Cooking for two presents a challenge, especially since I'm accustomed to cooking for a large crowd. Cutting down to accommodate only my husband and me is not always easy. Leftovers are not always appreciated, especially if served a few days in a row. One way is to cook lesser portions, using smaller pots that leave no leftovers. Another solution is to cook double and freeze half that can be served on a different occasion. This can free up valuable time for more pleasurable activities.
Here are some easy gourmet suggestions for those cooking for two.
Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Portobello mushrooms have become popular in the last few years. They are extremely versatile and can be stuffed with a variety of grains or mixed vegetables. Served with a salad they are almost a full meal.
4 large Portobello mushrooms
4 thick slices tomato
2 ¾ Tbs (34 mL) mozzarella or other grated cheese
1/3 clove minced garlic
Salt to taste
Remove stems (save for another use).and clean out the gills from Portobello mushrooms. Chop garlic until fine (use powdered garlic if you wish) Mix cheese and garlic together.
Place Portobello mushrooms with cleaned surface up, stuff with a slice of tomato, cheese garlic and salt mixture. Broil until cheese melts. Serve immediately.
Preparation 20 minutes
Variation: To keep it parve use Tofutti cream cheese, and pareve cheese slices.
Quick Basmati Rice Pilaf
Basmati rice a very aromatic rice that is available in white or whole grain. It has a nutty flavor and a wonderful aroma that entices the appetite, as it wafts through the house. Brown rice has more fiber, fatty acids, B vitamins, and magnesium (among other vitamins and minerals) than does white rice and its dense, chewy texture is great in salads, soups, stuffing and casseroles. When combined with sunflower seeds it is considered a full protein. Turmeric is an exceptionally healthy spice. Basmati rice is one of my favorite rice choices.
2 tsp (10 mL) canola oil
¼ cup (50 mL) carrots, diced
½ cup (75 mL) fresh or frozen peas
¼ cup (50 mL) onions, diced
2/3 cup (150 mL) Basmati rice
½ cup toasted sunflower seeds
½ tsp each of Turmeric, Cumin, Paprika (optional)
2 cups water or 2 ½ times as much water as the rice.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toast sesame seeds in a baking pan for 8 minutes, making sure they do not burn. Remove from oven and set aside.
In saucepan, cook carrot and onion in oil until softened, 4 minutes. Stir in rice. Add water or chicken broth if you prefer then bring to boil. Reduce heat, add spices cover and simmer until tender and no liquid remains, about 40 minutes. Lastly add sunflower seeds and mix well.
Serve with a tossed salad for a nourishing meal.
Preparation 15 minutes +cooking time
Chicken in sweet pepper sauce
When cooking for two I like to use common ingredients that are readily available. I try to choose dishes that do not require much preparation and can be ready in a minimum amount of time. This recipe fits all these criteria.
2 - 4 ounce (125 grams) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
3 Tbs corn starch or whole wheat pastry flour
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2 Tbs oil
½ cup chicken broth or water
¼ cup chopped sweet yellow pepper
¼ cup red peppers
¼ cup diced tomatoes
1 Tbs minced fresh cilantro (optional)
Flatten chicken to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut chicken into 2 inch pieces or leave them whole. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the corn starch/flour, salt and pepper; add chicken and shake to coat. In a large skillet, brown chicken in oil on both sides. Stir in the broth/water, and peppers. Bring to a boil; cook for 5 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Stir in the tomato and cilantro. Cook another 10 minutes until dish is well blended.
Serve over a bed of rice pilaf and decorate with some cilantro leaves.
Preparation 25 minutes
Creamy Broccoli Alfredo
This dish is the perfect choice when you need supper really quick. It takes just a few minutes to make and tastes great. A super winner for two.
4 ounces Buckwheat, whole wheat, or spelt pasta (or your favorite choice)
3 cups water
½ tsp salt
1 cup frozen broccoli florets
2 Tbs Tofutti cream cheese or sour cream
1 Tbs Osem mushroom soup
Boil up water add pasta and al dente 6-8 minutes, as per package directions. To save a step put in broccoli florets into the same pot and cook an additional 5 minutes. Add all other ingredients and simmer for another 5 minutes blending all ingredients well. Serve immediately.
Preparation 10 minutes
Mixed Berry Cobbler
2 cups mixed fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
1/2 cup plus 3 Tbs sugar, divided
1 Tbs. cornstarch
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup water
1 Tbs lemon juice
¾ cups unbleached white flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ cup Almond Breeze or Rice Dream
HEAT oven to 375°F.
PLACE berries in two oversize cupcake foil pan sprayed with cooking spray.
Mix ½ cup sugar, corn starch and cinnamon in large saucepan; stir in water and lemon juice. Bring to boil on medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Pour over berries in baking dish; set aside.
STIR flour and baking powder, remaining sugar and Almond breeze or Rice Dream until mixture forms soft dough. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls over fruit mixture.
BAKE 28 to 30 min. or until topping is golden brown. Cool slightly. Serve in martini goblets. Tastes great warm or cold.
Instead of berries, any summer fruit combination can be used. Simple and delicious.
Preparation 20 minutes