Struggling to cook for yourself in a serves-4 world? You're not alone. My column this week is about Joe Yonan's new book "Serve Yourself: Nightly Adventures in Cooking For One."
Yonan figured out the tricks for small-batch versions of things like risotto and paella. He's got small-batch salad dressings, and tricks for how to shop and how to store small amounts of food. Since he's a native of Texas, his tastes lean toward spicy and meaty dishes, including 2-serving enchiladas and a down-sized Bowl O'Red. But he also likes healthier dishes, including lots of whole-grain combinations. And he's big on making things on the weekend that you can use to jazz up even small meals during the week.
As promised, I have a spare copy of the book to giveaway. To enter, send an email with "Serve Yourself" in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline: 9 a.m. Friday, when I'll announce the winner.
And here's a great recipe from "Serve Yourself." This one makes four servings, but you shape the meat loaves individually, so you can eat one and freeze three for later meals. Or invite someone over for dinner -- when you know how to cook, it's easy to make friends.
Spicy Glazed Mini Meatloaf
From "Serve Yourself," by Joe Yonan (Ten Speed Press, $22).
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup salsa
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons grape or apple jelly
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use nonstick cooking spray to lightly grease the insides of four (4- to 5-ounce) ramekins.
Combine the beef, bread crumbs, egg, salsa, parsley, mustard, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix until well incorporated. Divide the meat mixture into 4 equal portions. Form each into a ball, then lightly press them into the ramekins, leaving each with a domed top.
Combine the jelly and hot pepper sauce in a microwave-safe container. Microwave on high (100%) power for about 30 seconds to soften the jelly. Whisk to form a glaze, then use a spoon to drizzle it on top of each meatloaf. There may be some glaze left over, which can be used to drizzle or brush on the baked meatloaf.
Wrap 3 of the ramekins tightly in plastic wrap for freezing.
Bake the remaining meatloaf for about 20 minutes, or until it is nicely growned on top and it's interior temperature registers at least 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Cool slightly, then unmold and place on a plate, glazed side up. If desired, drizzle or brush the meatloaf with remaining glaze.
NOTE: The unbaked meatloaves will freeze well for up to 1 month; defrost in the refrigerator before baking.