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Thread: Home cooking tips during this crisis

  1. #1
    Member North's Avatar
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    Home cooking tips during this crisis

    I posted this in one of the covid threads but it is long buried. Feel free to add tips you come across.


    Quarantine cooking: How to stretch meals when times are tough


    https://buffalonews.com/2020/04/17/q...mes-are-tough/

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    Sprinkles are for winners dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Home cooking tips during this crisis

    Nearly every day my first meal is 2 eggs with a sprinkle of green onions, a sprinkle of bacon bits, and sometimes if I'm feeling wild, a sprinkle of shredded cheese.

    I've been doing lots of rice and some sort of meat as a bit of a "taco" kind of solution. I've done grilled chicken, ground chicken, and ground beef over the last month to mix in with some rice, a dab of sour cream, a little bit of lettuce or spinach, and a sprinkle of cheese. Sometimes it's just that stuff in a bowl. Sometimes it's that stuff in a tortilla.

    I've got a stash of tuna. I tend to eat a lot of tuna, so when it's "tuna week", I'll use three cans of tuna, two hard boiled eggs chopped up, 1 sandwich pickle sliced up, some mayo, and a little mustard, and that usually covers lunch for like 4-5 days - usually as a sandwich, but sometimes I'll just use a spoon. I'm weird.

    Dinner is usually when I go "off script", so to speak. I change that up most nights. Planning on making some chili this week, which will last for several days.

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    Member Rantly's Avatar
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    Re: Home cooking tips during this crisis

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    Nearly every day my first meal is 2 eggs with a sprinkle of green onions, a sprinkle of bacon bits, and sometimes if I'm feeling wild, a sprinkle of shredded cheese.

    I've been doing lots of rice and some sort of meat as a bit of a "taco" kind of solution. I've done grilled chicken, ground chicken, and ground beef over the last month to mix in with some rice, a dab of sour cream, a little bit of lettuce or spinach, and a sprinkle of cheese. Sometimes it's just that stuff in a bowl. Sometimes it's that stuff in a tortilla.

    I've got a stash of tuna. I tend to eat a lot of tuna, so when it's "tuna week", I'll use three cans of tuna, two hard boiled eggs chopped up, 1 sandwich pickle sliced up, some mayo, and a little mustard, and that usually covers lunch for like 4-5 days - usually as a sandwich, but sometimes I'll just use a spoon. I'm weird.

    Dinner is usually when I go "off script", so to speak. I change that up most nights. Planning on making some chili this week, which will last for several days.
    That tuna sounds great, I'm hungry.

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    First Time Caller SunDeck's Avatar
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    Re: Home cooking tips during this crisis

    My cooking tip would be to have Doug come to my house and make breakfast. Except for stupid social distancing.

    Here's something I've instituted: 14 hour fasting. So, I don't eat after 6pm, then I make breakfast at 9am (that's usually more like 15, I know. Sometimes I eat at 8am).
    Tea or coffee without milk is allowed during fasting.
    There are a couple reasons I am doing this;

    1) Lots of diabetes in our family and I've read that intermittent fasting may help to reduce blood sugar levels. It has something to do with getting your body to burn fat for energy instead of just relying on carbs, sugar, etc. that you take in when you're an undisciplined eater. My understanding is probably only superficial, but it seemed to make sense to regiment the intake.

    2) Not biking to work everyday and instead teleworking has reduced my activity level quite a bit. It seemed this would be a good way to take in fewer calories because my evening routine often included snacking. Hoping to keep from growing out of my jeans during the pandemic.
    Next Reds manager, second shooter. --Confirmed on Redszone.

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    North (04-20-2020)

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    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: Home cooking tips during this crisis

    My cheap go-to is chicken broth.

    Start with 2 3.5 lb. chickens (or whatever size you can get). In a large stock pot, dump in the chickens and a mirepoix of celery, onion, and carrots. I usually start with 3-4 quarts of water or enough to cover the chickens. Bring it to a fast simmer.

