For singles, cooking can be a challenge. Cookbooks rarely offer recipes that feed fewer than four hungry people, and grocery stores typically sell everything from cereal to meat in quantities better suited for small armies. Eating out presents its own problems, with supersize portions encouraging overeating and unwanted pounds.

You can solve the eating-solo quandary with a little ingenuity and wise shopping habits. First, when shopping for one, stay mostly on the store's perimeter—the fresh produce, meat, and dairy sections, where you can buy items by weight rather than prepackaged. Be sure to stop by the bulk-bin department, where you'll find dozens of varieties of spices, grains, cereals, and nuts to buy in quantities you'll use.

Second, make good use of those ingredients by preparing a little more than you'll need for one night. Even if you usually aren't fond of leftovers, creative "second day" recipes will help you turn already-cooked portions into an entirely new and enjoyable dinner. These recipes, designed for one, include novel, quick ways to use leftovers—helping you avoid take-out temptation.

Brown Sugar–Glazed Shrimp
Serves 1, with leftovers / Sweet, sour, and salty tastes make this dish an addicting meal for a single diner or appetizers for two. This dish cooks quickly, so have everything ready. Serve with steamed rice and snow peas sautéed with orange sections.

1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon coarse-ground prepared mustard
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
Pinch of cayenne pepper
8 ounces raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 carrot, julienned
1/2 bunch scallions, julienned (white parts only; save green tops to slice and cook in rice)
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced into 2-inch sections
2 cups cooked white or brown basmati rice

1. Combine brown sugar, mustard, soy sauce, and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl. Add shrimp, coat well, and set aside.

2. Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Quickly cook carrot, scallions, and bell pepper until hot but still crisp. Remove from pan.

3. Increase heat to high and add shrimp in a single layer. Cook for 2–3 minutes, without turning, until shrimp are pink on the pan side and sauce is caramelized. Turn and cook for 1–2 minutes more. Add vegetables and heat through. Serve over cooked rice with scallion greens.

4. Reserve half the shrimp and half the rice for day two.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 580 calories
% fat calories: 15
Fat: 10g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Cholesterol: 173mg
Protein: 60g
Carbohydrate: 92g
Fiber: 2g
Sodium: 625mg

Shrimp and Rice Wraps
Serves 1 / Tex-Mex meets Asian with this easy wrap. Warm the tortilla in a dry skillet for a few seconds to soften.

1-2 tablespoons plum sauce
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/2 ounce (1 small handful) baby spinach, chopped
Leftover shrimp mixture
1/2 cup leftover rice cooked with scallion greens
1 8-inch whole-wheat tortilla

1. In a small bowl, mix plum sauce with rice vinegar. Toss with spinach. Layer spinach, leftover shrimp, and about 1/2 cup leftover rice in tortilla. Roll up and serve.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 562 calories
% fat calories: 21
Fat: 13g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Cholesterol: 172mg
Protein: 31g
Carbohydrate: 78g
Fiber: 5g
Sodium: 869mg

Citrus-Scented Chicken Breasts
Serves 1, with leftovers / A great recipe for a healthy-cooking staple: boneless skinless chicken breast. In less than 20 minutes, you'll have dinner ready for tonight and prepped for tomorrow night. Serve with steamed broccoli and rice pilaf with toasted almonds.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 5 ounces each)
Lemon pepper
3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
4 tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons agave nectar or honey
1 teaspoon butter

1. Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Season chicken on both sides with lemon pepper. Sauté for 4 minutes on each side, until chicken is slightly undercooked.

2. Add onion to pan with chicken and sauté until opaque, 1–2 minutes. Add chicken broth and increase heat to medium-high. Gently boil until sauce is reduced by half and looks syrupy, 8–10 minutes. Add orange juice and agave or honey; simmer for 1–2 minutes until thick. Remove chicken from pan. Add butter, stir, and pour over chicken.

