That escalated quickly! The coronavirus pandemic has many of us self-quarantined in our homes and there’s no better time to cook. With public restaurants and coffee shops closing temporarily and putting social distancing in place to slow the spread of this virus, our kitchens are calling (along with the hand sanitizer), and I’ve got a few easy recipe ideas and pantry staples to share as we navigate these uncertain times.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’ve been to the grocery store every other day recently, whether to see if a new shipment of paper goods has been delivered, or out of an ever-so-slight lingering fear that I might need just one more thing. That fear quickly diminishes though, when I recall that I may not know what tomorrow holds, but I know who holds tomorrow. Sometimes a crisis can make us remember the things that are important, like sharing a meal with the ones we love or slowing down long enough to call a friend. I keep reminding myself of these truths: Faith over fear, calm over chaos, peace over panic. The coronavirus is not a surprise to the good Lord and he is in control.
For those of you who don’t like to cook or are not accustomed to it, let’s face it: the coronavirus pandemic won’t suddenly make us all top chefs. But cooking doesn’t need to be complicated. Starting simple with one-pot dishes, a well-stocked pantry and using resources, like slow cookers or instant pots, can make all the difference. Next time you go to the grocery store, stock up on these pantry staples, then we’ll talk about how to put them to good use:
- Canned tomatoes, canned biscuits or crescent rolls, canned pizza dough
- Pasta, bread, rice, cereal
- Chicken, beef or vegetable stock
- Fresh or frozen vegetables
- Meats: Whole chicken, ground beef or venison, pork tenderloins, pork chops, beef chuck roast
- Spices and seasonings
In addition to this list, jarred ingredients such as sun-dried tomatoes, olives, pickles and capers add a briny flavor to dishes and can take a sandwich or pasta dish from simple to Some Kinda Good. If meats are not available, canned goods like chicken, tuna and sloppy joe sauce can really come in handy for long shelf life.
That being said, if cooking is your thing and you have some extra time on your hands over the next few weeks, (months, who knows?), maybe now is the time to try your hand at a baking project — that cake you’ve been meaning to try, or a labor intensive dish you’ve always wanted to make. My birthday is coming up and I’ve been wanting to make a lavender cake with blackberry filling — and as the old adage goes, there’s no time like the present. Dust off your apron, roll up your sleeves and get cooking!
You can find several easy, delicious weeknight meals to cook for your family, such as Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pizza, Taco Ring and Citrus Chicken with Jasmine Rice, by visiting my food blog, SomeKindaGood.com. I’d also encourage you to connect with me on social media, where I’ll host many live cooking demos over the coming weeks to show you exactly how these dishes come together.
On Instagram, I’m keeping track of all the local restaurant news in my highlights, so you can stay up-to-date on who’s open for curbside pick-up and online ordering. During this time, it’s important to remember, when you support local businesses, you are helping them stay afloat and helping someone to keep their job.
This too shall pass and I look forward to that sunny day when we can all walk out of our houses and be together again.
Rebekah Faulk Lingen-felser is the author of “Some Kinda Good,” a culinary TV personality and food enthusiast. She writes about Southern, coastal cuisine, locally sourced and in-season. Connect with her on social media by liking Some Kinda Good on Facebook, or follow @SKGFoodBlog on Instagram and Twitter.
To learn more, visit RebekahLingenfelser.com.