Make less, waste less–my quest for single-serve recipes

In 2019, I'm making an effort to waste less food. Our household is only two people and one dog big, so it would seem that googling recipes for two would be an obvious and easy solution since most of our food waste stems from uneaten leftovers.

However, there is a problem.


Mister started eating ketogenically over a year ago and this has caused moderate eating incompatibility. I don't want to cook two meals, and I'm also not much of a carnivore. And let's face it, if he doesn't eat carbs and I don't like most meat, raw tomatoes or mushrooms…we are pretty much left with celery and cheese. That won't do.

I'm trying not to sound whiny over the lack of carbs in my household. In fact, I do admit that it never occurred to me how many carbs comprise a typical American diet before and cutting them down. Doing so has resulted in less bloating and lethargy.

But life is meant for living, right? And who wants to live without mac and cheese?

So, in an effort to join the clean plate club when it comes to avoiding food waste, this year I am converting my favorite carby recipes into single servings. This will take some testing because I'm not hunting for new recipes to try, rather, I want to create mini portions of the recipes I already adore–just without leftovers to store or guilt of overindulgence after eating an entire pan’s worth.

I’ve tried just dividing the ingredients by the number of servings in the recipe with minimal success so far. The ratios are off or it makes such a weird fractional measurement that it is not feasible. So this is going to require serious testing.

Equipment requirements

Of course, this was a reason to buy a little bit of new kitchen gear! I'm keeping it low key but here is what I have purchased so far.

  • Very small measuring spoons (pinch, dash, etc.) so I can create precise, repeatable instructions that others can easily follow.

  • A slow cooker with two bowls that have one quart capacity in each bowl. I think this will be handy when cooking a small, full meal at one time. Also, when I do cook chicken for the two of us, I can sauce his drumsticks with salsa in one pot and my breast with Carolina-style barbecue in the other. Everybody wins with minimal extra effort.

These are items I already own that will come in handy:

  • Small baking vessels (10-14 oz with lids) that are great for sides like macaroni and cheese

  • One pint ice cream maker

  • Small baking pans (tart, bundt, loaf, etc.)

  • Silicone muffin cups

  • Crock-pot lunch warmer

  • Small loaf bread maker

  • Small sauce and fry pans

  • Scale

  • Toaster oven

Recipes to come

As for recipes to come, I already have a few in mind that require some thinking.

  • I've been working on a one-pint recipe for vanilla ice cream because the one I was using was too sweet and slightly bland.

  • Macaroni and cheese is my favorite comfort food so that is a must. I've been tinkering with this recipe for a while but I'm just not there yet on the ratios. While it comes out good, it doesn't yet taste like my favorite recipe and that is what I want.

  • A single-sized challah loaf. The recipe I have makes two full-sized (delicious!) loaves that is easily halved. But it will take some trial and error to reduce it further.

  • Caramel corn is like crack; I definitely need to adjust the recipe to make an amount that won't cause binging.

You get the idea. I'm excited to get started and share my progress.

Happy 2019!