How to Prepare a Weekly Meal Plan for One Person

Updated on November 3, 2017
Base your easy weekly menu on the foods you like.
Base your easy weekly menu on the foods you like. | Source

Cooking for One Is a Challenge

Cooking for just yourself is always a challenge, whether you are starting out on your own and setting up your first kitchen or you are moving on to a smaller household where you'll only be cooking for yourself. How can you eat nutritiously, yet economically? How can you avoid spoilage and waste? How can you make sure you always have a wholesome meal at your fingertips when unexpected company arrives? Perhaps most importantly, how can you do this easily and with pleasure?

The answer? Meal planning using simple foods.

I'm going to show you how to create a weekly menu of foods you really want to eat by using one of my own easy weekly menu plans as an example.

Getting Everything Set Up

Before Getting Started, Consider Your Dietary Needs

Before you begin planning your meal, consider these three items:

  • Think about what you like to eat (you want to be excited about your meals; it makes things easier).
  • Pay attention to your body's needs.
  • Simple is better.

Let's take a closer look at each of these items.

1) First and most importantly, think about what you like to eat.

For each kind of meal—breakfast, lunch, and dinner—ask these questions.

  • Do I like cereal, eggs, or pancakes to start the day?
  • And what about lunch? Do I prefer something light like a sandwich or soup, or is noon the time of day for my heavy meal?
  • As for dinner, what appeals to me for the last meal of the day?

When writing down your favorite foods, rejoice in the knowledge that you are the only one you need to please. Knowing that you will be eating the foods you really like is a big motivator in creating your menu and following through with the shopping and prep work.

2) Pay attention to your body's needs.

Your food requirements and restrictions belong uniquely to you, and you know what's best for you. When I am planning, I tend to adhere to a style I believe contributes to the good health and longevity of my family. Your dietary needs are unique. You might need to exclude gluten or increase the amount of protein compared to other people's diets.

3) Think simple.

Create a menu that is easy to prepare and serve. My goal is always to cook only one or two days a week. On the other days, all I want to do is take home-cooked food out of the freezer or fridge, heat it up, assemble a fresh garden salad, sit down, and eat. I don't want to make five little delicacies that have to come together in a finale of perfect presentation. I want quick and easy.

Building a Meal Plan Menu for One

Now that you've jotted down what you like, it's time to build a menu.

This sample menu is based on my food preferences. I make sure that I have a nutritious proportion of fruits, vegetables, breads and cereals, dairy, and meat protein.

An Easy, Weekly Meal Menu for One Person

Weekly meal planning for one, the easy way.
Weekly meal planning for one, the easy way. | Source

I color-coded the menu so that you can see how the simple foods I prepare and eat are distributed through the week. I'm now going to build my shopping list so that I have the kinds of foods I want and in the right quantity.

Going Shopping With a Plan

"Fresh" Is Important

Fresh foods need to dominate the menu. Ideally, "fresh" means "picked off the vine, pulled from the earth, caught from the sea, or butchered down the block and brought to the table to be consumed." Most of us don't live in that kind of a world. So let's include "fresh frozen" in the definition, because vegetables, fruits, and meat products that are prepared properly for freezing retain almost all their nutritional value. When I create my menu, I focus on choosing fresh over canned, and canned over processed.

What Do I Need From the Grocery Store?

This one-week grocery list assumes that I have staples in my home such as mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, honey, butter, salt, pepper, olive oil, vinegar, sugar, rice, soy sauce, and a selection of herbs. If you don't have these staples and you want to try my menu, you'll have to add them to your grocery list.

  • Eggs: ½ dozen

  • Soy milk: 1 quart
  • Yogurt: 3 8-ounce containers
  • Sour cream: 1 8-ounce container
  • Liverwurst: 10 ounces, sliced
  • Roasting chicken: whole, 4-5 pounds
  • Pork chops: 4
  • Frozen broccoli: 1 10-ounce bag
  • Frozen sugar snap peas: 2 10-ounce bags
  • Salad dressing: Your choice, or make my Russian dressing
  • Lea & Perrin's White Wine Chicken Marinade
  • Applesauce: 1 small jar
  • Granola: 1 box, or make your own with this granola recipe
  • Dried yellow split peas: 1 pound
  • Crackers: 1 box
  • Egg noodles: 1 1-pound package
  • Hearty bread: 1 large loaf, sliced
  • Oranges: 3
  • Bananas: 3
  • Grapes: ½ pound
  • Lettuce: 1 head iceberg
  • Cucumber: 1 large
  • Carrots: 1 pound
  • Celery: 1 large bunch
  • Green bell pepper: 1 large
  • Red bell pepper: 1 large
  • Red radishes: 1 bunch
  • White onion: 1 large
  • Red onion: 1 medium
  • Fresh ginger: A piece about the length and width of your hand
  • Sweet potato: 1 very large
  • Baking potato: 2
  • Apple pie: 1 small from the bakery

A Day-By-Day Preparation Guide

A One-Week, One-Person Meal Plan

Day of the Week
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Sunday (prep day)
Go out for brunch
Eat brunch leftovers
Roasted chicken, baked sweet potato, sugar snap peas, and apple pie
Monday
Hard-boiled egg sandwich
Yogurt and a garden salad
Roasted chicken, baked sweet potato, sugar snap peas, and apple pie
Tuesday
Granola, milk, and an orange
Slice, roasted chicken sandwich
Applesauce pork chops, a baked potato with sour cream, and a garden salad
Wednesday
Hard-boiled egg sandwich
Yellow-pea soup with crackers and a garden salad
Chicken stir-fry and a banana, orange, and grape salad
Thursday
Granola, milk, and a banana
Liverwurst sandwich and apple pie
Yellow-pea soup with crackers, a garden salad, and crusty garlic bread
Friday
Granola, milk, and an orange
Yogurt and a garden salad
A pork chop, buttered egg noodles, steamed broccoli, and apple pie
Saturday
Yogurt and toast
Liverwurst sandwich
Cinnamon eggs with noodles and some sugar snap peas
Source

Sunday: The Big Prep Day

On Sunday, you are going to:

  • roast and divide chicken,
  • marinate and freeze pork chops,
  • wash and cut fresh salad ingredients,
  • hard-boil two eggs,
  • and wash and cook the large sweet potato.

