Must-Try Quarantine Recipes
Updated: Jun 18
Hi everyone! I hope you are all staying sane during this confusing, anxious time of unknown. Like many people, I have been quarantined at home for weeks now and it has left me plenty of free time with nothing to do. So, I have taken this time to cook for my family and show off some recipes I have learned away at college. A few days ago I asked my social media followers if they would be interested in some healthy recipes to keep them satisfied when going grocery shopping is anything but easy, and take-out is not always feasible. The overwhelming majority of you all said yes, so I am so happy to be writing this blog post. If it even helps or motivates just a few of you, then it is all worth it! I know how hard it can be to keep a routine when your days consist of getting out of bed and sitting around your house. Most of us probably have not worn real clothes in weeks and have fallen into a sluggish routine, but that can change. One way is to make sure you are listening to your body and fueling it with the nutrition it needs and not neglecting it. It is so easy to go to the pantry and snack all day and wonder why you are always hungry when in reality, it is because you have not given your body the proper nutrition it needs. So, if you need food inspiration, I've got you covered.
Side note: I will mainly be focusing on lunch and dinners because I tend to eat the same breakfast every day (a yogurt parfait topped with almond butter).
Greek Inspired Kale Falafel Salad
This is such an easy lunch or dinner that takes no more than ten minutes.
Ingredients: Serves 1
2 cups of Tuscan Kale
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped cucumber (I like to cut into quarters)
1/4 cup of chickpeas
Sprinkling of feta
1 serving of Trader Joe's falafel (A serving size is 3 falafels)
You can find this in the freezer section at your local Trader Joe's
My mom's homemade lemon dressing ( lemon, olive oil, salt, pepper, and a few cloves of crushed garlic)
While I am preparing the salad ingredients, I have three falafels being pan-fried over medium heat in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. I cook them on each side until golden brown, usually around 3-5 minutes on each side. After they are cooked, I turn the stove to low and cover them so they stay warm. To assemble the salad start with the kale. After washing and drying it, pour a few spoonfuls of the lemon dressing over it and toss with hands. Then add onion, cucumber, chickpeas, and feta as desired. Top it off with the falafel and another drizzle of the lemon dressing and you are finished!
Such an easy salad that is so refreshing, but filling at the same time. You could sub the falafel for chicken or protein of your choice, I just love the falafel with this Mediterranean inspired salad. Also, you can add olives and tomatoes to make it more Greek, I just didn't have any when I made this.
And since I make these falafel salads for lunch all the time, here is another version!
This one has the same dressing, but I packed it full with fresh greens, chickpeas, feta, chickpeas, roasted tomatoes, avocado seasoned with salt and pepper, and falafel of course!
Spicy Lemon Garlic Shrimp Over Brown Rice
This has to be one of my new favorite recipes and it was so easy to make. It seriously tastes like it was from a restaurant. I altered an original recipe that you can find here.
Ingredients: Serves 2
1/2 a pound to 3/4 pound of large shrimp, I prefer if they are deveined and peeled
1 juiced lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of chili flakes
* Note, if you do not like spice, you can omit the chili flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Cooked brown rice ready to serve
1 bunch of Swiss chard
To start, whisk lemon juice, zest, garlic, kosher salt, and chili flakes together until well combined. Then in a large skillet heat half a tablespoon of butter (you can use one tablespoon of olive oil, I just prefer cooking with butter for shrimp) over medium-high heat. Add in shrimp (season with salt and pepper) and cook for 3-4 minutes until pink, flipping as needed. As shrimp are cooking, pour in half of the lemon sauce and toss to combine. The shrimp cooks super fast (I would say they tend to be done in less than 6 minutes) so carefully watch to make sure they do not overcook.
While shrimp is cooking, steam a bunch of Swiss chard. This should take less than five minutes. Once the chard has been steamed take it out and pour the remaining lemon sauce over to season it.
I like to serve the shrimp over the rice and put the chard on the side. Such a nutritious and delicious meal that is ready in under 20 minutes!
My Classic Chopped Side Salad
I'm not kidding, this salad is the bane of my existence. My mom is the Queen of salads, so naturally, I am also a salad lover. It is so easy to make this for lunch, or as a complement to any meal. I probably eat this salad 3-5 times a week. I'm addicted, and I promise you will be too.
Ingredients: Serves 1
Butter lettuce (this is essential)
Cabbage or Radicchio
Chopped red onion
Secret: Shaved Parrano cheese
Lemon Dressing (talked about in greek salad)
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients together. There are no specific measurements, just put in however much you can eat that day! Toss with special lemon dressing and WOW. The combination of the bright and tangy Parrano (cow milk cheese) with the lemon dressing is to die for. If you don't like salads, try making this one and see if anything changes.
If you know me, this is a dish I love making for people, because who doesn't like tacos? This recipe is super easy and takes less than 45 minutes to make tender, shredded chicken tacos.
Ingredients: Serves 2
2 chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon Trader Joe's Chili Lime Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/4 cup chopped white onion
2 cloves of chopped garlic
Half a lemon
1/4 cup of water
Salsa *There really aren't exact measurements for this*
1/2 cup of corn
A drizzle of olive oil
To make these chicken tacos, first, fill a large pot with water and let it come to a boil over high heat. While the water is coming to a boil, clean your chicken breasts and trim any excess fat. Once the water has come to a boil, add a tablespoon of salt and place chicken in water for 12-16 minutes. I typically check on the chicken at the 12-minute mark to see how cooked through it is. Some chicken will need more time because of their size and thickness, but you know if your chicken is cooked through when you cut into it and the juices are clear. After taking the chicken out of the pot, set it aside to cool for 5 minutes.
In the meantime, get a large skillet ready as well as your garlic and onions. After the chicken has cooled, take two forks and shred your chicken. This does not have to be perfect!
After all the chicken has been shredded, put aside and begin to heat the skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil. Once the pan is hot, place in chopped garlic as well as onions. Let brown for 5-7 minutes. Once browned, place shredded chicken into the skillet and drizzle another tablespoon of olive oil over it. Add in chili-lime seasoning, Paprika, chili powder, and Cayenne pepper mixture to the chicken. (The chili-lime seasoning already has salt in it, but if you would like to add more salt, feel free.) Mix together the seasoning with the chicken until well combined. Once it is combined let cook for 2-3 minutes. Next, add in lemon juice and stir. Finally, add in 1/4 cup of water and let simmer for 3 minutes. After it has simmered, it is ready to serve.
I had a bunch of extra ingredients in my house, so I decided to make a quick salsa as a side dish or for a taco topping. I combined a few handfuls of chopped cabbage, a 1/2 cup of yellow corn, 2 chopped radishes, and red onion with a pinch of salt, pepper, lemon juice, chili flakes (for a kick) and a drizzle of olive oil. This salsa is so easy to make and adds the perfect freshness to the meal.
I typically serve the chicken tacos on a 1/2 whole wheat 1/2 corn tortilla. My favorite company is La Tortilla Factory for these tortillas. I heat the tortillas up over an open flame to get a charred coating. Warm tortillas seriously make your tacos taste so much better!
I like to put shredded cheese, avocado, and salsa on my tacos but you can put anything you like on them! I serve my tacos with refried black beans that I heat over the stove and garnish with some shredded cheese. This is such a good crowd-pleasing meal and should become a staple in your kitchen.
So there you have some of the staples I have been cooking in my kitchen lately! I apologize for how long it took me to get this blog post up, but I just wanted to make sure everything came out well for my first big recipe post! Let me know how you like this post and if I should do more of these in the future.
I hope you all are staying safe and staying home. We are all in this together.