Let’s Talk About Sugar, But Only For Two Seconds

Okay, yes, I posted a recipe for a single chocolate chip cookie, but it was in a moment of weakness, and in my defense, everybody needs a cookie sometime. (Better one than the five dozen you’ll make with the recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag!) However, let me take just a moment — well, two, really — and talk about sugar and flour.

They’re bad.

They’re not good.

That’s all you need to know. You cut out these two things, or cut way back on them, and watch what happens. The weight drops. The energy levels jump up. The indicators for heart disease drop, including triglycerides (big word for “three sugars”) and blood sugar levels. And did you know that a number of doctors are talking about Alzheimer’s as “Type 3 Diabetes” now? Scary.

What should you eat in its place, you ask? Protein. Lots of veggies. Some fruit (not dried). Some good fat. A few (and very little of the) natural sweeteners. We’ll talk about that more soon, but for now, just try this one simple thing: Cut back on sugar and/or flour, and see if it’s not what the doctor (not me!) ordered. Give up sugar for one month, just four weeks, and see what happens. When I did it, I lost 13 pounds, changing nothing else, only stopping the sugar (wasn’t even exercising). How about you? What will your story be?

Now, try this recipe out and see if you like it.

Sweet Cream Dessert For One

1/4 cup of whipping cream

1/2 tbsp sweetener (optional): xylitol (this stuff actually inhibits cavities!), maple syrup (mild flavor), or possibly a Stevia packet

Flavors (optional): 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp cocoa, 1/2 tsp instant coffee, a few drops of flavored oil (like peppermint, banana, orange, etc.)

Beat the ingredients together until the cream forms stiff peaks.

Eat with a spoon, and tell me that stuff’s not the bomb. Leave the sugar out and dip some fruit in there instead, and you’re set.



Chicken and Rice: Single Serving

Oops! Pressed this awesome recipe from Dinner of Herbs to the wrong blog! Let me try that again, and hope you enjoy it. As for the mushroom soup substitute, I’m gonna go out on a limb and suggest the following, since you don’t need that much.

via Chicken and Rice: Single Serving.

Cream of Mushroom Soup Substitute for Chicken and Rice Recipe

1 tbsp mushrooms cut up

1 tsp chopped onion

1 tsp butter

1 tbsp cream

1/2 tsp flour, optional

salt and pepper to taste

In a tiny sauté pan, melt the butter over medium to medium-high heat and cook the onions for one minute, then add the mushrooms and cook for a minute or two, until tender. Add the cream and the salt and pepper (a dash or two apiece), and keep stirring. If you want it a little thicker, add the flour and stir over medium heat until it’s the consistency you want.

This only makes a tiny bit, but may be easier than opening a can of soup for that one tablespoon. One spoon for the recipe, one for your happy mouth. What do you think? Should I scale this up for a full serving? Cream of Mushroom Soup For One? Yeah, I definitely will.

via Chicken and Rice: Single Serving.

Jacked-Up Chicken For One

Okay, let’s keep the momentum going with the chicken for another easy to make recipe. This one is a variation on a popular chain’s idea for chicken with mushrooms. Hope you like it!

Jacked-Up Chicken For One

1 chicken breast

1 tbsp butter

2 tbsp chopped mushrooms

2 tbsp chopped onions

1 tbsp cream

1 tbsp milk

1 tsp flour

salt and pepper to taste


Melt the butter in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat.

Add the onions, cook for a minute until tender (invisible).

Add the mushrooms, cook for another minute until softer, but still firm, too.

Add the cream, milk and salt and pepper. Slowly add the flour and stir until thickened. (This shouldn’t take long at all.)

Set aside, and cook the chicken breast using a grill or another skillet, until the internal temperature is 165.

Turn the heat down to medium or medium-low, and top the cooked breast with the mushroom/onion mix. Place a slice of Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese on top, and cover so the cheese will melt.

This stuff is the bomb. Enjoy!

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.


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!