While the chicken is roasting, prepare the other items. When all is said and done, it will take about two hours to prepare almost all the food for the week.

Roasting and Dividing the Chicken

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Remove the chicken from its wrapper, and wash it inside and out.
  3. Place the chicken in a large roasting pan, breast-side up, and sprinkle liberally with fresh ground pepper, garlic powder, thyme, marjoram, basil, oregano, and tarragon.
  4. Splash on about ¼ cup of Lea & Perrin's White Wine Chicken Marinade.
  5. Cover, and put in the pre-heated oven for 60 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven, and baste well with the juices from the pan.
  7. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees F.
  8. Put the cover back on, and return the chicken to the oven for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven, and baste again.
  10. Return the chicken to the oven, this time without the cover, for another 30 minutes.
  11. Remove from the oven and baste again, put the cover back on, cook for 30 more minutes, turn off the heat, and let the chicken sit in the oven, covered, with the door closed for another 30 minutes.
  12. At the end of the three hours, the chicken will be very tender, the skin a golden color and not too crispy, the leg joints should be very loose, and the chicken may even fall apart. But that's OK, that means there will be less carving for you to do!
  13. Transfer the chicken to a large platter.
  14. Pour off the pan drippings into a glass bowl or measuring cup, cover, and refrigerate.
  15. Carve the chicken, making sure you have one or two large breast slices for Tuesday's sandwich. Divide the meat into whatever portions look right for you, and wrap them separately. You will use one package for tonight's meal, one on Monday night, one on Wednesday night, and the rest you will put in the freezer for another time.
  16. Refrigerate the bones. You will use them later to make the yellow pea soup.

Marinate and Freeze the Pork Chops

  1. Place each pork chop in a separate zip-lock bag, and add a tablespoon or two of the Lea & Perrin's White Wine Chicken Marinade.
  2. Press the air out of the bag, making sure each chop is coated on both sides with the marinade.
  3. Seal and freeze.

The Salad Ingredients and the Grapes

  1. Wash and break apart the lettuce.
  2. Wash and pare, slice, dice, or grate the items for the garden salads. Be sure to clean all the carrots, grating or dicing half for salads and finely dicing the other half for the yellow pea soup to be made on Tuesday. Dice half the celery for salad and just chunk up the other half for the soup. If the celery leaves are in good shape, reserve them for the soup as well. Let all the vegetables dry a bit before storing each in a separate air-tight container or plastic bag in the fridge.
  3. Wash the grapes, let them drain in a colander, transfer them to a shallow bowl, and put them in the refrigerator just like that. Don't cover or seal them.
  4. When ready for a salad, just reach into the fridge, pull out the desired ingredients, including some grapes, and enjoy the salad bar!

The Sweet Potato

  1. Prepare and cook the sweet potato about 20 minutes before dinner. Scrub the potato with a vegetable brush under running water.
  2. After washing, pierce the potato in 6 or 8 places with a fork.
  3. Place the potato on a microwave-safe plate, and microwave on high for 9 to 10 minutes, or use the potato setting on the microwave and enter 2 for the number of potatoes. The potato is done when it is soft to the touch.
  4. Remove from the microwave, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside.

Sunday's Dinner

By now, you should be hungry and maybe even a little tired. It's time to pour a glass of wine (if you like) and pull dinner together.

  1. Follow the cooking instructions on the bag of frozen sugar snap peas. They can be steamed or microwaved. Cook them all.
  2. Cut the cooked sweet potato in half. Wrap one portion tightly and refrigerate for tomorrow's dinner.
  3. Now warm a dinner plate in the oven (use the lowest setting on the oven and put the plate on the highest rack). When the plate is warm, arrange the chicken, sweet potato, and half the sugar snaps, and eat! Cover the remaining sugar snaps and refrigerate for tomorrow.

Later, if you are still awake, treat yourself to a piece of apple pie.

Monday: The Do-Nothing Day

You've earned some serious time-off from the kitchen. The only thing you have to do today is reach into the refrigerator and pantry, and use the microwave.

In the morning, make a boiled-egg breakfast sandwich. For lunch, open a container of yogurt and design a salad from the salad bar. For dinner, arrange chicken, sweet potato, and sugar snaps on a microwave-safe plate and heat.

Don't forget the apple pie!

Before you go to bed, take a pork chop out of the freezer, and put it in the refrigerator for tomorrow's dinner.

Source

Tuesday: The Soup and Pork Chop Day

The soup will cook for about three hours altogether. But don't panic and think that you are going to spend another night toiling away in the kitchen. Almost none of this time is prep time because you prepared all the soup ingredients on Sunday.

The most important part of making this soup is the timing. You want the soup to cool down before you put it in the fridge for the night or package it for freezer storage. In the winter, when the weather is very cold, I take the pot outside and put it on a table underneath the porch roof to cool down.

Plan on cooking and eating your pan-fried pork chop dinner while the soup is cooking.

