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I might be raising a big family of growing boys, but I know that so many of you are looking for easy dinner ideas for two! Whether you are an empty-nester, a small family with a baby, or a widow on your own, I get emails every day from readers just like YOU — looking for quick-prep meals in smaller quantities. That’s why I’ve put together a list of delicious dinner recipes that are simple to scale down to suit your needs. From chicken to steak, pasta, casseroles, salmon and pork, there’s something here for everyone!

Close overhead shot of bbq chicken flatbread pizza sliced on a wooden cutting board

I’m going to make this as easy as possible for you! My goal with this collection is to provide you with a handful of easy dinners for two that you can turn to on your busiest weeknights! These ideas take advantage of a variety of ingredients and cuisines, so I know that you’ll find at least a handful of new recipes to add to your regular rotation.

How do I cut down a recipe if I am cooking dinner for two and the meal is for four (or more)?

As you’ll see, many of the recipes on this list can serve 4 or more people. I’ve chosen options that are easy to scale down, and that include alternative instructions for those folks who are cooking just for 2. Here are my best tips when adapting recipes for a smaller family:

  • Cut the ingredients in half: In general, you can typically cut all of the ingredients in half to prepare half as much food. Just make sure that you keep all of the proportions the same. For instance, instead of using 2 pounds of ground beef, use just 1 pound of ground beef (and cut all of the other ingredients in the recipe in half as well).
  • Use a smaller dish: If the directions call for a 9 x 13-inch dish, cut all of the ingredients in half and use an 8-inch or 9-inch square dish instead. Similarly, if the recipe calls for a 2-quart baking dish, use a small 1-quart dish. You get the idea!
  • Freeze half: Instead of cutting the ingredients in half to prepare a smaller amount of food, you can often prepare the full recipe but divide the ingredients between two smaller pans. Bake one pan now for dinner, and freeze the extra for another meal. This gives you two dinners for one effort!
  • Adjust the servings in the recipe card: on my site, each recipe box includes a suggested number of servings. If you click on that number, you can change it to accommodate the number of servings that you would like to prepare. For instance, if the recipe says it makes “4” servings, you can change that “4” to say “2” servings. Once you change the number of servings, the ingredient quantities will automatically adjust accordingly — no special math necessary!
Ground beef noodle casserole with a wooden serving spoon on a table

Favorite Dinner Ideas for Two

These are some of our favorite easy dinner ideas for two. In each post, I provide specific instructions for scaling down the recipe for a smaller family, as well as suggested side dishes that pair well with each entrée. As always, let me know if you have any questions!


Close overhead image of a pan of chicken Dijon sauce with chicken cutlets


BBQ pork tenderloin in a skillet with crispy Brussels sprouts


Baking sheet full of the best beef nachos recipe

Fish, Shellfish, Seafood

Overhead shot of a piece of grilled salmon on a white plate with rice and salad

Vegetarian and Pasta

Bowl of shell mac and cheese with toasted breadcrumbs on top

Romantic Dinner Ideas for Two at Home

If you’re celebrating a special occasion, Valentine’s Day, or just looking for a recipe to cook for a date night at home, here are a couple of my favorite fancier, easy dinner ideas for two:

Sliced filet mignon on a plate with garlic herb butter

Let Us Know Your Favorite Easy Dinner Ideas for Two

Now it’s your turn, friends! What are some of your favorite dinners for two? Share your ideas in the comments below to help others with even more delicious and easy ideas!

Square text collage of easy dinner ideas for two

This post was originally published in July, 2017. It was updated in October, 2021.


Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

Square overhead shot of hands serving a chicken pot pie recipe with biscuits
Overhead image of a bowl of chili mac on a dinner table with cornbread
Hands serving a platter of sheet pan sausage and potatoes

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  1. Barbara says:

    Thank you for this post. Saw several dishes that sound yummy that I want to try but found the link to pork schnitzel with mushroom gravy does not work. When I tried just using your search button, it linked back to this post.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      You’re quick, Barbara! I just re-published this post today. The pork schnitzel recipe post will be live tomorrow! 🙂

      Here it is below so that you have it today:

      Pork Schnitzel
      Serves: 4
      Prep: 15 mins
      Cook: 15 mins

      1 – 1 ½ lbs. boneless pork chops, pounded to ¼-inch thickness
      ½ cup all-purpose flour
      2 eggs, lightly beaten
      2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
      ½ cup vegetable oil
      2 tablespoons salted butter
      8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
      1 (0.87 ounce) packet brown gravy mix
      1 cup cold water
      2 tablespoons white wine
      2 tablespoons sour cream, at room temperature
      Garnish: chopped fresh parsley; lemon wedges

      Place flour in a shallow dish, eggs in a second shallow dish, and Panko breadcrumbs in a third shallow dish.
      Season the pork with salt and pepper on both sides.
      Working with one piece of pork at a time, dredge the meat in the flour, shaking off any excess. Dip in the eggs, shaking again to remove any excess egg. Finally, coat in breadcrumbs. Repeat with remaining pork.
      Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches so that you don’t overcrowd the pan, fry the breaded pork in the skillet until browned and no longer pink, about 3 minutes per side. If the breading is browning too quickly, or if the skillet starts to smoke, reduce the heat. Remove browned pork to a paper towel-lined plate. While it’s still warm, season the pork with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
      Wipe out the skillet. Melt butter in the pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook until soft, about 5-7 minutes.
      In a small bowl, whisk together the gravy mix, cold water and wine. Add the gravy mixture to the skillet with the mushrooms; bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring constantly, for one more minute. Whisk in the sour cream.
      Serve the pork with mushroom gravy, fresh parsley and lemon wedges.

      1. Barbara says:

        Thank you. I just pulled a meal out of the freezer for tonight, but tomorrow is grocery shopping day so I can grab the needed ingredients for this recipe and cook it tomorrow!

        1. Blair Lonergan says:

          Awesome! Enjoy! 🙂

          1. Suzanne Ubick says:

            On Pinterest there’s a Pin, apparently from you, offering two weeks of easy dinners for two plus free shipping list and cookbook. Clicking on this Pin brings one to the same image. So far I’ve been unable to find this menu with shopping list and recipe booklet on your website. Would you please update the Pin?

          2. Blair Lonergan says:

            Hi, Suzanne! This post was updated since that pin was created, but I’m still happy to email you the printable document that includes the Two Weeks of Dinners for Two. You should find it in your inbox now. Hope you find it helpful!

  2. Margret says:

    Hi….your picture of the article says plus shopping list and free cookbook but I have scrolled through the whole article and not found a link to the shopping list nor the cookbook and typing it in the search bar yielded nothing. How do I get that information?

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Margaret! I think that the picture you saw was an old one from the previous version of this post. I’ve added new recipe ideas to this list, but there isn’t a cookbook or shopping list associated with the updated post. I will send you the old e-cookbook/shopping list via email, but it won’t exactly match up with the updated post. Hopefully you’ll still find it helpful. 🙂

        1. Blair Lonergan says:

          Yes! I just sent it. 🙂

  3. Jessica Quemado says:

    love your dump and pour chicken recipe was super simple and was a hit fam loved best part is there is no chopping or waiting for the chicken to marinate in the bag. Thank you love this new cooking site 🙂

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thanks, Jessica! I’m so glad that you’re enjoying the recipes. 🙂

  4. Beverly says:

    I am also interested in the old e-book offer I saw posted.
    Thank you

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Beverly! Just sent it your way. 🙂

  5. Lauri says:

    I would like to get your printable cookbook.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Lauri! I just emailed the PDF to you. Hope you enjoy!