Friday, April 27, 2012

Recipe Finds - Hot and Tasty

Confession - cooking for one is a science I have yet to master.  My meal options lately have been largely limited to scrambled eggs, individually frozen pizzas, sandwiches, soup, and the lone pan-fried chicken breast smothered in bbq sauce.  A month into this deployment and I haven't even had to do proper grocery shopping.  My inner cook is wailing in despair.

This weekend will put an end to that as I miss good homecooked dinners and budget-friendly and portable leftovers for my lunches.  As I finally get my kitchen clean, here are a few recipes that have been spotted lately and successfully halved to accomodate my single status.

Spaghetti Bake

Jar of pasta sauce?  Check. 
Angel hair or spaghetti noodles?  Yeppers.
Shredded cheese?  Absolutely.

Skip any notion of making a homemade sauce for this - who has the time?  Instead, this 3-ingredient dinner is perfect for nights you can't think straight after work. 

This dish is seriously impossible to screw up.  Boil noodles.  Alternatively layer with sauce and cheese.  Bake.  Pair with a salad.  Eat.

The nice thing is that you can boost the nutrition on this by upgrading to whole-wheat noodles or varying the flavors by trying different pasta sauce.  I would recommend, however, skipping the cheddar cheese, which is a little out of place with an Italian-esque dish.  

5 out 5 forks 

Mini Ham & Cheese Quinoa Cups

Let's face it, quinoa is a goofy grain.  It has a texture like brown rice but with a more earthy flavor.  This super food is packed full of good nutrition so I've been striving to make a place for it in my kitchen.

After a mediocre attempt at Mac and Cheese and a botched attempt at breakfast cereal, these Ham and Cheese Cups finally stuck.

Since I'm still convincing myself I like the flavor of quinoa, I left out the shredded zucchini and doubled the diced ham.  Apart from cutting everything else in half, I followed the recipe to a T.

These are definitely reminisient of mini quiche bites but crunchier.  They make for a filling meal, reheat well for leftovers, and double as a unique breakfast.  A half recipe produced 18 mini cups or 3 servings.

You could also easily customize this by doing all veggies or trying different cheese types.

4.5 out of 5 forks 

Chicken Fried Rice

Fried rice is one of my new favorites for singles cooking.  You already have everything on hand and rice keeps in the fridge well.

I confess that the cook in me totally deviated from the recipe in the link, but I did use it as a start place to get the cooking method right.  Besides, some recipes aren't a science but a playful experiment.

I cooked up my chicken with sesame oil and sriracha sauce, skipped onions but seasoned the chicken with onion powder, replaced the butter with spray when cooking up the egg, divided the soy sauce between the egg and the chicken/rice, and used a touch of garlic olive oil when frying everything up.   

Tonight I'm returning to this dish to reduce the soy sauce (even reduced sodium is a salt bomb!), use brown basmati rice, and see if this vegetable hater can stomach adding a serving of peas to make this a complete meal.

5 out of 5 folks

What have you been cooking lately?


  1. Those quinoa thingies look yummy!

  2. I'm totally gonna try out that baked spaghetti!