Monday, June 11, 2012

Menu Planning for Single Ladies

another day, another instagrammed picture of food
In case this isn't abundantly clear, I pretty much live to make plans. I love goals, I love knowing what's ahead, I love thinking that if I have a plan I can control everything. So really I don't so much live to plan as I do live to learn that I cannot in fact control everything. However, this is not about my issues with trusting God... This is about menu planning for single ladies, a task that I feel worthy to undertake yet know I have failed to master.

First of all, I am in love with my new cookbook/memoir - Dinner a Love Story. In the very beginning she graciously shares that each recipe is meant to serve about four people because well that's how many she regularly feeds. Rosenstrach and her family tested all the recipes so you can take comfort, knowing real people (including two very real children) ate them and loved them... and you probably will too. With great excitement I finished reading through DALS this Friday and eagerly looked at my calendar to see how many recipes I could test out over the next two weeks. I figured I had seven days where I would be home to eat dinner and then found four recipes I wanted to try first. And then of course, I added four other meal ideas to those recipes.

Saturday was a perfect Grand Rapids day. I hit up the Fulton Street Farmer's Market and Meijer. People were kind and helpful. I bought local and organic when I could. And then I came home and made that delicious shrimp dish pictured above (served over white basmati rice). It was so good I ate way more than I should have. And yet, when I put it away, there was clearly enough left for two or three more servings.

And herein lies the single lady problem --> there is always way more food left than I originally planned on and this throws my "menu plan" out the window. If I can now seemingly eat shrimp for my next three meals this means I don't need lunch and dinner on Sunday or lunch on Monday... but I have ingredients for dinner on Sunday... now I need to rearrange things... use what needs to be used first so nothing spoils. But Sunday's dinner sounded so good and how many times in a row can I eat shrimp? Let's be real, all I actually want is a pizza. But that's not on the plan.

Side Note: If at any point someone invited me to eat a meal with them (and let's just hope it's pizza), I'd gladly join them. Can you imagine what that does to the "menu plan" and food budget?

What I need to come to terms with is that when that Friday Pay Day rolls around, it's best to pick like four meals I can make in the days ahead. See how far they stretch and reevaluate as needed. This house is never without it's staples... I'm never at risk of starving. So dear self, be patient. There's lots you want to buy, cook and taste, I know. But there is time, just wait and see.

Any tips for single ladies who love to cook but really only need to feed one person? I'm open to advice.


  1. My mom has similar issues - living alone, recipes make too much so she gets tired of eating same thing, etc. What she does is freeze individual servings when possible so she can rotate meals without waste. Also, Everyday Food has recipes for one (or maybe two?) every month that she likes to try. She also halves recipes when she can or cooks things she can transform for the 2nd day. Maybe its pork roast day one but pork tacos day two kind of thing. I think picking out a few things and seeing how it goes is good strategy until you get a system down. I am reading DALS right now too!

  2. Ha. This is the story of my life, but i thank GOD for roommate, bf and neighbors like you. It isn't fun to heat up the grill for one person but it's also not fun NOT to use the grill. The way I see it, I plan one "real" cooking meal a week and if I don't think I'll be around to eat the leftovers then I call in the troops. :) I like to the same thing with a bottle of wine and dessert because heaven knows I need to eat an entire dessert by myself. I can but I shouldn't.