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Cooking For One Gripes and How I Deal With It

Last post 08-03-2009 5:34 PM by Luvd_Lioness. 34 replies.
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  • 07-11-2008 12:16 PM

    Cooking For One Gripes and How I Deal With It

    I started having to cook for just myself in late January 2007 when Mom had a silent heart attack and a frontal lobe stroke. I didn't know how to cope very well. Mom went from the hospital into a local nursing home. I had a lot of things that I had to get used to including being by myself with a very beautiful Chocolate Point Siamese cat who was not a lap cat.

    I learned that if I cooked a Stouffer's frozen corn souffle or a frozen spinach souffle I could reheat it in a small Corning dish.

    I dealt with leftover pot roast by freezing it into single serving portions.

    I found that if I made my own potato leek soup from scratch it was more economical than if I used the Knorr dry soup mix plus it had the advantage of having less sodium. I make my own homemade chicken stock from the leftover rotisserie chickens that I freeze until I have 2 of them. I learned that I could recycle the green portion of the leeks and add them to the chicken broth ingredients.

    I learned to watch the sales and to buy the frozen Stouffer's entrees on sale for quick meals.

    I came up with several recipes that can be made with a rotisserie chicken. I learned that Harris Teeter puts them on sale on Sundays and that Food Lion puts them on sale on Fridays. I buy them on those days because I do love to save money.

    I tried making my own meatballs. They were very good, but I can buy them cheaper than I can make them when they are on sale.

     The trick with saving grocery money is to read the sale flyers from the various grocery stores. I've learned to watch the sales of certain things I like and enjoy. Sometimes things I like are cheaper as a mix when they are on sale. Sometimes I've made mistakes, but I end up giving the mixes I don't like to food bank collections. I combine the store specials with my coupons that I clip regularly. I carry my coupons with me every time I go out.

    I am going to learn how to make my own pasta using my pasta machine. I'll be making my own fancy raviolis for a little more than what they cost in the dairy case. The difference is that I will be making enough for several meals.

    I have learned that if I don't think I can finish the cake I've made before it gets stale, I can take it to the nursing home for the nursing staff. I do the same thing with cookies.

    I have a 9 cubic foot chest freezer in my pantry. That helps me to take advantage of sales. The other thing that helps me is the Food Saver that Mom got us in December 2006. I look at the entrees for Home Bistro (www.homebistro.com) for ideas of meals that I would enjoy and then I think how I can make them less expensively. I have found that I can afford steaks if I watch for the sales on whole beef tenderloins and have it cut into steaks. I pay $7.99 a pound on sale for the tenderloin. Each steak is $2.50, which is very nice on my budget. The tenderloins provide me with more meals for less money than if I order from Home Bistro.

    I've tried new foods and recipes since cooking for just myself. I cook with fat free evaporated milk and powdered milk. I buy butter on sale and I freeze it. I also try to keep an open mind. I am trying to make up menus of meals I enjoy. I managed to find a copy of a cookbook on eBay Mom used while I was growing up. Now I can prepare foods I remember enjoying in the past. I am very fortunate because Mom encouraged me to cook while I was a small child. I learned how to shop wisely from Mom and from a man I used to date. I keep a well-stocked kitchen, pantry, and freezer. This helps me to eat at home instead of going out to eat a lot or to hit the drive-thru. I took some cooking classes so that I could cook things like souffles. I make homemade soups and I enjoy them.

  • 07-11-2008 12:31 PM In reply to

    Re: Cooking For One Gripes and How I Deal With It

    I learned that bulk buying of perishables is not frugal, unless I want to eat an awful lot of the same thing in a very short time period.

    I learned that single-serving freezer containers were a good investment... and that those Glad and Ziploc disposable containers last a long time (several years, so far) - but they're cheap enough that if something happens to one, I don't really mind as much.

    I learned that bread freezes - but it has to be double-wrapped, or it will be inedible due to freezer burn in a very short time

    I learned that stale peanut butter tastes nasty on a sandwich - but makes great cookies.

    I learned that cottage cheese keeps a lot longer if you turn it upside down (make sure the lid is on tight first).

    I learned that a crock pot of chili lasts me for 7 or 8 meals... even though it only lasted 2 when my ex was around; I never realized just how much more he ate than I do

    I learned that I can't keep junk food in the house when there's no one around but me to eat it - because I will!

    I learned how to split recipes I thought couldn't be split because they called for whole containers of things (like a can of something, or a whole egg) by substituting ingredients, or finding ways to use the left-overs in other dishes - because I just couldn't eat that much of a particular meal before it went bad.

