Honey Mustard Glazed Carrots for One

It’s been a while since I posted a side dish, so I thought I’d fix that. Honey mustard glazed carrots are an easy and savory side dish that’s ready in just a few minutes.  The honey adds a hint of sweetness, while the mustard provides a bit of a kick. The carrots are really easy to prepare, but the dish feels fancy enough for company.

This side dish goes beautifully with a simply roasted piece of chicken.  Season it with olive oil, lemon, and rosemary, put it in the oven and then start the carrots about 20 minutes before the chicken is done.

Or, try them with a grilled lamb chop,  or a steak. This recipe would also be great with Thanksgiving turkey or a family holiday get-together (you’d obviously have to size up the quantities).

If you’re trying to eat more veggies, honey mustard carrots also go well with a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch.

I sliced the carrots in matchsticks, but you can make them whatever way suits you. If you’re in a hurry, use frozen carrots (which are pre-blanched and will cook faster than fresh ones will).

Another tip to speed up the process and make your life a bit easier: when you measure the honey, dip the spoon in water first.  It creates a barrier that  will keep the honey from sticking and make it easier to pour it into the saucepan.




Substitutions and Variations for Mustard Honey Glazed Carrots

  • If you don’t have honey, use brown sugar instead
  • Add some fresh rosemary to the carrots
  • Saute some shallots with the honey mustard mixture and then add the carrots back to the pan
  • Try roasting them in a 450 oven for 40 minutes with some parsnips

More Side Dish Recipes

Roasted Cinnamon Nutmeg Butternut Squash

No Mayo Healthy Cole Slaw Recipe for One

Chopped Israeli Salad for One Person

White Bean Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes

 




Small Batch Ginger Pear Bread

I’ve been craving pear bread ever since I saw some in the store the other day.  Funny how that happens. The store version was much too big for one person, so I ran to the Internet.  I started out thinking I would make the Smitten Kitchen pear bread recipe.  But, that turned out to make two loaves. I’d never be able to eat two loaves of bread before it went stale.  Even a single, full-size loaf was more than I wanted, especially for an experiment.  So I kept looking.  Then I found that  Desserts for Two had a banana bread recipe that, with some tweaking, would do nicely.  So, ginger pear bread was born.

I didn’t want to play around with reducing the sugar, but I was concerned that 3 tablespoons of sugar plus the honey plus the pears would be too sweet. So, I balanced the sweetness of the pears with the bite of some cinnamon and a bit of ground ginger.  Ginger is both sweet and spicy, depending on what other flavors you combine it with.

I topped the whole thing with some chopped almonds for a bit of nutty crunch.  They were supposed to go in the bread mixture, but I forgot!




One warning though, when you finish mixing the combined ingredients, the result will look a bit odd before you bake it.  However, the finished bread is delicious.

Substitutions and Variations for Ginger Pear Bread

  • If you like, revert back to the original and use bananas instead of pears
  • I used almonds, but walnuts or pecans would work too
  • Add more ginger, or some candied ginger for more bite

More Small Batch Dessert Recipes

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

A sweet treat that’s elegant and surprisingly fuss-free.  Gently cook the pears, drizzle with chocolate sauce, and top with ice cream.

 

pear dessert crepeEasy Pear Crepe Dessert Recipe for One Person

Standard crepes are hard to make. This one is easy. Hint: it’s not really a crepe.

 

cinnamon sugar bananasCinnamon Sugar Bananas with Brandy

Cousin to Bananas Foster, this dish takes only five minutes to make. You don’t need the fancy brandy either.

 

cinnamon sugar apple breadSmall Batch Cinnamon Sugar Apple Bread

A moist, sweet (but not too sweet), treat packed with chunks of apples and topped with crackly cinnamon sugar. It’s been down-scaled, so it’s the perfect amount for one person.




Greek Yogurt Chocolate Cake

This Greek Yogurt Chocolate Cake has got everything a cake needs: chocolate, chocolate chips, and a gooey chocolate center. I would have left it at that, but then I remembered my local bakery’s chocolate blackout cupcakes. Those cupcakes have chocolate cake, a chocolate icing center, and then more icing on top! Yes! If it’s good enough for cupcakes, it’s definitely good enough for cake.

