Many people cook for one or two(ish) people for one reason or another, but it can be hard to find recipes that won’t leave you with more food than you need. Instead of settling for leftovers and frozen dinners, try some one-dish meals.
Don’t get me wrong — leftovers are great, and you can freeze them for a future day and create new meals. Cook rice as a side and then use it in a casserole. Have roast beef or chicken for a main meal and use the leftovers in sandwiches or soup.
For quick and simple cooking, choose a dish that serves as a whole meal. Look for recipes that include items from several food groups such as meats, whole grains, legumes (beans) and vegetables. Nobody said that a meal has to be served on a plate so you can visually see the food groups in their designated spots. Make a smoothie using frozen or canned fruit, yogurt or milk with ice with a whole grain muffin. Breakfast anytime of the day is great too. Mix up a couple eggs, toss in some mushrooms, onions, tomatoes or whatever vegetables you have on hand. Fold it into an omelet if you are talented with a spatula, or scramble them like I do. Place your egg creation in a tortilla and you have a meal.
When you are making these creations, don’t forget to add a little spice. There are so many benefits in spices and several of these help sharpen the mind. Turmeric can be added to egg dishes, potatoes and casseroles. Cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger are great for mixing into baked products or mixing into soups.
Below are a few recipes to try as a meal, as well as a dessert.
Cinnamon roll Greek yogurt pancakes
Yields: 1 serving (about 6 to 8 pancakes)
For the pancakes:
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
½ cup rolled oats (make sure they are certified gluten free if you want gluten free)
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 large egg whites OR 1 large egg
1-2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk—start with one and add another if batter is too thick.
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cinnamon sugar filling:
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted or melted butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the vanilla frosting:
1 tablespoon vanilla protein powder
Small amount of unsweetened almond milk (I used about ½ tablesppon)
Preheat a skillet over medium heat and generously coat it with cooking spray or oil. You want to make sure that it’s nice and hot before you start cooking your pancakes.
Add all the pancake ingredients to a blender in the order listed and blend on high until oats are fully broken down and batter is smooth and frothy. Allow the batter to sit for a few minutes so that it has a chance to thicken up while you make the cinnamon swirl — simply mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl and place it beside the stove.
Pour the batter straight from the blender onto the skillet until desired size of pancakes is reached. Cook the pancakes until the edges have set and bubbles begin to form on the tops. Using a spatula, flip and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat until all the batter is gone, making sure to coat your skillet again with oil between each batch.
To assemble, spread a small amount of cinnamon sugar filling on one of the pancakes before placing another pancake on top. Spread that one with more of the filling, and repeat the process until all the pancakes are stacked. To make the frosting, mix the protein powder with enough almond milk to get it to the consistency you want. Pour it over the pancake
Recipe based on Running with Spoons by Amanda.
Single-serving Mexican stuffed sweet potato
1 large sweet potato — scrubbed clean, pierced with a fork several times, and wrapped tightly in foil
¼ cup of cashews
¼ teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
⅓ of a cup of frozen corn kernels — thawed
½ cup of black beans (Open a 16 ounce can and drain and rinse well, store the remainder in the refrigerator or cook all of them for extra filling)
1 cup of chopped fresh spinach
¼ cup of chopped cilantro
¼ teaspoon of chipotle chili powder
¼ teaspoon of paprika
¼ teaspoon of cumin
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Juice from one lime
- Preheat the oven to 385 degrees.
Bake the sweet potato for one hour or until it’s soft to the touch when pinched. Remove from the oven and set aside. Leave the foil on.
For the filling, heat a large iron skillet on medium high heat. Add the avocado oil and spread evenly on the surface of the pan. Add the corn and toss in the pan until it begins to brown. Turn down the heat to medium and add the beans and spices. Toss to coat and cook for three minutes. Add the spinach and cilantro and cook until just wilted. Remove the pan from the heat.
Take the foil off of the potato and put on a plate. Slice down the middle and separate. Fill with the corn and bean mixture and top with the cashew cheese crumbles and salsa. Sprinkle with some fresh cilantro if desired.
To store a filled potato, wrap in foil and refrigerate for one to two days. Reheat until the center of the potato is hot.
Recipe note: If you don’t have the time to bake the potato in the evening you can always bake it up to a day ahead of time if you take it out of the oven, remove the foil, and put it directly on a plate and into the refrigerator. You don’t want to let a potato that’s wrapped in foil sit out until it’s cool because the moisture can create bacteria quickly, and I don’t want you to get sick. Re-heat it in a microwave for two minute increments, or in the oven until the center is hot.
Recipe based on Linda & Alex from Veganosity.
One minute coffee cake
2 tablespoons of brown sugar (Truvia works well)
1 tablespoon of butter
2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt
Dash of vanilla
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
¼ cup all-purpose flour
⅛ teaspoon of baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of butter (use cold butter straight from the fridge for the crumbliest topping)
2 tablespoons of flour
1 tablespoons of brown sugar
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
- Place the butter in a mug. Microwave for 10 to 15 seconds to soften the butter. Remove from the microwave and stir in all ingredients, except for the flour. Mix until well-combined. Fold the flour in, making sure to not over-mix. Using your spoon gently push the batter together into the bottom of the mug. Set aside.
To make the topping, use your fingers to mix the butter, flour, sugar and spices together to form a crumbly mixture. Add to the top of the cake.
Microwave the cake for 60 seconds (the time may vary depending on your microwave, but it should take anywhere from 50 to 90 seconds). Serve immediately with milk or coffee.
Recipe based on Runaway Chef One-Minute Coffee Cake.