Homemade Small Batch Matzo

Delicious and matzo are not usually combined in the same sentence. But this homemade small batch matzo is actually tasty. Really!

We eat matzo, and other special foods, as part of the observance of Passover. If you are not familiar, the Passover holiday celebrates the Israelites’ escape from slavery in Egypt. The occasion is observed by having a feast, featuring special foods: matzo (signifying the unleavened bread we had to eat because we had to leave in a hurry and couldn’t wait for the bread to rise), charoset (a mixture of nuts and apples with wine that signifies bricks and mortar), horseradish (signifying the bitterness of slavery), lettuce or other greens dipped in saltwater (for tears), and four cups of wine.  We also read the story of the escape (exodus) from a book called the Haggadah. The entire meal and ceremony is called a seder (order).
Back to the matzo. The supermarket stuff is, frankly, awful. My grandma used to call it hemstitched cardboard. Everything you’d normally eat that’s made with flour or leavening (noodles, rolls, pie, etc. has to be made with matzo). Since there’s no leavening it’s all really dense and heavy and hard to digest.
However, some time ago, I discovered I could make my own matzo. I found this recipe and it actually has something that store bought matzo sorely lacks. Namely… taste!
Since this is for one, I halved the recipe. Note that your oven temp may vary, and the matzo cooking time may vary. Keep an eye on it!

More Passover Foods

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

An “easy button” version of a French classic. The usual version takes a lot of time and effort. This one doesn’t.

For Passover, swap the flour for potato starch.

Jewish chicken curry chitarneeJewish Chicken Curry Chitarnee

This Sephardic recipe is packed with flavor. It’s spicier than Eastern European food, but not super-hot.  Flavored with onion, garlic, ginger, mild chilis, and cardamom, all of which become warm and mellow as they cook. The wine vinegar is OK for Passover too. And only one pot!

Cinnamon Sugar Brandy Bananascinnamon sugar bananas

Finish off your feast with sweet bananas, lightly dusted with cinnamon. It’s simple, and delicious too.



poached pears with chocolate sauce and ice creamPoached Pears with Chocolate Sauce and Ice Cream

Sure, this looks decadent. It might me. It’s also rich, easy, and delicious. Fancy enough for company or a special feast, but simple enough for a Wednesday.


Small Batch Hamantaschen Recipe

Never heard of hamantaschen? Well, they are a special triangular cookie served on Purim.  More about that in a bit. However, since this is a single serving blog, I’ve made a small batch hamantaschen recipe, not a full one (even though the cookies are delicious, a full recipe is too much)!

I have adapted this from Tory Avey’s butter hamantaschen recipe. She has a non-dairy version too (but any excuse for butter is fine with me!) Back to Purim. Purim, like many Jewish holidays, commemorates when some evildoer tried to exterminate the Jewish people, but we survived. The running joke is, “they tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat!” This often means particular foods that have a special association with the holiday (so latkes for Chanukah, matzo for Passover, and so on).

In this case, we eat triangular cookies. These are in the shape of Haman’s hat,  or possibly his ears, or his pockets. The exact translation depends on where you are from and whether you are translating from Hebrew or Yiddish. Haman, by the way was the villain in the story.  He may have been a villain, but the cookies are delicious.

Now, this recipe works in several steps. Yes, it’s a bit fiddly, but that’s why it’s a holiday treat! First you make the cookie dough and let it chill (so it’s easier to work with). Then, you cut the dough out into circles, and fill them with jam, or some other filling, and finally fold them into triangles and bake. The traditional flavors are apricot, raspberry, poppy seed, and sometimes chocolate. I’ve made mine with strawberry jam (because once I made all those cookies, I didn’t want to fuss with making a special filling too). Yet, another reason (besides not being able to eat a full recipe), why this is a small batch hamantaschen recipe!

Note: There are two methods for shaping the cookies. The first is to wet down the edges and then pinch the sides together. The second is to overlap the edges. I found I got the best results by combining the two methods: dampen the edge, then fold.

