Cooking for Two

Favorite recipes become second nature over the years but when your family shrinks, how do you adjust your cooking habits to accommodate the change?  Dividing the recipe in half is just one step, here are five tips to help reduce waste in the kitchen.

5 Tips on Cooking For Two or a Small Family

1. Don’t Skip the Salad Bar

cooking for two hands chopping fresh vegetables, meat and spices on cutting board

If you have a recipe that calls for ¼ cup of bell pepper, instead of buying a whole pepper stop by the salad bar to get just the amount you need. You’ll save on cost and eliminate waste.

The salad bar is a great resource for pizza toppings too! Top a frozen cheese pizza with fresh veggies from the salad bar. This especially comes in handy when you want the pizza to be half and half.

2. Visit Your Grocer’s Butcher Counter

rectangular plate of grilled salmon and vegetables

Rather than buying meats and seafood in bulk, try visiting your grocer’s butcher counter. You can select meats in the smaller amounts you need.

Also, some butcher counters even offer pre-seasoned meats, which will save you time at home and help eliminate the need to buy additional spices and seasonings.

3. Your Freezer Is Your Friend

When you’re buying meat or seafood in bulk, divide and freeze it into meal-size portions soon after purchasing. An inexpensive kitchen scale can help you easily weigh meats into ¼ or ½ pound increments.

Everyone has their own preferred method for organization, but it may be a good idea to put newly frozen meats to one side of the freezer and rotate to the opposite side as you go. Also, be sure to label each container with the contents and the date it is frozen. This will help prevent finding freezer-burned mystery meat in the back of the freezer later.

Use this FDA refrigeration and freezing guideline to help you make the most of your freezer.

4. Not All Recipes Need to be Reduced

white bowl of sausage, spinach and tortellini soup

Meats and seafood aren’t the only foods that can be frozen for later. A recipe that is freezer-friendly doesn’t have to be reduced. For instance, when making your favorite soups or sauces, consider freezing a few portions. This can be done in a freezer safe container with cling wrap or even freezer bags.

You can also use ice cube trays to freeze egg whites or even leftover wine. The eggs can be defrosted while the frozen wine can flavor sauces and soups.

5. Consider Cook Time

As you cut down on quantities for recipes, keep in mind that the cooking time may also need to be reduced. In other words, a meatloaf for two wouldn’t take as long in the oven as a meatloaf for six.

There’s no doubt it takes time to get used to cooking for two, but with a few tweaks to your routine, you’ll be a pro in no time.

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