“If nothing else, we are eating well!” — those were the words my wife commented the other day as we once again considered the past four preposterous months of this coronavirus pandemic. With stay home orders in effect and restaurants closed since March, many at home had to start fending for themselves in the kitchen. For me, as someone living with a severe inhalation food allergy to shellfish, eating out pre-pandemic had become a love hate-relationship: I love someone else cooking for me, but I sure hate the constant fear of being exposed to my allergen.
Luckily, I come from a long line of incredible Italian cooks — I still have the fondest memories of my straight-out-of-central-casting Italian grandmother standing by her stove for hours in her amazing orange and yellow 1970s decor kitchen, cooking up some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. Growing up with an aunt who also knows her way around a kitchen, and my mother who’s cooking rivals my grandmothers, and who now uses her superpower cooking skills as a personal cook for others, and often, luckily, me and my family — I’ve picked up a thing or two.
As my mom and aunt get older though, I often get asked when I am going to take over the reigns; in all honesty I am in no way near their level of cuisine perfection, though when time allowed in pre-pandemic days, I could hold my own in the kitchen and really did enjoy it. I also did start taking on some of the cooking responsibilities, but mostly for my in-laws (I make a mean Hanukkah dinner). Other than that though, with my very busy work, school, and volunteer schedule there really wasn’t enough hours in the day to even think about recipes and ingredients, let alone time to prep and cook them. Then COVID19 hit and time stretched into a new reality, allowing for more creativity, experimentation, and good old home cooking in the kitchen.
Over the course of the past four months I have been guided by three powerful female chefs who not only highlight good food but the good of humanity: Padma Lakshmi’s Taste the Nation, Samin Nosrat’s Salt Fat Acid Heat, and Nadiya Hussain’s Time to Eat. I highly recommend checking them out!
Inspired, my wife and I began to expand our mealtime options. Not every recipe has been successful, but in all honesty, most have. I have attempted recipes that I never would have thought to in the past, and dedicated hours and days to others. Trying out ingredients that I hadn’t even known existed — and some times not even knowing where to buy them. In our home right now, I do most of the cooking and my wife does all of the grocery shopping. She therefore has gone on multiple scavenger hunts to different grocery stores trying to find certain ingredients that are not typically sold in your standard American grocery store, something that highlights the immense need to embrace other people and cultures!
So here is a list of recipes I’ve attempted, some of which I’ve mastered, some not so much, but I’ll keep trying:
Black Pepper Tofu & Green Beans
Black Pepper Tofu & Green Beans | ShortGirlTallOrder
My favorite vegan & gluten-free recipe for Black Pepper Tofu & Green Beans is officially here! This vegan tofu stir fry…
I’ve made this probably six times in the last four months and love it the same every…single…time. It is incredibly flavorful, so much so I generally end up sneaking down to the kitchen and eating the leftovers straight out of the container, standing in front of the fridge.
Easy Authentic Falafel Recipe: Step-by-Step | The Mediterranean Dish
My family's secret recipe for the Best Authentic Falafel, made with chickpeas, fresh herb, and the right spices! And…
It is hard to get our kid to eat anything other than pasta — she is not an adventurous eater outside of all things sushi — but she loves this falafel recipe, paired with the lemon rice and pickled onions below. I’ve made this 4 times in 4 months and will be making it again very soon if the kid has anything to say about it.
Lemon Rice Recipe | Easy Lemon Rice Side Dish Idea
This easy Lemon Rice Recipe is bursting with lemon flavor! It's a delicious way to turn plain rice into an exotic dish…
It’s…so…good and very easy to make.
Pickled Red Onion
Quick Pickled Onions Add a Little Zing to Sandwiches and Salads
These quick pickled onions are great when you want to add a little zing to a roast, burgers, sandwiches, beans, salads…
I love all things pickled and have been playing around with different varieties including my go to for all meals, the pickled red onion. I literally put it on almost everything — tacos, sandwiches, falafel, salads, pasta, veggie burgers…etc..
Pickled Red Cabbage
Easy Pickled Red Cabbage
Breaking down the basics of how to add delicious and tangy crunch to your life with this guide to easy Pickled Red…
These go great with black bean veggie burgers and rice (I generally forgo bread and just put a veggie burger over rice), add a little feta and arugula, and its a great lunchtime meal.
Spicy Pickled Radish
Spicy Quick Pickled Radishes - Cookie and Kate
My refrigerator shelves are one knock away from an avalanche. I have plastic wrap-covered bowls of leftover sorghum…
These go great with tacos!