Pan-Fried Pork Chop

  1. Make sure the chop you took out the night before is thawed completely. If it is not, keep it sealed in its freezer bag and place in a pan of cool water for a half-hour or so.
  2. Place a frying pan on the stove over low-medium heat, and add a teaspoon or two of olive oil. Heat until the oil is hot (let a drop of water fall from your finger into the oil; if the water "pops," the oil is hot).
  3. Remove the thawed chop, and place it in the pan. Keep the marinade in the bag. Cook the chop at low-medium heat for four minutes, turn, add the rest of the marinade to the pan, top the chop with a heaping tablespoon or two of apple sauce, cover the pan, and cook for four more minutes.

The Soup

  1. In a large soup pot, place the refrigerated chicken bones, the refrigerated juices from Sunday's chicken (remove the fat that formed on the top of the jelled juice), the soup-half of the celery you prepared Sunday, a large white onion peeled and cut into quarters, and a washed and quartered white potato.
  2. Add water to cover the ingredients.
  3. Turn the heat on high.
  4. When the liquid comes to a boil, turn the heat down to let it simmer, and cover loosely.
  5. Check now and again to make sure water still covers the solid foods in the pot.
  6. Cook for about two hours.
  7. Meanwhile, peel and dice four cloves of garlic and a piece of ginger. You want about a tablespoon of each. Combine, cover, and set aside.
  8. Pour the yellow peas into a colander and rinse under cool running water, picking through them to remove any residue or any peas that are not yellow. Set aside to drain.
  9. After the soup in the pot has cooked for about two hours, strain it through a colander without losing the stock. Discard the solids and keep the rich stock.
  10. Return the stock to the pot, and add water, if necessary, to reach about six cups in volume.
  11. Turn the heat on high, add the yellow peas, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to keep the peas at a gentle simmer, and stir every 15 minutes for 45 minutes.
  12. Add the minced garlic and ginger, the carrots you diced for this soup on Sunday, and ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
  13. Return to a simmer, and stir occasionally until the peas are tender and the soup thickens. If the peas are not yet tender, and the soup is becoming too thick, add a little boiling water. Be careful not to let the peas stick to the bottom of the pot; you don't want them to burn.
  14. When done, cover and remove from heat. Place in a cool area. If it is cold out and you have a protected porch, then you have the perfect environment for cooling.
  15. Once the soup cools, package it in individual containers. Leave two containers in the fridge for Wednesday and Thursday, and freeze the rest.

Yellow Pea Soup Tips

  • For vegetarians: Replace the chicken and vegetable stock with six cups of vegetable stock.
  • For smoked-meat lovers: Make a from-scratch stock using about eight cups of water, one or two smoked ham hocks, a whole quartered onion, a whole quartered potato, and a bunch of celery.

Source

Wednesday: The Stir-Fry Day

Breakfast and lunch were a snap today, weren't they?

For dinner, you are going to use:

  • a package of chicken from the fridge,
  • half a package each of frozen broccoli and snow peas,
  • and some red onion, red and green bell pepper, and carrots from your salad bar.

About a half hour before you want to eat, take the frozen veggies out of the freezer and spread them on a kitchen towel to thaw and dry a little. Cook either rice or egg noodles according to package directions. Turn the oven on to warm your dinner plate, and place the plate in the oven.

Take a small bowl, slice a banana, peel and pull apart an orange, halve some grapes, add them all to the bowl, and make the quick stir-fry.

Quick Stir-Fry

  1. Dice up four or five cloves of garlic, and mince a tablespoon of ginger. Combine in a small bowl. Add three tablespoons of soy sauce, two tablespoons of honey, a tablespoon of prepared mustard, a tablespoon of vinegar, and ¼ cup of water. Stir and set aside.
  2. Put two tablespoons of olive oil in a fry pan over medium heat. Do the "water drip off the finger" test to see if the oil is hot.
  3. When the oil is hot, add the vegetables and chicken, turn up the heat to high, and stir continuously for about two minutes. Add the sauce, stir about 30 seconds more, and remove from the heat.
  4. Serve over cooked rice or egg noodles.

Thursday: Crusty Garlic Bread

Don't forget, today's lunch includes apple pie!

When you are ready for dinner, microwave some soup, arrange a salad, and take some of that good hearty bread, spread it with a little butter or olive oil, sprinkle with garlic powder, basil, oregano, and grated cheese (if you like). and put it in the toaster oven.

Friday: Nothing New Today

And don't forget the apple pie!

Source

Saturday: An Easy, Enjoyable Dinner

Cinnamon eggs with noodles is a dish I dearly love. My aunt Ronnie showed me how to make this treat years ago.

Cinnamon Eggs With Noodles

  1. Boil a heaping handful of egg noodles.
  2. When they are al dente, drain and set aside.
  3. Crack three eggs into a mixing bowl. Add ¼ cup of water or milk and a teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Whip a bit. Add the drained noodles.
  4. Add two tablespoons of butter to a 10-inch fry pan, heat on low-medium until the butter is just short of bubbling. Pour the noodle-and-egg mixture into the hot pan.
  5. Turn the heat to low.
  6. After about five minutes, you will see a bubbling and drying where the egg mixture meets the inside of the pan. Turn the mixture and cook only a minute or two more. Turn out onto a dish and serve with sugar snap peas.

You Are Prepared for Surprise Guests!

Your efforts this week gave you a supply of chicken, pork chops, and magnificent soup in the freezer. You are prepared for unexpected guests. If company doesn't arrive, your next week's menu planning and meal preparation will be even easier!

If you feel like you still need a bit more help or advice, I've prepared a list my five most helpful cooking-for-one meal prep tricks that you can check out.

Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        BERN VILLAROJO 

        6 years ago

        SUPERB HOW TO DO LISTS

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        What you shared about your father reminded me of my childhood. The weekly meal plan was inviolable: fish on Fridays, spaghetti on Wednesdays, and pot roast on Sundays. This old-time weekly food rule was probably the earliest meal planning lesson I ever had. :)

        Glad you got some ideas and inspiration from this hub. Thank you so much for your comment.

      • John Holden profile image

        John Holden 

        6 years ago

        Yes, after my mother died,my father followed a similar plan rigidly and no way could you eat Friday's dinner on Wednesday!

        I tend to shop frequently, almost every day (too much free time) and tend to buy reduced items.

        That's not to say that your hub has not given me some great ideas and inspiration though.

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        LOL John. I know what you mean. But I take the approach that if I've planned it, I'll eat it, even though I'd rather have something else. It's amazing how quickly you can get used to eating this way. :)

      • John Holden profile image

        John Holden 

        6 years ago

        But I rarely know in the morning what I would like to eat that evening!

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        TY, Millionaire Tips.

      • Millionaire Tips profile image

        Shasta Matova 

        6 years ago from USA

        This is a great meal plan for singles. Can't beat nutritious, delicious and quick.

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        TY so much, Alecia. There's a lot of info here. I organized it by days, and I'm glad that works.

      • Alecia Murphy profile image

        Alecia Murphy 

        6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

        These tips are very handy because it is hard thinking of meals for one person. But I like how you break it down so people aren't overwhelmed. Great hub!

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Wes, you are so welcome. I know meal planning for one can be a challenge, a trial, and a confusion. It takes time, time not only to get into a planning mode, but also time to get to know yourself...the foods you like, the effort you're willing to expend, and your budget. No need to go nuts! Just take one step at a time.

        You might find my new Meal Planning for One website of interest:

        http://mealplanningforone.blogspot.com/

        It's still young, lots more to come. :)

      • profile image

        Wes 

        6 years ago

        This is awesome. Menu planning for one has always made me go nuts. This helps but I still find myself confused. Go figure. Thanks for your help and guidance.

        Wes

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Hi Betty,

        I think you may have me confused with someone else. I don't offer any sign-up, recipe plan, or program. I do hope you track those folks down!

        Best wishes,

        Sherri

      • profile image

        Betty Coleman 

        6 years ago

        HI,

        About two Months ago 8 signed up to receive a selection of recipes periiodicly to be put in a Plastic box sent to me.

        I have not heard anything since about your program.

        Please contact me and give me an up date on the recipe plan.

        Thank you, Betsue@USA.net

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        You are a woman after my own heart...I, too, love the breakfast and lunch planned for Sundays. Do nothing in the kitchen until you have to get to work! We all need a break.

        Thanks so much for sharing with JoAnna.

      • K9keystrokes profile image

        India Arnold 

        7 years ago from Northern, California

        This is an awesome hub! I *LOVE* the color weekly menu you provide, primarily the breakfast and lunch planned for Sundays! Your tips for planning one person meals are priceless Sally's Trove. I will make sure my buddy JoAnna reads this! Great job here, up and awesome and useful.

        Cheers~

        K9

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Thanks, Sally TX!

      • SallyTX profile image

        Sally Branche 

        7 years ago from Only In Texas!

        What fantastic and complete information! Voted up and useful! Well-done! ;D

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Carolyn, I'm glad you asked. I just added information to this article that shows you where to find another menu (see "More Easy Weekly Menus" above). Thanks for the good words!

      • profile image

        Carolyn 

        7 years ago

        Great post!!! Any chance we can get some other weekly menus?

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Jacqui, thank you for leaving this most insightful comment. Sometimes, just facing a decision-making process makes it impossible to function. So, when the steps are laid out for us, we can at least get from point A to point B.

        I am delighted that this menu has been both useful and appealing to you. I do not know of any similar weekly menus anywhere else, but perhaps my readers do.

        Feel free to share your food preferences with me via the "Contact Sally's Trove" link above at the top right of the page. I'd be happy to work with you to create another weekly menu that offers choices other than chicken and liverwurst!

      • profile image

        Jacqui 

        8 years ago

        Thank you so much for this. I'm currently struggling with depression and not doing well at cooking - and it appears part of the problem has been making decisions about what to cook - so this has helped me immensely. All the meals I've had so far are amazing. Does anyone know of any similar weekly menus anywhere else?

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        2patricias, so glad you find this useful and helpful. Although I love to cook, I don't like being married daily to the chore, and this easy weekly menu means I get the big stuff out of the way on one day. One could certainly use this approach when cooking for any size family. The key is estimating the amount of food you need and then making sure you can either consume it soon enough or store it safely. Thanks so much for your always good words!

      • 2patricias profile image

        2patricias 

        8 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

        What a useful and helpful hub. Both of us cook for husbands, friends and families (not all at the same time, at least not all of the time). However, there is information in your Hub that will be good for anybody who cooks. Will come back to this one.

        Thanks.

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Krissi, sorry I missed your comment when you made it two months ago. And now HubPages seems to have deleted it even though I accepted it. Thank you so much for bringing up the point that cooking for the week on one day (Sunday in my case) is a helpful way to approach meal planning.

        BTW, your site is awesome and I wish you great success there.

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Ah, mulberry1, if you had lived with my mother when you were a kid, you'd have this ingrained in the brain matter, just like I do. So simple. Cereal, milk, and fruit for breakfast. Sandwich or yogurt and a salad for lunch. Carb, meat, green veg, salad for dinner, and then a snack (dessert or more cereal) if you want one. It's never too late!

