Quarantine Cooking
Tuesday 05/5/2020

Welcome to week 8 of quarantine - also known as two full months of cooking at home.  Is anyone else in a cooking rut and running out of fresh ideas?  It seems to be getting harder and harder to find specific ingredients we need for recipes at the store. To fix this, let's rethink our grocery shopping and cooking routine. Instead of shopping for specific items, we should focus on stocking up on healthy, interchangeable items that can be used a variety of ways in a variety of meals.

Before another trip to the grocery, check the pantry/fridge/freezer for simple staples.  Think major food groups:
  • Healthy grains:  brown rice, pearl couscous,  grain mixes like Trader Joe's Harvest Grain Blend, whole wheat orzo, barley, quinoa.
  • Protein: eggs, chicken, beef, tofu, pork, hard cheeses (parmesan is a great option).  Always buy pasture raised/organic if possible!
  • Condiments: organic mayo, grainy/spicy mustard, good olive oil, flavored vinegar, tahini, real lemon and lime juice,  various hot sauces.
  • Herbs and spices:  garlic and onion powder, sea salt, whole pepper corns, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, basil, rosemary.
  • Canned goods:  black beans, chickpeas, diced tomatoes, whole tomatoes, tomato sauce.
If we stock up on good solid staples, then we only have to go to the store for any fresh foods that we find appealing. I also love taking trips to the Raleigh Farmers Market (yes, it's open!) for fruits and veggies.  Once we have our food staples and fresh veggies in hand, a perfect meal to make is a roasted veggie bowl. Start with a grain, add a variety of roasted veggies, some protein , and a tasty sauce and you’ve got an easy, nutritious meal that can be customized to any and everyone's liking!  Pinch of Yum has loads of great recipes like the one below!  Check them out and get inspired!


Roasted Vegetables

  • 8 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 golden potatoes, chopped
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • olive oil and salt

Green Tahini

  • 1/2 cup olive oil (mild tasting)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • a big bunch of cilantro and/or parsley
  • 1 clove garlic
  • squeeze of half a lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (more to taste – I like 3/4 teaspoon)

Optional Extras:

  • hard boiled eggs
  • avocados
  • chicken, tofu, any other protein


  1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Roasted Vegetables: Arrange your vegetables onto a few baking sheets lined with parchment (I keep each vegetable in its own little section). Toss with olive oil and salt. Roast for 25-30 minutes.
  3. Sauce: While the veggies are roasting, blitz up your sauce in the food processor or blender.
  4. Finish: Voila! Portion and save for the week! Serve with avocado or hard boiled eggs or… anything else that would make your lunch life amazing.


Roasting Time: For similar timing and doneness, I recommend putting broccoli and cauliflower together on one baking sheet, and carrots and potatoes together on another. I like to roast the vegetables for a little longer (more like 30-40 minutes total) to really get them browned. Not necessary, just my preference. The benefit of putting the broccoli and cauliflower together, and potatoes and carrots together, is that you can pull out the broccoli and cauliflower a few minutes early if you feel like it’s getting too browned, and give the carrots and potatoes a bit more time.
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