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Discussion Starter #1
I need to know if I'm a slow learner or fit somewhat in the norm for changing my mindset from cooking for a family with several children to cooking for just the two of us.

I've adapted reasonably well to the whole empty nest experience as a whole. Cooking for just two, however, seems to be a concept I can't seem to wrap my brain around with any consistancy.
 

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It takes time - and remember you can freeze leftovers. Try getting some of those Freezer meal containers from Dollar Tree and then you will have instant TV dinners when needed.
 

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I have always been single and always cooked for 4 as it were. I love leftovers - it saves me time as well as energy that the older I get is in increasingly short supply. But then I'm one of the lucky ones who can eat the same thing repeatedly, and I'm not wild about cooking to start with. I agree with rainbowgc - your freezer is your friend.

Ok. I didn't answer your question, did I? I clearly don't know. But cooking for two, or worse, one is something I couldn't wrap my mind around either. So I cook today. You mean I have to cook tomorrow AGAIN? AND wash all those pots again? Bummer.
 

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I used to cook for 5 minimum. Now I cook for one. As silly as it may sound, I still cook several meals at once. If I am going to chop onions, celery, peppers, etc. I will do it only once. I then make a soup, lasagna, jambalaya, those sorts of things and put them into individual servings in the freezer. I then have an assortment ready to go. I never did do the cook every day thing and now it is no different. I do have to say that whenever I make an omelet with one egg, that is a new experience.

The freezer is my friend also and I have not adjusted to downsizing my cooking.
 
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I grew up in a family of six..now I'm the momma for a family of only three..I still have trouble "portioning" ingredients.

Because all my recipes call for X, and I only need 1/2 X now.

But I'm trying to conquer it in the name of frugality.
So these are just a few of the ideas that helped me.
Hope they help you too.

I got a smaller cutting board. It really helped because cutting up 2 whole onions is too big for the cutting board, which tends to remind me..I don't NEED that much.

Then I realized that each person only eats between 2 and 3 cups of food total per person.

So cooking for three is 6-9 cups of food for the whole meal. If you divide the amount of food you're cooking by the ingredients..you only need about a 1/2 cup of onion.
 

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I never thought about the amount of food (in cups) that we eat each day - definitely sent my brain through a time/space warp. Interestsing perspective!!

When I'm in a cooking mood - I love to cook and cannot stop myself so I am thankful for the freezer. I would love to see the freezable Dollar store containers - sounds like something we could use!!
 
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Discussion Starter #7
I appreciate your helpful responses. We do eat a lot of leftovers and use the freezer extensively.

Today I made ham and bean soup. Started out with the remnants of a large picnic ham in my large stock pot. Used two 1 lb bags of the 15 bean variety. Peeled and cut up 2 lbs of carrots, two onions, several cloves of garlic. When done (without the bone) half the pot was full. It looks to be about 3 gallons of soup to me. DH and I just looked at each other and burst out laughing.

This learning curve doesn't seem to be going well for me. It's probably easier for me to convert to using smaller cooking vessels. When I'm out of room, I'm done cooking. :)
 

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I had the same problem last summer. All the kids but one went to camp and I needed to cook for 3 instead of 7. We ended up eating alot of leftovers.
 

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I appreciate your helpful responses. We do eat a lot of leftovers and use the freezer extensively.

Today I made ham and bean soup. Started out with the remnants of a large picnic ham in my large stock pot. Used two 1 lb bags of the 15 bean variety. Peeled and cut up 2 lbs of carrots, two onions, several cloves of garlic. When done (without the bone) half the pot was full. It looks to be about 3 gallons of soup to me. DH and I just looked at each other and burst out laughing.

This learning curve doesn't seem to be going well for me. It's probably easier for me to convert to using smaller cooking vessels. When I'm out of room, I'm done cooking. :)
Smaller containers help...but..if you're only cooking for two...you will probably NEVER need TWO bags of anything for ONE meal..

But oh I do feel your pain..I finally got a smaller crock pot so I can make chili without it being a month long commitment to flatulence.
 
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But oh I do feel your pain..I finally got a smaller crock pot so I can make chili without it being a month long commitment to flatulence.
You really made me laugh!:lol3::yoyo:
 
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I envision alot of freezing in my future.
 

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LOL! This thread made me laugh out loud. I have been married 31 years and have never really gotten the hang of it! So, I freeze the rest, and take some to my aging dad.

I was the oldest of 6, and was taught to make a HUGE pot of spaghetti, a HUGE casserole dish of tuna and noodle casserole, a HUGE pot of chili--etc-etc.

It got a little better when I had big football playing, hungry sons to help eat it up. But they grew up and left home.

DH still laughs at my 'cooking for an army'.
 

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We went from a family of six to a family of two in four months. That was about ten years ago and I'm still working on cutting back.

The big catalyst for me was when we started camping. It's hard to deal with leftovers when they have to be stored in a cooler that's already too full, and then there's no microwave to reheat stuff. So I bought two five-inch Dutch ovens and last fall, a six-inch. Prior to that I was using the ten-inch and eight-inch ovens a lot more. But the baby 5s only hold 3/4 quart and the baby 6 only holds a quart, so that has helped a lot.

I cook a lot of stuff in the toaster oven. That requires small pans, which helps.

I downsized my saucepans and started using Corningware that I had used for side dishes for main dishes instead.

I make rolls of cookie dough and freeze them, so it's easy to slice and bake just a few cookies at a time in the toaster oven, instead of baking a large batch that just gets stale.

I bake half batches of lots of things. Half of a 9x13-sized recipe works great in an 8x8 pan.

We freeze a lot, too.

Soups are still hard for me. They often have so many ingredients and things get out of hand. For soups that call for canned ingredients, I've switched to frozen or fresh as much as possible so it's easier to adjust the amounts. If a recipe calls for two similar things, like a can of tomato soup plus a can of tomato sauce or two cans of different kinds of beans, I'll put in just one instead so I'm able to halve the batch.

I think it comes down to making a conscious effort for a while. After you get into the habit of cutting back, it gets a lot easier.
 

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I appreciate your helpful responses. We do eat a lot of leftovers and use the freezer extensively.

Today I made ham and bean soup. Started out with the remnants of a large picnic ham in my large stock pot. Used two 1 lb bags of the 15 bean variety. Peeled and cut up 2 lbs of carrots, two onions, several cloves of garlic. When done (without the bone) half the pot was full. It looks to be about 3 gallons of soup to me. DH and I just looked at each other and burst out laughing.

This learning curve doesn't seem to be going well for me. It's probably easier for me to convert to using smaller cooking vessels. When I'm out of room, I'm done cooking. :)
I laughed out loud before I even read that you did
 

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:lol3: You gals are a hoot. I've been an empty nester since last summer. I take several approaches...

1) At first I did the 'make the same amount and freeze leftovers' thing.

2) Then I wised up and started using the Internet (Recipezaar) and computer (Mastercook) to find and scale recipes for two.

3) Then I decided to change what we ate to a meat, veggie and starch. I pulled out my grill and grilled just enough meat for two. Cooked the veggies and starch on the stove and we had just enough for supper. Though I still like cooking large amounts of rice to eat over a few days.

4) I still sometimes cook larger amounts (4 servings or more) so DH has some leftovers for lunch at work the next day...or some other day.

Anyway, that's how I handle it so far! I do find with the kids gone we can afford better quality ingredients and to experiment with more expensive foods. New foods mean new recipes. I look for ones that serve 2 or can be scaled to serve 2. That way if we don't like it, we don't have leftovers to worry about.
 
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