        Thanks so much for sharing your 20 years' food experience. But, hey, there's nothing wrong with soup (assuming there's protein in there), pasta, and steamed veggies...where's the fruit? :) It's never too late to make a little change. Instead of focusing on the specifics, focus on the groups, and I don't mean those that make up the current USDA food pyramid. That's a bunch of baloney. Shoot for 4 or 5 servings of fruits and veggies (some of one, some of another), some meat, fish, or fowl protein, some carbs, some dairy, and some sin (apple pie for me).

        It's really easy to get hyped up about good fats/bad fats--good carbs/bad carbs--antioxidants, and bypass the things that are really important. All of this cutting-edge information is good, but when you stick to the basics and focus on fresh foods, daily eating becomes a joy, rather than a ho-hum experience, and a matter of good nutrition as well.

        Thanks so much for your awesome comment.

      • mulberry1 profile image

        Christine Mulberry 

        8 years ago

        It all sounds great! You eat much better than I did for the many years I lived alone. You created this hub 20 years to late for me. :| Years of eating mostly soup, pasta and steamed veggies. Now I find out it didn't have to be that way!

      • profile image

        Krissi 

        8 years ago

        I love to cook, but cooking for one (or two now) has always been a challenge. Doing the prep work on Sunday is a great tip. I also purchased a food saver a year or so ago that has been a huge help, much less food wasted and I always have awesome lunches now!

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Jenn, I know what you mean! When the structure demanded by having a child in the house changes, it's easy to let meal planning and cooking (even eating, as you say) go by the wayside. I think that's why it's so important to frame a meal plan for yourself with the foods you really, really like.

      • jennshealthstore profile image

        Jennifer M 

        8 years ago from Florida

        Nice Hub. It is very different cooking for one, than it is for two or more. I know that when my daugther goes away for the summer, I tend to not take care of myself as much as I should as far as eating goes. I will skip meals and so forth which I know is a big no no..

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        The important thing is that you do this kind of prep, too. Unfortunately, so many don't, no matter what day it is. psssst...lots of great dishes can go into the crock pot and sit there all day, happily cooking to the tune of golf with no intervention on your part. :)

      • JamaGenee profile image

        Joanna McKenna 

        8 years ago from Central Oklahoma

        Great hub, Sally, but Saturday morning is my prep time. Sat and Sunday afternoons I'm glued to the tube watching golf tournaments! ;D

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        You are welcome, Jane. I hope the info here and in the companion "Five Tips" Hub helps you meet your challenge. And a challenge it is!

      • Jane@CM profile image

        Jane@CM 

        8 years ago

        Oh my gosh girl. This is an awesome hub. Thank you for sharing it!!!!

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        9 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        marlenebr, thanks so much for reading and commenting. I agree, it is so easy to get in a rut, especially when you live alone. Glad this is helpful.

      • marlenebr profile image

        marlenebr 

        9 years ago from Florida

        Awesome! I live by myself and I plan on cutting & pasting this to a word document to look over and detail. I sure can use the information, I get in a rut after awhile and can always use new ideas. Thanks

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        9 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Cashmere, what a wonderful idea you just added to this Hub. And I'd like to take it a step further...this plan is something we can use to prepare meals for our loved ones who may not be able or motivated to cook for themselves. I would absolutely love it if someone came into my kitchen and prepared a week's worth of food for me!

        Thanks so much for your great comment.

      • cashmere profile image

        cashmere 

        9 years ago from India

        What a wonderful hub. I'm going to share it with my ma in law, she barely cooks or eats when we are not there with her.

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        9 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Thank you, dianacharles, for the kind words.  I do like to cook, but I actually enjoy the planning part the best.  My ideal kitchen would include an assistant to do all the shopping and cooking while I did all the planning and eating! 

        One of the secrets to enjoying cooking for one is to cook just one or two days a week, but cook as if you are throwing a dinner party.  Pretend that a crowd's coming, just make sure you safely freeze and store all the leftovers. :)

      • dianacharles profile image

        dianacharles 

        9 years ago from India

        Wow...amazing...I can see how much of effort has gone into this hub. And you must be a really good cook. I plan to try out that cinnamon eggs with noodles...sounds very unusual. I spend half the year on my own when hubby is away and just hate cooking for one. Will be taking some tips from this hub of yours.

        Thanks for a wonderfully laid out one.

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        9 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        mayhmong, you are so right. When you get home from work, you don't want to be playing around with food, and you also don't want to eat stuff that's not good for you, as in fast food. This plan turns leftovers into great meals, without them looking like they are leftovers. Thanks so much for your comment.

      • mayhmong profile image

        mayhmong 

        9 years ago from North Carolina

        Thats a great idea! I always hate heating up leftover or eat fast food when I get out of work.

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        9 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Thanks for the good words, Andromeda10. Maybe once hubby gets a whif of some of these delicious menu items he might try a bite or two of something different. In fact, I might just tell him he can't have any, that it's ALL MINE and I'm not going to share. Think that would work? :)

      • Andromeda10 profile image

        Andromeda10 

        9 years ago from Chicago

        Cool thanks! I'm stoked to try this but my hubby is on a strict, Chicken tenders and taquitos diet. =) I'll try this for myself.

        Great hub!

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Marisue, your comment about pretending the color charts were for kids made me chuckle...there is something magical about putting color to dry stuff. Maybe it stems from a childhood longing for a fresh new box of crayons with all the tips nice and pointy. Only now we put the color on with a swipe of the mouse. Effective, but it doesn't smell or feel nearly as good.

