Why Should I Cook at Home When I Live Alone?

A homemade turkey burger with a Greek style salad is much cheaper and healthier than a fast food burger and fries
A homemade turkey burger with a Greek style salad is much cheaper and healthier than a fast food burger and fries | Source

Inspiration, imagination, motivation - all can be in pretty short supply when it comes to cooking and you live alone. You will often feel that there is quite simply no point in spending a great deal of time and effort in the kitchen, particularly on a weeknight, cooking a meal which no one else is ever going to see or enjoy. The temptation to pop a ready meal in the microwave or pick up some fast food on the way home from work will often be overwhelming. This will seem to be the option granting you the most time each evening to spend relaxing in front of the TV, surfing the Web, or perhaps even reading a good book.

There are, however, a number of benefits associated with cooking for one in this situation. Some are obvious, some perhaps not so obvious. This page is not only about defining these benefits but looking at how they can be harnessed by almost anyone to very best effect.

But I Can't Cook! - The Principal Objection?

Is this something which you have just said to yourself? If so, the reality is that you almost certainly do have the latent ability to cook - you simply haven't learned how to use it yet. Think about some of the things you do every day in life. Can you drive a car? Swim? Ride a bicycle? What about the simple fact that you're reading the words on this page? Are these all things you were born able to do, or did they require to be learned (perhaps painstakingly) over a period of time?

Cooking is no different. Just remember to start simple and develop your talents through time and you will soon be laughing at the fact you once doubted your own ability.

Soups are a Great Way to Start Developing Your Cooking Talents

What could be easier yet more comforting and satisfying than a bowl of homemade soup? Be imaginative, make some stock and buy the fresh ingredients of your choice. You can even freeze it in batches for use on other occasions!
What could be easier yet more comforting and satisfying than a bowl of homemade soup? Be imaginative, make some stock and buy the fresh ingredients of your choice. You can even freeze it in batches for use on other occasions! | Source
Whatever your currency, cooking at home can save you money
Whatever your currency, cooking at home can save you money

#1 - Cooking at Home Will Almost Certainly Save You Money

How much do you spend at the moment each week or month on fast food or supermarket ready meals? Take a minute or two to come up with an approximate but realistic figure. The simple fact here is that you may well be able to not only reduce that sum by cooking at home but half it or even better! Is there something you could better spend that cash on?

Check the list of ingredients on a ready meal box or think about what is in your fast food purchase. Check the prices of those ingredients in your local supermarket and think about how you can combine them at home at a fraction of the price. Search online for recipes and cooking instructions in this case. You will always find more options than you are ever likely to be able to use.

Menu Option #1 - Fish Pie with Herb Buttered New Potatoes

Succulent white fish in a rich tomato sauce is topped with cheese and breadcrumbs and served with dill buttered new potatoes
Succulent white fish in a rich tomato sauce is topped with cheese and breadcrumbs and served with dill buttered new potatoes
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Preparing the tomato sauce for the fish pieFresh whiting filletWhiting fillet is chopped in to pieces for fish pieThe whiting and tomato sauce is layered when assembling the fish pieFish pie ready for the ovenBread and cheese forms the topping for the fish pieBread and cheese are grated, seasoned and mixedCheese and breadcrumbs are scattered on top of the pieButter and dill are added to the drained potatoes while the pie topping is toastingFish pie is plated, ready for the potatoes
Preparing the tomato sauce for the fish pie
Preparing the tomato sauce for the fish pie
Fresh whiting fillet
Fresh whiting fillet
Whiting fillet is chopped in to pieces for fish pie
Whiting fillet is chopped in to pieces for fish pie
The whiting and tomato sauce is layered when assembling the fish pie
The whiting and tomato sauce is layered when assembling the fish pie
Fish pie ready for the oven
Fish pie ready for the oven
Bread and cheese forms the topping for the fish pie
Bread and cheese forms the topping for the fish pie
Bread and cheese are grated, seasoned and mixed
Bread and cheese are grated, seasoned and mixed
Cheese and breadcrumbs are scattered on top of the pie
Cheese and breadcrumbs are scattered on top of the pie
Butter and dill are added to the drained potatoes while the pie topping is toasting
Butter and dill are added to the drained potatoes while the pie topping is toasting
Fish pie is plated, ready for the potatoes
Fish pie is plated, ready for the potatoes

Ingredients

Fillet of whiting or other white fish
14oz can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp dried dill
2 slices of bread (circa 4 tbsp breadcrumbs)
2oz cheddar cheese
Small new potatoes
Butter
Salt and pepper

A fish pie will perhaps more commonly consist of two or more types of fish in a bechamel sauce, topped off with fluffy mashed potatoes. This very different alternative, however, is equally delicious and represents the perfect portion for one person.

