Meals for two
Published 11:06 am Friday, August 11, 2023
August is an in-between month. It’s still summer but schools are starting. Meal schedules change when colleges reopen and afterschool activities keep high school students arriving home at odd times. You often find that it’s only two people for dinner.
Linda: Of course recipes can always be cut down for fewer people, but there are recipes that already are portioned for just two people. For those newlyweds, empty nesters or older adults, it’s helpful to develop a list of recipes that offer just one or two servings.
Lucy: This is an important issue for me. If I make a regular size recipe for just myself, I’m often sharing extra servings with neighbors. It takes time to change a recipe that you’ve been cooking for many years for a family, and now you only need one or two servings. Quantities and cooking times need to be adapted for a smaller amount of ingredients.
Linda: I have a favorite meal that’s perfect for two and it’s easy to make, Pork Chops with Cherry Sauce. Pork chops can often be dry. The cherry sauce not only adds flavor, but the pork chops will be moist and tender. In the summer I like to serve them with a salad and an ear of fresh corn.
Lucy: Lasagne is a meal I enjoy, but most recipes make a casserole large enough for several people. I discovered an easy recipe called Weeknight Lasagne for Two. Now I don’t have to wait for a time that I’ve invited friends for dinner. I can make it for myself any night of the week. It provides enough for leftovers for another night.
Linda: How about Stuffed Peppers for Two? Peppers are in season now and plentiful at the farmers’ markets. Corn is showing up at the markets along with green beans and okra. Maybe a fruit salad using local watermelon and blueberries would make a tasty, colorful accompaniment.
Lucy: And maybe add some peaches to the salad. I know they’ve been difficult to find this year due to the late spring frost, but some farm stands have managed to salvage the later varieties. It was a difficult spring for the area peach farmers. The frost was severe and hit late. It destroyed most of the local crops.
Linda: The Farmers Markets are filled with vendors now. Even for those not cooking, it’s a fun excursion on Saturday morning. Many vendors offer flower bouquets, eggs, baked goods, and hand-sewn crafts. There’s often musical entertainment to create a lively atmosphere.
Lucy: Even when cooking for only one or two people, you will see something at the market that inspires you to develop your own individual recipes. Start with the recipes below, and create your own favorites. The Pork Chop and Cherries recipe is in our “Two Sisters Cook” cookbook, which you can purchase at the Landrum Market.
Pork Chops with Cherry Sauce
1 Tbs chopped shallot
1 tsp olive oil
1/3 cup red wine
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup fresh or frozen pitted dark sweet cherries, halved
2 bone-in pork loin chops (7 oz each, not too thick)
1 tsp crushed coriander
3/4 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
In a small saucepan, saute shallot in oil until tender. Stir in cherries, wine, vinegar, and salt. Bring to boil; cook until liquid is reduced by half or more, about 10 minutes. In a small bowl combine coriander, mustard, salt and pepper, rub over chops. In large skillet, cook chops in 2 tsp oil over medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until thermometer reads 145. Serve with sauce.
Weeknight Lasagna for Two
1 cup pasta sauce, any style
¼ lb ground beef (optional)
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup cottage cheese
2 cups cooked wide egg noodles
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
I Tbs basil (If sauce doesn’t include basil)
1 clove chopped garlic
Chopped fresh parsley, optional
If using ground beef, cook in saucepan with small amount of oil. When beef is browned, add the pasta sauce and stir to warm sauce; stir in mozzarella (save some sauce and mozzarella for top layer), cottage cheese, and parmesan. Fold in noodles. Pour into 2 greased 2-cup baking dishes. Cover with sauce and mozzarella. Bake, uncovered, at 375° until bubbly, about 20 minutes. If desired, top with parsley.
Stuffed Peppers for Two
2 medium green peppers
1/2 pound ground beef
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce, divided
1/4 cup uncooked instant rice
3 Tbs shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 Tbs chopped onion
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 large egg, beaten
Cut tops off peppers and discard; remove seeds. Blanch peppers in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water; set aside. In a bowl, combine beef, 1/4 cup tomato sauce, rice, 2 tablespoons cheese, onion, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and egg; mix well. Stuff the peppers; place in an ungreased 1-1/2-qt. baking dish. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over peppers. Cover and bake at 350° for 45-60 minutes or until meat is no longer pink and peppers are tender. Sprinkle with remaining cheese; return to the oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.