Eating alone is a common occurrence in my house. After all, I live alone. But though I could easily slip into a habit of granola bars for breakfast, fast food for lunch, and cereal for dinner, I’ve decided that eating alone is not an excuse for eating poorly.

With that said, what I eat when I eat alone is definitely not always what I serve guests. For instance, if you come to my house for dinner, you might have grilled chicken, sautéed vegetables, a mix of whole grains, and fruit cobbler.
If I ate those same ingredients alone, the menus would look a little different. One night I might have only sautéed vegetables. The next night, I would mix the remaining sautéed vegetables with the whole grains and also eat the leftover potato salad from the fridge. Night three, I would probably nix the cobbler and blend the fruit into a smoothie, bake the chicken in the oven before it goes bad and throw it in the freezer, and then pop popcorn.
Night four: I would order pizza.
Besides trying to achieve an overall healthfulness in my eating, the other guiding principle in eating alone is to avoid waste. Sometimes, the two values are at odds.
Recently for dinner, for instance, I had half a leftover hamburger and half a piece of barbecue chicken – leftovers from my and a friend’s dinner the night before. To try to balance that out, I also had green beans that I had cooked a few days earlier, and a freshly cooked ear of corn. But let’s face it. Two meats in one meal? Too much!
Authors Deborah Madison and Patrick McFarlin, in their book, What We Eat When We Eat Alone: Stories and 100 Recipes, share a number of humorous and compelling stories of people eating alone. What started out as an icebreaker on international trips, turned into a “realm of confession” for the people they would ask on the bus or while they were sharing a meal.
But “why” people eat alone was the story behind the story.
Though more and more families do seem to be eating dinner together again and one New Jersey town even offered a week-long discount to encourage family meals, everyone finds themselves eating alone from time to time.
What about you? What do you eat when you eat alone? Do you indulge? Eat leftovers? Stick with a single food? Hit the cereal box?

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Recently, I decided to treat myself to a dish I normally wouldn’t cook when I am eating alone: Unwrapped Bacon Scallops. It was delicious, though (pictured above). I cut the recipe in half and had enough for leftovers the next day.

Unwrapped Bacon Scallops
from Simple and Delicious magazine

1 1/2 cups uncooked instant rice
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 lb. thick-sliced bacon strips, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb. sea scallops
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 tsp. seafood seasoning
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 green onions, chopped

In an ungreased 1-1/2 quart microwave-safe dish, combine rice and broth. Cover and microwave on high for 7-8 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile in a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp; remove to paper towels. Drain, reserve 1 Tblsp. drippings.

Saute the onion, zucchini and garlic in drippings until tender. Add scallops; saute for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, seafood seasoning and thyme; saute 1-2 minutes longer or until scallops are firm and opaque. Fluff rice with a fork; serve with scallop mixture. Sprinkle with green onions.

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Today, I am joining Ann Kroeker for Food on Fridays when she discusses all things food. Since I am a bit of a foodie myself, I plan to join her discussion often. Stop by and visit her yourself, too!