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5 Quick & Delish Recipes When You're Cooking for One

Photo Credit: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Cooking for one can be quite the challenge. Believe me, I know. On those rare nights when I’m actually home and get into cooking, it’s nearly impossible for me to cook anything for less than a village of 12. Luckily, through lots of trial and error, I have five recipes figured out when it comes to a portion that’s appropriate for one person. They’re quick, easy, and fairly healthy.

Chicken Burrito Bowl

We all love a burrito bowl, which is basically a massive burrito enjoyed with a fork in a bowl. You can serve them over rice or a bed of shredded lettuce if you’re trying to cut down on carbs.

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken breast soaked in marinade made using 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tsp. paprika, 1 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. ground chili pepper, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black peppe
  • 1 cup cooked rice (or shredded lettuce) for base
  • Desired toppings: cheese, salsa, beans, avocado, onions, corn, sour cream, hot sauce, etc.

Directions:

  1. Cut chicken breast in bite-size pieces and place in marinade for at least 30 minutes. Add chicken to a pan and cook on each side until thoroughly cooked.
  2. Build your bowl. Start by adding a base of your choice, topped with chicken, and other desired toppings.

Lemon Cacio e Pepe

Easy to put together using just a handful of ingredients, this simple pasta dish is light and fresh with a touch of citrus to kick it up a notch

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. pasta
  • 2 tbsp. butter, divided
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 lemons
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated pecorino, plus more for garnish
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water and drain pasta.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter with oil. Add a generous amount of black pepper and toast until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add 1/2 cup reserved pasta water and juice of two lemons, then bring to a light simmer. Whisk in remaining butter; using tongs, toss pasta into the simmering mixture.
  4. Add the cheeses and toss constantly until the cheese is melty, removing skillet from heat when about half the cheese has melted. If you feel like your sauce is too thick, add more pasta water

Sheet Pan Salmon and Veggies

A quick meal with minimal cleanup that’s super healthy and can easily feature any veggies you might already have at home.

Ingredients:

  • Salmon filet
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 lemon,  to juice
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 2 handfuls halved Brussels sprouts
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Pour over the salmon and spread on both sides. Place the salmon in the middle of the baking sheet. You can add lemon slices around the salmon if desired.

For the teriyaki sauce:

  1. Season veggies with salt and pepper, then drizzle the olive oil over them and place in the sheet pan around the salmon.
  2. Bake for 15 minutes, then broil for 3 to 5 more minutes — checking often to make sure it doesn’t burn. Plate and enjoy! Add an extra squeeze of lemon if needed.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Confession: This recipe makes a bit more than one serving, but it’s one of those dishes that gets better the next day and makes for a great leftover lunch.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook the quinoa according to package directions and allow it to come to room temperature.
  2. Make the dressing by whisking olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, honey, garlic, Dijon, and oregano together. Add salt and pepper to your liking.
  3. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, tomatoes, cucumber, kalamata olives, red onion, and feta cheese. Drizzle the salad with dressing and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Steak Stir-Fry

Another one of those recipes that allows for a choose-your-own-adventure when it comes to the veggies you can use. This can also be made with chicken, shrimp, or even just doubled up on veggies.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound sirloin steak, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup teriyaki sauce (store-bought or homemade — recipe below)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 3 cups chopped mixed vegetables of choice (I like broccoli, snap peas, onions, and carrots)l
  • 1/2 cup of cooked rice
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. minced ginger
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch

Directions:

  1. Marinate the beef in the soy sauce and black pepper. Stir together the homemade teriyaki sauce.
  2. Brown the beef in a large pan or wok until cooked through and set aside. Add olive oil to the pan and sauté your vegetables of choice until tender.
  3. Add beef and sauce to the pan with the veggies. Allow to simmer until sauce thickens. Plate using rice as base.

From one independent woman to the next, I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do


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