Quarantine Eats

I feel like “quarantine is about the become the new most hated buzz word… We can add it to the list with self care, girl boss, and spirit animal. But nonetheless, it’s an appropriate title to share use when sharing our dinners and lunches these past few weeks.

I’ve always cooked. I’ve always baked. That said, I’m definitely doing it MORE now that we’re under a stay home order. We still door dash and get take out, but we’ve been cooking a bunch and I figured I’d share some of the successful recipes with you.

These are all pretty dang simple. I’m not a complex chef. I’m a human with limited time and skill 😬

I keep a fairly stocked house so I’ll also let you know what “extra” ingredients I needed.

Eggroll in a Bowl. I only had to snag two things from the grocery store: coleslaw mix & sausage. I changed two things… I finely chopped the garlic (vs mincing it) and I did 1/4 c soy sauce and 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce. Also, I added a dash of sesame oil toward the end.

Slow Cooker Peanut Butter Chicken. I bought chicken- I had everything else. The recipe I found online isn’t the same as what I did so here it is:

  • 4 lrg chicken breasts
  • 1/2 c peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
  • 1/4 c soy sauce
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/4 c rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 c chicken broth
  • 3 lrg garlic cloves (I used garlic powder b/c I ran out of cloves)
  • 1 T crushed red pepper (optional– I skipped this)
  • 1 T lime juice.

Put your chicken in the crock pot, mix those other ingredients and for over the meat, cook on low for 4 hours, serve over rice or greens (for a salad). We did rice. SO good!

Creamy Chicken Fajita Pasta. This is one of our FAVORITES. I bought chicken, peppers, and fajita seasoning from the store. Minor changes: I use all the fajita seasoning in the packet because yolo. Lol. Usually we use penne but this time we used linguine. I think it just depends on how starchy you want it.

We’ve also had pancakes (this kind), egg scrambles with mushrooms, peppers, spinach, etc. left over from dinner prep, stuffed peppers (I don’t go off a recipe), and sandwiches & salads.

I also made these Chocolate Chip Cookies and they were GREAT. The recipe came from the back of a Ghirardelli Grand Chips bag. I don’t even know how that ended up in my cupboard. I changed one thing (soften butter vs their suggested melted & cooled butter).

  • 2 c flour
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3/4 c unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • 2/3 c brown sugar
  • 1 large egg & 1 egg yolk
  • 1 & 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 11 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375º. In medium bowl combin flour, baking soda, & salt. In mixing bowl beat butter and both sugars on medium for 2 minutes. Add egg & yolk & vanilla until well combined. Then add dry ingredients in thirds until just combined. Fold in chocolate. Drop scoops of dough on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes until edges just brown. Let sit on sheet a minute or 2 and transfer to wire rack.

What have you been cooking during isolation? I have a ton of printed Pinterest recipes from ambitious meal prepping that I haven’t made. I want to tackle them and file them into win or fail during this time!

Life as Louise & HelloFresh

Welp, it’s Monday. I try to be grateful for every single morning, but Mondays make it tough. Ya know?

A few weeks ago I won a free week of HelloFresh (which included the ‘Classic Box’ -three meals for two people). No one asked me to write a post. No one is giving me money. I make nofin’ off this. I just thought you might like to see how HelloFresh worked for two rural married folk who typically whip together a homemade meal two or three times a week, tops.

(All that said, I believe this code does credit my account & it gives you $40 off your first box. Regardless, I don’t care if you use it or not  🙂 I’m just gonna’ leave it here. The actual numerical code is: 222525E4CHCG )

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I’ll talk about each meal, then the pros and cons of this service! As far as difficulty goes, 1 is simple and 5 is near impossible.

Meal 1: Jamie’s Oozy Shrimp Risotto w/ Tomatoes and Chile

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Why I Picked It: We love shrimp! (K isn’t a huge fan of risotto, but I figured he’d be alright…)

Difficulty: 3 out of 5

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Results: Out of all three this was the most challenging one. (The website says it’s rated very difficult.) Still, it was pretty easy. I cooked it first because A) it told me to and B) I was nervous about the shrimp going bad. It was really, really good! The salad was kind of a miss (leafy greens, lemon juice, oil = meh) but the meal was great! I’m slow in the kitchen & it definitely took me longer than the estimated time, but everything turned out just right! (I intentionally left the chili pepper out, fyi.)

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(From here out I started getting lazy with pictures/K was running out of patience with me.)

Meal 2: Chipotle Rubbed Chicken Salad

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Why I Picked It: It sounded good & I’m a sucker anything avocado!

Difficulty: 2 out of 5

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Results: I am an old lady & spicy foods do not agree with me. I dug alllll the seeds out of the jalapeno & limited the adobo sauce. Didn’t matter- it still had a kick. Haha! Both K and I don’t care for beans, but overall this salad was yummy. It took me longer to prep than indicated, but I think that’s a theme with me. For having a lot of foods we don’t normally eat in it, this was a successful meal, too!

