Bachelor meals are a pain in the arse. I tried to work my way around that phrase in an attempt to inject some decency or diplomacy and will leave you to judge my degree of success. There is no one there to compliment your skills, to endure the arduous task of chopping up the onion, clean up the mess you’ve made, or stack the dishwasher.

Don’t get me wrong, it is not all bad. Apart from the natural benefit of being in highly pleasurable company, there is no one to complain about the quality or quantity of food, to query the value of an hour of FTV, or to share the ridiculous quantity of food you’ve prepared.

A common misconception is that this kind of meal is a quick microwave meal or rapid fry-up. Even more myths revolve around the dubious nutritional value of snacks enjoyed in solitude. Wrong again. I have had some of the most nutritionally sound, tasty and wholesome meals when left to my own devices and culinary skills. Admittedly, this is something of a rarity but we can’t dismiss exceptions with a wave of a spotless tea-towel.

Understanding the very basics of nutrition as well as the basics of flavour should provide you with the basic arsenal in this battle against time, expanding girth and limited ingredients.

The Golden Rule
One basic rule to keep your athletic body in perfect trim is to make sure you have four basic food groups rubbing shoulders on your plate. So it’s carbohydrate for energy, protein for muscle maintenance, a small amount of fat for more energy and a host of other reasons, and roughage or fibre to keep the digestion system running like clockwork. Luckily we don’t have to cook four separate items to manage this. If this were the case I’d have died a slow and lonely death quite a while ago. Consider chicken breast and noodles. That’s a whopping dose of protein and carbs plus a little bit of fat yet, sadly, no roughage. So how about swapping the noodles for wholemeal bread and popping grilled chicken breast in between slices of bread?

Let’s give it a shot.

A grill pan is your friend. It won’t talk back, sulk, complain, or require any oil to grill meat and veg. Now fillet the chicken breast and grill that while you prepare four slices of wholemeal bread, adding some olive oil (we need a small amount of fat, remember?), pepper (grind your own, slacker), and salt. Now is about the right time to turn the chicken over. Make sure the chicken is cooked through since raw chicken has been known to play strange tricks on unsuspecting stomachs. I find that a good initial sear seals the flavour, ideally followed by a few minutes on a lower flame to ensure proper cooking. Cutting chicken breast along its length to give a thinner cross section quickens cooking time and makes for a more evenly cooked fillet.

So the basics for your complete meal are there. Adding any more ingredients is up to you, lettuce and tomato spring to mind here, however I can’t remember the last time I had any of those running around. Do shop around for low-calorie dressing and light mayonnaise, it can add a whole new dimension to your sandwich while keeping the calories down to the ones we really need.

I still haven’t forgotten those noodles. Here’s a little recipe that I’ve enjoyed a couple of times and uses those ingredients that are useless on their own but join forces to fill your belly and empty your freezer. Two of the most noble endeavours.

Last-ditch-effort-at-emptying-freezer Noodles - somewhere down the node lies a long-forgotten writeup that still finds its way into my kitchen occasionally