Love to cook but hate all the leftovers? Dividing the ingredients in half doesn’t always make for perfect results, and not every kitchen has freezer space! Try these recipes and tips shared by Small-Batch Kitchen Writer FAYE DAVENPORT.
After more than 35 years as a TV producer/director and manager in Washington, D.C., life temporarily relocated me to my hometown outside Philadelphia, and I am now splitting my time between the two towns.
Opportunities abound on this new leg of the journey…I’m honing my skills in hands-on video and photography, dipping my toes into E-Bay sales, reconnecting with friends and family, pursuing my baking passion and finding ways to share my spiritual gift of hospitality. Oh…and enjoying the guilty pleasures of Pinterest! I’m a cheerleader for TheNotMom.com and serve on its Advisory Board.
Views and opinions expressed on this page are entirely my own. I will only endorse products or services reviewed through my own experience. Featured recipes tagged ‘adapted from’ have been modified and tested by me.
If you try them, I hope you’ll let me know what you think! Any recipe that I have not personally tested will be noted accordingly.
Chicken Salad (Serves 2)
Chicken salad is essentially just chicken and mayonnaise. And yet, one of the dishes that was the subject of my summer of culinary experimentation was chicken salad. I was in search of the ultimate great chicken salad recipe. Easier said than done.
Google “chicken salad”, or even “basic chicken salad” and the number of options can be overwhelming if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. I didn’t, and it was. Or, rather, I did know what I was looking for…I just didn’t know how to find it. And I ate a lot of chicken salad looking for it. Read More
Gooey Fudgy Chocolate Cake (Serves 1-4)
The original recipe makes an 8-inch 3-layer cake, but I only wanted to use two 5-inch pans. A regular 8” x 1½” round cake pan has a volume of four cups, and my 5” pans have a volume of two. Decreasing the ingredient amounts to about a third yielded two nicely thick cake layers.
Chocolate Chip Cookies (Four 4-inch cookies)
I cannot make a full batch of cookies and keep them. If I have a batch of cookies nearby, I’ll be eating a batch of cookies. Here’s a recipe for scrumptious cookies. (Those are my masterpieces at left.) With a hand mixer, this cookie dough comes together in less than five minutes for a chocolaty delicious, quick chip fix. Read More
Double Chocolate Brownie (Serves 1)
I spent much time working out exactly how I was going to make my perfect chocolate cake for one, and I went shopping for all of the just right ingredients. But, baking two perfect layers, waiting for them to cool, making and spreading the filling, then the icing, waiting for it all to set was going to take hours. I don’t want to wait hours. I want to have it NOW.
Hence, my very own creation, The Double Chocolate Brownie. Oh. My. Stars. This is not a brownie for the faint of heart. The chocolate flavor is rich and intense. Read More
Holiday Pound Cake (Serves 4-6)
What’s the deliciously sweet thing I want with my day-after-Christmas morning coffee? Pound cake.
I was looking for a recipe to use some whites left over from a yellow layer cake I had made that used yolks only. So, I adapted two different recipes, then brushed the finished cake with a simple syrup made with caramel liquor. While it wasn’t quite my idea of traditional “pound cake”, this cake was delicious! And the wonderfully aromatic spice combination made me think of Christmas all over again. Read More
Mac & Cheese (Serves 1)
Mac and cheese is a dish very simple to make, but can be challenging to get just right. Over the years I have tried a multitude of recipes, used different cheeses, different techniques, different pastas, and I’ve come up with a couple of really good versions. They are all, however, time consuming because, like Mom, I still make the béchamel sauce and I add the pasta and I pour it into a casserole dish, top it with buttered bread crumbs and slide it into the oven to bake.
Now, in my single person household, I’m not always so inclined to do that for a single serving. I do this instead. Read More
Pineapple Upside Down Cake (Serves 1 or 2)
Pineapple upside-down cake is a cake that until now, I had made exactly one time. I was in junior high school. Back when part of the girls’ curriculum included home economics. Yes, home ec.
It was my intent to make two nice single-serving cakes, but at the last minute I decided to make a single cake in a five-inch cake pan. It was just a whim. I did think that there may have been too much batter for the pan…but the cake came out BEAUTIFULLY!! It took longer to bake than I had planned, but it was worth every extra minute. Read More
Pork & Pasta (Serves 2)
I got the bright foodie thought that I wanted pork and pasta. Pork and pasta? Had I ever made pork and pasta? No. Had I ever had pork and pasta? Again, no. Had I actually ever seen a recipe for pork and pasta? Not a definitive “no”, but not that I could remember. But now that I had thought of it, that is what I wanted. Pork and pasta. Oh…and I didn’t want to do a lot of work. What an excellent decision on my part! This tasty dish is quick and simple to prepare.
Next time I will double the sauce to drizzle over the meat because it is delicious! Read More
I discovered was that apparently no one actually roasts a small cut of pork roast. I found suggestions for grilling, for stewing, for braising, for slow cooking, but nothing for roasting anything smaller than four pounds. That was the first challenge.
The second challenge was that this is a cut that’s very lean, and on larger (and probably better) cuts, there is a fat layer that keeps the meat from becoming dry. Mine didn’t have that.
