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6 easy meals for one person

23rd July 2021

Thinking of different meals for one person on a daily basis can get tricky and it may often feel easier to just order a takeaway and curl up on the couch, but there are lots of easy meal ideas for one that you can make.

Cooking for yourself can be hard, especially if you have mobility issues and need aids such as walk in baths or rollators to stay safe at home. If you are cooking for yourself you need to think about how many ingredients you need for just one person as well as considering healthy meals which are also delicious.

From nutritious lunches to quick dinners, this article will look at some easy meals that are great for people who live alone and only need to cook for one person.

The best meal ideas for one

•Rustic pasta dish

•Egg omelette

•Chicken thigh risotto

•Baked sweet potato

•Herby smoked salmon poached eggs

•Chicken stir-fry

Rustic pasta dish

Ingredients

•100g spaghetti

•2 new potatoes, washed and very thinly sliced

•A handful of green beans, topped and tailed

•2 tablespoons of basil pesto (you can buy small jars of this in supermarkets)

This is an easy pasta recipe that is not only simple to make but is a delicious meal that you can cook on a busy weeknight or weekend.

Steve Dent, who is the writer behind the Circus Gardener’s Kitchen blog, explains the benefits of home cooking and why he would recommend making this rustic pasta dish.

“When I lived on my own I always tried to make an effort with food, even though I was only cooking for myself. Home-cooked food is better for you, and the more you do it the better you become at cooking!

“One of my favourite summer dishes is this rustic pasta dish. It doesn’t take long to cook, and everything is cooked in a single pan, so there’s less washing up afterwards.

“To make the dish, bring a pan of water to the boil. Check the cooking time of the spaghetti before adding it to the pan. Eight minutes before the spaghetti should be cooked, add the potatoes. Three minutes later add the beans. At the end of the cooking time, strain the spaghetti, potatoes and beans into a colander. Some of the potatoes will have broken down but don’t worry about that. Tip the contents of the colander back into the pan. Add the pesto and stir. Serve immediately.”

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Egg omelette

Ingredients

•3 eggs, beaten

•1 tsp sunflower oil

•1 tsp butter

Cooking an egg omelette for yourself is really easy to do and you can eat it at breakfast, lunch or dinner. An egg omelette is a simple recipe as you just need to heat the butter and sunflower oil in a frying pan, crack and beat the eggs before adding it to the frying pan to cook.

If you are feeling adventurous, then you can always look to add a filling to your omelette. Popular fillings include grated cheese, ham, fresh herbs, mushrooms and smoked salmon.

Marie Rayner is the writer behind the food blog, The English Kitchen, and she tells us why an egg omelette is one of the easiest meals for one person to cook.

“One of my favourite quick and easy meals for people to cook is a humble egg omelette. Not only can you expand or decrease according to how many people you are feeding, but they go together in literally minutes, and you can fill them with whatever you have on hand or are wanting to use up. 

“Bits of meat or chicken, cold cuts, cheese, vegetables, etc. Literally, anything goes! One of my favourite ones contains cheese, tomatoes and fried bread croutons.”

Chicken thigh risotto

Ingredients

•2 – 3 chicken thighs – skin on, bone in

•1 medium cooking pumpkin – thickly sliced, skin on

•2 cloves of garlic – whole, skin on

•1 medium onion – chopped

•1 stick of celery – chopped

•1 fennel bulb – chopped

•fresh herbs – (rosemary and lemon thyme)

•a handful of hazelnuts

•250g pearl barley

•1 glass white wine

•1ltr good quality vegetable stock

•100g crumbly cheese such as feta or Wensleydale

This chicken thigh risotto dish is another great meal idea for one but it can also be cooked for more if you have friends or family over too.

Dominic Franks runs the Dom In The Kitchen blog and he talks about the dish and why he’d recommend people make it.

“One of the easiest (and tastiest) meals I cook is an oven-baked chicken thigh risotto. It’s what I call an ‘all-in-one’ meal because literally, everything goes into the pan and cooks together so there’s less waste and less hassle cooking.

“It’s also quite inexpensive because it uses chicken thighs rather than breast which is also the tastiest part of the bird. You can also use any vegetables you like. It’s wonderful because it’s a fully rounded meal in one dish, protein, carbohydrates and vegetables. What more could you ask for?”

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Baked sweet potato

Ingredients

•1 medium sweet potato (about 350g/12oz), washed and dried

•2 tbsp olive oil

•Half small onion, finely chopped (for the black beans)

•1 garlic clove, finely chopped (for the black beans)

•1 tsp cumin seeds (for the black beans)

•pinch of chilli flakes, to taste (for the black beans)

•400g tin black beans, drained (for the black beans)

•100ml/3½fl oz vegetable stock, from a cube (for the black beans)

•salt and freshly ground black pepper (for the black beans)

•25g/1oz cheddar, grated, to serve (for the black beans)

•¼ small red cabbage, thinly sliced (for the slaw)

•5 radishes, thinly sliced (for the slaw)

•Half a red onion, thinly sliced (for the slaw)

•few sprigs of coriander, roughly chopped (for the slaw)

•Half lime, juice only (for the slaw)

•salt and freshly ground black pepper (for the slaw)

Whether you are vegetarian or not, this baked sweet potato recipe from BBC Food is a great healthy meal for one that you can enjoy. It is soft and sweet and is easy to make as it takes around 30-minutes to prepare and just 1-2 hours to cook.

