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Reduction tricks: Cooking for two takes adjustments, smart shopping |

Reduction tricks: Cooking for two takes adjustments, smart shopping

If you’re used to cooking for a big family, learning to cook for one or two people can be a struggle.

“However, it isn’t impossible. You just need to learn a few tricks,” said Diane Kish, a culinary arts teacher at Northampton Community College, Monroe Campus, Tannersville.


Leftovers

The one good thing about cooking for only one or two people is you can always freeze extra servings to use at another time, Kish said. “If the recipe is for soup, a casserole, or something else that’s too difficult to trim down, make the full recipe and freeze the leftovers.”

She sometimes puts the leftovers in the fridge for lunch the next day, “but if you aren’t much on leftovers for lunch, I suggest freezing them in serving-size containers,” she said. “If your day was a busy and you arrive home late, or you just don’t feel like cooking, you will have a ready-made dinner.”

Recipes for soup, stews and casseroles can usually be cut in half to make a smaller portion. “What I do if I don’t half the recipe, I freeze one half of the soup, stew or casserole. Just remember if you are freezing a dish that has pasta or noodles remember to only cook the noodles to al dente,” Kish said.

Smart shopping

Now that you are buying for just one or two people, it might make more sense to use your grocery store’s salad bar. That way when the recipe calls for just a quarter cup of green pepper or carrots, you don’t have to buy an entire pepper or a bag of carrots.

You should also check the organic produce section and your local farmers market where you’re more likely to find loose produce sold by the pound.

“Buying frozen produce is another good way to be able to control waste since frozen fruits and vegetables allow you to use only what you need. Then you can save the rest for another meal,” said Jason Casassa, culinary teaching associate and chef instructor at Northampton Community College, Bethlehem.

Buying good-quality meat and seafood can be expensive, and if you buy prepackaged, you probably will have more than you need. Shopping at your local butcher shop or seafood store allows you to buy only what you will use, he said.

Since most fresh shrimp in the supermarket was frozen at one time and has since been defrosted and cannot be refrozen, it might make more sense to buy frozen shrimp and thaw only what you are going to eat, according to the Pennsylvania State University Cooperative Extension Service Food Preservation.

When making a dish with grain and nuts or dry goods such as flour, nuts or rice, try to buy the smallest bulk size or check to see if your supermarket has bulk bins in the health food or natural food section. This way, you can reduce the food waste by buying in bulk. Plus one advantage loose bulk usually cost less than buying prepackaged grain, nuts or dry goods, Casassa said.

Pots and practice

Invest in equipment that makes cooking for two easier, Casassa said. When it comes to making recipes for two, 10-inch and 8-inch skillets are good investments. For example, if you try to make just enough pan sauce for two steaks in a 12-inch skillet, the sauce will over reduce and burn.

“It might seem difficult, but if you take your time and make sure you are using the correct amount for half the recipe, you will catch on in no time,” Kish said.

Category: Skillets  Tags: ,  Comments off
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