Cooking for Two: A Collection of Delicious Empty Nest Recipes (2024)

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Rekindle the joy of Cooking For Two with our collection of delicious empty nest recipes. Say goodbye to leftovers and hello to healthier, satisfying meals. Explore over 50 easy-to-follow recipes, including main dishes, breakfast delights, delectable sides, and sweet desserts, all perfectly portioned for two. Light the candles, set the mood with music, and savor the pleasure of shared cooking experiences!

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Congratulations on embracing your new empty nester status! This exciting phase brings many opportunities, including the chance to rediscover the joy of cooking, but this time, it’s tailored for two. This post is dedicated to all the empty nesters out there, presenting over 50 delightful recipes specifically designed for couples.

Adjusting to cooking for just two can be a bit of a shift, especially if you’re accustomed to preparing meals for a whole family. The tasks of meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking might seem daunting at first, but there’s no need to fret. We’re here to make this transition smoother and more enjoyable with a carefully curated selection of empty nester recipes.

Hold off on hanging up your apron! With a bit of planning and a collection of splendid recipes for two, you’ll soon find yourself whipping up amazing meals with ease. And here’s a bonus: you’ll say goodbye to the days of endless leftovers.

Cooking for two brings its own set of joys. You might even notice a shift towards healthier eating habits. Now that you’re not catering to the diverse palates of your children, you have the freedom to select ingredients and dishes that you truly relish. Embrace this chance to explore new flavors and cuisines, creating memorable meals that are perfect for two.

Table of Contents

  • Cooking For Two: Perfect Recipes For Empty Nesters
  • Dinner Delights For Couples: Recipe Roundup For Two
  • Perfect Pairings: Small Batch Side Dishes For Couples
  • Morning Delights: Easy Breakfast Recipes For Couples
  • Sweet Endings: Dessert Recipes Perfect For Couples
  • Bon Appétit For Two: Savoring Meals And Memories

Cooking For Two: Perfect Recipes For Empty Nesters

While renowned for our single serving creations, we also boast a delightful array of recipes ideally portioned for two. This section is dedicated to those recipes, perfect for empty nesters or anyone looking to cook a meal that serves two with ease.

For those who usually cook for one, these recipes offer the added advantage of yielding delicious leftovers. Take, for example, our roasted chicken and pork tenderloin recipes – they’re fantastic for enjoying now and later.

Below, you’ll find what we’ve affectionately termed our “Recipes for Empty Nesters.” This collection includes a variety of dinner recipes that are just the right size for two, without leaving too much excess. But that’s not all – we’ve also included a selection of breakfast ideas, exceptional side dishes, and, of course, desserts. After all, what’s a meal without a sweet ending? Our dessert recipes are specially designed for two, ensuring that every meal is both complete and delightful.

Related: 15 Single Serving Dessert Recipes

Dinner Delights For Couples: Recipe Roundup For Two

Embarking on a culinary journey for two? Whether it’s revisiting a cherished classic, marking a special celebration, or setting the stage for a romantic evening, our collection of dinner recipes is curated to cater to you and your partner’s tastes. This roundup is designed to make every dinner memorable, offering a range of dishes that are perfect for a cozy meal for two. Discover the ideal recipe for any occasion, from intimate date nights to relaxed evenings at home.

Cooking for Two: A Collection of Delicious Empty Nest Recipes (2)

How To Roast A Chicken For Meal Planning

5 from 2 votes

Roast a whole chicken with ease! Enjoy several days of versatile, delicious meals with this simple, flavor-packed recipe. Ideal for busy schedules.

Lemon Roasted Chicken Recipe

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Pork Tenderloin For One

4.92 from 24 votes

Discover how to make pork tenderloin with our simple, single serving recipe. Ideal for a quick, tasty dinner for one, without any leftovers.

Pork Tenderloin For One Recipe

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Small Batch Ham and Cheese Sliders

5 from 4 votes

Enjoy quick, delicious Ham and Cheese Sliders, ideal for snacks or meals. Perfect for one or two, they're a savory blend of gooey cheese and ham, ready in no time!