Get your oven on to preheat to 375F/190C. Add the potatoes unpeeled to a pot of cold, salted water and bring to a boil, before reducing to a simmer for around twenty-five to thirty minutes until soft.

Pour the tomatoes in to a saucepan and add half a teaspoon of the dill. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well and put on the heat to reach a simmer.

Chop the fillet of whiting in to six to eight even sized pieces. Spoon some of the tomato sauce in to the base of an individual pie dish and lay half the whiting pieces on top. Add more sauce, the remaining whiting pieces and finally the last of the sauce. Sit the dish on a baking tray and cook in the oven for fifteen minutes.

Grate the bread and cheese. Add to a small bowl, season and mix together. When the fish is ready, take it from the oven and scatter the bread and cheese mix over the top. Place it under an overhead grill for a couple of minutes until browned and the cheese is melted.

Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot with the butter and remaining dill. Swirl the pot to coat all the potatoes evenly.

Plate the pie and arrange the potatoes alongside and your meal is ready to enjoy.

Excess salt, sugar and saturated fat is one of the dangers of fast food
Excess salt, sugar and saturated fat is one of the dangers of fast food

#2 - Home Cooked Food is Likely to be Considerably Healthier than Fast Food

It is a fact that many fast foods and prepackaged meals come with a number of ingredients which you would not expect or desire. This can include an excess of salt, sugar or saturated fat but can also represent a number of artificial colourants, preservatives and more which are less than beneficial to your health and can cause you long term problems.

While these issues are becoming ever more prominent in the media and many food producers are taking account of concerns raised, there sadly do remain others who don't give a monosodium glutamate for your health, so long as you continue to enjoy and buy their products. By cooking at home with fresh ingredients, you can eliminate or at least control the level of these ingredients in your food and reduce the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, strokes and other long term ill effects on your health.

Menu Option #2 - A Bacon Sandwich to Rival a Fast Food Burger

A sandwich is perhaps not something most people consider for dinner but what - essentially- is a burger? This very different and satisfying bacon sandwich also includes green salad leaves, pineapple and camembert cheese
A sandwich is perhaps not something most people consider for dinner but what - essentially- is a burger? This very different and satisfying bacon sandwich also includes green salad leaves, pineapple and camembert cheese
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Bread stick is halved and lightly toastedRocket leaves/arugula is firstly laid on the bottom half of the breadBacon is laid on top of the salad leavesCamembert is placed on top of the baconBacon sandwich is halved and served
Bread stick is halved and lightly toasted
Bread stick is halved and lightly toasted
Rocket leaves/arugula is firstly laid on the bottom half of the bread
Rocket leaves/arugula is firstly laid on the bottom half of the bread
Bacon is laid on top of the salad leaves
Bacon is laid on top of the salad leaves
Camembert is placed on top of the bacon
Camembert is placed on top of the bacon
Bacon sandwich is halved and served
Bacon sandwich is halved and served

Ingredients

12” wholegrain bread stick
4 medallions of back bacon or normal bacon rashers/slices
Generous handful of rocket/arugula
4 slices of camembert cheese
2 rings of pineapple (canned in pineapple juice)
Freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable or sunflower oil for frying (if applicable)

When you think of a bacon sandwich, what do you think of? A few bits of bacon, stuck between two slices of buttered bread? While that may be (and is!) a very tasty combination, it is not difficult to take a bacon sandwich beyond such levels of simplicity. Think about other ingredients you like, or perhaps which ingredients are added to your favourite burger combination, and simply apply them to a bacon sandwich. That is all that has been done in this creation.

The bacon can be shallow fried or grilled, in either case for a couple of minutes each side. The bread should be halved horizontally and lightly toasted on the opened sides.

