Cooking for One

by Koko on February 5, 2014 · 4 comments

in Cooking, Lunches

I love to cook. Well, I love to cook for two. But when it comes to cooking for one, I tend to get boring: quesadillas, pasta, you get the drift. So this deployment, I have made a promise to myself to cook real, whole, healthy food, even if it is just for one.

So my new thing (at least in the past two weeks) is to cook out a big side (farro), a protein (lots of tofu) and some veggies and eat it for a few days. Boring, I know, but it keeps me from eating pasta every night or cheese and crackers (although I have broken down and done that once also). I’ve also realized that without Q around I am 90% vegetarian. I don’t know if I am so sick of cooking pounds of chicken every night or what, but I go days without eating meat!


So here are some of my cooking for one favorites:

Farro (especially the 10-minute kind from Trader Joe’s) – So versatile, so delicious, and my favorite grain. Other favorite grains: brown rice, bulgur and barley: all easy, easy, easy! (Recipes: Kale & Farro Salad,  One Pot Farro with Tomatoes, Roasted Farro with Greens)

Tofu – Bake it out in the toaster oven for 10 minutes at 375 with some spices and toss it in a salad or over grains. (Recipe: Baked Tofu & Quinoa with Spinach and Chickpeas)

Black Beans – To eat with eggs, or over rice served with avocado and a little chicken. (Recipe: Mexican Chicken Bowls or Turkey Skillet)

Eggs – The easiest 3-minute dinner: crack two eggs into a mug sprayed with Pam, sprinkle with salt and pepper, microwave for 60 seconds until cooked through; place on a toasted English Muffin; top with salsa, avocado and a little cheese- voila! (Or this Orange Sesame Chicken with some scrambled eggs on top)

Hummus – Tapas plate for one: hummus, pita chips, olives (no protein, I know)

Greek Yogurt, Berries and Granola – Who is against having a little breakfast for dinner in the form of a parfait?

Stir Fry or Fried Rice– I toss all of my veggies and rice into a wok, add teriyaki or sesame ginger dressing, crack an egg and cook it up. This is one of those big meals that will last me for a few days.

A Big Ol’ Salad – I toss in everything but the kitchen sink in to my salads: a few cranberries, pecans, chicken or tofu and a quarter of an avocado over mixed greens with champagne or raspberry vinaigrette.  Toss in a whole bunch of lettuce for the ultimate filler (you will get stuffed quickly) and you are done. If you think you’ll need a little something extra, I go with a piece of homemade wheat bread on the side. (Recipe: Butter Lettuce Salad with Wasabi Dressing)


What are some of your cooking for one favorites?

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Weekly Meal Planning

by Koko on August 29, 2013 · 1 comment

in Meal Planning

Before we get into the whole food thing, I am excited to announce that our wedding is featured on Style Me Pretty today. VERY exciting! And lots of new photos if you are interested!


I love looking at these photos all over again, makes me want to do the whole thing again!

And now onto food this week…


MondayGrilled Chicken with Cous Cous, Roasted Tomatoes and Spinach: This is an under 30 minute meal. I used my favorite piece of kitchen equipment, The Griddler, to cook out the chicken. I sautéed a couple of cups of spinach and simultaneously roasted cherry tomatoes. I add those to some cous cous and dinner was served!


Tuesday: Slow Cooker Turkey Chili – The easiest meal ever! At noon, I added all the goods to the slow cooker, hit on and 6 hours later we had dinner! Add some brown rice, greek yogurt and avocado and a perfect dinner is made.


Wednesday: Teriyaki Chicken Bowls: Another easy weekday favorite. I used The Griddler again to cook out the chicken and made this teriyaki sauce. I marinated the chicken for about an hour before cooking it and then threw it on the grill. I roasted asparagus and carrots and dinner was served.


Thursday: Tonight I’m thinking of making these Feta and Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts and some Israeli Cous Cous perhaps.

stuffed chix

And then for the long weekend, Q and I are tentatively planning on heading to Savannah with Carl! We visited Savannah once when Q was down here for training, but only spent a quick 24-hours there. We are excited to head back there (about a 4-hour drive away) and show Carl around!

What’s everyone doing this weekend?


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Blue Apron

by Koko on August 20, 2013 · 5 comments

in Cooking


About a month ago, I was reading my daily food blogs when I read an article about a meal delivery service based in NY called Blue Apron. This delivery service was different than others I’d tried and read about before. It didn’t send you pre-made, pre-packaged meals, instead it sent you the ingredients and recipes to make your own meals. I sent the link off to my girlfriend Ali in DC and told her I thought it was right up her alley (at that time, they were only servicing NY and DC). When she reported back that they loved it, I knew it was a fabulous idea, especially for young couples who both work.


