Living alone undoubtedly has its perks- you can leave your underwear on the living room floor, procrastinate on the dirty dishes in the sink for days (or weeks), and no one can judge you for watching 8 full hours of Grey’s Anatomy reruns on the couch.

Yeah, no roomies and the livin’s easy.

Though, oftentimes, we’re fed the propaganda that if we live alone, we have to eat like we live alone.

Enter the ‘Cup of Noodles’ theory, that anyone in college or emerging from higher education must give in to the Styrofoam cup, of what is actually really addicting noodles, to sustain life and corresponding funds.

If you’re like my male colleagues, you think it’s easier and more cost effective to simply take out your dinner every night and make do until then. I’m convinced you are the reason why Panda Express kicks as much corporate Chow Mein as it does.

But, have we forgotten about the middle child here? What about the liver-alone who has a fully functional kitchen and wouldn’t mind using it? Better yet, who owns a dining table without piles of papers on it?

I’m talking to YOU. Yes you, the one dancing by the stove while the water boils.

Just because we don’t have an additional mouth to feed (can I get a Hallelujah?), doesn’t mean we, ourselves, should lose out. There are plenty of affordable, simple ways to cook up something delicious and worthwhile after a long work day, dinner date or not.

Ready to fill your apron pockets with recipes that are good enough just for you? Let’s get cookin’

First, I’m going to need you to turn on some music. I suggest Leon Bridges or The Rolling Stones.

Now, grab a pad of paper and get ready to take some notes.

Taco Salad

You Will Need:

Ground Turkey, Taco Seasoning Packet, Vegetarian Refried Beans (no lard!), Box of Spanish Rice, Shredded Lettuce, Tomatoes, Corn, Chopped Olives, Onion, Shredded Cheese, Salsa, Tortilla Chips

To Prepare:

1)Place ground turkey in a skillet pan and douse with oil (I suggest Grapeseed) 2) Take a spatula and break it apart so that it is somewhat shredded. 3)Light stove and turn to medium heat. 4) While meat is browning, place beans in a bowl and heat for 2.5 minutes. 5) Once the meat is browned, pour in a cup of water along with the taco seasoning packet and mix. 5) While meat is soaking in the flavor and beans are heating, start chopping the tomatoes and onion. 6) When meat and beans are ready, simply stack the ingredients on a plate in the following order: beans, rice, meat, lettuce, tomatoes, corn, olives, onions, cheese, salsa. 7) Bring along the chips and get to dippin’!

The Sell:

*The great part about this recipe is that since you live alone, there is absolutely no shame in simply taking the chip bag to the table with you. Skip the bowl middleman.

**The greater part about this recipe is that you will have leftovers for days; I’m talking lunch and dinner the next day.

Sweet Potato Fries

You Will Need:

1-2 Sweet Potatoes/Yams, Oil (again, I suggest Grapeseed), Salt, Pepper

To Prepare:

1)Preheat oven to 365 (or 400 if you’re starving) 2)While oven is preheating, thinly slice your sweet potatoes 3)Place on baking sheet 4)Pour oil over potatoes 5)Salt and pepper the potatoes 6)Place in oven and cook for 15-20 minutes (the longer, the crispier) 7)Enjoy with a dipping sauce of your choice or a healthy salad.

The Sell:

*You will find that this is the most clutch recipe you’ll have- the perfect nosh, or meal when paired.

**Sweet potatoes are one of the few ‘healthy’ foods I know that are actually filling!

***Excellent when paired with BBQ Chicken

Greek Quinoa

You Will Need:

Box of Quinoa, Oil (are you noticing a trend? Grapeseed, people!), Feta Cheese, Spinach Leaves, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Olives, Balsamic Dressing

To Prepare:

1)Bring 1 ¾ water, 1 tsp oil, and Quinoa blend to a boil 2)Pour in seasoning mix (if included) 3)Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for about 10 minutes 4)While Quinoa is cooking, chop tomatoes, cucumbers and olives as small as possible 5)When Quinoa is done, simply mix the Quinoa, spinach leaves, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and feta in a bowl and lightly dress the mix with Balsamic Dressing. 6)If you need a bit of a crunch, eat with seasoned crackers like a dip.

The Sell:

*This is the perfect home-to-go lunch.

**Quinoa is packed with protein to fuel up with during or after a long day.

Stuffed Baked Potato

You Will Need:

Russet (or Sweet) Potato, Butter, Broccoli, Yellow Squash, Chicken (fresh or frozen), Alfredo Sauce, Pepper

To Prepare:

1)Bake the potato (microwave for ~15-20min or oven) while you bake your chicken strips in the oven or grill in skillet 2)While potato and chicken are baking, chop your broccoli and squash 3)When finished, butter your potato, then put in your chicken, broccoli and squash 4)Top with alfredo sauce and mix evenly, followed by pepper

The Sell:

*This may not be the healthiest option, per say, but it is quite comforting on a cold, winter day

**You’re still getting your vegetables and protein!

Super Quesadilla

You Will Need:

Flour Tortillas, Shredded Cheese, Refried Beans, Meat of choice, Bell Pepper, Spinach/Lettuce, Salsa

To Prepare:

1)Heat beans for 2.5 minutes 2)Place tortilla in oiled skillet with cheese on top 3)When cheese is melted, place heated beans on top, followed by bell peppers (that you can grill separately if you like) and spinach/lettuce 4)Place second tortilla on top and flip in skillet to crisp up the other side 5)When golden, remove from skillet, plate, and serve with a side of salsa 6)Add meat if you like (remember to cook meat prior to placing into quesadilla)

The Sell:

*Fresh and filling

**Sheds the stereotype that those who love quesadillas are bland

Pita Pizza

You Will Need:

Pita Bread (size based on your preference), Marinara Sauce, Mozzarella Cheese, Olives, Pepperoni (or preferred meat)

To Prepare:

1)Spread Marinara sauce on pita bread 2)Cut slices of Mozzarella cheese and spread atop sauce 3)Place Pepperoni (or preferred meat) next 4)Sprinkle Olives (or other vegetable toppings) last 5)Place in oven at 365 degrees until toppings are melted and bread is crispy

The Sell:

*Cheap ingredients & quick prep

**Can be repeated throughout the week since you’ll get multiple pita’s per pack!

Want to know the best part? You won’t have to share the leftovers!