This is the pinch folded version (which is easier, but doesn’t hold shut as well):

small batch hamantaschen pinch fold
small batch hamantaschen pinch fold

Here’s what the overlap version looks like (step by step)

small batch hamantashen left fold
left fold small batch hamantaschen
right fold small batch hamantaschen
right fold small batch hamantaschen
small batch hamantaschen finished overlap
small batch hamantaschen finished overlap

Tools for Making Small Batch Hamantaschen

Norpro Bench Scraper/Chopper

Helpful for getting the dough out of the bowl (since it’s crumbly) in order to knead it. If you are working in a small space, use the bench scraper to cut the dough in half before you roll it out. This will make it easier to manage. Use this for hamantaschen, challah, mini pies, or for transferring diced veggies from your cutting board to a pot.

J.K. Adams FRP-1 Maple French Rolling Pin

Hamantaschen dough is crumbly and thin, so you will get better results with a heavy-duty rolling pin.  It’s easier to hold than the kind with handles, and does a much better job of rolling out the dough.

More Small Batch Dessert Recipes

easy plum tart

Easy Plum Tart

This recipe needs no special tools, or fancy ingredients.  My ordinary six-inch baking pan worked just fine. Use Italian plums or the regular kind. Simple and delicious.


mini blueberry hand piesMini Blueberry Hand Pie Recipe

A pie that you can take to go. No plate and no utensils needed.  Great for a picnic or packing in your lunch for work.


Rustic Pear Tart

Looks, and tastes like pie, but faster and easier to make. Only six steps required. Just the thing for a quick, sweet treat.


caramelized pineapple chunksCaramelized Pineapple Chunks for One Person

It may be cold outside as I type this, but you can still have an easy summery dessert. No fresh ingredients needed (or a trip to the store). And, it’s ready in minutes.


Dijonnaise Salmon Cakes

I spotted this recipe for salmon cakes with lemon dill dijon mayonnaise sauce on Bon Appetit and thought it sounded delicious. But way too complicated. With too many steps and pots to clean.  So I came up with an easier version that requires far less effort.  Still tastes great though.

I’ve used canned salmon (so you don’t have to cook it separately) and store bought mayonnaise, gussied up to taste brighter and fresher. And, of course, made the entire recipe smaller, so it makes four cakes instead of 12.

I also swapped the scallions for onions (because that’s what I had), and dried dill instead of fresh (didn’t want to buy a whole bunch for one recipe).  And, then used lemon juice instead of zest (zest would be fine too).


More Salmon Recipes

sugar crusted salmon filletSugar Crusted Salmon Fillet

Slightly sweet, kicked up with cumin, mustard and paprika.  This salmon recipe is easy, bright, and full of flavor.


pan fried salmon with nectarine salsaPan Fried Salmon with Nectarine Salsa

A fresh twist on the usual salsa, this one has juicy, sweet nectarines, tangy lime, and slightly spicy jalapeño. Perfect for a warm spring or summer day.


smoked salmon pasta with tomato cream sauceSmoked Salmon Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

A silky, smooth sauce with just a touch of cream. This feels (and tastes) far more indulgent than it actually is. Works with either smoked salmon or leftover cooked salmon.


salmon in foil packet with potatoesSalmon in Foil Packet with Potatoes

An easy no-pot meal. Just wrap it in foil, and then toss the dirty wrap away. Slice the potatoes, wrap it all up, and bake.


Arroz Con Pollo for One

In case you’re wondering, arroz con pollo just means chicken with rice. It’s a favorite Latin American dish, roughly similar to paella (but with a lot fewer steps and ingredients). I’ve adapted this from a Jacques Pépin recipe. I know what you’re thinking, isn’t he French? He is. But his wife is Puerto Rican and she taught him a thing or too.

Besides reducing the quantities, I’ve changed this recipe a bit. He used chickpeas  and bacon ((I never have chickpeas, so I went with beans instead and I usually get chorizo, more versatile).  He also put in cilantro stems. I like the dried version (coriander), but not fresh. And I’d never use it all anyway. So dried it is.

It’s all ready in about an hour. And, it only uses a single pot. Less cleanup is always a bonus as far as I’m concerned!

More Recipes with Beans

tuna cannellini bean saladTuna Cannellini Bean Salad Recipe for One

Want a quick meal? Just open a few cans and you’ve got an easy lunch. No actual cooking needed.


pasta e fagioli soupPasta e Fagioli (Bean) Soup

An Italian classic that’s filling and easy too. It’s flavored with pancetta and rosemary, for a meal that’s both both aromatic and delicious.