And then last week out of the blue (no pun intended!), I was contacted by Blue Apron to try a box of our own and I was thrilled. Q and I jumped at the opportunity to try something like this. Although we are both well versed in the kitchen and have our weekly staples, we thought it would be great to branch out and try some new recipes and see what this program was all about.


Our box had ingredients and recipes for three meals:

Lamb & Beef Rice Noodles with Mint, Lime & Ponzu

Chicken with Tomato, Fennel & Creamy Tarragon Sauce

Golden Catfish with Sauteed Kale & Dijon Potato Salad

And here are even more recipes they’ve done.


We were SO impressed with the quality of ingredients Blue Apron sent our way. Everything was labeled and perfectly portioned out. The recipes were easy to follow and were challenging enough that we felt like we were actively part of the process (something Q and I enjoy). And the food was absolutely delicious.


I talked to Ali after we got our box and was telling her how much we had loved it as well. She mentioned that she really liked how each meal taught her how proper portions should look (how much meat, veggie, carb per plate). And I totally agree. It teaches novice and advanced chefs alike what a real plate should look like.

Q and I were thinking this could be a great housewarming present, new baby gift or wedding present (especially for couples just returning from their honeymoons). It takes all the work out of grocery shopping and prepping and makes cooking fun!


Overall, here’s how Blue Apron works:
* Every week, Blue Apron delivers a box with ingredients for three meals.
* You can choose between two plans: poultry/meat/fish or vegetarian.
* There’s no commitment, so you can cancel anytime.
* A box with three meat/fish/poultry meals for two adults was $59.95 with free delivery.
* They deliver to most of the west and east coasts of the United States (map here)

I’m happy to announce that new Blue Apron users can get 30% off their first order using this link.

I would LOVE to hear your experiences with the service. We are HUGE fans and I wouldn’t bring you something I didn’t firmly believe in. Oh, and Carl loved it too. 

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Weekly Meal Planning

by Koko on August 15, 2013 · 4 comments

in Cooking, Meal Planning, Recipe

Q and I are back on the meal planning road. It always takes a little while to get back in a routine after moving.

We had to figure out what Q’s work schedule was going to be like (he gets home around 6:45 each night) and what my school schedule was going to be (night classes Monday and Tuesday) and then make our plans from there.

The good news is we are able to find great fresh produce that we were lacking in Alaska! There is a huge variety of places to shop (the commissary, Fresh Market (like Whole Foods), Publix, and local farmer’s markets) and we have been exploring those as well.


Monday – Orange Sesame Chicken Bowls. Easy, quick and I had all the ingredients on hand. If you don’t have grated carrots, you can just cut whole carrots into pieces and roast them instead like I did here! I am a big fan of having a bag of carrots in the fridge at all times for juicing or dishes like this.


Tuesday: Teriyaki Chicken Bowls. I don’t know if it is because my mom is from Hawaii or that I am a quarter Japanese, but I LOVE teriyaki. I wanted to try my own sauce for this dinner and found out that it is actually SUPER easy (recipe below). I used the Griddler to cook the chicken breasts, roasted carrots in the oven for 25 minutes at 400 degrees and put some white rice in the rice maker. This meal came together in less than 30 minutes!


Teriyaki Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 2-3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger

Whisk ingredients together and you are good to go. I used half as a marinade for my chicken and the other half went on top of my bowls

Wednesday – Grilled Chicken, Greek Salad and Cous Cous with Tzaziki Sauce:  Another easy, off the cuff dinner idea. Q and I have SO many homegrown tomatoes laying around that I thought an easy Greek salad was in the works (cucumber, tomato, feta, olive oil, salt and pepper). I *cheated* and made cous cous from the box (can’t beat 5 minute cous cous) and used The Griddler again for our chicken. An easy tzatziki sauce finished this one out (Greek yogurt, cucumber, dill, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper).


Thursday: Tonight will be my favorite Caprese Pasta with our remaining tomatoes! I usually cook out some turkey sausage on the side for Q to add to his since he is not a fan of vegetarian only meals.


Friday: Pizza Night! Q and I got an awesome pizza stone for our wedding and it has upped the quality of our pizzas by a lot, definitely worth the investment.


What’s on your meal plan for the week?

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