Dinner for one - week starting 5 March 2018

10 weeks into 2018 I finally got back my food game back! Meaning menu planning, meal-prep some batch cooking resulting in a week of colourful, healthy meals. 

A ruthless clean-out of my fridge really helped set this week up. This meant ruthless parting with things I knew were never going to get eaten, but had been hanging onto because I felt guilty throwing them out. However starting with a clean slate and clear idea of what was available and what had to be eaten when made the week much easier. 

If you want some inspiration for your own fridge clean-out this post and the benefits of menu planning, check out this post where I document my clean out - and more frighteningly add up the cost of the food I throw out.

Below is my week in meals in pictures.   (See here for the original menu plan for this week.)

For more food planning-nerdism scroll down to see:

the running tallies of how I'm doing:

  • meeting my 'quota' of 5 serves of vegetables a day
  • minimising food waste 

See here for step-by-step photos of how I create the meals I made this week.  (These are a bit random, so if there are any meals you would like to recreate, or information you would like about any of the steps, leave a question in the comments section and I will get right back to you.)

My week by the numbers

Serves of vegetables

Meeting the recommended 'quota' of 5 serves of vegetables a day is somewhat of an obsession of mine. For weeknight meals, I will often invent odd combinations just to up the number of vegetables in a particular dish.

This week though, 'budget' mode took over and I didn't really buy enough fresh produce at the beginning of the week. Nor did I have standbys such as frozen peas or spinach in the freezer. (Note to self on that!)

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Spending and Food Waste

Two of the biggest challenges cooking for one are the economics of it and managing food waste. This week I ended up with half cans of coconut milk and chick peas - which took a bit of invention to use up.

Unfortunately I ended up going out more than I intended so ended up throwing out some expensive food, e.g. the salmon I defrosted but ran out of time to eat. Ouch!  Also, and this really hurts, I ran out of days to eat the broccoli soup, and didn't make the effort to freeze it in time so threw out an entire batch. Massive lessons there. (I've also run out of ways to use the mint and it is now 3 weeks old, so I'm tossing that out too!)

Making use of a full bunch of herbs is definitely one of the biggest challenges cooking for one. 

Do you have any tips?

How do you handle buying fresh herbs for one person?

I'd love you to use the comments section to let me know. It would be fantastic if anyone has tips to share.

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New recipes tried

Roast cauliflower and turmeric soup from Local Milk

Tips for making this week's meals

I don't often use specific recipes for weeknight meals. Generally I'm guided by the types of textures and flavours I'm craving, how much time I have, or the level of effort I feel like making.

If you want to recreate any of this week's meals or would like ideas on how to pull together your own 'made up meal' the collages below show how some of the meals were made.

Spiced lamb mince on chick pea / roast pumpkin 'smash'

Middle eastern inspired lamb mince

Spiced lamb mince with roast sweet potato and carrot

Some pictures from my fridge clean-out and food prep for this week


Your turn!

Help create a thriving community where cooks cooking for one, help each with tips and tricks, ideas and inspiration!

Things I'd love to hear about in the comments section and know your thoughts on this week.

  • Would you make any of these meals?
  • Would you like any of the things I cooked this week cooked up as proper, single serve recipes?
  • Do you have any ideas on recipes or meals to use up the remaining Mint?
  • Have you ever cooked a whole dish of something and then had to throw it away (as I did with the Broccoli soup this week.)
  • Do you ever cook with mince? What is the cut of meat you most commonly cook wit

Links and Resources

  • Menu planning - description of how to use the 'Options-based' approach
  • Original menu plan for week starting 5 March
  • What a serve of vegetables look like. A blog post showing images of what a standard sized, 80 gram serve of some of the most common vegetables looks like.
  • Next week's menu plan (In development)
  • Monster fridge and freezer cleanout (In development)
  • Popular recipes for batch cooking (In development)
  • Tips on weekly food prep (In development)
  • My 'go-to' menu plan (In development)