Brazilian chicken paprika stewBrazilian Chicken Paprika Stew

This is chicken paprikash that went south and stayed.  The cream is gone, replaced with sausage, lime, and beans. It’s rich and satisfying, and all in one pot!


black beans and rice recipe one personBlack Beans and Rice Recipe for One Person

Two meals in one! This can be an entree or a soup. It’s also pantry friendly. Just cook the beans slowly with garlic, onions, and two surprise ingredients. Cook it longer for a side dish/entree, or a bit less for soup.


Kitchen Hack: Binder Clips

Now, I know, you likely think of the binder clip as a handy office tool. But, it turns out to have lots of kitchen uses too. It’s a great kitchen hack too!

For example, use it to close up bags of chips, bags of coffee, or to keep your open bag of rice shut. There’s another use, that I just discovered yesterday. I was taking out a bunch of ingredients from the freezer to put in the fridge to defrost. I realized that I could just clip the bags together with a binder clip. That way, when I was ready to cook, I wouldn’t have to search through the refrigerator hunting for each item I needed. It would all be together!

More Kitchen Hacks

kitchen hack oxo peelerKitchen Organization Hack: Oxo Peeler 

Finding one tool in a container full of them can be a pain (especially if it’s a small one). This hack helps you spot your peeler instantly.


open tight jarHow to Easily Open a Tight Jar

You don’t need any special equipment or expensive gadgets to get those jars open. Just an ordinary tool to break the seal.


small kitchen storageSmall Kitchen Storage Ideas: How to Store Everything You Need to Cook in a Tiny Kitchen

This is my kitchen. Yes, that’s it. The whole thing. But small doesn’t mean you can’t keep and store everything you need to cook full meals (even for company).

separate a head of garlicEasily Break Apart a Head of Garlic

You don’t need special tools to get one or two cloves of garlic for your recipe. Just an ordinary knife will do the trick.

Small Batch Savory Mushroom Onion Pie

In America, we mostly tend to think of pie as something sweet, filled with fruit, and eaten for dessert. That’s certainly good (I wouldn’t turn down a good pie), but it’s not the entire story.  Pies can do more than that. However,  for reasons unknown, with the exception of chicken or turkey pot pie, we tend to mostly ignore the whole world of meat, vegetable, and other flavorful, no-fruit pies that make wonderful entrees.  Take this savory mushroom onion pie, for instance.  It’s got a crust like a fruit pie, but instead of blueberries or apples, it’s packed with mushrooms, cheese, and onions.

Not only is it delicious, but it’s an entire meal all by itself.  Think a less-eggy quiche.

I’ve adapted the filling recipe from here and the crust from here.

Now, you can use store-bought pie dough, store-bought pizza dough (yes, really, I saw Jacques Pepin do it once—if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for me), or make your own. It’s not hard. I’ve included directions for both. If you’ve got a pre-made crust, skip the instructions for that and go straight to the filling. If not, make the crust, and then start the filling while the crust chills.

Small Batch Savory Mushroom Onion Pie Substitutions and Variations

  • Use leek instead of onions
  • If you don’t have heavy cream, use half and half, or even milk
  • Add some broccoli with the cheese and onion mixture

More Mushroom Recipes

chicken with mushrooms and tarragonChicken with Tarragon and Mushrooms

Fine French food, without a big restaurant bill.  Flavored with tarragon and mushrooms, in a creamy sauce. Tastes indulgent, but it isn’t.


Chicken Mushroom Skillet Recipe chicken mushroom skillet recipe

Pan fry the chicken, cut the mushrooms and veggies, and simmer. It makes its own sauce right in the pan.


pork tenderloin with mushrooms and sour cream

Pork Tenderloin with Mushrooms and Sour Cream

Rich creamy and indulgent, with a bit of bite from mustard and capers.  Perfect with the pork.  And hardly any chopping.


shoemaker's chicken for oneShoemaker’s Chicken for One

This Italian favorite isn’t really Italian at all. That doesn’t keep it from being delicious. And it’s easy, with very little cleanup after (always a win-win).


