February 4, 2010 at 8:29 a.m.

Cooking for one, two or three

Cooking for one, two or three
Cooking for one, two or three

Are you a single person, widow, widower, or a couple whose children have left the nest?

I have 4 sisters who have been widows for several years and at least two or three times a month one of them will call and ask, "Al, I'm having a gal friend over tomorrow evening for supper and I'm not sure what to fix. Give me a buzz with some ideas will ya?" Since there are just the two of us I've had to cut back on the amount of food I prepare for a meal or make enough for another meal and either freeze half of it or have it again in a couple days. Bud doesn't have a problem eating leftovers so I'm o.k. in that department. Actually, some dishes taste better after a couple days. Anyway, here are some recipes cooking for one, two or three.

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BEEF BARLEY STEW

1/2 lb. lean ground beef

1/2 c. sliced celery

1/3 c. chopped onion

1-3/4 c. water

2 t. reduced-sodium beef bouillon granules

1-1/2 t. chili powder

1/4 t. pepper

1/2 c. quick cooking barley

1-15 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained

In a 2-qt. saucepan, cook beef, celery and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink and veggies are tender; drain. Stir in next 4 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Stir in barley. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 10-12 minutes or until barley is tender. Stir in tomatoes; heat until hot.

Makes 3-4 servings.

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CHICKEN AND SPAGHETTI

2 chicken breasts

2 t. canola oil

1/4 c. Catalina salad dressing

4-1/2 t. dry onion soup mix (stir in packet before measuring)

1 T. grape jelly

In a large non-stick skillet, brown chicken in oil. Transfer to a shallow baking dish coated with cooking spray. In a bowl, combine rest of ingredients, mixing well; pour over chicken.

Bake, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes. Makes two servings. Note: Two small baking potatoes could be baked in the oven while fixing the chicken about 20 minutes before adding chicken. Make a salad and a veggie and you'll have a delicious dinner.

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BISCUIT-TOPPED BEEF CASSEROLE

1/2 lb. lean ground beef

1/4 c. chopped onion

1/2 c. each, water and tomato sauce

1/4 c. tomato paste

1/8 t. pepper

1 c. frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1-6 oz. tube refrigerated flaky buttermilk biscuits

1 t. butter or margarine, melted

1/4 t. dried oregano

In a small saucepan cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in water, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer, uncovered for ten minutes. Remove from heat; stir in veggies and 1/4 c. cheese. Transfer to a 1 qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray (dish will be full).

Separate each biscuit horizontally in half; arrange around edge of dish. Brush with butter, sprinkle with oregano. Sprinkle rest of cheese over beef filling. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes or until heated through and biscuits are golden brown.

Makes 2 servings.

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And a light dessert.

ORANGE BLOSSOM

GELATIN DESSERT

1-3 oz. pkg. orange gelatin

1/2 c. boiling water

1/3 c. orange yogurt

In a small bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Cool to room temperature; whisk in yogurt. Divide between two dessert dishes. Cover and chill for 4 hours or until firm.

Makes 2 servings.

TFD: I've learned that the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.

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