Microwave Dinner for One
1 piece of meat approx. 3-4 oz, frozen
(I freeze individual chicken breasts, pork tenderloin slices, small steaks, turkey breast slices)
2 fresh vegetables, single serving sizes
(this could be a small potato, some green beans, a handful of mushrooms, a couple of carrots, two small squash)
Put the frozen meat in a 1 1/2 quart microwave safe dish. Cut the vegetables into bite size pieces and place around the meat. Pour the water on and sprinkle with the bouillon granules. Cover and cook on MED power for 25 minutes. If there is a lot of liquid left when cooking time is done, add 1 tsp. flour mixed with 1 Tblsp. water to the liquid and cook on high uncovered for 2-3 minutes
or until liquid thickens.
2 large green peppers, tops & seeds removed
1/2 pound ground turkey
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tblsp. butter or margarine
1 Tblsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped tomato
4 TB shredded cheddar cheese, divided
In a large saucepan, cook peppers in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain & rinse with cold water; set aside. In a skillet, cook the turkey, onion & garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain & set aside. In the same skillet, melt butter. Stir in flour, salt, & pepper until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook & stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Return turkey mixture to skillet. Stir in tomato & 2 Tblsp. cheese; heat through. Spoon into peppers; sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Place in a greased 1-qt baking dish. Cover & bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until peppers are tender & filling is hot.
Yield: 2 servings
CARIBBEAN TOMATO PASTA
3 large vine-ripened tomatoes
3/4 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 ounces vermicelli, uncooked
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Peel tomatoes, and coarsely chop over a medium bowl, reserving juice. Combine chopped tomatoes, reserved juice, beans and next 9 ingredients; cover and let stand at room temperature at least 1 hour. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Serve tomato mixture over pasta, and sprinkle with cheese. Yield: 2 servings.
QUICK CHICKEN AND PASTA
2 quarts water
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces vermicelli, uncooked
3/4 cup frozen peas
1/3 cup Italian salad dressing
1 cup chopped cooked chicken
1/4 teaspoon sweet red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Combine water and salt in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Add vermicelli and peas. Return to a boil; reduce heat, and cook 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. Heat salad dressing in saucepan. Add chopped chicken and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Add reserved pasta mixture, and cook until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, tossing mixture well. Yield: 2 servings
1 ½ cups chicken broth (low sodium)
1 TBLSP. thinly sliced green onion
¼ cup chopped watercress
¼ cup shredded carrot
½ cup cooked rice
Combine the broth, shredded carrot and green onion in a saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the watercress and rice and simmer for 10 minutes more. You will have about 2 cups. Check for seasoning. You can add 1 tsp. sesame oil (optional).
1 chicken breast, skinned
1 TBLSP. cornstarch
1 egg white unbeaten
½ cup walnuts
2 TBLSP. olive oil
½ cup diced celery
2 oz water chestnuts
3 TBLSP. chicken broth
1 ½ TBLSP. soy sauce
1 ½ tsp. sherry
½ tsp. sugar
1 tsp. ginger
Hot cooked white rice
Slice the chicken breast. Mix 1 ½ tsp. cornstarch with 1 ½ tsp. water and beat into the egg white with a fork. Add the chicken and mix until each slice is coated. Put the walnuts in water to cover and boil 3 minutes. Drain, dry and sauté in a little oil until golden brown. Heat another pan with remaining oil. Add the chicken, celery, and water chestnuts and stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Mix together the broth, soy sauce, sherry, sugar, gingerroot and the remaining 1 ½ tsp. of cornstarch. Add to the chicken mixture and cook, stirring, until thickened. Sprinkle the walnuts over the top and serve with hot white rice.
Easy Moroccan-style Tuna
1 tuna steak
2 or 3 good-sized pinches of ground cumin
salt and pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 TBLSP.L dry sherry
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp. pat of butter
1 TBLSP.L minced fresh parsley
1 large mint leaf, (or other herb) finely minced
Season the tuna on both sides with cumin, salt and pepper and cayenne to taste. Heat a little olive oil in a small pan until nice and hot. Add tuna and sear on each side until a light brown. Add garlic, sherry and orange juice and reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover and simmer, turning once, until tuna is done to your preference (about 5 minutes is good for me, as I don’t care for it rare).
Remove tuna to plate. Remove pan from heat, swirl in butter until incorporated, and pour over fish. Sprinkle with herbs and serve.
2/3 lb. eggplant (about)
2 TBLSP.L olive oil, divided
1 small onion, minced
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
1 large tomato, diced
2/3 cup basmati or long-grained rice
1 oz. orzo (or vermicelli/spaghetti, broken into 1 inch pieces)
14-oz can low-salt chicken broth
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garam masala (OR add a pinch of
cinnamon and a couple of cloves to the pot
while cooking, and add lots of ground
2-3 TBLSP.L currants or raisins
2-3 TBLSP.L pine nuts (or almonds or pistachios)
Cut the eggplant into 3/4" slices, and then into 3/4" dice. In a non-stick pan, heat 1 TBLSP.L olive oil and sauté eggplant, stirring to lightly brown all over (alternatively, bake eggplant slices in hot oven until barely soft and dice - saves on a bit of oil, but takes a bit longer). Remove eggplant.
Add remaining oil to pan and sauté onion until soft but not browning. Add rice and pasta and sauté until coated. Add garlic and tomato, stir for a minute, and add chicken broth. Cover and simmer over very low heat until the rice and pasta are cooked and all the liquid is absorbed (about 15-20 minutes - watch and add a bit of water if the pilaf looks too dry).
Stir in raisins and nuts, sprinkle with garam masala and let sit for a few minutes before serving.
CHILLED YOGURT CUCUMBER SOUP
1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced thin
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of sugar
pinch of chopped cilantro
1 tsp. olive oil (try extra virgin)
1/2 cup plain yogurt
Mix the cucumber, salt, sugar, cilantro and olive oil in a bowl. Fold in the yogurt and chill for at least 2 hours. Puree in blender or processor and eat cold. Top the soup bowl with sliced cucumber and chopped fresh dill if you have available. Gives 1 ½ to 2 cups.
GREEN PEPPER AND ONION SKILLET
1 onion thinly sliced
1 green pepper in strips
1 clove garlic minced
2 TBLSP. olive oil
pinch of oregano or basil
Salt and pepper to taste
EASY MICROWAVE RICE
1 C. rice
2 C. water
Combine rice and water in 2 qt. Microwave save casserole w/ lid. Cover, Microwave for 5 minutes on high, 15 minutes at medium or 50% power. Yields 3 cups. For added flavor, add l pkt. of instant soup mix.
If you cook for one or two most of the time — or if members of your family rarely have time to eat together — you can probably identify with these frustrations:
Here are some tips to help you plan healthful meals, cut down on leftovers and wasted food and enjoy more variety at mealtime.
Large-size, get-more-for-your-money packages aren't a good deal if you end up throwing away food. If you won’t re-package, you may want to opt for smaller sizes. You'll probably pay a little more for smaller packages, but you can enjoy greater variety. Here's a sample shopping list:
Plan your meals to take advantage of cooking a quantity of food and then using it in various dishes. For example:
For best quality, freeze food while it's fresh. Don't wait until it's been refrigerated for several days. Tips for freezing foods:
Food manufacturers recognize that many consumers are shopping for one or two. It's becoming easier to keep your cupboards and freezer stocked with convenient, healthful foods. That helps you avoid the "why bother?" attitude about cooking.
Make it special! Add a candle or flower arrangement to the table, use favorite dishes, decorate the table for the holidays.
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