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!

 

 




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.




Polish Potato Pierogi for One Person

I normally wouldn’t post a recipe like this. It’s got several stages, and it’s time- and labor-intensive. And that’s usually a problem. Because we’re all running home from work and don’t have the mental bandwidth or energy to make complex recipes. However, these aren’t normal times. So, I thought I’d try my hand at making Polish potato pierogi from King Arthur’s recipe.

If you’re not familiar with pierogi, they are Polish dumplings, filled with potato or potato and cheese, meat, or even sauerkraut. Funny how every culture figured out some variation on this!  The original recipe was for potato and cheese, but I was low on cheese, so these are just plain mashed potato.

First you make the dough, then the filling, then boil them, and finally fry the whole thing in some oil with onions. I’ve cut down the recipe so it makes about 24 pierogi instead of 42. You can eat some right away and freeze the rest for later. Or do it in stages, and start the dough, then make the filling and assemble the pierogi another day, and finally cook them on a third day.

Here they are before cooking.

Polish potato pierogi uncooked


And here they are after.

Polish potato pierogi






Potato Pierogi Filling Substitutions and Variations

  • half and half potato and cheddar cheese
  • potato, onion, thyme
  • sauerkraut and onion
  • chopped or leftover shredded meat, onions, some broth, and the other half of the egg
  • use garlic mashed potatoes

More Potato Recipes

crispy garlic basil potato bitesCrispy Garlic Basil Potato Bites

Crispy outside, fluffy inside and full of flavor. These are much easier to make than fries (and less messy) but taste, dare I say, even better.

 

roasted paprika potatoesRoasted Paprika Potatoes

These always make me smile. My grandma used to make them for me when I was little.  They are baked, not fried, but still give you that French fry crispiness.

 

frittata recipe for one person

Frittata Recipe for One Person

Use the rest of the egg to make this frittata. It’s an Italian “omelette” with crispy potatoes on the bottom (like a crust), then topped with eggs and lots of veggies.

 

 




Easy Mediterranean Fish Stew

There are probably hundreds or thousands of variations of this easy Mediterranean fish stew. In San Francisco, they add shellfish and clam juice or fish stock and call it cioppino.  Sicilians make it with sea bass or orange roughy.  The Greeks use dill and potatoes, while the Portuguese add sausage.

This particular version has tomatoes, potatoes, and some citrus zest.  I adapted it from a New York Times recipe (which made a big pot of stew, enough for 6 people, and included the dreaded anchovies).  I also threw in some mushrooms (mostly because I wanted to use them up).  There’s no shellfish, and I made it with cod (which is more sustainable and budget-friendly than orange roughy or sea bass). I also swapped the chopped tomatoes they called for with tomato puree (that’s what I had, and it cooks faster).

There are two nice things about this recipe.  The first is that it’s super-easy to make.  Just make the stew, and then add the fish at the very end. Don’t overcook it!

The second is that you can make it in advance up to the point where you add the fish.  When you’re ready to eat, reheat the stew and add the fish once it’s hot.




Substitutions and Variations for Easy Mediterranean Fish Stew

  • Replace the water with fish stock, clam juice, or white wine
  • Add some capers
  • Double the garlic and add some pepperoncini (Italian hot peppers)
  • Vary the fish by adding some seafood such as clams, mussels, or shrimp
  • Make it Portuguese style with chicken broth (as the liquid), green bell pepper, potatoes, and sausage

More Mediterranean and Fish Recipes

Greek Fish with Lemon and Tomatoes

Pan Fried Tilapia with Lemon Butter Sauce

Salmon with Greek Yogurt Dill Sauce

 




Small Batch Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe

I just love stuffed cabbage, but making all those individual rolls is just a big pain in the neck.  It looks good, but it’s labor-intensive and all that work is just not worth it (unless you want to impress company). And, most recipes make enough to feed a small army.  Great for a crowd, but not so great when you’re cooking for one.  What I really wanted was a small batch unstuffed cabbage rolls recipe. Something easy to put together.

I decided there must be an easier way.  I saw a recipe for unstuffed cabbage rolls, made with meatballs and shredded cabbage.  Make the meatballs, shred the cabbage, and pile the meatballs on the cabbage. It sounded good (and more of a savory, than sweet/sour recipe).  That’s still quite a bit of work.

