I couldn’t be happier or more excited, because my daughter is on a plane headed towards Los Angeles as I write this, but normally it’s dinner for one around here. I know a lot of my single friends think that means it’s not worth cooking. They always say ” why” when there is no one to appreciate all the effort?

My baby's on a plane headed here now

My (now grown-up) baby’s on a plane headed here now

“Why?” Because I like good food , and I deserve to eat well too, don’t you?  What does being single have to do with it?

Eating out is really fun, occasionally.  There are times I am so tired by the end of the day the last thing I want to think about is getting all dolled up to go back out again. In fact, back in the days of touring (living in luxury hotels and dining in Michelin star restaurants), there were times I would have given anything for a home cooked meal. When I dine out, I want it to be an event in and of itself. There’s nothing special about it when you do it night after night.

Choosing the kale salad over southern fried chicken is difficult!

Choosing the kale salad over southern fried chicken is difficult!

Unfortunately, I have to watch my waistline too. Fat + sugar + salt = flavor in most chef’s opinions, and they are correct to a degree, they just tend to get carried away. I believe in everything within moderation, but I’ve also found a little imagination and finesse can coax that flavor out in other, healthier ways. Then there’s my will-power, or lack there of. Sitting next to a table full of scintillating Southern fried chicken while I munch on a kale salad is tough.

For myself, I like to make 4-5 meals in once PCA cook date

For myself, I like to make 4-5 meals in once PCA cook date

What if I told you that you could get away with cooking only once or twice a month to enjoy delicious homemade dinners? Wouldn’t you be more likely to do that for yourself? With the Personal Chef Approach you can have dinner ready faster than you could go through the drive-thru on your way home from work, because all you have to do is “heat to eat” most nights.  I like figure I’ll go out 1-2 times a week, so I make myself 4-5 meals in one PCA cook date, and that usually lasts me an entire month.

Here’s how it works for singles – while a family of four would need to cook weekly, or double their recipes and cook just twice a month – a single gal can get away with just once or twice a month. You simply cook the normal size recipe of 4 servings, and package each serving individually. Remember the PCA is all about cooking multiple meals all in one go, so you will still have variety. Choose a few of your meals to keep in the fridge for the week ahead, and the rest go into the freezer for a later date. When you learn how to cool, package, store, then heat correctly – those frozen dinners should taste exactly as they did when you made them, because you’re freezing them at peak freshness.

The PCA is about cooking multiple meals at once, so enjoy homemade dinners all month

The PCA is about cooking multiple meals at once, so enjoy homemade dinners all month

Maybe you’d rather not repeat the same menu four weeks in a row? Just use the handy dandy recipe scaler on the website to change the servings to 1 or 2, and it will automatically scale your ingredients on the grocery list as well as on the recipe! My favorite part of all of this, is the pots and pans are all already done when I do my monthly or bi-monthly cook date, so all I have to do is toss my plates in the dishwasher when I’m done eating!

Marinate or rub your proteins and freeze, then defrost and grill off when ready

Marinate or rub your proteins and freeze, then defrost and grill off when ready

One other option I like while the weather is still hot, is to marinate or rub my proteins, then freeze them before cooking them, so the messy part is already done and the entree will be flavor packed by the time I want to cook it.  I pull the entree and side dish I want the next evening, out of the freezer and into the fridge to defrost. When I come home from work the next day all I have to do is grill off my entree while I heat my side dish in the microwave.

Roasted Garlic & Chili Rubbed Steak

Roasted Garlic & Chili Rub

I’m feeling generous today, so here’s the Roasted Garlic & Chili Rub that Tatjana always requests when she comes home. It is absolutely delicious on just about any kind of protein. I’ve used it on tofu, chicken, shrimp, and beef!

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

Roasted Garlic & Chili Porterhouse Steaks

  • 1 whole head garlic roasted and squeezed out of its paper like exterior
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 pounds or 4 thick steak cut of choice

Directions

Roasted Garlic & Chili Rub Porterhouse Steaks

  1. Prepare a hot grill.
  2. Squeeze roasted garlic out of it’s skins into a small bowl. Add chili powder, brown sugar, oregano and salt. Slowly add the olive oil, mixing into a paste consistency. Rub mixture generously all over the steaks.
  3. Grill the steaks on the hot grill until cooked as desired, about 4-5 minutes per side for medium rare depending on thickness.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with chipotle cauliflower mash or mashed potatoes, Tex Mex zucchini hash, or simple grilled vegetables.

Heat To Eat

I like to rub my meat, poultry or seafood and store until I am ready to grill and eat; but you could also heat already cooked meats in the microwave on 50% power to heat without cooking further, for 3-5 minutes, turning midway to distribute heat evenly.

Notes

To roast the garlic: Preheat oven to 400° F. Cut a 4-inch square piece of foil and place on a sheet pan. Peel the papery outer layer of a head of garlic off, leaving the skins on. Cut 1/2-inch off of the top of the head of garlic. Place the larger piece of garlic on the square of foil on a sheet pan (save the rest for another use). Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the top coating well. Wrap the foil loosely around the head of garlic and roast in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the garlic is soft and squishy when you squeeze it. Store any excess garlic in an airtight container coating the garlic in olive oil for up to one week.

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  • August 31, 2014
    8:00 am

    I love the idea of rubs or marinades! You’ve just inspired me to use some butter chicken sauce on some tofu. I can place the tofu in a plastic resealable bag and pour in the sauce and let it marinate for the day and then roast it for the evening meal. With the bottle of sauce, I could do two bricks of tofu, freeze one and use the other one for dinner tonight. You inspire me in so many ways! I’m only a couple of weeks away from getting that little freezer! Just can’t wait to be able to freeze up entrees and really use PCA to the fullest. I figure if I get the right height of wooden stool, I can sit at the table to do my chopping and save my energy by not standing. I can move the stool to the kitchen and sit while I stir pots and rinse utensils, load the dishwasher and so on. My housekeeper isn’t into cooking and doesn’t want to do any cooking, just cleaning, so I’m leaving it at that. She’s a treasure and I don’t want to lose her. Who else would help me put a bookcase together? LOL Any way, you’re so right, dinner for one is just as important as cooking for a table of friends. Why do we make do with a bowl of cereal or whatever when we can cook up some wonderful entrees, divide them up into individual portions and eat like we should every day and not spend horrible amounts of money on restaurant meals? I’m all for home cooked meals! I’ve got my eyes on the tofu for today along with an Italian Zucchini Quinoa casserole that won’t be difficult to whip up. Right there, that’s at least 6 entrees. Add salad and some fruit and I’ve got an entire meal taken care of. That just makes good “cents” and I think I’m worth the effort. Cheers Jewels! Have a wonderful visit with Tatjana and your parents!