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After years of cooking for a spouse and family, it may feel daunting to cook for one. How much pasta do you actually make if it’s not a whole box? What does that even look like? It can be a struggle after perfecting the art of cooking for many. Here are some simple things you can do to make cooking for one a smooth transition.

  1. Stop over shopping

This sounds hard. We know. You’ve spent decades filling a cart or two every single week so it just seems natural to buy the whole store. The good news is that you no longer need to purchase everything in aisle 7 anymore. The trick is to make a list of what you need for the week and then go get only those things. When you write it out, it’s easier to avoid over shopping and wasting food.

  1. You can cook in bulk

Now we know this sounds contradictory to number one but hear us out. If you love chicken, make a bunch of it on Sunday and use it throughout the week. It’s easy to turn a chicken breast into a variety of meals so your palate never gets bored and you save money and time.

  1. The freezer is your friend

Along with big batch meals, the freezer is your friend. Soup, macaroni and cheese, chili, etc. all store well in the freezer. You don’t have to totally neglect the big cooking when that’s what you’re used to, instead you can make single portions and freeze them.

  1. Small appliances can be your best friend

We’re talking about toaster ovens. We know it can sometimes feel like a hassle to put something in the oven. It feels like a project at that point. However, the toaster oven doesn’t have the same feeling. It feels easy and manageable. Plus, with a smaller space, you have to cook smaller portions.

  1. Read the directions on recipes

This sounds like a no-brainer, but many recipes can serve eight to 10 people while others serve two. It’s imperative you know how many people your recipe serves so you can scale back appropriately. Google is a great resource to use if you’re unsure of how to scale back certain measurements.

  1. Write it down

Once you’ve mastered a recipe for one, write it down. This way you aren’t always doing the math on the recipes, wondering how much to buy, cook, etc. Writing the recipe down will save you time and a headache.

Cooking for one may seem like a strange concept at this stage of life but we know you’ll adjust quickly with these helpful hints. You’re going to love having fewer dishes and less mess!