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Thank you to our guest blogger, Kara Rajchel, from Parity Designs!

Kara Rajchel, Designer | www.paritydesigns.comDeployments bring about many changes on the home front, but one question always needs answering: What’s for dinner.  If you are like me you’d rather cook for twenty than one. Cooking for one always seems so hard. I mean, I can only eat leftovers for one day but that pot of pasta will last me all week…and wouldn’t it just be easier to get those frozen meals for one? 

Well, yeah it would be easier wouldn’t it? You know what comes with those frozen meals? Or that takeout? A ton of salt, preservatives, artificial everything and a ton of extra calories.  Cooking for one can be a challenge but hey, what isn’t?  Here are some tips to let you save money, eat healthily, and find inspiration for cooking for one.

Cooking for one doesn’t have to be negative.

Really!  You know that thing your significant other hates, but you love? Now is the time to make it! For me it’s curry, I love curry! My dear husband doesn’t like anything spicy, much to my disappointment. So when dear hubby is gone, it’s curry time! Make your favorite foods, you deserve it!  Pull out those comfort foods, or try something new that you’ve always wanted to try. Now is the time to go for it.

The Freezer is your Friend.

It can be hard to reduce a recipe; especially if you are baking sometimes it won’t turn out good.  So what to do with those leftovers? Freeze them.  I like to save a portion for a meal for the next day then freeze the remaining in individual sized portions.  Make sure you mark down what it is, and when you freeze it. Keep track of the freezer! Nothing is more disappointing, not to mention a waste of money, than throwing away freezer burned foods you forgot about 6 months ago.

Use your slow cooker.

No desire to cook? Slow cookers require little effort beyond dumping ingredients into the cooker and turning it on. By the end of the day your place will smell divine, and your dinner will be ready to go.  Get yourself a plate and silverware and enjoy!  Slower cooker recipes usually are on the large size, so be ready to freeze the leftovers for another day.

Have go-to foods.

These are foods that are quick and easy to prepare, even for one portion.  Things like salads, pasta, and even eggs. Breakfast for dinner is not only fun, but breakfast foods like eggs or pancakes are easy to make, and control how much you make.  Stock up on quick cooking smaller portioned size things like frozen chicken tenders, and frozen fish fillets. If you do buy a large portion of foods that will expire before you can use it, like meats, portion it out as soon as you get home from the commissary into a size you will use.

Invite Your Friends Over.

Nothing makes dinner more fun than having your best friends over. Not only can you cook something without worrying about leftovers you get the fun and support of your friends. Cooking together is a great bonding opportunity, and there’s nothing you need more during a deployment than the support of good friends.  You could even have a rotating potluck dinner night at each friend’s house. Nothing like something to look forward to!

You can cook for one, and have fun doing it.  Let these tips point your deployment cooking in the right direction and avoid the temptation of a bad diet of junk food and pre-made meals. What are your favorite recipes for one? As a bonus here’s mine:

Italian Style flatbread

Ingredients:

          Your favorite pizza dough

          Finely chopped garlic

          Capers

          Parmesan cheese

          Extra Virgin Olive oil

          Kalamata olives

          Pinch of salt & pepper

          Basil

Instructions:

1.       Preheat oven to the 425 F. Roll out your pizza dough into a roughly round shape. You want it to be between ½ inch and ¾ inches in thickness.

2.       Drizzle pizza dough with the extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt & pepper.

3.       Tear or chiffonade basil and sprinkle over the dough, add the rest of the toppings: garlic, parmesan cheese, olives, and capers. Put as much or little of each as you’d like.

4.       Bake for 10-15min or until the crust is just golden brown, then serve and enjoy. You can dip in marinara sauce if you’d like or just eat plain with a side salad.

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For more great blogs and recipes, please see MilitaryOneClick’s Blog Bites and Recipe Page.

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