Pork Chili Verde for One

I know, I’ve already got two chili recipes on here already: Chicken Chili Verde and Small Batch Spicy Stovetop Chili. So why a third? Because the chicken was frozen, and I found a pork chili verde recipe that appealed to me. It also seemed more authentic and actually was entirely green too. It’s made with ground pork, simmered in a salsa verde of jalapeños, garlic, onion, and cumin.

And, unlike the others, this recipe is ready fairly quickly. If you’ve already got cooked (or canned) beans, you can make this in about half an hour. If not, it’s about an hour (still pretty speedy for chili).

The original recipe called for potatoes and corn. I had some pre-soaked cranberry beans leftover from something else, so I tossed those in instead.

The cranberry beans are firmer than kidney beans, and more colorful than the navy beans I usually buy.  I initially bought them because that’s all that was in the store, but I find I rather like them. One of the few pleasant outcomes of the quarantine!

If you don’t have pre-soaked beans, the canned ones are fine. And it will take only 35 minutes to cook, since you don’t have to wait for the beans to soften. Or, speed up the soaking/cooking process with my quick soak beans method.




Pork Chili Verde Substitutions and Variations

  • If you have access to Hatch chiles, use those instead of the jalapeños
  • Don’t want to use beans? Substitute 1 or 2 small potatoes instead (and/or 1/2 C of corn)
  • Make it with all beef, all pork, or a combination of the two
  • You can also use pork shoulder, but then you’d have to cook it longer
  • Skip the beans, double the broth and you have green chili sauce for enchiladas or burritos

More Chili (and Chile) Recipes

eggs with spinach and chili pepperEggs with Spinach and Chili Peppers

Just the thing for a fast lunch or brunch.  The spinach mellows out the peppers, the eggs cook quickly, and the whole thing is topped with cooling yogurt or sour cream.

 

 

egg chili cheese burritoEgg Chili Cheese Burrito

Saute, scramble, and it’s a wrap.  A meal in minutes.

 

 

chicken chili verde recipeChicken Chili Verde Recipe

A mild chili, with green chiles, chicken, and cumin. Not spicy, and easy to put together.

 

spicy stovetop chili recipeSmall Batch Spicy Stovetop Chili Recipe

If you’d rather have something that brings the heat, try this spicy chili. It’s flavored with sriracha, cumin, garlic, and onions. Slow-cooked for maximum flavor.

 




Mini Chocolate Banana Bread

Take banana bread to the next level of deliciousness and make it mini chocolate banana bread instead! This recipe is adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen. The original recipe is divine as is, but a whole chocolate banana bread is just too much for one.  Not to mention, I only had two bananas and the original recipe called for three. I used one and a half for this, then ate the other half with my lunch.  Plus, I just got some mini loaf pans I was dying to try out! I couldn’t resist.  It worked beautifully.

The bread is rich, moist, and chocolatey delicious.  I admit I skipped the chocolate pieces. You see, it was supposed to be double chocolate banana bread.  However, the chunk of chocolate I had was too cold and hard to break up and I was too lazy to wait for it to soften. And, I wanted banana bread ASAP!

If you want it super-chocolatey go for both and add about 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate. Then you get chocolate chocolate chip banana bread.




Tools for Mini Chocolate Banana Bread

Wilton Mini Loaf Pan

I got two of these. They’re about half the size of a normal loaf pan, and just perfect for smaller scale baking. I used them for this chocolate banana bread first.  Then, I took my white bread recipe and divided it between the two pans. Voilà, two mini breads instead of one large one! And, they won’t go stale before I can finish them.

The pans also work for other kinds of quick breads and mini meat loaf too. Eat one, freeze the second one. Or, cook once, eat twice.

More Banana Recipes

banana smoothie for oneBanana Smoothie Recipe for One

Easy, refreshing, and not too sweet. A good in-between meal snack you can make in minutes.

 

strawberry banana yogurt popsicles plateStrawberry Banana Yogurt Popsicles

Beat the summer heat with this sweet treat that’s actually good for you. It’s loaded with fruit! And there’s no added sugar either.

 

cinnamon sugar bananasCinnamon Sugar Bananas with Brandy

Whip up an elegant dessert without a lot of work. All you need is bananas, a bit of butter, brandy, and only a touch of sugar.

 




Bibimbap Rice Bowl with Meat and Vegetables

It may not roll off your tongue (if you’re not used to it), but bibimbap means a variety of ingredients mixed with rice. So, essentially, a Korean rice bowl. You make this meal in layers, building up the rice, then the meat, the veggies, sauce, and finally top it all with an egg. It’s really flexible though, sort of a Korean spin on cleaning out the fridge.  This particular bibimbap rice bowl recipe is loosely inspired by a recipe I found on Korean Kitchen.