        And thanks for the reminder for others...just click on the chart above and it will appear in a new window in a much larger size. Suitable for printing and framing. :)

      • marisuewrites profile image

        marisuewrites 

        10 years ago from USA

        I am drawn to color charts, as a teacher I used them and pretended it was for the kids. HA it was for me. I have a particularly "columned" report I do weekly, and as I complete certain sections, I highlight them in Excel, and it's so much easier to see if I've left something off or where to begin next. I love the chart you included here as it is so easy to read and you can enlarge it and print, which i did!! =) My price is right; for you, free!! straight from the heart!! =)) you have gotten my emails, right? I don't trust YAHOO. or yahooty as my aunt used to say way before the internet was thot of....lol

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Miss Marisue, I may be GOOD, but you are the BEST. I love your comments as well as your Hubs. They bring such richness to HubPages. And I think maybe I need to hire you to boost my Hub production!

        Charts are helpful, especially for someone like me who learns better by seeing than by listening or reading.

        All the best, Sally

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Pam, since you left your last comment about the rice salad, I've done a little research. Although the recipe is quite old, I think it's still under copyright. So I'm checking that out.

        Sally

      • marisuewrites profile image

        marisuewrites 

        10 years ago from USA

        I, too, loved the chart, it obviously took time and it's very very helpful; you are GOOD! =))

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        DarleneMarie, thank you so much for the compliment. Especially about the chart. You know, it's a funny thing, but I love making those kinds of visuals, putting things in order and color-coding them. Must have something to do with those paint-by-number projects that were so popular when I was a kid!

        So glad you enjoyed.

        Best regards, Sally

      • DarleneMarie profile image

        DarleneMarie 

        10 years ago from USA

        Very thorough article! Love your charts and exhibits!

      • Pam Pounds profile image

        Pam Pounds 

        10 years ago from So Cal Girl in the Midwest!

        Oh, Sally - how I WISH we were neighbors!! That's exactly what I'm talkin' about! I love fresh - and sometimes it means big portions - like soups and stews! Oh, please please, do a hub on your Northern Italian Rice Salad - it sounds wonderful!!

        Your friend, Pam

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Pam, I'm so glad you liked this Hub. 

        There's a balance between cooking for storing and cooking for fresh. 

        One of my favorite recipes is something called Northern Italian Rice Salad.  It's a fresh dish.  And it only works when you make it in the gigunda proportions the recipe calls for.  Plus, it contains fresh shrimp.  So you see, it can't be stored for more than a day or two.

        This is the dish I love to make for big parties, and I love to make it even more for good neighbors.

        If you and I were neighbors, wouldn't our community love us to death???

      • Pam Pounds profile image

        Pam Pounds 

        10 years ago from So Cal Girl in the Midwest!

        Wow, Sally - this is great! I can't believe I didn't see this sooner. I often cook just for myself, but I usually end up with so much, that I'm either eating it for a week, or it goes in the freezer, where I have to be really diligent to use it up.

        Lately, I've been taking portions over to my neighbors, who just love me for that!!

        Great work - so detailed and easy to follow. I'm going to print out and use it as one of my new planning tools. Thanks!! ;)

        Pam

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        bluerabbit, your comment cracked me up. You are so right. If I don't complicate things with lemon grass and kimchi, I just might have a best seller with the addition of a few more simple recipes. Simple cooking for good nutrition and planning how to do it don't have to be complicated.

        Thanks so much for stopping by and giving me your good words and leaving me with a smile.

        Sally

      • bluerabbit profile image

        bluerabbit 

        10 years ago

        Wow! Fabulous article. Add some simple recipes with no strange ingredients and you'll have a dynamite book.

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        So glad you like it, Finance Chick 911. Cheers to you (toasting with a nice glass of wine). Please let us know how this plan works for you. ST.

      • Finance Chick 911 profile image

        Finance Chick 911 

        10 years ago from New York City

        FANTASTIC! love this article

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Thanks Dottie1! Have a lot of fun with this. It works for one, and with the smallest of changes, it works for many. Your fan, ST.

      • Dottie1 profile image

        Dottie1 

        10 years ago from MA, USA

        Awesome tips Sally. I am ready to get started.

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        terenceyap07, thank you so much for your positive comments about the structure of this hub. It is the most complicated hub I've written, and also the one I've most enjoyed putting together. Best regards, Sally.

      • terenceyap07 profile image

        terenceyap07 

        10 years ago from Singapore

        Sally,

        The way in which you've presented this article inspires me to work harder on my own hubs. The amount of planning and effort you've put in sets the benchmark for others, such as myself, to aspire to reach. Thank you for this hub.

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        You are so right about feeling lazy about cooking for yourself, and then someone shows up, and like magic you whip up a beautiful meal in no time and with ease.  I think all of us have experienced that difference at one time or another.  Company is good motivation.  However, I do assure you that if you roast the chicken on this menu, you will be almost equally motivated to prepare at least two more meals for yourself alone from the leftovers, because they are so tasty!

        Thank you for your comments, TheCynosure.  Regards, ST. 

      • TheCynosure profile image

        TheCynosure 

        10 years ago from India

        Cooking for oneself is surely a difficult task. One always feels lazy. But once we know there is also someone else to cook for, the task becomes easy. Anyways really a helpful hub. One thing more I am definitely gonna try your recipes. Thanks a lot.

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Hey Mark, it's a great compliment that you would feel hungry after reading this hub.

        If worse comes to worse, and you don't feel like doing all this stuff, there's always 1-800-DEL-IVER (I hope that's not someone's phone number!).

        Thanks for stopping by. Sally.

      • Mark Pearson profile image

        Mark Pearson 

        10 years ago from UK

        Read it. Now I'm hungry!

