Five Tips for Solo-Cooking, Post-Divorce
Just about everything from your lifestyle to your living situation changes after the ink dries on your divorce papers. But, one, seemingly overlooked aspect of life post-divorce is the cooking situation.
Whether you cooked every day or had a meal waiting for you on the table, cooking for yourself can be a strange experience.
What do I cook?
How much do I buy?
Won’t this get old…fast?
These are questions that might swirl around in your mind, but the idea of cooking for yourself doesn’t have to be daunting. We’ve put together a list of five starter ideas to help you navigate solo cooking post-divorce, without having to eat the same recipe seven days in a row and frozen dinners every night of the week.
Read on to learn more.
Give Love to Leftovers
Whether last night’s dinner will be used for another weeknight meal or a weekday lunch, leftovers will be your new best friend. If you want to lessen the time spent in the kitchen but still want something tasty to enjoy, look for recipes that serve two to four. These proportions will give you enough for more than one meal during the week.
If you want to spice things up, repurpose your leftovers to create an entirely new dish. For example, you can use Tuesday’s taco fillings in a number of ways; whether it’s chopping up the ingredients to make a frittata for breakfast or adding brown rice as a base to create a delicious burrito bowl, getting creative in the kitchen will add variety to your meal plan.
No matter how you revive your leftovers, they’re a no-fuss way to stretch a meal.
Creating a plan will take the stress out of deciding on a same-day meal idea and also save money as you’ll buy what you need. Though you’ll never totally eliminate impulse buys (it’s hard to say “no” to chips), going into the grocery store with a list of ingredients will help you cut down on adding unnecessary items in your cart.
At the end of each week, reserve 15 or 20 minutes to sit down and plan your meals and grocery list for the week ahead. Organization is key when cooking for one and a helpful tip when putting together a cohesive menu is finding recipes that include the same base ingredients, which can help keep your expenses in check.
Another important piece of the meal-prep puzzle lies in the actual prep of your meals. If you’ve decided on recipes and snack ideas that include fresh fruits and vegetables, when possible, do yourself a favor and chop the ingredients ahead of time and either place them in the refrigerator or freezer depending on when you’ll need them.
Getting into the habit of prepping ingredients at the beginning of the week will make the daily cooking experience a lot easier. Plus, your future self who’s hungry and tired after a long day at work will thank you.
Make Friends with the Freezer
Leftovers, ingredients, and frozen meals should become a staple of your cooking-for-one repertoire. Having ingredients on hand that you can reheat in a matter of minutes such as fruits and vegetables or even healthy proteins, will make putting a dish together less stressful.
And, don’t forget about pre-packaged frozen foods and soups, these can be quick grab-and-go meals when you’re in a hurry or simply don’t feel like whipping something up from scratch.
Here are some freezer essentials you’ll want to have on hand at all times:
- Meat and/or fish
- Leftover sauces
- Soups and pre-packaged meals
Invest in Appliances
There are many advantages to investing in cooking appliances and perhaps the biggest benefit is the convenience factor. Plus, you can make interesting and flavorful meals without having to put in considerable amounts of time and effort.
Here’s a quick list of kitchen appliances to consider:
- Air Fryer
- Instant Pot
- Toaster oven
If counter space is at a premium in your home, do some research to find a versatile kitchen appliance that works best with your lifestyle and the type of cook you consider yourself to be. All of these appliances have their benefits, but you need to find the right one that simplifies cooking.
Though cooking for one post-divorce seems like a lonely experience, try shifting your mindset and focus on the positives such as making food YOU want to eat, trying new recipes, and eating dinner when it makes the most sense for you and your schedule.