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.

 




One Person Easter or Passover Dinners

We’re still home alone, and there are more holidays we’ll have to celebrate Easter or Passover for one, or else join our friends and family on Zoom.  While we can’t go to mom’s or grandma’s or even eat in a restaurant, we can still eat well and celebrate. Even if those celebrations look a bit different than usual.

Since the two holidays have entirely different traditions, with different dietary rules and customs, I’ve chosen dishes that are low-fuss, but still pack plenty of flavor. The side dishes are suitable for either holiday, and obviously, if you observe Easter, you can eat anything on the page!

Because having a one person Easter or Passover doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a delicious festive meal.

One Person Easter Main Dishes

apple glazed ham steakApple Glazed Ham Steak Recipe for One Person

Sure, everyone serves ham with pineapple, but this is better. The sweet/tart apple is a better foil to the salty ham. And, it’s easy too. Since it cooks quickly (the fastest main dish on this page), it’s great if you don’t feel like waiting to eat!

 

greek lamb breastGreek Lamb Breast Recipe

A hands-off recipe that requires very little effort. Just prep it, marinate, and then forget it.  Slow-roasting deepens the flavors and warms your home too.  Throw in some potatoes to bake for a really low-fuss (but delicious) meal. Or try one of the side dishes below. Incidentally, some Jewish traditions are a definite “no” to lamb on Passover; others are OK. If you are a “yes,” you can eat this!

 

lamb breast provencale with rosemaryOne Person Slow Roasted Lamb Breast Provencal Recipe

An easy hands-off main dish.  Just put it together, and let it cook slowly in your oven while you do something else.  Your home will smell wonderful as the garlic and rosemary permeate your house!

One Person Passover Main Dishes

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

A weeknight friendly version of a classic French dish. The standard version takes a lot of time and effort.  This one doesn’t!

The recipe does call for flour, but you can use potato starch instead. There’s also butter, but you can use neutral oil if you’d rather not mix meat and milk.

unstuffed cabbage roll recipe

Small Batch Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe

Much less work than the standard version! Mine is layered, like lasagne; no rolling, no stuffing. Still delicious. I used red cabbage (as I had bought it for something else), but green is fine too.

 

Jewish chicken curry chitarneeJewish Chicken Curry Chitarnee

A festive Sephardic Jewish recipe that’s zippier than the usual Ashkenazi fare. Not to worry, it’s not super-spicy. It’s 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!

 




One Person Easter or Passover Side Dishes

oven roasted lemon garlic broccoliOven Roasted Lemon Garlic Broccoli

Roasting broccoli transforms broccoli.  The bitterness disappears, tenderizing it, and giving the broccoli a sweet, almost nutty flavor.

 

 

butternut squash brown sugar vanillaRoasted Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar and Vanilla

The side dish that thinks it’s a dessert! A touch of sugar, enhanced with vanilla, and then roasted in the oven until it becomes nutty and sweet.

This does have butter in it, so if you don’t want to mix that with a meat dish, try the broccoli or the potato bites.

 

crispy garlic basil potato bitesCrispy Garlic Basil Potato Bites

Tiny bite-size bits of starchy goodness, these potato bites are crispy outside and tender inside.  Almost like fries (but a lot less messy). Not to mention the extra garlic kick.

One Person Easter Desserts

small batch brownies cocoa powderSmall Batch Brownies with Cocoa Powder

Warm, slightly gooey, and super-chocolatey brownies sized for one person. And, only one bowl required! Be decadent and top them with chocolate syrup and/or some ice cream.

 

 

rustic pear tartRustic Pear Tart

Usually, making anything pie-like is a bit of a slog.  This recipe is different. There’s no pre-baking or crimping. And only a few steps to make it. But, you end up with a sweet, buttery dessert that’s a perfect holiday delight.

 

greek yogurt chocolate cakeGreek Yogurt Chocolate Cake

Triple chocolate (cake, chips, and ganache) cake that’s decadent, rich, but not too rich (it’s got yogurt!)  The ganache adds extra chocolatey oomph (and it’s easier than you might think).

One Person Passover Desserts

Cinnamon Sugar Brandy Bananascinnamon sugar bananas

End your meal with these sweet bananas, lightly dusted 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

A single serving of rich, indulgent pudding.  Cook it less and you get thick, hot chocolate. So, it’s really two recipes in one!

