Oven-Fried Chicken For One

This is a great dish for when you want fried chicken, but without all the grease. It still has some butter, mind you, but this is low-carb friendly, which means good things for your waistline AND your heart. If you’re allergic to almonds, you can use regular breading (e.g. crumbled crackers are excellent, and bread crumbs will work, too). There really shouldn’t be so much that the carb count goes too high, anyway.

Note: You CAN coat the entire breast with the mixture by shaking it in a bag, but my experience is that the breading is going to stick to the bottom of the pan no matter what you do, so the choice is yours.

Oven-Fried Chicken For One

1 chicken breast

1 egg, beaten

1/8 cup (2 tbsp) ground almonds (blender or food processor) or finely crumbled crackers

1/4 tsp paprika

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp butter, melted

Preheat your oven to 400.

Coat the breast in the beaten egg and place in a baking dish.

Mix up the breading, paprika, and salt and pepper in a small mug or plastic bag.

Sprinkle mixture generously over the breast, but not with mounds piled high.

Pour melted butter over the top of the chicken, getting as much coverage as you can.

Bake for 40 minutes to an hour, until the temperature reaches 180. There’s a range here, because some of you will be baking frozen breasts, and others will be using breasts the size of small Volkswagen Beetles, so just keep an eye on it. When it’s done, it comes out nice and golden brown, and tastes better than it has any right to. You might try out my recipes for mashed cauliflower, or carrots and green beens for something on the side.

Enjoy!

Spaghetti (No Noodles) For One

Yes, yes, I know. You’re saying, “No noodles?” And the answer is yes, that’s just what I wanted to say. Noodles are fine, and they’re the go-to for spaghetti sauce, but wait, hear me out. Noodles, even the “whole-wheat” variety, are pretty empty nutritionally. Yes, they fill us up, but it’s with empty calories, and a blood-sugar spike that’s less than helpful. Unless you’re in perfect shape and exercise a lot, spaghetti noodles are not the most awesome thing for you. We’ll talk more later about why that is, but for now, just take a look at the recipe and give it a shot. (If it helps at all, eating it this way is an option at a rather good Italian restaurant chain. It’s for those who don’t want wheat or simple carbs in their food. You just have to ask.)

Note: If you must use noodles, boil just enough for yourself for 7 to 9 minutes, no more, and then lay them down under the sauce.

Note: If you want meat in there, just brown 1/4 pound ground beef or ground Italian sausage and add it when the sauce is cooking on the stove. I’m a big fan, myself, but the recipes are for straight tomato-based sauce.

Spaghetti (No Noodles)

Thin Spaghetti Sauce For One

1 tbsp (olive) oil

1/8 tsp garlic powder, or 1 cloves of minced garlic

1/2 tsp basil, or 2 leaves, chopped

1 can tomato sauce

salt and pepper

Sauté the garlic (or garlic powder) in oil over medium heat for about two to three minutes, until tender. (Cooking the powder also helps to release the flavor, so don’t get weirded out by that.)

Stir in the basil and tomato sauce.

Season with some salt and pepper, then cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until it thickens a little.

Chunky Spaghetti Sauce For One

1 tbsp (olive oil)

1 clove of minced garlic, or 1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/4 cup chopped bell pepper, optional

1/8 cup chopped mushrooms, optional

1/8 cup chopped zucchini, optional

1 tsp basil, or 2 leaves, chopped

1 can crushed or diced tomatoes

salt and pepper

Sauté the garlic (or garlic powder) and the other vegetables in oil over medium heat for about two to four minutes, until tender.

Stir in the basil and the tomatoes.

Season with salt and pepper, then cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until it thickens some.

Tomato-Only Spaghetti Sauce For One

1 tbls (olive) oil

1 clove garlic, or 1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/4 to 1/2 pound cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

1 tsp basil, or 2 leaves, chopped

salt and pepper

Sauté the garlic in the oil for a couple of minutes over medium heat, then add the tomatoes and the basil, cooking and stirring occasionally while the tomatoes soften. When they’re at the right consistency for your taste, you’re done.

Not Noodles For One

2 tbsp (olive) oil

1 to 2 cups chopped or sliced zucchini , squash, sugar snap peas, eggplant, bell peppers, onions (any or all optional)

salt and pepper

Sauté chopped vegetables in oil over medium to medium high heat until tender and slightly browned. Add salt and pepper.

Just put the sautéed vegetables down instead of the noodles, cover with the sauce of your choice, and you’re set. Believe me when I say that not only does this taste good, but it beats noodles for nutrition and weight loss hands down. Let me know what you think.

Ranch and Fruit Dip For One

Staying on task for the quick and easy, I thought I’d throw a couple of recipes out there for stuff to dip your stuff in. Both are super simple, and lend themselves to single servings pretty well. Hope you like ‘em!

