The idea for this post came about after a phone conversation with my sister. I was struggling to find the motivation to cook dinner for two since my husband is away right now (#armywifelife am I right?) and she was struggling to cook dinner for her and her busy husband- instead they go out to eat.
I know we’re not the only ones out there, so I have come up with some easy solutions to this problem. And by solutions, I mean recipes 🙂
And by recipes, I should probably just say “meal ideas” because they’re not super precise and meant to inspire!
Cooking for two really isn’t the easiest feat for various reasons. I’ll talk about the problems that come up in a second, but first, my tips.
- Have a carb, meat and veggie prepped. I always have cooked rice, couscous or quinoa on hand, some sort of extra meat that is left over from our meal prep, and some veggies already washed and prepped (Davy likes to eat raw veggies with dip, plus they’re ready to cook!). Have this on hand and any dinner can be easily accomplished
- You might have to cut some corners SOMETIMES to get a dinner on the table. Accept that. I don’t strive for perfection, but as a result we go out to eat less and my family has more home cooked meals on the table that are mostly healthy.
- Learn some staple ingredients you always need in stock and make sure they are on hand. For me? Rice, chicken, ground meat of some sort, broccoli, and canned beets are our staples for dinnertime just to name a few.
- Plan ahead. I go to the grocery store knowing breakfast, lunch and snack items my family needs on a weekly basis. Dinner is what requires more planning. Plan out a few special dinners that get you excited about staying in and cooking. Oh and speaking of planning ahead, for goodness sakes… remember to defrost your meat ahead of time!
Now, onto the meal ideas 🙂
PROBLEM 1: You’re cooking for yourself and your significant other. You have busy, demanding jobs. Cooking is time consuming and you tend to prefer to go out to eat rather than spend time cooking a mediocre dinner.
THE SOLUTION: Ahi tuna on top of salad- quick and impressive
So, I don’t have a picture of when I ate this over salad, but I swear I did and it was delish. I marinated tuna steaks in lemon juice and olive oil, then sprinkled it with salt, pepper and garlic/herb seasoning. It would also be great to just marinate this in some soy sauce.
Sear it in a pan with oil for just a few minutes on each side (I’d say 2-5 mins based on how much you want it cooked), slice and serve over a salad! You could even try those bagged chopped Asian salads if you’re in a rush- it’d still be very impressive!
PROBLEM 2: You’re a single parent cooking for you and your toddler. You need a healthy meal FAST, and one that a toddler will actually eat, at that!
THE SOLUTION: Skillet potatoes, chicken sausage, salad and beets- “they’re hot dogs, bud!”
As I said before, canned beets are one of my cupboard staples (although fresh are preferred, my son loves these!) and I pretty much always have some salad fixings on hand, so all I needed to buy for this dinner were some red potatoes and chicken and apple sausage- but you can use whatever sausage you like! Sauté the chopped potatoes and sausage in olive oil with garlic, salt and pepper!
Serve with salad and beets or whatever veggies you have on hand that your kids like!
PROBLEM 3: Your significant other is away and you’re used to cooking big meals. Plus, if your significant other is like mine, he eats so much you never have to worry about food going to waste! You need a meal that saves well.
THE SOLUTION: Curried Stir Fry- the leftover of all leftovers
This saves so well and I never get tired of eating it for leftovers, so I can’t really make TOO much of this! 🙂 Here is the recipe that I have posted in the past. It’s delish and still a go to. Recently, I have been adding some curry flavoring too like this Golden Curry sauce mix and I love it!
That’s all I have for you. But I’d love to hear your ideas! What is your favorite dinner to cook for two?!