I found this recipe on dessert for two.  Since it’s already a small portion, I didn’t change it much, but I did make a few tweaks.

Because I don’t use cooking spray, I prepared my mini baking pan with butter and a dusting of flour. 

Keep Your Cake From Sticking

Just rub the butter over the bottom and sides of the pan, then sprinkle flour over it and spread it around with a butter knife.




Also, I didn’t have chocolate chips, so I cut up part of a bar of chocolate with a large knife (a mini-chopper would work too). Since I was going to add the icing, I cut the amount of “chips” to 1/4 cup.  I don’t like espresso powder, particularly not with chocolate, so I left that out.

Finally, I topped it all with a ganache topping, which is simply equal parts chocolate bar and butter.  Just combine 2 oz. of chocolate with 2 oz. of butter and melt that gently in a small saucepan.  Let it cool for fifteen minutes (or it will just soak in to your cake and disappear) and then and spread it over the top of your cake. If you want, you can add a splash of vanilla extract to the mixture.

Since this is a small cake, you don’t need to use your mixer.  You can easily make the whole thing by hand in a single medium-size bowl.

Tools and Ingredients for Greek Yogurt Chocolate Cake

HIC Porcelain Square Baking Dish 6.5- by 6.5- by 1-inch

This dish is the perfect size for this cake, a small coffee cake, brownies, or apple bread.  It cleans up easily and you can put it in the dishwasher if you like. It’s also microwave safe.

Cadbury Bourneville Cocoa

This cocoa is far richer and more full-flavored than the usual American cocoa. It’s darker chocolate and has no added sugar or fillers. Just plain cocoa.


Silicone Spatula Set

It’s getting harder and harder to find these in the stores. They’re all too wide: fine for turning fish or an egg, but useless for scraping cake batter out of your mixing bowl or spreading icing. Since they are silicone, they’re more heat-resistant than rubber would be. They’re also dishwasher safe and have built-in holes for hanging.

More Chocolate Dessert Recipes

easy chocolate mousseEasy Chocolate Mousse

One of the very first things I learned to cook. Only five ingredients, and you don’t have to separate eggs or melt chocolate. Easy, delicious, and chocolate. What more could you want?

small batch brownies cocoa powderSmall Batch Brownies with Cocoa Powder

Just enough brownies for one person (because a full batch is just too much). These are made with cocoa powder, so you don’t have to melt chocolate to make them.

 

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

Double dark chocolate pudding, in a single serving. This is actually two recipes in one. Cook it more, you get pudding. Cook it less and you get thick European hot chocolate.

 

chocolate banana breadMini Chocolate Banana Bread

Banana bread + chocolate! All downsized for one person.  Just mix everything together in a bowl, and bake.

 

 




Sloppy Joe Recipe for One Person

Have you ever gotten a a mad, out-of-blue craving for something?  A meal or a treat you just have to have?  This week, I had this crazy yen for Sloppy’s Joe’s. Unfortunately, most of the recipes I found were too big and had too much tomato sauce.  I wanted “sloppy joe’s” not “bathe in tomato sauce joes.” And, many of the recipes were also too bland. The only sloppy joe recipe for one person that I found was made with tofu. Nope.

Since I’d been feeling ambitious earlier in the week, I had fresh grass-fed beef on hand, and even homemade buns. If you want to make your own buns, try the recipe at King Arthur Flour’s website.

In order to boost the flavor, I added a bit of sriracha to the sauce and increased the Worcestershire sauce slightly.

The recipe includes two different amounts for the ketchup and the tomato sauce, so you can adjust the sauce/beef ratio to your own preferences.

Yes, it was messy. But it was also really good! I have put this under “dinner,” but really you could make it for a weekend lunch too, since it’s easy.




Sloppy Joe Recipe Substitutions and Variations

  • Make it with ground turkey or chicken instead of beef
  • Kick up the heat with chili garlic sauce instead of sriracha
  • Try half a chopped jalapeño pepper or red pepper flakes
  • Add some chili powder and mustard, then balance that with a bit of brown sugar

Grain Finished or Grass Fed Ground Beef

If you’re worried about who is packing your meat, and where it’s coming from, buy directly from the people who raise it.  It does cost a bit more, but it tastes better, it’s better for you, and you get peace of mind.