 

 




Chile Potato Cheese Soup

Brrrr! We’ve just had a blizzard, with more snow expected later in the week. Time for soup! This recipe was originally potato cheese soup with dill. But, I had no fresh dill, and I wanted something with a bit more kick. Using  the jalapeños transforms it into chile potato cheese soup. Think nacho soup, with tender chunks of potatoes, and lots of cheddar cheese, enlivened with a burst of hot peppers.

I’ve kept this pretty simple, but you could treat it like nachos and top it accordingly. Plus, unlike most of the other soups I found on the internet, this one is made with wholesome, real ingredients: no dried food packages with who knows what inside.

It should make about 2-3 servings, depending on your appetite, and the size of your soup bowls.




 

Chile Potato Cheese Soup Substitutions and Variations

  • go back to the original recipe and use dill instead of jalapeños (add it at the end)
  • start with some bacon
  • add hot sauce
  • top with sour cream and/or salsa

More Soup Recipes

caldo verde soupQuick Caldo Verde Soup

Rich with potatoes, spicy sausage, and sharp greens. And it’s ready in only a few minutes too. Instant soup (or nearly so) without a can or a packet.

 

pasta e fagioli soupPasta e Fagioli Soup (Small Batch)

Aromatic veggies, beans, and tomatoes cooked slowly for a delicious, comforting soup.

 

split pea soup recipe with ham hockSplit Pea Soup Recipe with Ham Hock

Comfort in a bowl, slowly simmered until it’s rich and delicious.  The ham adds lots of smoky flavor.

 

ham and lentil soup

Easy Ham and Lentil Soup for One Person

Just the thing for a cold winter day, and no fancy ingredients needed.  Not to mention, you only need one pot to make it.

 




Garlic Bruschetta Pizza

After all the baking and partying (such as it was) of the new year, time for something a bit different. My fellow foodies theme this month is “Veganuary,” meaning vegetarian dishes with no eggs or dairy products.  I’ve been wanting to make this garlic bruschetta pizza for a while anyway, and it happens to fit the theme too.

It’s downsized for one person, so there’s either enough for one large pizza or two medium ones (one dinner or two lunches, depending on how hungry you are).

All you need are a few simple ingredients that come together for a pretty impressive result. I’ve included the recipe for the dough, but if you don’t want to make the dough yourself (I find the kneading therapeutic right now), you can always just buy it ready-made in your supermarket or even ask at a local pizza place.

And, if you don’t want to be vegan, it’s just fine to add some shredded mozzarella or parmesan on top.




garlic bruschetta pizza cut up

Garlic Bruschetta Pizza Substitutions and Variations

  • add some fresh chopped tomatoes
  • ditch the “vegan” and try it with grated parmesan or shredded mozzarella
  • use fresh basil (add it right at the end of the cooking period)
  • top with sautéed onions and/or mushrooms

More Pizza Recipes

goat cheese caramelized onion pizzaGoat Cheese Onion Pizza

Mellowed sweet onions, slow-cooked onions, earthy goat cheese, leafy spinach, and crispy bell pepper are a fresh change from the usual cheese and tomato.

 

white pizza without ricottaWhite Pizza Recipe Without Ricotta

If you like white pizza, but would rather skip the ricotta (I’m not a big fan either), try this recipe instead. No ricotta in sight.

 

rosemary potato roasted garlic pizzaRosemary Potato Roasted Garlic Pizza

Think of this as potato chip pizza.  I, personally, am always in favor of extra starch.  You get hot pizza, a light dusting of melty cheese, and a crispy crunch.

 

 




Holiday Treats and Desserts for One Person

Sure the holidays can be stressful. And this year brings that to a whole new level. But we can still enjoy ourselves, even if we can’t do it with others. And that means dessert! Most dessert recipes are designed for a family, but these holiday treats and desserts are for one person.

And, as I mentioned last week, everyone enjoys dessert, regardless of which holiday(s) you celebrate.

I have gathered a few seasonal favorites here, including chocolate cake, brownies (top them with chocolate sauce and ice cream for a decadent treat), bananas with brandy, pear crepes, and super-easy chocolate mousse. They’re all easy and uncomplicated. Yes, even the crepes. I cheat. Shhh.

Now, I admit the mousse is technically four servings. However, in 2020, I think what’s normally four servings counts as just one! Also, if you freeze it, it comes out tasting like chocolate fudge ice cream.

