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Cooking for Two: Winter Meals

Menu planning can be a daunting task. How do you plan to cook for two with recipes that serve 6-8? To begin with, I always prepare our meals so we have leftovers . That way I only cook  3 times a week.  In the past, the 6-8 servings worked great when the kids were home. Now, with our nest empty, that is just too much food. Since, I am easily bored with leftovers, it was important to adapt our recipes so I’m cooking for two. And equally important is to always choose meals we love if we are having leftovers.

Cooking for Two with Pepperplate

I’m sure you’ve all used All Recipes at one time or another, but the reason I love that site is because you can adjust your serving sizes. From this site, I upload recipes to the app Pepperplate where I can plan a week or a months’ worth of menus.

This weeks’ winter dinner menu looks like this…

Menu Planner
Pepperplate Menu Planner

My chili recipe is mild for the over 50 tummy. So I suggest you adjust this recipe if you like 5 Alarm Chili. Add jalepeńos for extra heat.





1 pound ground chuck beef (80% lean)
1/2 cup frozen seasoning blend
1 pkg (1.25 oz each) mild chili seasoning mix or 3 T Chili Powder
1 can (16 oz each) Light Kidney Beans
2 cans (14.5 oz each) Hunt’s® Diced Tomatoes, undrained
1 can (10 oz each) Ro*Tel® Mild Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, undrained
1 can (8 oz each) Hunt’s® Tomato Sauce
1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup
1 cup water

Try this recipe for homemade chili seasoning..


  • Cook beef and seasoning blend in large saucepan over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until beef is crumbled and no longer pink, stirring occasionally; then drain.
  • Stir in seasoning mixes or chili powder. Add remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer 10 minutes, stirring several times.


If desired, Chili may be topped with shredded cheese, sour cream or sliced green onions. Alternatively, Chili may be made with ground turkey instead of ground beef.

Calories: 204

Due to the fact that my chili is mild, we are trying a new coleslaw recipe this week.  My hope is that it will compliment the chili without tasting too bold. If you have a favorite side dish to go with Chili, then please share it in comments below



    • 1 cup mayonnaise
    • 1 tablespoon lime juice
    • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1 -2 bags coleslaw mix
    • 2 green onions, sliced


    1. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lime juice, cumin, salt and pepper. Add the cabbage, carrot, green onions and radishes and stir until well-combined. Chill at least an hour before serving.





    • 1 c. corn meal mix
    • 1/2 c. vegetable oil
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 (8 oz.) carton sour cream
    • 1 (8 1/2 oz.) can cream style corn


    1. Mix all ingredients. Then bake in a greased 8 x 8 x 2 inch pan or in a muffin pan at 400 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes. Makes 12 muffins or serves 6-8 when baked in a square pan.

These muffins will serve us on both nights or be put in the freezer. If you prefer cornbread to muffins, please try this cornbread recipe.


VERMICELLI SALAD with Grilled Chicken


    • 1 pkg (12 oz.) vermicelli (thin spaghetti)
    • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
    • 3 Tbsp accent
    • 4 Tbsp wesson oil
    • 4 celery, ribs chopped
    • 1 bunch green onions, some tops
    • 1 medium sweet bell pepper, chopped
    • 1 jar(s) chopped pimentos, small jar
    • 1 1/2 c mayonnaise


    1. Cook, rinse and drain Vermicelli (or spaghetti).
    2. Whip together lemon juice, accent and Wesson oil and pour over well drained vermicelli.
    3. Chop fine and add to the above: ripe olives, celery, onions, sweet pepper and pimentos. Mix well.
    4. Blend together mayonnaise and Miracle Whip and add to vermicelli mixture.
    5. Refrigerate overnight. Salad gets better with age.

 Grilled chicken is simply marinated in Dale’s sauce and a little olive oil. Grill over medium heat until cooked through.




    • 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
    • 1 1/2 cups water
    • 1/4 cup butter
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
    • 2 cups cherry tomato halves


    1. Place beans and water in a large saucepan. Cover, and bring to a boil. Set heat to low, and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain off water, and set aside.
    2. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in sugar, garlic salt, pepper and basil. Add tomatoes, and cook stirring gently just until soft. Pour the tomato mixture over the green beans, and toss gently to blend.

Additionally, the great thing about Pepperplate is that all my menus are gathered on the planner. Then they are easily added to my shopping list. So mix together a little preparation, reduce the amount of each ingredient, add a pinch of planning and you can have meals for two that are fresh and delicious. Cooking for two in the winter can be as easy as flip flops in the summer.

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