How best to cook for two people?

I have an unbelievably bad habit of making way too much food. I hate to see food go to waste, but I love experimenting and trying new things everyday. I'm not really a protein and two sides kind of cook. I need recipes/ideas that are perfect for two disparate people: a girl that doesn't eat that much (and eats mainly vegetarian food or fish), and one 20-something male who eats for 2 and needs protein to be satisfied. How can I reconcile this every night for dinner?



Kristen W. June 30, 2012
I employ a lot of the strategies mentioned above, but have also been known occasionally to call my husband at work and tell him, "I'm making such-and-such tonight -- if that's not enough protein for you make sure to pick something up on your way home." He'll grab some sausage to throw on the grill or even a rotisserie chicken and that way he can get his fix without my having to do any extra work.

Also have to say that over time, my husband -- a self-proclaimed meat & potatoes guy with a love of all things fried -- has acclimated to a much more vegetable-centric diet. But then, he's a lot older than 20 something, so it might not be as hard a sell for him...

Anyhow, good luck!

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Rachel S. June 29, 2012
I think my household is similar to yours in terms of eating habits and desires to make new and interesting things often even when there are only 2 mouths to feed! I began making a lot of foods to which i could easily add protein such as big salads, pastas, curries, soups/stews, where we could be satisfied with or without meat. Most of those foods are good as leftovers or have ingredients that could easily translate to other recipes. I also keep some kind of protein around that we can help ourselves to when we feel like it, so it's no biggie if one person wants it when the other doesn't (roasting a chicken or cooking a steak may help your significant other get his protein fix and be easy to use in different incarnations if you make enough for leftovers, plus then he can just take it when he wants it without you having to cook something a la minute)). But one critical way that I've helped keep waste to a minimum is by having a "compost dinner" each week with the ends of the veggies and protein and other fridge loiterers made into one complete meal (often the veggies are combined with eggs and parm for mixed veg pancakes or fritters, or they are put in a salad with the protein on top). Not only does it take care of potentially wasted food, it gives you another avenue for creativity when cooking. Hope that helps! I know how cooking for 2 can be an ongoing learning experience. :)
wssmom June 29, 2012
Until I educated The Spouse in the wonders of vegetables, I had a similar problem. One of the ways I enticed him into eating greens was to put most of my energy into several lovely "side" dishes (which were the main part of the meal for me) and then simply grilled or roasted a sullen hunk of protein for him to consume. You might also consider getting him to cook as a way to expand his palate; this tactic worked brilliantly for my children!
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