These last few weeks have been bringing out the inner Ina Garten in all of us. Cooking has been incredibly therapeutic for all of us. When we're in the kitchen obsessing over a recipe, trying to follow it step-by-step, or improvising because of our limited pantries, we put a momentary pause on what's going on outside. We decided to chronicle some of our Quarantine cooking adventures. We're going to share some of the recipes we've been cooking during this period. Approachable, fun and flexible meals that you can whip up while stuck at home. We just used whatever we had on hand so if you're missing an ingredient, try to get creative and substitute it for something similar.
We're naming this first daily menu 'Feel Good'. Something nourishing for the body. Something nourishing for the mind. Something nourishing for the soul. All guaranteed to make you feel a little better. Happy cooking!
BREAKFAST: SHIRLEY'S SUPERGREEN SMOOTHIE BOWL
I’m a big fan of green smoothies and acai bowls. They’re super easy to make at home - especially if you have some frozen fruits in your freezer. If I ever have any overripe bananas or fruits I chop them up and leave them in the freezer so that if I ever want a smoothie, I’ve got some fruits on hand.
I like to jam pack my smoothies with greens because I enjoy the refreshing and grassy taste. This recipe can be very flexible though. If you don’t like things to be too green and grassy, reduce the number of greens. Although I do recommend erring on the side of more, since it’s more nutritious! I know during social distancing we may not have all of these ingredients on hand, so I do encourage tweaking it to suit what you do have. I’ve found that when all the fruits are frozen, it makes the bowl a lot denser and icier which is easy to eat out of a bowl. But if you don’t have frozen fruits, just turn this into a smoothie, skip the toppings, and drink out of a cup instead.
Full disclosure: I eyeball everything because I use a nutribullet to make this every day so I’m used to the ratios of my vessel. However, I tried to write down some proper measurements here in case you need it. When in doubt, I follow this general rule of thumb: 50% greens, 30% fruit, 20% anything else (e.g. ginger, herbs, almond butter, adaptogens, seeds etc).
- ¼ cup mixture of frozen berries + frozen mangoes/pineapples (whatever you have on hand)
- Half a frozen banana (sliced because it’ll blend easier - slice it before you freeze)
- ¾ cup darky leafy greens like spinach or kale
- Handful of mint leaves
- 2-3 ginger coins (depends on how spicy you want your ginger kick to be)
- ⅓ cup of filtered water
- 1 teaspoon of hulled and shelled hemp seeds
- 1 teaspoon flax seeds
- 1 teaspoon acai powder
- 1 teaspoon of spirulina (optional)
- Coconut flakes
- Frozen blueberries
- Hemp seeds
- Add the frozen berries, mangoes and banana to your nutribullet cup or blender. If you’re using a nutribullet, you want the combination of frozen fruits to sit halfway between the ‘Max’ line and the bottom of the cup.
- Add the dark leafy greens. I love to use spinach or kale. Add the ginger coins, mint, hemp seeds, flax seeds and acai powder.
- If you’re adding anything else to the smoothie/acai bowl then add it in at this stage. I like to add some spirulina powder, but I do highly recommend doing your research and only adding what you’re comfortable with! It’s not a necessary step. The acai bowl will still be tasty and good.
- Add the water last otherwise it will freeze with the fruits! It happened to me once when I put the blueberries at the bottom - eep. That was not fun to blend. I like to use filtered water because it has a clean and refreshing taste. I’ve used nut milks in the past. Milks will make the acai bowl/smoothie a lot creamier!
- Blend. When it’s blended to a smooth mixture, pour into a bowl and scatter some of your favorite toppings on.
LUNCH: SZEKI'S "DELUXE" INSTANT NOODLE
I learned this from my roommates back in college (Hi Monica and Song!). We’d eat this with a bowl of rice on the side while watching Sex and the City. That was the perfect night in for us back then. This dish never left me ever since.
I always get nostalgic when I whip this up because it reminds me of my college days. It's a comfort food to me and it's also a great way to basically get rid of any veggie scraps I have lying around in the fridge...essentially the perfect Quarantine go-to. Who knew that this makeshift college recipe would come to serve me so well after all these years.
The key to this dish is “thinly slicing” everything. It makes the dish. Give it a go and lets me know what you think!
- A pack of instant ramen noodles (I love Neoguri or Shincup)
- A little slice spring onion/scallion (⅛ or ¼ of it)
- ⅛ of thinly sliced zucchini
- A tiny bit of thinly sliced jalapeno (optional)
- 2 thinly sliced mushrooms (optional)
- A tiny bit of thinly sliced low sodium spam (optional)
- 1 egg
- A pack of seaweed
- In a pot, bring water to a boil. Use the recommended amount of water on the back of your ramen packet.
- Usually most packets of ramen noodle contain dried noodles, de-hydrated veggies and some sort of seasoning. Add the dried veggies first.
- Put in the onion, zucchini ,jalapeno and mushroom.
- Then add the noodle and the seasoning (from the noodle packet)
- If you are using Spam, you can add it in when the noodle is halfway done.
- Get a big bowl. Pour the thing in when it’s done. Crack the egg into it when it’s still boiling hot.
- Lastly, crumble the seaweed and sprinkle it over the top. You can add as much as you'd like.
DINNER: JULIA'S CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL
Chicken soup is a classic and it’s pretty easy to make from scratch. While working from home, I’ve made a big batch of this to last me the whole week. It’s quite versatile as well because you can use the stock you’ve made for other dishes or just eat it on its own with a grain of choice. I’ve been cooking some rice and pouring the soup over, kind of like a stew. And there’s nothing better than a nice hearty soup to stay warm and healthy.
If you’re making a big portion like me, I’d suggest a whole chicken because you get to use every part and the bones add a lot of flavor and nutrients. But, this can also be prepared with any part of the chicken.
- whole free range chicken
- 8-10 quarts water
- chopped vegetables of your choice (carrots, celery, onion, etc)
- fresh thyme leaves
- Prep a whole free range chicken → Rub with salt & fresh thyme leaves
- Leave out for 30 min to 1 hour
- Meanwhile, prep your veggies. The classics are celery, onion, and carrots, but you can add really whatever you want. Just chop them to whatever size you want in your soup. I went for a more chunky bite, so slightly larger pieces. And I also added turnips, parsnip, potato, and mushrooms.
- Place your chicken into a stock pot (the larger the better, I had a 10 qt one) and then spread the veggies around. Fill the pot with water -- as high as you can.
- Bring your water up to a boil and then simmer. After 3 hours, this should be ready to eat, but the longer the better. I started this early morning and left it to simmer for 6 hours.
- (If you do go with a no-bone option, you can reduce the cooking time in half, if you’re thinking of making a smaller portion or just want to eat it sooner)