Update: This is a repost of one of my very first blog posts from 2016! I’ve made a few updates and think the info is still super helpful, so here it is again!
People tell me all the time how difficult they find it to cook for two.
Sometimes it’s older couples who got used to cooking for their whole family when their kids were still living at home.
Sometimes it’s younger couples who feel like they waste so much food and time cooking every night just for them.
I’ve got to tell you, I think cooking for two is awesome!
We’ve been married for almost ten years and we don’t have kids, so I’ve got some solid experience cooking for two.
Sidenote: You can get the meal planning printable I use each week by entering your info below!
3 Tips On How To Cook For Two
1. Use Your Freezer
When it’s just the two of you, your freezer is a huge asset. It will keep you from wasting food and will make it so you don’t have to cook every night.
We eat a lot of soup, and I generally make way too much. Like, enough for 10 people or more. I can’t help it. It just happens. We don’t mind eating soup for a few days in a row, but I don’t want our extra soup to go bad and I don’t want to get sick of it.
When I make too much of a certain dish, I refrigerate how much I think we’ll eat in the next few days and then I freeze the extras. In a few weeks or months I can pull it out of the freezer and have dinner ready to go.
You can do this if you make a huge batch of cookies, soup, or a giant casserole.
A lot of people get nervous about knowing what they can and can’t freeze. I have tried freezing almost anything you can think of and have never had problems.
The one rule I follow is that I won’t thaw raw meat and then re-freeze it. If I thaw raw meat and then cook it, then it’s OK to re-freeze.
This is a great list of freezable foods.
A lot of times I make extra food on purpose so that I can freeze it for later.
I usually make double batches of taco meat and sloppy joe meat so that I can freeze half of it for later use.
Most of my casserole recipes are supposed to be made in a 9×13 pan. That’s way too much food for two.
Instead on making a 9×13 lasagna, I’ll make 2 – 9×9 lasagnas. I’ll bake one to eat right away and freeze the second one before baking it. Then in a few weeks or months, I thaw and bake it. This means we get a fresh, home-cooked meal without any effort.
2. Spruce Up Your Leftovers
You’re going to waste a lot of food and spend a lot of time cooking if you won’t eat leftovers. A lot of people seem to have a bad view of leftovers, but we love them!
A great way to spruce up leftovers is to make new side dishes to go with your reheated main course, like rice or veggies. Or if you have leftover veggies from the night before, pair them with a new main course.
You don’t have to eat the exact same meal 3 times in a row.
We’ll do chicken with fruit and rolls one night, then leftover chicken with roasted veggies the second night, followed by leftover roasted veggies with fish the third night.
The goal is to reduce waste and not have to cook a full meal every night.
3. Buy In Bulk
You don’t want to miss out on really great bulk prices just because there are only two of you. The key to buying in bulk for two is to only buy what you can use up.
This is where your freezer comes in handy again. When I buy a huge pack of cheese or lunch meat or chicken breast, I divide it into smaller portions and freeze it.
If I find a great price on chicken, I might buy 10lbs and then put two breasts in each freezer bag since that’s how much I know I will want at a time.
We make homemade pizza quite often, so I know we can buy shredded mozzarella at a great price for a 5lb package and we’ll use it up in a few months. I divide the cheese into quart-size freezer bags to save for later.
Another great way to benefit from buying in bulk is to share with someone else. If you find a great price on fresh fruit in bulk, maybe you can split the price with a friend or family member. My mom and I have split the price and shared olive oil and spices that you can get a fantastic price on in bulk.
We have a small chest freezer in our basement that helps to store all of the things I freeze (we have one like this). If you have the room, I would certainly recommend getting a small chest or upright freezer.
If you only have the freezer attached to your refrigerator, you can still do a lot! If you organize your freezer, you’ll be surprised what you can fit in there (here are some ideas and inspiration). A few small crates or even magazine holders can really help you utilize your freeze space much better.
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