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Cooking for Two - Be Your Own MasterChef

Updated on November 21, 2012

Do you bang things in the oven and hope that the food you put on the tray turns out okay?

Are you like Carrie Bradshaw, who uses her oven as a storage facility?

Does the thought of cooking irritate you?

If you're anything like what I was a few years ago, then you probably don't enjoy being in the kitchen too much.

I didn't hate cooking, I just couldn't be bothered with it.

It was too much effort. It took too much time.

There were better things to be doing than slaving away over a hot stove for an hour.

Truth is, you don't need to spend hours in the kitchen. You can create a quick and tasty meal for two in under half an hour if you wanted to....and have fun doing it at the same time.


Make Cooking FUN


The first thing you need to do if you want to be the MasterChef to your own kitchen and start enjoying cooking, is forget about what the norm for cooking is.

You don't have to make a roast on Sunday, you don't have to have a set menu that never alters for every day of the week - you don't have to do anything.

Cooking is meant to be a creative expression.

It's meant to be fun. Not a chore.

True, if you have to make the food yourself every night, it can get repetitive and you could feel exhausted, or even a little resentful.

Cooking together is one way of making it seem less like a chore, and more as a way of spending quality time together.

Or, you could take turns in cooking.

One person can cook, and the other can set up the table and do the dishes. Or, you could take turns and treat your partner to a night of complete relaxation and do all the cooking and cleaning up afterward.

Cooking together or giving each other turns in the kitchen to cook is a good way of getting creative, and coming up with new ideas.

It's also a great way to unwind after a stressful day.

Chop carrots differently, cut the cucumber differently - get creative and have fun cooking or making food.
Chop carrots differently, cut the cucumber differently - get creative and have fun cooking or making food. | Source

Get Inspired


Gone are the days when the only reference to recipes were passed down recipe books from generation to generation.

Today, there's an entire world of information at our fingertips. Use it and explore different avenues to come up with ideas for food.

Here are a few that you could try to start with:

  • Food Network Channel
  • Pinterest
  • Cooking Websites
  • Food Blogs
  • Restaurant Menus
  • Catering Companies
  • Bookshops
  • Updated Family Recipes
  • Or, you could just wing it and throw a few things together and see what happens!

Delicious, healthy, cheap and filling! And the butternut can be stuffed with whatever you have in your kitchen.
Delicious, healthy, cheap and filling! And the butternut can be stuffed with whatever you have in your kitchen. | Source

A World of Flavoured Difference


Have you ever eaten food so delicious that you felt as though your mouth was going to explode from sheer pleasure?

Most likely, you ate something that had tons of flavour in it.

Flavouring your food is key to cooking good food.

Whether you're cooking for two, or for a family of six, this is one of the easiest things to do, and it can make an enormous difference to your experience of food and spending time in the kitchen as a whole.


Fresh Herbs

Today, it's easier than ever to plant fresh herbs in your garden. If you don't have a garden, you can plant them in pot plats and put them on your window sill or on your outside balcony.

You don't even have to grown them from seeds, you can buy them half grown in pots of soil, or you can buy them from your local grocery store.

Herbs can be bought fresh, or dried.


Spices

When it comes to spices, there literally is a world of flavour combinations. Salt and pepper are two key ingredients, but cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, paprika, cumin and chili flakes are becoming more and more popular as people begin to experiment more with flavours.


  • Cinnamon - Use this in your morning oats, on top of pancakes, or in meat dishes to create a North African flavour.
  • Ginger - Use this with lemon zest in chicken or vegetable dishes to give your food an authentic Asian flavour.
  • Paprika and Chili Flakes - Use these to add a touch of zing to your dishes. Chili flakes work well in almost any dish, and especially well with chocolate.


Red onions, herbs and feta cheese pack a ton of flavour in every food dish.
Red onions, herbs and feta cheese pack a ton of flavour in every food dish. | Source

Easy Recipe Ideas for Two


Cooking for two is easy, especially when it's only for yourself and a partner.

Here you can really experiment and get as creative as your heart desires.

And, you don't need to spend a fortune to do it either!

Below are a few quick and easy recipe ideas you can make for two, that won't take you more than 45 minutes to make:


  • Butternut pizza
  • Poached Stuffed chicken with cheese (whatever you have) and anything else you feel like adding, with rice or potatoes, and a quick salad
  • Potato bake (add cheese, bacon, onions, or any left overs you might have)
  • Chicken/beef/vegetable stir fry with rice or noodles. Fry the rice with egg for an extra Chinese take-out effect
  • Fish cakes topped with a quick chopped cucumber salsa
  • Tuna pasta salad
  • Tomato and herb meatballs with a carrot salad
  • Mince stuffed squash with melted cheese on top


I could go on and on....the list is endless. I've tried all of these and they were delicious.

They're adaptable and easy to make. You can use what you have available, and there are usually only one or two main ingredients I need to buy.

The best part is, most of the time there are left overs that can be used for the next night's meal.

They're also budget friendly.



The next time it's your turn to make food, or you're not in the mood, but tired of TV dinners, why not try and get a little creative in the kitchen?

Have some fun, and make something that's enjoyable to make.

I hope you enjoyed these tips and that cooking for two (or three, or four, or five) becomes something you look forward to, instead of just another check-box to be ticked off for the day.

There are so many different ways to cook food - no matter what you've got in the cupboards or fridge at home!


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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Mel, awesome and wanted to pin this to keep for reference and tweet, too, but the share buttons aren't coming up on this article for some reason. Will definitely come back later to see if they are working right.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Look at how clever you are, Mel! What great ideas! Bev and I love to cook meals together when time allows. I love these ideas!

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thanks Janine! Glad you enjoyed it ;)

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thank you Bill! I think we'll need to make more time to cook together too. Usually we enjoy cooking one at a time, but it's good time spent together too. :)

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Although cooking and baking is my other joy besides writing, you have penned a helpful hub for those who do not enjoy it quite so much. Stellar selection of simple recipes as well.

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 4 years ago from Chennai, India

      An engaging hub packed with helpful suggestions. This well-advised hub of yours come in handy for those who is not so interested in cooking and sure create an interest in them after reading this. Way to go!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Awesome. Voted up

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thanks shiningirisheyes! I agree, cooking and baking are joyful....don't know about you, but I will be doing some baking this weekend for sure! :)

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thank you ishwaryaa22! It's always so nice to read your comments - appreciate you taking time to stop in and read :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      My hubby and I enjoy being in the kitchen together. It is a great time to share and chat about our day's events and catch up on things. Love the food suggestions and the photos are extra inspiration.

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Teaches12345 - It's true what they say about the kitchen being the heart of the home - I can see why you enjoy cooking together so much. What a great time to chat and unwind together :) Thanks for reading!

    • Nora411 profile image

      Nora411 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

      My hubby and I like to take turns and pretend to be MasterChefs! These are great ideas and I have to admit I have been becoming a little addicted to pinterest for recipes :) Voting up and interesting !

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thanks Nora! Thanks for reminding me about Pinterest, I haven't been on in a few days and think I'll spend Sunday afternoon doing just that! I'm so glad there are other people out there who also pretend to be MasterChefs, hehe! :)

    • Kenja profile image

      Ken Taub 4 years ago from Long Island, NY

      If I come to So Africa, I know where to go eat..... Cheers, Ken

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi Kenja, haha! Absolutely! Thanks :)

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