Whether it’s frozen pizza, grilled steak, or mac and cheese, we all have the staple meal we cook when we have to prepare a meal for just ourselves. When I moved to the valley, my go-to grub was pasta with sauteed vegetables and Parmesan cheese. I must have eaten the boring mushrooms, broccoli, and zucchini concoction three times a week. If I was feeling lazy I could head over to the frozen food isle for some chicken patties and tater tots. I am amazed that my taste buds did not go on strike.

To tell you the truth, I was intimidated by the kitchen. My pasta “recipe” required very little preparation and few ingredients. New recipes involved learning “fancy” cooking techniques and experimenting with foods, especially spices. Why would I bother putting in all that effort when I was only cooking for myself anyway?

Then one day, ok, it was actually over the course of two years, something changed. I thought a great Christmas gift would be a collection of friends’ family recipes. When my attempts to procure enough recipes failed, I decided to compile a cookbook of my favorite foods. I asked my mom for her recipes, but I found cutting ingredients in half still left me with more leftovers than I knew what to do with.

After preparing Italian dishes, there was also the age-old question, “What do I do with the rest of this can of tomato paste?” As I fumbled through the recipes and came up with solutions for the extra tomato paste, I realized that I didn’t really care about the cookbook  I had found a new passion. I loved to cook.

Food can be an unbelievable tool for connecting with friends and family. It can also be an amazing way to reconnect with yourself. I have discovered that at the end of a long day of work, I love to go home, crack open a bottle of wine, put on a Billie Holiday record (yes, I do still have vinyl), and start chopping, stirring, and sauteing. Cooking this way feeds both my body and soul, not to mention my boyfriend.

In this blog I will share ideas with you on how to cook for one. Posts will include recipes as well as techniques to make cooking for yourself less intimidating and more practical. “But I’m not single,” you say? To which I reply, “almost everyone is single for a night here and there.” If you like the recipe, but want to cook it for more than one, just multiply the ingredients by the number of people.

So hey, before your taste buds go on strike, get out there and cook!