More Ground Beef Recipes for One Person

spicy stovetop chili recipeSmall Batch Spicy Stovetop Chili Recipe

Take your chili up a notch with a surprise ingredient (sriracha). Sure it may sound odd, but Asia got the peppers from South America, so it works out.  A small batch, so you’re not overwhelmed by chili.

compound butter cheeseburgerCheeseburger with Compound Butter

Adding butter (and some herbs) pops the flavor of your burger and also keeps it moist and juicy.

 

easy italian wedding soupEasy Italian Wedding Soup

Delicious soup in minutes! Just dump, heat, and eat. Make your own meatballs (see below), or use frozen (Trader Joe’s are great).

 

 

easy italian meatball recipeItalian Meatball Recipe for One

A mini meatball recipe that’s just enough for one.  Perfect for spaghetti and meatballs or the Italian wedding soup just above.

 




Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Apples

There’s nothing better and more comforting than hot soup on a chilly, blustery day. This curried butternut squash soup with apples is perfect for cold fall or winter weekends when squash are plentiful. I had quite a bit of squash left over from making roasted cinnamon nutmeg butternut squash, so this was the perfect way to use it up.   I have adapted the recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook, with a few tweaks.

First, I cut the recipe in half, as the original recipe made 6 large servings.  Plus, I only had most of one squash left (not two!).  I also substituted apple cider for the apple juice called for in the recipe. This gives it more flavor than just plain apple juice.

One more note, I recommend that you use a mild curry in this recipe (not something super-hot and spicy as it will overwhelm the flavor of the squash and the apples). I have a West Indian curry blend which is more savory than spicy; it works perfectly. If you can’t get the curry, try a teaspoon of ginger and a teaspoon of brown sugar.




Tools and Ingredients for Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Apples

Cuisinart  Immersion Hand Blender

cuisinart hand blenderThe original recipe called for straining the soup, then putting it through a food mill or food processor, and then pouring it back into the original pot.

Doable, but a pain in the neck, and it means two more things to clean.  The immersion blender is much easier to use, and a lot easier to clean up too.  You just pop off the end and wash it.

 

Chief West Indian Curry Powder

Flavorful, but not too hot, this curry blend comes straight from Trinidad.  It works well with butternut squash, a quick chicken curry, or over some cauliflower or roasted potatoes.

Oxo Swivel Peeler

Butternut squash is notoriously hard to peel, but this gadget makes the job a snap. Using this peeler, peeling a squash is no harder than peeling a carrot.

The little hole in the pointed end is great for removing the eyes from potatoes, or taking out bruised spots from veggies.  Oxo was originally designed for people with arthritis, so the handle is soft, round, and easy to grip.

More Butternut Squash Recipes

butternut squash brown sugar vanilla

Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar and Vanilla

This is definitely a vegetable. Just look at it. It’s got squash right? Well, make it yourself, and close your eyes. You’ll swear it’s a dessert.

 

butternut squash cream sauce pastaButternut Squash Cream Sauce Recipe for One Person

Use up the remaining squash from your soup and make this creamy, rich sauce. It’s both sweet and savory, and absolutely wonderful over pasta.

 

roasted cinnamon nutmeg butternut squashRoasted Cinnamon Nutmeg Butternut Squash

Warm cinnamon and sweet squash are a wonderful side dish for fall. Great with a a roast turkey or chicken.

 

 

 




Small Batch Cinnamon Sugar Apple Bread

It’s apple season! It’s also the time of year when it’s traditional to eat apples and honey (for a sweet Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year).  I brought a full batch of this cinnamon sugar apple bread to my brother’s house for the holiday. They gobbled it up! Pretty good, considering it was competing with mom’s New York cheesecake.

I originally planned to post the entire recipe, which I adapted from Cookies and Cups.  Then I remembered (duh), that this is the “single serving chef” blog, and the portions should be smaller!

I have reduced the sugar and the vanilla, because the original recipe was far too sweet for me. The result is a delicious, and easy to make, quick bread (think banana bread, but with apples rather than bananas), that’s full of apple flavor and topped with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.

