One is a tasty number
Special to The Union
In the past couple of weeks I’ve run into several people who have confided that they hate to cook and one who claims not to be a fan of food (!). The common denominator is that they are all single.
Cooking for one – or even two – can be a bit of a challenge. Most recipes are scaled for four or six and most cooking containers are built for larger numbers. However, we all have to eat and there some benefits to preparing a meal for a small number. The first is that you can eat whatever you want. If spaghetti with meatballs sounds good for three days running, go right ahead. The other benefit is that you can splash out for ingredients without breaking the bank. Fillet mignon for a family of six is a much different line item in the budget than it is for one or two people. Clean-up is easier and it’s generally quicker to prepare a meal for a small number than it is for a large one.
No matter how many people are gathered around the table, the thing to keep in mind is that a meal is a gift we have to give ourselves every day. Be kind yourself.
With that in mind, this is a recipe for a casserole that’s been scaled for one person. It assembles in about five minutes and will be ready for the table in about forty. Enough time to change your clothes, check your email and pour a glass of wine.
The dish calls for pork chops, but a chicken breast will work just as well. If buying pre-packaged meat seems excessive, try the meat counter at SPD market. They will sell individual items and seem to be last grocery store in the country with a meat department staffed by actual butchers. Make friends with them.
The other nice thing about this dish is that it can be as gourmet or as easy as you want and if have time for. If making tomato sauce isn’t your thing, buy a jar of something tasty, use what you need and save the rest. If mushrooms aren’t your thing, leave them out and add more zucchini. Not a fan of zucchini? Increase the mushrooms. Whatever you do, just make sure there’s enough liquid for the rice.
Once everything is in the dish, cover tightly with foil and bake. The rice will cook in the water and tomato sauce and the pork chop will be juicy and delicious. Put everything on a plate, settle in and enjoy.
For more tips and techniques on cooking for one or two, join me in a class dedicated to just that subject on February 25th at In The Kitchen. Visit their web site to reserve your spot: http://www.wendyvanwagner.com/classes/
1/3 cup brown rice
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup tomato sauce, divided
1/2 cup onion, sliced
1 pork chop (about 4 ounces)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Place the brown rice in an ovenproof casserole dish. Stir in the water, 1/3 cup of tomato sauce and onion.
3. Slice the zucchini into quarters and arrange around the edge of the dish. Scatter the mushrooms in the center.
4. Rub the pork chops with pinches of ginger, clove and cumin. Place it on top of the mushrooms and top with the rest of the tomato sauce.
5. Cover the dish and bake for 35 minutes. Cover and stir the rice, add more water if needed. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve when rice is cooked through.
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