Easy Meals to Make During Quarantine

Licensed by Creative Commons

Angelisse Alvarez 

Staff Writer 

Social distancing during this pandemic means less frequent visits to the grocery store or online grocery shopping for some. However, product availability online is starting to dwindle.

Quick meals don’t utilize many ingredients, tend to be reasonably priced and can often be found in many kitchens. 

Here are some recipes that are easy and forgiving, meaning ingredients can be substituted for others. 

Adjust these meals to your taste, budget and whatever you have in your kitchen. You can use these recipes to come up with ideas of your own. 

Have fun with it!  

Honey and Garlic Chicken and Potatoes 

In addition to an oven, this recipe can be made in a crockpot. It uses little ingredients, yet is still flavorful.   

For a vegan option, you can replace chicken with vegetables of your choice. The sauce in this recipe tastes good with anything. Consider serving noodles with this sauce.  

You’ll need four chicken breast halves and 1-2 chopped potatoes, depending on your preference. You can use chicken thighs as well, but you’ll just need to cook them for a little longer.  

In a bowl, combine one-half cup of honey, one-half cup of soy sauce, several cloves of garlic, hot sauce or sriracha, pepper, a chopped onion and oregano.  

Season your chicken breasts and potatoes with seasonings such as salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and smoked paprika.  

If you’re using a crockpot, you can literally just throw everything in there now. Give it all a stir and cook for around three hours on low. It might be faster to cook depending on your crockpot, so just keep checking on it.  

If you’re using an oven, add the seasoned potatoes in a baking pan first. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.  

Next, layer the chicken on top, and finish by spooning your sauce all over the chicken and potatoes. Continue baking at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked.  

Garnish and serve. 

Fajita Pasta 

Use any pasta shape, such as penne or rotini.  

Get a pot of salted water boiling, and boil your desired amount of pasta. You could do a whole 8 oz box to make a big pot of pasta.  

If you want to add chicken, slice it up. Add oil, garlic, onion and chicken to a pan.  

Season chicken with seasonings such as salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin and garlic powder.  

Add peppers to the chicken mixture or replace chicken with peppers for a vegan option. Add other veggies of your choice, like spinach or tomato.  

Splash milk or half n half in the mixture. Stir and add boiled and drained pasta.  

Sprinkle shredded cheese on top. It is done!  

Empanadas  

There are various ways to make these savory pastries. 

This recipe uses frozen empanada dough, which is available for as little as $1- 2 dollars in the freezer section of many local grocery stores. Thaw the dough on a counter for a few hours. The dough is shaped into round discs.   

For the filling, use ground meat of your choice, such as beef. Add a few tablespoons of oil, garlic, onion and ground meat to a heated pan.  

Since my family is Puerto Rican, we add some Goya tomato sauce, sofrito and sazón to the filling. You can buy a jar of sofrito or make it yourself by following this recipe. Sazón is a spice packet found in many grocery stores. 

Again, these ingredients are optional and this recipe is versatile. 

Feel free to add peppers or chopped potatoes to your filling. Seasonings can include chili powder, oregano, ground cumin and of course salt and pepper.  

Once the filling is cooked, set it aside. Beat an egg.  

Place a thawed empanada disc onto a surface, and spoon some tablespoons of filling in the center.  

Moisten the dough edges with the egg mixture. Fold one corner of the dough over to an opposite corner, in half. Press down the edge with a fork to get a crescent shape.  

Add about 2 inches of oil to a pan, and fry the empanadas until lightly browned on both sides. Then place them on a paper towel to drain excess oil. You could also bake your empanadas at 350 degrees for around 20 minutes. After folding the empanadas, brush them with the egg mixture before baking.  

Enjoy!  

Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish Omelet) 

This omelette is large and filling. It could serve more than one person and uses around four eggs and four potatoes.  

If you don’t have potatoes, add frozen hash browns or French fries if you’ve got those in your freezer. I recommend adding peppers, garlic and sausage.  

Slice and dice your potatoes and onions. Pour 3-4 tablespoons of oil in a pan on medium heat. Add the potatoes and cook until tender. Next, add onions and cook until mostly transparent. You can add peppers, sausage or other veggies at this stage.  

Remove the mixture and place it in a bowl. Add a few more tablespoons of oil to the pan.  

Beat your eggs and seasonings separately, and pour them in the pan. Cook until the bottom has goldened a bit, then flip. Add your potato and veggie mixture, using a spatula to even things out.  

Again, cook until the bottom has lightly goldened, and finally turn off the heat. Holding the handle of the pan, place a plate on top of your omelet and flip it onto the plate.  

Now you’ve got a big, cakey omelet that is sure to fill you up.  

Email Angelisse at  

aalvarez4@live.esu.edu  

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