As the entire world tries to overcome the spread of coronavirus, people are turning to home-cooked meals like never before. Our new reality: Restaurants are closing, people are avoiding takeout (because who knows who was just preparing your food), and many grocery stores are wiped out. So, when it comes to mealtime, we’ve gotta get flexible and work with what we’ve got.
By now, hopefully, you’ve loaded up on plenty of canned goods and frozen foods. It’s time to put those to good use! So, here are some meal ideas that you can easily whip up in a few minutes, using just the basics.
Egg Beaters With Frozen Spinach
I’m not sure about your neck of the woods, but where I live, there’s a shortage of eggs to the point where they’re limiting purchases to one carton per customer. Who would have imagined a reality like this? If you can’t get your hands on fresh eggs then stock up on cartons of egg beaters. For breakfast, cook up some egg beaters with a side of sauteed spinach (use frozen). If you’re trying to cut back on dishes, you can even skip the skillet, mix your ingredients in a mug, and pop it in the microwave for a minute or two!
Healthified Pancake Donuts
I’ve always been a fan of boxed mixes, and they’re definitely coming in handy right now. If you have some pancake or muffin mixes hanging out in your pantry, whip up the batter and then pour it into mini donut molds. Bake and have your kids get involved with decorating! I like to lightly coat the “donuts” with maple syrup and then dip in powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar. They’re not necessarily the healthiest, but they’re a fun breakfast treat on rare occasions.
Cheesy, Veggie Quesadillas
Corn tortillas are a staple in our freezer, reserved for emergency nights or my kids’ crunchy cravings. Layer them with cheese and whatever frozen vegetables you have around (cook the veggies first). Pan fry your quesadillas with olive oil spray for the quickest bite. These make a great breakfast or lunch!
Frozen Cauliflower Rice
If you follow me on Instagram then you may have seen my Live video where I made my usual cauliflower fried rice but used … drumroll, please … frozen cauliflower rice! I was worried it would be wet and mushy, but holy yum, nope. It was insanely perfect. You have to do this. Follow my original recipe HERE, but instead of busting out the food processor to create rice-like bits of fresh cauliflower, just use a bag of frozen cauliflower rice. Plus, swap the other fresh veggies with frozen ones and voila!
Frozen Zoodles With a Protein Topper
Speaking of prepped frozen veggies, did you know they sell pre-spiralized, frozen zucchini noodles (AKA zoodles)? Simple sautee those babies in a frying pan with some olive oil, a pat of butter, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Once they’re fully cooked, make and add whatever protein you have on hand. I always keep salmon fillets in my freezer, which would pair perfectly with these zoodles. But chicken, steak, or even tofu works too!
Curried Tomato Chickpeas Over Rice
Here’s a super easy and filling meatless meal. Start by chopping and sauteeing an onion. Over medium heat, add a can of drained chickpeas and let that cook for several minutes. Next, add one can of diced tomatoes, curry powder (to taste), salt, and pepper. Once that’s fully cooked, plate it over white rice. It’s filling, healthy, and easy!
Chili is super easy to throw together … especially if you have a crockpot. Just throw in 2 cans of crushed tomatoes, one or two bags of frozen veggies, and some meat. For flavoring, I love adding a few bottled jalapeños, a splash of the jalapeño juice, and a great taco seasoning. Here’s a delicious one:
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
Put your chili on low for about 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
Pasta With Sauce and Cheese
I always have gluten-free pasta and bottled marinara sauce in the pantry. Plus, I keep mozzarella cheese in the freezer. If you have those three ingredients then you can throw a basic dinner together in minutes. Cook the pasta, stir in the sauce, top with cheese to melt, serve with some veggies, and bang — dinner in 15 minutes! If you have kids, teach them how to whip this up alone and make them clean up. Win-win for all.
Toaster Oven Pizza
Kids craving pizza, but all the nearby pizza joints closed? No problem! This hack is a super quick and easy lunch idea. Top some gluten-free bread with a spoon of marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. Just pop your cheat “pizza” in the toaster oven for a few minutes and enjoy. Serve with a side salad or the zoodles I mentioned above!
Fancy-ish Tuna Salad
As long as you have a can of tuna in the pantry — and a few extra add-ins — then you can make your own tuna salad. Check out my recipe and serve on a bed of greens. Jazz the plate up with lightly steamed green beans, black olives, and a creamy mustard vinaigrette.