Cooking For One Person — Hacks, Tips and Tricks

Cooking for one can be tricky. I’ve put together a list of hacks, tips and tricks to help with the question of what to do with leftover ingredients!

Cooking For One Person -- Hacks, Tips and Tricks
Cooking For One Person — Hacks, Tips and Tricks

When I post recipes, I’ll often post hacks at the end of it to give some helpful information in regard to storing leftover ingredients. I hope this has been beneficial but I also thought it might be great to have all those ideas in one place. Yep, right here.

Print ‘em out and stick ‘em right on your fridge for the next time you need to buy that whole knob of ginger for a recipe that calls for 1 teaspoon…

Ready? Let’s GO!

Let's GO
Let’s GO

 

 

Anchovies can be covered in oil and sealed in a sealable sandwich bag in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. Alternately, they can be spread out in a single layer and frozen (still in the sandwich bag, if desired). I suggest you double bag the fillets before storing them.

Bacon: Separate uncooked bacon slices and roll into individual pinwheels. Place on cookie sheet in the freezer to freeze bacon slices. Place in a sealable freezer bag or container. The frozen slices can then be used in the portions desired.

Bananas: If your bananas have reached maximum ripeness, remove peels and place them on a cookie sheet in the freezer. Once solid, place in sealable freezer bag and store in the freezer for use in recipes that call for mashed or pureed banana. Try them in this delicious smoothie!

Berries: If you purchase fresh berries, the leftovers can be stored in the freezer. Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer until solid. Place in a sealable freezer bag and store in the freezer for use in recipes that call for mashed or pureed berries.

Broccoli: Check the produce department of your local grocery store for pre-cut broccoli florets to avoid having to buy an entire head. Frozen broccoli florets would also work in a cooked recipe.

Butternut Squash: Fresh peeled and cubed butternut squash can be purchased in the produce department of the grocery store, making your life just a little bit easier. Frozen butternut squash can also be used in most recipes.

Burgers: Shape ground meat into 4 oz patties. Place burgers on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer until frozen. Put individually into sealable sandwich bags and then into a sealable freezer bag or freezer container. The rolls can also be frozen in the same manner.

Eggs, Cooked: Make more than one egg and store them for later use. For the best quality, I suggest cooking scrambled eggs in an egg ring as this provides for uniform cooking and reheating. Cook just until set. These eggs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

To freeze eggs, place on cookie sheet and place in freezer until firm. Seal in freezer bag or container and store in freezer.

To reheat, thaw in refrigerator overnight and microwave at 20 second intervals, just until heated through.

Eggs, Hard Boiled: Hard-boiled eggs keep in the refrigerator for one week so consider making a few extra while you’ve got the water boiling! They make a great snack alone, pickled, deviled or in egg salad.

English Muffin: Slice English muffins in half horizontally and return to original packing. Place in sealed freezer bag and place in freezer for up to 3 months.

Fruit/Berry: Take advantage of the wide variety of fruits and berries that can be found in the frozen foods section of the grocery store. If the pieces are too large for your purpose, simply let a few thaw so you can mash them or puree the desired amount in a blender.

Ginger: Do you know that you can freeze fresh ginger root? Grating it in its frozen state is easier than grating it fresh and, if you choose organic ginger, you don’t have to peel it! Simply place in a sealed freezer bag or container and pop it in the freezer.

Guacamole: Place any leftover guacamole in a sealable bag. Roll to press out as much air as possible and seal tightly. Store in refrigerator for up to two days.

Herbs: Fresh herbs can easily be frozen. Lay flat in a single layer and freeze. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and seal tightly. Store in the freezer for up to 12 months.

Alternately, herbs can be chopped and placed in ice cubes trays. Cover with oil and freeze for future use.

Pine Nuts: Pine nuts can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 months or in the freezer for 6 months.

Rice: Place leftover rice while still warm (to retain moisture) in serving-size containers and freeze for future use.

Romaine Lettuce: To keep romaine lettuce fresh longer, separate leaves and wash. Dry in a salad spinner or with paper towels. Place lettuce leaves in a sealable plastic bag or container with paper towels between each layer to absorb moisture. Store in refrigerator and replace paper towels if they become soggy.

Salad Bar: Shop the salad bar if you just need a small amount of an item that you don’t think you’ll use again before it “goes over”.

Seafood: Although seafood purchased from the seafood counter is often priced by weight, it is perfectly acceptable to ask for only what you need, such as 6 shrimp or half a fillet of haddock.

Alternately, many of these items can be purchased frozen in larger portions if you wish to keep some on hand. Thaw desired amounts before cooking.

Seafood can be thawed overnight in refrigerator. It can be thawed more quickly by placing it in a sealable bag and submerging in a bath of cold water for about an hour.

I do not recommend freezing seafood that is purchased from the seafood counter. Many seafood items are flash frozen after being caught to retain their freshness. Refreezing will compromise the quality.

