I’m on my own for the next few days, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to do a short series on cooking for one person.
I chose my first meal – Pear and Honey Oatmeal from the October 2007 issue of Everyday Food – because I had an “aha!” moment when I was making my grocery list for the week. Allow me to digress for a moment as I describe the process.
I start by writing out the days of the week when I know I’ll be cooking. We have a dinner event next week, for example, so I know I don’t need to plan a meal for that day. I open up my spreadsheets – usually Main Meals, Side Dishes, and Desserts, though there are several more – and then fill in the blanks with meals that sound good for that week. I throw in a dessert for good measure. Then I look up the individual recipes and add the ingredients I don’t have on hand to my grocery list. I’ll risk alienating you all by mentioning that my list is divided into sections to make navigating the store easier: pantry, bread, produce, meat, dairy, and freezer.
I know it all sounds a little crazy and excessive, but I reap two big benefits from this process: (1) I save time by not wandering aimlessly around the grocery store, and (2) I save money by not loading up on groceries that don’t have a plan attached to them. (You know, the ones that always end up abandoned in the back of the pantry or the bottom of the crisper.) I would probably also have an enormous Pei Wei tab.
Anyway, back to the oatmeal. I was looking through my spreadsheets for one-person meals and I realized that I had everything I needed for this one without even going to the store – oats, honey, milk, and a pear.
I started by combining 1 cup of milk and a pinch of salt in a saucepan. I brought that to a boil, stirred in 1/2 cup of oats (old-fashioned, not quick) and a pinch of cinnamon, and then let things simmer for 5 minutes until the oats were tender.
I put the oatmeal in a bowl and topped it with a half a pear (cut into chunks) and 3 teaspoons of honey. It was yummy, truly.
This is another recipe that isn’t posted on the Everyday Food Web site, but I’ve given you the exact quantities and cooking times (above) if you want to try it. The recipe recommends between one and three teaspoons of honey when you top the oatmeal. I like honey (lots!), so I went with three.
TIPS: Make sure you use old-fashioned oats, not quick oats. Enjoy!