Cookbook suggestions: cooking for one or two
Posted: 21 June 2008 11:23 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I am facing empty nest syndrome.  I really miss cooking like I used to when everyone still ate at home.  I hate frozen and microwaved foods.  Does anyone have a good suggestion for a cookbook that is geared to one, maybe two helpings of foods?  I would sure appeciate it.  I never realized how difficult it is to cook for just a couple.  Sometimes, I would rather have a peanut butter sandwich rather than eat the same leftovers for a week.

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Posted: 22 June 2008 04:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I went through this some years ago, and yes , it does take some getting used to!  We were a family of five an when my first son went off to uni.  I couldn’t get used to setting just four places for ages!  Then the twins went off and that was a big shock!!!  I either cut a recipe in half if it’s for four or make the whole amount and freeze half or heat it up the next day.  It’s surprising, you just get used to it , I find it strange now to cook for a family ,  I have to work out how much I think each person is going to eat and multply it by how many are going be at the table, IYKWIM.  I did think of getting another cook book catering for a couple but it really isn’t worth it , just adapt the recipes you like and use those.  And don’t eat peanut butter sarnies , you’ll get fat in no time!!!LOL LOL

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Posted: 22 June 2008 04:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I’m with Jeannette, make smaller amounts of the recipes you like. Also, it does help to learn to like leftovers wink

Some things actually improve with sitting in the refrigerator for a day or two—spaghetti sauce, stews, soups for example. Many frozen soups reheat beautifully.

Jim and I have always been just the two of us, so we haven’t had to make an adjustment. Hmm, what do we do—well, we often make enough for 4 and have the leftovers. Home-made food reheated on the stove or microwave is WAY better than store-bought microwaveable dinners. Experiment to see what reheats well and what doesn’t.

We eat a lot of pasta!

Re-use ingredients—for example, make plenty of rice and some pinto beans. 1st day, serve beans over rice with home-made canned salsa on top, garnished with lettuce, cheese, etc. Store rice & beans separately. A day or two later, make the beans into refried beans, heat up some tortillas and have burritos filled with rice, refried beans, salsa, etc.

You’ll figure it out—try to think of it as a interesting challenge, maybe that will help.

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Posted: 22 June 2008 06:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I agree, for many applications, it’s far easier to cut a familiar recipe in half or in quarters than it is to try to cook portions exactly divided for one or two.

That way, we wind up having, say, the same entree two nights in a week, not four.

I try to vary the vegetables I serve, and to alternate meals, so I don’t wind up having to cook but a few nights a week.

For something like pot roast, I cook a small roast with a LOT of vegetables, but tend to only add enough potatoes for a few servings. That way, when it’s time to freeze leftovers, the potatoes (which don’t freeze very well, IMO) are gone.

If you cook potatoes, cook a few extra and dice the leftovers and brown them with a bit of onion for hash browns the next day.

For me, it’s KEY to figure out what we really do enjoy eating, and stick to that. Variations are fine, but I find it best to keep experiments on the small side so, as you say, we don’t wind up eating the same not-so-yummy stuff for a week.

Meat-wise, chicken thighs are handy, because each one can be a portion, so that’s easy to determine as you divide things up for service.

I guess the main thing I do is determine how many portions I’ll wind up with, given the amount of meat in the main dish. For us, four ounces (before cooking) is plenty per serving.

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