This seems to be a common problem with a lot of people. You are used to cooking for a family and now most of the family is gone.
How do you make a favourite meal for two people when all the proportions would feed 5?
How do you buy for two when the store sells in family size containers?
Some meals or portions of the meal can be frozen to make the next meal a mix of fresh cooking and reheating. Keep in mind the things will change a bit when frozen.
Potatoes do not freeze well unless mashed, so if you want to freeze something with potatoes in it leave them out. You can cook some fresh potatoes, when you want to have that stew or soup for dinner next time.
My husband likes pasta dishes after they have been frozen or in the fridge for a couple days. So I do single portions in containers and he has those when he works night shift and gets home at 4 AM. I like it because I don’t have to cook at meal at that horrible hour of the morning.
Buying Affordable Kitchen Appliances
Now I will admit it for all the world to know, I like gadgets. But I hate paying the high price for new ones which sometimes get into the kitchen and I positively hate them. Waste of money and they take up space. My solution is easy, I have a friend who loves yard sales and so every Saturday morning she picks me up and we make the rounds. You would be surprised at the things you can find in someones garage, yard or basement.
Now I know this post is about cooking for 1 or 2 and the gadgets I picked up this weekend were a George Forman Rotisserie. When I got it home it only had the basket not the rotisserie bar, but that is ok because I already have a rotisserie. The basket will do potatoes and vegetables without adding oil to the food or heating up your full size oven. I cooked potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots all in one go. Took about an hour and by the time the chicken was done on the BBQ rotisserie, dinner was served.
The left over vegetables from that meal, can be added to eggs the next morning, which I call a fritata just to be fancy. Or for a supper dish, just add a bit of meat and make a stir fry.
The other gadget was a kibobber. It has 8 skewers and you can do any number so when you buy meat in larger packages you can cut some into small chunks and make the kabobs put them in the freezer and when you don’t feel like cooking pull a couple out and you have a nice meal on a stick. Have someone over and do up to the 8 of them. Add some rice or a salad and you will think someone else did the cooking for you.
The Extremely Useful Toaster Oven
Another handy gadget for 1 or 2 people is the toaster oven. But don’t buy it to replace a toaster. They make lousy toast so keep your old toaster but use the oven for baking potatoes sweet or other wise. I wrap half a large potato in tin foil and half a sweet potato in foil adding butter salt and pepper. They take about the same length of time to cook. Add some toppings like brown sugar and vegetables with the sweet potato, and maybe some spaghetti sauce and vegetables for the potato.
They make a meal all by themselves, or you could add a chop or chicken breast if you feel extra hungry. Again no heating up the entire oven and house during the summer.
If you like corn on the cob you can spread the butter salt and pepper and any herbs you enjoy wrap it in foil and pop it into the toaster oven as well. Or make a couple cookies. just have the cookie dough frozen in rolls and slice off the number you want. the oven should hold 6 which should be enough for any sweet craving. You can do the same with muffins. Freeze the dough in the muffin tins and pop them into the oven when you want a quick easy breakfast or snack.
Cooking Small Meals With Meat
Now I know everyone does not enjoy the same foods so to make easy meals try making packet meals. You can do this quite easily with the larger packages of meats.
Use pork chops for instance. Place some tin foil on a flat surface then a sheet of parchment paper put the pork chop on it add a vegetable you like and some cooked rice or scalloped potatoes. fold it all together and seal it so juices don’t run out as it cooks. Do another with the vegetables your husband likes. Mark them his and hers and put in the freezer. You both get a meal you enjoy with no work the day you use them and very little clean up. The toaster oven is great for this.
But you can do it with fish, steaks, meat loaf, and hamburgers. Just vary the vegetables and salads and you have a lazy mans meal in minutes. What would be nicer than coming home on a hot summer day and eating half an hour later.
Get a Meat Slicer
Another money saving gadget I own is a meat slicer. How does this save me money? Well I buy a ham or roast and 2 people cannot eat those quickly so when we are done the meal I get my husband to slice the rest into thin thin slices and put them into small freezer bags and have homemade cold meat for sandwiches. I usually have ham pork or beef ready to make his lunches for the week. I rarely buy cold meat at the stores any more just open the freezer and there it is, just need to thaw it out. each bag holds about 2 sandwiches worth so there is a variety.
I will have more ideas and some recipes in a later post. Garden is calling and hopefully if I answer my vegetables will be enough to actually be worth harvesting this year. I am new to the hobby so not sure how it will turn out.