Meal 3: Crispy Chicken w/ Brown-Butter Corn & Cucumber Tomato Salad

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Why I Picked It: Why wouldn’t you pick it?! Crispy chicken & buttery corn- oh my!

Difficulty: 1 out of 5

...and the most unattractive food picture goes to.... me. sorry!
…and the most unattractive food picture goes toooo…. me. (sorry!)

Results: WINNER, WINNER- CHICKEN DINNER. (Er, um, no pun intended…?) By far our favorite meal! I’ve never coated chicken in sour cream but you can bet your behind that I’ll do it in the future! Also, they said to cook the corn in a separate pan, but I threw it in the pan that I used to brown the chicken because #LessDirtyDishes. And it was SO GOOD with bits of crispy breading from the chicken mixed throughout. K really, really loved the corn (which is good because he really, really hates cucumbers- haha)! My mouth is watering thinking about this meal!

. . .

Ok, so a quick list of pros & cons & opinions…

Pros: Everything you need is included (except oil olive for most recipes), the directions are simple & there are pictures (praise Jesus), & the food quality is pretty great! Also, while you can freeze some of the meals to make later on, it forces you to stay home & cook.

Cons: Well, it forces you to stay home and cook. (Ha, I kid.) It’s a little costly and I was nervous about the meat while in transit. We received ours in the middle of summer and, while the box was a little soggy & the cold pack thingys were starting to melt, everything was still cold and fresh.

Another pro is that you can skip your box for weeks at a time (like right now we’re currently suspended because I don’t grow money), and they have a handy app that lets you control your deliveries AND the food each week. (You pick three out of the six meals.) It also lets you rate your meals and look up other HelloFresh recipes.

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I haven’t checked it out, but they have a vegetarian box option & family boxes! You can also change the number of meals you get and the number of people eating them.

So in conclusion, we liked our free week. We decided that we’ll probably get HelloFresh one week per month or one week every other month- depends on what they’re serving up! I’m pretty excited to try out some of the other recipes!

Have you ever tried a meal service like this? Would you ever?

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Change of Palate

A long while ago I made this post about adulthood and the reality of it verses my childhood perceptions. Piggy-backing on that, there are some foods that I HATED as a kid that I now rely on really enjoy.

Let me first say that I am not a picky eater. I love veggies and fruits. I can count on one hand the things that I won’t eat (ham, peas, lamb, peppermint patties, kiwi). I’ve tried snails, alligator, turtle, and weird fruits in India. For the most part, I really enjoy food. Luckily, my palate has changed and there are new foods that I now enjoy as an adult!

| AVOCADO |
When I was a kid I can remember my mom cutting, scooping, and slicing one of these on a plate. Maybe it was the green. Maybe it was the squishy texture. Either way, I decided it was icky. Fortunately, I’ve totally changed my mind and now I love this baby-poop snack! I’ll eat it alone or on a sandwich or in guacamole. Nom nom nom.

| COFFEE |
I feel like it’s probably a good thing that I didn’t drink coffee as a kid… Then I would’ve been a hyperactive, angst-y child. My mom would’ve loved that! As I mention previously, my love for coffee developed in college. Or maybe I just needed an excuse to collect mugs… Whatever. As long as there is a 3:1 coffee-to-milk ratio I’m a happy lady.

| ALCOHOL |
As a kid I wasn’t much of a drinker. (Kidding. Well, I’m not. I didn’t drink. But I also wasn’t allowed. Obviously.) Anyway, my dad would let me try his beer every now and then and I’d wrinkle my face and make a “bleech” sound. Then when I was 15 I thought it’d be cool to smuggle wine coolers to a friend’s house. First of all, alcohol was still gross to me at that time. Secondly, I got caught. Thirdly and most importantly, the sense of “badass-ness” you get from smuggling alcohol fades real fast when you realize it was just wine coolers. #teenagefail

| EGGS |
I’ve never actually disliked eggs, but if I have too many I throw up. My family tried to keep eggs from me but now, as a mature, intelligent adult, I can eat all the eggs I want! (And then throw up.) Around Easter K gets very frustrated with me and my arguably avoidable upset tummy…

| COOKED CARROTS |
I don’t know when or why this changed, but once upon a time I hated cooked carrots and now I’m cool with them. Raw carrots were always good in my book, but now their cooked cousin is acceptable to my taste buds. (Actually, raw carrots make my tongue itch. Is that normal?)

. . .

*For the record, I was referring to coffee when I said “rely on” and alcohol when I said “really enjoy.” Just clarifying.

Are there are foods you’ve come to enjoy as you’ve matured? Does anyone actually like peas? What’s a food that you’ll never like, no matter what?

-Louise