Life Changes and how to adjust cooking habits...

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Senior Cook
Feb 21, 2024
I need advice on how to cook for fewer people. I am really struggling with this issue. All of my recipes are for anywhere between 4 to 8 people. I am having a hard time adjusting. Our family went from 4 to 3 people. I can't really half my recipes because that is not enough servings. Any advice all of you learned chefs would be appreciated.
I have been faced with similar circumstances. Cooking for two was pretty easy. Cooking for three is a bigger challenge. My granddaughter is with us now.
All my frozen meats were portioned for 2 people or 2 meals. I buy at Costco and vacuum and freeze the meats.
I will follow this thread along as I also want to hear suggestions.

Oh...She likes vegetables better than meat.
I am following this thread too. I am adjusting from cooking for two to cooking for one. :cry:
Cook as you usually do and put a portion in the freezer....
Cooking for 1 is boring as you can hardly use any ingredients

But other than that, I don't really see the problem.
You just cook a bit less.
From 4 to 3, multiply everything by 0.75, although you may have to adjust liquid. Cooking time stays the same.
Or just leave out a side dish or so.
I’m still learning to cook for one.

The short videos from Jacques Pepin have been a big help for me. He posts them on his FB page and on his foundation website.

These days I only cook a couple times each week with a few planned leftovers. I fill in with frozen entrees and grab ‘n’ go convenience foods.

More and more often a can of soup, bowl of cereal, or deli cold cuts on whole grain bread make a meal with a piece of fruit or a vegetable.

The weeks fly by and there has been no sign of significant weight loss. 🤭
Cook as you usually do and put a portion in the freezer....
Or eat leftovers! Sometimes I cook a lot of some things, that I just can't cook a small amount of, and both freeze some, and eat leftovers.
Cooking for 1 is boring as you can hardly use any ingredients
How does cooking for one mean you have to use fewer ingredients? If anything, I can use more - when cooking for several people, one doesn't like this, another doesn't like that, and after a while, there are a lot of things you won't be using!
I've been eating a lot of the leftovers from my freezer lately, due to being so busy with garden things. Often, I even think about it far enough in advance that I remove it from the freezer, and thaw it overnight in the fridge, and by the time I reheat it, it needs much less time in the MW. And, while I freeze things in plastic, I don't reheat in plastic.
As we age, SO and I have smaller appetites. As a result, there are often more leftovers. If there's enough for another meal for two, it gets refrigerated and is gone in 2 or 3 days. If there is less leftover, it's my lunch.

Some recipes are for larger quantities such as soups, stews, pasta sauces, pizza sauce, casseroles, etc. They get packaged in meal-sized containers and frozen for a future date.

Of course, if you don't want or care for leftovers, you'll have to learn how to cook smaller quantities. If halving a recipe doesn't work, reduce it by a smaller amount, say ⅓. Inevitably, some experimentation will be necessary.
I've been pulling a page from my grandmother and pressure canning some things such as beef stew, pot pie fillings (just add a biscuit,) pot roast, chili, meatballs in sauces, etc. There are so many things one can make with a pressure canner, and no freezer needed.

There are also a lot of websites for people cooking for one or two.
I probably didn't explain proper.
What I tried to say is if I make a stir fry or something I prob want to use bell pepper (red and green) onion, tomato, maybe a leek and some meat
Now we are already talking about enough food for 2-3 people maybe 4
But if I would want to cook for 1 only with no left overs, I can only use 1 type bell pepper and some meat and it is already enough.
Which is why I cook for 3-4 even though I live alone.
It’s ok to eat the stuff in the freezer too. 😉

Im my house, the freezer is where leftovers go to die. Once leftovers get into my freezer, they stay there until I clean out the freezer, and toss the leftovers. Don't ask me why, because I don't know.

Cooking for 3 - I would still do my recipes for 4 and have tomorrows lunch for one (or breakfast, like GG). Or as many suggested freeze the meal.
The same goes for recipes for 1 or 2 - there are many many sites for them. A recipe for 2 can easily be for 3 - just increase your vegies by one serving, eyeball it. For meat add the extra chop, etc.

Don't think you need make drastic changes. If you have a large recipe for a sauce or gravy but only 2 or 3 people... go ahead and make it because it is a whole site easier than to try and reduce. After a while you will might get used to it.

taxy is an excellent source. Many sites, ATK, Serious Eats and others have recipes for one or two.

When buying groceries I have to seriously look at how much I buy as I am cooking just for me but also storage is at a premium. So for eg Brussels, I stand there and count how many go in the bag, visualize how they will look on my plate. Am I going to cook them all up entirely for a 2nd meal? or just cook enough for 1 meal?
mseagle this applies to you too.

LOL, once on the farm 3 or 4 dropped by (to watch a hocky game because I had a generator and there was a power failure)
I stood in front of the freezer and said.. Who wants spaghetti? Who wants meat pie? Who wants.... can't remember them all. But we each had a different meal of single serving frozen dinners. LOL they claimed it was better than a restaurant! Personally I think they just liked the free meal - but they did bring the beer and chips!

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