Then, I hit on an easier method. Instead of making individual rolls, or shredding cabbage, I would layer it instead. Like lasagna!

So, that’s what I did.  It’s easiest if you cut the core of the cabbage off first. Then the leaves will come off more easily.

I started with Joan Nathan’s Chosen Stuffed Cabbage Recipe, eliminated the raisins, reduced the quantities, and added sriracha for a bit of a punch.

I cut off a few cabbage leaves, made the filling and the sauce, and then put the whole thing in a square baking pan.  It was enough for several meals, and proved to be a life-saver as I got sick a few days later.  Since I had all that unstuffed cabbage, I didn’t have to cook much.

If you don’t want to eat cabbage every day for several days, cut it into individual portions and freeze them in plastic containers.

Also,  you may notice I used red cabbage instead of green. I bought the red to make no mayo healthy cole slaw.  I figured I might as well use it for this too. If you prefer, go ahead and use green. I think it looks prettier this way.




Substitutions and Variations for Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

  • use ground turkey instead of beef
  • try a combination of ground pork and beef
  • try adding 1/4 C raisins

Ingredients and Tools for Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

Square Baking Pan

This pan is a staple for every kitchen. If you don’t have one, you should.  Use it for stuffed cabbage, large batches of brownies, or cakes.  It’s heavy-duty, so it won’t warp. The handles make it much easier to take the hot pan out of the oven too.

Cuisinart Mixing Bowls

I have had these bowls…forever.  They stack neatly inside each other (important in a small kitchen), and the lids mean you can use them for storing leftovers, or for something that has to marinate overnight. And, the lids seal nicely so your food won’t slosh all over the inside of your fridge.

More Cabbage Recipes

creole cabbage and sausageQuick Creole Cabbage and Sausage

Hungry? How about dinner in fifteen minutes? This New Orleans inspired dish gets a kick from creole seasoning and mustard. If you don’t have them, don’t worry, you can easily mix them from common pantry spices.

Polish sausage with cabbage and potatoesOne Pot Polish Sausage and Cabbage with Potatoes

Another great one-pot fridge stable/shelf stable meal, with only a few simple ingredients.  The cabbage mellows as it cooks, and the potatoes make it a filling, hearty meal.

 

kielbasa with sauerkraut and applesKielbasa with Sauerkraut and Apples

Spicy kielbasa, sharp sauerkraut, and crispy sweet apples blend together for a festival of flavor. The mustard sauce adds an extra sweet/tangy kick. All in one pot!

 

bibimbap rice bowlBibimbap Rice Bowl with Meat and Vegetables

Earthy cabbage, sweet carrots, and a spicy sauce build lots of flavor into one little bowl.  Add ground beef, rice, and top with a crispy fried egg.

 

 




Small Batch Spicy Stovetop Chili Recipe

I have been making my spicy stovetop chili recipe the same way for years — until recently. There was a blizzard raging outside and I figured chili would keep me (and the apartment warm).  The recipe has evolved since I first started making it, but I’ve been consistently using kidney beans, green and red bell peppers and threw in some chopped jalapeños and a couple of spoonfuls of salsa.

However, I didn’t have any of those ingredients on hand and had no intention of going outside to get them! So, I improvised.  Instead of kidney beans I used cooked small white beans (which I had leftover from making this delicious garlicky bean dip).  If you don’t have cooked beans ready, use this quick soaking method to speed up the process, or just use half a can.

That solved the bean problem, but there was still the question of adding more heat.  I did have plenty of sriracha sauce and ground cayenne, so I used that and added a pinch of cinnamon to balance it out.

The chili came out so well I think I may make it this way going forward.  Less chopping!

This makes about three or four servings.  You can make it for company, eat it several times in one week, or freeze individual portions for later use.




Substitutions and Variations for Spicy Stovetop Chili Recipe

  • use kidney beans instead of white beans
  • replace the sriracha with Tabasco sauce
  • add a teaspoon or two of salsa
  • add jalapeño peppers to taste
  • add about 1/4 each red and green bell pepper about 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time (so they keep a bit of crunch)
  • use 2/3 pound beef and 1/3 lb. pork

More Ground Beef Recipes

compound butter cheeseburgerCompound Butter Cheeseburger

A few simple extra ingredients transform your burger from ordinary to fantastic.  The secret is compound butters mixed in with the ground beef.

