Recently, a single friend of mine was frustrated with the choices available and was wondering how to cook healthy, but great tasting food, without having to go to the grocery store every couple days. Here are some suggestions for cooking for one.
Cooking healthy for one is easier and more enjoyable than you may think. Some unhealthy options like most canned foods and pre-packaged foods have too many carbohydrates and not enough nutritional value. Convenience is good but not at our health's expense. Fast food and restaurant food is another culprit of too many carbohydrates and the sodium content is off the charts. We can make better choices. Keeping this in mind, here are some great shopping tips for Stir-Fry's and a basic but detailed recipe for the learning chef.
Pick out some beef, pork or chicken. Chicken is one of the healthiest meats for us and, it's cheaper to purchase a frozen bag of boneless chicken breasts than to pick it up in the meat section. One bag of chicken can last you a week or more. Stir-Fry beef and pork are available in most grocery meat sections and it's cheaper once again to buy it this way because you can pre-divide it into 3 or 4 meals, by putting it in Ziploc sandwich bags, when you get it home from the grocery store.
A good choice of vegetables, depending on your taste, is broccoli, onion, green pepper, celery, cauliflower, and carrots. Carrots can be purchased in snack bags and the broccoli and cauliflower can be pricey so it's best for the single person to get that from the frozen veggie section. It will last longer for you too. Some other items that people like in their stir-fries are bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts. They come in most grocery stores in a can the same size as Tuna. That size can be used for 2 servings of stir-fry.
Pick up one box of brown or white rice. Brown rice is better for you but it is your preference.
Purchase Canola oil or low fat spraying oil. Spraying oil is the best all around choice for cooking.
Buy some Soy Sauce. LaChoy has a "Lite" version that has less sodium, for the salt watcher.
Stir Fry sauce is actually not mandatory for your stir-fry. Try it out and see if you like it.
Recommended spices for your stir-fries are Pepper, garlic powder, and Mrs. Dash. There are many spices available so have fun trying them out. Lemon Pepper is an excellent overall spice too.
To cook your stir-fry the frozen veggies should be sautéed first. Spray the bottom of your pan lightly with oil or put a tablespoon of other oil. It's important to not use butter for your stir-fry because butter will burn and ruin the taste completely. Put your frozen veggies in a medium frying pan, on low to medium heat and cover. Make sure to stir once or twice while they are cooking.
Put in your other veggies you have chosen that were chopped or sliced beforehand. A nice combination would be some sliced onions, carrots, and green pepper with the frozen broccoli and cauliflower. Add those to the veggies you are already cooking and cover. The water chestnuts and bamboo shoots need to be drained before adding. Remember 1/2 a can of each is a good measure for each.
Get your pan of water ready for your rice and put that on medium heat. One cup of rice is sufficient for one meal. You can cook ahead for tomorrow if you would like and do 2 cups. Rice is easy to heat up in the microwave or on the stove. When the water boils, add your rice, per instructions, turn off heat, and cover.
In the oil sprayed frying pan, add your 4-5 ounces of meat. Add 5 good pours of soy sauce, 2 dashes of pepper, and other spices of your choice too taste. If this is your first stir-fry it's better to stick with the basic recipe. Cover your pan and stir occasionally until it appears almost done. Now add it too your veggies in the medium sized saucepan. At this time you can add 1/4 cup of stir-fry sauce if that's your preference. Mix it well. Turn off heat. Add your favorite beverage and your healthy meal is complete.
Here are some other ideas for cooking for one that are simple and tasty. You are already at the store so why not pick these items up?
Buy a bag of chopped lettuce for an easy salad. Look at the date on the bag and get the bag with the date furthest away from today's date. It will last longer in your fridge. This can be whatever kind of mixture of greens you prefer. Remember romaine has the most nutrition for you. Stir-fry beef and boneless chicken, spiced to your liking, is an excellent addition to a salad for lunch or dinner with your favorite salad dressing.
Pick up some salad dressing for that impromptu salad. Pick out at least two. Many versions of Ranch area available, which are low in fat, and excellent for dipping when wanting a snack. When you are feeling too tired to whip something up just pour some lettuce in a bowl, add some carrots from the snack bag, and maybe some precooked chicken on top. This is a much better option then picking up some candy or chips.
Lastly, pick up some salsa. It is a great topping on chicken when you are hungry for something zesty.
These ideas are designed for cooking for one, but can easily be modified to a larger recipe if serving others. We can start right now in making better choices with eating. Healthy can taste good.
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If anyone has questions they would like answered about cooking, or some tips you would like to add please let me know!