The majority of cookbooks you will find on a shelf are filled with recipes....for a family of four. It's like cookbooks don't even recognize that anyone could possibly live by themselves for a spell or be 'forever alone' by choice or circumstance, or that single people do in fact also love to cook or want to cook from time to time. Just because you live alone, doesn't mean you should just live off take-out and frozen dinners. You just need to be a bit more resourceful so you can avoid a fridge full of rotting leftovers.
1. Use your bulk wisely
Inevitably you may end up with extras of most items because you're cooking for one. When you buy packages of meat, some do come in half sizes, but even those can be a lot, so as soon as you get the meat home, divide it up, and put what you're going to use immediately for the week in the fridge and freeze the rest.
Conversely, you can benefit from freezer cooking. You can make roughly 6-8 burger patties out of a pound of meat depending on thickness and size, and simply freeze the extra patties for a fast meal in the future, or when you make a pot of spaghetti, with a pound of meat, take out enough for the night and maybe some for lunch the next day, and then simply freeze the leftover sauce in individual size bags or containers for later.
2. Go for frozen veg
Vegetables are often the first things to go to waste because they don't tend to last very long even in the fridge, so if you cook infrequently, or you are tired of the waste, buy your vegetables for soups, stews, and stir fry frozen and use as needed, and chuck the rest in the freezer until you need them for another meal.
3. Visit your local meat or farmers market or bakery
Avoid giant supermarket portions by visiting these markets. You can order much smaller sizes of what you need and not have a bunch of stuff lying around that you can't use.
4. Make the appetizers
Appetizers and tappas are meant to be smaller tastes or bites. You can get creative with trying different small bites for a full meal without having to make 10 portions of one just one dish.
5. Get a Solo Cookbook
The recipes in these books are geared so that you won't have a pile of leftovers when you are done. If you don't want to buy, see if you can check them out at your local library or view digitally online.
Cooking for One Cookbook for Beginners: The Ultimate Recipe Cookbook for Cooking for One!
by Claire Daniels
The Single Guy Cookbook: How to Cook Comfort Food Favorites Faster, Easier and Cheaper than Going Out
by Avi Shemtov
Cooking for One: A Seasonal Guide to the Pleasure of Preparing Delicious Meals for Yourself
by The Culinary Institute of America and Mark Erickson
Going Solo in the Kitchen: A Practical and Persuasive Cookbook for Anyone Living Alone-with More Than 350 Easy, Delicious Recipes and Strategies for Food Shopping, Storing, and Recycling
by Jane Doerfer
175 Best Small-Batch Baking Recipes: Treats for 1 or 2
by Jill Snider
Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook
by Joe Yonan