If you can get them, use a Canville Blanc D’Hiver apple (which is a French tart apple). If not, Granny Smith, Mutsu, or GingerGold will work well. You want an apple that’s firm, crisp, and not too sweet.

I once accidentally made this with cayenne (!) instead of cinnamon. I mention it because it was much better than I would have expected.  I’m not sure I’d do it again deliberately, but it did give me an idea (see the substitutions section).




Substitutions and Variations for Cinnamon Sugar Apple Bread

  • Add 1/2 tsp ground ginger to make the cake a bit spicy
  • Give it a bit of a kick with some brandy or Calvados
  • If you’re brave, or like spicy sweets, go for the cayenne
  • Top the bread with bourbon sauce (2 T bourbon, 1/4 C sugar, 2 T butter, heated in a small pan) instead of the cinnamon/sugar.

Tools for Small Batch Cinnamon Sugar Apple Bread

Wilton Mini Loaf Pan

I’m having a grand time with these mini loaf pans. They allow me to make “half-size recipes” without a lot of leftovers. And I don’t have to worry about having bread or cake going stale before I can finish it.  Just take a recipe for a single loaf of bread, divide the dough in half, and you have two mini-breads.  Perfect!

More Quick Bread and Fruit Dessert Recipes

cinnamon sugar bananasCinnamon Sugar Bananas with Brandy

A five-minute dessert that’s a real treat. Think streamlined Bananas Foster.  Great alone, or topped with ice cream.

 

easy one serving apple crisp recipeEasy One Serving Apple Crisp Recipe

You only need a single bowl to make this simple apple crisp.  It’s warm, spicy, sweet, and made with oatmeal. That makes it healthy. Right?

 

chocolate banana breadMini Chocolate Banana Bread

Plain banana bread is good. This is even better. It’s packed with rich, chocolatey goodness that takes ordinary banana bread to the next level.  Or, go all out and add chips too.

 

caramelized pineapple chunksCaramelized Pineapple Chunks for One Person

Cooking pineapple deepens the flavor and brings out the sweetness. Add chopped nuts for crunch. Dessert in minutes.

 




Roasted Cinnamon Nutmeg Butternut Squash

Fall has finally arrived, and the temperature is dropping. It’s time to start thinking about butternut squash, apple crisp, and soups.  I found this recipe for roasted cinnamon nutmeg butternut squash tucked into a cookbook. I’ve no idea where I got it from, but the combination of cinnamon, apple cider, nutmeg, butter, and squash is classic.

Cinnamon and nutmeg add both a bit of spice and sweetness, and the apple cider is both tart and sweet. It’s also apple cider season, so all the ingredients are at their peak now.

Butternut squash are notoriously hard to peel, unless you have an Oxo peeler, which makes this chore much easier.  Or, you can buy the pre-peeled squash.

The rest is just cutting up the squash (use a big, sharp knife), adding the spices, butter, and cider, and baking it in the toaster oven.




Substitutions and Variations for Roasted Cinnamon Nutmeg Butternut Squash

  • Add some chopped pecans or walnuts after 15 minutes of baking
  • Make it savory: replace the butter with chicken stock, skip the cinnamon and nutmeg, and use curry instead.
  • Bump up the sweetness with honey or maple syrup

Tools and Ingredients for Roasted Butternut Squash

Oxo Swivel Peeler

This peeler cuts through butternut squash skin with virtually no effort. It’s no harder than peeling a cucumber. I’ve had mine for years and it still works flawlessly. There’s even a little scoop at the end for de-eyeing potatoes or removing bruised spots. The handle is comfy and easy to hold. It works on apples, squash, cucumber, carrots, and hasn’t needed any extra care or sharpening. I did add a dab of red nail polish at the end to make it easier to find in my utensil holder.

HIC Small Porcelain Baking Dish

Most baking dishes are far too large for one person or small batch cooking. This is perfect. I use it for the squash, to bake brownies or coffee cake, and reheat leftovers. It”s safe in the oven or microwave, looks great as a serving dish, and can go in the dishwasher if you have one.

