Cooking for one or two requires a bit more planning in the kitchen, but it's also fun.
- When you purchase meat, make sure you take a few minutes to wrap individual portions in heavy duty foil or freezer bags, label well, then freeze. Smaller pieces of meat are much easier to work with and will thaw faster. Read through Cooking Solo from UND.
- Take advantage of salad bars in your supermarket. It's a great idea to buy smaller portions of already prepared chopped vegetables you can use in stir-fries and casseroles in addition to salads. In the same vein, look at the bulk section of your supermarket. You can choose exactly the amount you want to buy.
- Most canned and jarred ingredients can be covered and stored in the refrigerator if you don't use all of the container. Remember to repackage foods that are canned in metal into glass or plastic containers.
- Smaller appliances may be a good investment. There are smaller crockpots (called crockettes), toaster ovens, even mini food processors that take up less storage space, use less energy, are easier to clean, and hold just the right amount of food for one or two.
- Most recipes can be reduced by cutting the ingredients in half. Be careful when adjusting a baking recipe, because the proportions can be tricky. A recipe scaling program can be a great help. You can use it for your own recipes by typing amounts and ingredients into the form provided, then click 'Calculate'. Be sure to print out the result, since the program isn't savable.
- Think about combining leftovers into casseroles. You can transform any leftover pasta into a frittata the next day, serve taco filling over greens for a salad, and add some grated carrots, horseradish, and low-fat mayo to leftover roast beef for a fabulous sandwich spread.
- Make sure that you are diligent about cleaning out your refrigerator and freezer and discard food that is past its prime. Always remember that it's always cheaper to purchase new food than to have to deal with a food poisoning incident.
- Think about starting a cooking club with other singles or couples. This can be a fabulous way to meet people and try new foods - plus you get several days off a week! You can cook larger casseroles and recipes and simply divide them up for each other person in your group. Everyone gets to sample something new, you'll vary your diet and have fun all at the same time.
- Shopping and cooking for two can be really fun. You can buy what you really like, splurge on more expensive items because the quantity is smaller, and experiment more. Enjoy!