Small Batch Scones Without Cream

We’re having Scottish weather this week. It’s cold, drizzly, damp, and the chill goes right through you. I jokingly suggested to some friends that if we’re going to have Scottish weather, I need to make scones. But all the recipes I found required cream. Or buttermilk. Or half and half. I had none of those things. But, eventually (thank you New York Times Cookbook) I discovered an easy small batch scones recipe without cream. I cut that in half, because what would I do with 16 scones?

This recipe is quick, delicious, and only needs one bowl to prepare. And no yeast either. The other good thing is that you don’t have to go out and get any special ingredients. You can just use what you already have at home.

Just the thing for a chilly day. Serve these scones with your choice of clotted cream (sounds weird, but just really thick and delicious cream) and/or butter and jam.

The other great thing about this is that it comes together in only a few minutes. Mix everything up, roll out and cut up the scones, and bake for 12 minutes.



More Small Batch Dessert Recipes

Gooey small batch chocolate chip cookiesGooey Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies

Delicious chocolate chip cookies in a recipe that’s downsized for one person. They’re gooey, soft, and oh so chocolatey. Share (or not) as you like.


mini blueberry hand piesMini Blueberry Hand Pie Recipe

A pie that fits in your hand! These are great to eat at home, or take with you for a picnic or party. Your friends will thank you.


small batch hamantaschenSmall Batch Hamantaschen Recipe

These triangular jam-filled cookies are usually eaten for Purim in the spring. The triangles represent Haman’s hat (he’s the bad guy in the Purim story).


strawberry blueberry crumbleStrawberry Blueberry Crumble

Not one, but two kinds of berries under a sweet, buttery topping. Cut them into bars for easier eating. Have one now and freeze the rest (they freeze really well).

Reverse Sear Bottom Round Roast Beef

This reverse sear bottom round roast beef is not your usual cooking method for roast beef. It’s also not the standard cut.  Bottom round is usually relegated to pot roast. Meh. I’ve never been a fan of pot roast. Or brisket either.

But, if you cook that bottom round properly, you end up with a tender, flavorful roast (and for far less than you’d spend on a rib roast). There are two parts to a reverse sear bottom round roast beef. First, you cook the meat slowly on a low temperature. My mom accidentally “invented” this part long ago. She left a roast in the oven on low to defrost, and then ended up leaving it for hours. However, the reverse sear method has an additional, easy step.

With reverse sear, if you haven’t heard of it, instead of searing the meat in a pan on high first, and then turning down the temperature to cook it through, you reverse the process. First, a low temperature slow roast in the oven, and then sear in a pan. It turns out beautifully rare, all the way through.

And, since this is  “single serving chef” the portion of meat is small. Which means that even though we’re cooking at a low temperature, it doesn’t require a lot of time. So roast beef dinner in about an hour!

If you like, you can also make a quick horseradish sauce to go with it. I’ve included the recipe for that, but if you prefer, you can just buy it in the store.

If there are any leftovers, it makes great sandwiches the next day. Just pile slices onto some crusty bread and slather it with the horseradish sauce.


More Beef Recipes

Pan-Fried Steak with Mushroom Brandy Cream Saucepan-fried steak with mushroom brandy cream sauce

Great for a festive holiday meal or special occasion. Rich, creamy, indulgent, and utterly delicious. And a lot less work than you might expect.


cold leftover steak saladCold Leftover Steak Salad with Goat Cheese and Red Wine Vinaigrette

A “summer” dish that’s hearty enough for cool weather. Use steak, or leftover sliced roast beef.

Gooey Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve been trying to create gooey small batch chocolate chip cookies for ages. I’d made a full batch of chocolate chip cookies for years without problems. And got lots of compliments, despite using a standard recipe right off the package. But with less traveling lately, there are fewer chances to share. And it’s tough to eat a full batch all by myself.

But when I started to think about it and consciously tried to figure out why my cookies were so different, I got…flat cookies.

