Thursday, October 10, 2013

Cooking for One or Two

Recipes are generally sized for about four or six people, which is great if you are cooking for a family or a small dinner party (or one teenaged boy).  However, when your cooking for one or two, there is simply too much food.  You are faced with a dilemma, endless leftovers or trying to scale down the recipe (which sometimes leaves you with awkward quantities of unused ingredients like half a can of beans).   Thankfully there are plenty of cookbooks out there for solo and couple diners.  Below are some of my favorites:

Cooking for One:

Pleasures of Cooking for One by Judith Jones.
Find it in the catalog!
Judith Jones was an editor for Julia Child and James Beard, so she has pretty good foodie cred.  After losing her husband, she decided to come up with great meals to cook by herself.  This has lots of great classic dishes to make for yourself including Ratatouille and Boeuf Bourguigon.  My personal favorite is a poached egg nestled in greens.  It's yummy, takes about five minutes to make and is great for nights I barely feel like heating something in the microwave.  Jones gives you lots of good ideas for what to do with
leftovers too!

What We Eat When We Eat Alone by Deborah Madison.
Find it in the catalog!
This is an interesting look into the actual eating habits of solo diners. It has lots of smart, practical during the week recipes as well as some outlandish, treat yourself recipes.  This is the book I most frequently turn to when making dinner for myself.  My personal favorite recipe is the avocado taco recipe which is cheap, easy and delicious!

Serve Yourself: Nightly Adventures in Cooking for One by Joe Yonan.
Find it in the catalog!
If you want seriously delicious food with Southwestern accents definitely check out this title.  Most recipes have several layers of flavor going them on, which makes them tasty but probably not quick mid-week meals.  I really enjoyed his recipes for mushroom tacos with caramelized onions and goat cheese.  Even though it turned out ugly thanks to my poor omelet making skills, the Swiss chard, goat cheese and bacon omelet was completely delicious and could definitely feed more than one with a side salad.

Cooking for Two:

One Pan, Two Plates by Carla Snyder.  
Find it in the catalog!
If you are looking for quick but delicious weeknight meals for two check out this cookbook.  Each recipe includes the hands-on cooking time as well as the total cooking time, so you can plan your meals easily.  A variety of different cuisines are covered in this book including French, Italian, Thai, and Indian.  Some tasty sounding recipes include: three cheese mac and cheese with crispy prosciutto, lamb korma, and balsamic braised chicken thighs with figs and creamy polenta.

Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Recipes for Two by Beth Hensperger.
Find it in the catalog!
During the winter months, I'm a huge fan of using my slow cooker.  Mainly because it means I don't have to spend any time actually cooking, I just have to do prep.  However, most slow cooker recipes make a lot of food and I wind up eating the same thing for days on end.  Thankfully, this book gives you recipes that are just big enough for two.  And it actually has small batch soup recipes!  Yummy sounding recipes include: Provencal tomato soup with poached egg, chicken with basil cream sauce, and skirt steak fajitas with tomato-olive salsa.

Small-Batch Baking by Debby Maugans Nakos.
Find it in the catalog!
Excess baked goods aren't usually a problem; odds are you can hoist them upon loved ones, friends and coworkers with little resistance.  Who doesn't like a homemade cookie?  However, if the temptation of having 30 delicious freshly baked cookies is too much temptation to bear, you can check out this book which sized for one or two portions.