Recipes

Empty nest? Make Mouthwatering meals for 2: Baked ziti, tarts and more

Aug. 1, 2014 at 9:15 AM ET

Video: With the kids out of the nest, it’s easy to lean toward fast food and frozen dinners for just one or two people. But Nilou Motamed of Epicurious has a few alternatives to keep you on a healthy track.

Kids out of the house? Living on your own? Sometimes you just want to make a meal for one or two, especially once you’ve tired of takeout.

Nilou Motamed, editor-in-chief of Epicurious, shares tips on how to pare down some of her favorite crowd-pleasing recipes and make just what you need for yourself – or save some for later.

Baked ziti with spinach and tomatoes

How to serve it for 2:

Make the whole batch and spoon into 4 individual baking dishes. Serve 2 and freeze 2 for later.

Everyone has canned tomatoes and dried pasta in their pantry, and these staples can make a fast and easy dinner. You can make the sauce a day ahead and then assemble and bake in 30 minutes. Serving in individual baking dishes are a great way to make this dish feel special!

Cornish game hens with garlic and rosemary

How to serve it for 2:

Divide ingredients in half, but use 1/4 cup white wine and 1/4 cup chicken broth. Roast in a large skillet instead of a large roasting pan.

Cornish hens are a tasty alternative to roast chicken, and some say the flavor is more delicate and the birds tend to stay juicier. You can make 1 or two for 2 people, and serve with a side salad as the perfect meal. Just don’t expect leftovers -- these babies won’t last beyond dinner! This recipe is an Epicurious user favorite – our community rates it 4 forks.

Corn, scallion, and potato frittata

How to serve it for 2:

Just follow the recipe. Don't forget about eggs for dinner. Frittatas are easy to make and keep well as leftovers. They are a great way to reuse anything you have in the fridge. Endlessly customizable and quick to make. All you need are 4 eggs, a small skillet, and your favorite mix-ins.

Asparagus and mushroom tarts

How to serve it for 2:

Divide all ingredients by 4

Plum and apricot puff pastry tarts

How to serve it for 2:

At Epicurious, we love puff pastry and always have it on hand in the freezer. We think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. We love the idea of playing up puff pastry as a quick, easy way to make dinner or dessert for one.

All you need for both these recipes is one sheet of puff pastry cut into 4 squares.

Two will be for the savory recipe – topped with mushrooms and asparagus. For a little added protein, you can top it with prosciutto after it comes out of the oven. Add sliced stone fruit, which is in season right now, to the other 2 squares and bake for an individual tart.

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