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Saturday, 20 October 2012

Operation: One-Handed Chef...Week One

I'd hoped to blog about something more substantial today, but I haven't quite gotten my feelings about it sorted out yet. So I thought that maybe you'd like to hear about the first week's results of Operation: One-Handed Chef.

For those of you that don't recall, Operation: One-Handed Chef is my concerted attempt to integrate more cooking into my life, since it's something that I find difficult to motivate myself to do. I've been trying to find some recipes that I can make with one hand, or that are at least easier to make with one hand, and I'm going to try at least one new one a week.  This week I tried English Muffin Pizzas. The recipe is in the post above this one.


I substituted veggies in place of pepperoni on my pizza, and right away ran into an (non-stroke-related) issue that I think is going to come up again and again during Operation: One-Handed Chef: I live alone, and many things come in packages that are simply too big to meet my needs. I wanted mushrooms, and I managed to find them pre-washed and sliced in packages in the produce section (pre-sliced/pre-chopped veggies are a God-send for me), but I'm going to be looking for ways to eat mushrooms with every meal this weekend so that I can use them up before they go bad.

My grocery store used to have packages of pre-sliced green pepper, for stir-fry, but I couldn't find any in the produce section. They're easier to dice than a whole pepper, which is what I ended up buying.

I figured I'd have trouble finding pizza sauce, because I've never seen it come in anything but cans. Most can openers, even electric ones, require two hands to use, so I don't buy any food in cans (although I did see in the other day that there's now a hands-free electric can opener, which I must look into).

But, wonder of wonders, Ragu now makes pizza sauce in a small squeeze bottle!

It made my day. :)


If I'd only prepped enough of everything to just make my dinner, I probably could have made two English muffin pizzas (I hadn't eaten since breakfast, so I made two servings) in the time suggested in the recipe, or maybe a bit longer. But I wanted to get all the prepping that I had to do over with and done at one time, so that I can just grab the ingredients and throw them into meals as I need to over the next little while. So I diced a full package of mushrooms and a green pepper, grated a package of cheese, and prepared the meal.

That took over an hour, and I was tired by the end. My frustration level stayed surprisingly low, except when the cats smelled cheese when I was grating it and slowly started to close in on me (honestly, the neighbours must really wonder what's going on in here when I'm yelling "Get back! That's my food! STAY AWAY FROM MY FOOD!") but I was more than ready to stop.

The Results

My dinner:

Much better than I thought it would be, actually, even though I couldn't eat all of it. It's surprisingly filling, and I would have been better off to go with my original plan of one muffin and baby carrots (which I forgot to buy).

There's a pic up on Twitter...I'm trying to make it show up here, but it's being stubborn. Stay tuned!

What I'd Do To Make This Experience More "One-Handed Chef"-Friendly

  • I'd originally planned to see if my Pampered Chef chopper could dice, but I decided to just see how far I could get with dicing things myself. Some sort of chopper or food processor would definitely save time.

  • I think that the hands-free can opener is a must. The squeeze bottle pizza sauce is expensive for such a small bottle.

  • The cheese grater is manageable for me at this point, but people who have very little movement in their weak hand hand may want to consider buying pre-grated cheese.

Operation: One-Handed Chef is a success for this week!


  1. This is going to be a fun series of posts! My stroke group had a cooking day every month for about a year and it was great. We decided on what we were going to cook the following month and each brought some of the ingredients and tools. We had a blast and learned a lot of tricks from each other. I wrote about a couple of our events on my blog. Hope you are okay with me sharing a link to the chili one. That was a great recipe.

  2. Linda, thank you for posting that link! I took a quick look at your recipes, and they sound awesome. I'm definitely looking for recipes to try, so I appreciate it. Cooking a meal together is a great way for a stroke support group to get some positive thought going about what we can accomplish as stroke survivors. I've bookmarked your blog and definitely plan to read more. Thanks for reading and commenting! :)