Lemony Lentil and Rice with Caramelized Onions
Lemony Lentils and Rice With Caramelized Onions Recipe
This recipe is inspired by mujadara, a simple combination of lentils, rice, and onions that exists in various forms…
This is another recipe I’ve made multiple times — however this one is a little more temperamental; it has always been good but some iterations have been better than others. My guess is that it depends on the brand of lentils used. This recipe is also a bit of a commitment as it takes a good two hours to make.
Classic Masala Dosa
Classic Masala Dosa Recipe
A properly made crisp and savory Indian dosa is wonderfully delicious, and fairly simple to make at home, with this…
I love dosas! They are by far one of my favorite foods. They take some major planning over a few days though. It is not a quick meal but totally worth it!
Pan BBQ Tofu
Recipe: Sheet Pan BBQ Tofu
Meanwhile, place the sweet paprika, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika in a medium…
As a vegetarian home one of the things we consistently miss most is finger licking BBQ! This BBQ tofu recipe pared with the collard greens below hits the spot. I always throw another vegetable on the pan with the tofu as well — broccoli or zucchini. Bake up some cornbread (gluten free or regular) and you have a great meal.
Southern Style Collard Greens
Vegetarian "Southern-style" Collard Greens
Vegetarian "Southern-style" Collard Greens 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon butter 1/2 large onion, chopped 1…
We love us some collards in our house, so finding a vegetarian recipe that packed enough flavor was important. I like this recipe a lot but it needs some tang, so I add in my own secret ingredient, rice wine vinegar, and it is the perfect addition to these spicy tangy greens.
Cauliflower Hot Wings
Cauliflower Hot Wings (Vegan & Gluten-Free)
These vegan cauliflower hot wings with vegan aioli are the perfect comfort food! They’re so tangy, spicy, and…
My wife loves hot wings, and it is one of the foods she misses most since becoming a vegetarian. I made this recipe once and it was pretty tasty, though getting it crispy was not easy.
Easy Lo Mein
Easy Lo Mein - Damn Delicious
The easiest lo mein you will ever make in 15 minutes from start to finish. It is so much quicker, tastier and healthier…
The kid loves Lo Mein so we make variations of this recipe, along with the Fried Rice recipe below a lot. I will thrown in whatever veggies we have in the kitchen that make sense and it always turns out scrumptious. Cook up some pre-made frozen veggie dumplings and its a perfect, quick meal.
Restaurant Style Fried Rice
Fried Rice Restaurant Style
A great way to use up leftover rice, this quick fried rice cooks up with frozen peas, baby carrots, eggs, and soy and…
Golden Syrup Oatmeal Cookies
Simple Vegan Oatmeal Cookies Recipe | Yummly
Very sweet. Replaced golden syrup with rice syrup and 1/3 Rd of brown sugar with stevia Delicious cookie and easy r To…
I don’t bake much but I saw golden syrup used on Nadiya Hussain’s show and really wanted to try it. It is a British baking ingredient that I had never had the opportunity to try; let me tell you, having now tried it, I could drink that golden goodness straight from the bottle! In lieu of that though, these Oatmeal Cookies are perfection — and I never even liked oatmeal cookies, though I suppose if people baked them with golden syrup maybe I would have. Plus they were super quick and easy to make, and it was very easy to substitute gluten free oats and gluten free flour into the recipe.
Samin Nosrat's Hauntingly Crispy Persian-ish Rice
Every week in Genius Recipes-often with your help!-Food52 Creative Director and lifelong Genius-hunter Kristen Miglore…
Every one of the cooking shows I mentioned above featured Tahdig, a traditional crispy rice goodness dish. I could not wait to try it and it did not let me down. This is going to be a staple in our house moving forward.
Lebanese Chickpea Stew
Lebanese Chickpea Stew | Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes
A smoky, vibrant, delicious Lebanese Chickpea Stew flavored with the warmth of za'atar is what I have for you today…
I paired the Tahdig with this stew (not a traditional pairing I know), it was pretty good.
Sautéed Bok Choy with Chili Garlic Sauce
Sautéed Baby Bok Choy with Chili-Garlic Sauce | Cook's Illustrated
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add bok choy and water…
We love bok choy in our house; this recipe is like eating bok choy candy — it is so good.
Potato Cabbage Hash
Potato and Cabbage Hash (Colcannon) Recipe
Try Amazon Fresh Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest tips, tricks, recipes and more, sent twice a week…
The Irish girl in me is drawn to anything potato and cabbage, so of course I love this recipe. Add some hot sauce and its perfection.
Baked Mac n Cheese
#The #World's #most #delicious #THE #BEST #HOMEMADE #BAKED #MAC #AND #CHEESE
The World's most delicious THE BEST HOMEMADE BAKED MAC AND CHEESE The BEST Homemade Mac and Cheese of your LIFE…
The kid loves, loves, loves baked mac n cheese. I’ve made this for her a couple of times and it never fails to satiate. I generally end up making two different batches of this since I don’t eat cow’s milk cheese or gluten so I substitute gluten free pasta and gluten free bread crumbs, along with a goat’s milk cheese, and its good enough for me! Pair it with a can of stewed tomatoes and it’s perfect comfort food!