More Butternut Squash Recipes

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

It’s a veggie dessert! If you didn’t know it was a nice, healthy vegetable (packed with Vitamin A and C), you’d think you were having a dessert. Because that’s what it tastes like. But, it really is a vegetable!

butternut squash cream sauce pastaButternut Squash Cream Sauce Recipe for One Person

Roasted garlic, some cream, and parmesan balance against the sweet squash for a rich, creamy sauce. Punch it up with crumbled bacon or pancetta.

 

curried butternut squash soup with applesCurried Butternut Squash Soup with Apples

Mild sweet curry is a perfect foil for apples and squash. Filling, comforting, and perfect for a cool fall or winter day.

 

 




Crispy Lemon Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

I adapted this crispy lemon chicken thigh recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook. If you love lemon, this is for you. It’s full of citrusy flavor from lemon juice, lemon pepper, and lemon zest. Even if you don’t love lots of lemon, don’t worry. The lemon is balanced by brown sugar for sweetness and a touch of paprika for a hint of bite.

It’s also quite versatile. Eat it hot right out of the oven, or make extra and have it cold for lunch the next day.  It’s also good for picnics when the weather is good.

I cut the original recipe down to serve one (instead of six), but also made a few other small changes.  The cookbook recipe called for lemon extract. It’s an ingredient I’m never going to use up (unless I make lots of lemon chicken). So, I increased the lemon juice a bit.

I then swapped the plain black pepper for lemon pepper. Lemon pepper is a bit exotic, but I do use it for other things (try it on string beans or broccoli). This way, I kept the lemony flavor without having to buy a special ingredient only to use a spoonful or two (which annoys me).

You end up with a crispy crust, almost like fried chicken, except there’s very little oil, and a lot less mess. You start it in a frying pan to get crispy and then finish by baking it in the toaster oven.

Incidentally, the recipe on the facing page of the cookbook is for Chicken Monterey, made with orange juice.  I haven’t done it, but I bet orange juice and zest would work for this too.  You might try a bit of orange juice concentrate, or upping the zest to substitute for lemon pepper/extract. I’d also reduce the brown sugar, since orange is sweeter than lemon.

For the best flavor, let the chicken marinate overnight (or all day) in the fridge. If you don’t have that much time, let it sit for at least half an hour.

If you can’t have flour (or gluten) substitute potato starch or rice flour instead.  It might even be good with almond flour.  That way it’s gluten-free (and Pesach-friendly).




More Chicken Thigh Recipes

chicken with tomatoes and olivesChicken with Olives and Tomatoes for One

Chicken, olives, garlic, and a bit of ginger add up to a rich, flavorful meal. This is a North African dish from a Jewish cookbook (really!)

 

peruvian roast chicken with green saucePeruvian Roast Chicken in Green Sauce Recipe

Juicy chicken, crispy skin and a tangy, spicy, garlicky sauce I just can’t stop eating.

 

chicken with basil peaches and gingerChicken Thigh Recipe with Peaches and Ginger

Juicy peaches balanced with spicy/warm ginger and summery basil. Just toss it all together and bake.

 

chicken with balsamic vinegar sauce

One Pot Chicken with Balsamic Vinegar Sauce

Tangy balsamic vinegar, mellowed cooked onions, and sweetness from an unlikely ingredient.  All in one pot.

 




Peach Crumble Recipe for One

The peaches are particularly good this summer, so I’ve been buying them like a crazy woman. They’re so good, even my dad (who didn’t like peaches) was gobbling them down. Then, of course, I have to figure out what to do with them all! Some get eaten fresh (with lots of napkins). A few more went for chicken with peaches and basil. The rest get turned into this peach crumble recipe.

Traditionally, the difference between cobbler, crumble, and crisp was the topping.  Fruit cobblers had a biscuity topping (using an egg).  To make a crumble, you topped it with a butter and flour mixture (think coffee cake).  A fruit crisp topping had oats.  Now, it’s all mixed up and also seems to depend on what part of the country you live in.

Whatever you call it, peach crumble is easy to make. Just mix the peach base in one bowl and the crumble topping in another.  Since it’s a small portion, you don’t even have to pull out the mixer.




