Tag Archives: cooking for one

Dinner for one — Mushroom bourguignon


One of the main excuses that I hear from people who don’t cook for themselves is that it doesn’t make sense to cook for one. If you don’t like to cook, that’s fine, but if you want a home-cooked meal and are eating solo, I don’t see why you shouldn’t be able to make something delicious in a single portion!

Paco was out late at a baseball game last night, so I decided to make myself a mushroom bourguignon. I love beef bourguignon (this recipe from Baked Bree is amazing), but it takes hours and genuinely doesn’t really make sense for one (unless you want to make a full batch and save the leftovers for later). However, it’s easy to make as many or as few mushrooms as you’d like, and the mushroom version is a lot quicker because there is no beef to braise.

I used the mushroom bourguignon recipe from Smitten Kitchen, but I added some bacon and a few touches from the beef recipe above.  The bacon adds a nice savory quality, but you can follow the original recipe to keep it vegetarian.

Mushroom Bourguignon for One
(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1 T butter
1 T olive oil
2/3 lb mushrooms, I used a mixture of portobello and crimini
1/3 onion, diced
1/2 carrot, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3-4 springs of thyme, leaves removed
1/2 c red wine
1 T brandy
1/2 c – 1 c water, beef broth, or vegetable broth
1 T tomato paste
1/2 T flour
kosher salt
black pepper

2 strips bacon, diced
1/2 c frozen pearl onions, defrosted
1 tsp brown sugar
1/4 c parsley, chopped

egg noodles, prepared according to package directions

Begin by making the bacon and onion garnish. Brown the bacon over medium heat in a small skillet, remove to drain on paper towels once crispy. Drain off some of the excess bacon grease from the pan, but leave a little bit to fry the onions in. Add the onions, tossing in the bacon fat. When they begin to brown, add the brown sugar and continue to cook for another minute, so that a nice crust forms over the onions. Set aside.

Heat 1/2 T of olive oil and 1/2 T of butter in a pot over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and brown for a few minutes, until they are dark brown but before they begin to release a lot of liquid. Remove them from the pot and set aside.

Add the remaining olive oil to the pot and add the onions, carrots, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes, then add the garlic, and saute for an additional minute. Add the wine to the pot, stirring to deglaze the pan. When the wine has reduced by half, add the brandy, tomato paste, and water or broth. Add the mushrooms to the pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Mix 1/2 T of room temperature butter with 1/2 T of flour to make a paste, then add this to the sauce and stir. This should thicken the sauce. Simmer for another 10 minutes, or until the sauce has reached the desired consistency. Taste and reseason if necessary.

Serve over egg noodles and garnish with the pearl onions and bacon.

Grilled vegetable sandwiches with hummus and goat cheese


I used grilled eggplant and zucchini for these, but any grilled vegetables would work.

Bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, anything that tastes good with a  bit of char would be great.  I grilled mine after brushing them with a combination of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and red pepper flakes. The key to a good vegetable sandwich, in my opinion, is making sure that it’s not dry.  You can accomplish this with a variety of spreads–aioli, cream cheese, hummus, pesto, guacamole, tapenade. . .whatever sounds good to you.

Grilled Vegetable Sandwiches with Hummus and Goat Cheese

Grilled eggplant, zucchini, or other grilled vegetables
Hummus (I used a black bean and chipotle harissa version that I bought at Sprouts, it’s amazing)
Goat cheese
Whole wheat pita bread

Cut the pita bread in half, then toast or warm in the oven.

Open the pita bread so that it forms a pocket. Spread hummus over the bottom half, then stuff with the vegetables. Top with goat cheese.

That’s it!  It’s not much of a “recipe,” but the combination was so delicious that I had to share it.

Wilted spinach and fried tofu salad


This salad was inspired by Rachael Ray’s chicken piccata salad, which we make quite frequently.  I wanted to incorporate some salty, fried tofu, and the result was delicious!

Wilted Spinach and Fried Tofu Salad
(serves 2)

1 block of tofu, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 pound of baby spinach, washed
1 T vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 red onion, finely sliced
2 T capers
juice of 1 lemon
1 T butter
kosher salt
black pepper

To fry to the tofu, lay the slices out on top of three paper towels. Place three more paper towels on top of the tofu, and press to remove the excess water.

In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat. Fry the tofu for a few minutes, until the first side is golden brown. Flip and brown the second side. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. Season with salt while hot, and slice into bite-sized cubes.

In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Saute the garlic and onions in the pan until golden, then turn off the heat and add the lemon juice and capers. Season with black pepper. Add the spinach and toss for 30 seconds to a minute, until some of the spinach has wilted but a lot of it is still raw.

Serve the tofu over a bed of semi-wilted spinach.  The different textures of the spinach really make the salad.