4 Helpful Tricks in Making Dinner for One

Many recipes are designed for a family of four. It's fairly easy to multiply recipe yields for larger families, but it can be trickier to decrease those amounts and make dinner for two or less. If you're eating solo here are a few tricks you can use to keep yourself cooking smart, healthy meals, and stay on budget too.

1. Cook ahead: If you can afford it the easiest way to cook for one is to cook for more than one and freeze your leftovers. The food doesn't lurk in your fridge for an entire week and you don't have to feel committed to it day after day. Plus, pasta bake is amazing in the dead of winter when you have to un-bury your car from 6 feet of snow to go to the store.

2. Trust your instincts in adapting recipes: If you're not into spending that much cash all at once, and cooking ahead, look for recipes that are easily divisible and put some real effort into learning to cook by feel. Instead of fretting how to divide 1/4 teaspoon of something into three, just trust your gut and know a small pinch will work out.

3. Invite friends over: Even if you're cooking for one on a regular basis, it can help to invite friends over once a week or more to test out your skills. Learning to cook a new recipe can be easier when you're making it in its full amount, and then you can better trust your gut later when splitting it and reducing tricky measurements down for fewer servings.

4. Ask for smaller cuts of meat: Most recipes are easy to scale down, but some call for a specific cut of meat. Never be afraid to ask your butcher to cut a piece of meat in half and even package some separately for freezing. No one has ever complained about having leftover steak for impromptu breakfast tacos or salad topping. It's when you throw in pasta and rice that your refrigerator can suddenly feel overwhelming.

Do you have a trick to eating solo? Share your thoughts in the comments below and lend a hand to readers having a rough time.

Related: Cooking for One? 5 Unexpectedly Affordable Dinner Ideas

It's Reader Request Week at The Kitchn! This post was requested by andypucko.

(Image: Sarah Rae Trover)

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Sarah Trover has lived all across the Midwest and currently calls the hot dog-laden city of Chicago home. She rides scooters and seeks out kitchens that make the best pie.

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