The rocket leaves/arugula should be laid on the bottom half of the bread followed by the bacon, camembert slices and halved pineapple rings. Salt should not be necessary due to the salt in the bacon but black pepper should be added before the top is laid in place and the sandwich served.

Note: This was very fresh bread. If the bread is a day or two old, you may wish to drizzle each half with olive oil immediately after it is toasted.

Certain food ingredients are adored by some people and intensely disliked by others
Certain food ingredients are adored by some people and intensely disliked by others

#3 - Eat Only the Ingredients and Food Combinations You Enjoy

Do you ever find yourself about to buy a ready meal or fast food preparation and notice with disappointment at the last minute that it contains an ingredient you can't stomach? Even worse, have you ever bought something and got it home to make this discovery only when it's painfully too late? This could relate to anything from a relish on a burger to a particularly strong flavoured minor ingredient in a curry or stew.

When you buy basic ingredients to cook at home, you essentially eliminate this risk altogether. There is no doubt that what goes in to your meal is only what you put there and what you are going to want to eat. You still have to combine those ingredients and cook them effectively but you have taken a very positive step along the right track.

Menu Option #3 - A Pork Chop with Fried Egg and Chips

A simply fried pork chop, topped by a fried egg and accompanied by freshly homemade chips makes for an excellent dinner
A simply fried pork chop, topped by a fried egg and accompanied by freshly homemade chips makes for an excellent dinner
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Pork chop is gently fried in oilPork chop is transferred to a heated plate to rest while the egg is friedEgg is broken in to a small bowl and seasoned prior to being friedEgg is fried in the juices of the pork chopPork chop is plated and ready for the fried egg
Pork chop is gently fried in oil
Pork chop is gently fried in oil
Pork chop is transferred to a heated plate to rest while the egg is fried
Pork chop is transferred to a heated plate to rest while the egg is fried
Egg is broken in to a small bowl and seasoned prior to being fried
Egg is broken in to a small bowl and seasoned prior to being fried
Egg is fried in the juices of the pork chop
Egg is fried in the juices of the pork chop
Pork chop is plated and ready for the fried egg
Pork chop is plated and ready for the fried egg

Ingredients

1 pork chop
1 large egg
Salt and white pepper
Vegetable oil
Portion of homemade chips to serve

Pork chops are not only very tasty, they are really simple to cook in a variety of different ways. One of the quickest ways of cooking a pork chop is to shallow fry it in oil. This pork chop and fried egg is served with homemade chips but a variety of vegetable accompaniments could be substituted.

Pour about a tablespoon of oil in to a small frying pan and gently heat. Season the pork chop on both sides with salt and white pepper. Fry on a low to medium heat for about eight to ten minutes each side until done. Remove to a heated plate and cover with foil to rest for a few minutes while the egg is fried.

Breaking the egg firstly in to a small bowl allows it to be seasoned before it goes in to the frying pan and also makes it easier to slip it in to the pan. Fry for three or four minutes on a medium heat, depending upon how soft you like the yolk.

Plate the pork chop and chips (or chosen accompaniment) before carefully laying the egg on top with a spatula.

Why not switch the TV off and entertain yourself in the kitchen for a time?
Why not switch the TV off and entertain yourself in the kitchen for a time?

#4 - Banish Boredom or Loneliness with a New Found Hobby!

Two of the biggest problems for some people who live alone can be boredom and loneliness. This can see them come home from work each evening and turn the TV on even before they pop their ready meal in the microwave. In a few minutes and a ping, they are seated in their favourite chair pretty much for the rest of the evening. Sound familiar?

As well as being a healthier alternative to fast food, home cooking can also be fun and a way of filling lonely evenings which would otherwise see you vegetate in front of the TV or aimlessly surfing the Internet. However many TV channels you have access to, the possibilities which exist in your kitchen are far greater in number. Many an otherwise boring, lonely evening can be spent constructively by cooking up a storm in the kitchen, bringing a whole new pleasure to your life and giving you an altogether different hobby. So dig out and dust off your old cookbook selection or check out some recipes online today and get busy.

