I know how to cook for two. I know how much food to take out if I want just enough or if I want there to be leftovers. When I got divorced, I had to learn how to cook for one, which is difficult because food tends not to come in single servings. It's also tough to be motivated to cook for one. I had a lot of cereal, soup, and pasta- things that could easily be portioned.
When I got remarried, I suddenly had to cook for three. I now know that 3/4 of a pound of pasta and one jar of sauce is just about right. If I kick up the sauce with extra ingredients and use the full pound of pasta, there will be leftovers.
Chicken tenderloins come seven to a package. That's three for my husband, two for me, and two for my stepson. One can of corn splits three ways perfectly. I can buy a two pack of steak, plus one individually wrapped steak to feed three. One head of broccoli steams a serving for each of us.
It took a lot of trial and error to get to this point. I made meals that left way too much in the end and meals that left us scrambling for snacks. But there is a balance and a rhythm I've come to.
That is, until my in-laws moved in. Suddenly all of my portions are null. To feed five people requires the extra large package of chicken breasts. (Did you know those cost more than $12?) That usually leaves one chicken breast left over- often a scrawny piece that certainly can't be turned into leftovers for five. If I chop it up to mix in a bowl of salad or rice, I can make lunch for two.
So I'm back at the beginning learning how to portion appropriately for four adults and a growing boy whose appetite is sometimes equal to my husband's and other times satiated by a mere three bites. While I'm decent in the kitchen, I wouldn't say I'm one of those people that can take last night's meatloaf and turn it into tonight's beef demi-glaze in a reduction sauce. (Heck, I don't even know if all those words go together.)
I'll keep trying. Eventually I'm sure I'll figure out how many pounds of ground beef and taco shells are needed. If anyone has suggestions for feeding five, I'd be appreciative. I'm thinking my crockpot could get some more use.