You can do healthy quarantine cooking with whole foods now. As of this writing I am industriously looking at what I’ve got in my extensive larder. I do tend to stockpile food, so finally I’m having the opportunity to use some of it. I’ve got freezers full of vegetables and meat, canned tomatoes and tomato products, every kind of gluten free flour, every kind of grains, beans and pulses, frozen fish, even frozen dehydrated tomatoes. I was raised by people who grew up in the depression and was taught to think that someday we might not have access to food, so I am a food collector.
Last week I made a casserole out of some frozen lasagna noodles I had, combined with some crushed tomatoes, some chopped green olives, chopped black olives, onion and garlic. I made up the sauce by sautéing the veggies and adding the tomato sauce and olives, seasoning with basil and oregano. I stirred in some parmesan cheese and about a cup of sautéed sausage that I had frozen after my last pizza cooking round. Stirred in the chopped thawed noodles, turned it into a greased casserole, topped with some cheese I happened to have on hand, baked at 350 for 45 min. Voila!
Yesterday I made my favorite sautéed spinach. I make this most weeks. Sautéed one chopped onion, 4 cloves of garlic put through the garlic press in olive oil. Mix in two large bags of frozen chopped or whole leaf spinach. Put on the lid and cook a bit. Uncover and add salt and pepper to taste, and a little more olive oil for richness. Cover again for about 5-10 minutes and stir until everything is mixed. Eat one cup of this stuff daily and you are getting about 3-4 cups of spinach. Great for the immune system.
Today I made my famous tortilla soup. I sautéed onion and garlic in olive oil, added chopped carrots and celery from my fridge, sautéed the bunch with a little salt and pepper till soft. Then I poured in a pint of green enchilada sauce, a quart of chicken broth, and added about 1/4 cup of quinoa grains. I allowed it all to simmer while the quinoa cooked and expanded to thicken the broth. I threw in one and a half diced red bell peppers that were in the fridge. I added more water and salt until the volume was about a gallon. Seasoned at the end with oregano, a little soy sauce, some chili powder and a pinch of cayenne. Simmer 1 minute. Done.
Going through your pantry you can find all kinds of things that have might have sat there a while and been forgotten. You can get those out and get creative. And now we have so much time to research cooking on the internet.
If you have a chance to get to the grocery store, focus on fresh vegetables that keep a while like bell peppers, organic celery, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, organic white potatoes, and frozen greens like spinach and kale and green beans that you can dump into anything. Pick up some whole grains because all the white rice is gone, and get creative with new grains like quinoa, millet, faro, and more. Be sure you have salt and pepper, onions and garlic if you can get them. Even garlic powder can be great.
Make some soup. Make a casserole. Make some glop. Enjoy it.
Cook whole foods to nourish your body and support your immune system. By combining fresh and frozen vegetables with whole grains and small amounts of meat you can make a very satisfying dish.
Choose a theme: Italian, Mexican, American (?), Asian. Use a few condiments from your fridge and spices from your larder to create the theme.
Have fun. We will get through this and be stronger for it.