A good quarantine menu includes creative recipes
What day is it? When was the last time I wore jeans? These are unprecedented times. Though we may be starved socially, there are tons of creative things to try in the kitchen to feed that void. Here are some menu items I’ve come to love, straight from my quarantine kitchen, born out of boredom, necessity and missing home.
Join me in the world of carbs! Don’t worry… There are no calories in quarantine. We will make grilled cheese sandwiches with homemade bread. My mom’s simple white bread recipe is foolproof! It also distracted me from cutting off my own hair (although I’m still flirting with the idea).
Mom’s White Bread
1 tsp sugar
2 rounded tsp yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
3 cups flour
In a small bowl, mix sugar, yeast and warm water. Cover with a towel and let sit for 10 minutes.
Warm milk (any kind) with butter (vegan works too). In a bigger bowl, combine the warmed liquids with the yeast mixture. Add salt.
Add a half cup of flour at a time until it isn’t sticky. Knead the dough in the bowl for five-ish minutes until it looks smooth. Form into a ball, oil it, and cover with a towel for about an hour until doubled in size.
Punch down the dough then smush it into a thick cylinder shape and let rise for 30 minutes while you preheat your oven to 400˚.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. To make sure it’s ready, tap the bottom of the loaf, and if it sounds hollow, it’s done!
You are now a bonafide baker! Is that a career change I see in your future after this pandemic blows over? Now, for stellar WFH grilled cheese.
WFH Grilled Cheese
Cheese (chef’s choice)
Assemble two buttered slices of bread and add a couple slices of cheese (I like swiss, but chef’s choice). On medium-high heat, cook the sandwich on the buttered sides and press down gently on the top.
I tried my hand at this recipe while I was missing my mom’s spanakopita. Though it didn’t quite measure up, it was surprisingly easy.
Red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
500g spinach, chopped
Pinch of nutmeg
200g feta, crumbled
Ground pepper, to taste
Sauté red onion and garlic cloves in olive oil. Add spinach until wilted. Drain excess liquid, transfer to a bowl, add nutmeg, crumbled feta and ground pepper to taste.
Line a baker’s dish with three phyllo sheets, brushing each layer with oil. Add the filling. Fold the phyllo that is draped over the sides onto the spinach. Cover the top with three oiled phyllo sheets and tuck the overlap into the sides. After about an hour in the oven at 200˚, golden spanakopita is ready to serve!
This chili recipe was made from ingredients I already had at home. This is an easy dish to whip up if you need to get rid of stuff in your pantry or freezer… A worthy cause for such a delicious dish!
Yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans
Cayenne powder, a wee sprinkle
Paprika, a wee sprinkle
First, season and cook ground beef and set it aside. In a large pot, sauté yellow onion and garlic cloves. Throw in diced tomatoes, black beans, cayenne powder and paprika, and let it cook for 20 minutes before mixing in the meat. Cook combined goodness for another 10 minutes.
Six-Layer Chili Bowl
Chili (recipe above)
Jasmine rice, cooked
Hot sauce, optional
Once the chili is done, grab a bowl and make layers. First, the jasmine rice you prepared while waiting, then chili, then Tex Mex shredded cheese and repeat this one more time. After 45 seconds in the microwave and the cheese has melted, add a few drops of hot sauce, and supper is on!
Make the most of your extra time in the kitchen by trying new recipes! If you’re living with others, don’t forget to use your negotiation skills: they could do dishes in exchange for delicious food.