Cooking For Two

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Cooking For Two

The idea of cooking for only two people can be a challenging one. It seems that most recipes out there are for four people or more, and simply dividing recipes in half can lead to less than desirable results. There are more and more people that need healthy, nutritious meal options for smaller numbers. Empty nesters, seniors, newlyweds, roommates, and single parents of one, all need creative and tasty ways to feed their small family. These simple tips can help you stretch your food budget and please your taste buds at the same time.

Plan your meals

When you need to cook for smaller numbers, proper meal planning is the first step in keeping menu variety. Use the same main ingredient such as chicken, beef, or pork in several dishes during the week. This way you can buy the larger package sizes that are lower in price without having waste or eating chicken soup for a week straight.

The Freezer Is Your Friend

Learning to properly freeze not only raw ingredients, but also pre-made meals and leftovers is an invaluable way to save time and money. Purchasing a home vacuum sealer that are available at discount stores makes this task a breeze. Buying in bulk and splitting into portions for two people will save you money and trips to the market. When making a large batch meal such as a soup or lasagna don't divide the recipe. Instead make a full batch but split it in two and freeze the rest for use later in the month. Casseroles and lasagna can be frozen before they are baked. For soups cook the whole batch and freeze half in an air-tight container. Potatoes turn grey when they are frozen so avoid freezing any dishes that contain them, and don't forget to label and date everything that goes in your freezer.

Use Left Overs Creatively

Quite often cooking a large cut of meat such as ham, turkey, or a whole roasting chicken, can leave you eating cold meat sandwiches for days after. Why not reuse the left overs in a different dish. Turn your left over proteins into a tasty soup, salad, or even a pizza topping. For example those left over grilled chicken breasts would be fantastic in a salad, stir fry, or pot pie.

Store Raw Ingredients Properly

Storing dry goods such as pasta, grains, and rice in resealable plastic zip bags, or tightly sealed storage containers, keeps them fresher longer, protects them from insects, and eliminates waste. Properly washing and storing produce helps extend the life of your produce. If you are not using your fresh produce before it turns, try one of the new "green" produce bags to make it last even longer. A great alternative is to visit a grocery store that has a salad bar. You can purchase lettuce, celery, carrots, and other fresh veggies in smaller quantities so you are sure to use up what you have before it spoils. Don't be afraid to buy smaller quantities at a higher per pound price. You aren't saving any money if your it spoils and you are throwing it away. Wasted food is wasted money.

© 2012 Patti Koski

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