COVID cooking

With all the threads about supermarkets etc, what is available vs what is not, curious how people are planning meals. I am one off those nuts who usually plans a week's worth of meals, makes a list, then shops. So that isn't working out so well. I am finding myself doing a lot more improvisational cooking. 

Have you changed how you feed yourself& your family?  Tasty things you made from random ingredients you managed to score or stuff from the back of your pantry or freezer? Is it stressful or a new source of inspiration?

All I know is that I'm gaining weight.

db, thanks for the actual lol.  : )  I feel like i'm eating all the time, but then more or less skipping dinner, so i'm actually losing a pound or two.

HatsOff, wish i could help you.  I'm another week-of-menus person, though some of the menus are pretty sketchy even when there's no problem.  Right now, i have absolutely no interest in either preparing or eating dinners, so the first problem is getting motivated, then i guess i'll "kick the cupboard," as my sister used to say about unplanned meals:  kick the cupboard and eat whatever falls out.  Or press the spouse to find take-out, which our local (not NJ) restaurants are more or less pleading for, since they're all closed by state order - pick-up or delivery only.

I laughed out loud too - thanks drummerboy! though like mjc I seem to be eating less.   lost 6 lbs so far - after many attempts at dieting that would not budge an ounce. Probably because I snacked all day at my desk  - mostly healthy stuff - but my home "office" is in my bedroom and we don't bring food in there. there is probably a profound lesson in that somewhere. 

i am trying to just go with the odd, unpredictable shortages and improvise, see it as a challenge etc. but so far that is only minimally successful and would love to be inspired.

I went through our cupboard and made a list of what we have and then made a list from that of what I could make. Then I just added in the fresh produce from there. Last night I used four strips of bacon from the freezer, two cans of beans, four cups of homemade chicken stock from the freezer, an onion and a few cloves of garlic (both of which ere thinking of sprouting), and some escarole that was wilty. Made an escarole bean soup, which turned out to be very tasty. We’ve still got chicken meatballs coming up this week as well as shakshuka. I keep a running list of produce I’d like to have to round these things out and when we do go, we get that. Plus we order takeout at least twice a week to support our local restaurants.

I am not a hoarder, but I am a frugal shopper, so I always have 'stuff' in the basement and the basement freezer.  Thus, I always have a supply of canned soups, rice, couscous & soup mixes.  I am an improvisor* when it comes to food.  When I understood the likely timeline, I went shopping (for a family of 2):

  • One family size pack of ground beef (2.5 lbs = 40 oz, divided into 4 packs of 10 oz each, and frozen).
  • One pack of pork tenderloins (2.5 lbs = 4 packs of of 10 oz each, and frozen).  To be used for Indian style curries.
  • Ditto with 3 packs chicken tenderloins, 12-14 oz each.
  • About 15 packs of frozen vegetables, primarily green beens & petite peas.  Add 2 x 2 lbs of fresh carrots and some peppers, and I can go a long way.  

Augment this with shopping every 5-7 days for fresh ingredients, and you get:

* = last night we had an 8 oz ham steak, a 1 lb package of pierogies + an 8 oz pack of creamed spinach.

* = tonight we will have some small flounder filets, sauteed + rice pilaf + mixed vegetables.

* = over the next 4-5 days we will have:

  • Pasta & portabella mushrooms in a light creamy tomato sauce
  • A top round steak, blackened (my own spice mix).
  • Pork chops, blackened, in a curry/raisin sauce.
  • Etc.

Good ideas! I found an article in the Guardian featuring Rachel Roddy's cooking while on lockdown in Rome:

My first thought was that I have made some version of a lot of the recipes mentioned and have enough of the ingredients to make a stab at most of them. I need to get these recipes into rotation.

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