Having fun while cooking for one

·2 min read

Oct. 2—TRAVERSE CITY — Many recipes serve two to four people, but these can overlook single folks.

Oryana Community Cooperative Outreach and Marketing Specialist Luise Bolleber said she sometimes finds it challenging to cook for just herself.

"You don't want to waste food by making too much," she said. "It is still important to cook for yourself and take care of yourself."

However, she said there are strategies single diners can follow.

"The freezer is my friend," Bolleber said. "Sometimes the texture changes a little, but homemade is always better than buying processed food."

Most ingredients can go into the freezer for use later. Bolleber said this works for meat like chicken, hot dogs or sausages and even hamburger patties. She suggested putting individual items into the freezer and grabbing one as needed.

"I repackage stuff," she said. "Bacon I take apart the whole slab and freeze strips individually."

As for produce, Bolleber said she often returns to the freezer. Fresh fruits can be saved for smoothies and other recipes. She does the same with kale, though she blanches it first.

"I use it later in soups," she said. "I like to make soup and stew. I make a normal batch but freeze the extra."

Bolleber said while freezing a whole potato is not a great idea, she often bakes more than one spud at a time. These can be sliced or otherwise deconstructed for easy frying later.

Batch cooking, she said, can also help reduce waste. Bolleber often roasts a whole chicken over the weekend. She eats some for one dinner and saves the rest for salads, quesadillas or another dish the following week. Even the bones can be used to make broth, she said.

She encourages people to buy produce in bulk rather than prepackaged. Oryana's bulk section allows customers to select their containers and quantities — whether rice and grains or spices.

"You can buy a teaspoon of something," Bolleber said. "Get just what you need."

Brooke Juday, an Oryana management team member, said unless she invites friends over, she generally cooks for herself. She takes many dinner leftovers to work for lunch the next day.

"I do quite a bit of food that will hold in the fridge — a lot of pasta and grains," she said. "I don't limit what I want to make."

In the fall months, she gravitates toward curry and soups. For these and other dishes, Juday said she buys individual vegetables and makes sure to keep staple items in the pantry.

She suggested planning ahead. Select a recipe and then go to the store to find the right amount of ingredients.

"It's not always super fun, but get creative," Juday said. "You can make whatever you want and it's a good way to try out new things."

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