Five Easy Meals For One

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

Tired of eating micro waved, prepared foods after a hard day of work? What if you could eat fresh without making a mess? Check out these five, easy-to-prep, easy-to-eat meals, just right for one. Note good nutrition starts at the supermarket, not a home.
    Let's start with some simple tips:

  • cook more than you need, store well and enjoy the leftovers the next night

  • cook everything in one pot or skillet to cut down on clean-up time

  • keep pasta, canned soup stock, canned tomatoes, baking potatoes and other fast-and-easy meal starters on hand

  • buy good storage containers to keep foods fresh

Fresh Home-Made Soup
Slice and dice fresh carrots, celery, onions, garlic, green beans - just about any fresh vegetable. Add veggies to two cans of canned chicken or vegetable broth. Simmer on low heat until vegetables soften. Serve in bowl and top with freshly grated Romano or parmesan cheese.

Pizzettes For Uno
Pour a bit of olive oil on a large dinner plate. Take a flour tortilla (available in any supermarket) and place it on the plate of oil to cover one side of the tortilla. Place tortilla on baking sheet, oil side up. Add a small amount of canned, pureed tomatoes to top of tortilla and spread with fingers (who's watching?). Top with slices of low-fat mozzarella or provolone cheese. Place in a 350 degree oven until cheese is fully melted. Before serving, top with chopped fresh basil. You'll think you died and went to heaven.

Pasta Primavera
Boil and drain one-half pound of a hearty pasta - elbows, for example. Let pasta cool, place in a large, sealable container and refrigerate until cold. When chilled, remove the pasta. Add a very small amount (no more than 3 tablespoons) of mayo to the pasta and mix well. Add freshly cut carrots, onions, celery, tomatoes and one-quarter cup of cubed, low-fat mozzarella cheese. Stir well. Drizzle olive oil over the mixture, add some chopped fresh basil or cilantro, gently mix and serve on a bed of shredded lettuce. You'll get three, good-sized meals from this recipe - the perfect cold dish for those hot summer evenings

The Big Salad
Gently tear cleaned and drained romaine and Boston lettuce into a large bowl. Add some fresh, prepared greens (the kind in the plastic bags), sliced onion and a sliced hard-boiled egg. Add chopped fresh parsley. Finally, crumple some of your favorite crackers over the top for a little more crunch. Dress with olive oil and vinegar, or your favorite non-creamy dressing. Healthy, filling and only one bowl to wash.

The Non-Dud Spud
Microwave a large baking potato - usually takes 10-12 minutes. Carefully remove the spud (it's hot) and place on a serving plate. Slice the potato down the middle and using a fork, gently scoop and mash the potato, keeping the skin in tact. Top the potato with chili sauce or salsa and several pieces of your favorite cheese. Back into the microwave until the cheese melts. One plate clean-up makes this a regular favorite. Try other toppings like canned chili, refried beans, grated parmesan, broiled onions - just about anything you can think of!

In fact, if you use a little imagine and plan ahead, you can eat very well with very little effort, and it tastes so much better than another microwaved beef stroganoff.