Fast and Frugal Recipes for Two



Going out to eat can be lots of fun, but it’s not always affordable. If you have upcoming plans to catch up with your best friend or enjoy a special date at home, these recipes for two are a great place to start. They’re quick to make and comprised of easy-to-find, frugal ingredients.

Each recipe is portioned out to feed you and a friend or a special someone without wasteful leftovers. Bon appétit!

Thai Pork Lettuce Cups

Prep: 10 minutes  •  Cook: 15 minutes
  • ½ tbsp. sesame oil
  • 250g pork mince
  • ½ tbsp. green curry paste
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • ½ lime
  • ½ tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp. mint, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp. coriander, roughly chopped
  • Romaine lettuce leaves
  1. Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Sauté the pork for 8 – 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
  2. Stir in 2 tbsp. of water and curry paste — cook for two minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the read onion, fish sauce and herbs. Squeeze the juice from the lime, set the rind aside.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the lettuce cups and serve with rice.

Spaghetti with Black Olive Sauce

Prep: 5 minutes  •  Cook: 15 minutes
  • 250g spaghetti
  • 200g cherry tomato, halved
  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 large black olives, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. capers, drained and rinsed
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Small bunch of basil
  • Shave parmesan
  1. Cook the pasta according to the directions.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the tomatoes, oil, basil, olives, capers, lemon zest and juice together in a bowl. Sprinkle with salt.
  3. Once the pasta is done, drain it and return it to the pan. Mix in the tomato mixture and serve with parmesan cheese on top.

Make it vegan by skipping the cheese. Leave it vegetarian, or add shrimp or chicken for a heartier option.

Inside-Out Chicken Kiev

Prep: 5 minutes  •  Cook: 20 minutes
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 15g garlic butter, softened
  • 15g crispy breadcrumbs
  1. Place the two chicken breasts on a baking tray and rub them with a little bit of the butter. Season with salt and pepper and cook under the grill for 15 minutes, turning over once until cooked through.
  2. While it cooks, mix together the remaining garlic butter and bread crumbs.
  3. Once you’ve finished cooking the chicken breasts, remove them from the grill and smear each with the breadcrumb mixture. Return it to the grill for another 3 — 5 minutes until the butter melts.

Salmon with Spinach and Feta

Prep: <5 minutes  •  Cook: 15 minutes
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 2, 150g salmon filets
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Olive oil
  • 200g spinach
  • 50g feta cheese
  • ½ lemon
  1. Crush the cumin seeds and sprinkle them over the filets. Remove the thyme leaves from the stems and sprinkle on top as well.
  2. Start boiling a large pan of salted water.
  3. Heat the oil in the frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the salmon and cook for 3 – 4 minutes per side.
  4. After you flip the salmon to the second side, use those three minutes to blanch the spinach.
  5. Serve the salmon with the spinach on the side, sprinkle with feta and lemon juice.

Savoury Bread and Cheese Pudding

Prep: 5 minutes  •  Cook: 20 minutes
  • 4 slices white bread
  • 2 slices of strong cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 30ml milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • 30g Asiago cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/ gas mark 4.
  2. Make a sandwich with the bread slices and cheese. Cut each “sandwich” into 4 triangles each.
  3. Lightly grease an oven-proof dish and arrange the cut sandwiches wedges on it.
  4. Beat the eggs and milk together with salt and pepper. Pour it over the sandwiches in the bake dish.
  5. Sprinkle the Asiago on top and back for 20 – 30 minutes.

Serve with roasted chicken or bangers.

Steak with Red Wine Balsamic Reduction

Prep: 5 minutes  •  Cook: 15 minutes
  • 2 fillet steaks (whichever cut you prefer)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tbsp. dry red wine
  1. Season the steak with salt and pepper on both sides.
  2. Heat a frying pan over medium high heat. Place the steaks in the pan and cook for one minute on each side or until browned.
  3. Reduce the heat down to medium-low and add in the balsamic vinegar and red wine. Cover and cook for 4 minutes on each side, basting with sauce after you turn the meat over.
  4. Serve the steak and spoon the glaze over each cut.

Serve with bakes potatoes and asparagus.

Caprese-Style Portobellos

Prep: 10 minutes  •  Cook: 10 minutes
  • 4 large Portobello mushroom caps
  • 200g cherry tomato, halved
  • Olive oil
  • 100g shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Once up to temperature, bake the mushroom caps alone for 5 minutes. Take them out and use a paper towel to blot off the excess moisture.
  2. Brush the olive oil over the textured side of the mushroom cap.
  3. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and chop the basil. Mix them together in a bowl along with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Let it sit for a few minutes to let the flavours develop.
  4. Sprinkle the cheese on the mushroom cap, then spoon the tomato basil mixture over it.
  5. Bake until the cheese melts and enjoy!

Skip the meat to keep this a vegetarian dish or serve with lamb patties or spicy Italian sausage.

Barbara Davidson


Babs is a Senior Content Writer and financial guru. She loves exploring fresh ways to save more and enjoy life on a budget! When she’s not writing, you’ll find her binge-watching musicals, reading in the (sporadic) Chicago sunshine and discovering great new places to eat. Accio, tacos!