Quick Meals for Singles

Being single means I do everything at home, plus work and write. I’m pretty busy and I don’t always have a lot of extra time. Especially during the enjoyable seasons when I am out walking more.

I’m always looking for ways to save time on meal prep. Sometimes this means I have put the time in ahead, other times it means that I just throw something together right then.

When making big meals ahead of time, they can be split into individual servings and then a couple of containers can go into the refrigerator for grabbing quick during the week, and the rest can be frozen. You’d just take one out of the freezer the day before you wanted it and place it in the refrigerator.

I thought I’d offer up some ideas for both.

  1. I love smoothies as a meal. I like mine a little thick, and am learning about fillers. These will mean I still full longer, and won’t need a snack in between meals.
  2. I love cottage pies. And I have the most adorable single-serve pie plates that I found on clearance to make them in. These are one of the foods I make a big batch of, then split between the refrigerator and freezer for later use.
  3. Stuffed squash is another great make-ahead meal that can go right into the refrigerator and be heated in the oven while you are busy doing something else. And, if you are lucky, you’ll have extra stuffing for yet a third meal to place in the freezer.
  4. If you cook up a couple of chicken breasts or some steak, you’ll have a great salad topping any time you want to have a quick meal. Just slice and store in a container in the refrigerator. Also slice vegetables and shred greens to keep on hand. Keeping fresh berries on hand means you can grab a handful to add to salads.
  5. Lettuce wraps are quick and easy.
  6. This super easy chicken soup with crisp veggies.
  7. And this pineapple-keilbasa soup is amazing.

This is all of what I have on the site so far, but I will be working on more 1-person recipes in the future.

You may also enjoy:

Happy Cooking!

~ Shannon

 

This Weeks Misfits Market Box 10/2/2019

Look at all of this amazing food. I love getting these Madness Boxes from Misfits Market. I look forward to them every other week. There is plenty of fresh produce for me, and I can share some with my daughters.

  • 2 pints of grape tomatoes (Took what I would use and gave the rest to Skye & Zowie)
  • red grapes
  • 8 little pepper (Gave to Skye & Zowie)
  • 4 zucchini (Kept 2. Gave 1 each to Skye & Zowie)
  • 4 yellow peaches
  • 6 Bosc pears
  • 2 bunches green onions (Gave to Skye & Zowie)
  • 4 lemons
  • 2 bunches red kale
  • 2 egg plants
  • 14 carrots of varying pretty colors
  • 2 acorn squash
  • 4 onions (Gave to Skye & Zowie)
  • 8 apples

This was a very nice bounty of delicious goodness! The squash is being stored because it will last longer than anything else. I have others as well and, once-in-a-while, I will make a stuffed squash.

With this bounty I’ve already made lemonade and am planning to use the rest of the lemons to make lemon water. I made apple-peach and apple-pear sauces for work, and am using kale in smoothies. (One thing I wish came in the boxes is bananas. Oh, and lots of berries. I buy these at the store for my smoothies.)

I also used some of the kale for work salads, adding the tomatoes and zucchini I kept, and some of the carrots. And I’ll be bringing grapes to work for a snack! I love grapes.

I do plan to use the eggplant later in the week by roasting them with potatoes and carrots.

What do you think of all the good stuff that comes in these Misfits Market boxes? Do you get them? I noticed that my sisters boxes are usually somewhat different than mine, and she only lives about ten minutes from me.

~ Shannon

 

 

 

Misfits Market Box for 9/7/19

Wow. I just love these boxes! Look at the goodies I got this week, and I’ll share with you how I’m using most of it below.

 

It’s all lovely, and I’m happy to find ways to use it all. This is the list of everything I received:

  • 2 cauliflower
  • 3 Mango (Kept one for smoothies; gave the others to Skye & Zowie.)
  • 5 potatoes
  • 2 grapefruit (Gave to Skye & Zowie)
  • 6 oranges
  • 6 lemons
  • 4 onions (Gave to Skye & Zowie)
  • 6 Cucumbers (Gave one to Skye & one to Zowie)
  • 4 peppers (Gave to Skye & Zowie)
  • 2 bags green beans
  • 4 tomatoes (Gave one to Skye & one to Zowie)
  • 2 lettuces

It’s amazing how much these boxes of food weigh. With my back issues, I can’t even carry them upstairs to my place. I have to bring reusable shopping bags down with me and split everything between the bags, and then bring them upstairs like that.

