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 pierogies 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






Polish Potato Pierogi for One Person

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Category: Uncategorized

Cuisine: Polish

3 servings

Polish potato pierogi


  • Dough
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2  large egg*
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 T butter, softened
  • Mashed Potatoes for Filling
  • one large potato, cut into chunks and boiled
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 2 T plus 2 tsp milk or half and half (or half milk, half butter)
  • Final cooking
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 small onion, sliced


  1. dough
  2. Add the flour and salt to a medium-size bowl and mix them together (a spoon is fine).
  3. Add the half egg and work everything together. It should be bumpy and shaggy looking.
  4. Next, add the butter and sour cream, mixing it all together until it all sticks into a clump of dough. Work in the sour cream and soft butter until the dough comes together in a clump.
  5. Knead the mixture (it will help to flour your hands) until it gets smoother and not quite as tacky to the touch.
  6. Remove the ball of dough from the bowl, wrap it in plastic and chill it for at least half an hour. If you don't have time to finish, you can pick up where you left off a day or two later.
  7. Filling
  8. Mash the potato mixture until it is smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  9. Assembly
  10. Remove the dough from the fridge.
  11. Flour a board, and the rolling pin.
  12. Roll out the dough, until it is about 1/8 inch thick.
  13. Now cut it. into circles with a two-inch cutter, or a small drinking glass.
  14. You can use the scraps for "rough cut" noodles in soup, or roll them out again to make more dumplings.
  15. Put about 3/4 tsp of the mashed potatoes on each circle.
  16. Wet your finger with water and rub it along the edge of the circle. Now fold the circle on half, over the filling, and pinch it shut to seal it.
  17. Press the tines of a fork along the edges to double seal them (like crimping a pie crust)
  18. If you're tired, you can freeze the pierogi and use them later. They will last for a month in the freezer. Or refrigerate them and pick up the next day.
  19. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add salt to taste.
  20. Add the pierogi a few at a time. They're done when they float.
  21. Now melt butter in a skillet and add the sliced onions.
  22. Drain the pierogi, and add them (not all at once) to the skillet until they turn golden brown.
  23. Serve with sour cream.


*Break the egg into a small bowl.  Mix it gently with a fork.  Then pour off half into the flour mixture. Save the rest for an omelette or frittata.

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.

Easy Mediterranean Fish Stew

Category: entree

Cuisine: Mediterranean

two or three servings

easy mediterranean fish stew

Easy Mediterranean fish stew with potatoes and tomatoes.


  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut in chunks
  • 2 large mushrooms, sliced, about 2/3 C
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 C pureed tomatoes
  • 2 C water (or a combination of water, white wine, and fish stock)
  • 1 medium potato, cut in chunks
  • 1 bouquet garni (bay leaf, 1/2 inch strip of orange zest, 1 sprig thyme, or about half teaspoon dried, pinch red pepper flakes), tied together with kitchen string or put in a tea ball
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 pound cod, cut into large chunks


  1. Mash up the garlic with a pinch of salt. You want it to turn into a paste.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven.
  3. Add the onion, carrot, mushrooms, and salt and cook on medium-low for five minutes until the vegetables soften.
  4. Add the mashed garlic and cook for a minute.
  5. Add the tomato puree and cook 10 minutes. Add the water or wine , the potatoes, more salt and pepper to taste, the bouquet garni and bring to a simmer.
  6. Reduce the heat to low so the mixture just barely bubbles, and let that cook for 20-25 minutes. Taste it and adjust the seasonings.
  7. Remove the garni/tea ball. Now add the fish and simmer 5 minutes.

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, cut out 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.

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Category: entree

Cuisine: Eastern European, Polish

4-6 servings

unstuffed cabbage roll recipe

Rolling up cabbage rolls is just too much work. So, I layered my cabbage and sauce and made unstuffed cabbage instead. It's much easier, faster, and still tastes great.


  • 8-10 cabbage leaves
  • Filling
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T plus 1/2 tsp ketchup
  • 1/4 C raw rice
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • Sauce
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 tsp neutral oil
  • 1 15 oz can. diced tomatoes
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1/4 C ketchup
  • 1 tsp. sriracha
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 2 T plus 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Remove the cabbage leaves (it's easier if you cut out the core first). If it's neat, great, if not don't worry about it.
  3. Set a medium saucepan on high heat and fill with water. Add the cabbage leaves and bring to a boil. Parboil the cabbage for 10-15 minutes, then drain and set aside.
  4. Mix all the ingredients for the filling together in a medium-size bowl and set aside.
  5. Take the saucepan you used for the cabbage, and add the oil. Cook the chopped onion for five minutes until it softens. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, ketchup, sriracha, lemon juice, and brown sugar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, covered.
  6. Take an eight inch square baking pan (the kind you would use for brownies). Layer some of the cabbage leaves on the bottom.
  7. Add some of the filling, spreading it out to cover the cabbage.
  8. Now layer the sauce on top.
  9. Add another layer of cabbage leaves.
  10. Repeat this procedure, alternating filling, sauce, and cabbage layers until you run out or the pan is full (stop about an inch from the top).
  11. Cover the pan with foil, put it in the oven, and bake for one hour.