And most of the recipes I found online for gooey chocolate chip cookies were either too big, nearly the same amount of work as a large batch, or came up flat. Some called for cornstarch (in cookies?), others said to chill the dough for hours. And wait for my cookies??? No!! Still others recommended increasing the amount of brown sugar.

None of this helped. Especially since I knew I hadn’t been doing any of those things before.

After years (!) of wondering what the heck happened, and why thinking about my process messed up my cookies, I finally figured out the secret to gooey small batch chocolate chip cookies. It’s not cornstarch and it’s not chilling the cookies either! This recipe requires no chilling!

The secret? Well maybe two secrets. Secret number one: don’t soften the butter. Secret number two: have a stand mixer.

The result is gooey, small batch chocolate chip cookies (about 20 of them). Enough to share. Or not.



More Chocolate Recipes

Easy Chocolate Mousseeasy chocolate mousse

Only five ingredients. It’s simple, it’s easy, and you don’t have to fuss with separating eggs or double boilers. Just boil water.


Mini chocolate banana breadChocolate Banana Bread

Banana bread is great. But chocolate banana bread takes it to a whole new level.  Moist, chocolatey, and minified for one.


small batch brownies cocoa powderSmall Batch Brownies with Cocoa Powder

A batch of brownies sized perfectly for one person.  Again, no melting chocolate or fussing (they’re made with cocoa).


single serving double dark chocolate pudding recipeSingle Serving Double Dark Chocolate Pudding Recipe

Super duper extra chocolatey pudding.  It’s really two recipes (because you can also use it to make extra thick hot chocolate).


Small Batch Chorizo Lentil Soup

Hearty, rich, and comforting, this small batch chorizo lentil soup is the perfect antidote to a cold winter day.  And, it’s pretty easy to make. The whole thing is done in a little over an hour. No soaking required. Just the thing when you’re hungry, it’s cold, and you want food relatively quickly.

I’ve made a few changes from the original recipe .  First, it called for green lentils, but I only had red the first time I made this. Secondly, I skipped the celery (because I hate it), and also cut down the servings. I would have used the red pepper, but I had none, so I skipped that too. Do feel free to add it back for a bit of sweet crunch. And I made more of a soup than a stew. Oh yeah, I also swapped the russet potato for a Yukon gold.  Don’t like Russets, too floury!

If you only have red lentils, I have also included timing and instructions to add them later (since they cook faster). So use whichever one you have (or prefer).


Small Batch Chorizo Lentil Soup Substitutions and Variations

  • Add half a diced red pepper to the soup
  • Garnish with crema or sour cream
  • Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • If you don’t have lentils, use pinto or canned white beans instead (cook the canned ones about 30 minutes; dried ones will require soaking, either overnight or with my quick soak method, and about an hour to cook)

More Lentil Soup Recipes

ham and lentil soupEasy Ham and Lentil Soup for One Person

Feeling cold?  Heat up your home and warm your stomach with this hearty winter soup flavored with carrots, lentils, and smoky ham.


lamb and lentil soupLamb and Lentil Soup Recipe

Lamb and lentils pair beautifully together.  This soup is low-simmered on the stove (go do something else while it cooks and your kitchen becomes fragrant with tomatoes, lamb, and thyme).

red lentil carrot soupRed Lentil Carrot Soup

Indian spices, such as cumin, garam masala, and ginger give this soup a bit of heat and lots of flavor. Then there’s a hint of red pepper flakes for a bit of a kick.


moroccan chicken soupMoroccan Chicken and Lentil Soup

This is a Jewish recipe (yes, really) from Morocco. No lox or bagels in sight. Instead it’s got ginger, saffron, and turmeric for a sweet, savory flavor. It’s generally made with lamb and beans, but I went with chicken and lentils (just to be contrary).