So, I did a few things right off. First, I made a couple of pitchers of lemon water because I wanted to enjoy some while I took care of everything. This lemon water is super easy. Each pitcher is about a quart. I juice one lemon per pitcher, add a few tablespoons of organic honey, and fill each with filtered water. Then stir. That’s it! The pitchers fit on the door of my little refrigerator.

I try to always have lemon water or lemon-limeade made up whenever I get the fruit. Vitamin C is good for you.

Then I made salads for my weekend at work. You may have have gotten the impression while reading these posts that I eat a lot of salads. I have been. I also drink a lot of super-healthy smoothies.

Spring and summer are a great time for this, but I’ve been wondering what later fall and winter produce boxes will look like. Salad fixings?

I had plenty of leftover cauliflower to last the two weeks, but I’m not sure if it lasts that long. Usually I eat it all before it gets to the point of going bad. My plan is to use some in smoothies, because it won’t be noticeable. And to eat it whenever I need a snack. I am not a fan of cooked cauliflower, so I will not be using it as a pizza crust, as rice, or roasted. Nope.

Same with green beans, and here will be plenty of this to eat raw as well. And I’ll be roasting potatoes with sausage, and using those two items, raw, as sides. I will also these raw veggies with breakfast, along with fresh fruit.

Can you believe all the yummy goodness my Madness Box is stuffed with each week? I’m always excited to get it. If you want your own box, use this link to place your order. (Use this referral code so we can both get a discount: COOKWME-PI4FFE ) They are currently giving discounts to new customers, and I’ll get a discount on a future order. We’ll be helping each other out.

~ Shannon

 

My First Box from Misfits Market

Last week I told you about a food delivery service for organic, non-GMO produce that is affordable. My first shipment from Misfits Market came on Wednesday, and I’m pleased. I do want to note a few things right off the bat.

  • The company is upfront about the fact that much of what they send would be considered “ugly”. Though, to me, it all looked just fine. Some of the fruit was on the small side. Perfect for me.
  • They also mentioned that some of it might be bruised. A few of the peaches were. I simply made them into a sauce with some of the pears. It worked out wonderfully.
  • I bought the Madness Box, the largest. It is left at your door, but it is heavy. Since I know I have to lug it upstairs, I’ll bring a couple of reusable shopping bags downstairs with me next time to split things up into.
  • You don’t get to choose what you want. You get what you get.

I was impressed by the amount of produce the Madness Box has in it. This is what came in my shipment:

As you can see, it is more than enough to feed me for a couple of weeks.

  • Bok Choy (This will be my first time trying this.)
  • 2 European Cucumbers
  • 4 Zucchini (Kept 2. Gave 1 to each of my daughters.)
  • 1 Romain Lettuce
  • 4 Peppers (Don’t like these. Gave them to my daughters.)
  • 5 Oranges
  • 4 Limes
  • 3 Mangoes (Don’t like these. Gave them to my daughters.)
  • 6 Pears
  • 6 Peaches
  • 2 Bags of Mushrooms (Gave one bag to my parents, the other Zowie.)
  • 2 Bags of String Beans
  • 2 Spaghetti Squash
  • Dandelion Greens (This will be my first time trying this.)

I did buy a few things to go along with this:

  • Meat (I don’t eat much meat, so a pound will last me a while.)
  • So Delicious non-dairy yogurt
  • Bananas
  • Lemons

And I had some things on hand to round everything out.

You’ll notice that I shared a few things with my parents and daughters. While I like most fruits and vegetables, there are just a few things I’m unable to eat. And I haven’t quite been able to talk myself into trying mushrooms yet. Even taking this stuff out, I consider the $38.50 to be a good deal on the food, considering the in-store costs of organic produce in my area.

I planned things out for meals and such as soon as I opened the box. The meat was purchased to go with the spaghetti squash. Yogurt is delicious with orange slices. And pears and peaches make a great sauce which can be eaten as is, or warmed with maple syrup and served over Paleo pancakes. I bought the lemons to make Lemon-Limeade. Orange slices will go well in smoothies with bananas as well.

According to my research Bok Choy is a chinese cabbage, so I plan to make a salad with it, the Romain lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, and string beans. I love salad. The cucumber, zucchini, and string beans can also be snacked on any time.

 

 

I’m going to try the dandelion greens in salad and smoothies, to see if I like them. If I do, I can flash freeze them for  later use and less waste. Nothing is going to waste, because I shared what I knew I wouldn’t eat.

You could also donate anything you didn’t want, or share them with friends and co-workers.

