Cooking For Two Cookbooks – Toaster Oven Love

Cooking for two recipe book

Are you new to the kitchen for two years after years of feeding a big family? Starting out on your own for the first time? Or are you just looking for some inspiration to eat?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you are in the right place! Because today we share some of our favorite cookbooks from Cooking For Two. They’re full of easy recipes from small batches that will help you put dinner on the table (without leaving you stuck eating leftovers all week).

For each book, you’ll find a quick overview, a little bit about recipes and all the things you need to know before you buy. I’ve also included a section for who will get the most out of each cookbook, as we can’t all be looking for the same thing.

Once you’ve had enough of these books, check out this list of cookbooks from Cooking For One for those days when mealtime is just for you.

Oven Perfection Toaster

from America’s Test Kitchen

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of America’s Test Kitchen. Their recipes are well-tested and have instructions that are clear and easy to follow (if sometimes a little fussy). So when they released Toaster Oven Perfection I quickly ordered a copy.

We’ve already cooked up a handful of recipes from the book and each one has been a success. The Make-Ahead buns were perfectly light and tender inside, while the quinoa baked with kale and chickpeas was shiny, sour, and packed with protein.

The puff pastry in the asparagus and goat cheese cake was surprisingly crunchy and flaky, but it was the awesome and crazy Savory Dutch Baby (we swapped some ingredients to make it sweet) that was our favorite. We cooked all the recipes on our Breville Smart Oven Pro (BOV845BSS) and found the temperature, time, and grid locations to be perfect.


oven requirements:

  • While some of the recipes fit in a medium-sized toaster oven (or can be retroized/resized), most are designed for a large capacity oven. According to the book, an oven with an interior that is a minimum of 121/2 inches long, 91/2 inches deep, and has 41/2 inches of space between the bottom rack and the upper heating elements will have the most success cooking recipes.
  • Most recipes use the Baking or Roasting features, but there are quite a few that require convection or air frying. * Header notes usually include instructions for using the standard baking feature if your oven does not have convection or air frying.

Tip for beginners: The first chapter is called Toaster Oven 101 and includes an overview of the different parts of a toaster oven, explanations of common functions, some reviews of toaster ovens, cooking tips, and some equipment recommendations.

Toaster oven recipes: There are recipe chapters that cover pan meals for two, breakfasts, snacks and sides, desserts and stews. There is also a miscellaneous food chapter called Baking, Roasting and Baking and one titled Ten Reasons Why We Love Our Toaster Oven that combines a recipe with every reason like Spicy Chicken Sandwiches Baked Fried for Reason #2 Fry food without a fryer.

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Each recipe is accompanied by a large color photo and a detailed note. Many of the recipes may be familiar to you if you own other ATK cookbooks. I recognized quite a few from his Complete Cooking For Two cookbook, but you can tell from the main notes that each recipe has been tested and adapted for the toaster oven.

*Like all toaster oven cookbooks, some of their tips/instructions may conflict with their manufacturer’s specific instructions. So always make sure you read your manual!

Things to know: A microwave is used for cooking and preparing ingredients in many

of the recipes and a food processor is required on a couple of baking recipes. Most recipes

  • work for 2 people, but there are some that make 4 to 6 servings (especially stews) and a handful that serve 8 to 10
  • .

  • There are some single-serving recipes (which can be expanded) for things like roasted chicken breasts, salmon, and pork chops.
  • Some of the snack and pastry recipes are larger (24 cookies, 8 buns, etc.), but most include instructions for storing leftovers.

There are more than 50 recipes for dinner. Most of them have chicken, pork, fish or beef as the main protein. I counted only 9 vegetarian dinners, 3 of which were a similar combination of pasta and cheese.

While some recipes call for a bread pan or cake pan, most require one of the following:

  • Tray room and cooling rack
  • 13 x 9 inches for cakes (without handles)
  • 8

  • x 8 inches

Finally, the nutrition information for each recipe is included at the end of the book. If you have specific dietary needs (such as gluten-free, low-fat, low-sodium, etc.) I highly recommend seeing if your library has a copy you can try before you buy.

Skill level: beginner to intermediate Recipe effort: easy to medium

This cookbook is for:

  • Anyone who owns a large toaster oven and wants to feel more comfortable cooking with it
  • .

  • People who want to cook meat (fish, chicken, beef or pork) in a toaster oven
  • .

  • Couples and singles looking to add more variety to their usual recipe rotation.

The Best

Instant Pot Cookbook for Two If you are

cooking for two people and own an instant pot or just bought one (we ourselves are newbies), then you should check out The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook For Two by Janet A. Zimmerman.

In just one weekend we tried lentils with red peppers and feta, brown rice and broccoli cheese casserole, steel-cut oatmeal with blueberries and almonds, and coconut and vanilla rice pudding (← Tim liked it so much, we made it twice!).

Chapters and recipes: There are 9 chapters in total, the first focuses on Instant Pot and Cooking For Two Basics. Things like terms, accessories, help choosing a model, troubleshooting, and tips for scaling down recipes are covered in a complete yet easy-to-digest format.

The remaining 8 chapters of the recipe cover breakfasts, vegetables and sides, beans and grains, meatless main courses, seafood and poultry, beef and pork, desserts, and cooking staples.

The recipes have nutritional information, make only 2 servings (although we find the lentil portions very generous) and work in an instant pot of 3 quarts or 6 quarts.

Things you should know: There are almost no photos. In addition, some of the recipes call for special ingredients such as pine nuts, sun-dried tomato paste, and malt vinegar. Substitutions or homemade options are suggested when possible.

