As more states and cities in the U.S. declare mandatory ‘stay at home’ measures in order to reduce the spread and effects of coronavirus in our country, you may find yourself with more necessity to cook basic items that, up until this spring, you purchased at the local grocery store or bakery. Overall, a lot of people out there are just cooking more. But- it’s easy to get stalled out on what to make, and this is a great time to try new things!
Here are the Best Easy Recipes for some of the basics that you will enjoy making... and most importantly eating! We’ve also included a couple of the Recover team’s favorite recipes- including something out there for those of you that don’t really follow recipes. For all of the parents out there juggling kids out of school and daycare, first of all- you’re amazing, and second, these recipes are also fun to make with kids or have older kids try to make for YOU on their own!
And as a fun food tip for social Social Distancing…
Arrange a video call with a friend and either:
- Tour each other’s pantries and fridges with each other, find what items you have in common, and figure out a meal to cook and enjoy “with” each other.
- Send this post to your friends, pick a recipe or two to make with a couple of them on the video call, and have fun!
Best Easy Recipes for the Basics:
One of the most popular recipes ever published by the NY Times is the “No-Knead Bread Recipe” and (like many bread recipes) only requires flour, water, and yeast. While there is a need for forethought to get the process started (dough needs about 14-20 hours of “resting time” total- AKA you just get to let it sit there), this is a low maintenance bread recipe that is incredibly delicious.
This is a relatively easy and delicious sourdough loaf to make for “beginning sourdough bakers”. We’re note quite sure what expert sourdough baking looks like, but one thing’s for sure- this recipe is simple and makes a sourdough loaf with a great crunch crust and chewy middle. If you need sourdough starter, you can make it yourself. Amy in the Kitchen gives you the step by step to make your sourdough starter and keep it going (think of it as a new pet, but that doesn’t take as much maintenance… maybe, it’s more like a plant that needs to be “fed” flour and water). Once you get going, sourdough is a whole world you can tap into… sourdough pancakes, waffles, hush puppies, crackers… you name it!
It’s hard to beat a homemade tortilla. And they’re actually incredibly easy to make.
Here’s the quick and easy freestyle way to make corn tortillas:
- Tortilla Masa
* Put 2 cups of the tortilla masa in a bowl and add 2 cups of warm water and a pinch or two of salt. Knead the dough and add a touch more of water or masa until the dough is Play Dough consistency. Depending on what size tortillas you want to make, take pieces of the dough, roll into balls and then roll out. Cook in a pan with a little bit of oil in it on medium heat! And you’ve got tortillas! Don’t judge your first ones by their looks… just enjoy the taste!
If you’re more into a formal recipe, try this King Arthur Thin Cornmeal tortilla recipe. Yum.
Hummus is one of those things that once you make it, you wonder why you haven’t been making it all along- it’s so easy and so good! Here’s a simple and easy hummus recipe to get you started and it’s yours to take from there- whether you want to add garlic, roasted red pepper, jalapeno, make it your own!
Recover Team Faves
Kyle, Recover Accounting Manager
My staple bake-at-home item are the Quaker Oats Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin cookies (I do chocolate chips instead of raisins) which is not very original but a huge fan favorite. Here is the recipe link and here is the text:Ingredients:
- 1/2 Cup(s) (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
- 3/4 Cup(s) firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 Cup(s) granulated sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Teaspoon(s) vanilla
- 1-1/2 Cup(s) all-purpose flour
- 1 Teaspoon(s) Baking Soda
- 1 Teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
- 1/2 Teaspoon(s) salt (optional)
- 3 Cup(s) Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
- 1 Cup(s) raisins (I use chocolate chips instead of raisins)
Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats and raisins; mix well. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.
Bar Cookies: Press dough onto bottom of ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Store tightly covered. 24 BARS.
Variations: Stir in 1 cup chopped nuts. Substitute 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or candy-coated chocolate pieces for raisins; omit cinnamon. Substitute 1 cup diced dried mixed fruit.
High Altitude Adjustment: Increase flour to 1-3/4 cups and bake as directed.
Morgan, Recover Customer Service and Marketing Coordinator
- 2 tablespoons water, for sautéing or olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced small
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons mild curry paste
- 1 can (14 oz) coconut milk full fat or light
- 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- juice from 1/2 lime
- salt, to taste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 cup uncooked basmati rice
- lime wedges
Optional: steamed kale, broccoli or cauliflower
- Get the rice cooking: Add 1 cup of rice and 2 cups of water to a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes. While the rice is cooking, make the chickpea curry.
- Make the Chickpea Curry: In a large pan, saute the onion and garlic in a few tablespoons of water (or olive oil) for about 5 minutes. Stir in the curry paste, then pour in the coconut milk and chickpeas. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the lime juice, salt to taste, sugar,cherry tomatoes and chopped basil.