    After an hour, I pull the chickens out and let them cool enough to handle. Strip all the meat you can off the bones. I usually use just a fork and hands to separate the meat. Set aside to cool. Bag it up in 1/4-1/2 lb. bags and freeze.

    I return all the bones and skin to the pot. *Not* any of the innards (liver, etc). Make the broth kinda nasty. I add more water to keep it at a 3-4 quart level. I then leave it on the stove at a low simmer for 10-12 hours. When done, I run it through a strainer to strain out all the solids (bones, skin, veggies). I usually then put the pot out in the garage to cool overnight and let the fat solidify on top. Note I always make broth in the winter so the garage is plenty cold.

    The next morning, I pick the solidified chicken fat disc (aka schmaltz) off the top. You could probably use it for something but I’ve never tried. I just pitch it. I’ll add a little more water to the broth to dilute it since it usually is intense. Do this to taste. I freeze it in gallon ziploc bags and freeze it flat. It stores much better that way.

    We then make soup when the mood strikes. Usually get some good hearty Amish noodles and make chicken noodle soup with a mirepoix and the leftover chicken. I’ve also made chicken and rice if we have some rice leftover from a meal. Sometimes a mug of hot broth and a nice chunk of bread is a nice lunch. Or a Tex-Mex soup with broth, corn, black beans, etc.

    You can get a lot of meals out of a $10 investment for a couple chickens.
    You are standing at the end of a road before a small brick building. Around you is a forest. A small stream flows out of the building and down a gully.

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    North (04-21-2020)

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    Re: Home cooking tips during this crisis

    Having a freezer full of homemade chicken stock is totally a great thing to have.

    I just did a batch the last time it was below 35 degrees overnight (Roy is right, it's great to let nature do the cooling, because if you put a giant pot of hot stock in the fridge, it will heat up your fridge more than your fridge cools the stock), and hope to get one more batch in soon.

    Only real deviation: I really recommend roasting at least some of your chicken in a deep baking pan, and saving the drippings. Cool that chicken and pick the meat the next day, throwing the drippings, bones, and skin into the stock pot. I usually use whole chickens or leg quarters for this part. The roast chicken parts have so much more depth of flavor, if you ask me. Then I throw raw chicken wings or drumsticks (whatever's cheap or on sale) to supplement the stock and leave it in for the duration. Needs plenty of salt at this point, obviously. I like adding some peppercorns, along with thyme and sage (fresh, not ground, so it can be strained to get a clear stock), too, but you do you.

    The roasted meat can be frozen for throwing into soups, or turned into croquettes, or whatever.

    Once cooled and strained, the stock can be frozen at regular strength, but I also take some of it and simmer it until it is reduced down to 1/8th or so. When cooled, this basically turns into a super concentrated Chicken Gel that will kick the ass of any bullion you have ever used (and it saves freezer space, too!).
    Last edited by FlightRick; 04-21-2020 at 12:36 AM.

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    Re: Home cooking tips during this crisis

    You broth folks are speaking my language.

    I live near a Mexican market, and they have all kinds of smoked turkey parts, along with the more typical ham pieces.

    Using the smoked turkey parts, typically dirt cheap necks and wings, dials up the traditional chicken broth. Make soups, of course, add to beans, in vegetables; good way to flavor any leftovers you might have the in fridge. Really helps in chicken chili and tortilla-type soups. My favorite soup is pintos, broken up spaghetti pieces, collard greens, garlic and paprika.

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    Re: Home cooking tips during this crisis

    A good cast iron Dutch Oven. Make whole pot meals, roasts, braises, etc.

    Buy whole primals from places like Sams if you can, break them down yourself and make lots of meals out of it.

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    Re: Home cooking tips during this crisis

    If you have flour but no yeast, try this:

    How to make matzoh, a survival food from biblical times
    10/14/2019 / By Grace Olson


    https://foodcollapse.com/2019-10-14-...-biblical.html

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    Roy Tucker (04-21-2020)

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    Re: Home cooking tips during this crisis

    If you find yourself in need of throwing together a quick meal, here’s a good one.