Fruit Dip For One 

1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt (or flavored, if you like)

2 tbsp sweetener (brown sugar, honey, real maple syrup, equivalent substitute)

Mix these up together. Yeah, I know it seems stupid it’s so easy, but that’s what makes it good. You can throw a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon in there if you like, or a quarter teaspoon of lemon juice for some pizazz, but really, it’s just sweet yogurt. Other recipes call for cream cheese, or whipped topping, or pudding. If you want, feel free to add them. I’m just putting the most basic form of it out there. Use your imagination, and create! (“It lives. It lives!” 20 points to those who can read that with the proper pronunciation.)

Ranch Dip For One

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 tsp parsley flakes

1/4 tsp dill weed

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

pinch of black pepper

1/4 tsp salt

Stir this up until it’s well-blended. Chill in the fridge, if you can wait a few hours. If you can’t, just dig in.

Let me know if you like these, and we can always tweak them, if we need to.

3 Easy Sides, Or How To Make Carrots, Green Beans, and Corn For One

You can buy vegetables for sides in various ways, but for our purposes, we’ll say you can buy them canned, fresh, or frozen.

First, let’s dispense with the canned varieties. These are precooked, and the taste (and nutrients) are boiled right out of them. If you’ve ever tried a canned carrot slice, you know I speak the truth. Also, there are more servings in a can than we might want. (Eating an entire can of green beans is a feat I’d rather not try, thanks.)

Fresh is nice, but also more work-intensive, and the longer they sit on the shelf, the less the nutrients are preserved.

Frozen isn’t everyone’s bag, but they do come in bags, which are easy to measure out for a single-serving, with little to no prep work. Also, if you check the nutrition label, you’ll see that frozen vegetables do a pretty good job at keeping their vitamins intact. (Carrots may be the exception to convenience here, since they’re easy to grow, inexpensive, and available year round.) Remember that frozen will take a little longer to cook, and you should be fine.

With that said, canned is the least desirable for healthy, single servings, and it’s a toss-up between fresh and frozen. That’s up to you.

Now, let’s get to fixin’ ‘em.

Green Beans, Stove-Fixed, Mm-mm Good

1 tbls (olive) oil or butter

2-3 tbls water

1/2 to 1 cup fresh or frozen green beans

salt, to taste (1/4 tsp?)

bacon crumbles, optional

Okay, green beans are hard to get right. Sometimes they come out waxy and squeak when you chew them. Not cool.

So, in a little saucepan, throw in the water and the oil and turn the heat up to medium or medium-high.

Put the green beans in there with the salt and the bacon crumbles, if you want them.

Now, boil those suckers, stirring them around, and remember that the higher the heat, the more closely you want to watch them. As the water evaporates, the greens will start to caramelize. Keep stirring. Only just let them do this before you take them off the heat. You’ll smell the burn, but only a little, and it won’t be unpleasant. Some of the beans themselves will look a little browned, not black.

Take these off the heat, put them on a plate, put them in your mouth, and enjoy. I’m telling you, these are the best green beans. Scorched just the best little bit.

Skillet-Fried Corn For One

1 tbsp butter (so good in butter, but sub as you must)

1/2 to 1 cup corn

salt and pepper, to taste

In a small pan, melt the butter over medium to medium-high heat. Throw in the corn and the salt and pepper. Toss in the pan to coat everything with butter, and then sauté until some of the corn begins to brown. Don’t overcook, though. That can dry the corn out, which is not your friend, and is too chewy besides.

Fried corn is kind of awesome. Trust me.

Glazed (Baby) Carrots For One

some water

1 cup (baby) carrots

1 tbsp butter (or sub as needed)

1 tbsp honey or brown sugar or maple syrup

Use the water to either boil the carrots (submerge them in a saucepan and boil for many minutes until tender), or cook them in the microwave (1 tbsp water and maybe 1 1/2 to 2 minutes until tender, check them while you’re cooking, microwaves can mummify carrots if you’re not careful). Steam them if you have a steamer, ‘cause that thing’s super easy.

Use a saucepan to melt the butter and whatever sweetener you decide to add. Toss the cooked carrots in the glaze. Eat. Enjoy.

These would go super good with the meatloaf or the blackberry pork chops I’ve mentioned. Or maybe as another side with your mashed cauliflower. Dang, I’m hungry again!

Pork Chops with Blackberry Glaze

I know, it sounds a little odd, doesn’t it? But it’s pretty far from odd when the sweet tang of blackberry (or apricot) accents the other white meat. So, so good. Try it, you’ll like it. Feel free to throw thanks my way, or share it with someone you know. And it’s for one!

