Whether you're entertaining or simply making family dinner, the key to eating a meal one time only is to check the serving size on foods that need preparing, then measure. It sounds so simple, yet caterer Jackie Keller of Nutrifit says many just eyeball portions and add as they go.
"That's where things usually volume up and before you know it you have a much bigger pot of what you wanted," said Keller.
The French saying mis en place pertains here, meaning everything in place. Before you start cooking measure out each ingredient and have it in front of you ready to go.
Check the recipe along with looking at the serving size per person on food packaging.
"You know you only need two cups of cooked rice, you're going to start with about 3/4 of a cup of dry," said Keller.
For pasta, two ounces dry is the standard serving so a one pound package of pasta will serve 8 perfectly.
"If you're using a pasta dish and you're making it casserole style, one ounce of dried pasta is going to yield about the right amount of servings," said Keller.
When it comes to making a salad for dinner, think about how much lettuce you will need.
"If you know you only need two cups of lettuce, you know that's a small head of lettuce," said Keller.
For animal protein like meat, chicken or fish, Keller says to limit your intake to three to four ounces at one sitting, not more than that.
So one pound will yield at least four servings. If you're serving three ounce portions you'll get five.
You should make less meat when the meal offers filling foods like whole grains and produce, which help keep costs down as well.
But if by chance there is too much left at the table chef Jeanne Kelley offers some advice.
"You just need to disguise them. A lot of people who say they won't eat leftovers are people who just don't want to eat the same dish twice and if you can present it in a whole new way, they're not even going to know," said Kelley.
If you're having pork roast one night for example, try pulled pork sandwiches with a Puttanesca sauce for a sensational second night.