        Nice hub

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Sophie, excitement is good. I got excited seeing your profile pic with all the shoes. What a great photo. Me personally, I don't care about shoes on my feet, except if they are comfortable. However, I very much appreciate them as an art form.

        About your boyfriend, lucky you. So suit yourself and he'll eat it. Sounds like a good partnership to me.

        Groovy is good...shades of the 60s.

        Thank you for your cool comments!

      • Sophie Esperana profile image

        Sophie Esperana 

        10 years ago from Los Angeles

        Love the menu-building, Sally! I'm going to definitely try the matrix. Lucky my boyfriend isn't fussy about food, so wish me luck. Oh, and I'm going to give the Cinnamon Eggs a try. Sounds like a groovy dish -and I have no idea where that 'groovy' came from. LOL. Guess I just got too excited reading your hub :D

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Drummer boy, thanks for stopping by and leaving the good words.

        Annette, I happen to like milk and cereal for dinner. In fact, it's a great end-of-day meal to have, especially if you've had a heavy lunch. Hope you find some of the tips useful!

      • Annette Rozen profile image

        Ann Martin 

        10 years ago

        I love all your practical, easy to follow tips. I just got married, and my husband doesn't agree with me that eating cereal and milk or bread and cottage cheese qualifies as dinner. Although i can cook quite well, i simply dont have time at the end of the day. I like your planning ahead tips. Will try to implement!

      • drummer boy profile image

        drummer boy 

        10 years ago from Kirksville,MO

        very nice hub, thumbs up here, I like the way you plan your menu out in advance, this does make things a lot simplar. Thank you for the kind words you left me as well. drummer boy

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Karen, I LOVE your "easy peasy". Sounds like you and your husband are eating very well indeed. And you make a good point. Once you get into a routine that everybody's happy with, menu planning becomes a snap.

        Rock on!

      • Karen Ellis profile image

        Karen Ellis 

        10 years ago from Central Oregon

        Wow, you are very ambitious. I'm married, so I do cook for my husband, but his biggest meal is lunch which I pack for him to take to work. He usually gets his own breakfast and for dinner I fix him a vegetable or salad with chicken, beef or turkey. Easy peasy. This is what I eat: Breakfast, spelt flour toast with raw honey and raw almond butter, piece of fruit. Lunch, piece of fruit and turkey sandwich on spelt bread. Dinner, huge salad with spinach and lots of raw vegetables. Not as interesting as your menu.

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Wise words, cgull. Not to mention the fact that planning becomes very easy and fun, especially if you are a young person who likes to play around with techie tools like PowerPoint, VISIO, Excel, or other drawing programs to make the chart. It's expressive! Thanks for your comment.

      • cgull8m profile image

        cgull8m 

        10 years ago from North Carolina

        I agree with annemaeve, every college student should learn this, so they will be ready to tackle the foods properly. Otherwise end up eating too much fast and frozen foods. Well done Sally.

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        annemaeve, that is exactly why I love it when you come to dinner...you do the dishes! Thank you so much for your sweet words. Love you more. ;)

      • annemaeve profile image

        annemaeve 

        10 years ago from Philly Burbs

        "Who does the dishes?" Sally, you know the answer to that... the person who wants to sneak the last bites of goodness out of the cooking pot does the dishes!

        I am, as always, uber-impressed by your organization, attention to detail, and passion for your subject. You are my inspiration. Love you!

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        funnebone, you crack me up. wink wink back atcha.

        I did omit the romance and the wine and the candles part, didn't I? (Well, how romantic can you be when you cook for yourself, although there's a point worth investigating here.) Let's see what I can do for you. Hmmmm, how to sustain this plan for a week, adding the romantic flair, for a gentleman wooing a lady. (That's my old fashioned take.)

        Who does the dishes?

      • funnebone profile image

        funnebone 

        10 years ago from Philadelphia Pa

        maybe you can soon make a hhub about prepariing meals for two..wink wink

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Thanks, bluerabbit. Your comment made me smile. My mother used to call ME practical, informative, and stylish. Maybe you really do write what you are? ROTFLMAO!

      • bluerabbit profile image

        bluerabbit 

        10 years ago

        What a terrific hub! Practical, informative, and stylish.

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        myi4u, I still have problems with cooking, too! Sometimes it takes a long time to get good at it. Cooking meat still scares me.  That's my biggest challenge, meat. So maybe you can try to be patient, learn one small thing about cooking at a time, and have fun with it.  The very first meal I ever prepared for myself was a salad.  I had been to Spain, had a salad I never had in my life before, came home and tried to duplicate it.  What I made was pretty good, although it was not exactly the same as the one I had in Spain.  That experience taught me a lesson.  I can make things up and they can taste pretty good!  However, not all experiences are this rewarding.  Sometimes what I make is a big-time screw-up.

        I dream that I go to the grocery store and buy ready meals and food pills (see my comment above about my good friend who would live on food pills).  And those are nice dreams.

        Thanks so much for your comment.  You expressed my dreams so well!

        Regards, ST.

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Raky, thank you for your comments. I look forward to seeing your diet plan here on HubPages.

      • myi4u profile image

        myi4u 

        10 years ago from United Kingdom

        I have problems with cooking. Maybe it's an excuse but I don't think I have the talent in cooking. If I were alone, I will buy ready meals and pop them into microwave. Otherwise, I will buy frozen pizzas or takeaways.

      • profile image

        Raky 

        10 years ago

        Wow good diet plan.Even i am on dieting to loss excessive weight.....Will share my diet plan here on hubpages soon..http://www.tinyurl.com/5exfo6

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Donnie, welcome to HubPages!

