Stay at Home Food
You’ve heard the heed, so heed the call and please try to avoid the grocery stores as much as you can these days. It helps the employees and it helps your neighbors if you can just stay home.
Personally I have always loved the challenge of pantry cooking, and as soon and Chris and I decided to just stay home starting last Thursday, I made myself a list of all the meals I could make with what was existing in our pantry, fridge and freezer. And it was a lot of things!
We eat pretty close to a vegetarian diet these days, so most of the recipes are vegetarian which may be a drag to some people but it looks like we’re all going to have to get used to disappointment, so may as well start now.
These have been on HEAVY rotation round here because they are so versatile; you can really use any ol’ bean you got and jam in whatever bits of vegetables, too. No eggs, no cheese means these are also cheap as hell. Like maybe it’ll cost you a buck to make four of em? And they freeze well, too. But I usually just cook them all and refrigerate any leftovers and microwave one the next day for a quick breakfast or lunch.
You got some old corn tortillas around and some kind (any kind) of salsa? Well, partner, you’re half way to chilaquiles! You can even use stale tortilla chips if that’s what you have, and add a fried egg, shredded chicken, beans or cheese or any combination thereof. Typically served for breakfast, chilaquiles also make a great breakfast-for-dinner.
I made a big batch of this turkey chili in my Instant Pot at the beginning of the week because it’s Chris’s favorite and it keeps so well. Use ground beef or chicken if you’d rather. This also freezes very well if you aren’t so keen on eating turkey chili every day for seven days.
Another big-batch kinda recipe, this vegan lentil bolognese has mushrooms, lentils, carrots and it’s great on pasta, polenta, spaghetti squash, baked sweet potatoes, or even on homemade flatbread pizza. It makes about eight cups of sauce, which’ll get you several different meals. If you don’t have mushrooms on hand, leave those and and don’t give it a second thought.
So you bought a buttload of taters in preparation for the apocalypse and now it’s here and you’re already tired of taters. So you know what you do? You turn those taters into taquitos. This recipe works with sweet potatoes, too. Serve them with salsa and sour cream if you have it.
I haven’t made this lately since we don’t really eat beef anymore, but it is a very handy recipe for when all you have vegetable-wise is a block of frozen spinach and/or a bag of peas’n’carrots. Serve with rice or cauliflower rice or add extra tomatoes and call it a soup.
My favorite lentil soup recipe ever. You can add bacon if you want, but most of the time I’ll keep it vegetarian and add some smoked paprika. Lentil soup with a piece of extra-toasty extra-buttery toast is one of my comfort foods.
Peanut Butter and Jelly French Toast
You know sometimes you just gotta take a plain PB&J and cook it up like French toast before everybody goes bananas eating the same PB&J every dang day. This is fun for breakfast or lunch, or even dessert.
A perfect potato salad is a fine, square meal unto itself. You got potatoes (starch) boiled eggs (protein) and celery (vegetable). Mayonnaise counts as your dairy group, right?
When you start to get really bored cooking, go ahead and dress up your rice for the stay-at-home party. This basic rice pilaf can be mixed up in all kinds of ways depending on what you have. Nuts, seeds, dried fruit, frozen peas, spices, herbs. Follow the basic template and set your mind freeeeee . . .
I made some of this with the bag of frozen black eyed peas I forgot to cook on New Year’s Day and I’ll probably make another batch next week with the dried black eyed peas that’ve been in my pantry for two years. It’s delicious with chips, as a dip of sorts, or on top of salad greens and it’ll keep well — even improving — for several days.
Cabbage is the perfect vegetable during times of stay-at-home. A head of cabbage will last weeks in the fridge. This spicy peanut coleslaw will last a few days in the fridge, but probably less because it’s so dang good. Serve it alongside homemade veggie burgers or any kind of sausage.
If you’ve never tried making your own tortillas, now may be your chance! The ingredients are few and the pay-off is large and it’s something to get kids involved with as long as you don’t mind misshapen tortillas. (But between you and me and the trees, they’re probably going to be a bit misshapen even if the grownups make them.)
This is a low maintenance quick bread perfect for using up that lone, random beer someone left in your fridge a while back. I add cheese and pickled jalapeños but you can leave them out no problem. This bread is so good hot and fresh with soup or toasted with butter for breakfast.
I add these because 1) they’re good and 2) they’re a fun baking project if you have kids at home who need to be entertained. Let them experiment cutting different shapes and sprinkling various spices on top. Try sweet spices like cinnamon, fennel or ginger, or savory like garlic powder, sumac, or sesame.
Even if you’re not vegan, there’s a good chance you’ll be out of butter and eggs and milk sometime and dying for a chocolate cake. That’s when this little number will become your best friend.
This one might be a stretch because I don’t know how many people really keep heavy cream on hand, but the point I’m making is that you can totally use frozen strawberries (or raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, you get it) instead of fresh and end up with a simple little compote to eat on its own, or with the shortcakes and cream.
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