Here are some tips for what to do with some of the the produce from this box:

  • Once you’ve set aside what you want for salads, chop the rest dandelion greens and flash freeze them. Store in a container in the freezer, taking out some as you need it for smoothies.
  • Use some lovely FreshPapers from Mighty Nest when storing fresh produce. It will help the food stay fresh longer.
  • Only using half that lemon? Mighty nest also has Food Huggers! They come nested, in a variety of sizes in each set, and cover partially eaten tomatoes. oranges, and more.
  • Given that a few things may be bruised, you’ll want to come up with a plan right away to use them up. You can make sauces from fruits to enjoy over Paleo “Ice Cream” or french toast, or to add to smoothies.
  • If anything is “thin-skinned”, check it to see if it needs to be used quickly.
  • Top cereal or smoothies with chopped fruit.
  • Utilize Google or another search engine to look up what types of produce and greens can be frozen and how.
  • And use it to find new recipes to try!

I can’t wait to see what my second box from Misfits Market is filled with. (Use this referral code so we can both get a discount: COOKWME-PI4FFE ) I’ll let you know in a couple of weeks. This box cost me $38.50, and should last me two weeks. (NOTE: Price has gone up about a dollar since this was posted.)

Note 1: It’s called Misfits Market for a reason. It is a source of “ugly” produce. Let me just say that I don’t care if the produce is perfect. If I can get “ugly” produce at a good price, I am all over that. Produce is produce. It’s all good!

Note 2: Get 25% off your first order, and give me 25% off a future order. It’s a win-win! The links in this article will take you to my page with your discount. (Affiliate) (This is the discount they are giving right now. Misfit’s Market can change the promotion at any time.)

Note 3: Over a year ago I signed up for MightyNest. I wanted a way to bring healthy products into my home, and I thought this would be perfect. I signed up for their MightyFix and, each month, get a package from them with something new for me to try. (Affiliate)

~ Shannon

Frugal Recipes Happenings: Winter 2018-2019

This winter hasn’t seemed as bad as last winter. Not so far anyway. Last year, the first couple of months were too cold – colder than normal. While we’ve had some of those days this year, there haven’t been as many. It seems like it rains after most snow days, making for very wet weather. I still see patches of lawn, though.

Not that I’m complaining. I’ll take this over two months of freezing cold temperatures. How about you?

I’ve been enjoying having Zowie and Devan in the area, and spending time with my precious grandchildren. Little Man is 3 1/2 and Little Miss is already 6 months old, and they are my hearts joy.

 

Yule (the first day of winter) was a busy, busy day. The bestest picked me up, and we went to my parents home for the family Christmas party. It was a lot of fun. We all exchanged our gifts, and enjoyed some great food. I love my stepfathers homemade baked beans, and he always buys Governor’s rolls to go with them. Yum! When it was time for us to leave, mom packed me 3 meals worth of beans and rolls, as well as treats. She does this for me every year, so I can have the food for my upcoming shifts at The Inn.

Then the bestest and I went to her house for our baking day. We made so many things! I made peanut butter and chocolate no-bakes, and three flavors of popcorn. She made breads and chocolate dipped pretzel logs. I’m sure there was more. We packaged all of the goodies, and handed them out to loved ones as part of their holiday gifts.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright December 22, 2018.

Christmas Eve was spent at my aunts for another Christmas party, and then some of us met up at my daughter’s on Christmas. After everyone left, I stayed behind for further bonding with the grandchildren.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright December 24, 2018.

I took a vacation from The Inn after the holidays, and spent some time Zowie’s family again, as well as with my daughter Skye and her boyfriend. Play dates with the kiddos are always fun. I babysat one night, so their parents could go on a date, and then bought us all food from Angelo’s another night. Expensive, but well worth it for the family time and a treat.

So how was your holiday? Did you set any resolutions for the new year? I set some goals. Wanna learn about them? Read these posts here on the blog to find out what I’m concentrating on this year:

New Year Goal: A New “Kitchen”

New Year Goal: Be Healthy

New Year Goal: Try New Recipes (Mostly Paleo)

You may also enjoy reading about one of the ways I am building memories with my grandson.  ❤

Winters are long. If you’re looking for a project to keep you busy, I suggest reading Joni Meyer’s book Extreme Couponing, and setting up your own coupon system.

You might also enjoy checking out my new site, Fabulous Frugal Life. In particular, you might enjoy reading my post on how you can save on groceries. There are many articles already posted to the site, and I’ll be adding more throughout the winter months. Let me know what you think of the new site.

