I believe no one knew a few weeks ago just how much the coronavirus outbreak was going to affect each and every one of us.
With social distancing and self-isolation becoming the norm all over the world, many people, you and I included, have been worrying about what ingredients we need to buy and what we should cook in order to be able to feed our families for at least 14 days of quarantine.
In such times like the ones we’re currently living in, it’s important to keep our calm and be mindful of other people’s welfare when going shopping.
There’s no need for panic buying or stockpiling groceries when with just a couple of staples you have in your pantry and freezer, you can cook nutritious, hearty meals for the whole family.
We’re in this together and I want to help you easily navigate this period by sharing with you 20 recipes you can recreate using mainly pantry essentials. All the recipes can be made with minimal use of fresh produce as many don’t have access to shops regularly. In this situation, your pantry and freezer are your best friends.
Also, as I want to make it as easy as possible for you to organize your family menu for weeks to come. I have created an e-book with all the recipes already adapted to the ingredients we all have at hand during this period. You can download it here.
Let’s get cooking.
Healthy Pantry Meals You Can Cook During Quarantine
Before we start, I want to share with you a list of the basic staples everyone probably has in their pantry/freezer. These will help you cook filling family meals that are both healthy and budget-friendly and they don’t compromise on flavour.
Ingredient Staple List
❒ Dried Lentils
❒ Dried Herbs
❒ Tinned Tomatoes
❒ Tomato Sauce
❒ Tinned Beans
❒ Tinned Chickpeas
❒ Rolled Oats
❒ Sundried tomatoes
❒ Vegetable Oil
❒ Olive Oil
❒ Puff pastry
❒ Frozen Meat
❒ Frozen Spinach
❒ Frozen Fruit
❒ Frozen Vegetables
Don’t worry if you don’t have some of the ingredients included in these recipes. You can always use a similar substitute or omit them altogether. In fact, my ebook has amended recipes ready for you to cook. All you have to do is subscribe to my blog.
Each of the following recipes has a specific staple ingredient as their base so I have divided them into categories:
This rice dish is proof that great food can be made with very simple and cheap ingredients. In less than 25 minutes and with just $10 spent, this recipe will be your family’s new favourite. You can skip the pine nuts and almonds to keep it budget-friendly. When I’m cooking just for my family, I often make it without the nuts.
Swap the fresh spinach with frozen spinach and use dried basil for this quick and savoury lunch/dinner. You can skip the lamb altogether and turn it into a vegetarian paella-style dish as I did yesterday to avoid going to the supermarket. You can read more about this in the e-book.
Your tinned chickpeas never tasted better with this fluffy rice mix. Skip the eggplant if you can’t find any in your fridge.
Looking for an easy and fresh lunch or you want to throw some magic into that leftover pasta you have in the fridge? This pasta salad is the easiest meal you’ll cook all week.
You can never go wrong with a classic spaghetti recipe. Any leftover sauce can be used to bake some potatoes the next day.
The perfect no-meat light dinner -it’s extremely quick to throw together and the whole family will love it. Not to mention that it will only cost you approximately $10.
Grains, Legumes and Vegetable Recipes
The heroes of the day, dried lentils and frozen spinach, come together in a nourishing soup packed with proteins that will keep your family healthy and full.
A simple yet delicious dish made from cracked wheat, a traditional ingredient in the Middle East and a common staple in our pantries. This is the perfect dish for vegetarians, vegans or anyone who is looking for a meat-free meal that is packed with flavour.
Warm and comforting, this dish won’t ever let you down. Did I mention that it’s also the perfect leftover lunch?
A wholesome dinner and yet another great leftover lunch – this time you can serve it with mash potatoes instead of rice.
Nothing goes better with golden fried potatoes than a sweet onion. A cost-effective side dish that will leave everyone asking for seconds.
For all the hummus lovers out there, here’s a protein-rich meal you mustn’t miss. You can play with different combinations every day.
If your family loves hummus as much as mine does, you’re in for a treat. You can replace the pickled turnips with gherkins. Get your free hummus e-book here
Key Tip: You can freeze portions of stew, rice, pasta, and lamb pastries for later in the week.
The perfect family-friendly snack to have around. You can make these in batches and freeze them so they can be enjoyed later.
A ridiculously easy recipe for the no-fuss lunch/dinner that you’ve always dreamed of. What’s better than a crunchy schnitzel roll?
Bonus: Budget-Friendly Dessert Recipes
Crunchy and buttery treats you can whip up with only a few ingredients that you already have in your pantry.
The best milk-based comfort drink that the whole family can enjoy in the evening.
Chocolate makes everything better and this cake recipe requires only simple ingredients and one bowl. Long-life orange juice can be used instead of fresh juice.
Serve it with tea or coffee, this tasty and healthy recipe is the best way to satisfy your sweet tooth. You can recreate this using a handful of pantry essentials but best of all, it’s a one-bowl recipe. This is a downloadable recipe card.
Who wants pancakes for breakfast? Simple, quick and everything you need is in the pantry. No complicated steps, just one bowl. And did I mention you can make this with long life milk?
For toppings, you can use frozen raspberries, blueberries or whatever frozen fruits you have in your freezer or simply spread butter and honey on top of them. Also, vegemite is a staple we all have and you can’t go wrong with a sprinkle of sugar and a squeeze of lemon.
I hope that you and your family enjoy these recipes and that you have fun recreating them.
Use this time you must spend at home to build up your cooking and baking skills and most importantly, to enjoy some family bonding moments.
For me, cooking is the best way to relax and get away (even just for a few hours) from all the panic-filled news that has flooded the media in the last few days. That’s what cooking does, it makes you focus all your attention and all your senses on one task, one recipe.
As always, don’t hesitate to ask me any questions you may have and let me know what other recipes you plan to try these days.
Keep safe, everyone!