Living alone is scary. Not because of all the terrible things that could happen to you — as they did to a young Macaulay Culkin — but because of the prospect of having to sustain oneself three times a day sans dining hall. It is easy to take the coward’s way out and live off of Chef Boyardee, ramen and that candy they give you for taking psych surveys. But I propose a different kind of lifestyle. Dust off your pans, put on your apron and make a Shaw’s run; it’s time to get serious.

Cooking for yourself doesn’t have to be expensive. Great homemade meals can be made with only five ingredients or fewer (assuming you already have the most basic of basics, like salt and pepper). Try this easy chicken with mushrooms, which can be made with countless variations using the same technique. You can use pork cutlets instead of chicken, spinach instead of mushrooms, rosemary instead of sage, etc.

Extra virgin olive oil, or whatever you have around

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

½ lb. mushrooms, coarsely chopped

1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced

¼ cup red wine

sage (optional)

Heat a pan drizzled evenly with oil.

Season both sides of chicken breasts with salt and pepper, and add to pan once very hot. Brown well on both sides.

Take breasts off the pan, and add garlic and more oil to pan.

When garlic is golden, throw in the mushrooms and let cook for a bit.

Pour in the wine and stir, letting the liquid cook down into a sauce.

Once reduced, add the chicken back to the pan, let it hang out for a bit, then season with sage and serve.