Another week down, and we’re still here, still staying at home, and still trying to minimize our trips out of the house by maximizing our resources. I shared my first Cooking at Home during the Coronavirus Crisis at the end of our first week of staying at home.
We’re doing much more cooking at home than ever. My husband and I really enjoying cooking, but even for us, cooking every single meal at home for weeks on end can start to feel a little daunting. As a result, I’ve tried to make it more fun by doing two things.
First, I’m using some of my extra time to try new recipes that I haven’t made before, such as Texas Roadhouse Copycat Rolls, and Homemade Hamburger Buns.
Second, I’m challenging myself to really be smart about how we’re using our resources, so we don’t let any food go to waste. It’s become kind of like a game! By strategically planning our meals around what needs to be used in the fridge before it goes bad, and what we have on hand in the pantry and freezer, we can limit the number of times we have to leave the house, which is the whole point of this social distancing stuff, right?
Plus, it’s better for our budget because fewer things are going to waste, which is helpful during a time of economic uncertainty. At the same time it also helps other people because by better using what we already have here at home, we can leave supplies on the store shelves for those who need them.
That’s the big message in all of this “stopping the spread” and social distancing stuff that I wish more people would realize. What I do impacts you, and what you do impacts me.
This is not a time where we can only think about ourselves and our own needs. If we don’t all commit to staying home and only going out when absolutely necessary, this won’t work. It depends on us, all of us, working together. Maximizing our resources, so we can stay home more, and don’t have to go out to the market as frequently is something we all can do that will make a difference.
The purpose of this post is to show you how we are doing that, and to give you some ideas of some things you might want to add to your menu this week. Coming up with ideas is at least half the battle, right?
So here’s what we had this week…
Homemade Pizza on the Grill
We started the week with making one of our favorites, homemade pizza on the grill. This one happens to be Barbecue Chicken Pizza. We used up some more of the leftover smoked chicken from last week, that we had placed in the freezer, some more of the cilantro we had purchased for Burrito Bowls last week, as well as the rest of an onion, which I caramelized. We added a couple of strips of chopped up bacon, barbecue sauce, and cheddar cheese. That’s it. It was so good.
We plated up a couple of slices, took it downstairs to the family room, and enjoyed it with a bottle of wine and some Grace & Frankie on Netflix. We’ve been doing that a lot lately, to take our mind off the current news for at least a little while each evening.
Shrimp Scampi, Potatoes with Cheese & Bacon, and Roasted Broccoli
We had frozen shrimp in the freezer, and a lemon, so my hubby used it to make Shrimp Scampi. He topped it with a bit of panko and broiled for a bit of extra crispiness.
I roasted some broccoli to go with it, as well as some simple potatoes. I just thickly sliced a large potato, topped it with salt, pepper, cheddar cheese and chopped bacon. My husband added sour cream to his, which made them sort of like an easier version of potato skins.
We had some New York Strip steaks in the freezer, so my hubby grilled them up to go with the Texas Roadhouse Rolls I had baked earlier in the day. I also made some crispy zucchini to go with it. And a bottle of Merlot.
This was one of the few dinners where we actually sat at the dining table this week. Most other meals have either been at the kitchen island, or in front of the television.
The craziness in the world right now is making me crave comfort and coziness, so curling up under a blanket next to my hubs with our dinner seems to be happening much more frequently.
These were created to use up leftover Texas Roadhouse Rolls, and leftover steak from the night before. I toasted the split rolls first, then topped with thinly sliced pieces of leftover steak, sauteed pepper and onion and then cheese.
It was a nice evening outside, so my husband whipped us up this Blueberry cocktail and we enjoyed it on the screened porch while the sliders were baking.
Charcuterie “Date Night” with Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood!
Garth and Trisha gave a free concert live on Facebook from their home, taking requests from the comments, so my hubby and I decided to turn it into a “date night”. We connected the laptop to our TV, and sat down with our wine and charcuterie to watch.
The little bit we saw was excellent, but lots of other people wanted to watch, too, and Garth and Trish ended up breaking the internet apparently. It just kept freezing up. 🙁
Good news though! Since this was clearly so popular, they’re having a “do-over” TONIGHT on actual television, to avoid the broken internet problem!
It’s supposed to be on tonight (4/1/20) on CBS at 8:00pm CST. Why not take your own charcuterie, or sliders, or pizza, or wine, or cocktail, or whatever and have a date night or family night by “attending” the concert? We have to enjoy the little things right now, guys. 🍹🍷🎼
Pasta with Smoked Chicken & Sun Dried Tomatoes
My husband made this pasta with all things we had on hand– noodles from our pantry, some sun dried tomatoes and parmesan cheese from the fridge, and again, some more of the leftover smoked chicken. We really got some mileage out of those two whole chickens we smoked last week!
We also found a loaf of french bread in the freezer and warmed it up to accompany this. Another bottle of wine was opened as well, to add to my COVID-19 cork collection.
We had some bananas getting two brown, so I baked up a loaf of my mom’s banana bread recipe to use them up. It’s truly the only one worth making.
This loaf made enough for me to send a slice to work with my husband to drink with his coffee several days last week, and still left enough for me to have some at home with my coffee. I’m working from home now, and he still has to go in to the hospital everyday, so I’m trying to do what I can to make things jut a little bit easier for him right now. ❤️
Egg Scramble with Fresh-Squeezed Orange Juice
Several odds and ends of veggies and bacon in our fridge went into this egg scramble. We had 6 oranges about to go past their prime, so my husband squeezed them into fresh OJ. Six oranges gave us each about a half glass of juice. But it was good juice! 😂 This breakfast kept a lot of things in the fridge from going to waste.
