Cooking for One

Table of Contents

The art of cooking for one

I live alone, and I love going out for dinner- solo dinners and with friends, it doesn’t matter. I like to try out different foods, discover small restaurants and food trucks, and of course, experience the well-known chefs and the ones just starting their career.

By Marguerite Beaty

By Marguerite Beaty

My foodie adventure has evolved, and I started to have fun experimenting in my kitchen. Cooking for one is daunting. I believe that it’s a challenge to create small meals and to find small-portion delicious dessert recipes. I began my adventure with a chicken, a bottle of wine, and lots of veggies.

I remembered reading a chicken recipe but couldn’t find it, so I winged it. I decided to make a slow-baked chicken with lots of things thrown in the pan—something like a one-pot recipe.

 I went to the market and bought tons of veggies, including onions and olives, to throw in my pot. I purchased flowers, a bottle of red wine, strawberries, and reduced vinegar for the strawberries.

Setting the table

By Marguerite Beaty

By Marguerite Beaty

When you eat alone, the table has to look lovely. Many people place the essentials on the table, sit down and eat too fast. It’s a good idea to treat your dinner for one in the same way you would dinner for two or more. Place a tablecloth on the table or fun placemats. Use cloth napkins. Use the nice wine glass even if you aren’t drinking wine that evening. If you’re having water, add slices of lemon or mint leaves. Make it all look beautiful.

by Marguerite Beaty

by Marguerite Beaty


 Always put flowers on the table. You can buy a few small potted flowers and place them in the middle, create a funky arrangement with colorful flowers or different branches. Plants on the table will make it look more festive. They will change your mood when you sit down to eat.

Choosing a recipe

By Marguerite Beaty

By Marguerite Beaty

I never know if I should follow a recipe for four people and then freeze the leftovers, or cook enough for just me. I tried cooking for four, and I ended up forgetting to eat the frozen food. I’m not sure why I resisted a recipe book for cooking for one, but maybe it’s because I never found one that enticed me.

 I like the idea of following a chef or using someone’s recipe and adjusting it to my needs. It’s adventurous and keeps me on my toes. I had to learn to shop more efficiently, not to have tons of leftover veggies that would rot in my fridge.

 If you embark on a cooking-for-one adventure, start slowly by preparing special meals two or three times a week. Make this process fun, and don’t let it become a chore.

By Marguerite Beaty

By Marguerite Beaty

Eating alone, with intention

Let’s face it, eating alone can be tedious. I have read many articles and books that state that we should turn off our phones, TV, and computers while we eat. That is true, and it’s a great idea, however I don’t do that. Sometimes I listen to music or I may watch a film, listen to an audiobook or read. I like entertainment while I eat, but I make sure to eat slowly, and consciously savor my food. That is my only rule.

Cooking Adventures

I dive into different cooking adventures a few times a year. Right now, I am in the midst of fish exploration. I live in Portugal by the seaside. There is a fabulous fishmonger down the road who sells incredibly fresh fish and shares great cooking tips with me. I also buy a few freshly prepared dishes from her, and then I personalize them with cooked veggies, salads, and the table setting.

 Three years ago, I joined a cooking class where I learned how to make a few tasty Spanish dishes. I spent a few months perfecting a delicious caramel-filled chocolate dessert. I’m always trying things out so that my dinners for one are unique, tasty, and fun to make.

How do you prefer to cook? Do you make enough food to feed an army, or have you perfected the art of cooking for just the people at your table?


Tips for Tasty Fish Burgers and Fish Eggs by Marguerite

How to Travel Through Food by Marguerite

Marguerite Beaty, Blogger, Photographer & Artist

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