Wow, even more great responses. I've really picked the right board here. Thanks!
I should have added cured meats to my "no" list already, as was suggested. I'm in the same place as you, Constance, regarding the meats. I will probably eat some beef, but won't go for the deli ham, for instance.
We have a food processor here and I can see the value of that for sure. What vegetables are on the "no chop" list for this device? I know, for example, that trying to chop bell peppers in it leads to something of a mess due to the outer skin, but many others work great, including herbs, to my surprise. Ours is a Cuisinart with 3 blades. I don't know if you can buy more or not, but it still works great.
Washing as I go is a good point. I might adapt that to my particular situation by making sure to wash just after eating or something, but avoiding a pile up is important with health concerns, or even without.
At present, I could have help in the kitchen but ultimately I will not, so I am trying to plan with "no help" in mind. My goal is to find a way to live on my own in some capacity, which at this time is not possible. Barring any internet marriage proposals, it's just me doing this.
I'm a little frightened by having a stool on wheels in a smooth floored kitchen while wielding a knife, but I am going to explore the possibility of getting one with a back at least. The footstool accompaniment makes a lot of sense as well, and might be more flexible if I can find one high enough. My concern with the stool idea is this - when you're chopping or otherwise working in a kitchen, you typically have to move around to get the next ingredient, clean your hands, or otherwise deal with the space limitations of a cutting board. How do you manage to stay at the stool for this process? I guess it's really about preparedness in that regard.
What can you tell me about crock pots? I'm noticing the cook times could be a little inconvenient in terms of when I would prepare and when it would finish. Could I prepare everything and put it in the night before, cook it overnight, and let it sit till dinner? Alternatively, could I prepare the night before, stick it in the fridge and set it to cook when I get up? Either option would be great for me, as I can do a great deal more the later at night it gets. If I could prepare my meals at 10pm and then do something simple to set it up for the next day, I'd be much closer to my goal.
I need to compile a more organized list of the recipes I have at this point - there aren't many, but I'll see if I can list them here...
- fish/chicken with tomato and basil + steamed vegetable. I could see cutting tomato the night before and storing in the fridge. I'd cut the basil in the food processor, then put both in the oven with olive oil. What's a good vegetable side for this, or better yet, what could I incorporate into the tomato/basil? I did this with corn on the cob over the summer and it was great, but that obviously is not available year round. It's also slightly labor intensive for me.
- brown/mixed rice with some vegetables and egg, kind of stir fried. Should I think of using any particular seasoning with this? I could steam batches of rice and freeze, then throw into the pan with the food processor-ed vegetables and egg.
- alternative flour pasta with an organic no-sugar added tomato sauce with vegetables thrown in. I'd also want to add protein, so maybe chicken in a skillet first. This one needs a little help in terms of specifics or in making it easier. I don't really know when to put in vegetables for them to cook properly, for instance. I can envision also making pesto without the cheese. Does that freeze well? Would it work with almonds as well as pine nuts?
- The crock pot chicken recipe posted in this thread looks great.
So, right now I'm a little shy of what I'll ultimately need (about 14 recipes seems like a good ballpark.) I wouldn't have a problem with soups or most any other dish as long as it involves both a protein and a vegetable or 3. Protein is quite important for me, and I try to eat a fair amount at every meal.
I'd like to get a taco-like recipe up here (I love that chili powder/cumin "taco seasoning" taste), sans shell probably, but that tends to be high prep with bell pepper, onion, and tomato cutting. As I mentioned before, I'd also like to incorporate a lot of leafy greens, which seem to be excluded from the roasting and crockpot recipes I've seen around the net.
I'm also interested to get some mid-day snack/lunch ideas that avoid the ingredients I listed as problems. It's really hard to figure out a snack that involves protein without constantly turning to peanut and other nut butters. If any of you have created and marketed "healthpockets" I want to buy stock in your company.