Now That's a Mouthful

Episode 57: While You Are One. Small Batch Cooking.

Episode 57: While You Are One. Small Batch Cooking.

Cooking for one (or maybe two) and how to overcome the obstacles standing in our way when we cook for one – or 2, a reality we all face at one time or another. We’ll help you get the delicious results you are looking for, maintain your budget and never feel like you have to eat the same thing over and over again.

We talk about…

  • A great meal doesn’t have to be any more than an assembly of fresh, delicious things to eat. Things YOU like!
  • There’s great opportunity for experimentation and freedom, with no judgment.
  • Cooking as an opportunity to unwind and refocus from your busy, perhaps stressful day.
  • The rules change when you’re cooking for one or two; use recipes from as a springboard.
  • Choosing to come into the kitchen with joy and purpose, especially for one. You think differently! YOU choose what YOU want.
  • Recipes typically yield serving sizes larger than a small batch intention. Choose a plan that supports your intention, not just for a day but maybe for a week.
  • The bit of planning that does become important when cooking for one or two.
  • Use your freezer strategically; portion ingredients down and freeze, NOT leftover servings.
  • Do a freezer sweep when you need to make/take a dish to a party. Use and plan around what you have in the freezer to support your meal plan.
  • Buy from the bulk bins, salad bars and antipasti bars so you buy only the quantities you need.
  • Find a path that you travel regularly and frequently; familiarize yourself with the markets along your path and what they have, i.e.,, butcher counter, freshest produce, pricing, etc.
  • EPISODE 49 READYING OUR LARDER; Take advantage of canned vegetables, beans or larder staples.
  • Consider one-pot meals as options; use your smaller pots, pans to direct your portion cooking.
  • Cookbooks that are designed for small batch cooking like Christina Lane’s Dinner Just for Two or Betty Crocker’s Right Size Recipes.
  • We talk about the idea of semi-homemade; ingredient first focus.
  • BONUS EPISODE ASK CHEF DONNA and choosing what speaks to you in the grocery store. Then build around that. Use that moment and the ingredient that speaks to you to make a cooking plan that suits you.
  • Bistro Vinaigrette from Tasting Paris; Salt Smoke Time, by Will Horowitz.
  • The recipe Polenta with All the Greens from Eating from the Ground Up.
  • Chef Donna's sensible tips for scaling recipes up and down: read the recipe very strategically. Consider your core ingredient and the weight or volume of that. Consider the ratios of the other supporting ingredients. When cutting in half and then half again, acids/vinegar or aromatics that are aggressive usually don’t scale down proportionately. Use less than you think you need; you can add more but you can’t take it out.
  • Pre-made grocery store meals. Use them thoughtfully to support your weekly game plan and your time frame that you have to cook.
  • Chef Donna’s one thing to learn from this episode: Cooking for one can be a great and wonderfully life experience. Ask the better question, what am I truly hungry for? Satisfy that.
  • Cherie’s wrap: Cooking for one can sometimes feel like it’s more trouble than it’s worth. But, if you follow our tips and with a little planning ahead, you will successfully and efficiently prepare delicious, nutritious, and flavorful meals cost effectively, and with minimal waste, and you’ll love being on your own schedule. If you’re going to be the only cook in the kitchen-you might as well do it YOUR WAY!

You’ll find recipes and more at on our Recipes page. And go to our Podcasts Page for more episodes to download or subscribe.

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These are cookbooks that contain links to the recipes we talk about in this episode. You can find more cookbooks and our reviews of them on our Cookbooks Page.