 

easy Italian meatballs for oneEasy Italian Meatball Recipe for One

Just enough meatballs for one serving of spaghetti (or eat them on their own with sauce).  Or, serve them with the soup below. No extras, no leftovers.

 

sloppy joes one person recipeSloppy Joe Recipe for One Person

Sure it’s messy. Says so right in the name. But this Sloppy Joe recipe is worth it.  It’s got a bit of a kick too (there’s sriracha in there!).  Soooo good.

 

easy Italian wedding soupEasy Italian Wedding Soup

Soup in a matter of minutes! Once you’ve got the meatballs (make them or buy them) all you have to do is add a couple of ingredients and eat them up!

 




Sweet and Sour Turkey Meatballs

This recipe for sweet and sour turkey meatballs with jelly and chili sauce is comfort food that’s grown up and gone to the big city.

When I was a kid, my grandma used to make those classic grape jelly meatballs. Kind of sweet, but comforting and simple. As my tastes have gotten more sophisticated, I wanted something with more complex and “grownup” flavor: not quite as sweet, a little more sour, and with a bit of a spicy kick.

I replaced the grape jelly with no sugar strawberry jam (it’s sweetened only with juice, there’s no sugar or artificial sweetener), then added chili sauce, a bit of Tabasco and apple juice and got sweet and sour turkey meatballs.

My parents were visiting one day, and decided to stay for dinner. I had ground turkey and the rest of the ingredients in the fridge. I whipped up a batch of these, and I swear you’d think they’d never eaten before. Dad was sopping up the sauce with bread. Heck, he practically licked the plate! Maybe I should have called these “lick the plate clean sweet and sour meatballs.”

You make this recipe in two stages, first the meatballs, and then the sauce.  Put the meatballs in the oven for a few minutes to keep them from falling apart when you add them to the sauce.



Sweet and Sour Turkey Meatballs with Jelly and Chili Sauce Substitutions and Variations

  • Use beef instead of turkey
  • Replace the oatmeal with breadcrumbs
  • Try cranberry juice instead of apple cider (it will be a bit more tart)
  • Experiment with different jam flavors: strawberry, raspberry, four-fruit, sour cherry (you could even go back to good old grape)

Tools and Ingredients for This Recipe


St. Dalfour Strawberry Conserves

This jam (technically conserves) is sweetened only with juice. There’s no sugar and no artificial sweeteners. The other thing I like about it is that there aren’t any extra thickeners added (like maltodextrin) to bulk it up.


Black & Decker 2-Speed Food Chopper with 3-Cup Bowl

I’m not sure which I use more, this chopper or the immersion blender. If you make the recipe with oatmeal, this little gadget is great for grinding it up. It’s also good for chopping onions, potatoes, or whipping up a small batch of pesto. The bowl doubles as a storage bowl (it comes with its own lid).


OXO Good Grips Medium Cookie Scoop

Ever hear of a cookie scoop? I hadn’t, until recently. Ice cream sure, but not cookies. The more I think about it the more uses I come up with.

It would be great for meatballs, cookies, or the perfect scoop of tuna, egg, or potato salad. It has a soft handle that’s easy to grip (it was originally developed for someone with arthritis, but it works well for everyone). Dishwasher safe too.

More Turkey Recipes

easy spicy turkey soupQuick and Easy Spicy Leftover Turkey Soup

Not the usual turkey soup. This one is inspired by south of the border flavors with tangy lime,  spicy cayenne, and cool sour cream.

 

easy leftover turkey soupEasy Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe

If you prefer the more traditional route, try out this turkey soup. It’s packed with veggies, including potatoes, carrots and (don’t tell anyone) frozen veggies. Less chopping!

 

cranberry chipotle turkey enchiladaCranberry Chipotle Turkey Enchilada

Another south of the border inspired way to eat up all those leftovers.  This one is sweet, spicy, and quick too.

 

turkey pot pie for one personTurkey Pot Pie for One Person

Turkey, peas, and carrots, enrobed in a flaky all-butter crust.  And, this one is scaled down for one person.