November 8, 2011

no-brainer meals for one - help!

Seems the 9.5 hour drive south on Monday combined with falling back on Sunday put my brain into a catatonic state. So, I vacated the blogosphere - just skipped a day - and that's saying something. Felt good to take a day off to regroup and catch up. But that's not my point...

studio waterstone bags

While visiting Jeff in Ohio, I was forced to face one of my greatest fears, a "single" man's refrigerator and freezer. One look at Hungry Man dinners and boxes of mac & cheese and I was a woman on a mission. What does one who works eleven and twelve hour days prepare for dinner? First, it has to be super simple and fast. An exhausted man (or woman) does not want to slice, dice, and wash dirty pots and pans.

*Note* In many cases, I'm buying more expensive ingredients to make things easier and/or quicker. However, compare this to a frozen dinner loaded with sodium, expensive take-out, etc. It's not only healthier but, in the long run, cheaper.

My quickie meal plan for a "single", meat and potatoes kind of guy
Please add your own ideas in the comment section! I'd love some help.

1) Homemade Spaghetti: I made a very large pot of spaghetti sauce and divided it into two-cup portions (1 dinner + one leftover), added each to a quart sized freezer bag and froze. Add pasta and a salad.

2) Homemade Chicken Enchiladas: I mixed shredded, cooked chicken with diced green chili's, shredded cheese, and black beans. Rolled approx. 1/4 cup portions tightly into flour tortillas and wrapped them individually with waxed paper, added to a freezer bag and froze. No need to thaw the enchiladas. Just preheat the oven to 425, top the enchiladas with sauce and shredded cheese and bake for 20 minutes. Serve with lettuce, salsa, avocados, and sour cream.

3) Grilled Chicken Salads: Purchase frozen, cooked grilled chicken - already sliced OR individually frozen chicken tenders. I purchased my favorite kitchen gadget, the salad spinner. Believe it or not, you WILL eat more salad this way because it's ready to eat - no salad prep. Add toppings - we love dried cranberries, walnuts, and dressing.

4) BBQ or Pork Roast: I bought a whole pork loin and divided it into three sections, then individually froze each. This needs to be thawed overnight in the refrigerator. Next morning, add it to the crock pot along with salt, pepper, and a little water. If you're making BBQ, simply add the sauce and shred the roast when you get home. If you're having the roast, you can add onions and carrots. I also like to sprinkle the meat (for roast) with lemon pepper seasoning.

5) I found stuffed, apple and almond chicken breasts at Trader Joe's. We tried them and they were really pretty good!

6) Fajitas: Using the sliced, pre-cooked grilled chicken, combine with frozen fajita mixture (found in the freezer section).

Vegetable sides:

Now it's your turn.
Help a girl and her hungry hubby out?
Offer up your quick & easy, no-brainer (and I mean no-brainer) recipes.
Links are also welcome!


  1. When Peter is away, I scramble eggs with sauteed chopped onions, spinach, and sometimes a bit of that pre-cooked bacon. Throw in a handful of sliced mushrooms and it's even better. Top off with shredded cheese of any sort and toast some bread. I love breakfast for dinner. It's hard to cook for one or even two if you've been used to family meals.

  2. Lori, I had no idea how truly Mexican you and Mr. Waterstone were before now.

    LeAnn, I love eggs with all the above AND some black beans. A weekly (sometimes daily) staple of mine!

  3. LeAnn - I agree with Kelley. LOVE breakfast for dinner!

    Kelley - Ole!

  4. A huge batch of chili frozen individually. One nite "Cincinnati" style,(how appropriate, heehee) with spaghetti and prepacked Mexican cheese, (my favorite), another with melted cheese and tortilla chips, yum!

  5. All your dishes sound great (& healthy!). I don't have a recipe, but you mentioned Trader Joe's. If there's still room in that freezer, TJ sells frozen french green beans in a bag (2 lbs I think). They are individually frozen, so they are all loose in the bag. You can grab a handful and steam individual portions in the microwave in 2 minutes!! I use Zip-lock "Zip'N Steam" bags - so easy.

  6. I like your ideas Lori! I don't attempt to cook pork anymore unless it is in the slow cooker. The entire family really loves BBQ pork sandwiches. I don't think my son will have a slow cooker, but I can definitely makes some single serving, cooked portions for him to freeze. I also use the leftover chicken for salads, enchiladas and recently, chicken and spinach taquitos. They were yummy! And it's so fast to make. (That recipe is on my pinterest board.) I'm going to have my son buy cooked chicken, either frozen or from the store kitchen. He can have it plain one night and then use the extra for one of the interesting variations!


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