Using pantry foods makes dinner a breeze
What an uncertain we have found ourselves in as most of the world is sheltering in place. Social distancing has become as familiar a phrase as “paper or plastic” was in the 90’s. With limited food at our disposal and lots of time at home, we have thrown out the rules and are being creative again. Cooking with a little of this and a little of that is back in vogue. A lot of households have gone from providing only a meal of dinner to suddenly providing three meals a day to everyone under your roof. This takes some ingenuity and some creativeness. My friends we are all cooking in the age of Corona/ Covid 19!
Simple creativity in the kitchen has returned
On some level I have found this liberating. Gone from my repertoire of cooking are the recipes that require very specific ingredients or often hard to find ingredients. Add in the challenge of making your food supply go a little further, you are serving meats over rice perhaps. A stocked pantry of canned beans and vegetables along with some rice will take you further than you ever knew possible.
Canned tomatoes or tomato sauce is very useful
I made a tomato sauce that I can use for spaghetti or lasagna or even top a random package of ravioli. I used simple canned tomato sauce as a base the result was delicious. To create something that didn’t taste just like I poured it out of can, I used herbs and some red peppers, shallots and garlic. Honestly canned tomatoes or canned tomato sauce is pretty reliable year round. At least Bon Appetit thinks so.
If you can find flour, you have time to make bread by hand!
I took time to make bread, different kinds. Flour has been difficult to find so I have used it sparingly. One batch of cookies to lift spirits after dinner. A loaf of sourdough to use my starter was on my to do’s. As things at my grocery stores has settled down and they have restocked the early bird can often find flour. With that in mind I plan on baking up some foccacia bread and maybe even pretzels.
Soups still work, and they are filling.
Yesterday I used ground turkey that I needed to cook. I decided to throw together taco soup, I realized I didn’t have any taco seasoning packets so I winged it with spices and it was so much better. I even sauted a serrano pepper with the onion to give it a little more spice. My taco soup took shape with some improvised broth and a couple of drained cans of beans and corn.
Make your chicken go further.
One day I had some chicken I needed cook so I made baked chicken fingers, using panko and seasonings. We dipped them in an Avocado Lime sauce. The following day the leftover chicken fingers topped a hearty green salad.
Pickle something this week, eat it next week
Just before this “shelter in place” started I had picked up some pickling cucumbers. I had time to pickle the cucumbers and with simple ingredients and a week later we had spicy pickles to eat. These are super easy and you don’t need special equipment. Mason Jars or something similar are needed but most likely you have some sort of jar in your pantry. You probably have some other vegetable you bought too much of. Look up pickling recipes you can use all of your distilled vinegar you bought to dye your Easter eggs with and have pickled green beans.
Try something new and put your signature on it!
You finally have some time to try something new
Whether you try your hand at homemade bread or pickling something this is free time. Instead of running errands or getting kids to activities you have long stretches of time at home. You can involve the kids, baking is really science so they will be learning science and some handy baking skills at the same time. Whatever you choose, take advantage of this time instead of complaining, make it useful time. Don’t be afraid to fail, odds are you won’t and you might discover some new flavors you like or your family likes.