Quarantine Cooking: A Comfort Food Field Guide

March 25, 2020

So, if you’ve taken a gander at the grocery store shelves, it can be a little intimidating.

I have a lot of confidence that grocery stores will return to normal in a month, though this event does give us a peek at the importance of permaculture and sustainability and why local farms are so important. I’ve never been so thankful for my egg guy and my chicken family and my beef farmer that raises grass-fed beef in the hills of Vermont. I keep wishing some green things were already growing in my back yard. But keep shopping local because if food supply chains are ever disrupted we will need them. And it also makes me want to stock up on pantry basics that I can turn into a great dinner, so this post is filled with recipes that use staples I tend to have on hand.

Cooking is a mixture of hope and gratitude at the moment. I find myself so thankful for what we have and yet looking at our supplies thinking about what we would do if we ran out of that. I found myself down to 1 active yeast packet and nearly panicked when I couldn’t find more anywhere, then I found a small jar in my pantry and was irrationally happy. So bread baking and pizza dough making can commence.

I find myself turning to a handful of recipes that feel like survival necessities and even though I know they aren’t, they can help to pass these days with a bit of comfort and sweetness.

  1. The best chocolate chip cookie recipe -My daughter has been keeping us supplied with a pan of this chocolate chip cookie that we slice like a pie every few days. I can get used to having kids around if they will cook like this. If butter becomes scarce we’ll have to wean ourselves. We keep telling her she broke all other chocolate chip cookies for us because they’re so good.
  2. Hot Fudge Sauce  – I make this at Christmas every year and hand it out to teachers and neighbors. My next door neighbor (hi Jen!) told me she just takes a bite out of the jar every so often and it magically wills her to live joyfully on her hardest days, so I gifted her with another jar at the start of all this. Then I realized that I had my own jar in the fridge, and I can tell you she is right. A little bite in between math and writing will help even the most challenging homeschool/remote learning day.

2. Sourdough Bread – My favorite recipe has been this Rustic Sourdough, and we also like this Basic Sourdough for sandwich bread (pictured below). Like most things I am panicked about how much starter we have so I’ve made extra and I’m handing it out to neighbors.

3. Pizza dough – I am all about the 30 minute pizza dough. It is faster than delivery around these parts. And I know I’ve written and even done a video on our beloved tomato sauce but I’m giving it to you again because I care.

4. Chicken Taco Bowls & Chicken Tortilla Soup – All those cans of corn and black beans and frozen chicken breasts can be turned into the yummiest dinner. I probably talk about this dish too much but its just because it takes 5 minutes of prep, a few hours in the slow cooker, and it’s tastes and feels so good every time we have it.

5. Instapot Beef Stew-

Bad photos but a super yummy recipe. I made this last night from frozen cubed meat and a drawer full of winter veggies. It is fast prep and cooks in 50 minutes to the most tender beef ever.

6.  Chicken BLT Pasta Bake – Something to do with all that pasta you grabbed off the shelves.

7. Beef Stroganoff – My husband has had lots of time to grill (yay) and we have had a ton of steak leftover. I made this tonight for dinner and it is such a great way to use up beef leftovers. The kids kept saying, ‘yum, I love this dinner’ the whole time. I usually make it up as I go with beef broth, sour cream and dijon mustard but I have followed Rachel Ray’s recipe too (and you don’t have to use filet mignon, I have even used left over pot roast.) You can also serve it over all that pasta – we love it on egg noddles.

8. Thai Peanut Chicken Wraps – I made these for lunch today with a rotisserie chicken. It was pretty easy to just throw the rice cooker on and everyone had hot meal. So so good and everyone loves them. My personal tip is to eat it piping hot, and you may want to warm it up in the microwave if you don’t have rice hot off the rice cooker.

9. Instapot White Chicken Chili – This is also so easy and the pressure cooker gives it a ton of flavor. Great with pantry and freezer staples. The leftovers make such an easy lunch too while homeschooling, which basically feels like proctoring + toddler wrangling.

10. Slow Cooker Noodle Bowls – I can’t wait to make this! One of my favorite recipes on the blog. I have the toppings in my fridge but even if I only had the chicken and broth with the noodles which I tend to keep on hand it is amazing and comforting and loved by my kids.


Ok, off to keep kids alive. Wish me luck, and Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

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