I did a post a few years ago on 'cooking for one'.
I had seen a cook book entitled 'Cooking for One or Two'. At the time I wrote:
"Cooking for one is exactly as different from cooking for two as it is from cooking for 4 or cooking for 12."
One cannot make something that feeds 'one or two'. It's either the right amount for one person or it's the right amount for two persons.
Can't be both.
Of course, one could write all the recipes for one person and then say to double it for two.
But, then, one could say triple it for three, quadruple it for four, etc., in which case the title could read 'Cooking for One or Eleven'.
Cooking the right amount of food for any number of people is a challenge.
In my post on Earth Day, I suggested that reducing the protions of food served in restaurants – and at home, could be good for the health of both humans and the environment.
One of my readers commented on the difficulty of cooking for two after a habit of cooking for many.
Might I just say 'Been there, done that!'
The biggest challenge most of us face when cooking for 'only two' is that it never looks like enough food.
We end up making just a little bit more, which doesn't get eaten and ends up in the fridge for days or, worse, does get eaten and ends up on the hips forever.
Here is my guide for cooking for two – yes, it involves measuring and / or weighing. Invest in a scale, it will save you lots of money in the long run.
Meat – when served as a stand alone main course 12oz (350gr)
Meat – when used in a dish – stir-fry, pasta, etc. 8 – 10oz (250 – 300gr)
Fish - when served as a main course 14oz (400gr)
Seafood – when served as a main course 10oz (300gr)
Seafood – when used in a dish – stir-fry, pasta, etc. 8oz (250gr)
1/2 head broccoli
12 – 18 Brussels sprouts
1/3 head cabbage
3 medium carrots
1/3 head cauliflower
8 – 10oz (250 – 300gr) green beans, asparagus, zucchini, squash, etc.
potatoes 10oz (300gr) – 2 about the size of a small fist
small, bite-size pasta – farfalle, penne, rigatoni: 1 – 1 1/4 cup depending on density… 1 cup of farfalle but 1 1/4 cup or rigatoni Weight is 3.5oz (100gr)
very small pasta – orzo, small macaroni: 1/2 cup Weight is 3oz (90gr)
long pasta – spaghetti, linguini, etc: weight is 3.5oz (100gr)
couscous: 1/2 cup Weight is 3oz (90gr)
rice – basmati, brown, Arborio, 1/2 cup weight is 3oz (90gr)
Except for main dish risotto, which has less meat and vegetables, I use 2/3 cup (4oz, 115gr)
quinoa, 1/2 cup weight is 3.5oz (100gr)
polenta, 1/4 cup weight is 1.5oz (45gr)
barley, quick-cooking, 2/3 cup weight is 3oz (90gr)
Now I will qualify all this by saying that this is how I cook for us. We are relatively active adults and these are the quantities I use for our main meal, which happens to be in the evening (about 11pm, actually, but we all have our bad habits…. We've never gotten over the Spanish influence).
We do, on occasion, have a bit leftover, but not very often. The meal is divided 3/5th's for mon mari and 2/5th for me.
One last, but very, very important item:
All of the recipes on my blog and my website are for two. Some of the recipes make enough for two meals for two – or will serve four, but that's just good planning.
And there are a few, mainly the pizzas and quiches, that almost always have a bit left – but sometimes, one has to make a little more just to make the recipe work and /or fill the baking dish. Lasagnes are always for 2 meals.
Pasta for two?
Pasta salad for two?
Or just a nice salad for two?
Risotto is always good…. – here's one to use the leftover lamb from Easter Dinner
Stir-Fries are great for cleaning out the fridge – for two, of course
Puff Pastry Pizza is perfect for two:
And one for the barbecue grill:
Happy cooking for two!
Or more – you can multiply, can't you?