How to Adjust Recipes to Serve One

Sausage & Macadamia Stuffing Loaf Recipe

Sausage Macadamia Stuffing Loaf, recipe here.

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When I was working as a food scientist developing cereals and snacks, one of the biggest challenges was scaling up.

First we’d come up with a prototype in the lab or test kitchen. Then when we were happy, we’d book in a factory trial.

A very expensive, time consuming factory trial.

Going from a few kilos to a few tonnes was a huge change. Plus there were always differences in equipment and ingredients to contend with.

It was pretty stressful.

Thankfully life in the home kitchen isn’t so dramatic.

However I know it can be daunting deviating from the recipe if you’re not experienced. So when I got the following question from Stonesoup reader, Ken I was excited about writing a blog post about it…

“Do you have any suggestions for adjusting recipes for one. I have your book ‘5-Ingredients 10-Minutes‘ which as you would know is mostly for two.”
Ken.

How to Adjust Recipes to Serve One

1. Question whether you need to adjust.

Depending on the dish, you may enjoy the leftovers for lunch the next day or dinner another night. Or squirrel it away in the freezer. If that’s the case, just follow the recipe.

I find if I make extra servings, it helps to dish them out into containers when I’m serving up. Otherwise the extra portion has a habit of mysteriously disappearing.

2. Halve all the ingredients.

If your recipe serves 2 and you really only want enough for 1. Just halve all the ingredients. And if it serves 4, quarter everything etc…

For more complicated recipes I write down the adjusted quantities to make sure I don’t end up with a double one ingredient, halve everything else disaster.

3. Use smaller equipment if possible.

This isn’t critical but helps keep the cooking times similar to the recipe. So if you’re cooking one steak use a small frying pan, instead of a medium one.

If you use a pan that’s too large, you’ll have too much surface area not covered with food and will end up with more smoke and a higher risk of burning.

Or if you’re roasting, use a smaller tray.

Try and keep the depth or how spread out the food would be the same as the original recipe so things cook in a similar manner.

4. Prepared for cooking times to be shorter.

The more space between the ingredients, the easier it is for heat to penetrate so cooking times are generally shorter with smaller quantities of food. Although if you’ve followed step 3, the timing may be exactly the same.

5. Trust Your Instincts!

If something doesn’t feel right, listen to your inner domestic goddess (or god). Check and adjust as needed.

More on Cooking for One

+ Alone in the Kitchen: 7 Unusual Lessons on Cooking for One
+ Secret Single Behaviour – How to Get Excited about Cooking for One
+ How to Adjust Recipes to Serve One

And of course have fun in the kitchen!

With love,
Jules x

ps. Tired of deciding what to cook?

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Then check out Soupstones Meal Plans.

It’s a weekly meal planning service where someone else comes up with the ideas for what to have for dinner.

For more details Click HERE.

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