    Start with a rotisserie chicken from your favorite grocery. Pull all of the meat from the carcass.

    Thinly slice an onion and a small container of baby portabella mushrooms. Add 2 cloves garlic either jarred minced or fresh. Sauté with EVOO or butter in a large pan. (I use a 12” cast iron skillet, but whatever you’ve got will do). Season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to taste.

    Once the veg is cooked, pull it to the edges of the pan and put the chicken in. Cook, stirring frequently, long enough to warm it up and get some delicious golden browning on the meat.

    Add a pack of baby spinach over the top and cover the pan. Cook until the spinach is wilted. You may have to stir a couple of times.

    Add in more olive oil at any point you think it’s getting dry.

    Season again as necessary.

    Top with Italian shredded cheese mix.

    Enjoy.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    North (05-07-2020)

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    Member BernieCarbo's Avatar
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    Re: Home cooking tips during this crisis

    I'm finally leaving tomorrow to head out to my property in northern NE and will be off the grid until late April. No phone, internet, radio, nothing. It's about 1200 miles from here, so I might touch base one more time, but if you don't hear from me again it doesn't mean I'm dead.

    Anyway, a few weeks ago my son asked me to make my Moroccan Fish Stew before I left, and it's the perfect winter meal. I just wanted to share it here, since it's a pleasant diversion from typical Midwestern fare.


    These are the main vegetable ingredients:

    1 lb sweet potatoes, diced about 1"
    1 lb carrots, coarsely sliced (into circles, not lengthwise)
    1 large onion, coarsely chopped
    1 lb can garbanzo beans. You could also cook them from scratch, but the canned ones are just as good for this purpose
    1 red or yellow bell pepper
    1/2 lb of another fall root crop, such as parsnip or even turnip. I like parsnip because it absorbs flavors well, but any firm vegetable works. Cube it up like you would the potatoes.
    4 cups of vegetable broth. Those one liter containers at Kroger are fine.

    Here are the spices

    2 tbs of minced ginger. I buy it already minced at the local Asian market because I use so much.
    2 tbs of minced garlic.
    2 tbs cumin
    1 tbs coriander
    1 tbs powdered ground ginger
    2 teaspoons cinnamon
    2 teaspoons turmeric
    Mix the dry spices together as a single spice.

    The dry spices I listed is exactly how I was shown how to make it. If you have access to a Middle Eastern market, the Moroccans have kind of a generic spice mix that uses the same base spices along with a bunch of other things. It's called Ras el Hanout, and that would work too.

    Nothing really special about the preparation. Start with a couple spoons of olive oil and saute the onions until they turn translucent. Add the minced ginger and garlic and 2 tbs of the dry spice mix. Add the broth and all of the diced vegetables. Bring it to a boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chickpeas and another tbs of spices, and let it simmer covered until the hardest vegetables can be pierced easily with a fork, but not too soft.

    At this point, you have a decision to make. You could stop right now and eat it as a vegan stew. I prepare this as a fish stew, so I cube up something like haddock and stir it in and cook it for another five minutes or so. Or, anyone could pan fry some chicken or beef and stir that in (I would cook those things separately because they would have to be cooked longer and you wouldn't want the stew to get mushy).

    For garnish, there are no rules. Try fresh parsley, cilantro, or even a dollop of yogurt. The stew is thick, so it could even be spooned over a bed of rice. Use your imagination.

    Honestly, I've never met anyone who didn't like this. I always try hard to have some left over, but I never do. Even the kids that my own kids would bring over that were raised on pizza and McD's would lap it up. The spice combination was foreign to me, along with the idea of using sweet potatoes. Just a fantastic combo. Again, this is how I was taught, but if you googled Moroccan stew, there are many variations. If my instructions are too vague, google can help out with that too. Just remember that this is peasant food, and if you find a recipe that lists $100 worth of ingredients, look somewhere else.

    Anyway, it's a nice winter recipe if you want to try something different, not to mention that it's dirt cheap to make.