Easy Plum Tart Recipe for One

I had some Italian plums I’d bought with the vague idea of making one of various recipes for a plum cake or a torte, or even mini pies. But, I (naturally) wanted something smaller, didn’t have the right pan, and I didn’t have the patience for lots of little crusts and fillings. Stumped, I stared at my bookshelf and thought, hey there’s a Pierre Franey cookbook I haven’t opened in a while. That’s silly. And lo and behold, there was an easy plum tart recipe inside. One pan, one crust, and no fiddly time-consuming individual filling.  Plus,  you only have to chill the crust for a few minutes, rather than hours. Less wait time. Perfect!

So, I cut the ingredients in half, and got myself an easy delicious dessert.  It requires no special tart pan and there’s no need to run to the store for non-standard or expensive ingredients (like puff pastry).  My ordinary six-inch baking pan worked just fine.  I used Italian plums (the oblong kind), but ordinary, round plums would work too.



Easy Plum Tart Recipe for One Substitutions and Variations

  • Experiment with different fruits: try it with sliced apples and some cinnamon, or use sliced pears, cinnamon, and ginger
  • Replace 1 T of flour with 1 T of ground almonds
  • Sprinkle sliced almonds on top of the tart
  • Brush the crust with egg for a beautiful shine
  • Or, try some heavy cream or milk on the edges to make it golden brown

Tools for This Recipe

Zulay Dough Blender

This is one of my favorite baking gadgets.  It’s much easier to use than the two knife method, and takes up a lot less space than a food processor.  It’s held up really well (I bought it about four years ago), and it now comes in your choice of colors (so it will match your kitchen).

J.K. Adams FRP-1 Maple French Rolling Pin

I started out baking with an old, relatively small rolling pin that I got as a gift.  It was pretty (with incised patterns), but a real pain the neck to clean. It was also too small. This one is miles ahead.  It’s easier to manipulate and hold, and does a much better job rolling out dough.

More Fruit Dessert Recipes

mini blueberry hand piesMini Blueberry Hand Pie Recipe

A pie you can hold right in your hand. One pie is one portion—just right for a treat without going overboard. You don’t even need a plate.


Rustic Pear Tart

A rich dessert that seems like pie (but is much easier to make. There are only six easy steps. Perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth (without a lot of work or waiting).


caramelized pineapple chunksCaramelized Pineapple Chunks for One Person

A sweet dessert straight from your pantry.  And, it’s ready in only a few minutes.  Eat it as is, or serve with chopped nuts.


easy one serving apple crisp recipeEasy One Serving Apple Crisp Recipe

This treat comes together in a single bowl.  It’s warm, cinnamony, and made with oatmeal (so it’s healthy!).



Simple Panzanella Salad for One

Summer tomatoes are (finally!) here and I am soo glad to be rid of the sad supermarket versions! I had some stale bread, and inspired by a friend, I decided to make a simple panzanella salad for one.

Panzanella is a classic Italian dish made from day-old crusty bread, tomatoes, cucumber, and onion. After that, you can add more veggies (such as bell pepper or zucchini), toss in olives, and either a simple oil and vinegar dressing, or a full-out vinaigrette.

This one is adapted from Ina Garten’s version. Her recipe was for 12 people! It is traditional to let the whole salad sit for 30 minutes.  That allows the bread to soak up the flavors. It also gives you soggy bread. Since I prefer it crisp, I ate it right away. Besides, that way there’s no waiting to eat!

I’ve cut her recipe for the vinaigrette in half and substituted white wine vinegar for Champagne vinegar.  I have six or seven kinds of vinegar, and enough is enough! You can use the champagne version if you have it.  This is a bit more dressing than you need for one salad, but it will keep and you can use it for something else (or more panzanella another day).

Simple Panzanella Salad for One Substitutions and Variations

  • Replace the capers with olives
  • Add other fresh veggies, more kinds of bell pepper, zucchini, mushrooms, or some cabbage
  • Make it heartier with good quality tuna or some fresh mozzarella pearls (tiny balls of cheese)

More Side Salad Recipes

israeli chopped saladIsraeli Salad

Easy, healthy, and no cooking. Serve as is, or add humus, olives, and pita for a light lunch.


dill caper potato saladDill Caper Potato Salad

Sweet/sour capers plus lemony dill combine for a salad that’s big on flavor, but light on mayo.


lemony cucumber salad recipeLemony Cucumber Salad

A lemony cucumber salad is the perfect antidote to a brutally hot day. It’s light, refreshing, and delicious too.


dijon mustard vinaigrette potato saladDijon Mustard Vinaigrette Potato Salad

This Dijon mustard vinaigrette potato salad is different from the usual potato salads. Since it’s French, it’s got no mayo. Instead, there’s  olive oil, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard for a bit of bite.



