Lesson #73: What to Eat When You Eat Alone

by Rachel on March 21, 2011

Whether you’re attached or single, there will probably come a day when you need to dine alone. You could go out to eat alone, or you could just cook yourself a delicious meal to enjoy with…yourself.

Of course, any meal can be enjoyed alone, but some meals just feel right for some “me” time. Here are some things to look for in a recipe for one:

  • Something you know will make you really happy and satisfied. For me, this generally involves bread and cheese. I can quite often be happy eating just that for dinner, but other people don’t always see this as a “complete meal.” (And it’s not — it needs some wine and/or dark chocolate to be a complete meal.)
  • Something that can be made one serving at a time. I’m OK having enough ingredients to make it again tomorrow, but I like to actually to re-make it the next day.
  • …unless it works really well as leftovers! Sometimes I make a point to make two servings if it’s something I can easily re-heat for lunch the next day.
  • No matter what, the ingredients should be versatile! That way you can make the recipe one or two times and then use the ingredients in another way later in the week. (And bread and cheese are pretty damn versatile…just sayin’.)

Here are some of my favorite for-one meals!

Brie & Leek Bruschetta

This easy-but-fancy sandwich is the perfect way to make eating grilled cheese seem a little more chic. The recipe comes from Martha Stewart and it is downright addictive. Once I make it once, I crave it every day for the next couple weeks.

To make it for one, saute about 1/4 cup sliced leeks sprinkled with 1/4 tsp dried thyme in a teaspoon of olive oil. Top two slices of French bread with slices of Roma tomato and spread about two ounces of thinly sliced brie over the tomatoes. Top with the sauteed leeks and freshly ground black pepper and broil for 5-8 minutes.

Sausage & Pepper Bowl

sausage and pepper bowl

This is a go-to weeknight dinner for me because I can make a double serving and have the perfect lunch for the next day! It comes together really quickly, so it’s great to throw together after an evening workout. I usually buy pre-cooked sausage and let the frozen veggies thaw all day in the fridge and then drain right before cooking, but these steps aren’t necessary — everything will come together fast either way.

To make two servings, slice 6 to 8 ounces of pre-cooked nitrate-free sausage links. (You don’t have to use pre-cooked links, but that makes it even easier. And nitrate-free pork products are becoming more widely available — I always find them at HEB.) Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a pan and add the sausage, plus a bag of frozen peppers and onions. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, crushed red pepper, and any other seasoning you have handy to give it some flavor. While the vegetables and sausage cook, stick a microwavable bag of rice in the fridge. (I usually get Uncle Ben’s, but Kashi has some great pilaf blends that work well too. Just keep an eye on the sodium on these — it can be totally out of control.) The rice only takes 90 seconds to heat up, so do it when the sausage and peppers are about done. Then put about 1/2 cup of rice in a bowl and top with the peppers and sausage. Then put another serving of rice, sausage, and peppers into a container for work the next day! Easy, filling, gets the job done quickly…just like I expect from my sausage. Heh.

Hot Caprese Dip

Surprise, surprise — the How Sweet Blog Hot Caprese Dip is another “wife me!” recipe. But it’s also a perfect “me time” recipe. (OK — it’s perfect for pretty much any situation.) I love tomato, basil, and mozzarella together, and these three ingredients — the only ingredients in this dip! — are pretty versatile.

When I made it last night, I also whipped up some quick chicken skewers to have with the dip, along with big chunks of French bread.

Chicken skewers are another great thing to eat when you’re eating alone because the extras can be used in salads or pitas, or you can just make a couple skewers and save the remaining chicken breasts for something else entirely. While the dip says it serves 2-4, trust me when I say you could easily kill it all by yourself with a few glasses of wine on a Friday night.

Of course I love cooking for others, but there is just something special about whipping up one serving of a delicious meal. Sure, you could make yourself a bowl of cereal or some eggs, but I like to put a little more effort into it. That way, it’s a treat for you and you alone.

Do you have go-to recipes that you like to eat when you eat alone?