    There's actually kind of a cool story of how I stumbled onto this. After I got out of the Army, I got a European discharge since my dad said times were tough over here and if there was something I could do in Europe, to try that instead. I played guitar, so I made my way through France along the Mediterranean coast and into Spain. I did really well, but once I got south of Valencia, things slowed down because people tended to be poorer, so I decided to just take the train to Gibraltar, thinking it would be kind of cool to be able to stand in one place and see both the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean at the same time. I was standing on kind of a seawall, and there was a sort of military looking guy nearby with French insignia, so I approached him and asked if he knew much about the area. We started talking, and he said he was with the Legion. I was like, "You mean the French Foreign Legion? It still exists?" He said it very much existed, and he told me about some of the places he's been, and he started asking me about French Canada and said how my accent was kind of like from the 1600s. Eventually I asked if Morocco was worth a visit, and he said it was his favorite place and suggested that my first visit should be to either Casablanca or Rabat. He said that Casablanca is good it I wanted to see other Americans, but Rabat was much more authentic. I told him that Rabat it would be, so he wrote down the name of an inn along with name of the innkeeper, and said he knew him and he would help me get around.

    So, the next morning I took the train down and went to that inn the first thing, and the innkeeper already knew I was coming. I got settled in and I asked where the waterfront was, since I knew that's where most of the activity would me. I made it down to the docks, and right off I saw this guy about my age that had just docked a decent sized fishing boat just loaded with fish and crabs. I'm guessing there must have been about 1000 lbs worth? There were a few younger boys that started taking some crates away, and I found out later they were filling some restaurant orders. So I said to the guy on the boat, "You speak French?"
    "Yes, some, why?"
    "Well, I used to work on fishing boats back home, and wanted to know if I can help you unload. It would be fun."
    He laughed and said, "I can't pay you, but if you want to carry fish, you can carry fish. Here, my name is Marzak."

    So we unloaded the boat and did things like sort the crabs and put them in underwater cages, and we cleaned a bunch of the fish and filleted some. By then more people had arrived who I assumed were regular customers, and before I knew it all of it was gone except what he kept for himself.

    He said, "I want to invite you to my home for dinner. It is me, my mother and father, my grandfather, two sisters and brother. My brother will come to your inn in one hour and get you, ok?"

    I couldn't pass that up, so before I knew it I had gotten cleaned up and was tagging along behind a ten year old boy through streets and alleys. It was kind of funny in a way because I was about 6-4 at the time, and I must have looked like Indiana Jones before Indiana Jones even existed. We got to the house, and Markak did all of the usual introductions. His father spoke decent French, but no one else did, but we managed. He introduced me to his grandfather, and he looked just like someone out of central casting for Lawrence of Arabia. He just nodded and wouldn't look me in the eye, but I also knew there were a lot of colonization and independence issues in recent history. His siblings acted like any other family- the boy was asking a million questions, and the two teenage girls were whispering and laughing.

    We sat down to eat, and the mother dished out the exact stew that I posted above. I can say it was the most delicious meal I had had in my life up to that time, and I told Marzak that they needed to help me write down the recipe. He translated that, and the kids started laughing, and Marzak said they found it funny that a woman would be showing a man how to cook. I explained that the men do a lot of cooking where I'm from, and we make a similar stew back there, although with plainer ingredients. I told them that in the winter I would go with my father and grandfather in the woods to cut firewood and we'd stay all day, but the first thing we would do in the morning is build a fire and fill a steel pot full of potatoes, carrots, onions, some dried beef, and cover the whole thing with sawdust. By noon, we would have a perfect stew cooked just right.

    With that, Grandpa turned on like a waterfall. He talked and talked, and finally Marzak said, "My grandfather said when he was a little boy, he would go way out into the hills with his father and grandfather to herd the sheep and stay for a week at a time, and every morning they would also would fill a clay pot with all the things we are eating now, and set it on hot coals and cover it with sand. At night, they had a delicious meal ready for them, and it was the best time of his life. He said he would be honored if his daughter could explain how to prepare this for your own family."