If you’re pairing these with sparkling wine or champagne, the champagne goes really well with fruit desserts. The chocolate is a bit trickier, but you want a wine that’s sweeter than the chocolate. Try a fruity sparkling rosé.

I wish you all a happy and healthy 2021! Goodbye 2020 and good riddance!

greek yogurt chocolate cakeTriple Chocolate Cake

Want chocolate? Want lots of it? This cake has three kinds: cocoa, chocolate chips, and a super easy ganache on top. Because it’s 2020, and we need chocolate!

 

 

cinnamon sugar bananasCinnamon Sugar Bananas with Brandy

This dessert is ready in minutes, with little fuss. Make it as is, or add chocolate sauce, or ice cream. Or, swap the brandy for some rum.

 

 

 

pear dessert crepeEasy Pear Crepe Dessert Recipe for One Person

Making proper crepes is tricky and requires a lot of practice. My way is easy. I cheat. Great by itself or topped with  ice cream.

 

easy chocolate mousseEasy Chocolate Mousse

One of the first recipes I ever made. It’s only got five basic ingredients. And it is really super-easy. None of the complicated usual mousse steps. You never have to separate a single egg, or put anything in a double boiler. Easy, delicious, and chocolate. What more could you want?

Festive Cooking for One Person

Instead of being together in person, we’re on Zoom. Rather than lots of people gathered in mom’s or grandma’s or a friend’s kitchen, we’re eating and celebrating solo. But just because you are home alone for the holidays doesn’t mean you can’t have a delicious holiday meal. So,  I decided to create a holiday/celebration menu dedicated to festive cooking for one person.

We’ll start with zucchini carrot fritters. Then, rather than the usual links to recipes with similar ingredients, I’ve included options for the rest of a festive meal for one, including everything from entrees to desserts.

Since we’re celebrating different holidays, with different rules and traditions, I’ve picked foods that are easy, elegant and delicious.

You can eat the fritters as an appetizer, or a main course.  If they are the meal, start with some simple hors d’oeuvres, such as wine, cheese, olives, and fruit. For a delicious, easy appetizer, add a bit of milk to some goat cheese, and roll it in chopped almonds.




Festive Cooking for One Person (Chanukah)

zucchini carrot fritters

Zucchini Carrot Fritters

If you celebrate Chanukah, it’s traditional to have fried foods, usually latkes (potato pancakes) or donuts to celebrate the miracle of one day’s worth of oil that lasted for eight.  Instead of latkes, I thought I would go for something a bit different: zucchini carrot fritters. Rather than traditional sour cream or applesauce eaten with latkes, these are served with a yogurt and mint dip.  Still fried though! Some things don’t change!*

*Yeah, I know. Chanukah is over as I type this, but my family never did it on time!

Festive Cooking for One Person (Christmas/New Year’s)

For Christmas or New Year’s, since a whole turkey or ham is too much for one, I’ve included a pork tenderloin, and some sides. If you do get a turkey breast or some smaller portion and have leftovers, make my turkey pot pie.

Dessert for Everyone!

Regardless of which you celebrate, everyone gets dessert: choice of pears with ice cream or chocolate pudding.  Because who doesn’t like dessert?

And, to paraphrase what my grandma said about everyday eating, just because you’re alone doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a party and delicious food.

Festive Cooking for One Person

Holiday Main Dishes for One Person (Christmas/New Year’s)

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

Tenderloin is quick, easy, and cooks in a few minutes. The sauce is rich and creamy, with the bite of Dijon mustard and the sweet/sour capers. The perfect sauce for pork.

 

turkey pot pie for one personTurkey Pot Pie for One Person

Just right for one person, without creating even more extra food. If you don’t have extra turkey, get it pre-cooked from your local deli.  Made with a rich, all-butter crust. Because why not?

Delicious Holiday Side Dishes for One Person

skin on garlic mashed potatoesSkin On Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Creamy and sweet/savory all at once. Cooking the garlic with the potatoes mellows and softens the sharp flavor. This is a family favorite (especially with my sister-in-law, the mashed potato fiend).

 

honey mustard glazed carrotsHoney Mustard Glazed Carrots for One

The sweet carrots and savory mustard are a delightful combination. This pairs wonderfully with the pork, or a simple piece of roast chicken.