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Roast Turkey Breast

4.79 from 23 votes

Flavorful Herb Crusted Roasted Split Turkey Breast, easy to make and the perfect size if you're cooking for one or two people. A wonderful alternative to roasting a whole turkey and no basting necessary!

Roast Turkey Breast Recipe

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Beef Tenderloin Steak For One

5 from 15 votes

A tender and juicy beef tenderloin steak is quickly seared in a skillet, then transferred to the oven to finish cooking. A gourmet meal at home ready in under 30 minutes.

Beef Tenderloin Steak Recipe

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Mini Zucchini Lasagna

4.85 from 13 votes

Healthy, low carb, cheesy zucchini lasagna made with all of the wonderful ingredients found in a traditional lasagna but without the noodles.

Mini Zucchini Lasagna Recipe

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Twice Baked Eggplant

4.85 from 53 votes

Indulge in this Twice Baked Eggplant, a creamy and cheesy dish that's both comforting and nutritious. Perfect for low carb and traditional diets alike.

Twice Baked Eggplant Recipe

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Fish Tacos

5 from 7 votes

Satisfy your taco cravings with this quick and easy small batch Fish Tacos recipe. Perfect for two, it's a delicious meal that's on the table in under 30 minutes!

Fish Tacos For One Recipe

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Baked Catfish

4.75 from 4 votes

This baked catfish recipe is definitely a winner! The fish cooks along with vegetables all in the same pan. An easy recipe that's filled with flavor and ready in minutes!

Baked Catfish For One Recipe

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Stuffed Peppers For One

4.89 from 35 votes

Create a satisfying single serving of Stuffed Peppers in just 30 minutes with our quick, easy recipe. Ideal for busy weeknights or a comforting meal for one, this small batch recipe offers a perfect balance of flavors and nutrients.

Stuffed Peppers For One Recipe

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Mini Vegetarian Moussaka

5 from 2 votes

This mini vegetarian moussaka is a meatless version of the classic Greek dish. A flavorful and aromatic sauce surrounding layers of sliced eggplant, yellow squash and carrots. Topped with a creamy and delicious Béchamel sauce, Parmesan and Feta cheese.

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How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

5 from 2 votes

Learn to cook spaghetti squash with ease, and enjoy our special recipe of delicious spaghetti squash tossed with butter, garlic, and Parmesan for a delightful meal.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

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Herb Crusted Turkey Roast

4.90 from 29 votes

Tender and juicy turkey roast with white and dark meat. Easier to make than a whole turkey and a great turkey recipe for a small gathering.

Herb Crusted Turkey Roast Recipe

Perfect Pairings: Small Batch Side Dishes For Couples

Enhance your meals with our specially curated selection of small batch side dishes, designed with couples in mind. Each recipe in this collection is crafted to provide the ideal portion size for two, ensuring no food goes to waste while still complementing your main course beautifully. Our roundup doesn’t stop at traditional sides; it also includes an array of small batch sauces, salad dressings, and breads. These accompaniments are perfect for adding that extra touch of flavor and finesse to your dining experience. Dive into our diverse selection and find the perfect pairings to complete your culinary creations for two.

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Small Batch Tomato Sauce

4.94 from 16 votes

Enjoy this easy small batch tomato sauce recipe, ideal for one or two servings, adding rich flavor to pasta, meatballs, and other dishes.

Small Batch Tomato Sauce Recipe

Cooking for Two: A Collection of Delicious Empty Nest Recipes (16)

Small Batch Cucumber Salsa

4.85 from 13 votes

Whip up a fresh, flavorful small batch Cucumber Salsa for your next snack or meal. With crisp cucumbers, tangy vinaigrette, and versatile serving options!

Small Batch Cucumber Salsa Recipe

Cooking for Two: A Collection of Delicious Empty Nest Recipes (17)

Mini Irish Soda Bread

Traditional Irish Soda Bread is easy to make and requires a few simple ingredients. No yeast required. Quick recipe yields one small loaf.