Menu Option #4 - Snack on Garlic Mushrooms with Toast

This simple dish was cooked up for lunch from leftover/ever present ingredients in less than ten minutes
This simple dish was cooked up for lunch from leftover/ever present ingredients in less than ten minutes
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Tasty snacks and even meals can be made from the most basic of kitchen staplesMushrooms are sliced and garlic clove is peeledMushrooms, garlic and seasonings are added to the heated olive oilSauteed mushrooms are ready to serveToast is plated, ready for the mushrooms
Tasty snacks and even meals can be made from the most basic of kitchen staples
Tasty snacks and even meals can be made from the most basic of kitchen staples
Mushrooms are sliced and garlic clove is peeled
Mushrooms are sliced and garlic clove is peeled
Mushrooms, garlic and seasonings are added to the heated olive oil
Mushrooms, garlic and seasonings are added to the heated olive oil
Sauteed mushrooms are ready to serve
Sauteed mushrooms are ready to serve
Toast is plated, ready for the mushrooms
Toast is plated, ready for the mushrooms

Ingredients

6 to 8 small mushrooms
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp dried sage
3 slices from bread stick
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

What do you do when you fancy a snack? Grab a pack of crisps/potato chips? Apart from their unhealthy nature, some of these snacks can be pretty expensive. Why not, instead, take a cursory glance around your kitchen to see what simple ingredients are available that may otherwise even go to waste? This incredibly simple recipe was prepared in less than ten minutes from start to finish and consists of ingredients commonly found in most kitchens.

Slice the mushrooms and peel the garlic while the olive oil gently heats in a saucepan. Add the mushrooms, grate in the garlic clove and season with the salt, pepper and sage. Sautee for two to three minutes while you prepare the toast, stirring frequently.

Lay the toast on a plate and the mushrooms alongside. Drizzle the remaining oil over the toast and enjoy.

This bangers and mash recipe is but one example of how you can express your artistic side in cooking
This bangers and mash recipe is but one example of how you can express your artistic side in cooking | Source

Cook well…
Eat well…
Be well…

You know it makes sense!

#5 - Indulge Your Creative Side

Everyone has a creative streak in their character, whether they know it and indulge it or not. Some people express this by painting, writing or engaging in some form of craftwork but there are millions who like to express their artistic side in the kitchen. It should be noted that the art of cooking does have its potential pitfalls if taken to extremes but it is even more so a wonderful opportunity to have fun preparing meals and to come up with new, tasty food combinations that you can enjoy for many years to come.

When you have got used to cooking recipes from books, Internet sites or TV cooking shows, why not give your own artistic slant to the process? This can be a way to take your new found pastime and pleasure to dizzy new heights!

More Great Home Cooked Meals for One on Hub Pages

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Casseroled quail on braised savoy cabbage with redcurrant jellyBell pepper and black olive pizza from scratchSeared loin of tuna with salsa and bruschettaBattered and deep fried fillets of basa fish with saladChicken liver pate on toast with saladRoast breast of duck with plum sauce and fried riceTurkey schnitzel with sage and onion gravy and homemade friesSeared partridge breasts on fondant potatoes with a cranberry juice poached pearSustainable version of traditional British fish and chipsPoached chicken wings with simple summer salad
Casseroled quail on braised savoy cabbage with redcurrant jelly
Casseroled quail on braised savoy cabbage with redcurrant jelly | Source
Bell pepper and black olive pizza from scratch
Bell pepper and black olive pizza from scratch | Source
Seared loin of tuna with salsa and bruschetta
Seared loin of tuna with salsa and bruschetta | Source
Battered and deep fried fillets of basa fish with salad
Battered and deep fried fillets of basa fish with salad | Source
Chicken liver pate on toast with salad
Chicken liver pate on toast with salad | Source
Roast breast of duck with plum sauce and fried rice
Roast breast of duck with plum sauce and fried rice | Source
Turkey schnitzel with sage and onion gravy and homemade fries
Turkey schnitzel with sage and onion gravy and homemade fries | Source
Seared partridge breasts on fondant potatoes with a cranberry juice poached pear
Seared partridge breasts on fondant potatoes with a cranberry juice poached pear | Source
Sustainable version of traditional British fish and chips
Sustainable version of traditional British fish and chips | Source
Poached chicken wings with simple summer salad
Poached chicken wings with simple summer salad | Source
5 stars from 2 ratings of these Cooking Tips and Recipes!

