A Taste of Bachelor Cooking

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Hey everyone, I’m back from California. I was there for 12 days to help my father-in-law transition back home from the hospital. He fell and spent 2 days on the floor before his neighbor found him. He was dehydrated and delirious by then. Fortunately, his neighbor came by and called the ambulance. FIL stayed in the rehab ward for two weeks and I flew down to take him home.

Like many older Americans, he is very independent and lives alone in a house. We just visited him in July and thought he was doing fine. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Before the hospitalization, He used a cane and was able to get around. But he injured his hip when he fell and needs to use a walker now. The walker is a big inconvenience. Every chore becomes a lot more difficult when you have to drag it around.

I installed some cameras and a medical alert system so we can monitor him more closely. He doesn’t like to answer the phone so it can be difficult to get a hold of him. Mrs. RB40 is there now to assist him for a week. He’s stronger, but still not back to where he was before the fall. Hopefully the physical therapy and exercise will help him regain his mobility.

OK, that’s heavy stuff. I did all I could and it’s up to FIL to get better. In a few weeks, I’ll fly to Thailand to help my parents. My mom is hospitalized due to a lung infection. Getting old really isn’t for the faint of heart… or their kids. Anyway, let’s lighten the mood a bit. Today, I want to share what I made in my father-in-law’s bachelor kitchen. We’ll use FIL since he doesn’t want to share his name.  

Bachelor kitchen

At home, I cook on the weekdays and Mrs. RB40 cooks on the weekend. Occasionally, we go out to eat when we’re super busy or if we want something different. FIL doesn’t cook at all so I was in charge of the meals while I was there. This was really tough because his kitchen isn’t equipped for cooking at all.

FIL has been divorced for over 30 years. He has been a bachelor for a long time and he eats like a college kid. He just isn’t willing to put anything together. The only thing he cooks on the stove is hard-boiled eggs. The rest of the time, he’d throw packaged meals in the microwave. That’s his main cooking implement. He also eats cereals with banana slices pretty frequently. That isn’t very healthy so I tried to make better meals for him when I was there. Cooking at home is a great way to eat healthier and save some money.

Oh man, where do I start? First, I’ll share what his kitchen looks like.

  • Spices – He has pepper, salt, Mrs. Dash seasoning, garlic powder, and cinnamon. He doesn’t have any Asian sauces. I mainly cook Asian food so this was a huge obstacle for me. I didn’t want to buy anything because they’ll just sit unused after I leave. That’s wasteful.
  • Cooking equipment – He has a few pots and pans. The pans are basically brand new, but dusty. He probably got them as gifts years ago. There are knives in the drawer, but they are all dull. He has spatulas and spoons. The kitchen doesn’t have an oven, just stovetops.
  • Fridge – There are drinks, condiments, yogurt, bread, and cheese in the main compartment. He also puts apples and bananas in the fridge. No fresh vegetables, though. The freezer is full of frozen dinners and frozen vegetables.
  • Pantry – The pantry is stocked up with canned food, beans, soups, cereals, cup noodles, jars of apple sauce, and nuts.
Bachelor or prepper pantry?

Jeez, what can I make from this?

Joe’s bachelor meals

Since he doesn’t have much seasoning and spices, I had to make simple meals. Here are all the dishes I made when I was there. Most of these were good for 2-3 meals.

Tuna salad – This one was pretty good. It’s healthy and easy to put together. I purchased mayonnaise, celery, carrots, red onion, salad, tomatoes, and crackers for this dish. He had canned tuna in the pantry.

Rotisserie chicken plate – This is a camping hack my dad taught me. He’d get a rotisserie chicken, French bread, fruit, and salad from the grocery store. That’s a cheap family meal when you’re on the road. For this dish, I purchased a rotisserie chicken and fresh broccoli.

Chicken sandwich and soup – I used the leftover rotisserie chicken to make a chicken sandwich. Also, I warmed up a can of chicken noodle soup from the pantry. Coincidently, this was RB40Jr’s favorite dish when we visited the Maldives last summer.

Ravioli in tomato soup and salad – This is a super easy dish. FIL had a box of Trader Joe’s tomato soup already. So all I needed was some frozen ravioli. Anyone can make this dish. But even this simple dish is too much effort for FIL.  

Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the finished fajitas.

Chicken fajitas – After a week, I got tired of bachelor cooking so I made chicken fajitas. I got a packet of fajita seasoning, chicken breasts, bell pepper, onion, and tortilla. This was the most complicated dish I tried cooking there. Actually, it was pretty simple. You just have to cut up all the ingredients and cook them in a pan. At home, I wouldn’t have to buy the $22 fajita seasoning. We have cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika.

Chicken tikka masala – This one might sound too ambitious, but I just got a jar of the tikka masala sauce. Just add chicken and you’re done. Actually, it’s pretty funny. I asked the Indian lady at the store for a recommendation and she said they had never tried any of the jar sauces. They make them fresh at home. Luckily, this jar was pretty good and we enjoyed it.

Veggie burger and soup – I got veggie patties from the grocery store. This one was easy. I just nuked the patty and made a sandwich. I also warmed up a can of chicken noodle soup.

Ramen – Lastly, I resurrected my college roommate’s favorite meal. Ramen and Vienna sausages! Actually, this one was just for me. I needed some Asian food. I sent this picture to my college buddies and we had a good laugh.

We ordered out a few times as well.

Alright! What do you think of my bachelor meals? Mrs. RB40 is there now and I wonder what meals she’ll make. Last night, she made bean tacos with steamed veggies on the side. If you have some good suggestions, let us know.

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the USA so check them out!

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you reach financial independence.

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