Mini Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Cooking for Two: A Collection of Delicious Empty Nest Recipes (18)

Small Batch Roasted Brussels Sprouts

5 from 4 votes

The easiest and BEST roasted Brussels sprouts recipe! Brussels sprouts, sliced in half and drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper make the perfect side dish or healthy snack. Crispy, full of flavor, and so easy to make.

Small Batch Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Cooking for Two: A Collection of Delicious Empty Nest Recipes (19)

Small Batch Baked French Fries

4.80 from 10 votes

Crispy oven baked french fries from one potato. Crunchy crust on the outside, creamy on the inside. Easily make homemade fries with this small batch recipe.

Small Batch Baked French Fries

Cooking for Two: A Collection of Delicious Empty Nest Recipes (20)

Small Batch White Queso

5 from 16 votes

This white queso recipe is our favorite! It's creamy, easy to make, and you only need 3 ingredients. Made without Velveeta, this queso dip is one you'll want to make over and over again. Break out the chips, this queso blanco is sure to become your favorite too!

Small Batch White Queso Recipe

Cooking for Two: A Collection of Delicious Empty Nest Recipes (21)

Small Batch Baked Tortilla Chips

5 from 6 votes

Learn how to make tortilla chips with just three ingredients. Quick, easy, and delicious, these homemade chips are crisp, golden, and perfect for any snack time.

Small Batch Baked Tortilla Chips

Cooking for Two: A Collection of Delicious Empty Nest Recipes (22)

Small Batch Black Bean Hummus

5 from 11 votes

Whip up a quick, healthy snack with our small batch Black Bean Hummus without tahini, ready in 10 minutes! Simple and packed with rich flavors, it's perfect for solo snacks or small gatherings. Enjoy this creamy, flavorful spread for dipping or alongside your favorite dishes.

Black Bean Hummus Recipe

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Small Batch Crawfish Beignets

5 from 6 votes

CrispyCrawfish Beignets Recipe with spicy Remoulade Sauce – this New Orleans inspired small batch recipe yields 5-6 savory, fried crawfish-filled beignets and a side of easy to make Remoulade sauce. A Louisiana tradition, ready in minutes!

Crawfish Beignets Recipe

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Parmesan Crisps

5 from 6 votes

Parmesan Cheese Crisps recipe – easy to make and a wonderful one ingredient snack. Also called Parmesan Fricos, they're great to eat by themselves or use as a low-carb "cracker".

Parmesan Cheese Crisps Recipe

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Small Batch Blue Cheese Dressing

5 from 18 votes

Small Batch Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing, creamy and easy to make. Perfect for salads or to use as a dip. The ideal amount if you're cooking for one.

Small Batch Blue Cheese Dressing

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Small Batch Goat Cheese Dressing

4.72 from 7 votes

Whip up this fresh, tangy small batch goat cheese salad dressing in seconds! Perfect for enhancing salads and sandwiches with gourmet flavor.

Small Batch Goat Cheese Dressing

Cooking for Two: A Collection of Delicious Empty Nest Recipes (27)

Small Batch Poppy Seed Dressing

5 from 4 votes

Whip up this easy Small Batch Poppy Seed Dressing! Perfect for salads and marinades, it's a quick, healthy, homemade dressing everyone will love.

Small Batch Poppy Seed Dressing

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Small Batch BBQ Sauce

4.80 from 5 votes

Homemade Small-Batch BBQ Sauce: Discover our mouthwatering, easy recipe for a sweet and tangy sauce. Perfect for baking, grilling & dipping. Elevate your BBQ game!

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Related: 5 Simple Tips When Cooking For One

Morning Delights: Easy Breakfast Recipes For Couples

Start your day off right with our collection of easy and delicious breakfast recipes, thoughtfully portioned for two. Ideal for couples or empty nesters, these recipes provide the perfect amount for a satisfying morning meal without any excess. From quick weekday breakfasts to leisurely weekend brunches, our selection caters to all tastes and occasions, ensuring your mornings are as delightful as your evenings. Enjoy the simplicity and joy of cooking breakfast just for two with these specially tailored recipes.

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Small Batch Lemon Poppy Seed Scones

5 from 6 votes

Bake light and fluffy Lemon Poppy Seed Scones with our easy small batch recipe. Perfect for breakfast or afternoon tea, enjoy zesty lemon and crunchy poppy seeds.