Chicken and Broccoli in White Wine Sauce

This recipe was inspired by a French chef’s cookbook, but it isn’t French. It’s sort of Italian. He called it scarpariello, but it’s unlike any other dish of that name I’ve seen, as it has no peppers and no sausage. And that includes one elsewhere on this very blog. But, since it’s not really authentically Italian, we can do with it what we like. And call it what we like. Whatever it’s called, and wherever it came from, chicken and broccoli in white wine sauce is a great weeknight meal. It’s all in one pot, for one thing. And it takes well under an hour to cook.

In the original dish, the chicken is browned, and then perked up with white wine, lemon, and garlic. He used fresh broccoli as a side dish.  I used frozen broccoli to cut down the cooking time even more, and tossed it in with the chicken. One less pan to clean!


More Chicken Recipes

Peruvian roast chicken with green saucePeruvian Roast Chicken in Green Sauce Recipe

I just love, love, love this. The green sauce is a bit spicy, rich, and utterly delicious. Great on chicken, or on boiled potatoes, or even as a veggie dip.


roast chicken with plumsRoast Chicken with Plums

Simple, sweet, tangy, and easy to make. But, it packs a lot of flavor.


stovetop coq au vinStovetop Coq au Vin Chicken with Red Wine Sauce

A casual, weeknight-friendly version of a French classic. No need to fuss to get a delicious meal. And, it is fancy enough for company.


chicken mushroom skillet recipeChicken and Mushroom Skillet Recipe

Another one pot meal with chicken, mushrooms, and onions. Just the thing when you don’t feel like fussing (or cleaning) too much.


Strawberry Blueberry Crumble

These strawberry blueberry crumble bars were not planned. Oh, I’d made the original blueberry crumble bars a number of times. Even got friends to make them. Turns out they are extremely forgiving (friend left them in the oven way too long and they were still good!)

However, in this case I had to pivot. I only had about a cup of blueberries. But there were also some strawberries that had to get used up. So strawberry blueberry crumble bars were born!

I did halve the original recipe (because that required FOUR cups of fruit and I only had two), and also cut down the sugar a bit since the strawberries are sweeter than the blueberries. Also, lacking a fresh lemon, I used lemon peel and lemon juice instead of fresh zest and juice. I’ve given amounts for both.

I tend to like less sweet desserts anyway. You can adjust to your own taste.



More Fruit Desserts

Mini Blueberry Hand Pie Recipemini blueberry hand pies

Your favorite blueberry pie in an easy to hold, portable package. And one serving per “pie.” Just the thing for a picnic, brining lunch to work, or making sure you don’t eat the whole pie all at once.

Easy Plum Tart Recipe for Oneeasy plum tart

No special pan required, and you don’t have to wait forever for the crust to chill. Great with either Italian plums (the long narrow kind) or regular round ones.


Rustic Pear Tartrustic pear tart slice with ice cream

You don’t have to crimp the crust, pre-bake anything, or even pre-cook the pears. Active time is about 15 minutes and it’s all done in 90. Works great with either pears or apples.

ginger pear breadSmall Batch Ginger Pear Bread

Adapted from a banana bread recipe (yes, I had no bananas) this quick bread balances sweet, juicy pears with warm cinnamon and a gingery kick.


Skillet Lemon Spinach Chicken

Bright, colorful, and oh so easy. Skillet lemon spinach chicken is bursting with flavor from lemon, tomatoes, fresh spinach, and a touch of white wine.  And, it all comes together in a single pot, ready in about 35 minutes.  Make yourself some rice and you’re ready to eat.

It’s perfect for weeknights when you’re hungry and haven’t got a lot of time to cook. And since it doesn’t cook for very long, it won’t heat up your kitchen too much. Great for summer, especially when tomatoes are in season.

This recipe was inspired by an online friend. He posted a photo and listed the main ingredients. It looked so good I decided to try it myself, and added my own spin with some oregano, a bit of chicken broth, and a pinch of red pepper flakes to brighten the flavor.

