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Dinner for One

March 15, 2010

For the first time since moving in together (and since my cooking experiments began) Z will not be around for dinner all week. I have managed to convince myself that the reason it is ok to spend an hour in the kitchen every night, trying out a new recipe and making a spectacular mess in the process, is that I’m not just cooking for myself , but for two people, and we should eat wholesome, healthy meals. No more frozen entrees, no more veggies burgers or scrambled eggs and ketchup. Ok, occasionally those things cross our dinner plates, but I have begun to take pride in cooking a meal every night, much like my Mom did while I was growing up.

But tonight, I find myself in my kitchen alone. The usual batchelorette thoughts ran though my head of tossing together a salad, or some pasta with cheese. Why should I make such a big effort for just myself? But then I realized I was wrong. I should enjoy every meal I have, and so what if I am spending time making it just for me? I don’t mind giving myself a pat on the back once in a while, even for a one person meal. :) My Mom is coming into town on Friday (yay!) so that means a 4 night challenge of cooking meals for one. Can I do it?!

My good friend Cara from Cara’s Cravings recently posted a recipe for crispy tofu nuggets. After my recent tofu “eh-ness” (word: bland) I wanted to find a way to jazz it up. Cara’s tofu nuggets not only look amazing, but get major props from her husband, which is almost unheard of in man-dom! I had also read her recipe for Yogurt Tahini Sauce, and had recently bought some Oikos Greek yogurt after the lovely folks at Stonyfield Farm sent me some coupons.  Two Cara’s Cravings recipes in one meal? Be proud :)

Lemon Crusted Tofu with Spinach Rice and Lemon Yogurt Tahini Sauce

Lemon Crusted Tofu adapted from Cara’s Cravings

1/2 block firm tofu, cut into 4 slices

1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I put 2 slices of gluten free bread in the food processor)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Zest of 1/2 a lemon

Dried basil, salt and pepper

1/4 cup egg whites

Preheat oven to 375*.

Slice half a block of firm tofu into 4 slices. Press between paper towels for 20 minutes.

Combine the breadcrumbs, lemon juice, lemon zest, basil, salt and pepper on a plate. On another plate, pour the egg whites.

Dip the tofu slices in the egg whites and then into the breadcrumbs to coat them. Place on a metal baking rack. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Spinach Rice

1/2 container of frozen spinach, thawed

1 cup brown rice

Salt, pepper, cumin

Combine rice and spinach in a bowl and microwave for 1.5 minutes. Mix together, and add salt, pepper, and cumin. Heat again for another minute.

Lemon Yogurt Tahini Sauce adapted from Cara’s Cravings

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used Stonyfield Farm Oikos)

1 tablespoon tahini

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon water

Mix ingredients together in a small bowl.

Place the spinach rice in the middle of the plate. Top with the tofu and sauce. Enjoy!

This was worth the time to make, it was a delicious meal! The amounts were perfect for one person. The bulk of the spinach made it incredibly filling, and I loved the crunch of the tofu mixed with the tangy nuttiness of the yogurt sauce. The Oikos was amazing with a tart, strong flavor and creamy texture. I am so happy Stonyfield decided to send me those coupons :) When I used to live by myself I would always sit down in front of the TV and eat my dinner, but tonight I sat at our dining room table, enjoying every mouthful. It was lonely without Z, but I’m glad I took the time to cook myself a delicious and healthy meal, and made sure I enjoyed every bite. The first night of cooking for one — success!

What is your favorite meal for one?

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23 Comments leave one →
  1. March 15, 2010 9:31 pm

    I don’t know which looks better the spinach rice or the tofu! I love them both and they both look fabulous!

    Dinner for on? Breakfast! Pancakes, waffles, omlet…nothing fancy, but certainly easy :)

  2. March 15, 2010 9:31 pm

    *one

    oops!

  3. March 15, 2010 10:16 pm

    My favorite dinner for one is (lame): either a big salad or (awesome) spaghetti squash pasta. I’ve yet to blog about that one but you’ll see it soon <3 I love warm comforting foods when I'm all alone and missing the boy.

