simple food for one

March 23, 2014 § Leave a comment

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My fiance, who I have been living with for years now, travels a lot. And by a lot I mean he’s gone about half the year. And even though his traveling has been going on for years now, I’m still not used to it. It’s a struggle every time he leaves and I find myself counting the days, hours and minutes until he’ll be home again. It’s a wee bit lonely when you’re used to someone being in the house with you all the time and then they’re suddenly not.

This traveling schedule has forced more than a few adjustments at home. The one I hate the most though is cooking for one. Food is supposed to be shared! I love cooking for friends and family, the more the merrier. I absolutely dread cooking for just myself. I think, no I know, grocery items are built for numbers. This means I am either eating the same thing every night because there’s so much of it and I don’t want to waste it, or I buy a bunch of food and throw half of it away, just so I can have some variety. It seems like a lose/lose to me.

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I have found a few recipes that I like making for one, things I don’t mind having multiple times in one week or recipes that have ingredients that don’t spoil quickly. I have also learned that cooking for one is most enjoyable when you simplify with fewer ingredients and shorter cook times. I’m usually against frozen ingredients, but they can be your friend in instances like this. Words of advice, eat your salads first thing in the week and save your grains and proteins for the end. Also, make meals that have simple bases so you can add whatever it is you have on hand. Like in this recipe, if you don’t have corn, add in frozen peas and spinach instead! Little tweaks can make cooking for one a little bit more enjoyable.

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Serves 1
1/3 cup Israeli couscous
1 tablespoon olive oil, split
1/3 cup yellow onion, chopped
1/3 cup frozen corn
1/2 tablespoon fresh herbs
1/4 cup feta, crumbled
splash of lemon juice
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in a small pot over medium heat. Add the couscous and sauté for a couple minutes until the rice becomes slightly brown, stirring occasionally. While the couscous is sauteing, heat 1 cup of water in the microwave, until it begins to boil. Add the boiling water to the browned couscous, cover and turn the heat down to medium-low. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the couscous is plump and cooked through. (*Note: Sometimes I find Israeli couscous needs more water and more cooking time when you’re cooking a larger quantity. You really want your couscous to be soft so it melts in your mouth. If the water is absorbed, but the rice isn’t cooked, just add 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup boiling water to the rice and continue cooking. Do this until the rice is cooked through; believe me it’s worth it!)

In a small saute pan over medium heat add the other 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Once warmed add the onion and saute 5 minutes. Then add the corn and saute 2 more minutes, just until the corn is warmed through. Add the fresh herbs (I used thyme which was quite nice, but use whatever you have on hand), salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Once the couscous is cooked add the corn saute and stir until combined. Top with a squeeze of lemon juice, crumbled feta and enjoy.

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olive, feta & kale salad

March 7, 2014 § 1 Comment

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From vacation mode back to work mode without much pause in between. I am so glad I wrote a couple posts on San Diego, it allowed me to live it a little longer. And now all of a sudden it feels like ages ago. I think the words “I need a vacation” even came out of my mouth in the past week or so. I’m not sure why I can’t keep the vacation vibe longer, but I can’t, and this time was no different. Which brings me to my next point. As soon as we got home from California, we booked our honeymoon. We couldn’t wait to get away again, this time to Europe!

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I have been lucky in my life so far to see a lot of Europe already. I studied abroad in Florence and while I was there, I toured most of Southern Italy. I have been to Dublin, which mostly involved walking around from church to pub in the rain. I went paragliding in the Alps of Switzerland and indulged in chocolate and cheese fondue. I’ve experienced the beautiful bold colors and dancing of Barcelona and the old-age feel of Brussels. We went to Paris just last year and soaked in every bit of the city that we could in just a week’s time. And soon we’ll be off to London and Northern Italy.

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I thought London would be a nice honeymoon transition for us. We will be exhausted from the days leading up to the wedding and being able to understand the language of the country we’ll be visiting first will help. I have dreamed about visiting Lake Como. I almost made it pretty close. I was suppose to go to Milan for a school fieldtrip, but it was cancelled at the last minute, so any place in Italy above Bologna is a mystery to me. London will be our city escape and I’m hoping Lake Como and Venice will give us that old-family charm we are looking for too. I think the travel bug has nabbed us; we are very excited to check these few places off of our long list of must-sees!

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Serves 4
Inspired by Sprouted Kitchen

3/4 cup quinoa
3-4 cups kale leaves, lightly chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced

Bring 3/4 cup of quinoa and 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, cover and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the water is absorbed. Once cooked, remove from heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Allow to cool completely, uncovered.

Remove the stems from the kale with a knife or your hands. Work in batches and chop into bite size pieces. Put the kale in a large bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix until kale is lightly coated and shiny.

In a small bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon olive oil, cider vinegar and Dijon mustard. Pour dressing over the kale and toss to coat. Add the cooled quinoa and toss. Top with the feta, tomatoes, olives and salt and pepper to taste. Toss again. Enjoy at room temperature or chilled from the refrigerator.

Because kale is a hearty green, this is a great salad that won’t get mushy overnight, so don’t worry if you have leftovers.

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