9 Top Tips for Cooking for Two

In this article: Find tips & tricks for cooking for two during the mid-life years to help meal preparation easier and less stressful.

Cooking for two can be an adjustment for many reasons. For those of us who are empty nesters, we often have to transition from cooking for a family down to just two people! Or, if you’re newlyweds and just starting out, learning to cook for two can be an adjustment, too.

close up of a person cooking with the text "tips for cooking for two" on it

Here are my best tips for cooking for two.

  1. Plan ahead – My number one time and stress saver when mealtime comes around is planning ahead. Sit down and take a little time to plan out your meals for the week – or even the whole month! I have a handy dandy meal planning template with grocery list just for that purpose. Having a plan not only saves you money with grocery shopping, it also saves you from the dreaded “what are we having for supper?” question nagging at you all day.
  2. Cook once, eat twice! – If you had favorite recipes that you used to cook for your big family, make the same quantity, but freeze the extra portions for dinner for another day.
  3. Use your freezer to its full advantage. I touched on this above, but I loved making a month of freezer meals when I was cooking for my family. I find I still love to do that when it’s just the two of us. You can find some of our freezer meal tips here.
  4. Treat yourself to some new casserole dishes and bakeware that are perfect for two. – I often take a recipe for a 9×13 pan and put it into 4 5X5 inch pans or 2 8×8 or 9×9 square pans. I love bakeware that come with lids – like this 8×8 inch or this 2 quart one. (affiliate links)
  5. Have fun experimenting with new recipes. – Each of our boys had food preferences, so I found I was always trying to juggle those as I planned our menu. Now that it is just the two of us, we’ve found we like to experiement with new flavors, spices, and recipes that are on the “healthier” side of things.
raw chicken on a plate with the text "buy meat in bulk & portion for 2 before freezing it" on top.
  1. Buy meat in bulk and portion it out for 2 before you freeze it. – You will save so much money doing this! If it’s summer time and you like to barbecue, you can put chicken breasts in a bag with marinade before you put it in the freezer, and it will be all ready to go on the day you want to use it! (Here is my favorite chicken marinade bbq recipe.) Or, you can learn how to make turkey burgers and portion them into zip loc bags before you freeze the ground turkey meat.
  2. Have a few pantry items on hand that will help you to put a quick meal together on busy days. Think of the things that you can pull off the shelves and get dinner on the table fast. Take note of that and make sure your pantry is stocked with those so you’re ready for a busy day.
  3. Make friends with math again. – If you want to make a recipe that serves 4 or 6, just convert the amounts by dividing in 2 to make it serve the two of you. You might want to print out the recipe and do the math before you start cooking so you don’t mix yourself up!;)
  4. Enjoy leftovers the next day! We find that often our dinner has just enough leftovers to have a little for lunch the next day. Add a nice green salad and you’re good to go!
  5. Treat yourself with your own “convenience food”. Let’s face it. Some nights we just don’t feel like cooking. I like to tuck a few things in the freezer (like premade frozen chicken cordon blue) to have on hand when I just need to take an evening off!;)

Do you have any more cooking for two tips? If so, do share with us in the comments below.

Happy cooking!

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