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Fret not if you live alone and find cooking for yourself a chore. These easy dinner ideas will make for a delicious meal, even using leftovers wisely! Try them out.
When you stay alone, eating out frequently and having a late dinner can be the main culprits for contributing to that excessive fat. Cooking for self can be little boring and yet more convenient. Dinner need not be an elaborate one but it is important to eat a nutritious meal.
Even if you are staying alone in a paying guest accommodation or sharing a flat with others, don’t hesitate to shell out some bucks to get an induction stove and a few utensils. Fancy a coffee in the middle of the night when you are finishing up the racy novel? Want some hot water to keep you going when you have a sore throat? Having a little kitchenette for yourself is always helpful.
When I used to stay in a paying guest accommodation a few years back, I used to eat out often as I could not eat what’s cooked there. That was not a very convenient option as I used to feel lazy on most days to go out or would skip dinner on those late nights when I returned late from office. Whatever the reasons, I gained a few kilos easily! If only I had this wisdom and so many dinner ideas back then!
Stock your pantry with few essentials like curd, milk, chaat masala, ginger-garlic paste, pepper, spices like turmeric, red chilli powder, salt, sugar, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala etc. If you have the convenience of getting your homemade powders, even better!
I had never cooked a proper meal at home before I was out on my own and started working. May be this added to the reason that I never thought of cooking for my lone self. Here are some dinner ideas that can be made by anyone in minutes and trust me you need not be a well versed chef to prepare these. Check them out!
Soak some rajma before you head to office in the morning. Now when you come back prepare a colourful chaat and have a huge bowl of it while you unwind over a TV show! All you need is basic seasoning, basic veggies and boiled rajma.
We know rolls and frankies are famous as street foods, but let that not fool you of being not so nutritious. This paneer roll can be a wholesome meal with paneer for protein, your favourite veggies and then adding your favourite spices. Though frankies are usually made with maida with extra butter, you can put your paneer mix in a normal roti for a regular meal.
Dosa can definitely need not be a simple plain dosa, and its variations can only be left to your imagination. Grate some carrot to make it carrot dosa, add some cheese if you fancy, or add some chopped onions/tomatoes/capsicum etc and make a thick dosa to make it an uttappam – all depends on your creativity, time and patience. One can get readymade dosa batter easily available in super markets.
Here is an easy sambar recipe for your dosa/idly, though you can always keep a stock of homemade dal/nut spice powders as alternatives.
This recipe is popularly called as vegetarian omelette. This actually looks like a combination of thepla and dosa, with the goodness of besan and the cooking technique as that of dosa’s. Don’t forget to add your left over veggies to the batter here!
This is by far the easiest Indian style wholesome meal recipe. As we use moong dal here, it cooks fast and needs no soaking time. Just put together rice, dal and some of your favourite veggies with little bit seasoning and your kichidi will be cooked in minutes in a cooker. Eat it with pickle or curd – either way it tastes great!
Upma is usually prepared on a very busy morning day as a breakfast at home. Why not for a dinner this time? A bowl of upma with a dash of pickle can make up for a comforting dinner idea!
If you thought upma is the easiest and quickest to make, bread upma definitely beats the regular upma! You can add available vegetables, along with onions and tomatoes to make a veggie rich diet.
If you are bored with the usual roti, try thepla for a change. This is another way of sneaking in some protein in the form of besan and yet make a simple dish. It is a usual Gujarati breakfast dish, but sounds good for a quick dinner as well. Best part is you don’t need a side dish to be cooked and can be had with just curd or pickle and hence it is preferred during travel.
Mint flavour can be very soothing for a dinner on a rainy evening. This recipe is not a usual pulao and doesn’t need ginger-garlic paste too. This is can be made similar to lemon rice, by only reducing the quantity of lemon juice and adding a generous bunch of pudina leaves. Make a simple onion raita to accompany the dish.
You can replace your regular rice based pulao with dalia pulao for a healthy variation. Also it is recommended when you are working on weight loss as it is high in fibre and low on calories.
Forgot or did not have enough time for some vegetable shopping? This comforting dal might come to your rescue. It has 5 types of dals and can be a good variation to the regular dal. Here is a simple recipe for you and tastes well with roti or rice.
Unlike the usual pongal, oats pongal can be prepared in lesser time. If you are bored of eating oatmeal everyday, this can be a good south Indian twist to the regular oats.
I know pizza sounds like a lot of cooking and the need of microwave etc, but this is actually easy peasy. Buy some cheese slices/grated, Italian seasoning, bread and your favourite veggies to make this mini pizzas directly on pan.
When you are living alone or with a roommate, you will quite often end up with some extra slices of bread after you made pizza using the above recipe. Why not fancy a uttappam for next dinner? Yes, uttappam can be made with leftover bread too and not just with dosa batter. Here is the recipe.
When you crave for a chaat and not south Indian uttappam then this recipe is for you. Bread and curd mixed together with some spices, this makes for a creamy chaat with some sev for that crunchiness!
Kadhi has many variations like pakora kadhi, bhindi kadhi, gatte kadhi etc, but here is a recipe that explains how to cook a basic one, just when you are short of time and want a side dish for your roti/rice.
This is as simple as making an oatmeal, just that we have a lemon twist here. This can be made in a jiffy and is a good way to enjoy eating oats. You can always add some colourful veggies if you can spare little more time. Forget lemon rice and try lemon oats for lower carbs!
This milkshake is so filling that you can actually skip dinner once in a while. Add your favourite dried fruits and nuts, milk, honey/sugar and voila you have super energy drink.
This chaat is a variation to eating just a boiled sweet corn. Have a big bowl of this and it’s quite filling. Also this recipe takes care of your fruit intake too!
Kanji/porridge is an age old recipe and a super healthy meal. Like dry fruit milk shake, this is very filling too and can be had for breakfast or dinner. You can make the consistency either thick or thin, sweet or salted – just the way you like it.
The list of dinner ideas can actually be endless. And as far vegetables are concerned, you can play around them either by adding into upma, pulao, kichidi, dosa batter, sandwich topping, etc. and not waste them as you are living alone and might not use the whole vegetable at one go.
After few years of cooking for my family, now I feel that once you know how different ingredients work and start experimenting with them, the options can never be boring.
Image source: Besan ka Cheela by wikicommons.
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