However, I didn’t have all the ingredients she used, such as sprouts or seaweed, and under current circumstances, I didn’t really want to go out looking for them. The idea was to make this easy for myself, and for you too.  In addition, I also wanted to focus on “sturdier” ingredients, such as cabbage and carrots that will last in the fridge, rather than sprouts. You could even use frozen veggies (cook them for less time), like broccoli or one of those frozen stir fry mixes. Definitely not authentic, but still good.

Since I was using cabbage, which takes longer to cook, I just chopped the carrot up, instead of julienning it. That way, the two vegetables would be ready at the same time.

You make this in several stages. If you are using brown rice, start that first, and let it cook while you put the meat mixture together and let that sit so the flavors blend together. If you have white rice, start the meat mixture, and then put up the rice while that’s marinating.




Bibimbap Rice Bowl Substitutions and Variations

  • try different vegetables, such as broccoli, mushrooms, bell pepper, or zucchini
  • swap the beef for ground chicken or even leftover fish
  • this should properly be made with gochujang, which is a spicy Korean pepper paste; if you have it, use it and add about 3/4 tsp water.

 

More Cabbage Recipes

chinese chicken noodle cabbage soupChinese Chicken Noodle Cabbage Soup for One Person

Wonderful comfort food when. you’re stuck inside. Just enough soup for a generous serving for one.   The spicy hot broth helps clear your head , the garlic, ginger, and chili sauce have anti-bacterial (not viruses, bacteria) qualities, and it’s delicious.

asian chicken salad with cabbageSingle Serving Asian Chicken Salad with Cabbage Recipe

Colorful, spicy, and frankly more colors makes a dish look and feel more appetizing.  Works with chicken, leftover pork, or even add some cooked noodles or rice instead.

 

unstuffed cabbage roll recipeSmall Batch Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe

Stuffed cabbage is delicious, and pantry-friendly. But making all those separate rolls is a pain. So don’t bother.  Layer it like lasagne instead!

 




Milk and Honey Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

Everyone’s suddenly busy baking bread! I went for more flour and the stores are seriously depleted. I couldn’t find white flour, so I bought whole wheat instead. Then the search for a recipe! This milk and honey whole wheat bread recipe is adapted from King Arthur flour. 

For once, I didn’t have to reduce the amounts (since the original was for a single loaf – hooray!). However, it called for dry milk. I never have dry milk. And I expect that any in the stores is long gone. Plus, I’ve never liked the idea of buying a large package of something just to use a small quantity of it (1/4 C in this case)  So, I had to figure out what to do instead.  The answer turned out to be to replace some of the water in the original recipe with standard liquid milk.

It turned out soft, flavorful, and slightly nutty. I’m definitely going to make this more often. Adding milk softens the crust, and aids in browning.  The honey adds extra moisture, so the bread turns out tender, even though it’s whole wheat. 

I did say one loaf right? And you’ve undoubtedly noticed that the photo has two loaves of bread, not one.  Turns out I realized mid-baking that my standard loaf pan was in the fridge with an apple quick bread in it. Oops.  Luckily, I’d just gotten these mini-pans.  So two mini-loaves it is.

If you have a standard pan, use that and make one loaf of bread. If you have the mini-pans, use those.  Just cut the dough in half with a bench scraper, roll out each half, and shape it.







 

Tools and Ingredients for this Recipe


Norpro Stainless Steel Bread Pan

This pan should have its own superhero comic.  It’s not coated, but somehow the food comes right out and it’s a breeze to clean up. And looks brand-spanking new, despite being about six years old.

Wilton Mini Loaf Pan

If you want to make mini breads (on purpose), try these half-size loaf pans. They’re nonstick, and clean up easily.  And, by making two little breads, you can freeze one and save it for later. Much better for single person eating.

Norpro Bench Scraper/Chopper

The perfect tool for cutting dough in half (especially dense whole-wheat dough).  Much easier than trying to use a knife (which just sticks and doesn’t cut through very well).  You can also use it for measuring equal parts of challah or cutting pastry (there’s a ruler right on the side). Great for scooping up cut veggies and transferring them to a pot too.

Saf Instant Yeast, 1 Pound Pouch

I love this stuff. I don’t have to keep running to the store for yeast, and it’s a lot less expensive per bread than the little packages. Not to mention, some of those packets have cornstarch in them!? What? Works faster than the packages too.


