A favorite issue among retirees today is the difficulty of cooking for just two people. For the most part, I find it easy to cook for two, maybe because my husband is a big eater. He is not fat though – I just serve a ton of veggies, and he eats everything.

During the day I spend several hours marketing my book, painting any tote bag orders that may have come in, and of course, the house always needs something cleaned. I intersperse my days with lunches with friends and spending time with my husband.

I wrap up my days at 4 pm and get most of the dinner fixed at around 4:30 pm. That’s when we sit down and have a glass of wine, listen to music or maybe the news.

Cooking Ahead

We never have ‘leftovers’ in our house, but I do cook for two to three meals in advance: for the next night’s dinner and perhaps to put one portion in the freezer for future eating. I cook this way mainly in the fall and winter when we are not grilling on the barbecue as much.

I love when we have a meal the second night as it feels like someone came in and left dinner for me to just warm up. I know crockpots are famous for cooking ahead, and I am seriously thinking about using mine this winter. I have never been a true fan of slow cooking, but I may change.

My Favorite Easy Dinner

I have several dishes that seem to stretch for two to three meals. We even enjoy a special salad that keeps for several days. Imagine having your entire meal ready when it is time to eat. I will share with you my very simple eggplant casserole and salad.

To boot, this casserole costs so little, and nowadays, with the constantly rising food prices, it is a blessing when we can save some money.

Best Salad Ever* (enough for at least 3 dinners)

Ingredients

2 cucumbers, peeled and sliced thin

3 Roma tomatoes, cut up in small pieces

1/2 of small sweet onion, cut up in small pieces

1 large can of black olives, sliced in half

1 sweet red pepper, cut in small pieces

4 marinated artichoke hearts (optional), cut in half

Salad Dressing

1/2 cup of olive oil

1/4 cup of cider vinegar

2 tablespoons of water

1 tablespoon each of oregano, basil, thyme, garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Mix all the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Blend the dressing ingredients in small bowl and transfer to a bottle with lid.
  • Pour desired amount of dressing on the salad and chill until ready to use.

*This salad tastes better every day

Easy Eggplant Casserole

Ingredients

1 medium eggplant

1 large onion

4 fresh Roma tomatoes

1 large can of tomato sauce

1 cup of sliced fresh mushrooms

2 cups of grated mozzarella cheese (you may like more or less cheese)

1 large baking dish… You may have one or two layers of eggplant (any size baking dish will work)

1/4 cup of olive oil

3 tablespoons each of oregano, basil, thyme, garlic powder

1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (optional)

Salt and pepper to your taste

Directions

  • Put the tomato sauce in a pan with all spices and cook for about 15 minutes. You can start this while you are preparing the ingredients.
  • Pour a thin layer of olive oil on the bottom of the pan.
  • Slice the eggplant in 1/2 inch slices and score the tops.
  • Put a layer of eggplant on the bottom of the pan.
  • Add half of the grated cheese and spread to cover all the eggplant.
  • Slice the tomatoes and add them on top of the cheese.
  • Add the onions on top of the tomatoes.
  • Add the sliced mushrooms.
  • Pour the tomato sauce over the mushrooms.
  • Add a layer of mozzarella.
  • Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 1.5 hours.

Please note that this eggplant casserole recipe is very forgiving, and it is almost impossible to be unsuccessful. Add different or more seasonings, more tomatoes or more onions and mushrooms.

Do you have a favorite quick meal that lasts for a second day? What do you do with your ‘leftovers?’ Please join the conversation below.

Carol StanleyCarol Stanley has many interests in life including writing, painting, reading, cooking and biking. She also admits a secret love of poker. Carol has been involved in writing about her passion for staying healthy and has her very own website. Her book, Feel Better Every Day, is available for purchase.

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