I used sauvignon blanc for the white wine (since that is what I had handy). A pinot gris would work too. You want something citrusy and aromatic, but not too sweet.

I had a package of mixed grape tomatoes (yellow, orange, red, and dark red), so I just popped in a few of those. But regular grape or cherry tomatoes are fine.

Skillet Lemon Spinach Chicken Substitutions and Variations

  • Swap the tomatoes for some red bell pepper (about 1/4 cup)
  • Add a sliced crimini mushroom or two
  • Don’t want wine? Add more chicken broth, or substitute some cream

More Chicken Recipes

shoemakers chickenShoemaker’s Chicken for One

A one pot “Italian” classic, spruced up with a tangy sweet-sour sauce.


honey sticky garlic chickenHoney Sticky Garlic Chicken

Craving Chinese food? Make this classic dish right in your home, without the wait.


roast chicken with plumsRoast Chicken with Plums

Sweet, tangy, with just a hint of savory warm spiciness. And super simple to make.


chicken with basil, peaches, and gingerChicken with Peaches and Ginger

Fresh, sweet peaches, plus savory ginger, and summery basil. One bowl, one pan, and you have dinner.



Pork with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce

Pork and apples are a common combination, right? But a bit tired. Why not jazz up your dinner and make pork with blueberry balsamic sauce instead? The sweetness of the blueberries and the tangy vinegar are a fantastic complement to the rich, meaty pork.

The result: absolutely divine! I really wanted to eat it again! Heck, I want to eat it now (as I type this early in the morning).

It all sounds planned from that description, but it really wasn’t. I bought some pork chops intending to make a stir fry. But that’s not what I ended up making. It suddenly occurred to me that I had some fresh blueberries (they were on sale) and that blueberries and pork would work nicely together. A quick search and I found a number of recipes combining blueberries, pork, and balsamic vinegar. Seemed like a great combination! Some recipes were more involved then others. But it was a weeknight. I didn’t feel like fussing too much. So, naturally, I chose a simple one! Less mess and fewer ingredients. It’s largely this recipe, but I swapped the sugar with honey (so I could use less and it would dissolve into the sauce faster). And so pork with blueberry balsamic sauce was born!

I reduced both the quantity of everything and the cooking time for the sauce (since there’s a lot less of it – make sure to keep the flame super-low).

I’ve made this with a pork chop, but a tenderloin, or even chunks of pork would work just as well.


More Pork Recipes

pork chile verdePork Chili Verde for One

Made with ground pork, cooked in a salsa verde of jalapeños, garlic, onion, and cumin.

Unlike most chili recipes, this one cooks fairly quickly (especially if you’ve got cooked or canned beans).

apple glazed ham steakApple Glazed Ham Steak Recipe for One Person

Back to basics here (pork and apples), but with a twist. Because ham is usually paired with pineapple. And, since the ham is essentially pre-cooked, it’s ready in just a few minutes.


honey mustard glazed ribsHoney Mustard Glazed Spareribs

Tender, not too sweet, with just a bit of a mustard kick.  And they cook in about an hour.


pork tenderloin with mushrooms and sour creamPork Tenderloin with Mushrooms and Sour Cream

Rich, flavorful, and fast.  The sauce is rich, indulgent, and delicious, with sour cream, mustard, and  sweet/sour capers.




Small Batch Matzo Ball Soup

You can’t have Passover really without matzo ball soup.  It’s a rich, hearty soup made with chicken, lots of vegetables, and matzo balls. Matzo balls are dumplings, but made with matzo meal instead of flour.  My mom and great-grandma used to make this in enormous batches. Mom was feeding 20 or so at a time, and my great-grandma about 40-45 people (big family). That, of course is way too much for one person. So small batch matzo ball soup it is! My version makes about 5 or 6 servings.

