Lifestyle Guide

Easy Quarantine Meals Your Family Will Devour

Shopping for and preparing delicious home-cooked meals is not something that everyone was able to do before the COVID-19 pandemic. With so many restaurants closed for the time being and supermarket shelves looking a bit bare at the moment because of hoarding, the importance of easy quarantine meals is unprecedented.

Now is not the time to beat yourself up for not having learned how to cook. There are plenty of people who never learned basic kitchen skills. You may also be trying to balance doing your job and being a teacher, desperate for a few go-to recipes. The following meals should feed your family as quickly as possible.

Advice from Home Economics teachers

Home Economics used to be a mandatory class for boys and girls. It demonstrated basic cooking and domestic skills, such as sewing. Today, many do not know how to even boil an egg, much less whip up easy quarantine meals. While there is a wealth of eager food bloggers to show you how to cook, there is just something so valuable about getting tips from those who know how to calm the nerves of high schoolers when it comes to basic and thrifty cooking. Home Economics teachers recommend that you:

  1. Make a plan

Now is not the time to just go to the store to see what catches your fancy. Ask your family members what they want to eat, Google a few basic recipes, and put your order in online or place that mask on your face so you can get into the store.

If you have a picky eater, make sure to select a few ingredients that they will eat. Don’t allow them to be indecisive.

  1. Don’t experiment

If a recipe doesn’t work, you can’t just order food in without tipping very well. Simple dishes work best during quarantine. Beans might be plentiful right now, but if you have never cooked with them before, now is not the time to buy in bulk.

Think an easy stir fry with veggies and meats you already have in your kitchen. You can keep this dish on the light side by sautéing vegetables in broth.

  1. Omelets always work

There might not be an easier dish than an omelet. It just requires a few eggs, protein and greens. You can even get teens to pitch in and cook this dinner. Omelets are usually heartier than other breakfast for dinner options.

Easy quarantine meals for dinner 

During the day, sandwiches and snacks are fine. Dinner is when you have to make some effort. Enchiladas are an easy savory dish that only require five ingredients. All you need is ground protein, cheese, tortillas, salsa and enchilada sauce.

Fry the meat and wrap it in the tortillas. Place in a baking dish and smother in cheese, sauce and salsa. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Chicken Bake

Sprinkle salt, garlic powder and chili powder over chicken breasts. Place in a baking dish and pour in 1 cup of pre-melted butter and cream. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve over pasta or rice for hearty, easy quarantine meals kids will love.

Tuna pasta 

You might have bought quite a few cans of the popular fish at the start of quarantine and may be sick of tuna salad and sandwiches. Grab some pasta, a can or two of tuna, tomatoes and any type of cheese. Boil the pasta, chop up the tomatoes or use  tinned sauce and generously layer the cheese.

To make easy quarantine meals for dinner even easier, use a box of mac and cheese. Give it a fancy touch by sprinkling breadcrumbs on top and baking for a few minutes at 350 degrees for a crispier texture.

Pinwheels

If kids are looking for something besides sandwiches, a delicious variation is pinwheels. All you need is a package of crescent rolls, cheese and meat. You simply need to roll the meat up in the crescent dough and sprinkle with cheese before baking.

Consider ham and Swiss, and hamburger and cheddar. You and the kids can eat them with your hands once they cool.

Chili

Chop up some onions and tomatoes. Open a few cans of kidney beans, a jar of salsa and a box of beef stock. Throw everything together in a crockpot or Instant Pot and flavor to taste. You will have a delicious meal that will also fill your home with the aroma of heartiness.

Protein balls

When the kids want a snack and you have a videoconference, reach for pre-made, no-bake protein balls. You can actually play around with the measurements for this recipe to turn it into a math lesson.

Mix 1 cup of instant oatmeal and ½ cup of peanut butter in a bowl. Drizzle in some melted coconut oil and sprinkle in some chocolate chips. Roll into balls and refrigerate overnight. Your kids can grab this snack without interrupting you.

Substitutions

Now is not the time to pop off to the store for a missing ingredient. You can easily make do with what you have at home with a little creativity. If you don’t have eggs, use cream cheese or pureed bananas.

Run out of butter? Coconut oil, applesauce and yogurt are stellar options. If you are running low on onions and garlic, the powdered forms are fine. A few splashes of vinegar takes the place of lemon.

If you want to make your mac and cheese a bit fancier and breadcrumbs aren’t plentiful, crush up pretzels or cornflakes.

Include the kids

You might be looking for ways to entertain the kids while you shelter in place. Now is a great time to teach them a few simple recipes so they can have some important life skills. Kindergarteners and onward can handle smoothies and pastas. Tweens can pick an ingredient to highlight. Ask little ones how their favorite character would dress up to cook.

Make cooking a game. Every child loves the idea of having fun. You can have cooking challenges, or write down the names of the recipes above and place them in a jar for kids to pick out in the morning.

Kids are more likely to clean their plates if they feel the power of their choice was honored. If distance learning has been a drag, there is math in every recipe.

 

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