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

When I first started baking bread, I was using a carved rolling pin my grandma gave me. It was quite pretty too. But it was also small, and the carving was really hard to clean. This is much better. It’s longer, easier to hold (and oddly, I find it easier to work with than the models with handles) and even fits perfectly in my kitchen cart.

More Kitchenaid Bread Recipes

single loaf bread recipe kitchenaidSingle Loaf Easy White Bread Recipe

A basic, simple bread that you don’t have to shape. This only requires five ingredients to make.

 

kitcheanaid potato bread recipeKitchenaid Potato Bread Recipe

Great for sandwiches, or toast, or just smeared with butter. Putting potatoes in the dough increases the starch, which then boosts the moisture.  You end up with soft, tender bread that is also easier to form into a loaf.

kitchenaid white bread recipeOne Loaf Kitchenaid Sandwich White Bread

Just think of  how good this will smell wafting through your kitchen.  Baking milk and butter right into the bread yields a soft, flavorful loaf that’s richer in flavor. It browns better too.

 




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.

 

 




Spicy Lamb and Lentils

Meaty lamb, earthy lentils and a touch of heat combine for an easy meal that’s fragrant and full of flavor. It’s also ready in just a few minutes, largely with pantry and fridge staples (other than the garnish). I adapted this recipe from Bon Appetit. But, as usual, I made a few changes. The idea of crispy lamb didn’t really appeal to me, so I just browned it in the pan. And, partly in the interest of speed, and partly due to a moment of distraction, I tossed the lentils in without removing the lamb first. Oops. But, it was fine. I also skipped the cilantro and topped it with garlic shoots instead (since I have them growing in my windowsill).

Lentils store well and are packed with protein too. They pair well with lamb, as they complement its rich, meaty flavor.

If you don’t have cooked lentils, they are easy to make. Unlike beans, they require no soaking. The formula is 3 parts water to one part lentils. Add the lentils and water to a pot. Bring it to a boil, then turn it down to a low simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. And the volume roughly doubles from dry to cooked. So, to get 1/3 cup cooked lentils, you’ll need about 3 T of dry lentils and 1/2 C of water. Or keep it simple and make more. The recipe is good with, or without the lamb, so you can have it again meatless. I’ve also added additional lentil recipes at the end of the post.




Spicy Lamb and Lentils Substitutions and Variations

  • Try red lentils instead; they take a 3:1 ratio and the split ones cook in about five minutes (plus they look pretty)
  • Not a fan of lamb? Make it meatless instead
  • If you like cilantro, garnish the lamb with it, if not try garlic scapes or scallions instead

More Lentil Recipes

easy lentils and rice recipeEasy Lentils and Rice Recipe

Now that you’ve got lentils, here’s an easy recipe for them. It’s budget-friendly and uses ingredients that are either shelf-stable or long-lasting.

 

red lentil carrot soupRed Lentil Carrot Soup

Warm and spicy with cumin, garam masala, and fresh ginger. Perfect for chilly not quite spring days. You can also make this with brown lentils (just cook it longer).

 

ham and lentil soupEasy Ham and Lentil Soup for One Person

Comforting, warm, and easy to make too. It only requires a single pot too. Make extra and freeze it in individual portions for more meals another day.

 




Roasted Root Vegetable Medley

This roasted root vegetable medley is a product of a bit of serendipity and a few internet searches. My local grocery delivery service was offering a farm share at a reduced price (and reduced size). I’ve wanted to try this for some time, but most of the boxes are way too much for one. So I pounced. And ended up with a box of mizuna (Japanese mustard greens) which I really liked, turnips, carrots, and sweet potatoes.

So, what to do with them? I’ve never made anything with sweet potatoes, and I’ve only used turnips for soup. I found this recipe for roasted sweet potatoes, and thought, well why not add more root vegetables, roast them all together, and make it a medley?

Potatoes and carrots are both sweet to start with.  Turnips start out a bit pungent and strong, but roasting them transforms that sharp, almost bitter, flavor into something sweet and slightly peppery, which is a good foil for the sweet carrots and potatoes.

This recipe takes advantage of that change and adds a bit of heat from chili powder, cumin, and paprika. And it’s easy too. Just peel and cut up the veggies, sprinkle them with some spices, toss in some olive oil, and pop it all in the oven.

Cook this with some roasted chicken (like the recipe I used for the chicken in my apple almond chicken salad). They both cook at the same temperature, and for the same time.  Then you only have to “cook” once to get a whole meal. Tricky huh?

