Na Na pinches her pennies

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.

Cooking for one practice

I tried some simple one person recipes to see if I’d feel full enough after eating.  It certainly is a challenge to think small when cooking.  The tiny pots do help.  I can’t over cook because it won’t fit.  I can’t over eat because its such a small amount.  My first try was macaroni and cheese.  I used 1/4 cup dry macaroni which made about 1/2 cup cooked.  I had that with one small roma tomato and 1/2 cup cantaloupe.  Ice tea to drink.

Next day I baked a one pound meat loaf and two small potatoes.  I had meat loaf, peas, and one of the baked potatoes.  Again ice tea.  I used my smallest loaf pan and the toaster oven to cook very early in the morning before the house started getting hot.  The loaf was so small it didn’t take long at all.

The next day I had left over meat loaf and the other baked potato made into a tiny potato salad.  I had V8 juice to give me added vegetables.   Kinda feels like I’m playing house with the mini pots and small meals.  😉

The other two parts of the meat loaf went into the freezer for other meals later.  Next time I may make an even smaller meat loaf using just half a pound.  The amounts I eat per meal are the same as my usual meals without all the major leftovers.  I had started getting leftovers malaise to the point I’d rather toss out the extra.  This new way of cooking tiny means only one or two meals of leftovers, not days and days of it.

When I took my SIL for her weekly doctor appointment we made a stop at Walmart.  At Walmart I spotted some tiny Pyrex baking containers on sale.  There is a two cup, three cup, and four cup baking container.  I like that they also have lids for storage.  I got a mini grater, a teeny tiny grater, and a little measuring spoon that has four measure sizes.  You probably can’t tell by the photo just how tiny these really are.  The teeny grater and the measuring spoon fit in my hand together.  Not sure how I’ll use the teeny grater yet.  I’m replacing four measuring spoons with one.  Saves space.

I also found these really small plastic summer dishes meant for kids.  Aren’t they cute!  These were one dollar each set.   These days its almost impossible to avoid plastic stuff.  At least these are washable and not throw aways.  The cups hold about 4 to 6 ounces.   It looks like that IF I ever move into a tiny house I’ll be all set in the kitchen.

I wanted to know how the plates compared to my diabetic portion plate.   Its plastic too.  The food area of both plates are exactly the same size.  Neat!  Everything was just over $13 and my sister in law paid for them.  She insisted it was a gift for being her chauffeur so often.

I’ve thought about it and even though I’ve never been a meal planning type person maybe I should give that a try too.  Maybe I should switch from impulse cooking and go the whole route from planning to shopping to cooking for one.  If it doesn’t work for me I can always change again.   Hmm… my mind is whirring again.  How can I make meal planning less difficult even though I’m never sure what I’ll get from the food bank or the discount bins?  I’m not sure I can but I’m willing to try.

22 comments on “Cooking for one practice

  1. Patricia
    July 9, 2018

    Oh Anita, my brain reels from making plans and list of recipes and a few little pans and pyrex storage and baking containers. My problem (and I do have so many – LOL) is that when cooking, rather than wrap up the left overs. I simply eat it all – finish it about 2 hrs. later. This will be a challenge but one I HAVE to make – I HAVE TO lose 80 lbs by the end of the year. I can do it but it will be hard – I had a stroke last July and spent over 3 months in ICU and rehab – I use a rollator and have regained about 90% of what was seemingly lost – I now need to build up endurance and strength and a bit of dexterity – so I’ve been given a new referral to physical therapy and added to your new “small cooking” will help me to walk the walk (as kids say). Thank you!

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    • Anita
      July 10, 2018

      Yes, I know exactly how you feel. Those leftovers will get ya. I can’t eat leftovers if there aren’t any to eat. I think of my small pans as no different than any other physical aid. In the same way a rollator helps with walking, small pans help with cooking less and eating less. I stopped thinking about that awful four letter word diet and started telling myself I’m cooking frugally. I’m cooking as if I am broke and I need to make my food last a few extra days until next payday. I’m glad I can help inspire you.

      Like

      • Jasna in Chilean Patagonia
        July 13, 2018

        I`m trying to cook for just one or two meals. Even so, in the three past weeks I`ve been guilty of miscalculating and had to give away six or seven portions of food. (I don`t really throw anything away, I share it with tmy sister`s dog.my kittie and /or the neighbourhood cats. )

        This is a long, diffiocult road but one I definitely need to follow. I think I`ll hide the bigger (medium-sized) pots and leave out the smaller ones. I`m guessing it`d be a good idea to get one that is even smaller, say to cook just a pound or so.

        I used to think that cooking bigger amounts would help me save on cooking fuel, but if I don`t eat it , then it`s a waste.

        Thank you so much for sharing your great ideas, Anita!

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        • Anita
          July 13, 2018

          Jasna I am amazed how much using smaller pots helps me save. Cooking a tiny amount in a large pot just didn’t look right so I would put more in to fill it. Just a suggestion but look for a pan that will hold only 1/2 pound of meat or two portions. A healthy serving of meat is supposed to be only 1/4 pound so if you cook half a pound it would be two servings. I’m finding that looking for pots meant for college students in the right size for one or two. I don’t know how it is there in Patagonia but here in the US all the college items go on sale a month or so before classes start. It has taken some getting used to cooking with the tiny pots but I’m having fun at it. It never hurts to try.

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  2. Nicole
    July 6, 2018

    I can’t stand meal planning, either. I keep thinking that if I plan everything out in advance, I might find the day of that I don’t actually want to eat what I planned. But, I never planned dinners when I was a kid, and always loved what my mom cooked. Maybe I should just think of it that way….