If you decide to cook a few of these baked sweet potatoes, then you can keep them in the fridge for up to three days and can enjoy them for lunch or dinner on another day.

There are lots of other baked potato recipes that you can make such as baked chilli & jacket potatoes, spicy turkey sweet potatoes and jacket potatoes with home-baked beans.

READ MORE: The best mealtime tips to get the nutrition you need

Herby smoked salmon poached eggs

Ingredients

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • a few fresh chives
  • 10g smoked salmon, from sustainable sources
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 80g spinach
  • 1 thick slice of seeded wholemeal bread (50g)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon cream cheese
  • 1 lemon

If you are looking for a recipe for breakfast, then this herby smoked salmon and poached eggs dish is a great option for you. It is simple to make and takes just 15 minutes to cook.

The Jamie Oliver website shares the recipe you need to follow to cook this tasty dish and below is a guide of what you need to do.

First off you need to lay a 40cm sheet of non-PVC cling film flat and rub some oil into it, then chop some fresh chives and sprinkle in the centre of the sheet and slice and lay the salmon over the chives. Carefully crack the egg on top of the salmon and pull in the sides of the cling film and tie a knot in it to secure the egg and to ensure there isn’t any air around it.

Next up you need to poach the parcel in a pan of simmering water for six to seven minutes for soft-poached, or until cooked to your liking. Place a colander or bamboo steamer above the pan and wilt the spinach as the egg poaches and then toast the bread and spread the cream cheese. Spoon the spinach over the toast and unwrap the egg and place that and the salmon on top of the bread.

Chicken stir-fry

Ingredients

•1 tbsp olive oil

•1 garlic clove, chopped

•2 chicken thighs, thinly sliced

•½ red pepper, seeds removed, thinly sliced

•1 tbsp soy sauce

•30g/1oz mangetout, green beans or sugar snap peas

•100ml/3½fl oz chicken stock

•1 nest of egg noodles, cooked according to the packet instructions

A chicken stir-fry is a tasty and healthy dish that you can enjoy at dinner and with it being a quick meal to make it is the perfect meal for someone living on their own to cook.

There is a delicious mixture of ingredients you can choose from as you can decide to stick with simple fresh flavours or instead add a ready-made sauce such as sweet and sour, spring onion or black bean. Egg noodles are perfect to eat with the vegetables you decide to include and this meal will be ready in 20 minutes.

If you want to follow a recipe for a chicken stir-fry, then you can find one on the BBC Food website.

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Expert tips for people living alone who don’t cook often

If you live on your own and are not an experienced cook or are a complete beginner, then there are some tips that expert foodies recommend you follow.

Dominic Franks recommends that the first thing you should do before you even start cooking is to buy a freezer. He says: “First tip is ‘buy a freezer’ - even if it’s a small one it’s so useful to keep leftovers or extra portions. So many recipes are for two or more. Just make them and freeze what you don’t eat. It means you’ll know you always have something lovely to eat at a moment’s notice. I always say try and have fun when cooking and cook what you love. Then you’ll want to do it.”

When it comes to cooking, food blogger Marie Rayner has shared some of her top tips for people who are living alone and who don't cook often.

•When you do cook, double up and freeze what you cook in single-serving sized containers, ready to pull out on those days when you just want something easy.

•Not going to be able to use that whole pepper or onion? Chop up the remainder and freeze it for another time. Very handy for when you are making pizzas, etc.

•Often smaller quantities cook much faster than larger sizes, so pay attention.

•Build up a well-stocked pantry. Even on nights when you don't feel like cooking anything elaborate, or you haven't got the time to visit the shops, you will be able to knock something tasty together from what you have on hand.

•I often buy larger tins of things and then break them down into smaller quantities, freezing them, again, in single-serving portions. Smaller packages often cost more than the larger ones. Nobody should be penalized just because they are a small family and with proper prep, they won't be. (You can see the freezer is my friend!)

•When freezing things, wrap them really well (I often double wrap) and label, label, label. You may think you will remember what you froze, I have often been surprised by items that I froze but can no longer identify. Marking dates on them is also a good idea.

•For me, it makes sense to buy premixed salads. They may seem expensive, but when you reckon in the cost of buying all the ingredients individually and then think about how long it will take to use them up and how much will get wasted, it just makes sense to buy a salad mix.

•It may seem like a pain, but I shop every third or fourth day and buy only as many fresh ingredients as I think I will use within those few days. Less waste that way.

•Single-serve lunch-sized fruit pots are the way to go (i.e. apple sauce, pears, peaches, etc.) No waste at all there. It is the same with yoghurts, etc.

This article looks at just some of the meals that one person can cook for themselves, but there are lots of other dishes you can try to cook so make sure you do your research. For more tips and blogs like these then head to our news section.

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.