As we get older so many couples decide to “Downsize” their homes.  I was thinking that another area we seem to “Downsize” in is our cooking and baking.

So many life changing events cause this to happen.  Our children grow up and leave home, we lose a spouse, there could be health issues that cause physical or dietary limitations, or there may even be financial changes that mean the food budget is reduced. These are reasons that lead to the need for downsized cooking/baking.

The first ten years of our marriage, my husband and I were raising 7 children so I always cooked big meals and baked a lot.  Over the years, as we became the empty nesters it has been hard for me to downsize our meals.  I am making progress on this and having a lot less food to throw out each day.   I still love when I can cook big for our family get-togethers.

I am going to be adding a weekly feature to my blog on “Downsized Cooking/Baking”.  Each Thursday I am going to do a blog post with shopping tips, meal planning, ideas, and recipes dedicated to cooking for 1 or 2.  Hopefully, this will help me to make the adjustment also.  I am looking forward to getting ideas from others who have been in this situation and have it mastered.

In 2006 I started entering recipe contests and one that was always a challenge to me was  “Taste of Home’s Cooking For 2”.   It was so hard for me to create recipes on such a small scale.   In 2007, I won the Grand Prize of $500 in one of their Mini Cake Contests.  I remember that every day for one week after I got home from work, I baked a cake testing the recipe I had created.  After making 7 cakes that did not seem perfect, I just entered my best recipe.   I thought it tasted good but I just could not get the size scaled down.  I was quite shocked that my entry won.  The cake recipe was Coconut Cream Dream Cake. coconut cake, pudding cake

This is a picture from the Cooking for 2 magazine.

One place to start is with the equipment we have to work with. There are  smaller pans available to purchase that are convenient for baking and cooking. I have seen a mini springform pan,  mini loaf pans, a 7-inch pie plate and 1 1/2 quart slow cookers. 

cooking for 1, cooking for 2, downsized cooking, mini electric skilletI won this mini electric skillet in one of the contests and it has come in handy for cooking small amounts. 

breakfast souffle, ramekins,

I also use ramekins to make individual servings of breakfast quiche or casseroles.

mini cast iron skilletA few years ago I purchased these mini cast iron skillets.   They are fun to use for individual breakfast or dinner recipes.steak salad, mini cast iron skilletblueberry cinnamon roll french toast mini skillets


I think some of these items would make great gifts to purchase for people who do cook for 1 or 2. 

mini panini skillet, panini sandwich


My husband and I enjoy a bowl of soup and a sandwich for lunch or a light supper.  Here is a sandwich that I have made using the mini panini skillet. turkey panini   


On Top of Old Smokey
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  1. 2 teaspoons butter
  2. 2 slices sourdough bread
  3. 2 slices deli smoked turkey, sliced thin
  4. 3 slices deli smoked gouda, sliced thin
  5. 6 leaves baby spinach
  6. 1 slice red onion, sliced thin
  7. 2 slices smoked bacon, cooked crisp
  8. 1/2 sun dried tomato, oil packed & drained, diced
  9. 1 teaspoon regular or chipotle mayonnaise
  1. Spray panini skillet with no stick cooking spray and heat over a medium heat.
  2. Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. Place one slice of bread into skillet, butter side down. Layer with turkey, cheese, spinach, onion and bacon. Stir together the sun dried tomato and mayonnaise. Spread this on inside of remaining bread slice. Add top slice of bread to sandwich, butter side up.
  3. Cook on first side until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Carefully, turn sandwich and cook on other side until golden brown about 4 minutes.
  4. Remove from skillet, cut in half and enjoy!
Come back next week to start following the “Downsized” Cooking and Baking feature.





  1. Thank you for great ideas and recipes! Your plan makes sense for people who love to cook. I’m more likely to want the day off to be crafty so I still make big pots of things and then we have the rest of the week to eat it. I also have offered my three daughters a “Drive up Day” every Thursday. I make dinner for the families and they just pull up to my garage and I run out a basket for them. It lets me try some great recipes and gives them a break one day a week!

    1. Love it!! I have thought of doing that for my daughters that work too. I bet your daughters appreciate it so much. You are so awesome at crafts..I am not at all!!

  2. It’s so funny that you posted this. My sisters and I have said many times that the hardest thing about moving out of our house and cooking for our smaller (Well unless you are Tomie LOL) families is that you aren’t making as much food as you did growing up. How do those Duggar girls do it! *LOL*

  3. I love the idea of doing a series on downsizing in the kitchen! This is just what I need because if I cook it — Grampy will eat it! So I need to start cooking smaller.

    FYI – that cake looks delicious and I printed the recipe. I don’t think I have had seven minute frosting since my Grandma used to make it and that was a LONG time ago! Can’t wait to try it.

    1. Thank you. I remember making that seven minute frosting several times before I got it right. I had not had it for years either, my mother always made it. I hope I start doing better too by working on this series. I waste so much food with just the 2 of us.

  4. Congrats on your winning! I haven’t mastered cooking for two but thankfully we love leftovers, so I rarely throw away food. Thank you for sharing with Thursday Favorite Things! Have a great weekend!

  5. I love my two little tube pans! I can make two cakes from one recipe and put one in the freezer. I also have the smaller round cake pans which I use in the same way. I will have to try your Coconut Cream Dream Cake – it looks amazing!

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