3. Set aside one chicken breast for day two.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 292 calories
% fat calories: 35
Fat: 12g
Saturated Fat: 3g
Cholesterol: 84mg
Protein: 36g
Carbohydrate: 11g
Fiber: 0g
Sodium: 320mg

Belgian Endive, Chicken, and Citrus Salad
Serves 1 / Seasonal citrus and sturdy endive liven up dark winter days with fresh taste. Serve with a slice of multigrain or French bread; if you buy a whole loaf, cut it into fourths and freeze unused sections.

1 leftover chicken breast
1 small Belgian endive
1 navel orange
1 pink grapefruit
2 leaves butter lettuce
1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon agave nectar or honey
Pinch of chili powder
Salt and pepper

1. Slice chicken and set aside. Trim and core endive. Slice leaves crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces.

2. With a paring knife, remove peel and pith from orange and grapefruit. Using the paring knife, remove pulp segments from membranes (do not discard membranes). Toss citrus segments with endive and arrange over butter lettuce leaves. Top with sliced chicken.

3. Squeeze orange and grapefruit membranes into a small bowl to extract remaining juice. Add vinegar, oil, agave or honey, and chili powder; whisk and season with salt and pepper. Pour dressing over chicken and salad.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 577 calories
% fat calories: 38
Fat: 26g
Saturated Fat: 5g
Cholesterol: 84mg
Protein: 41g
Carbohydrate: 53g
Fiber: 8g
Sodium: 351mg

White Bean Chili
Serves 1, with leftovers / This pull-from-the-pantry dish is perfect when you want a fast, hearty meal. If you prefer, use your favorite boxed cornbread mix; just add the grated zucchini and corn kernels to the batter before baking.

1 6- to 8-inch zucchini, halved
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
8 ounces lean ground beef, turkey, or meatless crumbles
1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 tablespoon chili powder, to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 15-ounce can low-sodium white beans, drained and rinsed
1 14.5-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (with green chilies, if desired)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
8 ounces low-sodium vegetable broth

Cornbread (makes 9 servings)
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup enriched cornmeal
1/4 cup natural cane sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup nonfat milk
1/4 cup canola oil
2 egg whites

1. Chop half of the zucchini into large dice. Grate the other half and set aside. Drain corn and divide into two portions.

2. To make cornbread: Preheat oven to 400º. Coat an 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl; stir in milk, oil, and egg whites, mixing just until moistened. Fold in grated zucchini and half of the corn. Pour batter into pan and bake 20–25 minutes or until light golden brown.

3. To make chili: In a saucepan over medium heat, brown meat or crumbles with onion. Add all spices and diced zucchini; cook for 2–3 minutes. Add remaining corn, beans, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Whisk flour into broth; add to saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, partially covered.

4. Before serving, set aside a portion of the chili and cornbread for day two.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (with 1 serving cornbread):
Calories: 705 calories
% fat calories: 17
Fat: 14g
Saturated Fat: 3g
Cholesterol: 71mg
Protein: 47g
Carbohydrate: 101g
Fiber: 18g
Sodium: 902mg

Chili and Cornbread Jumble
Serves 1 / You'll probably have enough left from the previous meal to double this recipe and invite a friend over—no one will guess it's leftovers, so don't give away your secret. We've cut the sodium to less than half that of traditional chili with cornbread, but to lower it even further, eliminate the olives.

2 tablespoons sliced black olives, drained and rinsed
1 2-inch square cornbread, crumbled
Leftover chili
Leftover cornbread, cut into 1-inch squares (enough to cover each serving dish)
2 tablespoons grated cheddar cheese
Sliced black olives, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Stir black olives and crumbled cornbread into leftover chili. Spread into a single-serving shallow baking dish (8–12 ounces). Place cornbread squares on top and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 15–18 minutes, until cornbread is brown and cheese is melted. Garnish with additional sliced olives, if desired.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (with 1 serving cornbread):
Calories: 983 calories
% fat calories: 24
Fat: 27g
Saturated Fat: 7g
Cholesterol: 86mg
Protein: 55g
Carbohydrate: 133g
Fiber: 20g
Sodium: 1,276mg

Now that her teenage sons are home less often, writer Kimberly Lord Stewart welcomes the challenge of cooking for fewer people.