I remember when my husband and I first got married; such a wonderful time! But, I had to start learning the art of cooking for two. Sometimes while we were dating we would make a date of making a meal together. But that was just a meal and we weren’t living/eating together constantly as we are now. My husband didn’t know too much about cooking but over the years he has learned to cook and has even started to enjoy it!
Cooking for two can be so much fun too! You have someone be a taste-tester, which is personally one of my favorite jobs of all time. And if the meal turns out to be delish, then hey, you can add it to your list of things to make again! Plus you get to enjoy a meal with another person. Food tastes better when it’s eaten with others. Maybe you can even get the other person to help with the cooking!
So whether you’re a newly wed, spending the evening with a friend or loved one, or maybe trying to create a frozen leftover stash in your freezer, these tips are some that help me and will hopefully be great for you!
- Set a Budget. Budgeting how much money you want to spend on food each month is so important. Just from creating a food budget, you have an idea of how much food you’ll be buying each month and you’ll get a rough idea of how much you’ll be spending each week at the grocery store.
- Meal Plan. If you take the time to write out what meals you want to make each week and the ingredients that you’ll need to make the recipe, you’ll be sure to have all the food you need but will also save money and stress because you’ll know what you’ll be making.
- Buy Frozen Items. You make be thinking, frozen food, really? I’m not talking about frozen TV dinners…but rather frozen chicken, vegetables and fruits. These can be so helpful when cooking for two. Having these in your freezer are a great go-to if you run out of fresh fruits or vegetables. And they are quick to cook. You don’t have to worry about peeling or cutting because (most of the time) they are ready to use as soon as you open the bag. Plus, if you’re really digging the frozen vegetables, you can get ones to steam in the microwave. Boom! Vegetable side dish, done! Frozen chicken is great to have because you don’t have to worry about the fresh chicken going bad in your fridge (which can lead to a potentially messy and smelly situation).
- Buy in Larger Quantities. You’re cooking for two, so always keep that in mind. Many times, you’ll hear people tell you to not buy in larger quantities, but I would disagree. Obviously you don’t want to buy like you’re feeding an army, but you do want to have stock in your pantry or fridge. I wouldn’t buy fresh ingredients in large quantities because they go bad quickly. Frozen items are great to have on hand and last a long time. When we first got married, I was all into getting just enough groceries to make us dinner meals. Like if the recipe only needed one potato, I only bought one potato. I wasn’t even considering how we needed to also have enough food to take for lunches. My husband loves taking leftovers to work for lunch so I needed to try to improve on cooking more so that we would have leftovers. It’s a great idea to have a few of everything that way you can make more food if needed for the next day, if you have friends or family over, or if you’re family eats a lot.
- Use a Crock Pot. Remember registering for that crock pot you saw in the store for you wedding and you haven’t taken it out of the box? Take it out and put it to work! It is hands down one of my favorite kitchen appliances. It’s great because you can throw a few ingredients in, start the timer, and hours later the dinner is done. Perfect for those who have busy schedules.
- Have Food Staples. It’s great to have “staple” ingredients handy so you can whip up a quick and easy meal or snack without having to make an extra trip to the grocery store. Eggs are a great example of a staple, at least for my family. You can make an omelette, an Egg and Cheese sandwich, or make a Mexican Egg Scramble for any meal of the day. Pasta, rice, canned tomatoes, canned beans, frozen chicken, and peanut butter are also some good staples to have to make something quick, simple, and delicious.
- Have a System. System, system, system! Having a system helps you cook things faster and make clean up easier and quicker. If you have 2 people in the kitchen, one can cook and the other can clean the dirty dishes or get the plates and silverware out for a meal. If one person is in the kitchen, it helps to clean while things are sautéing, baking, simmering, or roasting so there is less mess afterwards. Clean while you go. This makes things happier and less stressful post eating.
- Invite People Over. The more the merrier! Have people over for a potluck. Share your food, learn what kinds of food your friends or family like, and enjoy sweet conversations with them! It’s good to have a change of pace from the everyday cooking.
- Love leftovers. Leftovers. I personally love leftovers, but not everyone does. When on a budget, leftovers are your best friend. If you make extra the night before, leftovers are a great lunch or dinner for the next day. And if you’re really creative, you can reinvent the leftovers and create them into something delicious. You can throw in some leftovers with eggs and make a frittata or omelet (as long as the leftovers aren’t too strange…).
- Be Thankful. Thankfulness is key whether you’re cooking for two, four or twelve. Be thankful for the food you have and those with whom you share it. If it doesn’t turn out the way you want it, make it different and yummier next time.
Cooking doesn’t have to be stressful. Next time you’re cooking for two or more see if these help make cooking less overwhelming.
Love from our kitchen to yours!