View Full Version : March Cooking for 1/2 Thread

03-02-2005, 02:46 PM
Some interest was expressed yesterday regarding starting a thread for those of us who cook for one or two. So here goes!

I cook for two and am pretty successful at halving many recipes that call for four. However, I am noticing more and more that recipes are serving six. I can typically halve this, as well, but three servings isn't usually what I want. Any many times, halving can be difficult - like when you need half an egg or you've got to half 1/3 cup (yes, I know now that it is 2 1/2 tablespoons plus one teaspoon, but what a pain to measure). Anyhow, I figured this thread could be a good place for advice and recipes for those of us cooking in smaller amounts.

Last week I made this recipe from CL and we really liked it. Large portions and I believe it can be easily halved for one (except for that darn 1/3 cup of shallots - anymore, I cheat and just do 3 tablespoons).

I am just now noticing that the calorie content is off. I believe it was around 245 a serving, but I can put it into Mastercook if anyone cares.

Mushroom-Barley Pilaf with Spinach
From Cooking Light

The earthy, robust flavors of this pilaf are perfect with a beef tenderloin.

2 teaspoons butter
1/3 cup sliced shallots
2 cups sliced fresh shiitake mushroom caps (about 4 ounces)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup uncooked quick-cooking barley
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh spinach leaves

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots; cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Stir in mushrooms and garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in barley; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth, pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in the spinach; cook 1 minute or until the spinach wilts.

Yield: 2 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

CALORIES 45(30% from fat); FAT 1.5g(sat 0.2g,mono 0.9g,poly 0.2g); PROTEIN 2.1g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 41mg; SODIUM 202mg; FIBER 2.9g; IRON 0.8mg; CARBOHYDRATE 7.7g

Cooking Light, APRIL 2001

03-02-2005, 03:52 PM
I cook for one all the time, and I rarely make more than 2 servings of any dinner, and typically I only make 1. I don't know if I can offer any tips, though, as I tend to just scale a recipe down to make 1 serving. Tonight, for example, I'm making 1 serving of the Stove Top Mac & Cheese w/ Roasted Tomatoes from CL Jan/Feb 2005...just scaled it like I always do. Even for baked goods I rarely make more than 1 dozen cookies, 6 muffins, or 6-8 bars (made in a loaf pan) at a time. I eat 6 mini-meals a day, so I get bored eating the same stuff over and over...hence the scaling down to 1 serving.

Oh, I can offer 1 tip about cutting an egg in half as you mentioned -- I always keep egg sub on hand for just this reason. I use 2 tablespoons of egg sub for 1/2 an egg. I've even used 1 tablespoon to scale something down for 1/4 of an egg. I started doing this because most muffin recipes call for 1 egg, and I never make the full recipe, but beating an egg and splitting it in half was getting tiresome.

Looking forward to reading others' tips and maybe picking up some fun new recipes to try! :) BTW, that barley dish sounds right up my alley - thanks for bringing it to my attention! :D


03-02-2005, 04:09 PM
I cook for one mostly. I am pretty good at scaling recipes, and don't mind making enough for two and having a leftover serving. But I DO usually pass recipes that would call for me to halve an egg. Sometimes I WILL use an egg white and just toss the yolk if I know it won't make that much difference to the recipe. But, sometimes you really need that bit of yolk. I've thought about the egg sub, but how long does an open container last? I've made an omelet with the stuff and I just didn't care for the taste/texture, although I think it's fine in baked goods and other recipes. But, I'm wary of having 3/4 container go to waste because I couldn't use it fast enough ...

03-02-2005, 04:26 PM
I cook for one most of the time and LOVE having leftovers provided they are the kind that scale well. The only thing I draw the line at is reheated fish :D

If it's a stir fry, I generally cut the meat in half and either keep the veggies as is or even increase the veggies as most stir fries don't have enough veggies for four servings anyway (IMO).

This week I realized that poached salmon is ideal for one person. I used a C/L recipe and made two pieces instead of the six called for in the recipe. Used the same amount of poaching liquid and didn't alter the fennel relish -- It was great -- the relish would have been a small condiment for six servings but it worked great for 2 servings -- in effect it was very delicious upscale coleslaw:)

I also like stuff that is cooked in parchment - I will prep two and cook one the next day.

Regarding egg sub -- mine seems to last a long time -- several weeks stored in the bottom and back of my refrigerator -- at least I haven't dropped dead of ptomaine yet :) I buy mine at TJ in quart size. Eggbeaters comes in pint sizes but the TJ quart winds up being cheaper anyway. I make some crustless quiche recipes that freeze well and work for me as breakfast or light lunch -- these use up the eggbeaters quite well if I'm being good about cycling through my food.