        I am so glad that my hub is of interest to you. You are right on the mark: use this hub to make a plan that works for you.

        Looking forward to seeing more of your hubs.

        Best regards, ST.

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        MrM, that's the spirit! Please tell Val that you are welcome in my kitchen any time, and would Val please come to help with the bossing.

        Thank you so much for your comments, which show the purpose of this hub...planning is an individual affair, and one of the best things about planning is having extra when you need it.

        Cheers to you!

      • profile image

        Donnie13 

        10 years ago

        I found your hub to be just wonderful. It is well thought out and very user friendly. I'm new to the hub game so yours was the first one I saw that peaked my interest. Thanks so much. Good plan and good information. I'm going to try to follow your idea and make a plan for me. Thanks again and keep up the good work.

      • MrMarmalade profile image

        MrMarmalade 

        10 years ago from Sydney

        You have placed our kitchen to rights, I do the chopping and Val does the bossing.

        We cooked for 7. In fact next Thursday we have 10 for lunch.

        We always make more even though we cook for two. As soon as the extra is cool it goes into the deep freeze.

        It will not get eaten for at least a week, by us. Sons keep coming in and it is handy to take an extra meal out the the deep freeze

        Great hub thank you

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Ischofield, I am so glad that you commented about preparing the veggies when you buy them. I know that I am much more likely to eat well when all that prep is done at once and I don't have to think about it or do it when I'm hungry and just want to eat.

        I like what you said about "still developing" your "menu". It really is a process. It takes thought and time to arrive at a menu that is not only tasty and nutritionally sound but also implementable without ripping your hair out.

        Best wishes to upcoming baby #4!

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Irene, thanks so much for your comments. What I love about your granola recipe is that it calls for less sugar and oil than most, and in a better proportion. :)

        compu-smart, you make an interesting point...when I go grocery shopping, I sometimes buy a frozen dinner entrée or two, but I always hide them under the fresh meats and produce! Thanks for the nice comments, and I hope your "friend" enjoys working with this menu plan. :)

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        pg, thanks so much for your awesome comments! Looks like you and I are big fans of roasted chicken and chicken stir fry. :)

        Neil, it's always so nice to hear from you. I love making these hubs about food, because I know how fond of food you are, and you always write the nicest comments. And this one I will share with Aunt Ronnie. She will be so pleased! Now about oatmeal vs cinnamon eggs with noodles, no they don't compare, not even for an instant. However, I dearly love oatmeal cooked on the stove and served with a little sugar, salt, and butter. There are weeks when every morning is an oatmeal morning. Have you tried a little cinnamon and sugar or sugar substitute on that oatmeal?

      • lschofield profile image

        Laura Schofield 

        10 years ago from Chicago, IL

        Fantastic hub! I'm still developing my 'menu', but my needs are slightly different. My husband and I have 3 (and soon 4) small children and frequent houseguests with very specific dietary requirements. Thank you for your extremely well thought out and presented hub. I prep all of my veg upon purchasing (or try to at least) - this DOES save time throughout the week when I don't feel like spending hours in the kitchen!

      • compu-smart profile image

        Compu-Smart 

        10 years ago from London UK

        Wow, you make it look sooo easy!

        Excellent work...It's quite an embarrsaing subject, buying ready made meals for one and cooking for one...I know someone who always cooks for one now, so this will be very useful. for him...It's not me!!... Honest!!:O

      • _Irene_ profile image

        _Irene_ 

        10 years ago

        Hi Sally, great hub. Thanks for linking to my granola one. Cheers!

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Gimar, I am so glad this menu suits you! Thank you for your good words, and welcome to HubPages!

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Eileen, about planning ahead. I know what you mean. It does take a certain discipline to do this kind of planning and carry it out as well. I find the planning to be the fun and easy part, the carrying-out the tough part. I admit that there are some days I say, oh the heck with it, and order out Chinese.

        About not wanting to eat the same thing two days in a row, you hit the nail on the head there! That's what this menu is for, for you to modify according to your preferences. I never mind eating the same thing for dinner two days in a row, mostly because it's so easy to pull together the second day's dinner, but that's me.

        No secret about the drawing tool I used for the menu.  That was VISIO 2003 Standard.

        Thank you so much for your comments!

      • proudgrandpa profile image

        proudgrandpa 

        10 years ago from Charlotte, NC

        You have done it again Sally. It is Sunday am, I just finished a wonderful bowl of plain oatmeal with skim milk and a fruit cup. I open my email and you just had to bring up Aunt Ronnie's Cinnamon eggs with noodles. Those are three of my favorite things all in the same dish. I now join you in the celebration of the love for your aunt. However, I somehow don't feel as satisfied with my oatmeal anymore.

        You put such good and valuable stuff in your hubs and I really enjoy them. Thanks for sharing and caring. NEIL

      • profile image

        pgrundy 

        10 years ago

        Fantastic hub! It all sounds delicious. The graphics are great! Thanks for a really, really complete and fabulous answer.

      • trish1048 profile image

        trish1048 

        10 years ago

        Hi Sally,,,,

        No, the pic is FATSO Krissy (my NY rescue), curled up in the sink. Sasha is my oldest, black/white, then there's Cindy, youngest and long hair gray/white. I had wanted to put Sasha up but couldn't find her pic, so that will have to wait.

        Oh, right, I did notice the apple pie. Guess I could make it ala mode :)

        Patty

      • Gimar profile image

        Gimar 

        10 years ago from San Francisco, California

        This is great! I've longed for a menu plan that I would actually use with meals I would actually eat, and as I scanned the menu grid, I realized I'd eat everything on it! Thanks Sally!

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