Cooking for 1 or 2

Leftovers can be a lifesaver when you’re short on time, but when you’re cooking for one or two people and eating the same thing four meals later, it might be time to contain yourself! Cooking for one or two people doesn’t have to be difficult, but you may need to change your shopping and storing habits. Don’t fret – less is more, right?

Buy less

When you’re grocery shopping for one or a few people, you might want to steer clear of the large, bulk retailers. While it may seem like a major score to carry out a case of a particular food or ingredient, resist the urge. Once you get it home, you might tire of making it and be tempted to toss it or not use it. No savings there.

Chill out

The freezer can be your friend! If you want to make your favorite dish that feeds several, you’ll be able to save some for another time. Divide the servings when you’re preparing the dish – one to eat for your next meal and one to freeze and eat later. Be sure to keep a stash of freezer-friendly containers on hand.

Portion control

  • If you eat meat and shop at a standard grocery store, you might not have a lot of choice in pre-packaged quantities. Consider dividing the package immediately when you get home and stash it in the freezer to use later. For large cuts, ask at the meat counter to split it into two pieces. Check around for butcher shops that will sell you the exact amount of food you want.
  • If you want to buy juice but don’t think a large container is appropriate for your household, consider juice boxes or even six packs of juice instead. If you drink milk, purchase smaller containers to avoid the possibility of spoiling.
  • Check around and look for stores that sell dried goods like grains, nuts and dried fruit (and sometimes produce) in bulk. That way, you’ll be able to buy the amount you need and help avoid waste.

There are many recipes out there fit for one or two. Check out the following to help get you started:

Single-serving Banana Pancake from Taste of Home

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 medium ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Maple syrup or spreadable fruit, optional

Method

  1. In a small bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Combine the banana, egg and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
  2. Pour batter onto a hot griddle coated with cooking spray; turn when bubbles form on top. Cook until the second side is golden brown.
  3. Serve with syrup or spreadable fruit if desired. 

Creamless-but-Creamy Asparagus Soup from Eating Well

Ingredients

  • 1-14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 yellow-fleshed potato, such as Yukon Gold (6 ounces), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried savory, or marjoram leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces asparagus, woody ends removed, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1-1/2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Place broth, water, potato, shallot, garlic, thyme, savory (or marjoram) and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the potato is tender, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add asparagus, return to a simmer, and cook, covered, until the asparagus is tender, about 5 minutes more.
  3. Meanwhile, cook prosciutto in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring, until crisp, about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour the soup into a large blender or food processor; puree until smooth, scraping down the sides if necessary. Season with pepper. Serve topped with the crisped prosciutto.

Broiled Salmon with Miso Glaze from Delish

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon miso, preferably white
  • 1 tablespoon mirin (a sweet, low-alcohol rice wine)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • Hot pepper sauce to taste
  • 8 ounces center-cut salmon fillet, skinned and cut into 2 portions
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

Method

  1. Position rack in upper third of oven and preheat broiler. Line a small baking pan with foil. Coat the foil with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk miso, mirin, soy sauce, ginger, and hot sauce in a small bowl until smooth.
  3. Place salmon fillets, skinned-side down, in the prepared pan. Brush generously with the miso mixture. Broil the salmon until just cooked through in the center, 6 to 8 minutes. Garnish the salmon with scallions, cilantro, and sesame seeds.

Apple Crisp for Two

Ingredients

  • 2 cups peeled, cored, and sliced apples
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds or raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons soft butter

 Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Put apples in a buttered 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.
  2. Combine brown sugar, flour, oats, almonds or raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter. Mix and sprinkle over the apples.
  3. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until apples are tender and topping is nicely browned. Serve warm with ice cream.

image: trazomfreak