Bacon, Egg & Cheese Bagel Sandwich
We’ve been live-streaming church from home, like a lot of families all over the country. If you’re looking for an incredible church service that you can view from home right now, please let me recommend Lutheran Church of Hope. They live stream several services on the weekends, as well as other ways to connect with God throughout the week. Pastor Mike has been a much needed voice of calm and reassurance through all of this.
On Sunday morning we made bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches, and then sat down in front of the TV for church.
Cheesecake Factory To-Go
Okay, after more than two weeks of cooking entirely at home, we finally hit the wall. We needed a break. Plus. the weather had begun turning a bit nicer, and we spent a lot of time outside enjoying it. By the time we came inside, it was nearly dinnertime, and we had nothing planned.
Cheesecake Factory takeout was our first restaurant meal during all of this. We ordered online and paid online. Then we were able to just pull up in front of the restaurant (along with about a dozen other people doing the same thing!) and they placed the bag with our meals right through the open window into the back seat without any person-to-person contact.
When we got home, we removed and threw away the boxes, placed the pasta into the microwave for a few minutes, and washed our hands carefully. We poured some wine, and took our meal to cozy up and watch some Netflix again.
Oh, and through mid-April, a $30 order comes with a free slice of cheesecake, so we shared this slice of peanut butter cheesecake later that night. ❤️
I took this picture of I-35 as we were driving home from picking up our meal. It’s a Saturday night and hardly any cars were in sight. So surreal.
Giordano’s Pizza Carryout
On Sunday, we were outside again for quite a bit. We took a walk at a local state park (staying 6 feet away from the few others also out enjoying the park, of course). We got home just before it started to rain pretty hard, and there were even some severe storms elsewhere in the state.
We ordered takeout pizza and enjoyed it with a beer in the screen porch after the weather cleared up just in time for a lovely sunset.
Mexican Chicken Soup with Cheesy Bread
On Monday, my husband was back to work and had a busy day. I used up lots of the last bits of veggies and smoked chicken for a Mexican Chicken Soup in the crockpot. When he got home, we had margaritas on the deck to relax for awhile and enjoy the beautiful weather.
I also used the last of the french bread to make some cheesy bread to go with the soup. My husband declared the soup a “keeper”. I’ll post up the recipe for you soon.
Barbecue Chicken Burgers with Homemade Hamburger Buns and Home Fries
On The Today Show one morning this week, they shared a “previously recorded” cooking segment where they made Barbecue Chicken Burgers. They looked so good, and perfect for putting on the grill, since the weather was so nice yesterday. But, I didn’t have any ground chicken or turkey, and no hamburger buns either. In past times, I would have just run to the store to get what I needed, but not in “corona times”. 😂
Therefore, this meal required me to pull out all the “made from scratch” tricks. I looked up a recipe for making homemade hamburger buns and went to work.
While the dough for the buns was rising, I found two chicken breasts in the freezer and tossed them in the food processor. Voila! Ground chicken! I used the recipe from The Today Show and altered it to work with the ingredients I had at home to make the most delicious BBQ Grilled Chicken Burgers on Homemade Hamburger Buns with Home Fries on the side. And a Vanilla Porter beer. Outside in the screen porch. Fresh air and sunshine makes the current situation just a bit more bearable, don’t you think?
Yeah, it was kind of a lot of work for a burger and fries, but hey, it also served as an “activity”. Plus, it made 12 buns and four burgers, so we have two ready-to-go patties in the freezer for another night, and lots of leftover buns, too.
My Kids Are Making Me So Proud
I hate that two of our young-adult kids are a couple of hours away, especially during this mess, but I’m staying connected to them via multiple texts everyday, and FaceTime. We’ve been sharing our kitchen creations with each other.
They are staying at home like they should, using grocery pick-up to avoid unnecessary trips to the store, and trying to make smart use of their resources. Smart, smart are these kids I raised. Couldn’t love them more. They are always making me so proud.
Here are some of the pictures they’ve sent me when I’ve asked what they were making for dinner…
Tuna Melts with Home Fries
My son and his girlfriend sent me this picture of tuna melts they were making. These are easy, look delicious, and are made with pantry staples that many of us probably have on hand. When I asked how he made it he said, “Tuna packets, mayo, hot sauce, cheese and onion” on toasted bread.
To go with it he made thick-cut home fries spiced with “creole seasoning and hot chili powder”. He also used things from his fridge to create a dip for the fries. He said the dip is a mixture of “mayo, garlic, lime, and hot sauce”.
“And I’m not sure how you make these, but it’s the finishing touch,” he texted me with the picture below. 😂🤣 Keeping a sense of humor in all this is important, right?
Cajun Pasta Creation
Here is another pasta invention he sent me. Not sure how he made it, but it looks good, huh?
Grilled Brats and Pasta Salad
I FaceTimed my daughter one day this week, too. When she answered the call she and her husband were taking advantage of the nice day by working from home out on their back patio. Nice weather is so helpful in all this “quarantine” stuff, don’t you think? I was glad to see they could get outside a bit, and later that night they sent me a picture of their delicious, but simple dinner from the grill.
Blueberry French Toast Bake
Over the weekend, my daughter sent me this beautiful picture of a Blueberry French Toast Bake she made using a recipe from a close friend of her husband’s family. Doesn’t it look delicious! It’s a great way to use up leftover bread and feed your family a breakfast that looks special, but is still easy.
I’ve been saving leftover bread in the freezer and am going to try making this myself soon. I’ll share it, and the recipe with you in a separate blog post when I do!
I feel like March has been the longest year of my life. Anyone else? But hey, we’re all in this together, friends. So if you’d like to share what you’ve been cooking at home during “corona times”, drop me a note in the comments. I’m going to need more ideas soon!
Wishing you peace and health,
You can find more menu ideas and recipes by visiting Cooking at Home during the Coronavirus Crisis: Week #1