Have you written off many of your favorite dishes like chili, lasagna, beef stew, and most desserts just because you?re cooking for two and think these are crowd-only dishes? Do you love risotto and pot pie but don?t want to be stuck eating leftovers for a week? Have you ever tried scaling back a recipe, only to be disappointed with the results? In Cooking for Two 2013, the fifth installment in this annual recipe collection, the editors at America?s Test Kitchen have selected the test kitchen?s favorite recipes ...
Have you written off many of your favorite dishes like chili, lasagna, beef stew, and most desserts just because you’re cooking for two and think these are crowd-only dishes? Do you love risotto and pot pie but don’t want to be stuck eating leftovers for a week? Have you ever tried scaling back a recipe, only to be disappointed with the results? In Cooking for Two 2013, the fifth installment in this annual recipe collection, the editors at America’s Test Kitchen have selected the test kitchen’s favorite recipes of the year and reengineered them from the ground up to serve two. Inside you’ll find more than 150 test kitchen recipes cut down to size—from casseroles, pasta, and roasts to one-dish meals, dinner from the grill, and even slow-cooker suppers. Sides, baked goods, and desserts are here, too—perfectly portioned so you’re not faced with waste.
So what did we learn while remaking our recipes to serve two? Some were easy enough to scale down, but many required innovative solutions. Cheesy, hearty lasagna is the epitome of comfort food—but making the sauce and boiling the noodles before assembling and baking the whole thing is tedious and time-consuming. To streamline ours, we reached for no-boil noodles and traded the slow-simmered tomato sauce for a speedy no-cook sauce and the usual ricotta filling for an easy, but flavorful, herbed Boursin cream sauce. Nixing the large casserole dish in favor of a loaf pan gave us a petite lasagna that was just the right amount for two, not a whole tray for 10. For a scaled-down take on another family favorite, we swapped the loaf pan for a skillet and used it to bake two mini meatloaves, which cooked through in a fraction of the time and developed a nicely browned crust thanks to the pan’s low sides.
Slow-cooker dishes for two? There’s no reason why the for-two table can’t benefit from this handy device as much as larger households. Smaller, 3-quart slow cookers are also compact, hogging less counter space than larger ones. Now you can come home to such deeply flavorful, fuss-free dinners as chicken Provençal and smothered steak.
Just because there are only two at the table doesn’t mean dessert is off-limits. Scaling baked goods can be tricky—dividing baking soda and baking powder doesn’t guarantee success. But with smart strategizing and hours of tinkering, we pulled off a host of desserts and baked goods for the
for-two table—from nutty Cranberry-Pecan Muffins and moist, tender Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake to rich and decadent Crème Caramel, Individual Chocolate Fudge Cakes, and more.
Leftover ingredients are often unavoidable when it’s just two for dinner. Instead of letting that half a can of diced tomatoes or pinto beans litter your fridge, turn to our “Use It Up” recipes sprinkled throughout—recipes like Easy Tomato Chutney and Mexican-Style Pinto Bean Salad.
In short, Cooking for Two 2013 is the answer to “What’s for dinner?” when you don’t have four to six at your table. Inside you’ll find many weeknight classics along with fancier, special-occasion dishes to please you—plus one. Our recipes may be scaled down in size, but they deliver big on flavor.