Cooking for two can be challenging! Learn a few tips to save money, avoid wasting food, and ideas for what to do with leftovers!
It never fails. You find a recipe you’d love to try, but the portions are too big or you buy so many groceries, the two of you couldn’t possibly eat them all. Outside of inviting the whole neighborhood over to eat, here are some handy tips for cooking for two.
Have a Plan
Planning isn’t always fun, but it’s the way to ensure you have the right amount of food and that your hard-earned money doesn’t go to waste. Plan your meals out in advance and make a detailed grocery list with the precise portions that you need of each food item.
Ask the Butcher to Make a Smaller Portion
If a roast is too big or any other portion of meat is too large, don’t be shy about asking the meat department to cut it smaller for you. Most quality grocery stores will be happy to do this for you; so ask. Of course, if there is a special on pork chops in bulk, buy the package, portion it and freeze it for later.
Adjust the Recipe
It’s usually pretty easy to divide a recipe, so you only make the portions you need. If a recipe serves six, simply divide the ingredient quantity by 3 to get 2 servings. Of course, when a recipe calls for 3 eggs and serves 4 people, it becomes a bit more complicated. In addition, when it comes to baking and other types of recipes, it may adjust the cooking time as well. So when in doubt, use our next tip of portioning and freezing.
Portion Meals and Freeze
If you can’t adjust a recipe, it might be a blessing in disguise because you can save yourself plenty of time portioning a ready-made meal and freezing it. If that hearty beef and bean chili serves 8, go ahead and make the full recipe. Then you can eat what you’d like and then divide the rest into 2- portion packages and freeze.
Tips for freezing:
- Always use freezer-safe storage containers and bags. They are thick and designed to keep moisture in and odors from other foods out.
- Remove all air from bags before sealing. For storage containers, use small enough containers so they are full with little or no extra space. This helps prevent freezer burn.
- Always completely cool your food before freezing, so it freezes faster and stays fresher. In addition, if you freeze baked goods before they are cooled, they retain moisture and can mold easily.
- Label all your frozen items. Take note of the contents, portion and the date you made the item. That way, you can keep track of food that needs to be eaten before it expires.
- To thaw most frozen foods, just leave in the refrigerator overnight.
- Surround items with ice bags for better insulation and to prevent thawing if your freezer is left open or goes out! Clear plastic ice bags will help keep the ice useable for drinks and keep your favorite foods safe!
Get Creative with Leftovers
If you love leftovers, this is a no-brainer. Simply package up the remainder of your meal and make it a lunch to go the next day.
If you’re not so keen on leftovers or crave variety, there is plenty you can do with pre-cooked meals and ingredients. If you roast a chicken, you can turn it into a potpie the next day and a wonderful chicken broth the day after. Chicken salad sandwiches are divine as well . If you’ve grilled one too many steaks, chop it up and serve it cold in an indulgent salad the next day. Miscellaneous food items can be added to soups, placed on pizzas and more. There’s always something you can do with those leftovers sitting in your fridge.
Cooking for two needn’t be complicated or expensive. With just a little planning and organizing, paired with some creativity, you can make your food go a long way.