quantities of the 9 necessary for human dietary needs. That said, stick to white quinoa. Red and black take a lot longer to cook and can be less flavorful and a lot crunchier even when fully cooked.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BARREL BREAK Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 August 2012 at 2:07am

Tried to edit this into the first post but it got eaten by the s--m filter.

The class of food I recommend the most when cooking for one is soup. You can make a whole lot at once and it gets even better sitting in the fridge for a few days (in most cases). They range in difficulty from 'brain-dead slow cooker chili or beef stew' to 'pretty easy' in general. My go to meals in winter are Leek and Potato soup and Borscht, both are easy and cheap.

Originally posted by tallen702 tallen702 wrote:

Originally posted by BARREL BREAK BARREL BREAK wrote:

If your grocery store has reasonably priced bulk quinoa it is an excellent base, as along with some beans it provides a full protein load as well as essentially filling in on all rice-related duties


Actually, you don't need beans to complete the protein with quinoa like you would if you were using rice. Quinoa is the "miracle grain" in the fact that it contains all 20 amino acids necessary for a complete protein as well as abundant quantities of the 9 necessary for human dietary needs. That said, stick to white quinoa. Red and black take a lot longer to cook and can be less flavorful and a lot crunchier even when fully cooked.

Ah I was wondering about that. I do eat it without beans a lot, white quinoa has formed the base of my diet for the past year and a half and I keep finding new things to do with it.



Edited by BARREL BREAK - 01 August 2012 at 2:08am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mbro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 August 2012 at 3:16am
I hate cooking for one because I have to eat the same thing three days in a row. It would be four days but I lift 100k lbs a day so I eat a lot and am still in great shape.


My GF made me homemade mac and cheese this week and brought to my work. It was amazing but crap inducing befcause it had 3k kcal in it.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RoboCop Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 August 2012 at 10:07am
I lived in a house this past year while in college. This coming year, I am glad to be in the dorms again (RA job) and getting free food. We have really tasty food here and I need to make sure to portion it correctly to fulfill my fitness plans.

For food, I definitely used frozen food a lot. It's probably not the best thing for you, but it worked for me very well because there would be days I didn't have to cook. I would go to walmart and grab a big bag of frozen vegetables and frozen chicken breast. I would usually cook the chicken breast on the stove or use a george foreman grill. Cut it up or pre-cut it and put some sauce on it and mix it with vegetables. That was my go-to meal. I also had a lot of pb&j sandwiches. It sounds weird, but I would add a lot of baby spinach in the pb&j to give it more girth. It doesn't really affect flavor and spinach is great for you.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tallen702 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 August 2012 at 10:20am
Robo, there's actually nothing wrong with frozen foods. The problem is when you start getting into processed frozen foods. Then you start seeing the addition of high amounts of sodium and preservatives which (since it's frozen) aren't necessary. "Fresh frozen" foods such as plain chicken breast, fish, meats, and vegetables are actually just as good, if not better, for you as "fresh" items that you find in the cooler at the grocery store.

In fact, most seafood you purchase at the grocery store "fresh" is actually shipped frozen and then thawed for display.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote usafpilot07 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 August 2012 at 10:21am
1. Buy a George Foreman grill.

2. Buy some garlic salt, olive oil spray, and a couple different of the premade seasonings.

3. Buy a bag of frozen veggies that you prefer.

4. Buy the grains you prefer(rice, Mac n cheese, pasta)

Minimum freezer space, easy cooking/cleanup, easy portion control, variety is as easy as throwing on new seasonings and changing the grain.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SSOK Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 August 2012 at 10:25am
Its definitely portioning that is going to be a problem for me. It seems like a lot of people who don't have meal plans are either health freaks and eat well, or they are bums and order food out most of the time, probably spending more money than those with meal plans.

I was already planning on splitting dinner with my roomate a few nights a week if possible. Hamburger helper FTW.

Edit: i'm well aware of spices. My personal favorite is those mccormick grinder things. Great on everything.

If it turns out that I can't cook for myself, I'll just order a pallet or two of Tactical Bacon. Should last me til marriage.

Edited by SSOK - 01 August 2012 at 10:29am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RoboCop Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 August 2012 at 12:07pm
You will find making something, compared to getting a can of soup or a box mixture, will be much healthier. Heck the Campbell's soup is 2.5 servings per can and who just eats 1 serving from that? Oh and I just started using frozen fruit. I would add that to some cereal after thawing them out in the microwave some. Oh and for being healthy, I got some plain oatmeal and put fruit in it and topped it with agave nectar (honey substitute). I have been on a health craze and when you do that, you find what tastes good and is healthy.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote agentwhale007 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 August 2012 at 12:09pm
I've had almost the same thing to eat for the last few weeks during my weight loss streak: 

Breakfast is just coffee and a multivitamin. = ~100 calories

Lunch is two eggs cooked in just a little bit of non-stick spray, on a tortilla, covered in siracha sauce. = ~500 calories. 

Snack is one of a variety of 100 calorie packs, usually Chex Mix because it's awesome. 

Dinner is a romaine salad with grilled chicken and croutons, and an actually measured portion of dressing = ~750 calories.

Dessert is a cup of yogurt. = ~120 calories. 

That puts me at about 1,600 calories a day. I combine that with jogging/walking for a half hour a day, which negates the fact I drink about two or three beers in the evening so I can pretend my life is awesome. 

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Edited by agentwhale007 - 01 August 2012 at 12:14pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reb Cpl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 August 2012 at 3:09pm
Rice dishes. No refrigeration, and you can throw in just about ANY vegetables or meat and make a stir-fry.




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote impulse418 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 August 2012 at 5:46pm
Why is it hard to cook for 1? I prefer to make large batches, so I can just re-heat for a week.

Crock-Pot is essential. I also like large, deep, electric skillets.

Simple stews involving pinto beans, like someone said buy in dry bulk. Potatoes, ham, well whatever you want......

Chili is great in the cooler months, but sometimes I make it in the winter time.

I have been trying to get away from foods that contain hydrogenated oil in them. So all my hamburger and tuna helper needs to be given away.
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Drop an egg and one piece of cheese to jazz up ramen noodles
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote little devil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 August 2012 at 12:33pm
Somthing everyone should try, I ground a 50/50 mix, bacon and beef = amazing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SSOK Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 February 2013 at 9:32pm
Well, a little update to this thread.

I can't cook for the life of me, and my diet is crap. For beginners, I don't eat breakfast. Secondly, my meals are usually microwaved leftovers from home, hamburgers pan or George Foreman fried, baked hash Browns, chicken breast with light seasoning, and maybe a Taylor ham sandwich mixed in there.

Meh.
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