    • March 16, 2010 7:55 am

      I love spaghetti squash! You’re right, it is amazingly warm and comforting!

  4. March 16, 2010 8:05 am

    NICE! My mom cooked pretty much every night growing up too and it has had a huge impact on how much I cook. The rice looks super delicious. Favorite meal for 1? Homemade soups!

    YES! The new body pump is awesome. The squats track is KILLER. You’re going to love it

    • March 16, 2010 9:27 pm

      I am excited and scared for those squats! My legs are still killing me from Monday’s lunges!

  5. March 16, 2010 8:13 am

    dinner for one: cereal.
    ya it’s nothing special.

    occasionally i’ll make fish because my husband isn’t a huge fan of it.

  6. March 16, 2010 9:27 am

    Yum! This is my favorite kind of dinner for one. I also love to make giant dinner salads, or tons of steamed veggies with tofu and then a coconut curry sauce on top.

  7. March 16, 2010 10:38 am

    Love your philosophy on the importance of eating well even by yourself. It can be so easy to just throw something on a plate and call it dinner when you’re alone, but you’re absolutely right that it means so much to make yourself a special dinner. I do the same thing. It’s just like my mom did growing up, making a big meal every night. I crave it. Sounds like you and I are two peas in a pod!!
    I love the meal you chose to make. Tofu is a food I love so I’d love it crusted this way!
    My go to meal when I’m alone is roasted vegetables, baked sweet potato, and either salmon, chicken, or tempeh. Yummm
    Have a wonderful day! Thanks again for all of your supportive and uplifting comments lately. It’s been great getting to know you in the blogworld!

    • March 16, 2010 9:28 pm

      I think we might be foodie soul mates :) Anytime, you rock!

  8. March 16, 2010 11:01 am

    Glad you liked the tofu and love your spin on it! Lemon + tahini = so good :)
    I often like to make frittatas for myself – so easy, quick & healthy!

  9. March 16, 2010 12:34 pm

    I’m totally the same way as you. It’s sooo much easier to cook when someone else is involved. And I love that I’ve been cooking every night just like my mom and dad did for us growing up :) I’m seriously impressed your cooking for 1 and fighting the temptation not to!

    I LOVE tofu and this looks really awesome and flavorful!

  10. March 16, 2010 1:34 pm

    That looks great. I cook the same whether or not the bf is home so I don’t really have a “for one” favorite, but I love pasta any old time!

  11. March 16, 2010 2:23 pm

    It is really important to eat well, even if you are cooking for one…trust me, the time will come when you have to make 10 different things because your hubby or your kids won’t eat this or that, and you’ll look back fondly on the days when you could eat whatever you want!

    • March 16, 2010 9:29 pm

      I’ll make sure to enjoy it now :) Though sometimes I feel like I’m feeding 10 people when we can’t decide what we want to eat!

  12. March 16, 2010 4:44 pm

    This looks so good! And I love the fact that you took the time to cook dinner for just yourself and that your realized you’re worth it. This is a simple and healthy dish, yet it looks amazingly delicious – love the yogurt tahini sauce.

    I’m a slacker when it comes to dinner for one – I usually make an egg white omelet or a really filling veggie and hummus wrap.

  13. Jane permalink
    March 16, 2010 6:52 pm

    Hi…saw your post on ohsheglows and have added you to my list of blogs…my favourite one man dinner is poached eggs in tomato sauce with cheese on top…it’s delicious.

    • March 16, 2010 9:29 pm

      Ooh that sounds amazing…like baked eggs! I’ve never tried to make them myself, but they are a go-to order for brunch :)

  14. March 16, 2010 8:50 pm

    good for you! i am always cooking for one, so… any of my meals ;)

  15. March 17, 2010 3:49 pm

    Oh, I saw this on Cara’s blog and was thinking about making it! I always make breakfast for dinner when I’m alone, so I’m impressed you went full out :)

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