Taste of Zest Guiding Principle:

Each of us needs food to survive, but there is so much more to nourishing oneself. The health of your body (and mind and spirit) depends on our relationship with food—what, how much, when, where it came from, and with whom we eat. There can be many challenges in cooking for oneself, but it can also be one of the joys of living. Each one of us needs to remember that we are worth cooking satisfying, fun, seasonal food for, such as the dew-kissed asparagus and leafy greens of spring, warm melt-in-your-mouth strawberries in June, hand-picked baked apples on a crisp fall day, and warm spicy pumpkin pudding in the cold of winter. We hope Taste of Zest gives you the inspiration to cook foods that taste wonderful and sustain your body, mind and spirit. Our goal is to share ideas that will make cooking for one or two easier and more enjoyable.

Cooking for One or Two

Over the holidays my mom, college-age daughters and I were discussing how cooking for one or two can be a challenge. Not having the right ingredients on hand, not being able to eat fresh foods before they spoil, getting tired of left-overs and lacking motivation were some of reasons we found it difficult. With further discussion we came up with some ideas for making cooking for one or two easier and more enjoyable.

Here are some cooking tips:

  • Create a weekly meal plan and grocery list. This is an important place to start. It makes grocery shopping easier and cuts down on spoilage.

  • Cook once, eat twice (or more). Some batch recipes are better for this than others. Soups, stews and hot dishes tend to freeze well so they can be divided into individual servings, labeled with the date, and put in the freezer for a quick and easy meal for later on. Most frozen dishes should be used up within 2-4 weeks.

  • Reinvent left-overs. Bake four chicken breasts, make a pot roast in a slow cooker or purchase a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken and have it with a baked potato, brown rice or whole-grain pasta. Cook a whole bag of mixed vegetables. Then use the left-overs to make soup, hot dish, salad, sandwich or wrap. They can be eaten cold or hot depending on the dish. Get a different lean meat, vegetable mix, and whole grain (quinoa, barley or whole-grain couscous) each time you shop for variety.

  • Be creative. Try new foods, combinations of foods and recipes. The upside of cooking for one is that you don’t have to please anyone but yourself. Also, have a variety of spices and sauces on hand. They can give typical foods a new “taste of zest” that can make cooking for one or two something to look forward to.

We’d love to hear your about your thoughts, challenges and successes. We look forward to sharing recipes and ideas with you 2-3 times a week. Check back often. Let the cooking (and eating) begin!

Joy, Laura, and Teresa