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    • Anita
      July 7, 2018

      I never thought of it in that way but you are right. I learned cooking from Grandma Mama who never menu planned so that’s probably why I don’t like it. I have the problem of not wanting what’s on the plan too. My mood on the day I plan may not be the same mood days later.

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  3. Marybeth C
    July 3, 2018

    As Americans we do eat way to large portion sizes. Glad this is working out for you.

    Like

    • Anita
      July 3, 2018

      When I was a child the word supersized had never been invented. I’m not sure it will completely work for me but I’ll give it one heck of an effort.

      Like

  4. sarasinart
    July 2, 2018

    You’re doing so good with this! I had to learn to cook for one too, but sometimes cook more specifically to make leftovers, like a meatloaf. I like it cold the next day. Or a tomato sauce dish, and use the rest of the sauce in another way the next day. This proves if you use your imagination, you can eat well and still eat small, without wasting any thing, which I don’t do, and know you don’t either. Keep up the progress!

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    • Anita
      July 2, 2018

      Thank you, I needed some reassurance I’m headed in the right direction. Yes, like you, I like the pre-planned leftovers for other meals.

      Before coming to my senses I tended to gather way, way too much food. As the saying goes “my eyes were bigger than my stomach” and then no one wanted the extra food because I don’t have begging neighbors anymore. I was gathering food, preserving food, then throwing it away. Wasted a lot of food and money doing that. It took awhile for the knowledge to sink into my brain that I’m not feeding a whole neighborhood anymore. And to realize my world will not end if I run out of something.

      Liked by 1 person

      • sarasinart
        July 2, 2018

        It helps to have a good cooking imagination. Run out of one thing, change course and use something else. 😊

        Like

  5. Cath young
    July 1, 2018

    You are doing well. Eating less saves money and is much healthier if you are overweight. Also looking at some new eating trends recommended. I served Costco chicken and Tatziki that I made myself with Tomato slices, sugar snap peas and a bit of good bread. A lighter meal now that the kids are older and should be watching their calories too. Though a traditional mashed potatoes or stuffing side an occasional addition, I now do one or the other. I’m going much healthier and lighter and smaller portions for myself. Going for better quality good too.

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    • Anita
      July 1, 2018

      You are so right, I am saving money with my smaller meals. I’m better able to pass up the “great” food bargains in the discount bins now that I’m cooking mini-meals. The discount bins were my weakness. Cooking smaller doesn’t heat up the house as much either. Sounds like you are doing well too.

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  6. carenowplease
    July 1, 2018

    Subway is currently doing a 6 inch ‘veggie delight’ ie salad sandwich for $2 so that’s my go-to if carbs are on the menu…I just do not feel like cooking in this heat Anita ( I know- it’s not hot indoors but somehow the outdoor temp stifles appetite! )

    What I need now are some simple low carb or no carb recipes for one, I can make a vegetable curry or vegetable chilli so far in one pan. If I’m cooking meat I use the slow cooker and make some kind of casserole.

    As waffles and hash browns crept into my diet regularly I felt ill again, so it’s obvious they do not agree with my constitution, empty carbs and fried food! But I have enjoyed the subways…and so far no ill effects from them.

    Are you feeling well again?

    Like

    • Anita
      July 1, 2018

      I sure wish there was a $2 special here cause I’d eat it too. I started out making hot meals but I’ve switched to cold foods until we have cooler temps. The temps here in KY are higher and earlier than we’ve had in years. Hmm… How about a bacon, broccoli, and tomato mini quiche with a whole wheat cracker crumb crust? Chicken Waldorf salad? Can you tell I’m thinking about dinner? I do feel better when I eat meals regularly. The allrecipes site has several mini-meals. So does the tasteofhome site.

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    • Margie in Toronto
      July 1, 2018

      I find this blog helpful for all kinds of low carb recipes and they link to other sites as well. Hope it helps.

      http://thelowcarbdiabetic.blogspot.com

      Like

      • Anita
        July 1, 2018

        Thanks for the suggested site Margie. From a quick glance it looks like a good site for anyone who may be looking for low carb meals. I may try a recipe or two or three or four but convert them to mini-meals.

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        • carenowplease
          July 2, 2018

          Thanks both of you, will check them out.

          Last night boiled bag of frozen cauliflower and served with grated cheese and black pepper; the cheese has flour added to stop it sticking together so that was my fake roux for my fake cauliflower cheese! Tasted good anyway.

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          • Anita
            July 2, 2018

            Hee, hee, I like it. I’m going to try that with some fake broccoli. 😉 I’m just being silly today. I miss read your comment as saying fake cauliflower that tasted good anyway. Some days I wonder about myself. That’s a good idea though. How much flour should I use for one pound of cheese?

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          • T
            July 2, 2018

            Well a small pan roux would just be tablespoon butter, 1.5 tablespoons flour and about four or five tablespoons milk? I guesstimate everything for cooking! That plus three tablespoons ( or more ) grated cheese would make a good little sauce for some broccoli.

            Your little mini grater I have one I use to grate dark chocolate on top of desserts. I usually buy the 99 cent Kroger nutmeg since it’s good quality and lasts for ages but I could use it for grating fresh nutmeg too.

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          • Anita
            July 3, 2018

            Sorry, I meant how much flour to put on the cheese to keep it from clumping. I have some one pound bars of cheese I plan to grate.

            Like

          • T
            July 3, 2018

            Oh, it doesn’t say on the Kroger bag so I am guessing not much?

            Like

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This entry was posted on July 1, 2018 by in COOKING FOR ONE OR TWO, DIABETES AND FOOD BANKS, FRUGAL DIABETIC.

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