Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cooking for One!

Over the past year (plus about three extra months) for the most part, my cooking has changed considerably.

When Mandy moved with her two children down to Middletown, PA a year ago this past July, I had to change my methodology in my kitchen and try to downsize the amounts I was previously accustomed to cooking. Those larger casserole meals I generally liked to fix were now off limits unless, of course, I wanted to eat lasagne or spaghetti or roast beef leftovers forever!

Last summer, I still had opportunities to fix somewhat larger meals fairly often though because the grandkids spent several weeks here with me before they had to leave to start school last fall. So that's when my quest to figure out things to fix just for one person with maybe enough leftovers for one more meal every now and again. (I'm not normally one who enjoys leftovers of everything I've fixed for a meal -just certain things that I don't mind reheating and eating.)

But then, last October, my step-granddaughter and her darling little girl moved in here with me and I was once again back in business of fixing slightly larger meals once again. And I didn't worry about leftovers then because frequently, Katie would heat up leftovers for her lunch and as the baby began to eat more and more table food, she also would serve it to her too, so leftovers weren't something that was clogging my refrigerator very often then.

But after Katie moved out back the beginning of March, I was back to the drawing board again with my meal preparations and not only do I not like cooking in very, very small portions, I also do not like eating a full meal all alone either!

So, my menu then often switched to sandwiches - usually cold sandwiches that I just threw together or salads. Not that there's anything wrong with that but it's boring. But then too, cooking just for one person is also very boring too, in my book. There's no anticipation to see if the meal meet someone else's expectations which gives me no incentive then to experiment with new dishes the way I often had done in the past.

But this week, I had a hankering for something I had tasted about 2 weeks ago when the local Moose had a small semblance of a cooking contest for soups and I had made a big crockpot full of Stuffed Pepper Soup as my entry in the contest and each person entering the contest got to judge the other cooks' works too.

Well, there were two specific entries that I especially liked. One was a rice with a tomato base that I found very tasty and the other was some kind of a beef soup with something that was sort of like rice to me but yet, not quite that. Now that beef based soup really tripped my taste buds as it was very, very good! (I was tempted to try to smuggle that whole crockpot full of it out and take it home with me.)

But instead, I thought I knew who had made that soup and so, two days ago, I called that lady - my neighbor, June, who lives a couple houses down the street from me. And yes, I was right -that had been her soup and what it was -well it was Beef Barley Soup and sure, she would be happy to tell me how she fixes it. So she told me the ingredients and so forth and today, I cooked a pot full of it for my supper!

It wasn't quite up to the par level of great flavor that hers had had but it was decent enough that I chowed down two large bowls of it for my supper anyway! And I have leftovers of it in the fridge now that will do me for another meal too now. With possibly enough leftover  though that I might just take what I have in the fridge and make a trip down past Howard to where my older daughter lives and surprise her for lunch of my version of June's Beef Barley Soup!

I'm thinking perhaps daughter Carrie would be very happy to have something really homemade for lunch either tomorrow or perhaps Friday afternoon and I would very much enjoy being able to spend a little quality time visiting with her and seeing to it that she would have a good and nourishing meal since she's still pretty incapacitated with her leg and having two bones in her ankle broken!

Don't tell her I'm thinking of doing this as I think it would work much better if I can just take it down and surprise her!

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