I cook a lot. Three times a day, in fact. And usually just for me. You see, I’m a sophomore (about to be junior!) who wrangled myself off the meal plan so I could cook delicious, healthy meals for myself.
But that’s not always easy. From getting groceries, to waking up at the crack of dawn to roast root vegetables, this is my virtual photo album recording my attempts to feed myself. It also means recipes for all you single-meal chefs out there!
The first meal I have to share is actually one of my favorites. It seems like a lot of work, but the whole thing comes together in about 35 minutes, and even gives you the chance to relax, since everything cooks in the oven at the same temperature.
What’s on the menu? Well, a lot of my meals are thrown together from scraps of other meals (inevitable when you’re cooking for one), and tonight I had a package of lamb, ½ a bundle of local asparagus, and ½ a sweet potato. Here’s what I ate:
Smoky, sweet, and lamb-y without being lamb-y, if that makes any sense, these are the meatballs of your dreams. I bake them instead of boiling or browning them, which takes a lot of the fuss away. You need:
I pound of ground lamb
½ tsp cumin
¾ tsp lemon curry powder
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp Italian seasoning
½ finely minced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
Put all your ingredients in a bowl, and gently mix with your hands until JUST incorporated. Form into golf-sized balls (though I’m never especially precise), and place in a cast iron skillet, a baking dish, whatever you’ve got on hand. Then bake them at 375 for 20 minutes. You still want them to be a little pink (it’s a shame to let lamb overcook) in their centers.
Roasted Asparagus Spears
I hesitate to call this a recipe, but when I started out cooking I wanted directions for everything (and I cursed the people who refused to write it out), so here goes. I invented this, by the way. Roasted asparagus, the idea’s all mine. Really complicated, too.
Cut your spears into thirds (or leave them whole, I just have a small pan). Drizzle with olive oil and a big pinch of salt. The spears should be shiny with oil, but no puddles should be at the bottom of the pan. Roast at 400 for 15-20 minutes. Depending on your asparagus spears, they could go fast or need a little more oven love. When they’ve browned a bit and you press a spear and it gives, they’re ready. And goodness, are they heavenly. Soft and salty and slightly chewy, they taste like a spring-summer night. Asparag-i. Say it with me. Three cheers for asparag-i!
Cinnamon-y Sweet potato fries
I’m actually in love with sweet potatoes. If I could propose to the tuber and not be socially ostracized, I would be Ms. Yam. This is another simple recipe, but a stunner all the same.
Cut your taters into thick slices that are relatively similar in length. Smother in melted coconut oil, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Roast at 400 with the asparag-i for 20-25 minutes, until soft to the touch.
It was heaven. The sweet but spiced meatballs were perfect against the simplicity of the juicy asparag-i, and the sweet potato fries were like little pillows encased in slightly charred sweet and salty shells. Sometimes cooking for one feels like a real luxury.
I love this meal because the the last 10 minutes are laid back and let me clean the kitchen before I sit down with my steaming platter of nectar and ambrosia. Timing wise, I make the meatballs and throw them in the oven, cut the sweet potatoes and toss those babies in, then prepare the asparagus. Then it’s just a matter of keeping an eye on the oven and pulling dishes out as they finish. Enjoy!