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Do You Want to Downsize Dinnertime?

3 simple, quick recipes to make it easy to cook for 2

Are you sitting down to quiet meals for two after years of a full house and hectic schedule? Betty Crocker’s® Cooking for Two — available in the AARP Bookstore — offers simple, easy and delicious recipes for cooks who may be downsizing, or those who are in need of fresh options for couples cuisine. Here are a few sample recipes from the book, also available as an e-book.

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Mini Meat Loaves

Prep time start to finish: 40 minutes; makes 2 servings

  • 1 tablespoon fat-free (skim) milk
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 pound extra-lean (at least 90%) ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs (any flavor)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
  • Strips of cheese, if desired

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In medium bowl, beat milk, egg and Worcestershire sauce with fork. Mix in beef, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Shape into 2 (4-inch by 2 1/2-inch) loaves. Place in ungreased 8-inch square pan. Brush loaves with barbecue sauce.

Bake 18 to 22 minutes until meat thermometer inserted in center of loaf reads 160 degrees.

Decorate loaves with strips of cheese. Let stand 5 minutes.

Tip for two: These mini loaves bake in half the time of regular meat loaves. The secret? Their size, perfect for two. Serve with mashed or baked potatoes.

Nutritional information

One Serving: Calories 220 (Calories from Fat 90); Total Fat 9g (Saturated Fat 4g; Trans Fat 0.5g); Cholesterol 70mg; Sodium 560mg; Total Carbohydrate 9g (Dietary Fiber 0g; Sugars 4g); Protein 25g % Daily Value: Vitamin A 0%; Vitamin C 0%; Calcium 4%; Iron 20% Exchanges: 1/2 Other Carbohydrate, 3 1/2 Lean Meat Carbohydrate Choices: 1/2

Next: Easy chicken and garden veggies. »

Cooking for two: AARP book of recipes, easy chicken recipe

In 35 minutes you could be eating this. — Courtesy General Mills

Easy Chicken and Garden Veggies

Prep Time Start to Finish: 35 minutes; 2 servings

  • 2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 4 ounces fresh green beans, trimmed (leave whole)
  • 1/2 medium yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium plum (Roma) tomato, cut lengthwise in half, then sliced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/4 cup fat-free balsamic vinaigrette dressing or fat-free Italian dressing

In 10-inch nonstick skillet, cook bacon over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Remove bacon from skillet; keep warm.

Sprinkle both sides of chicken with garlic salt and pepper. Place chicken in skillet. Cook 3 to 5 minutes or until browned on both sides. Discard excess bacon drippings.

Add water and green beans to skillet. Cover; cook over medium-low heat 8 minutes. Stir in bell pepper. Cover; cook 3 to 5 minutes, turning and stirring vegetables occasionally, until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (170 degrees).

Stir in tomato and dressing. Cook uncovered about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tomato is thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with cooked bacon.

Tip for two: The plum tomatoes hold their shape when cooked briefly and don't add a lot of extra liquid to the vegetables. You can use frozen whole green beans instead of the fresh, if you like.

Nutritional information

One Serving: Calories 230 (Calories from Fat 70); Total Fat 7g (Saturated Fat 2g; Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 80mg; Sodium 840mg; Total Carbohydrate 10g (Dietary Fiber 2g; Sugars 6g); Protein 31g % Daily Value: Vitamin A 10%; Vitamin C 50%; Calcium 4%; Iron 10% Exchanges: 1/2 Other Carbohydrate, 1 Vegetable, 4 Very Lean Meat, 1 Fat Carbohydrate Choices: 1/2 

Next: Raspberry-chocolate muffins. »

Cooking for two: AARP book of recipes, raspberry chocolate mufffins

Satisfy your sweet tooth with this chocolate-raspberry concoction. — Courtesy General Mills

Raspberry-Chocolate Muffins

Prep Time Start to Finish: 40 minutes; 6 muffins

  • 2/3 cup Fiber One® cereal
  • 2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 egg or 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup fresh or frozen (thawed and drained) raspberries

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place paper baking cup in each of 6 regular-size muffin cups. Place cereal in food-storage plastic bag or between sheets of waxed paper; crush with rolling pin (or crush in blender or food processor).

In medium bowl, stir crushed cereal and buttermilk; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in oil and egg. Stir in flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt until moistened. Gently stir in raspberries. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately remove from pan.

Tip for two: Combining the popular tastes of chocolate and raspberry, these fantastic muffins are packed with fiber, the part of plant foods your body cannot digest. Fiber helps keep you regular and may help reduce your cholesterol. These muffins keep a couple of days at room temperature, or freeze the rest to eat later.

Nutritional information

One Muffin: Calories 190 (Calories from Fat 60); Total Fat 7g (Saturated Fat 1g; Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 40mg; Sodium 320mg; Total Carbohydrate 28g (Dietary Fiber 4g; Sugars 13g); Protein 4g % Daily Value: Vitamin A 0%; Vitamin C 2%; Calcium 8%; Iron 10% Exchanges: 1 1/2 Starch, 1/2 Other Carbohydrate, 1 Fat Carbohydrate Choices: 2

Excerpted with permission of the publisher John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Betty Crocker Cooking for Two (c) 2012 by AARP.

You may also like: Eat healthy with these recipes. 

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