G is going out of town for 3 days this week on a business trip. And although I’ll have a wiggly, little 17 month old to look after, I’ll otherwise be living as a single lady – no one to cook for but myself. I’m half sad and half excited. I think a lot of women or men who live alone don’t treat themselves properly when it comes to food. They may go straight to the freezer section and pick out dinner, or (and this one is for my single male friends) open the cereal box and pour a Jethro-sized bowl full of sweet treats and dig in. I don’t think a fancy meal is in order here, or the usage of lots of pots and pans, but I do think it should be special and tasty nonetheless.
My stand-by meal when G goes out of town is usually gnocchi marinara. It’s incredibly simple (due to the fact that I let someone else make the little dumplings for me) and very tasty. Making your own tomato sauce or marinara is the simplest thing to do, usually tastier than the jarred kind, and always better for you. You saute a little garlic* and onion in some olive oil, open a can of either crushed or whole tomatoes (you need to mash the whole ones until the desired consistency), add a little pinch of sugar, s&p to taste, and oregano. And that’s it. Fresh basil is great in here too, or crushed red pepper flakes, a splash of cream or milk for a richer, pink sauce…whatever you want. Besides the fact that you’re making the sauce taste like whatever you want it to taste like, you’re also controlling the sodium content (have you ever looked on the back of one of those jars?!?).
(*never let the garlic brown in your pan. A very light beige is fine, but anything darker will make the garlic pieces hard and bitter. If this happens, start all over again. Trust me.)
Another single-lady meal I love to make is breakfast. for dinner. Whether it’s an omelet or fritata (fancy, open-faced omelet); fried eggs with bacon and buttery toast; scrambled eggs, sausage and biscuits; or pancakes. Everyone loves it, it’s fun and it’s different.
Grilled cheese sandwiches are another fun and easy dinner. If you’re the kind who likes your sandwiches with the square cheese and white bread, go for it. But I love to add different things to mine. Make it French by using brie, blackberry jam and arugula on a baguette. Make it Italian with fresh mozzerella, tomato and basil on focaccia. Make it updated-American with extra sharp cheddar and roasted red peppers on Sourdough…the possibilities are endless.
So I don’t know exactly what I’ll be eating when G is gone, but I do know that I’ll be looking forward to it.