Lemon Scones Recipe

Cooking for Two: A Collection of Delicious Empty Nest Recipes (30)

Small Batch Banana Muffins

4.90 from 387 votes

Moist and flavorful small batch banana muffins made with just 2 bananas! This easy banana muffin recipe is perfect for a quick breakfast or snack and can be baked in just 20 minutes.

Small Batch Banana Muffins Recipe

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Banana Pancakes

5 from 14 votes

Fluffy and soft banana pancakes are made from scratch and ready in just 15 minutes. They're made with just one banana and a handful of pantry staples.

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Cooking for Two: A Collection of Delicious Empty Nest Recipes (32)

Small Batch Strawberry White Chocolate Scones

4.95 from 19 votes

Bake heavenly, buttery small batch white chocolate strawberry scones using our simple, fail-proof recipe. Delight your taste buds with these irresistible treats!

Small Batch Strawberry Scones

Cooking for Two: A Collection of Delicious Empty Nest Recipes (33)

Mini French Toast Casserole

4.87 from 30 votes

This incredible french toast casserole is made with bits of sweet apples and pecans. Perfect for breakfast or dessert and can be ready in minutes! This breakfast bread pudding recipe can serve one or two people.

French Toast Casserole Recipe

Cooking for Two: A Collection of Delicious Empty Nest Recipes (34)

Make Ahead Breakfast Burritos

4.94 from 15 votes

Make Ahead Huevos Rancheros Breakfast Burritos filled with spicy black beans, onions and garlic, eggs, cheese and cilantro.

Breakfast Burritos Recipe

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Small Batch Chocolate Scones

5 from 12 votes

Indulge in Triple Chocolate Scones, ready in 30 minutes. Perfectly portioned for a luxurious treat, our recipe combines rich cocoa and melted chocolate.

Small Batch Chocolate Scones

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Small Batch Drop Biscuits

4.85 from 39 votes

If you've ever wanted to make a small batch of biscuits, this recipe is for you. See how easy it is to make fluffy & delicious biscuits for one (or two).

Small Batch Drop Biscuits Recipe

Cooking for Two: A Collection of Delicious Empty Nest Recipes (37)

Small Batch Butter Pecan Granola

4.91 from 44 votes

This homemade Butter Pecan Granola recipe is the only granola recipe you need! Perfectly sweet, crunchy and full of so much flavor. This butter pecangranola can be ready in minutes and tastes so good!

Small Batch Butter Pecan Granola

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Easy Small Batch Butter Swim Biscuits

4.93 from 26 votes

Easy Small Batch Butter Swim Biscuits recipe for irresistibly flaky, buttery biscuits perfect for breakfast or as a side dish. Ready in 20 minutes! Try it now!

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Cooking for Two: A Collection of Delicious Empty Nest Recipes (39)

Small Batch Donut Holes

4.78 from 9 votes

Create delicious Cinnamon Sugar Donut Holes in a snap with this easy, no-yeast recipe. Perfect for a quick treat or small gatherings.

Small Batch Donut Holes

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Small Batch Cinnamon Rolls

5 from 31 votes

You won’t believe how easy it is to make homemade cinnamon rolls! No yeast and ready in 30 minutes. These cinnamon rolls are heavenly, they’re sweet, gooey, fluffy, and incredibly delicious. Made with refrigerator biscuits.

Small Batch Cinnamon Rolls

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Small Batch Apple Cinnamon Scones

4.78 from 22 votes

Buttery Apple Cinnamon Scones filled with bits of sweet apples and toasted pecans and topped with a delightful maple glaze. This wonderful small batch recipe will yield 4 tender scones.

Small Batch Apple Cinnamon Scones

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Mini Orange Oatmeal Cake

4.82 from 22 votes

This Mini Orange Oat Breakfast Cake is a dream, it's tender crumb perfumed with oranges makes it ideal for breakfast, an addition to your brunch table or as an afternoon snack or dessert. Made with oats, orange juice and a few other ingredients. Bake in a small baking dish or use the batter to make 2 muffins.

