Quick and Easy Meals for One or Two

Cooking just for you or for two? Here’s how you can make mealtime healthy, fun, and delicious!

It’s official. According to the 2014 census, more than half the US population is single. Granted, it’s not by much. 50.2% of Americans over the age of 18 are unmarried. That means there are a lot of us cooking and eating for one. Add to that number couples without children in their households and you have a lot of meals being prepared for one or two.

You can make and enjoy a delicious, healthy, easy meal for 1 or 2 - give these #recipes a try! Click To Tweet

Fun fact: Did you know that The Buckeye Singles Council started “National Singles Week” in Ohio in the 1980s to celebrate single life and recognize singles and their contributions to society? The week is now widely observed during the third full week of September as “Unmarried and Single Americans Week.”

Having lived alone for 15 years, I know how tough it can be to work up the enthusiasm to cook a tasty, nutritious dinner when I’m the only one there to enjoy it. No matter, I’m convinced that well-prepared, wholesome meals are worth it. They’re better for your health, better for your wallet, and better for your overall wellbeing.

Sure, it’s easier to grab takeout, microwave a frozen entrée, or resort to a bowl of cereal for dinner, but making a delicious meal doesn’t have to be a chore. There are many ways to create a tasty supper in minutes.

Here are seven of our favorite meals for one or two from the Cabot kitchens. 

Pasta Salad in a Jar

Pasta Salad in a Jar

Apple and Cheddar Pitza

Apple and Cheddar Pitza

Cheesy Tortilla Rolls

Cheesy Tortilla Rolls

South of the Border Omlet

South of the Border Omelet

Individual Chili-Cheddar Meatloaves

Individual Chili-Cheddar Meatloaves

Sautéed Shrimp Pesto Pasta

Sautéed Shrimp Pesto Pasta

One-Pot Loaded Baked Potato Gnocchi

One-Pot Loaded Baked Potato Gnocchi

If you really don’t feel like cooking, having homemade meals that you’ve frozen ahead of time can be just what the doctor ordered. Take a little time on the weekend to cook up a Chicken and Garden Vegetable Chili like this recipe from Cabot farmer Andrew Worthen, or Meatballs in Marinara, or a big batch of Greek Yogurt Marinated Porchetta with Lemon and Fennel. Store them in individual serving, freezer containers where they’ll be waiting for you when you’re in the mood for a delicious meal, but don’t have the time or energy to make one from scratch.

Cooking for one or two doesn’t have to be a chore. I like to think of it as my way of pampering myself. To paraphrase a great woman, eating well is the best revenge!


  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, or lunch-type sandwiches can be as your evening meal.
  4. Get creative with leftovers: I’ve been known to put a fried egg on leftovers to create a yummy, if somewhat unusual, dinner. 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. I use mine almost every day to roast veggies or chicken. It’s 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 has a short lifespan once you get it home. Buy only what you need for the week’s meals for less waste.
  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. I have eaten pasta with broccoli, leftover chicken, and grated cheese hundreds of times in my cooking-for-one lifetime. It’s quick, easy, and 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. For years I made the mistake of buying cooking oil in a large bottle, only to have it go bad before I finished the bottle. Buying larger items can be cheaper, but not if you have to throw 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.

If you would like to learn more about Cabot Creamery Cooperative, get more delicious recipes, or take a virtual tour of some of our 1,200 farm families, click here. If you find a recipe that you love on our site, please rate and review it – we appreciate your feedback!

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Candace Karu reports on all there is to discover and love about food and farming as well as communicating Cabot’s mission to support community, volunteerism, and sustainability. Whether online, on air, or in person, her job is to amplify the passion and commitment of the 1200 farm families who own Cabot. When Candace is not representing Cabot, she lives, cooks, and works out in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.


Kristin Haskins | September 20, 2016 | 8:42am

Dear Candace, I’m going to have to start reading your recipes much later in the day…They are so yummy-sounding that I want to make them….which would be fine,…….IF I could actually set the finished product aside for a time a little later than RIGHT NOW… 😉

Jeannette Canney | September 20, 2016 | 3:12pm

What is in the pan that is pictured?

Suzanne | September 20, 2016 | 9:56pm

Great recipes & tips, Candace! I, too, have been single for some time now and I can attest that cooking for yourself is really a great pleasure. It’s worth setting aside the time to do it. Your tip about getting creative with leftovers is spot on – especially adding an egg to various things. I do that all the time.

    Rachael | September 21, 2016 | 7:28am

    Thanks, Suzanne. I’ve come to love cooking for one, although most of the time I cook in somewhat larger batches for leftovers. I’ve been know to eat meatloaf for breakfast on more than one occasion! ~Candace

Peter H. Burke | September 22, 2016 | 11:01am

Be nice if we could share this ,.

    Rachael | September 22, 2016 | 11:59am

    Peter, at the top of this post there are sharing icons to share however you wish – on your social media channels, or by email! Thanks for reading, ~Rachael

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