Sesame Oil: Once opened, sesame oil can be stored in a cool, dark place (kitchen cupboard away from the stove) for up to six months. It can be stored in the fridge for a year or more.

Yogurt: Use any leftover Greek yogurt to make this versatile Dill Greek Yogurt Dip!

Just one more tip: Click here to check out my favorite bags and containers to freeze all the above-mentioned goodies!

That’s All For Now!

So, I think that’s enough for one day, don’t you? That’s a whole lot of information and I hope it comes in handy!

Did I miss anything? Do you have any handy-dandy hacks, tips and tricks to share with the class? Please leave a comment below to let us know what it is!

All my best

Cynthia
cynthia@cynthiaeats.com

 

 

Best Freezer Food Storage Containers

Ever wonder which are the best freezer food storage containers? Here’s my take on a few items that come in handy for freezing leftovers!
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Best Freezer Food Storage Containers
Best Freezer Food Storage Containers

In previous articles, we’ve talked a lot about how to use your freezer to help make your (cooking) life a bit easier. Whether it’s making meals or storing food prep items, it’s all about having tools to get it done right and, surprisingly, the list is not as long as you might think!  Here’s my take on the 5 best freezer food storage containers out there.  They’ll definitely come in handy for helping you master the art of freezer storage.

                                  Spare Essentials Foil Pan & Lid Set

 

Spare Essentials Foil Pan & Lid Set
Spare Essentials Foil Pan & Lid Set

These containers make are great for grab ‘n’ go meals. The 5.5”x4.5”x1.9” size make them perfect for single-serving entrees. They stack nicely in the freezer and can go directly from the freezer to the oven.

 

 

Pros 

  • Single serving size
  • Freezer to oven
  • Stackable
  • Economical
  • Use in the air fryer for easy cleanup

Cons

  • The lid is not leakproof
  • Cannot use in microwave
  • Crushes more easily than plastic containers

Freshware Meal Prep Containers

 

Freshware Meal Prep Containers
Freshware Meal Prep Containers

These meal prep containers are great for hot or cold foods. They stack easily in the fridge, lunchbox or picnic container. Measured at 9” x 6.3” x 1.6”, these little gems make it easy to pack up some single portions sizes in advance!

They are also available in 2 compartment and bowl designs.

Pros                                                                       

  • Single serving size
  • Freezer to microwave
  • Reusable
  • BPA, PVC, and Phthalate FREE
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Economical

Cons

  • The lid is not leakproof
  • Cannot use in the oven
  • Lids tend to crack with repeated use
  • Lids can be difficult to attach/remove

Mr. Lid Half Cup Storage Containers

Mr. Lid Storage Containers
Mr. Lid Storage Containers

These are my new favorite thing! These high-quality containers are meant to hold up for the long haul. They are BPA-free, reusable and recyclable. The best part? The lids are attached so there’s no more searching for lids and containers that match!

They also are available in salad and sandwich sizes.  If you can’t decide, why not take the plunge and go for the 25 piece starter set?

 

Pros                                                                  

  1. Heavy-duty/long-lasting
  2. BPA free
  3. Reusable
  4. Recyclable
  5. Dishwasher safe
  6. Microwave safe
  7. Leakproof

Cons

  • More expensive than disposable containers
  • Uses more space to store empty containers
  • Cannot be used in the oven or on the stovetop

Lock & Lock Storage Containers

Lock & Lock Storage Containers
Lock & Lock Storage Containers

This classic features a hollow cylinder silicone and 4 side locking mechanism that locks in twice the sealing power to keep your items fresh. There are many sizes to choose from but this 16.2 cup size is my favorite. It fits nicely in my freezer and keeps things organized. I use it to hold things like individual rolls, hamburger patties and other items that would otherwise “roam” around the freezer creating chaos!

 

Pros

  • Fits well in the freezer
  • Leakproof
  • Airtight
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Microwave safe
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Stackable
  • Close side to side fit
  • BPA free

Cons

  • The lid may be difficult to snap on and off
  • Cannot be used in the oven or on the stovetop

  Ziplock Freezer Bags

Ziplock Freezer Bags
Ziplock Freezer Bags

When freezer space is at a premium, these bags come to the rescue! The pint size is good for packaging serving-sized portions of soups and stews, individual pieces of meat and single sandwich rolls. The gallon size is great for double bagging items to avoid freezer burn and help with the overall organization of your freezer. Although the slider bags have many uses, I only use the zipper bags for freezer storage.

Pros

  • Space-saving
  • Zipper style is leakproof
  • Economical
  • Dioxin and BPA free
  • Recyclable

Cons

  • May melt or rupture in microwave
  • Slider bags may leak and break easily

You’ve Got This

So this is it. This is all you’re going to need to get that freezer organized and ready to start working for YOU! I hope you’ve got your orders in and are raring to go. I know I am.

Do you have any freezer storage tips that are working for you? Let me know in the comment section below!

Cynthia
cynthia@cynthiaeats.com

 

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