I grew up in small family. I’m an only child, and I have an only child. Given that, you’d think that I’d be accustomed to cooking for a small number, right? Well, I did too. Then my son moved to college. Learning to cook for two has been more of a challenge than what my husband and I could ever have imagined. This edition of TRIO focuses on three things that have helped us now that we’ve paired down the number of plates at our table.
I know this seems obvious, but I found it to be harder than I thought it would be. In my defense, I’ve spent 20 plus years making some of our favorite meals, and cooking many of them has become second nature. Many of our go-to meals call for ingredients by the can. Now that we are cooking for two I found it frustrating to open a can to only need half of its contents. Over time I learned to consider what ingredients I’d have of left in my weekly meal planning. For instance, if I used half of a can of tomatoes for Monday’s meal, I’d look for something that would need half of a can for Tuesday. I also started using sites that have special sections on recipes made for two or have features that allow you to adjust the scale of a recipe.
This week I ate the same thing for lunch four days in a row because I didn’t follow the previous suggestion. Because some habits are hard to break, I’d suggest upping your plastic/glassware. You’ll need more than you think, trust me. The good news is that just because you have leftovers, it doesn’t mean that you have to eat them as leftovers. I often rely on allrecipes.com or Pinterest boards that specifically cater to creative ways to use leftovers.
At least once a week my husband and I invite friends over for dinner. This has simultaneously helped us manage our kitchen routine and enhance our social life. Whether we’re connecting with another couple, providing a home-cooked meal for a college student or helping out a single friend, each week we’ve tried to be intentional on who we invite. Take a look around at your circle of influence. I’m willing to bet that you know of a few people you can bless with your empty nest! If you want to get creative with your new dinner partners, you might want to take a look at these dinner conversation cards. They are a great way to add fun to your mealtime routine, even when it’s a table set for two!
Interested in learning effective ways to cook for just you and your plus one? Join us for the upcoming Dinner for Two class. I might just see you there! Call 405.377.3333 with questions or register here. To find out about more courses like this sign up for our monthly e-newsletter. View all of our upcoming courses in our digital catalog.
Cara Adney is the Marketing and Media Relations Coordinator at Meridian Technology Center.