Shoemaker’s Chicken for One

Shoemaker’s Chicken (or Chicken Scarpariello) is a classic Italian dish that isn’t really Italian at all. The true story goes something like this: Italians come to America and start adapting and creating new recipes, they become popular, a new tradition is born.

“Authentic” or not, it’s still delicious, flavored with a sweet/sour pan sauce that cooks right with the chicken.  One pan, minimal cleanup. Always a good thing.

There, are (naturally) plenty of variations on this dish, from just simply cooking it with olive oil, wine, and lemon to adding sausage and peppadew peppers.  Well, I didn’t have any sausage. I also didn’t have the right peppers, and since a) I didn’t want to get some for one meal or b) burden you with getting a whole jar of something for one meal, I used ordinary bell peppers instead. Then I added a bit of vinegar and a pinch of sugar to approximate the peppadew flavor.

Also, I used two different recipes as a starting point. The first one, from Bon Appetit,  called for browning the chicken in a skillet and then transferring to the oven to finish, The second one, from Pierre Franey’s 60 Minute Gourmet cookbook, cooked it all entirely in the skillet. My skillets are old, and I’m not entirely sure how oven-safe they are.  So, all-on-the stove top it was!

I did, however, make the potatoes suggested in Bon Appetit’s recipe.  That was just simply heating the oven to 450, then cutting a large Yukon potato into chunks, tossing it with 1 T of olive oil, salt and pepper and baking for about 20-25 minutes.

Order of operations: If you’re making the potatoes, preheat the oven first, then start the chicken, cut up the potatoes, put them in to cook, and finish the chicken.


More Chicken Recipes

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

A streamlined version of a French classic (with an “easy” button).  Ready in under an hour, with only one pan to clean.


chicken mushroom skillet recipeChicken and Mushroom Skillet Recipe

The perfect solution when you want food fast.  It makes its own sauce, right in the pan.


roast chicken with plumsRoast Chicken with Plums

Perfect for summer, bathed in a sweet, tangy sauce with just a hint of savory warm spiciness. And super simple to make.


chicken with mushrooms and tarragonChicken with Tarragon and Mushrooms

Fancy French food (without going out, or paying a big bill). Increase the recipe, make it for company, and they’ll think you’re a food genius.  Or, keep it all to yourself.


Swedish Meatball Loaf Recipe for One

I adore meatballs, especially Swedish meatballs, but  I find lately I’m having less and less patience with anything that has to be individually prepared, filled, or stuffed! However, I came up with a solution! Skip the dividing and the rolling, and just make a Swedish meatball loaf instead.

This recipe is adapted slightly from one in my 60-Minute Gourmet cookbook.  I cut it in half (because an entire meatloaf was more than I wanted all at once).  And, I fiddled with the ingredients a bit.  It called for allspice (I have none) and aquavit (ditto – and not buying an entire bottle of something for one recipe).

Make the mixture, heat, and eat. No fussing. No bother. And no need to roll endless mini-meatballs either.

This works beautifully with just some rice (white or brown). Top both with the sauce.

The recipe is enough for one generous serving or two smaller ones.  If you have extra, eat it cold for lunch (or as a sandwich) the next day.  My mom would eat it for breakfast (her favorite), but you can do lunch if you want to be more conventional.


More Meatball and Ground Meat Recipes

easy Italian meatballs for oneEasy Italian Meatball Recipe for One

Italian meatballs, but just enough for one person.  Great for the classic spaghetti and meatballs. Or, use them in soup (see below).


Easy Italian Wedding Soup

Once you’ve got those meatballs, you can make soup in mere minutes.  Just a few basic ingredients, dump, heat, and eat.


white ragu papardelle

White Ragu Pappardelle Pasta for One

Yes, it’s ragu, but not the usual red sauce.  Instead, it’s made with white wine, sausage, and ground beef. No tomatoes anywhere. Even better with fresh pasta.


sloppy joes one person recipeSloppy Joe Recipe for One Person

This is not your mom’s sloppy joe. It’s got a kick! The secret is sriracha.  More flavor, more modern, and even more delicious.