Have you read my fiction blog yet? It’s another great way to pass the winter, telling you all about my writing life and sharing about the short stories I have published. Head on over today to check it out!

Warmest Wishes

~ Shannon

Veggies as the Main Meal Component

Now that the holidays are over and our new year goals have been set, I bet I’m not the only one eating better than I was during the holiday season. One thing I’ve been considering is the amount of meat I eat during a meal. I can easily load half of my plate with meat, but I’m not sure that’s what we should be doing.

Not that meat is bad. I love beef, chicken, pork, and turkey. However, I think we are seriously lacking the nutrients we need from fresh fruits and vegetables. I want to be eating more fresh produce and less meat, so I’m going to be switching things up a bit.

My goal is going to get in more fruits and vegetables each day. To accomplish this, I’m going to make the sides the main part of my meal, and have less meat at each.

Protein is an important part of every meal, and I don’t want to skip on that, but I think I’ll get enough if I use vegetables that have the nutrient alongside a little meat. Broccoli, green peas, asparagus, cauliflower, black beans, and broccoli raab are just a few of the vegetables that contain protein. I figure, if I can pair a protein-rich vegetable with the little bit of meat cooked in a healthy fat, and then add more veggies to the plate, I’ll be doing good. What do you think?

Shannon

 

New Year Goal: Be Healthy

Oh the things we lose track of, like our fitness goals. I’m so disappointed in me. 😦 But, rather than dwell on the negativeness of this, I’m going to put my energies into staying positive and getting myself back on track.

What does this mean?

Through a combination of fitness, positive thinking and attitude, and getting back into eating healthy, I am going to get myself back on track. Not that I’ve gone back to all of my old, unhealthy behaviors, but some of them have seeped back into my life.

It’s time to rethink how I want to feel, and how I am going to get there and stay there.

Nutrition is a big part of this plan I have formulating in my head. So I want to expand my menu choices in order to give myself more options.

The basics of protein, a few fruits/vegetables, and healthy fat is great most of the time, but I think I need more of a variety so as not to get too bored. And I need to do something about what I’m doing with cravings. Rather than blow the healthy eating habits all together, I can lessen the impact by making healthier choices.

So, what do you say? Are you with me?

Let’s be healthier this year!

Shannon

Frugal Recipes Happenings ~ Summer 2018

Happy Summer! The nicer days make me so happy 🙂 How about you? Skye and her boyfriend and I have been taking advantage of restaurants where we can sit outside and eat. It’s been a real culinary adventure.

I’ve tried a few new places since Skye moved back home last fall, starting with the our lunch at Paddy Murphy’s. I enjoyed a wonderful plate of ravioli with a delicious butternut squash sauce and topped with grilled shrimp; a recipe I would love to replicate. This came with toast. We also visit Bagel Central and 98 Wake and Shake whenever we are downtown. And we’ve been to Nicky’s Diner with mom. They have amazing prices. You get a lot of food for what you pay.

Skye’s boyfriend took us out for lunch a couple of times as well. We sat outside at both. At the Seadog Brewing Co. we got to sit near the river. I had pasta in a garlic butter sauce, topped with shrimp, scallops, and muscles. When we visited Timber Kitchen & Bar, I enjoyed haddock and spiced fries, as well as a Honey Badger Mojito. Yum!

My grandson is turning three, and I visited with him and parents recently. We took him to his first theater movie. Smitty’s is unusual in that the theater houses tables and chairs, and they serve your meal while you are watching the movie. They make a good chicken quesadilla. Were hopeful Zowie and Devan will be able to move closer to home with him and his sister in August. Then I will have a little cooking buddy!

I intend to further enjoy new restaurants and different foods throughout the summer.

As for food at home, I’ve been eating lighter fare. Quick, easy to make meals. I’m hoping to shed some of these extra pounds, but I also just don’t like to eat heavier foods as much as I do in the winter. My grocery shopping trip for the coming week netted burger patties and lots of fruits and veggies. Other than cheese for the burgers and some almond/cashew milk, that’s all I bought. Not even buns for the burgers. I thought, instead, I’d have the patties over greens and top them with pickles. I had shrimp last week, and scallops the week before, both with lots of vegetables.

I’m going to have picnics in the park, down by the river, this year. Next week I’m planning to get a sandwich and drink from Harvest Moon Deli and sit down there to relax and enjoy being outdoors. I have a coupon for a free sandwich that I will utilize.

Have you seen these blog posts?

