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Most recipes require quite a bit of preparation time and more ingredients than are in most kitchens. They are also designed to feed a large number of people. On the plus side, cooking for one allows for a few shortcuts, and for health conscious individuals, a single serving can really keep the fitness regimen on track and still be delicious.
One secret to gourmet cooking is to take care with presentation. Don’t just make the meal pleasing to the eye, but take it a step further and serve it up on the “good” plate, with real utensils, and maybe even a glass of wine. Dress it up.
The quickest way to begin preparing to cook single servings is to keep a good variety of staple ingredients on hand, like spices, noodles, evaporated milk, tuna fish, and dehydrated fruits & vegetables. In the freezer, try to keep some frozen standbys like beef tips, shrimp, or chicken strips.
For a quick example, try this recipe for starters:
- 1 dozen large, peeled, deveined shrimp
- 1 Tbsp. chopped garlic (Here are some great garlic presses for you!)
- 3 Tbsp. butter
- 1 ounce of linguine noodles* (approx. quarter-size serving from index finger to thumb)
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. parsley
- 1 Tbsp. shredded parmesan cheese
*for variety, substitute 3/4 cup penne or rotini noodles
- Boil water in a large pot and then add noodles. Cook, drain, and set aside.
- Next, in a skillet, add butter and saute the garlic over medium to low heat
- As the garlic starts to reach a light caramel color, add shrimp to the skillet. Let cook without turning until the shrimp begin to turn to a whitish color, then turn the shrimp to the other side and allow to cook as before.
- After the shrimp is turned, add the lemon juice and parsley to the skillet. Do not overcook the shrimp.
- Remove from heat and serve over noodles. Garnish with parmesan cheese.
The beauty of this dish is that it can be prepared in less than fifteen minutes, and can be easily dressed up with a serving of garlic bread made from a bread machine and garlic press. Serve with a glass of wine or fruit juice, and just savor the experience. And, if company shows up, just double the recipe.
Experiment With Flavor
Many simple dishes can be dressed up in similar ways just by experimenting. Try adding tuna to mushroom soup. Serve it over noodles with a breadcrumb and parmesan cheese topping, and instantly another meal has been created. Embrace the gourmet chef inside and dare to create something unique, it may very well be the beginning of a new gourmet recipe.
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