Whether you are stocking your first kitchen or just getting organized these tips will help you make the most of your solo cook kitchen.

Stocking A Freezer for One Person Cooking

The freezer is the single cooks friend! Keep your freezer stocked and organized and meal time will be easy peasy.

  • Labeling with contents, freezer date, and “use by” date on frozen foods is essential. You should also add a “use by” date.  If freezing foods yourself, I highly recommend buying a vacuum sealer.
  • Stock up on frozen fruits and vegetables. These can be a quick and healthy addition to meals and can be used to add some bulk to dishes like soups and stews. Transfer the fruits or vegetables into smaller portions in Ziploc bags and place the Ziploc bags inside the original package.
  • Most of the recipes on “A Weekend Cook” are for one serving, but you may have leftovers when making soups and stews. Consider freezing leftovers in single serving sizes, making it easy to grab a container and reheat for a quick meal.
  • Stock up on protein sources that freeze well, like chicken breasts and ground meat. If freezing fish, I generally buy already flash-frozen packages. These can be used in various dishes and can be thawed quickly in the microwave or refrigerator.
  • Add one or two frozen convenience items like pizza, dinners, and breakfast sandwiches. These can be great for busy nights or mornings when you don’t have time to cook.
  • Take an afternoon and make ahead a few recipes like soups, spicy chili, and or a sausage and potato casserole. This way, you can control the ingredients and portion sizes.
  • If you have room in your freezer, consider keeping some ice cream or other frozen treats on hand for a special treat.

What are the best fruits for freezing?

I only buy frozen berries because fresh ones can be too delicate for proper freezing at home. When you buy frozen fruits, they have been flash frozen at peak ripeness.

  • Some fruits to consider are Apricots, Cherries, Grapes, Mango, Pineapple, Peaches, and Plums.

If you are freezing fresh fruit, wash and dry it thoroughly, then slice or chop it as desired. You can freeze fruit in a single layer on a sheet pan, then transfer it to a freezer bag or container once it is frozen to help prevent the fruit from sticking together. You can also freeze fruit in bags or containers sprinkled with a little bit of sugar to help preserve its flavor and texture. Just label everything with the date so you know how long it has been in the freezer.

Check out the USDA for tips on keeping foods safe.

How to Stock a Pantry for One Person?

 Keep a variety of non-perishable pantry staples on hand, such as canned goods (tuna, beans, tomatoes), pasta, rice, quinoa, oats, and grains. These can be used as the base for many meals and can be easily combined with fresh or frozen ingredients.

A favorite pantry meal of mine is a mini tuna casserole. For something sweet this single serving decadent nutella mug cake is rich, delicious and ready in under 5 minutes.

  • Stock up on dried herbs and spices, as well as condiments like soy sauce, vinegar, and oil. These can add flavor to simple meals.
  • Remember baking supplies like flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. These staples can are used to make quick breads, muffins, and other baked goods. If you are a lemon lover then you may also want to dried lemon powder on hand.
  • Keep a selection of snack items on hand, such as nuts, seeds, crackers, and granola bars. These can be great for a quick bite between meals.
  • If you have the space, consider keeping a few essential ingredients in the pantry, such as onions, potatoes, and garlic. These can add flavor to many dishes and have a longer shelf life than other fresh produce items.
  • If you drink wine, buy half-sized bottles, if you cook with wine buy individual sized bottles or freeze leftover wine for cooking.

Stocking A Refrigerator for One Person

  • Keep a supply of fresh fruits and vegetables on hand. These can be used as quick, healthy snacks or as meal ingredients.
  • Stock up on protein sources like eggs, chicken, fish, and tofu. These can be used in various dishes and stored in the refrigerator for several days.
  • Consider keeping a few pre-made items in the refrigerator, like cooked grains or pre-chopped vegetables. These can save time when you’re preparing meals.
  • Keep condiments like ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise in the refrigerator. These can add flavor to sandwiches and other dishes.
  • Remember beverages! . Keep a supply of water, juice, and other drinks on hand.

Cookware Suggestions for The Solo Cook

It depends if you are the type of cook that cooks larger meals for leftovers or don’t like leftovers.  When cooking for one person, having a few small to medium-sized pots and pans is a good idea. 

Here are some recommendations for cookware sizes:

  • A small saucepan (1-2 quarts) can be used for boiling eggs, cooking grains, or heating small amounts of soup or sauce.
  • A medium saucepan (2-3 quarts) is a versatile size that can be used for a variety of tasks, such as boiling pasta, making soups, or cooking grains.
  • A small to medium skillet (8-10 inches) is useful for cooking small portions of meat, vegetables, or eggs. If you have room then a 7-inch cast-iron skillet is excellent for both baking and using on the stovetop!
  • A medium to large pot (4-6 quarts) is used to make larger batches of soup, chili, stew, pasta, or grains.

Having a mix of non-stick and regular pots and pans, as well as a few lids to fit different sizes of pots is recommended. It is also helpful to have a few individual-size baking dishes and a small roasting pan for oven use.

What Size Bakeware is Best for Making Single-Serving Recipes?

When making single-serving recipes, it’s generally most convenient to use small bakeware.

Here are some recommendations for bakeware sizes:

  • A small loaf pan (5×3 inches) makes small loaves of bread or for baking individual meatloaf portions.
  • A small casserole dishes (5×5 inches or 5×7 inches) is perfect for making single-serving size casseroles or baked pasta dishes.
  • A 1/8 and 1/4 size baking sheets are great for baking small batch cookies, roasted vegetables, or small sheet pan meals.
  • A small 6-well muffin tin is suitable for making a small batch and individual portions of muffins, cupcakes, or mini quiches. When I bake recipes for one or two muffins, I fill the middle section only, works great. You can also use a small 8 or 10-ounce baking ramekin.

It’s recommended to have a variety of metal, ceramic, and glass bakeware, as different materials can affect the baking time and results of your recipes. Have silicone baking mats or parchment paper on hand to use as a non-stick surface for baking.

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