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20 comments

Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 19 months ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thanks Vicki and I'm glad you agree with the reasons. Hope you enjoy any the recipes which you try.


vickiholder profile image

vickiholder 19 months ago from The beautiful Ouachita Mtns. in Arkansas

You listed all of my main reasons for preferring to eat at home. Your recipes look and sound great. I'm going to have to give them a try!


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 2 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thank you trusouldj - it was designed for a specific purpose but applies to more people than we may imagine. Hope you found it useful.


trusouldj profile image

trusouldj 2 years ago from Indiana

very unique hub.


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 3 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Hi, Efficient Admin. I like your way of thinking. Good luck with your Weight Watchers! :) Thanks again for visiting and commenting.


Efficient Admin profile image

Efficient Admin 3 years ago from Charlotte, NC

I have found it very true that preparing homecooked meals does indeed save a lot of money versus takeout and sure it is much healthier.

This hub motivates me even more to prepare meals at home especially since I joined Weight Watchers.

When you can make a pork chop with fried eggs and chips on the side, who needs fast food? :-) I need to try that recipe! Looks really good but then again all of your recipes look really good!


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thanks, Simone. It truly is amazing the extent of the savings to be made by cooking at home. You've got me thinking now about ideas for cooking for more than one person...! :)


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thank you, hush4444! The oven temps thing is something I started doing a while back and I actually have a conversion table saved on my PC favourites for any less common temperatures I need to use :) The camembert on bacon was an experiment one night that I loved and have had as a part of different combos. Hope you like it if you give it a try.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

Hahaa, you had me at saving money! Seriously though, I love cooking for myself. It's the best! What *I* really need to do is figure out how to cook for more than one person, hahaa!


hush4444 profile image

hush4444 4 years ago from Hawaii

What a fantastic idea for a hub - you had me with the picture of the Greek salad and turkey burger. I never thought of putting Camembert on a bacon sandwich - my mouth is watering. I appreciate that you converted the oven temps for those of us in the US. Voted up and bookmarked.


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Hi, CJ Andrews. I'm definitely no fast food fan either, though the odd indulgence if I'm away from home can be enjoyable. Glad you enjoy cooking and maybe you can multiply some of these ingredients lists by 4 to give them a try. Thanks for stopping by.


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thank you, LaThing. I hope you do try these ideas and the fish pie is something I have made and enjoyed many times with a few different types of white fish.


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Hi, Paradise7 and thanks. You're right, most of the stuff featured here is very straightforward when you think about it and is well within the preparation capabilities of most people. Good that this was timely for you and I hope your grocery shopping is successful and your burger is tasty.


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

You're welcome anytime, Nell. :) I've actually made that train journey many times and it's quite incredible how much the cost varies depending upon when you travel!

I hope this maybe helps inspire your brother to enjoy a more varied diet. Thanks for commenting.


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thanks, consentino. Maybe you could try something from this page to give him a night off or impress him?


CJ Andrews profile image

CJ Andrews 4 years ago from Norwalk, Ohio

I enjoyed all the pictures that accompanied your hub. I enjoy cooking at home, generally for4 though :). I am not a fan of fast food.


LaThing profile image

LaThing 4 years ago from From a World Within, USA

This is an incredible hub! Wonderfully written, and presented! I hope you will ;)

Believe me, I will be trying most of those recipes, specially the fish pie! Voting up, and sharing!

Thanks!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 4 years ago from Upstate New York

All of it looks very delicious and seems fairly easy. It's an inspiration! I go grocery shopping tomorrow, so it's also a very timely reminder, too. I'm one of those--"I can't cook worth a darn" folks, but I could make that burger in the first pic, easily enough.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

I wonder how much it costs to get from the South of England to Scotland on a train? because I am inviting myself up to your place so that you can cook for me! lol! you always manage to make the food so inviting. my brother lives on his own and he lives on sandwiches and soups, it drives me mad! I am always telling him off for it, and yes it is so much cheaper doing it your way, I will have to tell him again, and show him this! voted up! cheers nell


consentino 4 years ago from GLENDALE

Yummy! Yummy! Everything looks wonderful. My husband does all our cooking now.

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