Cooking For One with Chef Jill Houk of Centered Chef Food Studios

Chef Jill returns this month with tips for cooking for one.

Cooking for one can present unique dietary challenges, especially in portion control that you don’t face when cooking for a crowd. She will share her insights for planning, shopping and learning to enjoy the process of cooking. she’ll give tips on saving time and buying in small
quantities, do’s and don’ts of freezing and storing, and how to break away from the “t.v. dinner” habit.

Bring your questions and join us. You’ll see why Jill Houk is our favorite chef!

She provides fabulous tips for Being Your Own Guest when dining alone.

Vegetable Stir-Fry with Flat Iron Steak


Makes 1 serving.



1 teaspoon vegetable oil

4 to 6 ounces flat iron steak, trimmed, cut into 1-inch strips

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup broccoli florets (fresh or frozen)

½ cup pea pods (fresh or frozen)

½ cup sliced mushrooms

¼ cup shredded carrots

2 Tablespoons soy sauce



  1. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high. When hot, but not smoking, add oil, and heat 30 seconds. Sprinkle salt over steak and add steak to pan, sautéing until all pink color is gone, about 3 minutes. Remove steak from pan and set aside.
  2. Add vegetables and stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Stir back in steak and add in soy sauce and simmer 1 minute.


  1. Serve on rice, quinoa or rice noodles.

Minestrone with Basil


Makes 4 2-cup servings.



3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic

1 16-ounce can beans (kidney or white beans), drained and rinsed (or 1 ½ cups cooked beans)

2 cups chopped frozen collard greens

1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes

1 ½ cups chopped frozen broccoli

1 celery stalk, diced

1 carrot, diced

1 zucchini, diced

1 medium russet potato, peeled, left whole

1 small russet potato, peeled, diced

½ teaspoon salt or salt substitute

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese



1.      Heat olive oil in a deep, heavy pot over medium heat until hot. Sauté garlic for 30 seconds, stirring constantly


2.      Add beans, chard, tomatoes, greens, celery, carrot, zucchini, whole potato, and chopped potato to pot. Add 5 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.


3.      Transfer 2 cups soup and whole potato to blender and puree. Return puree to soup in pot. Add 1/4 cup basil and simmer, uncovered until flavors blend, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in 1/4 cup basil. Serve with Parmesan cheese.


Turkey Meatloaf


Makes 8 single-serving loaves.



2 pounds ground turkey, raw


1/2 cup yellow or white onions, grated or chopped finely


1 egg, beaten


½ cup bread crumbs


1 Tablespoon crushed


1 1/2 teaspoons salt





1.      Combine all ingredients and mix well.


2.      Divide mixture into 8 equal servings. Form each serving into a loaf. Wrap and freeze loaves until ready to cook.


3.      When ready to cook, defrost a single meatloaf in the lowest part of your refrigerator for 24 hours. Preheat oven to 350ºF and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the meat loaf reaches 160 degrees.

3. Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes before slicing and serving.



This is delicious with a baked sweet potato (which can be done as the meatloaf is baking), and a fresh salad with oil and vinegar dressing.


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