Fall-Apart Caramelized Cabbage Recipe
This is one of the easiest, most delicious ways to cook down a whole head of cabbage until it's falling-apart tender.
As I mentioned above, I love all things cabbage but I did not like this recipe at all, which is a shame because it looks sooo good.
Greek Spaghetti Squash
Greek Spaghetti Squash Toss
Spaghetti squash is a great lower-calorie, lower-carb alternative to pasta. It's a neutral tasting veggie that absorbs…
I like spaghetti squash way more than anyone else in my house. This recipe was pretty good and easy to make.
Cheddar Walnut Pesto | With Cabot Cheddar
Tired of the same old pesto? We were - so we swapped out traditional pine nuts and parmesan to create this unique…
I don’t eat cow’s milk and the kid is allergic to tree nuts, so I needed a pesto recipe where I could substitute parmesan — I have a nice goat’s milk cheddar I use — as well as remove the walnuts (though you could substitute sunflowers seeds). I didn’t love this recipe, it was a bit salty and oily. If I make it again I’ll really need to adjust the quantities.
The Best Baked Ziti from The Food Charlatan
This recipe for the best Baked Ziti is a huge favorite! Italian sausage marinara, cottage cheese, and fresh basil…
I am Italian after all, so making some good old fashioned gravy (according to my mother good Italians do not call it sauce, its gravy— fight amongst yourselves) to go along with any pasta dish is important. I used the “red sauce” recipe from this site and it was so much better than any red sauce I’ve had from a jar — though not nearly as good as my mom’s or grandmom’s gravy, but in lieu of that it will have to do! Combine it with the garlic bread recipe below and its magnifica!
Homemade Garlic Bread
This easy homemade garlic bread is topped with Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese. The delicious garlic spread has 2 secret…
There are a number of recipes on my pandemic cooking list that I have yet to make, and more get added everyday including:
Baked Cameroonian Jollof
Oven Baked Cameroonian Jollof
It's no Cameroonian Party without a sizable tray of Jollof. This one pot rice dish is a staple not only in Cameroon…
Red Curry Noodle Bowl
Red Curry Noodle Bowls with Steak and Cabbage
A little bit Thai, a little bit comforting, and a little bit refreshing, this one-bowl dinner showered in pea shoots…
*I have made this recipe in the past but not since the pandemic began. I make it without the steak and in my opinion it doesn’t need it at all. This is a hot, yummy bowl good for the soul!
Afghan Kidney Bean Curry
Afghan Kidney Bean Curry (Lubya)
This Afghan kidney bean curry, known as lubya/lubia/lobia depending on how the language is transliterated, is one of my…
Buffalo Chickpea Taquitos
Buffalo Chickpea Taquitos | easy baked recipe - Elavegan
By on | As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases Crispy, spicy, hearty, satisfying, and tasty! Yes…
Egg Salad and White Bean
For the Best Egg Salad, Skip the Mayo. Grab the Beans.
I am lucky enough to have central air conditioning, but on the hottest days of the summer-namely, all of July and…
General Tsos Tofu
General Tso's Tofu
This General Tso's tofu is savory, sweet, spicy and so delicious it will likely go straight onto your regular dinner…
Sheet Pan Veggie Shawarma
Sheet Pan Chickpea & Veggie Shawarma Bowls - plays well with butter
Meet your newest sheet-pan dinner obsession: the very best Veggie Shawarma Recipe. Cauliflower, sweet potato &…
Spicy Potato Lentil Soup with Kale
Spicy potato Lentil soup with Kale
This potato lentil soup with kale is calling on everyone to try it! Vegan or not you will love to enjoy a bowl…
Sweet Potato Curry Chickpeas
Curry Chickpeas Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
By ImmaculateBites Jump to Recipe Jump to Recipe Curry Chickpeas Stuffed Sweet Potatoes- A solid and simple dish that…
Tofu Chow Fun
Tofu Chow Fun
Satisfy your takeout cravings, with this tofu chow fun, made with crispy tofu, stir-fried veggies and noodles tossed in…
Zucchini Tomato and Rice Gratin
zucchini, tomato and rice gratin
Recipes As promised, I am here to aid you with you midsummer afternoon's zucchini nightmare, er, bounty. But please…
I am aware of, and grateful for, the privilege afforded me to have the time and resources to cook these meals. I am happy I can share them all with you virtually, but I can’t to resume sharing communal meals together again! Until then, bon appetit!