1/2 cup chicken broth (from can or prepared with bouillon powder)

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 1/2 tsp vinegar (red wine vinegar if you have it)

2 tbls blackberry preserves (or apricot)

1 tbls oil

1 or 2 pork chops, boneless, center cut (about 1 1/4” thick)

salt and pepper

1/16 tsp of garlic powder or minced garlic (half of 1/8 tsp, or a pinch)

Mix the first four ingredients (broth, mustard, vinegar, preserves) in a bowl.

Heat up about a tablespoon of oil in a pan over medium high heat, then salt and pepper a pork chop (or two) and throw ‘em in, about 3 minutes per side until they’re good and brown.

Take ‘em out, then add the stuff in the bowl to the pan, mixing all the good bits up together. Reduce the heat to a little above simmer, then put the pork chops back in and cook until they’re done (5-10 minutes, but for crying out loud, use a meat thermometer, about 170).

Take the chops out again and keep ‘em warm, raise the heat on the pan, bring that glaze to a boil and keep stirring while it thickens, about 2 or 3 minutes. When it’s thick as you like, spoon it over the pork chops and season with salt and pepper.

Yum! Uh, let me say that again. Yum! Easy and tasty. Let me know if you like the blackberry best, or if apricot’s your thing. Pictures to come.

Chocolate Chip Cookie For One

Okay, I know better, but I’m still putting this one out there. (Shortly, I’ll try to post a recipe that doesn’t rely on flour and sugar for some chocolate chip goodness.) Suffice it to say that if you eat cookies, maybe one at a time is the only way to do it! This way, you don’t eat the entire bag, or half of the five dozen you made when you followed the Toll House recipe. This is one good-sized cookie. And it’s awesome. I mean it. Especially if you use REAL butter and DARK brown sugar. Either way, I make this in my toaster oven, and it’s the bomb. No. Really. The Bomb.

Chocolate Chip Cookie

Yes, it’s as good as this looks. Try it already! And enjoy, please…

(Some of you may have seen this on one of my other blogs. That’s fine, ‘cause it’s still the best homemade chocolate chip cookie in the land! And you can make just one of them! With a mug, five minutes of prep, and 10 minutes in the oven. Tell me that ain’t awesome. (Okay, only one cookie is both a blessing and a curse. I know. But it’s still awesome.)

1 tbsp butter

2 tsp (dark) brown sugar

2 tsp sugar

1/8 tsp vanilla

1 tsp beaten egg or egg product

1/16 tsp salt (about a pinch)

2 tbsp all-purpose flour

1/32 tsp baking soda (half of a pinch)

2 tbsp chocolate chips

1 tbsp nuts, if you like ‘em (walnuts, or toasted pecans, mmm…)

Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 350.

Put the butter in a microwave safe mug or a bowl. Soften it, but don’t worry if you accidentally melt it, it’ll still work. I put my 1100 watt oven on about 15 seconds, and that seems to work okay (with butter).

Add the sugars and stir it up with a spoon or a fork until you feel like it’s good and mixed up, about 30 seconds.

Add the vanilla, egg and salt, stir it up some more.

In another mug or bowl, add the flour and the baking soda and mix it up. Dump this unceremoniously, or ceremoniously, if you prefer, into the other mug, and stir it up until just moistened.

Add your chocolate chips (and your nuts, if you like), and mush them together all cozy like.

Drop this big conglomeration onto your cookie sheet and stick it in the oven for about 11 minutes, turning the pan around halfway through. Keep an eye on it, of course, but that should do it. It’ll come out nice and big and golden brown. Might let it cool for a few minutes after that, but that’s up to you and your self-control.

Enjoy!

Everything Else Is Just Gravy

Okay, I said I’d do gravy, and I meant it. Two different kinds. So here it is. 

These are super simple, super quick, and make about a half cup’s worth of gravy. That may not be enough for some folk, so double it if you must. Just pay attention to it while it’s cooking, and your gravy will turn out fine. Also, feel free to substitute bacon (or sausage or even hamburger) drippings  for the butter in either of the following recipes. Bacon makes everything better.

White Gravy

1 tbls butter or drippings

1 tbls flour

1/2 cup milk (or CREAM, mwa ha haa)

salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium high heat (NOT high!).

Stir in the flour.

Stir in the milk and keep stirring until it turns thick and creamy.

Salt and pepper to taste. (About 1/4 tsp each for me.)

Biscuits and White Gravy

Okay, I could have smothered the biscuits, but I thought less was more for the photo. This gravy was freakin’ awesome! The little bits are bacon pieces I had left over from salad toppings.

Now, watch what happens with the second one, because “easy recipe” is my middle name.

Brown Gravy

1 tbls butter or drippings

1 tbls flour

1/2 cup beef bouillon

salt and pepper

Do exactly the same thing as you did with white gravy, but with the bouillon instead. (When it starts to boil, you’ll be a couple minutes out.)

Amazing!