Updated: Oct 22, 2020
By Brittany Hale and Megan Cardwell
Anybody else struggling to come up with meals after being in quarantine for over a month? It has always been a bit of struggle to get new things into our meal rotation. It seems like we find a few recipes we like, and then we eat them into the ground.
Coming up with meals has been even harder now with the lack of supplies at the store, so we thought it would be fun to share what we’ve been eating lately to give others a little inspiration!
From Megan’s kitchen:
Ramen bowls- This has been a new favorite of ours. It’s super easy and delicious when you are wanting a little salty goodness. We usually do ours with chicken and a soft-boiled egg, if we have them. This is a recipe Brittany shared with my family and we can’t get enough!
Salads- pre-quarantine, we did at least one salad a week. I don’t know what it is about a big ol’ salad, but we love them. We have done them with frozen chicken nuggets, salmon, chicken breast and hard-boiled eggs (if we have them) for our protein, cheese, croutons and your choice of dressing.
Pastas/rice- We do a LOT of pasta in our house. It makes great leftovers for lunch, which I love, because it’s one less meal I have to think about. We had a couple of Sam’s sized packages of ravioli and tortellini, so we’ve been doing those a lot. A few of the pastas and rice we’ve done are:
Ravioli with meat sauce, a side salad and homemade pesto bread.
Pesto tortellini with blackened chicken.
Rigatoni with meatballs and tomato basil sauce.
Jambalaya with cajun chicken and andouille sausage. Note: we had never tried this brand of mix before, but we have been converted forever. It is SO good. It does have a kick to it though, so if you don’t like spice, you may not like this one (I’m looking at you, Brittany).
Blackened salmon ravioli with a cheesy, creamy lemon and garlic sauce, squash and zucchini.
Soups/sandwiches- Sometimes, when I just don’t have it in me to be creative with our meals, we do soup and grilled cheese or a panini. We have also done chili a few times, which is always a good, easy option. We have done a caprese panini with sliced chicken, tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and pesto for dipping. We used leftover pesto bread for these paninis, which gave it a little extra oomf.
Fish- We do our best to do a fish once a week. More times than not, it's salmon, because we seem to all enjoy it the most. Since quarantining, a lot of the recipes I would normally do, which include a lot of fresh ingredients, have not happened. We have instead, done blackened salmon with broccoli and a Knorr’s pasta side (because pasta is life) and salmon marinated in one of the salad dressings I had in my fridge: Wishbone garlic basil vinaigrette.
BBQ- Michael loves BBQ. I don’t hate it, but I never crave it. He found these Slovacek BBQ sausages at Sam’s and brought them home, so we did BBQ sausages on tortillas with scalloped potatoes and homemade beer bread. I wasn’t very excited about this meal when I planned it, but man, it was actually very good.
Easy- Some nights, when we just don’t feel like it, or when we’re craving a little junk food, we just do easy stuff like frozen pizzas, bagel bites, fried cheesy jalapeno poppers, and loaded baked potatoes.
Dessert- Who doesn’t love a little homemade brownie or blueberry buckle? We sure do. Sometimes, you just need a little sweet. We’re lucky that we had a lot of baking supplies prior to all of this because of my baking hobby, so I was able to whip these up without a trip to the store.
From Britt’s Kitchen:
For breakfasts, I am a simple simple gal. I love Dave’s Killer Bread English muffins open faced with avocado. I typically add an egg with a tiny bit of everything bagel seasoning or I’ll top my avocado with sliced strawberries and a tiny drizzle of balsamic (don’t knock it, until you try it).
Lunches usually consist of: 1. leftovers or 2. me eating whatever Bitty doesn’t eat from her lunch plate. Anyone else a human garbage disposal for this meal? I’ll just be honest and say not much is photo worthy at lunch. We make sure to check the boxes for food groups and that’s about it.
For dinner, as Megan mentioned above: we loooove a good ramen bowl. I got my favorite recipe from BarreAlley--head over to her page to snag it! These rice ramen noodles are our fav for any ramen bowl!
^^We always deconstruct Landry’s serving because she’s still a little sketched out about a bowl of mixed up food. Also, don’t skimp on the toasted sesame seeds for these-they totally make it!
Here’s another one we love:
Flu Fighter Chicken Noodle Soup
I need to tell you: I’m *rotten* at following recipes. I use a lot of them for a guide and then end up going off on my own, almost every time. Part of that is because we can’t handle anything too spicy. I also like to go more veggie heavy, most days, so I skip meat in a lot of recipes and just toss in lots of extra veggies and a plant based protein source. My Mother-in-law made this for us back in the winter and delivered it to our doorstep (she’s seriously an absolute saint) and it was the best chicken noodle soup I have ever had. Make it as is and you will be absolutely happy.
When I got the recipe from her and made it for our crew, I toned down some of the “spice”, added turmeric, and used the vegetables I had on hand vs making a special trip for the specific veggies this one called for. It still turned out amazing! A key part of all of the amazing taste: definitely use fresh herbs (if you can); add half of the required amount in the beginning and the other half just before it’s time to serve. This keeps it tasting super fresh. My soups always smell better than they taste but my saint-in-law says this is the trick and I am forever changed.
Flu fighter recipe can be found here.
Hawaiian Ham Roll Sliders
Landry loves to help with this next one. We use this super simple ham and cheese slider recipe for easy dinner (but it would be great for lunch too):
We load up on a lot of quinoa, at casa de Hale. Here are two recipes we love. You could definitely add your favorite meat to these; we usually don’t and they are still plenty filling.
(Again, Bitty’s is deconstructed and I subbed a different cheese because she’s not quite a feta fan yet). Here's the recipe for a Superfood Salad.
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad (pictured above):
*E V E R Y T H I N G Nutty by Nurture makes is incredible. I love and get so many ideas from her page!
For an easy side, we love roasted vegetables. I add avocado oil, cracked pepper, minced garlic, lemon juice, a tiny bit of parmesan cheese, and rosemary to almost any vegetable side. Pop them in the oven at 350° until they soften and begin to brown just a tad (obviously depends on the veggie but usually around 20-30mins) and voila! Done! Add an easy protein and move on with your evening!
Have y’all ever had a Seattle Dog? It’s going to sound gross but please trust me and try it before you pass any judgment. My husband loves all things Seattle and has really been missing sports lately so I decided to throw him a bone and make these for dinner, one night. Clearly, this counts as one of our “not so plant based” meals. But so worth it.
•Hot dogs (don’t skimp-get good quality dogs. It makes a huge difference. We use organic uncured beef hot dogs)
•Brioche buns (we couldn’t this time because they were out but usually that’s what we would use).
•Sautéed onions, super thinly sliced. Sauté using butter, salt, and pepper.
Cook the dogs, slather the bun with some cream cheese, top with the sautéed onions, and be sure to reach out and tell me how right I was about this deliciousness. We go full on ballpark style and serve them with chips and pickles.
And last but not least:
Cocktail (or mocktail) anyone???
Lately, I’ve enjoyed my Friday evening patio cocktail by using kombucha or another yummy but healthful base and adding some (Texas made) Tito’s. Makes me feel like I’m still getting a little good while I’m having my adult beverage.
Here is one of the combos I made recently:
Squeeze in a lime and call it a day!
Cheers, to quarantine cooking y’all!
May your tribes stay thankful and the dishes do themselves.