While working in the Hamilton Beach test kitchen today, performing test routines on a number of products, it occurred to me that my whole team is currently working from home and cooking for just one or two people. Our group runs the gamut from a young professional sharing an apartment with a roommate to me and my retired husband as empty nesters. Curious about what everyone else was cooking now that we are eating all our meals at home, I took the opportunity to check in. In between sending funny memes and a photo of Lily the dog monitoring a speeding mail truck, some great tips were shared. (I sure do miss being with these people!)
Our top three tips when cooking for one or two people are as follows:
Make More Than One Meal
Cook once so you don’t have to cook again so soon. How? Meal prep! Shredded Cuban Mojo Pork is the perfect example of a great meal prep slow cooker recipe — it can be served over rice for dinner night one, then in a wrap the next day. A little planning can make for easy meals all week long, thanks to the slow cooker. Here are two more meal prep ideas and their day two incarnations:
Day One: Slow Cooker Basic Shredded Chicken
Day Two: Mediterranean Chicken and Quinoa Bowl
Day One: Slow Cooker Beef Pot Roast
Day Two: Pot Roast Po Boy
Freeze for Later
Soups, chili, and even the shredded meats from the first tip can be frozen for use later. Make individual-sized portions of a hearty chili for faster reheating and grab-and-go lunches. Or save turkey or chicken bones for making bone broth or chicken stock. Vegetables about to go bad can be frozen to use in soups or stocks as well. Here are a few of our favorite meals that can be easily frozen and taste just as good the second time around:
- Multi Cooker Chili Mac
- Multi Cooker Butter Chicken
- Slow Cooker Chunky Loaded Potato and Ham Soup
- Slow Cooker Tuscan Chicken Stew with Tomatoes, Sausage and Beans
Store in Just the Right Sizes
Some of us like leftovers less than others. Vacuum-sealing meats or poultry in appropriate size packages and storing for later use cuts down on waste and dealing with leftovers. This can also save money when buying in bulk. Use the perfectly portioned proteins as the centerpiece of some delicious sheet pan dinners for two that can be cooked using your countertop oven. Here are some of our favorites:
- Chicken Thighs with Roasted Rosemary Root Vegetables
- Dijon Salmon with Green Beans Sheet Pan Supper
- Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Carrots Sheet Pan Supper
- Sheet Pan Mongolian Beef
Cooking for one or two doesn’t have to be a chore; plan ahead and let your kitchen appliances help shoulder the load. What tips do you have for those cooking for themselves or one other person? Leave us a comment below with your ideas!
We have been empty nesters since the early 1980s. My husband is a hunter and we have wild game to eat. We have adventures in making our own hams, back straps and more. Our wild deer has high protein and we have recently used it to have homemade tortillas and then salad with homemade French bread taco croutons. We love cooking together. We need to minimize our soup sizes. Have saved fresh Meyer lemon juice in 1 oz sizes and dried fruit and herbs for later. Have learned to buy our favorites and freeze or make and freeze. Glad we did this. Have given away meats, fruit and breads for the recent limited travels to the store. Thank you for letting me share.
Thank you for sharing!
During self-isolation because of my age, I have been making casseroles that serve 3-4 people and freezing the extras. With the nice weather I have been working outside on my gardens and it is great to come in and just put one of these into the microwave to heat. I decide the night before which one to have and defrost it in the fridge overnight. Once or twice a week I take one to a neighbour who is also self-islating.
That’s such a great idea! Thanks for sharing. Do you have a favorite recipe?
I find if you have young ones around you cant go wrong with mac and cheese. You can add veggies or just about any thing to it!
Great idea! Thank you for sharing!
PHIL & I HAVE BEEN A COUPLE FOT 62+ YEARS AND BOYS HAVE ALL 3 GROWN UP AND NOW HAVE THEIR FAMILIES. WE DON’T HAVE LEFT OVERS. WE EAT PLANNED OVERS. A COOKIE SHEET OF CHICKEN PIECES TAKES THE SAME AMOUNT OF ELECTRICITY/GAS TO COOK AND I SIMPLY SEASON IT FOR INDIVIDUAL MEALS. DRY RUBS AND SIMPLE SPICES ARE USED TO COMPLIMENT THE CHICKEN. ROAST AND PORK LOINS ARE LISTED ON A SIMPLE WEEKLY MEAT PLAN AND ARE DIVIDED SO I DON’T FORGET THEM IN CONTAINERS.
We love the idea of calling them planned overs 🙂 Thanks for the helpful tips!