Substitutions and Variations for Peach Crumble

  • Use half peaches and half blueberries
  • Try nectarines or plums
  • Go back to the future and use apples (add a pinch of nutmeg)

Tools and Ingredients for Peach Crumble

HIC Porcelain Square Baking Dish 6.5- by 6.5- by 1-inch

Perfect for peach crumble, a small batch of brownies, or apple crisp. It’s heavy, well-made, and dishwasher-safe too. If you have extra crumble, you can heat it in the microwave right in the dish.

More Fruit Dessert Recipes for One

easy one serving apple crisp recipeEasy One Serving Apple Crisp Recipe

Just enough for one, with a crumbly sweet oatmeal mixture folded in (that makes it healthy, right?)

 

pear dessert crepePear Crepe Recipe for One

“Standard” crepes are hard. This isn’t. It’s not really a crepe at all. Still works, tastes great, and it’s easy!

 

cinnamon sugar bananasCinnamon Sugar Bananas with Brandy

Speaking of easy, if you have five minutes, you can make yourself a dessert. The splash of brandy (or rum) makes it elegant (even though you only need a few minutes to make it).

caramelized pineapple chunksCaramelized Pineapple Chunks for One Person

This can be fresh or canned (doesn’t matter).  Ready in minutes, just heat the pineapple slightly, add a little sugar, and sprinkle with chopped nuts.

 




Bacon Spinach Tomato Aioli Sandwich Recipe

Mmmm bacon….We’re obsessed with it.  We have bacon appetizers, bacon cocktails, and even bacon ice cream.  And now, meet the bacon spinach tomato aioli sandwich, a slightly different twist on the tried-and-true BLT.

I made this with Trader Joe’s uncured bacon (which is delicious; get the bacon ends if you can and save some money).   I tend to use spinach far more than lettuce, because it’s more versatile. You can cook with it, as well as use it in salads.  So, I reached for that rather than lettuce.

Then, I added some mini bell peppers. The sweetness and crunch of the peppers makes a nice foil for the salty bacon.

Finally, I decided to ditch the standard mayo in favor of aioli (which is mayo with garlic, some lemon juice, olive oil, and a bit of cayenne pepper).

If you are ambitious, and want to make your own aioli from scratch you can do that.  It’s delicious, and freshly made mayonnaise is far tastier than the stuff in the jar.

On the other hand, it doesn’t keep nearly as well, and making (and eating) a whole batch is a bit much for one person. Of course, you can always use the leftover aioli for french fries (like they do in Belgium) or as a dip for crudités.

I like to take the jarred mayonnaise and then add fresh ingredients to brighten the flavor so it tastes a bit more like homemade. That way, there’s no leftovers to worry about.




Substitutions and Variations for Bacon Spinach Tomato Aioli Sandwich

  • Add more heat with sriracha instead of just cayenne
  • Chop some basil or cilantro and incorporate it into the aioli sauce
  • Make it a bit lighter by using half mayo and half Greek yogurt
  • Prepare the aioli in advance so the flavors have more time to blend

 

Thick Cut Bacon

Make your sandwich even better with thick-cut bacon. Choose either natural (humanely raised with no antibiotics, and a vegetarian diet), or heritage.  Heritage pork is more flavorful and less fatty than standard pork.  You can even choose your farm (and check exactly what goes into your bacon).

More Sandwich Recipes

vegetarian eggplant sandwichVegetarian Eggplant Sandwich for One Person

Israeli salad, plus eggplant, and hummus and you have a delicious easy meal.

 

three cheese grilled cheese sandwichThree Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Why settle for only one kind of cheese when you can have three?  Ooey, gooey melty and delicious. Just the comfort food you need right now.

 

chicken caprese salad panini

Chicken Caprese Salad Panini Sandwich

Crispy, golden brown, and delicious! Transform a caprese side salad into a complete meal with chicken and sandwich fixings.

 

strawberry balsamic grilled cheeseStrawberry Balsamic Grilled Cheese Sandwich

You probably didn’t expect strawberries and balsamic vinegar in a sandwich, did you?  The tangy vinegar complements the sweet strawberries and enhances their flavor too.  And, of course, cheese nearly always makes everything better.