Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.
Why is it that many recipes, even those that advertised as cooking for one, say four servings? How about the recipes that call for one small bit of something from a container leaving you wondering what to do with the rest of it. I recently saw a four week diet plan which sounded nice until I looked further. On day one it called for half a cup of crunch cereal with milk. Ok, that sounds reasonable but looking through the rest of the breakfast meals not once did the plan repeat the cereal. So, I’m supposed to buy a whole box of cereal just to eat half a cup on this one month diet? What about the rest of the box? The problem of what to do with the rest of the container is the main reason I don’t like using recipes. I prefer to make up my own recipes using whatever I have in the house.
I believe the world is finally paying attention and figuring out recipes for one person are needed but without the leftover bits in cans or packages. Well of course; the diet and food industry is going to find its new profit maker which seems to be the single portion servings. Be wary of the profit makers! I saw these cake mixes during our monthly shopping trip on Friday. Inside the box are four pouches for single serve size cakes. Cost $2.79
There was also single serve icing for $1.19 to go on those single serve cakes. With icing each cake works out to $1.00 per serving. Everywhere I looked there seemed to be single serve sizes of different things. Flour, cornmeal, and sugar in two pound packs isn’t new but my mind saw them differently this time. Funny I hadn’t noticed so many single serving items before. I need to be more aware of changes.
Have you heard of mug meals? That would be simple one serving size meals cooked in a mug in a microwave. Surely you’ve heard of mug cake? Well, I’ve been intrigued by the idea of mug meals for a couple of years even though I dismissed it as being too much work and no left overs for the next day. What I had seen at the grocery caused me to start re-thinking the mug meal concept. I’ve decided to give single serve cooking a try but not in a mug and not in a microwave. I have pans that could be considered “mug” size. My new pans are so small they look like kids toys.
I have two one pint sauce pots that hold two cups liquid at the brim but when cooking would be about one half to one cup. I have an eight inch skillet, a five inch skillet, and a six inch griddle pan. The colander is about six inch too. My daughter says she has a ten inch skillet to give me just in case I need a larger one for special occasions. I also have these aluminum mini-loaf pans and mini-pie pans just right for one or two people. These will do until I find actual pans this size. I saw some really cute mini Pyrex pie pans and loaf pans on Amazon. I’ll keep looking in the stores first.
I don’t know where they are at the moment but I also have a single serve electric skillet, a dorm room size crock pot, and a couple other appliances my daughter used back when she went away to college. I’ll be putting those to use too. She has a growing family, often having nine kids + to feed, and very often cooks large family gathering meals. She wants my larger pots and I want to make do with the small ones. Eventually I plan to get a much smaller apartment size or RV size refrigerator.
I plan to keep a journal of every meal I cook in my tiny pans. Its an experiment. I love doing experiments. Right now I’m not sure this will work out for me but its exciting to think about. One problem I’ve always had is that I could never figure out how many calories I was eating since all my meals are made with whatever I had available. Its very hard to menu plan or follow recipes when what I’m eating came from the food bank or discount bins. I believe I’ve solved that calorie counting problem. I searched the internet and found a calorie counter program that lets people cut and paste ingredients then it will calculate and create a nutrition label just like those found on a package. A work around the cut and paste issue is to type the ingredients into a word processor then highlight and copy to paste into the calculator. The program doesn’t know where the “copy and paste” came from; only what it is. I haven’t tried this calculator yet but the idea sounds good for those of us who cook without written recipes. My doctor would be really happy if I kept a journal with the calorie counts. This is the link if you would like to check it out for yourself. https://www.verywellfit.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4157076 I also have the calorie King book too.
In theory this all sounds too good to be true. Fewer items in smaller sizes taking up less space in the kitchen will be nice. It can’t hurt to give it a try. If it doesn’t work out I can always go back to larger batch cooking. Hmm… I wonder, could I make mini-loaves of sandwich bread? That’s another experiment to do but it will have to wait for cooler days. Without air conditioning the house gets too hot for baking.
Like so much of the US we are in a heat wave right now so I’m mostly eating cold stuff. Maybe I’ll do a couple of microwave mug meals as an experiment and not heat up the house. Cooking single servings in tiny pots is a very new experience for me. I really would like opinions. Have you tried or are you doing mug cooking? Are you doing tiny pot cooking?
A note: I’m working on a post about how I’m surviving the heat wave without air conditioning and other posts about my shopping and my cooking for one person. Doing is better than writing about doing.