Let’s face it, cooking for one can seem like too much effort. Rather than man meals , most recipes are intended for family servings. The prep, cook time and clean up involved, not including stopping by the grocery store for whatever ingredients you don’t have on hand, is not happening after the day you’ve had. It’s no wonder that a bowl of cereal or a good ol’ PB & J sandwich (with crusts cut off if you’re feeling like a Top Chef) are often the go-to for a quick dinner after a draining day of work, traffic and errands.

But even the most unsophisticated of palettes wants a real meal every now and then. For those occasions when Thai take out or a ride through the drive through just won’t do, we got you covered with five meals that don’t come with plastic packets of soy sauce or flimsy sporks, but will still be hot and ready by the time the game starts.

One Pot Spaghetti Bolognese

That’s right, you cook everything together, which ensures the flavors seep into the pasta, and the clean-up takes only minutes.  Easy is one of the first criteria for good man meals. Total prep and cook time it takes to be chopping down on this deliciousness is only 30 minutes.

What you need:

  • 1/2 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1 jar of Pasta Sauce, (26 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, (or half as much table salt)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 pound Angel hair pasta, broken into thirds
  • 2 cups baby spinach or chopped kale
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese

What you do with it:

  1. In a large, heavy pot over medium heat, sauté the meat until it is browning in places and no longer pink —3 or 4 minutes.
  2. Add the sauce and cook, stirring, for a minute or two, then stir in the salt, sugar, olive oil, water, pasta, and veggies.
  3. Stir continuously  until the mixture comes to a boil, then turn the heat down to low, cover the pot, and simmer gently — stirring frequently so that the bottom doesn’t scorch —for 10 or so minutes, until the pasta is tender.

French Toast (Man Meals Can Be Eaten Anytime)  

What do you do with that loaf of bread that is starting to get a bit stale? Whip up this quick and scrumptious French toast. And hey, since there’s no one to judge us, we can eat this for breakfast, or for lunch, or as a midnight snack after getting home late from a night out.

What you need:

  • Sliver of butter or teaspoon of oil
  • One egg
  • ¼ cup liquid (milk, milk substitute or water)
  • Dash of vanilla (if you have it)
  • Dash of salt
  • 2 – 3 slices of bread depending on their size

What you do:

  1. Beat egg with liquid, vanilla, and salt in a medium flat bowl.
  2. Soak bread slices in the liquid until saturated on both sides (2 minutes per side)
  3. Place a small or medium sized pan on medium heat hotplate or stove top. Melt butter or add olive oil to the pan.
  4. Place bread in pan and cook until golden brown on bottom side. Flip and cook other side until it is also golden brown.
  5. Serve with jam, nut butter or drizzle some syrup.

Cuban Sandwich

If you can make a grilled cheese sandwich you are more than half-way there to making this tasty creation.  You can use any type of sliced meat and your favorite melting cheese. The pickles and mustard add a nice tang.

What you need:

  • 2 slices bread or one roll sliced open horizontally
  • Yellow mustard
  • 4 – 6 thin slices baked ham, roast pork and/or turkey
  • 2 thin slices provolone cheese
  • 2 dill pickle slices
  • Butter, room temperature

What you do:

  1. Lay the bread open and spread each side with mustard.
  2. Divide the ingredients evenly among the slices of roll. Start with the ham followed by the turkey, cheese, and dill pickles. Bring the tops and bottoms together.
  3. Butter the outside of each side of the sandwich.
  4. Heat a small pan over medium heat (you can use a Panini maker or sandwich press if you have one).
  5. Place in the pan and press down firmly with a spatula. Flip when golden brown. Cheese should be melted.
  6. Serve warm.

Arroz con Pollo (Rice with Chicken)

Yes, you can have a home cooked dinner that is easy to make, easy to clean-up and done in less than 45 minutes. This one-pot version of a popular Latin dish tastes like your grandmother slaved over a hot stove for hours to create. This recipe makes enough for a couple meals—so you’re covered for lunch tomorrow.

What you need:

  • 2 chicken legs, without skin & rubbed with salt & pepper (& cumin, chili powder, or other spices if you choose)
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ an onion, chopped
  • ½ cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 cup liquid (i.e. broth or water)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

What you do:

  1. In a pot over medium heat sauté chicken in olive oil, turning until all sides are golden brown. Remove chicken and set aside.
  2. Sauté onions in olive oil for about 3 minutes, then add rice and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add broth, salt and any other items you’d like (i.e. black beans, tomatoes, peppers, corn). Bring to a simmer, then add the chicken back in.
  4. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 35 – 40 minutes, turning the chicken once about half way through. Done when rice is tender and juices run clear when chicken is cut into.
  5. Note: You can also serve with fresh cilantro, sour cream and/or avocado slices. This recipe makes enough for a couple meals—so you’re covered for lunch tomorrow.

Two Minute Shrimp Scampi

Dinner in 2 minutes? If only your calls from mom were this short.

What you need:

  • 24 large frozen shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • 1/2 cup spinach leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 or 2 splashes of hot sauce
  • sesame seeds (optional)

What you do:

  1. In a large microwavable bowl, mix all the ingredients together, tossing well to coat the shrimp.
  2. Microwave for 1 minute.
  3. Remove and toss well again. Microwave for 1 minute and 15 seconds more.
  4. Sprinkle mixture with sesame seeds if desired

Have a favorite quick meal you like to make when dining solo? Send us your recipes for man meals. 

You aren’t the only hungry guy. Share this article on your social media. 


(c) Can Stock Photo / fanfo

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