    I learned that I like having company when I'm making something that only works well in large batches, so I don't have to deal as much with the leftovers (have you ever tried to eat an entire lasagna?  I love lasagna with homemade sacue... but it gets old eating it day after day after the first several days).

    I've learned that the staff at my school will eat nearly anything - as long as it's homemade... especially the bachelors, because they don't cook - and leftovers I don't want are always better than whatever the school cafeteria is serving that day.

  • 07-11-2008 8:17 PM In reply to

    Re: Cooking For One Gripes and How I Deal With It

    I learned that it makes more sense to stock up on what's on sale when it's available.  Then when I make my menu, I shop my supply first.  I used to make a menu based on the sales; it didn't work for me.  So my menu is based on what I have and my shopping list is based on sales and the few items I may be missing to complete the menu.  This has helped me drop my food budget from about $120/week to an average of $80/week.

    I learned from this thread that peanut butter can go stale.  Who knew?!

    I learned that poptarts bought on sale tend to be eaten much faster than poptarts bought at full price.

    I learned what prices are really sales so I can stock up better.

    I learned to cook.  So much money saved by not going out to eat all the time.

    I learned to shop sales, compare prices, combine trips -- the little things that add up to a lot, but apart seem so insignificant.

    Officially Recognized Stretchpert in the General forum
  • 07-12-2008 5:23 AM In reply to

    Re: Cooking For One Gripes and How I Deal With It

    karenteacher:
    I learned that stale peanut butter tastes nasty on a sandwich - but makes great cookies.
     

    How fast does it go stale?? I have yet to experience that. (Will keep in mind though)

    I'm not confused. I'm just well mixed. ~Robert Frost
    Laziness may appear attractive, but work gives satisfaction. - Anne Frank
    I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

    Married my Blessing 10-16-10 :)
    Became an Auntie 12-10-10 :)
  • 07-12-2008 9:31 AM In reply to

    • Sandra
    • Top 500 Contributor
      Female
    • Joined on 09-02-2007
    • Northern Michigan
    • Posts 63

    Re: Cooking For One Gripes and How I Deal With It

    I've only had it go bad in the summer, probably something to do with the oils oxydising (have no idea how to spell that).  When I switched to natural peanut butter and keep it in the fridge that doesn't happen. 

    I learned that things that don't have to be keep refridgerated last longer if they are.  I buy a medium bottle of oil and it stays fresh in the refridgerator even if it takes a year for me to use it.  The same with freezing flours and grains. 

  • 07-12-2008 2:31 PM In reply to

    Re: Cooking For One Gripes and How I Deal With It

    Luvd_Lioness:

    karenteacher:
    I learned that stale peanut butter tastes nasty on a sandwich - but makes great cookies.
     

    How fast does it go stale?? I have yet to experience that. (Will keep in mind though)

     

    It took a couple of years, I think... I went through a phase when I ate a lot of PB & J - when I got tired of it, the PB got shoved to the back of the pantry and I forgot about it.  I think it happened partly because it was open, too.

  • 07-12-2008 2:55 PM In reply to

    Re: Cooking For One Gripes and How I Deal With It

    Thank you for creating this topic! I have the same problems. I really like your tips about not buying too many perishables.

    Some artists work in oil. I work in childish things--Conan O'Brien
  • 07-13-2008 8:26 PM In reply to

    Re: Cooking For One Gripes and How I Deal With It

     My dh used to work for Reiman Publishing, in the Taste of Home magazines there are always some recipes for one or two, has anyone used these?  I like their cookbooks, although they fired dh, because they use normal ingredients and taste great.  

    Although I live with lots of children, sometimes our taste doesn't coincide.  Today they had cherries, crackers and humus for dinner, oldest dd made myself and her a toasted pecan, spinach, and parmesean omelet.  Yum. 

    Tracy
    Beginning Debt Slayer


  • 07-13-2008 9:55 PM In reply to

    Re: Cooking For One Gripes and How I Deal With It

    I subscribe to all of their cooking magazines including Cooking for 2.

    I do like their recipes. They are such a change (the list of ingredients) from the recipes in The Trellis Cookbook. I adore the food at The Trellis, but I do not like how you have to have so many ingredients for each recipe.

  • 07-21-2008 12:23 PM In reply to

    Re: Cooking For One Gripes and How I Deal With It

    Go to razzledazzlerecipes or type in recipes for one or two.  Lots of good things in there.  Also if you make your own pasta you have a home business going on right there.  Good luck.

    S

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