 







Roasted Root Vegetable Medley Substitutions and Variations

  • Try different potatoes, such as yellow or red
  • Experiment with different root vegetables, like celery root or parsnips
  • Ditch the “hot” spices and use rosemary, balsamic vinegar, and fresh garlic instead
  • Try this with some butternut squash (technically not a root vegetable, but still good)

More Root Vegetable Recipes

honey mustard glazed carrotsHoney Mustard Glazed Carrots for One

Seems fancy, but it’s really easy to prepare. Another recipe that’s both sweet and savory (from the mustard).  This will also pair beautifully with roast chicken, and perhaps a glass of chardonnay.

crispy garlic basil potato bitesCrispy Garlic Basil Potato Bites

Little bite-size pieces of potato heaven that are crispy outside and fluffy inside. Easier than making French fries, and a lot less messy too. Plus there’s garlic! And basil.

 

skin on garlic mashed potatoesSkin On Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Because potatoes, especially mashed potatoes, are really a food group. Right? These leave the skin on, so they’re less work. Then there’s half and half and garlic, for a warm, creamy mouthful of delight.

Apple Almond Chicken Salad

Apple almond chicken salad is an easy lunch that’s full of flavor, without a lot of bother.  You can either start with rotisserie chicken from the store, or roast your own.  The flavor comes from sweet apples, crunchy almonds, and tangy sour cream.

Switching from all mayo to half sour cream and half mayo adds more zing, and makes the salad a lot less heavy. I don’t just mean calories.  I find all mayo is just too greasy.  If you don’t have sour cream, Greek yogurt works really well too.

This recipe was inspired by an online food group I belong to. There are themes most months and this time it was apples. So I decided to switch my usual chicken salad up a bit.  Goodbye grapes and hello apples!

Use a rotisserie chicken and this recipe is done in five minutes. Or, do it yourself (think of this as two recipes in one). The roast chicken is delicious for dinner too.

If you want to roast the chicken yourself, mix up 1 tsp olive oil, a small clove of garlic (chopped), and 1 tsp rosemary in a small ramekin. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and then coat it with the olive oil mixture.  Roast at 400 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

Then let it cool, and remove the skin. Eat the skin as a chef’s treat (this is an important step!). Shred the chicken, and prepare the rest of the salad. Roasting at a higher temperature keeps the meat juicy while the skin gets crispy and golden brown.







Apple Almond Chicken Salad Substitutions and Variations

  • Use chopped almonds or other nuts, like walnuts or pecans
  • Try switching the rosemary in the roast coating with tarragon instead
  • If you use rotisserie chicken, add some fresh rosemary or tarragon to the salad
  • Go back to the grapes
  • Toss in some craisins (sweetened cranberries)

More Chicken Salad Recipes

Chicken Caprese Salad Panini Sandwich

Chicken Salad Recipe with Greek Yogurt and Dried Currants

Mixed Greens Egg Potato and Chicken Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette




Easy Ham and Lentil Soup for One Person

This hearty ham and lentil soup is just the thing for a chilly winter day.  It’s adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook. I’ve naturally cut down the servings (from 8 to 4) and made a few other minor changes.  It’s pretty easy to prepare, and only requires a single pot. And you know how I hate cleanup! Funny, I enjoy the cooking part, but not the mess afterwards.

Since even four servings means a lot of soup for one, let the soup cool, and then divide it up into smaller containers and freeze it.  That way, a week or two from now, all you have to do is defrost an individual serving. Add a salad, a chunk of bread, or some cut up fruit and you have a quick meal. And once you’ve made the soup, there are no more pots to clean up.

The original recipe called for bacon, but having none, I used some kielbasa and a ham hock instead.  The kielbasa and ham hock get cooked along with the soup, which I think adds more flavor.

Also, the cookbook was written before the age of stick blenders.  So it instructed you to use a food processor or a food mill to puree the soup. Too much work! And too much mess. The immersion blender makes all that much easier, faster, and a lot less work to clean up.







Ham and Lentil Soup Substitutions and Variations

  • Use bacon instead of the kielbasa and ham hock; cook that first, then remove it and set aside, when the soup is finished, crumble the bacon on top
  • Use crumbled pork sausage, or some diced ham instead of the kielbasa and ham hock
  • Add a cup of diced tomatoes
  • Chop up a scallion and add that to the soup

Tools for Making Your Soup

Cusinart Stick Blender

I have an older version of this, and it is still going strong after years and years of use.  It’s great for milkshakes, pureeing soup, and making smoothies.  And it’s much easier to clean than my big blender. In fact, I hardly ever use the blender anymore.  Instead of cleaning a large appliance, all you have to do is pop off the shaft and wash that. Then wipe the top with a damp sponge. Unlike mine, this newer version is cordless, so it’s a lot easier to maneuver, particularly in a small space (like my kitchen). It also comes with a whisk attachment.


