Top 10 Tips: Cooking for 1 or 2

For the many people who live alone, mealtime can be a challenge. Cooking for one – or even for two – sometimes feels like too much work. Singletons often find themselves relying on fast food or restaurant meals rather than cooking at home.

Cooking for one? Cabot can help with these tips and recipes for one or two. #recipes #cookingforone #eathealthy #dairygood Click To Tweet

At Cabot we believe that meals for one or two can be quick, easy and delicious. We asked John “Doc” Willoughby, Editor of Seasoned magazine about home cooking for one or two. He says there are lots of ways to make solo cooking work for a busy schedule and tight budget. He encourages you to make the freezer your friend. Cook a larger amount, divide the portions, clearly label them and freeze individually for a meal in a hurry.

And according to Doc, not everything has to be made from scratch. “Buy frozen ravioli or tortellini and just boil the amount you need,” he advises. “Prepared sauces, like bottled marinara or frozen pesto, make meals super easy. Just defrost or spoon out the amount you need and the rest is waiting in the freezer or fridge for the next time.”

We’ve got you covered if you’re going solo in the kitchen. Try these tips when cooking for one or two.


  1. Make a plan: Shop once for the week, making a list before you go. Planning your menu for the week saves on both time and money.
  2. Have a ritual: Make mealtime a relaxing break from your busy day. Sit at a table, play your favorite music. If you watch TV, try tuning into your favorite cooking shows for inspiration.
  3. Don’t let labels limit your choices: Meat and potatoes make for a great dinner, but don’t forget how yummy breakfast for supper can be. Savory oatmeal can be a tasty and filling supper.
  4. Get creative with leftovers: Try an egg on leftover takeout pizza – it’s fantastic. A sunny side up egg on reheated roasted veggies is another variation that works deliciously. Add leftover salad greens to tomato sauce or soup. Make tacos with the rest of yesterday’s chicken, add cheese and top with leftover salad…yummy and resourceful!
  5. It’s not just for toast: Your toaster oven is your friend. No need to turn on the oven when smaller meals are easily prepared in a scaled down and more economical appliance. Use it to roast veggies or chicken. It’s also great for broiling meat and a perfect size to reheat meals for one or two.
  6. Fresh produce: All that gorgeous fresh produce at the store or farmers market is so tempting, but it has a short lifespan once you get it home. Buy only what you need for the week’s meals for less waste. Salad bars can also save on food waste when you take – and pay for – only what you’ll eat.
  7. Don’t be afraid to play favorites: If you have four or five go-to meals you like to make, there’s no shame in using them over and over again. Meals like pasta with broccoli, leftover chicken, topped with a bit of grated cheese are quick, easy, and nutritious. (Healthy Hint: use more broccoli and less pasta). Get really good at a few easy-to-prepare standbys and you’ll always have a meal ready in minutes.
  8. K.I.S.S. – Keep It Small Singletons: If you regularly cook for one or two, buy smaller size perishable food items. A large bottle of cooking oil can go bad long before it is used up. Buying larger items can be cheaper, but not if you end up throwing them out long after their use-by date.
  9. Find new resources: There are cookbooks, magazines, websites, and blogs dedicated to cooking for one or two. A quick Google search of “cooking for one” or “cooking for two” will generate a host of new ideas and inspiration.
  10. Phone a friend: If you usually eat alone, why not invite a single friend or neighbor to eat with you? Catch up with a girlfriend you haven’t seen for a while or cheer up an elderly neighbor. Nothing brings people closer than sharing a meal and great conversation.

Here are some of our favorite recipes that work well for one or two, or perfect for a meal and leftovers for lunch or dinner:

Chili Cheddar Meatloves

Chive, Cheddar & Green Chili Corn Mini-Quiches

Cheddar Bulgur Risotto

Maple Wheat Berry Salad

Grilled Chicken Sandwiches with Cheddar & Black Forest Ham

One-Pot Cheesy Mexican Beans & Rice

Chef’s Salad


For more ideas for cooking for 1 or 2, check out our meal plan here

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