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

Quick Creole Cabbage and Sausage

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup for One

Cranberry Chipotle Turkey Enchilada

One Pot Polish Sausage and Cabbage with Potatoes


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.

Spicy Stovetop Chili Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Category: entree

Cuisine: Tex-Mex

four servings

spicy stovetop chili recipe

Spicy stovetop chili you can have ready in a little over an hour.


  • 2T vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb grass-fed beef*
  • 1/2 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1T chili powder
  • 1/2 cup white beans (soaked and cooked), or about 1/2 can
  • 2 squirts sriracha sauce
  • 1/2 tsp dried coriander
  • 1 generous pinch cayenne powder
  • 1 generous pinch ground cinnamon


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add the onions and cook on low heat until soft.
  2. Add the garlic. Cook stirring for a minute or two.
  3. Add the meat and brown, stirring so it browns evenly.
  4. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and the beans. Add the sriracha and the spices.
  5. Simmer on low heat about 60 minutes.
  6. Adjust seasoning as necessary.
  7. Serve in bowls, and top with sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese.


*I used grass-fed beef because I think it tastes better. If you can't get it, or you disagree, use the regular kind.

Also, if the tomatoes are a bit sour, add a pinch of sugar.

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

Calphalon Stainless Steel Dutch Oven, 5-quart
Dutch ovens are great for chili, for large pots of pasta (or pasta sauce). They can be used on the stove or in the oven for baking. This one has a glass lid (which I like because you can see if the water is boiling without getting a facefull of steam. It also has measuring lines (to make it easy to tell how much water or food you’ve added, as well as a built-in colander (handy for pouring out the water when you make pasta).

The Chili Cookbook
If you really love chili, and are willing to be creative with it, this is a great resource. It’s got chili with ingredients you might not normally associate with chili, as well as lots of classics. There’s different sorts of beans (or no beans at all), vegetarian options, even one with lobster and corn! There are also recipes for huevos rancheros and even instructions on making your own chorizo. I better stop now, I’m about to start drooling over my keyboard.

More Ground Beef Recipes

Compound Butter Cheeseburger

Easy Italian Meatball Recipe for One

Sloppy Joe Recipe for One Person

Easy Italian Wedding Soup


Sweet and Sour Turkey Meatballs with Jelly and Chili Sauce

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 Jelly Turkey Meatballs

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Category: dinner

Cuisine: American

four servings

sweet and sour jelly turkey meatballs

Sweet and sour jelly turkey meatballs. Easy to make and you can eat one serving and freeze the rest for another time.


  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal, ground up in a mini-chopper (or use breadcrumbs)
  • 2T apple cider
  • salt and pepper
    Sweet and Sour Sauce
  • 1 large can tomato sauce (the 15 oz size)
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 T chili sauce
  • 2T unsweetened jam (I like blackberry or St. Dalfour Four Fruits)
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 dashes Tabasco


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  1. To make the meatballs, combine turkey, egg, oatmeal (or bread crumbs), cider and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Use your hands to mix everything thoroughly.
  2. Form the mixture into meatballs, about 2 inches in diameter. Place the meatballs in a shallow roasting pan or a cookie sheet.
  3. raw sweet and sour turkey meatballs
  4. Put the meatballs in the oven and bake for five minutes.
  5. While the meatballs are cooking, start the sauce.
  1. Combine all the sauce ingredients in a large saucepan. Stir to combine. When the meatballs are finished baking, remove them from the oven and set them down in a convenient spot.
  2. Gently lift the meatballs out of the pan and place them into the pot of sauce.
  3. Let the sauce simmer for 15 minutes until the meatballs are done. Taste the sauce and correct the seasoning (sweetness or sourness) as necessary.
  4. Serve with rice or bread (for sopping up the sauce)


Check your tomato sauce to see if it has sugar or corn syrup. If it does, you may need to add more lemon juice.

I use all fruit jam (no added sweetener). Use more lemon, or less jam, if yours has sugar or added sweeteners.

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

Quick and Easy Spicy Leftover Turkey Soup

Easy Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe

Cranberry Chipotle Turkey Enchilada

Easy Italian Meatball Recipe for One (this recipe calls for beef, but turkey would work just fine)