Now, the usual way to make the soup is to boil the chicken, then add the veggies, bring to a boil, and simmer. However, if you do it that way, the chicken ends up fairly tasteless. So, I lightly cook the chicken first, then add the veggies, and finally the water. Doing it this way allows the chicken and veggies to caramelize a bit and gain added flavor.

The best way to do this, is to make the soup first. That way, if you get fat from the top, you can use that to make the matzo balls the next day. The matzo balls need to be refrigerated to firm up, so start them either in the morning or at night so they have time to chill.

Also, make sure to store the finished soup and matzo balls in different containers. Put them together and the matzo balls will absorb a lot of the liquid (leaving you with very little soup left!)

One more thing, there is (as usual) a big debate over the “proper” texture of matzo balls. Some say that they should be fluffy. Others insist they should be firm. My family comes firmly (ha ha) down on the firm side. They should have body and substance! Just say no to wimpy matzo balls!

More Passover Recipes

homemade small batch matzoHomemade Small Batch Matzo

Store-bought matzo tastes like, well “hemstitched cardboard.” Make it yourself instead and get something with actual good flavor


small batch charoses

Small Batch Charoses

It’s not Pesach without charoses. This mixture of apples, wine, nuts, and cinnamon is meant to remind us of the bricks our ancestors were forced to make while building Pharoah’s cities. Unlike actual mortar, this tastes good!

Cinnamon Sugar Brandy Bananascinnamon sugar bananas

End the festive meal with this easy banana dessert. They’re gently cooked in brandy and then sprinkled with cinnamon.  Ready in minutes.  Brandy is OK (check the label to make sure if you are observant).]

single serving double dark chocolate pudding recipeSingle Serving Double Dark Chocolate Pudding Recipe

One serving of rich, decadent chocolate pudding. Cook it less and you get thick, European-style hot chocolate. So, it’s really two recipes in one!


Small Batch Charoses

What is charoses? It’s part of the Passover celebration and is meant to represent the mortar that the Israelites used to build Pharoah’s cities when we were slaves in Egypt. My grandma used to make enormous batches of it, but being unable to eat 5 or 6 apples worth of food, this is a small batch charoses recipe.

If you are not familiar with charoses, the Ashkenazi (Eastern European) version is a mixture of nuts, apples, wine, and sugar.  The Sephardim (Jews from Spain and the Middle East) make it with dates and oranges. Think of it as sort of a chunky applesauce with nuts and wine.

Charoses is traditionally eaten each year as part of the Seder (the Passover service) with matzo. It’s also good as a snack on more matzo during the week.

It’s both vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free. Charoses is traditionally made with red wine, but if you don’t want wine, you could substitute grape juice instead. I’m sure my grandma used something like Manischewitz concord grape wine or malaga (both heavy and super-sweet). However, I find both undrinkable, so I used old vine zinfandel instead.

More Passover Recipes

homemade small batch matzoHomemade Small Batch Matzo

Eat your charoses with a small batch of homemade matzo. Unlike the stuff from the store, this has actual flavor!


small batch matzo ball soup

Small Batch Matzo Ball Soup

Once you’ve made your matzo, it’s time for the soup. This is rich, flavorful, and really the centerpiece of the Passover meal as far as I’m concerned. And your house will smell wonderful while it’s cooking.

stovetop coq au vin

Stovetop Coq au Vin Chicken with Red Wine Sauce

An easy version of a French classic. This is much less effort than the usual, but still special/fancy enough for a special occasion. Use potato starch instead of flour to make in Passover-friendly. If you don’t want to mix meat and dairy, use oil instead of butter.

crispy garlic basil potato bitesCrispy Garlic Basil Potato Bites

Tiny bits of potato kicked up with garlic and basil. Crispy outside and tender inside.  Almost like fries (but a lot less messy).


Cinnamon Sugar Brandy Bananascinnamon sugar bananas

Finish off with these easy-to-make bananas, sprinkled with cinnamon. They take only a few minutes to make and the brandy is OK for Passover.