Thursday Things: Cooking for One

I know that I mostly talk about knitting on here, but I can't help but share about my latest discovery that is making my life easier. 

Here's the thing, cooking for one sucks.  Most people know this, I think it was a meme before there were memes. But it's hard to know how much it sucks till you do it, but the motivation myself to make something other than mac and cheese or salad is somewhat scarce. 

That's where my new friend comes in ... CookSmarts.

This is a meal planning service that has started to motivate me to actually cook meals!  Every Friday they publish 4 new recipes that can be scaled from 1 to any number of servings and will adjust it's ingredients to suit the servings. Also, sometime the meals have pre-planed overlap, so a grain may be cooked for Monday is served with Thursday's dinner.  Or an exotic ingredient will be needed a couple of times during the week to make sure you use it up.

Here is the look of next week's (April 6th) meal plan.  As you can see I started checking off the boxes as soon as I checked it out.  And because I'm not a fan of chicken thighs or shrimp, I selected Monday and Tuesday as Veg, then the other two as GF because I've been finding that wheat and I don't agree with one another so I don't cook it or eat it at home. I've been known to mix and match meal types to make sure I'm getting GF/Veg as my tastes prefer.

CookSmart MealPlan

 Now if some of those meals don't appeal to you or you  want to plan dinners for 7 days, you can add in any of the thousands of previous recipes to your week. With Original, Gluten-Free, Paleo and Vegetarian versions of each recipe, this system has managed to make me try new things and get out cooking. 

Once you've picked your  meals and your servings, CookSmarts generates a shopping list for the meals of the week. It assumes you need everything (like sugar, salt etc) but you can go through the grocery list on the website and "check off" the ingredients you already have in your pantry and then they will either let you print or email your list for when you go to the store.

So far I've only made a few of the meals, but most of my delays have been due to changes in plan, but because of the pre-planning involved, I've been able to store those ingredients (freeze for meats, mostly) and then re-select those meals the next week to make sure the ingredients get used before they go bad.

My two fave meals so far have been Ginger-Beef Stirfry and Swiss Chart and Goat Cheese Frittata (which I made with spinach and feta because that's what I had on hand).

So I'm a fan, it takes the thinking (my main barrier to entry) out of dinner and is helping me be  more responsible about my eating, because I'm an eater not a foodie (to quote Dan Pashman of The Sporkful podcast, another new fave) I don't have the internal drive to create incredible meals just for me.

So this is my first Thursday Thing, which are just things I love and feel the need to share about. This can range from crafting to cooking, and all the other good stuff I love.