The problem would have easily been solved by just laying several strips of bacon across the top, but I had pre-seasoned the roast with a seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time coffee rub. So, while my suggestion would actually be to go with the bacon, here’s what I did. I took a whole chicken, cut out the pieces of fat, removed the skin from the breast, laid the fat along the top of the pork. Read More
Potato Soup (Serves 2)
I try not to make big pots of those because, well…they’re warm and comforting and delicious and because they call my name until I’ve eaten the entire pot one bowl at a time. Potato soup is one of those soups.
I LOVE POTATOES!!!!! I love them any way they are cooked and in all of their incarnations, fried in chips or hash browns or country fries, baked whole or chunked and roasted or scooped and rebaked, skin on or skin off, hot or cold salads, pancakes, boiled, mashed….what have I missed? Oh, yeah…soup. Read More
Quiche for One Is Toaster Oven Perfection
Of all the kitchen gadgets that I have accumulated over the years, a toaster oven was not one of them. The winner for my household was Cuisinart’s Convection Toaster Oven Broiler. It holds my 10” cake pan, the mini-muffin pan, the loaf pan, the casserole dish and my small cast iron skillet. Perfect for the small-batch kitchen. Now for its first test. Bake me a quiche. Read More
Recipes for Leftover Halloween Candy
The popularity of chocolate in the goodie bag has moved up in the world. According to USA Today, chocolate candies comprised the top ten Halloween treats given out last year. Or, at least the top ten treats that were bought for Halloween. So, chances are good that your household has Halloween chocolate. And if you had a quiet trick-or-treating night, chances are good that you still have some. What to do…what to do?
The baker in me has begun to see chocolate mini-bars as not only a snack, but also an ingredient. Read More
Spaghetti Squash & Portobello Mushrooms (Serves 2)
One of the first things I learned at the beginning of my “eat more vegetables” journey was that a sub sandwich was, indeed, a great place to hide vegetables. Hey…lettuce and onion and peppers and pickles count! And I could slide in some sliced cucumbers or some cabbage slaw. I also learned that some vegetables could actually be disguised! They could lose their plant-based identities in something else. One of the best? Spaghetti squash! What a wonderful thing…a vegetable that can be disguised as pasta! Read More
Help for Cooks with Little Time or Experience
I’ve always enjoyed cooking, and I can spend an entire day working on one dish just for me. One of my kitchen cabinets is double-door, double-stacked with spices and flavors waiting to be blended into the dish of the day. Not everyone is like this. I get it. Even I’m not like this all the time.
I have my own little repertoire of quick-to-the-plate meals, and one of the things I’ve discovered about being able to make quick meals is that you’ve gotta have your larder stocked well. While I can’t get a whole chicken from the freezer to the table in 30 minutes, I can turn a frozen chicken breast into a stir-fry with veggies and pasta in that time frame. Fixing a good meal doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming. Read More
Hints for Thanksgiving Dinner For Two
While turkey is the traditional centerpiece of the Thanksgiving meal, if your dinner party is small, then a whole bird is likely to yield more leftovers than you’ll want left over. Read More
Keep Food Fresh & Stop Throwing It Away
I often wind up buying a larger amount of food than I have an immediate use for. Sometimes that’s because of the way that something is packaged, and sometimes because buying in bulk is more economical.
The problem is that the savings is not always realized because the part that I didn’t need goes bad before I get to use it. Or I’ve put something in the freezer that became a victim of freezer burn. I’m determined to be smarter about food storage in 2015, including a new use for vodka! Read More
Homemade Soup for Two: Fast & Easy
In a pinch, I still eat canned soup. There’s a can or two in the cabinet right now. I’m rarely in that kind of pinch, though. I’m always ready to make soup.
My freezer door is crammed with containers of stocks and broths…quarts of chicken stock from simmering chicken for a summer’s worth of chicken salad, seafood from simmered lobster and shrimp shells, ham from hambones and a mélange of vegetable juices that were too wonderfully seasoned to just throw away after the vegetables were eaten. Presto, SOUP!!! Read More
Shrink Your Cookware for Small-Batch Success
Cooking in the small-batch kitchen requires a different mindset than I’m used to having, and I know that a lot of you feel the same way. We are used to cooking big. We roast whole chickens, make pots of chili, bake multiple sheet batches of cookies and turn out lasagna casseroles that feed no less than a dozen people.
tried to adapt smaller scale baking to the pans I had, but, seriously, what in the baking world looks lonelier than two cupcakes in the center of a pan designed to hold 12? The technique may have worked for the actual cooking, but using a 12-cup pan for a single muffin just didn’t suit me. Read More
Spices Are the Secret to Spectacular Meals
Home Goods, T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s all have food aisles with random offerings of spices and gourmet treats for discounted prices. I shop there for extracts and emulsions that have heftier regular retail prices. Often, I discover fad food items to try without hurting my wallet.
Don’t be afraid to explore the local ethnic markets. I drove past the Asian market in my neighborhood every week on my way to the supermarket for months before I finally stopped in. Now, I’m a regular customer. Read More
Translating Small Measurements
Very often the recipe for a cake intended to serve 16 does not produce the same results when it has been altered to serve two. And, how do you measure out something that is now ¼ of ¼ of a teaspoon? As it turns out, there are measuring spoons that actually do just that. It also turns out that these spoons use terms that I always thought were approximates. A “smidgen”, a “pinch”, a “dash” and a “tad” are actual quantity measurements. Read More