    So, to make a long story short, I ended up going out on the fishing boat the next day, and we had another great meal, including some of those big spider crabs. I also wrote down that recipe, and I've been making it regularly ever since. The third day when I went to check out of the inn, the innkeeper said that the Colonel had taken care of everything, no charge. I explained that I never expected that at all and wanted to pay, but he insisted the Colonel wouldn't do it if he didn't want to, and to just accept it. I left my name and address and told him to please give this to him so I could thank him personally, and lo and behold about four months later there was a card in my mailbox from him that just said "Call me at xxxxxxxx". That led to a bunch of other adventures, and he and I still stay in touch. I also still stay in touch with Marzak and went down there at least six or seven times again. After that first trip, I wrote to my father that he should find a New Hampshire tourist book and send it to the grandfather, and later Marzak told me that his grandfather carried that book with him to town almost every day and looked for university students that might know some English so they could translate what the pictures meant.

    Just wanted to share this, and I'll make it a few times this winter myself.

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    Re: Home cooking tips during this crisis

    Quote Originally Posted by SunDeck View Post
    My cooking tip would be to have Doug come to my house and make breakfast. Except for stupid social distancing.

    Here's something I've instituted: 14 hour fasting. So, I don't eat after 6pm, then I make breakfast at 9am (that's usually more like 15, I know. Sometimes I eat at 8am).
    Tea or coffee without milk is allowed during fasting.
    There are a couple reasons I am doing this;

    1) Lots of diabetes in our family and I've read that intermittent fasting may help to reduce blood sugar levels. It has something to do with getting your body to burn fat for energy instead of just relying on carbs, sugar, etc. that you take in when you're an undisciplined eater. My understanding is probably only superficial, but it seemed to make sense to regiment the intake.

    2) Not biking to work everyday and instead teleworking has reduced my activity level quite a bit. It seemed this would be a good way to take in fewer calories because my evening routine often included snacking. Hoping to keep from growing out of my jeans during the pandemic.
    I've been trying the intermittent fasting the last few months as well. I'm on a "16-8" program, where I have an 8-hour window during the day to eat and then fast the other 16 hours. My window is typically 12 pm-8 pm but I can move that around depending on my schedule. I've only been drinking water during my fast hours. I don't weigh myself or take any blood sugar levels so I don't know what impact it's had there, but I do find myself feeling a little better. It's made me more intentional about what/when I'm eating and has eliminated a bad late-night snacking habit.
    "In our sundown perambulations of late, through the outer parts of Brooklyn, we have observed several parties of youngsters playing 'base', a certain game of ball. Let us go forth awhile, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our close rooms, the game of ball is glorious"
    -Walt Whitman

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  25. #13
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    Re: Home cooking tips during this crisis

    Quote Originally Posted by Reds Freak View Post
    I've been trying the intermittent fasting the last few months as well. I'm on a "16-8" program, where I have an 8-hour window during the day to eat and then fast the other 16 hours. My window is typically 12 pm-8 pm but I can move that around depending on my schedule. I've only been drinking water during my fast hours. I don't weigh myself or take any blood sugar levels so I don't know what impact it's had there, but I do find myself feeling a little better. It's made me more intentional about what/when I'm eating and has eliminated a bad late-night snacking habit.
    If there's any way you can make two more hours you'll hit kitosis and really see super benefits.
    "One problem with people who have no vices is that they're pretty sure to have some annoying virtues."

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    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: Home cooking tips during this crisis

    I will say my Instapot makes a killer pot roast in an hour. Tender as all get out. Carrots and potatoes and decent gravy too.

    The 60 minute cook time brings it into being able to do on a week day night. I just watch for when chuck roast or round roast is on sale at Kroger.
    You are standing at the end of a road before a small brick building. Around you is a forest. A small stream flows out of the building and down a gully.

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    Re: Home cooking tips during this crisis

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    Gratitude + Forgiveness = Happiness
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