You might think that one would be the loneliest number for anyone who lives alone, but if you’ve ever baked cookies in your bathrobe or eaten dinner standing up in the kitchen with no pants on, you’ll agree with last week’s New York Times article about the freedom and perils of living alone. Song writer Harry Nilsson might have coined the idea in 1967 but for many, living alone is not quite as lonely as one might guess.
The recent article said that today, 1 in ever 4 American homes is occupied by someone living alone. In Manhattan, sky-high rent be damned, the number is nearly 1 in 2. From a person who lives alone, I can say that I wholeheartedly agree with almost every point made in this article. Living alone encourages you to do things you wouldn’t normally do if you lived with someone else (Bra on the kitchen table? Been there). That’s not to say that everyone who lives alone is a freaky nudist slob, but when there is nobody there to judge you for eating peanut butter straight from the jar, sometimes that seems like the right thing to do.
I had my own bedroom growing up so having a roommate in college took some adjustment, but eventually I became used to changing behind my closet door and sharing kitchen space. I lived with roommates for about a year after college and then moved to my own place, so it’s been awhile since I’ve had to worry about playing my music too loud or whether it’s my turn to clean the bathroom (it always is). Though some people transition immediately from living with roommates to living with a significant other or spouse, I can’t imagine not having experienced living by myself. I rarely get lonely and if I do, I lure friends over with the promise of s’mores cookies or make plans to go out where I’ll be around so many people that I can’t wait to get home to the quiet and solitude.
The one item that this article didn’t address is that when you live alone, cooking for yourself, is, well, kind of a pain in the ass. I love to cook and try new recipes, so I am probably the exception to the “why should I cook when I am only cooking for myself” rule. Yet, I too find myself freezing dishes that are never eaten and tossing out three-day old chicken that just didn’t keep as well in its Tupperware home as I’d thought.
Hence, sometimes having simple recipes to keep us from falling into the Lean Cuisine trap is critical for real estate singletons. Baked chicken or fish is a convenient, healthy option, but let’s all be honest with ourselves and admit that can get a little boring. I hold firm to the fact that anyone can toss a piece of chicken in the oven, but if you want to look forward to that piece of chicken after a long day at work, top it with some spinach, roasted red pepper strips and mozzarella cheese and you’ll forget that you ever thought of calling for pizza.
Baked Chicken with Spinach, Roasted Peppers and Melted Mozzarella
Inspired by Skinny Taste
1 4-6 ounce chicken breast, pounded thin (use a meat mallet or the bottom of a wine bottle)
1/4 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup thawed and drained frozen spinach
1 roasted red pepper (from a jar), sliced into thin strips
1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and treat a glass baking dish with cooking spray. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add olive oil and garlic. Sauté for a 2-3 minutes on each side until chicken is golden brown. Remove from heat and place into prepared baking pan.
Top chicken with spinach, roasted red pepper slices and mozzarella cheese. Bake until chicken is cooked through and cheese has melted, about 8-10 minutes.Print This Recipe