Generally, the low ingredient count cookbooks rely on pre-processed ingredients to make up the shortfall in ingredient count. So instead of using tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic, they use a can of Ro-Tel or something. I don't see this as really simplifying anything and you lose control of the seasoning.
I think a person looking for simple dishes for one or two is best off working with saute/pan seared techniques. This focuses on cutlets of meat or fish and simple sides generally. And doesn't generate lots of leftovers or other storage issues. This can raise your meal cost though as these cuts tend to be more expensive than some others.
As a fan of chinese food, the stir fry is also a great technique, but the ingredient list tends to be longer. Still, many vegetables keep a few days in a partially cut condition until your next stir fry or sauce or garnish uses up the onion, peppers, carrots or whatever. Chinese food also requires a certain stockpile of condiments but these aren't expensive and have a long storage life.
The introduction to Rick Bayless's Mexican Everyday is also worth reading. He discusses how much of what we see in cookbooks and food shows is event food rather than what is eaten daily. Simpler foods, quicker foods. He then extends this into a lifestyle philosophy of exercise, moderation, and how to shop. He advocates shopping around the edges of the grocery store. That's where all the fresh unprocessed food is. Produce, dairy, meat, eggs, quality breads all array on the outer edges of the store. In the aisles, it tends to be more a wasteland of food from the factory. Not totally, but he makes a good point.
Americans have a fear of going to the grocery store more than once a week. Most other countries shop fresh for the day as part of the errands or coming home from work. A local program espouses a two week menu/shopping list so you don't have to shop for groceries so often. I can't get behind that. Too many things don't store that well and are better picked up during your day and used fresh. As has been mentioned, this is a mindset issue.
Similarly, the US citizen spends less on groceries (as a percentage of income) than citizens of countries where food quality is of high cultural value. Italy, France and so on. America has come to value convenience and low price over quality. That too is a cultural value, but one that doesn't fulfill me. Nor does it seem to fulfill you.
Cooking well for one or two is a values change, a mindset change, a shopping change. And you need to develop some skills to do it well.
Technique, James Peterson's Essentials of Cooking is a decent start. I think it lacks some detail in knife skills, but that's a hard thing to teach in a book. Watch some youtube videos on chef knife technique. Martin Yan, Jacques Pepin are good knife users. Watch their hands and fingers when cutting. You should probably refer back to Essentials of Cooking every 3-4 months for a year as quite a bit of what he is saying what click in your mind until you've had some practical experience trying it out.
You might also benefit from something like How to Cook Without a Book. Disclaimer--I wasn't really impressed with this, it didn't deliver what I was looking for from it. I was the wrong audience though. What it does do is teach some simple things with a couple of variations that you can memorize fairly easily. As an analogy, rather than learning to play the piano, this is like learning 15-20 songs with a couple of twists you can apply to each song. As a cook and diner, I enjoy knowing more than this and being able to improvise myself. But it might be good for you.