Healthy cooking for one on a budget

Or: “This is how you cook for one….and possibly your hungry roommate and visiting long-distance boyfriend if need be”

A lot of people have commented on my Instagrams saying that they like my food and wonder how I have so much yummy foods all the time. For the next few blogs I’m going to give you some tips and tricks on how to shop, prep and cook and generally eat well on a budget.

My next blog will be on how I shop for organic, local and good foods on a budget…so look out for that one. But this blog will mainly cover how I cook for myself and how I manage food so that I can always have a yummy homecooked meal, but (hopefully) not waste too much food for one time meals that then go to waste.

As an example I will use this week of food. Last week I cooked up some ground turkey for tacos and heated up some black beans and canned corn to put on top. I saved half of the 1 lb of ground beef for a later date and stored it in a tupperware container in my fridge. I also saved the extra black beans and corn in tupperware containers (they keep FOREVER).

taco 1

Corn Tortilla Tacos: 16 WeightWatchers points for 2 tacos (with sour cream and cheese)

  • Corn tortillas from Trader Joes
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can corn/ creamed corn/bagged corn (it really doesn’t matter)
  • 1 lb ground organic or free range or just you know good quality turkey (half this after it is cooked. Use one half to make taco turkey and one half to use for other things if needed…or if not to make taco soup *see below*)
  • 1 taco seasoning packet (Whole Foods carries an organic one)
  • Follow the directions on the seasoning packet to make taco ground turkey
  • Sour Cream and shredded cheese if you’re into it

I used this to make 2 days worth of tacos. I was super filled up by the black beans and lean protein in two tacos, so I saved the other two for about 3 days after in my fridge. They were still awesome heated up in the microwave! 

Soups are great because they’re easy, take little hands on work and can use up all the stuff you have laying around your kitchen and need to use. Have you ever seen at restaurants that the special one day (maybe chicken with carrots and asparagus) is magically the soup of the day the next day (chicken and asparagus soup, anyone?). This speaks to the magic of soup…it’s basically the best way to use up all your ingredients while being generally low calorie and incredibly cheap to make. Bonus points if you use your slow cooker/crockpot, they’re awesome.

Here I used up the corn, black beans and ground turkey by making a delicious taco soup. Since the flavor profile was the same, I was able to use the already seasoned turkey (whoops I made too much taco turkey and not enough plain!) and was able to just add that right into the recipe and combine with the new ingredients (chicken stock, onion, spices).

taco 2

Black Bean, Corn and Ground Turkey Taco Soup: 4 WeightWatchers points per serving

  • 8 oz/.5 lb of ground turkey (from the taco recipe earlier)
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 3/4 cup black beans
  • 1 cup low sodium organic chicken stock
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • chili powder, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste
  • Sour cream topping and Food Should Taste Good multigrain tortilla chips optional

In a sauce pan throw in a little olive oil, then add the ground beef and 1/2 diced onion. Cook until the onion starts to brown and become translucent. Then add the black beans, corn, chicken stock, salsa and spices. Bring to a boil and then cook on low for 30 minutes. Top with sour cream and crumbed multigrain tortilla chips. Makes up to 4 servings!

You can also do this with many other items. For instance, I prep whole chickens and make meals for days using the meat, then make stock and soups from the carcass of the chicken. We’ll talk about shopping and prepping coming up soon!

What are your favorite recipes? Do you like cooking for just yourself or would you rather cook for a group? Did you make any of these recipes? Let me know in the comments below!

One thought on “Healthy cooking for one on a budget

  1. I love how you used the left overs from the previous recipe to make the soup. Left overs have such a bad rap. I make soup all the time when I do a fridge clean out and it is often the best soups. I do a thrifting blog about clothes mostly, but I try to show that cooking for yourself rather than take out or restaurant eating is not only thrifty but more healthy too. I really like your blog. Have a lovely rest of your day and good eating. Cheers, Michele

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