- Serve: Fluff the rice with a fork. Serve chickpea curry with rice and another vegetable, if desired, such as steamed kale, broccoli or cauliflower and lime wedges. Would also be wonderful with Easy Vegan Naan on the side.
Vince, Recover Logistics Manager
There's about a once per year occasion when empanadas are made in our household and this past weekend was that time of the year. Once a year because of the time it takes and because it's hard to avoid overeating the fried goodness that is an empanada. We ended up making enough to give to a few neighbors which helped curb the overeating part, but more importantly, making empanadas are always a fun way to spend time with your friends while creating a delicious dish. We like to freestyle the filling, so free form is encouraged based on what your taste buds are feeling:
- green onion
- small yellow onion
- sazon goya (con azafran)
- black pepper
- veggie bouillon cubes
- protein of choice (we did imitation meat from Trader Joe's)
- yellow or white potato
For the fried dough:
- 3 pc. of yellow masarepa
- 2 1/4 cups of hot water
- 2 tsp of sugar
- 2 cups of vegetable oil (for frying)
- 1 tsp of turmeric
Saute all of the veggies for about 10 mins. While those are cooking, start making the shells with the masarepa. Form into balls a little bigger than a golf ball and then roll out into a circle (or a shape close to a circle). Fill the shell with the saute veggies and pinch the end of the shells to close them off. Do this for around 8 at a time so they don't dry out. Heat up vegetable oil to almost to a boil and then fry two empanadas at a time to for about 3-5 minutes. Let them cool for 5 minutes once they're done frying.
Kim, Recover Graphic Designer
Not a healthy recipe by any means, but a great stress reliever and a wonderful way to bring light to all the quarantine birthdays!
For the cake:
- 1 Box chocolate cake mix, substitute cold brew coffee for water
For the inside:
- Jar of marshmallow fluff
- Package of crushed graham crackers
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Prepare the chocolate cake according to directions, substitute cold brew coffee for water. Bake it in 3 6 inch rounds. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting.
- Place one layer of the cake on cake stand or plate. Frost the top of the cake with the marshmallow fluff and sprinkle half of the graham cracker crumble on top.
- Repeat with the second layer. Frost the top of the third layer and the sides with an offset spatula.
- Get crazy with decorations! Mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, and sprinkles!
Ben, Recover Sales Manager
Ben happens to love a good curry chickpea recipe too… His favorite is this Trade Joe’s proclaimed “unassumingly gourmet” Green Curry Chickpeas recipe.
- 1 pkg Organic Red Cherry Tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons Olive Oil
- Sea Salt & Pepper
- 1 cup Organic Quinoa
- 1 Jar TJ's Green Curry Sauce
- 2 cans Organic Garbanzo Beans
- 1 bag Organic Baby Spinach
Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss the tomatoes lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper and spread them out into one layer on a sheet pan. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft. While tomatoes are roasting, prepare quinoa according to package directions.
Warm the curry sauce in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garbanzo beans and tomatoes and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Add spinach and simmer until wilted and tender, about 10 minutes. Serve curry atop a bed of cooked quinoa.
Kira, Recover Writer
I have to say, I’m more of a freestyler like Bill. Recipes get me going and then I typically use what I have to make it work! During quarantine, I have been making and having fresh salsa on hand. Here’s what you need...
- Jalapeno if you want some spice!
The general rule for making your tomato onion salsa base is 3 tomatoes to 1 onion, but you can adjust based upon your personal preference. Dice both up and then simply add cilantro, lime, jalapeno, and salt to your personal taste!
Bill, Recover President
Some of us aren’t recipe followers, but are more freestyle creators and innovators. That’s Bill. And if that’s you, here are Bill’s Key Ingredients for... not following recipes at all.
For my favorite recipe.. well I've never successfully followed a cooking recipe in my life. I love to improvise in the kitchen and create as I go. So, I'll give you the rundown on how I shop and how I cook.
I'm all about using the same ingredients for multiple meals and getting the most miles possible out of a grocery order.
My key ingredients:
- peppers and onions
- mixed vegetables
- rice or potatoes (also been mixing in chickpea pasta)
- chicken or ground turkey
With these key ingredients, I can make my favorite mexican and asian dishes, I just need to change spices and cooking methods. My go-to seasonings are Slap Your Momma, salt, black pepper, and red pepper. I also use a lot of lemon, garlic, ginger, mustard, vinegar, olive oil and basil. With these key ingredients I can cook just about everything in a wok or cast iron skillet. It sounds pretty basic, but I use these same ingredients 90% of the time I cook, and I'm able to get a ton of variety with very little waste. I'm not much of a recipe follower (at all) in the kitchen and enjoy improvising as I go. The spicier the better, so I also keep fresh jalapenos and chiles on hand to add the extra flavor.