Smoothies are great for summer. I’m planning to have a few this week. They are a good way to extra nutrients into your system.

I hope you enjoy your summer! I’d love to hear about recipes you enjoy at this time of year, and the food celebrations you will be hosting and/or attending.

Shannon

shannonlbuck@gmail.com

 

Frugal Recipes Happenings ~ Spring 2018

Yesterday was the first day of spring, but you wouldn’t know it with all the snow and cold. I took out the trash this morning and there was no hint of spring in the air or on the ground. Brrrr.

But I know it will be here soon enough. The warmer days. The buds on the trees. The tulips starting to pop up from the ground. Soon.

With the onset of spring, I always start bringing back lighter food choices. I don’t want the heartier meals of fall and as winter much. I’d rather eat more salads and drink more healthy smoothies. All of this, of course, packs one heck of a nutritional punch each day. Are you noticing you are having different cravings? Are smoothies even affordable? If you make them yourself they are far more affordable that buying one when out and about. Be prepared: Bring one with you.

I’ve been reworking some of the older posts that used to populate this blog, making them healthier – testing them out – and I’ve started to put some of them back. I’ve also posted a couple of new ones. And I’m planning to experiment with a few new recipes. If they turn out well, I’ll be sharing them here on the blog.

I don’t have a lot planned for spring. Once the weather turns nice, I’ll be out and about more: Walking, taking pictures. I may picnic in the park once or twice this season. Maybe ask a few people to join me one time, and use the other to work on writing related things.

It’s also almost time to switch to iced mint tea when writing at Aroma Joe’s. I love my tea iced. I’m working on a new story series while there, about stalkers. I’ve published a few other stories this winter. If you care to check them out, I’m sharing them below.

Something my daughter did for her husband, both Harry Potter fans, was to create for him a Harry Potter themed birthday party. It took her days to prepare for it. She invited a couple of his friends. He and Little Man enjoyed it, as did his friends. My daughter, being pregnant with her second child, tired herself right out with it all, but she said it was worth it. She’d spent three days cooking for it, as well as working at her job.

If you haven’t seen these yet, this is what I’ve put on the blog recently:

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright 2017.Fruity Cocoa Goodness (Smoothie)

Quick Tip: Using Leftovers to Make Smoothies

I Bought Me Presents!

Quick Tip: Keep a Few Homemade Single Serve Meals on Hand

Invest n Containers for Meal Prep

Quick Tip: Plan Meals AFTER You Shop

I also wrote a short piece on the USDA Thrifty Food Plan for January 2018. Want to know how your family stacks up? Find out what you have to spend to be considered a thrifty shopper.

I know that sometimes, even though we want to eat healthy, we simply do not have the money to do so. I try to keep the recipes here on the blog affordable & healthy, but at times we need recipes for the ingredients and foods we can afford on an even tighter budget. I’ve got your back! These frugal recipe cookbooks are on sale at this time.

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Fabulously Frugal Fruits: Recipes and Uses ($1.99)

Very Frugal Vegetables: Recipes and Uses ($1.99)

Beverages on a Budget ($1.99)

Main Meal Magic ($1.99)

As Always, Frugal Ways to Save Money in the Kitchen + Frugal Recipes for the Health Conscious costs nothing. Enjoy! And Check out Keeping the Single Mom Home: The Kitchen for $1.99.

Enjoy the recipes, books, and articles in this newsletter. Again, I’m so happy to be writing Frugal Recipes Happenings back here on the site.

Here are the fiction books I indicated I’d share. If you like reading fiction, but don’t have a lot of time on your hands like so many these days, these are short stories that can be read quickly.

The Old Shack in the Woods ($1.99)

My Mother ($1.99)

Find out about my other books + over on the fiction blog!

Enjoy spring!

Shannon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quick Tip: Plan Meals AFTER You Shop

Sounds strange, doesn’t it? But hear me out.

I don’t always shop with a list, especially if I’m on a tighter than usual budget. Why? Because I can shop, finding the items with the best prices, and create meals from those foods when I get home. If I only have $25.00 to spend, I take it to the store and challenge myself to get as much as I can for that price.

I know the basics: Vegetables first, protein sources second, fruit third, and a healthy fat if I have nothing at home. My basic shopping list literally has these four things – no specifics.

Also, I don’t leave for the trip not knowing what is in my pantry, refrigerator, and freezer.

On the occasion I want something specific, I do add the specific ingredients I will need to my shopping list.

Happy cooking!

Shannon