Orange Oatmeal Cake Recipe

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Overnight Oats For One

5 from 10 votes

Explore easy, delicious Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats for a single serve breakfast. Learn to master overnight oats with tasty variations and upgrade your mornings.

Overnight Oats Recipe

Sweet Endings: Dessert Recipes Perfect For Couples

Explore our selection of exquisite desserts, each thoughtfully crafted for two. These delightful dessert recipes are the ideal way to round off any meal, providing just enough sweetness to satisfy without overwhelming. Perfect for couples or those enjoying a cozy dinner, our desserts ensure a beautifully complete dining experience. Indulge in these perfectly portioned treats and make every meal memorable with a special sweet touch.

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Mini Banana Upside Down Cake

5 from 36 votes

Indulge in the perfect Mini Banana Upside Down Cake! Sized just right for one or two, this simple yet luxurious dessert features caramelized banana atop fluffy cake.

Banana Upside Down Cake Recipe

Cooking for Two: A Collection of Delicious Empty Nest Recipes (45)

Mini German Chocolate Cake

5 from 6 votes

Bake an easy Mini German Chocolate Cake with rich flavor and moist texture. Perfect for small occasions or a personal treat, ready to impress anyone!

View Recipe

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Small Batch Cherry Pie Filling

5 from 7 votes

Discover how to make the perfect Small Batch Cherry Pie Filling with this easy, quick recipe. Perfect for mini pies and delightful toppings.

Small Batch Cherry Pie Filling

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Small Batch Shortbread Cookies

5 from 15 votes

Make delightful, buttery Small Batch Shortbread Cookies with our easy recipe. Perfect for satisfying sweet cravings without excess. Each cookie melts in your mouth, with an option for a chocolate drizzle. Ideal for sharing or a personal treat.

Small Batch Shortbread Cookies

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Small Batch Lemon Bars

4.91 from 31 votes

Conquer your sweet cravings with this easy small batch Lemon Bars recipe! Perfect for a quick, tangy treat with no leftovers. Simple, delicious, and just right.

Small Batch Lemon Bars Recipe

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Small Batch Oatmeal Cookies

4.96 from 100 votes

Satisfy your cookie cravings fast with our perfect small batch oatmeal recipe! Bake chewy, delicious treats in no time and enjoy homemade goodness today.

Small Batch Oatmeal Cookies Recipe

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Mini King Cake

4.77 from 13 votes

Celebrate Mardi Gras with this Mini King Cake recipe. A perfectly sweet, festive, tender and delicious king cake drizzled with icing and topped with colored sugar. Easy to make and the perfect size for serving one or two people.

Mini King Cake Recipe

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Small Batch Sugar Cookies

4.80 from 10 votes

Enjoy our easy small batch Sugar Cookies recipe, yielding six soft, lofthouse-style treats with luscious buttercream frosting. Easy one-bowl baking for perfectly buttery and melt-in-your-mouth cookies!

Small Batch Sugar Cookies Recipe

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Small Batch Flourless Chocolate Cookies

4.93 from 26 votes

These Small Batch Flourless Chocolate Pecan Cookies are THE BEST chocolate cookies! No flour, no butter, no oil needed. They're fudge-like, rich, chewy and easy to make too! Made with cocoa powder, powdered sugar and chopped pecans. This small batch recipe yields 5-6 delicious chocolate pecan cookies. The perfect amount for one or two people!

Flourless Chocolate Cookies Recipe

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Small Batch Lace Cookies

5 from 7 votes

Small Batch Lace Cookies Recipe – delicate, crispy oatmeal cookies that are easy to make and incredibly delicious! These thin cookies are a holiday favorite. This small batch lace cookies recipe yields 4-5 large cookies.

Small Batch Lace Cookies Recipe

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Small Batch Microwave Fudge

4.97 from 27 votes

Make a delicious and decadent fudge in minutes with this easy microwave fudge recipe! This small batch recipe is perfect for sharing with friends and family, and it's sure to become a new favorite.

