Dinner for two recipes that are so easy, thanks to my new cookbook, Dinner Just for Two. It's full of dinner recipes for two that are easy to make, 30 minutes or less, plus a bonus 'cook once, eat twice' section. Also included is a handy guide to use leftover ingredients! Such great dinner for two ideas!
I'm so happy to present to you, my lovely friends, my fourth cookbook: Dinner Just for Two!
When I started this blog over 9 years ago, I never knew it would give birth to four cookbooks. When I was writing my first book, Dessert for Two, I thought it would be the only chance I got to ever write a book. I put my entire heart and soul in that book. As such, I included every type of dessert I could think of in that book--I wanted it to be a definitive guide for how to scale down any dessert recipe that you love.
When I wrote my second cookbook, Comfort and Joy: Cooking for Two, I focused heavily on the foods that I grew up on and loved. Plenty of Southern comfort foods, breakfast dishes, light lunches, and romantic dinners for two. The book came together so quickly, because it consists of the recipes I make all the time for my family.
I had the opportunity to write another dessert for two cookbook next, but as I was compiling the recipes, I noticed a trend: the recipes were so easy and required such few ingredients! The recipes in Sweet and Simple: Dessert for Two use less than 10 ingredients and come together in a snap. After running a blog for many years, my cooking and baking style naturally turned towards 'easier' and 'faster' recipes. This is what you guys request and love the most, so I'm so happy to develop recipes like this!
After 3 books, I thought my days of writing books were over. Honestly, writing books takes me far away from the blog and social media, which is where I connect with you guys on a daily basis. Writing a book very much feels like a solo effort in attempt to climb a mountain at the fastest pace possible while also somehow attempting to avoid burnout.
My publisher very generously gives me at least a year (usually more) when writing each book. As for this latest book, we ended up deciding to move back to my home state of Texas, so the timeline was even more delayed.
Dinner for two ideas:
Overall, though, writing Dinner Just for Two was a very natural process. I simply aimed to make our dinners very exciting and vegetable-centric for a year. In that year, I kept a notebook and wrote down what we liked the most. Then, I re-tested the recipes a few more times, and then photographed everything. I started out by finalizing two to three recipes a week, but by the end, it was more like three in a day for several days each week. My Mom came over a lot to help me cook and clean dishes. None of my books would have come together without my parents' help with dishes and childcare, hah!
Dinner recipes for two:
Ok, so let's talk about the cookbook: Dinner Just for Two!
There are 9 chapters:
- Pasta for Two. Recipes for quick and easy pasta dinners that serve two. The recipes range from simple spaghetti with a small batch of meat sauce that doesn't feed an army and baked ziti for two to homemade ricotta gnocchi (3 ways) and pasta salads.
- Skillet Meals for Two. These are the dinner recipes for two that I make the most from the book. I happen to believe that since we're cooking for two, we should also have less dishes to wash! Nothing ruins a date night more than a sink full of dishes after dinner! I think you'll love my indoor perfect steak for two, baked Greek shrimp served with bread to drag through the fragrant sauce, meatball skillet, cranberry chicken, and chicken skillet meals. I have my egg roll bowls recipe for free on the site--don't miss it!
- Small Pots of Soup. If you know me well, you know how much I love soup. But most soup recipes make gallons upon gallons of soup! I've narrowed down our favorite go-to soup recipes and scaled them down for the small household.
- Bowls of Comfort. Too frequently, dinner is eaten in a bowl perched on my lap. But that doesn't mean the bowl shouldn't be full of flavorful, exciting meals! Truly, my favorite meals are in this chapter: lasagna bowls, Greek bowls, burrito bowls, pasta salad, and noodle bowls for the win!
- Love from the Oven. This chapter is full of baked delights that come together often in just one pan: oven risotto with crispy kale, enchiladas, mini quiche, tacos, fondue, and marinades for any type of protein you like. Plus, my favorite way to get vegetables on the table: butter-roasted vegetables of all kinds.
- Bread Makes It a Meal. I like to describe this chapter as delicious things pinned between bread: spicy chicken and giardenaera subs, burgers, wraps, pizzas, and satisfying variations on grilled cheese (like turkey apple butter grilled cheese, you feel me?).
- Cook Once, Eat Twice. This chapter is so helpful for everyone! Let me show you how to roast a whole chicken in just 45 minutes (no special appliances needed), and use it in 5 different chicken dinners for two. Or, let's take a batch of mashed potatoes, cheese sauce, or beans and use them in different dinners for two throughout the week! So brilliant, if I do say so myself!
- Small Batch Breads. Surprise! I included small-batch bread recipes for you! This has been a big request from you guys over the years. You guys love my small batch of homemade brioche buns for burgers, and so I expanded and made you dinner rolls, cornbread, biscuits, naan, and even no-knead bread, small batch style!
- Desserts for Two. You didn't think I could write a cookbook without including desserts for two, did you? In full disclosure, I selected some of my favorite recipes from the blog to use for this chapter. My focus for this book was the 100+ dinner recipes for two, and so we used already-loved desserts from the blog to populate this small chapter.
Dinner for two healthy:
At first glance, you'll notice this book has quite a few vegetarian options. This is because my family only eats meat a few times a week, and Meatless Monday is my favorite day of the week! I hope this makes you happy; if not, add sliced chicken to anything!
When I take the dinner for two healthy slant, I want you to know that the flavors are still big and bold. I have a barley bowl that's studded with butter-roasted mushrooms and chunks of Brie cheese that melt and stick to the barley. The sprinkle of fresh thyme on that recipe combined with mushrooms makes it so meaty and satisfying! Do I even need to talk about my ways with a pan of quinoa that are all one-pot: so healthy and so fast!
Typically, we do healthy dinners for two as actually our lunch, and so many of the recipes in this book are great for quick lunches to pack. Between veggie tarts that are great at room temperature and peanut lime noodles that Camille begs for weekly, you'll find plenty that's healthy in this book.
Speaking of healthy, you shouldn't miss my Toaster Oven Cooking for Two e-book that is right here on the site--no trip to the book store needed. Just click and download; you'll love it!
Other dinner for two info:
There is a section in this book for leftovers! I don't mean leftovers from the recipes, because when you're cooking for two, you shouldn't have much leftover. I'm talking about leftover ingredients.
Cooking for two only requires half a pound of ground beef, yet the smallest package we can buy is a full pound. So, if you find yourself with leftover ground beef, turkey or chicken, head to the 'leftover ground meat' section and see the other recipes you can use it in! Also, we'll never use a whole bunch of cilantro or parsley for a dinner recipe for two, so flip to this section to see a list of all recipes that use herbs! This applies for leftover beans, leftover buttermilk, eggs, cheese, and canned tomatoes.
The leftover section of this book is something I'm very proud of, because I'm all about reducing waste in the kitchen! Use it, and you won't throw wilted herbs or the last portion of beans from the can in the trash!
Ok, friends, thank you for listening to me ramble about my latest cookbook. I am so proud of this book, and plus, my publisher put it in a lot of effort to make it beautiful, too! The gold embossed letters on the front make it so gift-able for wedding season, or as a retirement present. Speaking of, every empty nester in your life needs this book, especially your parents!