Chantal Soup Pot

I had no idea how much I needed a pot like this until I got one as a gift. The soup pot I got with my cookware set is far too large, and I hardly use it.  This one is great for small batches of soup, chili, even popcorn. The glass lid makes it easy to see when the corn starts to pop. And it’s a lot easier to handle than a full size soup pot (or a cast iron Dutch oven).

I’m now on my third copy of this cookbook! I’ve made soups, desserts, chicken, and all sorts of recipes from it and not one dud yet. The peasant vegetable soup, veal with dill, honey mustard ribs, and the apple cider sour cream apple pie are all outstanding! I made that soup for my mom, along with lamb chops (her favorite food).  She never got to the lamb; all she wanted was soup!

More Lentil Recipes

spicy lamb and lentils

Spicy Lamb and Lentils

A few pantry and fridge staples come together in minutes for a rich and satisfying meal with the aroma of cumin and garlic wafting through your home.

 

red lentil carrot soupRed Lentil Carrot Soup

Cumin, garam masala, and ginger add warmth and spice, while a touch of red pepper flakes give this soup a kick.

 

easy lentils and rice recipeEasy Lentils and Rice Recipe

It may win no prizes for looks, but this recipe is healthy, really tasty, and easy to prepare. And, it features a surprise ingredient you may not expect.

 

lamb and lentil soupLamb and Lentil Soup Recipe

Exactly one serving of  warm, hearty soup with tangy tomatoes, rich lamb, lentils, and fragrant garlic.

 





Fifteen Minute Recipes for One

I have a whole page of quick dinner recipes (usually under thirty minutes), but sometimes even half an hour is too long to wait. You’ve got an appointment. Or, you got home late. And sometimes you can almost feel your blood sugar plummeting and if you don’t get food fast, you may fall over.  So, here are some fifteen minute recipes for one (some lunch, some dinner) that you can put together super quickly.

When you’re in a rush eggs, tuna, and sandwiches are your friends.  These are minimal prep, minimal cooking, one pot meals, that are finished faster than you can order takeout. But they are still real meals (not just standing in front of the sink eating out of a container of yogurt). And not a smoothie either. I like smoothies, but that’s not a meal in my opinion.

They’re all sized for one person, so there’s no leftovers.  And, there’s very little cleanup too. Because when you’re tired or rushed, the last thing you want to do is make a big mess making something to eat.

A little menu planning trick: when you make rice, make extra.  It reheats well (you can even freeze it in small bags and then microwave it), and it’s an easy way to fill out your dinner).




tuna cannellini bean saladItalian Tuna with Beans

Lighter than tuna with mayo, and made entirely with ordinary pantry and kitchen ingredients. The only fresh thing you need is some scallions (or onions).  Other than that, just open some cans and mix it all together.

 

cherry tomato basil frittataCherry Tomato Basil Frittata

Just four main ingredients, and ready in minutes. No special shopping trip required, these are all standard kitchen/pantry staples (eggs, cheese, tomatoes, and basil).

 


strawberry balsamic grilled cheeseStrawberry Balsamic Grilled Cheese Sandwich

This grilled cheese sandwich is comfort food for grownups.  Melty cheese with strawberries and balsamic vinegar for an extra jolt of flavor. The berries and vinegar complement each other beautifully.


easy canned tuna curryCanned Tuna Curry

Another super easy recipe, with canned tuna,  just a couple of things to chop or grate, and a quick spin on the stove. It’s curry in a hurry.

 

 


fried egg burritoFried Egg Burrito

Versatile, budget friendly, and ready to eat in about ten minutes.  You can make it as is, or add pre-cooked beans, top with guacamole, or add several types of cheese instead of just one.

bacon spinach tomato aioli sandwichBacon Spinach Aioli Sandwich

Mmmm bacon with some bell peppers for sweetness to balance the bacon’s saltiness. And a super-sneaky fast way to make aioli (it’s not hard)

 


eggs with spinach and chili pepperEggs with Spinach and Chili Peppers

Fast, delicious, and you only need one pan to make it.  Chop some veggies and aromatics, add the eggs, cook them and you’re ready to eat.

 

 

cranberry chipotle turkey enchiladaCranberry Chipotle Turkey Enchilada

A tasty, quick way to use up leftover turkey (or chicken).  Chipotle salsa gives it a smoky kick, and craisins (sweetened, dried cranberries) add sweetness.