An Introduction to Cooking for You and Me

Cooking for You and Me

By Laura Burrack | Updated September 6, 2023

For most of my adult life, I have lived in a household with just one or two people. Despite the small crowd for dinner every night, cooking dinner and sitting down to eat it while relaxing is an important routine for me.

If I’ve gone out to eat too often or worked through dinner with late night eating of cheese and crackers on the couch too many times in a row, I am always anxious to get back to the table at home. Of course, there are lots of benefits to cooking dinner at home instead of getting takeout, such as cost, nutrition, etc., but to me it is the sense of caretaking that goes along with eating a home cooked meal that really matters the most. For me, the caretaking isn’t really about taking care of others as much as it is taking care of oneself.

Dinner frequently is portrayed in popular culture as something that is only worthwhile of any effort if it’s for a large group of people. Most of the images in magazines and on television of people eating dinner are of a family of two parents and two children sitting around their kitchen table or a fancy dinner party, but to me, dinner is just as important if it is only for one or two.

Friends have asked me why I bother to cook dinner just for myself. My answer usually includes a number of reasons: eating better quality food, saving a bit of money, knowing that I am taking care of myself, and perhaps most importantly, getting to eat exactly what I want for dinner.

However, most recipes aren’t designed for one or two people. When I cook for myself, I want a few leftovers to make an easy lunch or dinner the next day, but I get tired of eating the same thing day after day.

I tend to do a lot of improvising or cutting recipes in half. I am not opposed to a bit of kitchen math (my college roommates still make fun of me for calculating the surface area of our springform pan and carefully calculating a 4/5th recipe for cheesecake). Sometimes, though, it’s nice not to have to think too hard while making dinner, which is why I appreciate recipes that are already the right size.

In addition to reasonable portion sizing, another factor in cooking for one or two people is that simpler is generally better. I like to host dinner parties for friends and my extended family – it is fun to plan recipes days ahead, hunt for ingredients at various stores, and spend a Saturday afternoon in the kitchen. However, this type of cooking isn’t practical for a typical Tuesday. On a weeknight, I am generally hungry enough to want to eat shortly after I walk into the kitchen.

After cooking dinner like this for years, I have a number of favorites dinners that arose from my weeknight improvisation that I make over and over again. In the interest of sharing these recipes with a larger audience than my husband and myself, I am happy to introduce a series of recipes to help make it a little easier for people to get into the routine of cooking for one or two.

All of the recipes in Cooking for You and Me should be ready within 45 minutes of stepping into the kitchen and are sized for approximately 3 servings (dinner for 1 + 2 lunches or dinner for 2 + a lunch) with no kitchen math required.

Check out all of Laura’s Cooking for You and Me recipes

Laura Burrack is a microbiologist with a love of both science and food. She currently lives in Minneapolis, MN with her husband. In addition to experimenting in the kitchen to feed groups large and small, she also enjoys visiting the farmer’s market, drinking delicious wine, traveling, watching baseball, and playing broomball.

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