Kitchen & Cooking

7 no-fuss dinner recipes for two people

Downsizing your meals doesn’t have to be boring.

Dinner place setting for two diners on a wood table. Credit: Getty Images / courtneyk

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If you haven’t heard the term “aging in place,” you will soon. Generations past may have preferred retirement communities, but these days more people are choosing to stay in the comfort of their own home. While aging in place has many benefits, including preparing what you want to eat whenever you want to eat it, the realities are sometimes overwhelming. Between shopping, prepping, and cooking, the whole process can be a lot! Which makes it more important than ever to keep track of those cozy, comfy, and downright tasty go-to dishes.

Here are our favorite two-person recipes, as told by a former chef (that’s me!). While these don’t necessarily require special cooking equipment, we’ve also included recommendations for a few kitchen gadgets that might come in handy.

1. Quick and easy pasta

foodandwine_pasta
Credit: Food and Wine / Kristen Stevens

This dish is easily vegetarian if you leave out the chorizo, or sub in a vegan sausage.

I’m convinced that nothing is more adaptable than noodles. This five-star recipe from Food & Wine for Whole Wheat Pasta with Spicy Chorizo and Kale is ready in under 30 minutes. Chorizo is a versatile flavor-bomb that can complete any meal, but you could also add chicken, turkey, lamb, or even fish if that’s what you’ve got on hand. The only tools you’ll need are a good sauté pan (we recommend nonstick) and a sharp chef’s knife.

2. Unfussy roasted salmon

salmon
Credit: Getty Images / ARTindividual

If you don’t have nonstick spray, use parchment paper to line your rimmed baking sheet.

Roasting is arguably the least messy way to make a simple, satisfying meal. This two serving salmon dish from Bon Appétit couldn’t be easier while still firing up those taste buds. Subtly sweet and smoky canned chipotles are the base for the glaze, and they’re a great pantry staple to keep on hand for sauces, stews, and more. An immersion blender and an electric can opener are game changers and make this dish a breeze.

3. Celebratory steak and potatoes

ribeyesteak
Credit: Getty Images / mphillips007

Save yourself a grocery trip by ordering your steak online through a meat delivery service such as Crowd Cow.

Cooking at home means that celebratory meals can occur whenever we feel the urge, and this Rib Eye Steak and Potatoes recipe for two from The New York Times feels special without all the fuss. Quality steak from one of the meat delivery services we’ve tested is a great way to get top-notch ingredients without running to the grocery store. The only equipment necessary is a solid cast-iron skillet for searing, a medium pot to boil the potatoes, and a very sharp knife.

4. Mussels for two

mussels
Credit: Food52

This dish help to recreate a restaurant vibe without having to leaving your house.

Longer days mean more time to linger over dinner and the simplest preparations are often the best, especially when it comes to quality shellfish. Food 52’s Mussels for One (Or Two) fits that bill and then some. This meal is ideal as a generous portion for one or smaller portions for two. Serve with slices of fresh baguette and some of the chilled wine used for the cooking liquid, and you’ve got yourself a perfect pairing.

5. This sheet pan meal

steakhousesheetpan
Credit: Food Network

We love sheet pan meals because they cut down on dishes.

This meal is the answer to all your surf and turf dreams with a side of cheesy, gooey potatoes. This Steakhouse Sheet Pan Dinner from Food Network makes enough for two full plates of all your faves, from appetizers to the main event. You can technically use any size sheet pan, but we recommend a half size sheet pan for ease and portioning.

6. Fancy breakfast for dinner

omelet
Credit: Food52 / Gentl and Hyers

Who says breakfast for dinner must be pancakes?

Another easy dish we love—perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner—is the omelet. Keep it simple with a slice of ham and some sauteed mushrooms or upgrade to this luxurious option from Food52 and Carla Lalli Music. Her Omelet with Whipped Ricotta will have you singing its praises with minimal ingredients and maximum taste. Use a quality non-stick skillet and a rubber spatula for the most effortless egg experience imaginable.

7. Don’t forget dessert!

chocolatelavacake
Credit: The New York Times / Ryan Liebe

End your meal with chocolatey decadence in the form of this lava cake

An occasional dessert feels like a well-earned treat. Especially when it’s this Chocolate Lava Cake for two from The New York Times. While a whisk (like this one by OXO) and two ramekins are essential, the best investment is quality chocolate. This recipe was even formatted to prep a day or two in advance for optimal ease, and we promise the hardest part will be not making chocolate lava cake every day of the week.

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