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While there are a variety of recipe types, I would describe most as comfort food. That said, after trying the initial recipes as written, we had no trouble substituting lighter ingredients or adding more vegetables when we wanted.

Bonuses: If you struggle with food waste (who doesn’t really do it?) there are “Use It Up” notes that direct you to other recipes where you can use leftover ingredients (like half a can of diced tomatoes). Also, if a recipe is suitable for duplication, it will be noted along with the necessary adjustments in ingredients or cooking time.

Lastly, the cook time tables at the end have basic guidelines for a variety of foods, from vegetables and beans to seafood and beef. Yes, you can find these things online, but it is very convenient to have them all in one place.

Skill Level:Beginner Recipe Effort: easy to medium

This cookbook is for:

  • Couples looking for Instant Pot recipes that don’t create a bunch of leftovers
  • .

  • Anyone who wants to become more familiar with their 6-quart or 3-quart Instant Pot.



My favorite cookbooks of all time, America’s Test Kitchen’s The Complete Cooking For Two Cookbook is written specifically for small homes and includes shopping tips along with ideas for using ingredients.

The Complete Cooking For Two Cover of the cookbook with chicken breasts cooking in a pan.

Chapters and recipes: There are 17 chapters and 650 recipes designed to feed two people. For omnivores, there are chapters devoted to chicken, beef, fish, and grilling.

There is also a good variety of recipes in the main vegetarian chapter. But nothing too funky. Most recipes call for common meatless proteins like beans, quinoa, tofu, and tempeh.

In addition to the main courses for two, there are chapters for soups, salads, burgers and sandwiches, slow cooker, vegetable sides, grains and breakfast. If you like baking, there are chapters with quick breads, pies and pies, and cookies and cakes.

It really is a complete collection of recipes for two.

Things to know: Some of the recipes seem too complicated and dirty more than a few dishes.

Also, while most recipes use pantry staples, some call for special ingredients. Things like miso paste, sesame oil, liquid smoke, and saffron.

Extras: Scattered throughout the book you’ll find plenty of instructional photos for certain instructions and cooking methods. There are also notes explaining the why of each recipe and information about different ingredients.

The ‘Cooking Basics for Two’ area has everything you need to set up your kitchen. It includes tips for buying and storing items, using ingredients, and the best kitchen equipment for small homes.

Skill level: Beginner to intermediateRecipe effort: Medium

This cookbook is for:

  • Couples and singles looking for a wide variety of recipe ideas that won’t leave them with plenty of leftovers
  • .

  • Empty nests that want to make smaller portions of their favorite family recipes
  • .

  • Anyone learning to cook for themselves for the first time.

P.S. America’s Test Kitchen published a cookbook All-Time Best Dinners for Two. Looking through the reviews, it looks like all the recipes are from The Complete Cooking For Two Cookbook. Given that, we’d get the full cookbook for two, as it’s a better value for your dollars.

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One Pan, Two Plates: Vegetarian Suppers Carla Snyder’s

One Pan, Two Plates:

Vegetarian Suppers features more than 70 one-pan vegetarian dinner recipes designed to make just two servings. The recipes are meant to be quick, easy, and with very little cleaning, so you can cook them on a weeknight!

Chapters and recipes: A wide variety of meatless dinner recipes can be found throughout the book’s 6 chapters. There are hot soups, hearty grains and beans, super vegetarian meals, unique pastas, easy egg dishes, exciting pizzas, and tasty pies.

Recipes use plenty of fresh vegetables and nutritious proteins like eggs, beans, grains, and some with tofu. But don’t worry, there are also many delicious recipes for homemade cheese food.

Things to know: The format of the recipe is a bit complicated. With the ingredients side by side above the recipe instructions (which are also side by side). In my experience, it’s easy to skip an ingredient or recipe step with this style.

In addition, many of the recipes take 40 minutes or more. Depending on your schedule, these may not qualify as weekday night cooking for you.

Extras: There are so many special touches in this cookbook. One of my favorites is conversation notes that make you feel like you’re cooking with a friend.

If you have more of an appetite, you’ll enjoy the “Extra hungry?” section in recipes. Each has tips for making food more plentiful. It’s nice for those days when one of you wants something a little more filling.

Carla included a few pages of excellent weekday cooking tips at the beginning of the book. But what you’ll like even more is the ‘It’s that easy’ area in every recipe. They have information on unique ingredients, cooking tips, and alternative ideas for serving.

Skill level: Beginner to intermediateRecipe effort: easy to medium

This cookbook

is for:

  • Your favorite vegetarian partner or single friends who love to cook
  • .

  • Anyone who cooks for one or two who is interested in eating more meatless meals.

PS. If you’re looking for this one-pan kitchen for two styles, be sure to check out Carla One Pan’s other cookbook, Two Plates: More Than 70 Complete Weeknight Meals for Two. These are mainly meat and chicken recipes, but there are also some vegetarian recipes.


cookbooks to cook I

have a bit of an addiction to cookbooks and I’m always picking up used ones at our library bookstore. One of my many lofty goals is to write a review for everyone I meet.

Here’s what’s on my bookshelf (and tablet) right now. What book would you like us to review next?

  • Baking for Two by Tracy Yabiku
  • The Air Fryer Essential Cookbook for Two by Gina Kleinworth
  • Healthy Cookbook for Two by Rockridge Press
  • Vegetarian Cooking for

  • Two by Justin Fox Burks and Amy Lawrence
  • Below Home cooking for one or two by Taste of Home
  • Aptly sized recipes from Betty Crocker

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