by Toni Lydecker
Paperback, 224 pages
A meal for even the busiest days, Sizzling Shrimp with Garlic (photographed) cooks in less than five minutes and can be eaten right out of the skillet, with chunks of bread to soak up the garlicky juices. Another night, you might sit down to savory Chicken and Olive Ragout or Chickpea and Tuna Salad. If you’re feeling under the weather or out of spirits, Soothing Tortellini-Broccolini Soup (photographed) delivers on its name. All of these recipes are designed to nourish the soul as well as the body. “Taking time for a homemade meal is a way of pampering yourself,” says Lydecker. “Freshly made foods taste so good and, when you use fresh produce and other wholesome ingredients, they’re better for you than other alternatives.”
The typical Serves One recipe calls for only 10 minutes of active prep time and many are all-in-one meals requiring minimal cleanup—main-course salads, simple stir-fries, fresh takes on pizza and pasta, savory soups, and inventive sandwiches. Stock up on shelf-stable items such as canned beans, grains, and condiments so you can improvise a meal on the spur of the moment, advises Lydecker. But when it comes to perishables, it’s best to “think small,” buying only the fruit, veggies, and dairy products needed for the next few days. Lydecker also recommends treating yourself to primo ingredients. “You can splurge a little, affordably, when you’re cooking on a small scale,” she points out. “Take home a good steak, an exquisite cheese, beautiful microgreens. And, even though you’re using just a little, a really good olive oil or balsamic vinegar can lift your meal from ordinary to amazing.”
About the Author
Toni Lydecker is a journalist and cookbook author who specializes in Italian regional cooking.