Festive Desserts for One Person

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

Easy, delicious, and really quite simple to prepare.  Elegant enough for company, but a lot less fuss than you’d think.

 

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

Just one indulgent serving of rich, delicious pudding, with an extra double chocolate punch.  Cook it more, you get pudding, a bit less and it’s super-thick European dark hot chocolate.




Sugar Crusted Salmon Fillet

I found this sugar crusted salmon fillet recipe in a magazine somewhere. It’s the ideal answer to “what’s for dinner” when you’re hungry and you don’t have a lot of time to fuss in the kitchen.  It was also the perfect opportunity to take advantage of some beautiful (and relatively low-cost) salmon from my Imperfect Foods order.

The beauty of this is, all you have to do is make a quick dry rub, coat the salmon with it, and then cook it. The whole thing takes about 15 minutes. If you have leftover rice (I always make extra), you’re ready to eat in about 20 minutes. What I tend to do with the rice is either make more than I need so I can have it quickly later, or freeze it in little zip baggies. Pull it out, zap it for 2 minutes, and “instant” rice!

Back to the salmon, it ends up slightly sweet, but with a little bit of a kick from the cumin, pepper, and paprika. I did reduce the sugar from the original recipe (because I don’t want super-sweet food). However, if your tolerance is higher than mine, coat it with 1 1/2 tsp of sugar.

Keep it simple and serve this with some plain rice and a basic salad or some fresh cucumber and tomato.




More Salmon Recipes

pan fried salmon with nectarine salsaPan Fried Salmon with Nectarine Salsa

A fresher, sweeter take on the usual salsa. This one is made with juicy nectarines and a squirt of lime. It gives the whole meal an extra pop.

 

salmon in foil packet with potatoesSalmon in Foil Packet with Potatoes

Quick, delicious, and no cleanup. It’s an entire meal in one easy package.

 

salmon greek yogurt dill sauceSalmon with Greek Yogurt Dill Sauce

Rich and creamy, but the taste is yogurt (no cream at all). The tangy yogurt sauce, with a hint of mustard, complements the rich fish beautifully.

 

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

A rich, decadent sauce that’s great for dining alone, or serving to company.  It’s easy to make too.

 




Chili Citrus Avocado Chicken Salad

It’s a rare treat for me to get avocados at a decent price here in NY.  We always see them during the Super Bowl (for guacamole), but really the best time to buy them is now. But, I got a great deal at Imperfect Foods on both limes and avocados the other day. So, I decided to take advantage and create a chili citrus avocado chicken salad.

I must say it was a smashing success. The sweet limes, velvety avocado, bright and crunchy veggies, and the spicy chicken combine for a carnival of flavor and color.

The chili citrus chicken recipe is one I already had (here on the site).  Adding the veggies and the dressing transformed it into a completely different meal.

Great for hot weather.  Make extra chicken the night before for dinner and you don’t have to cook at all the next day.




 

Chili Citrus Avocado Chicken Salad Substitutions and Variations

  • Mix together whatever greens you like: spinach, leafy green lettuce, romaine, red lettuce, etc.
  • I used cucumber, carrots, and tomatoes as veggies, but feel free to substitute bell pepper, mushrooms, snap peas, cooked corn, or whatever other salad veggies strike your fancy
  • Add some orange segments to punch up the citrus flavor

More Entree Salad Recipes

leftover roast lamb eggplant spinach saladLeftover Roast Lamb Eggplant and Spinach Salad

Transform your lamb breast leftovers into a second meal (or make extra).  The creamy eggplant and the spinach balance the strong flavor of the lamb, all topped with a garlicky easy aioli dressing.

smoked salmon artichoke saladSmoked Salmon Artichoke Salad

A feast for both the eyes and the taste buds, this salad is both colorful and delicious.   It’s got sweet citrus, earthy spinach, and smoky salmon, all topped with a savory dressing.

 

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

Forget the classic steak sandwich for a minute and use your leftovers to make this salad instead.  Chop some veggies, add goat cheese, and make a quick red wine vinaigrette. A full meal with no cooking! Ta da!

mixed greens egg potato chicken saladMixed Greens Egg Potato and Chicken Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Another great entree salad that’s easy and flavorful (without a lot of work). Use spinach, mixed greens, chicken, or tuna. It’s flexible and easy. All you have to cook is the potato and the egg.