Microwave Fudge Recipe

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Small Batch Keto Fat Bombs

5 from 5 votes

Keto Fat Bombs – this small batch fat bombs recipe requires only a few ingredients! Cream cheese, cream, and a sweetener. Fat bombs taste just like mini crustless keto cheesecakes and are perfect for anyone following a ketogenic diet.

Small Batch Keto Fat Bombs

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Small Batch Pumpkin Bars

4.95 from 18 votes

This is a wonderful small batch pumpkin bars recipe. Tender pumpkin cake topped with a creamy cream cheese frosting and sliced into squares. No need to make a big batch, this small batch pumpkin bar recipe gives you the perfect amount to satisfy a sweet craving.

Small Batch Pumpkin Bars

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Mini Hummingbird Cake

4.93 from 27 votes

This tropical Small Hummingbird Cake recipe is a wonderfully moist cake made with a banana, pineapples, and chopped pecans. It's a delicious scaled down version of a southern classic and is frosted with an irresistibly rich cream cheese icing!

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How To Make Two Vanilla Cupcakes

4.86 from 27 votes

Enjoy two homemade vanilla cupcakes with this easy recipe. Delightful, melt-in-your-mouth texture with rich buttercream frosting.

Two Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe

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Small Batch Baked Apples

4.84 from 12 votes

Enjoy our Small Batch Baked Apples, warm and comforting with a cinnamon-oat filling. Perfect for breakfast or dessert, they're simple yet full of flavor!

Small Batch Baked Apples Recipe

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Mini Texas Sheet Cake

4.98 from 47 votes

This is the best Texas sheet cake recipe! An incredibly moist chocolate cake baked in a mini baking dish and topped with a warm chocolate topping. Easy to make and the perfect amount to serve one or two people.

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Mini Red Velvet Cake

5 from 9 votes

Enjoy a mini Red Velvet Cake perfect for 1-2 people. Soft, chocolatey, and topped with cream cheese frosting. Perfect for one or two people to enjoy.

View Recipe

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Small Batch Chocolate Truffles

5 from 3 votes

Create luxurious small batch chocolate truffles with our simple recipe. Enjoy elegant, melt-in-your-mouth treats perfect for any occasion!

Small Batch Chocolate Truffles

Cooking for Two: A Collection of Delicious Empty Nest Recipes (63)

Small Batch Cowboy Cookies

4.82 from 53 votes

Cowboy Cookies, also known as Texas Governor's Mansion Cookies – these famous jumbo cookies are filled with oats, chocolate chips, pecans, and coconut and are spectacular! You'll love this half batch recipe for these soft and chewy cookies.

Cowboy Cookies Recipe

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Mini Cherry Dump Cake

5 from 5 votes

Indulge in a fuss-free mini Cherry Dump Cake, perfect for a quick sweet treat. A delightful small batch dessert blending sweet cherries with moist cake.

Mini Cherry Dump Cake Recipe

Cooking for Two: A Collection of Delicious Empty Nest Recipes (65)

Mini Bread Pudding

4.78 from 9 votes

Traditional New Orleans Bread Pudding made with French bread, milk, eggs, sugar and spices served with a rich and creamy Whiskey Sauce to provide a little zing!

Mini Bread Pudding Recipe

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Pineapple Oat Cake

4.71 from 17 votes

This old-fashioned Pineapple Oat Cake is light and flavorful and topped with a low calorie cream cheese frosting. It's sure to be a family favorite!

Pineapple Oat Cake Recipe

Bon Appétit For Two: Savoring Meals And Memories

In conclusion, our carefully curated collection of recipes, tailored for two, is designed to bring ease, variety, and enjoyment to your cooking experiences. From savory dinners and complementary side dishes to delightful breakfasts and irresistible desserts, each recipe is crafted to suit your needs as a couple or empty nesters. Embrace this new chapter of cooking with recipes that are just as suited for everyday meals as they are for special occasions. These dishes will not only satisfy your taste buds but also create memorable moments around the table. Happy cooking and here’s to many delicious meals ahead, perfectly portioned for two!

For more information on the baking dishes I use in our single serving and empty nest recipes, please visit ourFAQ page.

For examples of the dishes used at One Dish Kitchen, please visit ourStore page.

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