When it comes to meal preparation, I have two issues that must always be addressed.
First is the size of the recipe. Since dinner most evenings is just for The Picky Eater and me, recipes are often too large for our needs.
Second, The Picky Eater is, well, picky about what he wants. Often that means I forgo recipes I would like because there would be enough leftovers to last a month.
So I was thrilled when the folks at
Test Kitchen sent me The Complete Cooking
for Two Cookbook. Last year I posted about how much I liked the 2013 edition, with two great recipes. This cookbook is a combination of all the previous yearly versions.
Inside I not only found all of many favorite recipes downsized for two, but there were also a lot of new ones to try. I love the idea of making brownies and cakes that are just big enough for two. Perfect for my middle-aged household. Plus, the front is full of shopping tips, kitchen supply suggestions, and food storage ideas, which would make this cookbook a terrific wedding gift idea.
Now I can make recipes that fit my tastes and dishes we both like without the fear of massive leftovers.
I've found my go-to cookbook!
This lasagna recipe was a big hit. Absolutely delicious! Who would have ever thought to make it in a loaf pan? Perfect!
Since The Picky Eater has to watch his sodium intake, I used low-sodium diced tomatoes and sauce. Also, he doesn't like chunks of tomato in dishes, so I pureed the diced tomatoes to smooth out the sauce and just let it simmer a bit longer than the original recipe to thicken. The only other change I made was to use ground sirloin instead of the recommended meatloaf mix .
Stay tuned for more recipes from this terrific cookbook!
Lasagna for Two
Adapted from The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook by the Editors at
1 (14.5-ounce) can low-sodium diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped fine
Pinch of salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces ground sirloin
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 (8-ounce) can low-sodium tomato sauce
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 2 tablespoons, grated
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 large egg
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 no-boil lasagna noodles (I used Barilla)
1 cup grated whole-milk mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Move an oven rack to the middle.
For the sauce: In a blender or food processor, puree the can of diced tomatoes until smooth. Set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion and salt, and saute until tender. Stir in the garlic and cook for just 30 seconds, and then add the ground sirloin. Cook until browned. Stir in the cream and cook until it evaporates, which takes about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the pureed diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer and allow it to cook while you prepare the filling, about 15 minutes.
For the filling: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan, basil, egg and pepper.
To assemble: In the bottom of a loaf pan, spread 1/2 cup of the sauce. Lay one noodle on top, and then spread a third of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodle. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the grated mozzarella, and top with another 1/2 cup of sauce. Do this two more times. Lay the final noodle on top and cover with the remaining sauce, mozzarella, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese.
Spray a piece of foil with non-stick cooking spray and use it to tightly cover the loaf pan. Set the loaf pan on a baking sheet to catch any spillover, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the sauce bubbles around the edges of the pan. Take the foil off the top and keep baking until the cheese has browned to your liking, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.