7 Recipes I Made While Social-Distancing

Every day since the California state-wide “shelter” has started has felt the same. It feels like there is so much time in a day and, at the same time, not enough time to get anything done. Some days, I am super productive; others, I lay in bed and alternate between Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and, eventually, my email accounts. About two weeks into my social distancing, I noticed how isolation and free-time has led many people to discovering or expanding their creative abilities, so I thought I might as well experiment and figure out what hobby I could excel at during my time at home. Unfortunately, I came to the conclusion that I will never be a professional MUA or a viral Tik Tok dancer (insert big sad face) but I did reassure myself that I am actually a more-than-decent chef. Following this realization, my days have been filled with cooking some of my fav recipes and experimenting with new ones I’ve been eager to try for a while or have recently gone viral. 

 

Here are 7 things I’ve made while practicing social distancing and how they were for me! Most of these recipes were made with things I already had at home or are generally in high supply at most grocery stores during this time. I hope you enjoy!:

  1. 1. Dalgona Coffee (Tik Tok Coffee)

    dalgona coffee

    If you’re an avid Tik Tok viewer, like myself, I am sure you have seen this coffee trend all over your FYP. I love coffee and tend to prefer it on the sweeter side so I thought this recipe would be perfect. 

    What you’ll need: a cup of your choosing, something to stir with, Instant coffee, sugar, your favorite kind of milk, and hot water. 

    What I did: Now I probably made this coffee drink about four or five times since discovering it and tweaked it each time until it was my own and something I really liked! In my favorite version, I started by making some coffee and let it cool on the side. I used a keurig, so I was able to make a small cup. This first part isn’t necessary but I like coffee and wanted my drink to be a little more coffee based. Now for the fluffy coffee mix. To make one serving, I put 2 tablespoons of instant coffee in a tall glass followed by 2½ tablespoons of sugar. I then added 2 tablespoons of hot water. (I got mine from a keurig but you can also use hot water straight from the sink.) After this, I took a whisk, placed it in the cup, and then rolled the whisk between my hands at a fast pace for about 12-15 minutes. You know it’s done when the mixture is a caramel-y color and forms stiff peaks when you remove the whisk. To finish off I poured in my coffee from earlier and some almond milk, added ice, and stirred it all up.

    I really enjoyed this recipe because it was simple and easy to make. It also provided me with a pretty good coffee fix while I am unable to go to Starbucks. Here’s a Tik Tok of one of my favorite How To’s for this recipe→https://vm.tiktok.com/WoYEL7/

  2. 2. Asparagus Casserole

    I decided to make this as a side for my family’s Easter in quarantine. I’ve never heard of it or tried it before making it but figured we all liked asparagus so why not!

    What you’ll need: a bunch of asparagus, 8oz of cream cheese (softened), 3tbsp of butter (melted), your favorite shredded cheese, and whatever seasonings you feel fit (I used garlic salt, pepper, italian seasoning, and crushed peppers). 

    What I did: I’m not one for following recipes, so I skimmed an online recipe and then just kinda went for it. I cut up my bunch of asparagus into pieces about 2 inches in size. I placed them in a casserole dish, added the butter, and seasoned with my garlic salt, pepper, italian seasoning, and red peppers. I mixed this all up and let it bake on 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes or until the asparagus tendered. While the asparagus was in the oven, I put my cream cheese and about a handful of shredded mozzarella in a bowl and started to mix it up. I added a little more seasoning and some more cheese until the consistency felt right to me. After 15 minutes in the oven, I took the dish out, spread the cheesy mixture across the top of the asparagus and set it to bake for 10 more minutes. 

    When it was done I let it sit and cool/solidify for a few minutes. It came out surprisingly well for something I totally winged. The asparagus was juicy and soft like it usually is when I sauté it on the stove but had a nice creamy and crisp cream cheese topping. As far as side dishes go, I think this was a great way to try something new, and I would definitely recommend it if you’re tired of the same old foods at Thanksgiving or Christmas.

  3. 3. Soft Potato Tacos

    Woman slicing tomatoes

    Potato tacos are one of my favorite kinds of tacos. I especially loved them when I was a vegetarian because they were filling and easy to make. 

    What you’ll need: To make about 6-8 soft tacos, you’ll need 3 large potatoes, a quarter of an onion, chopped bell pepper (I used the frozen kind), chili powder to taste, two tablespoons of whatever oil you use, tortillas, garlic salt, and pepper. Don’t forget your favorite taco toppings--I used cotija cheese, hot sauce and guac. 

    What I did: Before I did anything, I set a medium size pot, about half full with water, on the stove and turned it on to boil. Then I washed and cut up all my veggies. I cut the 3 potatoes into small cubes around the size of a quarter and diced the onion and bell peppers. I put the potatoes into the boiling water with some salt and let them sit in there for about 5 to 10 minutes so they could get soft. When they were done, I heated the oil in a skillet and added the potatoes and other vegetables. I cooked everything until the potatoes were crispy on the outside and the onions and peppers were soft. Finally, I heated my tortillas on the stove and put together my tacos. 

    I usually make tacos for dinner a couple times a month so it was nice to mix it up and go meatless for a meal. You can also play with the recipe a bit and turn them into breakfast tacos by adding scrambled eggs.

  4. 4. Chicken Gyros and Tzatziki Sauce

    This was by far one of the best things I’ve made while social distancing. It took a bit more of my time than the rest of the recipes and required some ingredients I didn’t have at home. Luckily, all we have is time while stuck at home, so I spent a full day prepping and cooking this meal for my whole family. 

    What you’ll need: chicken cutlets, greek yogurt, 2 lemons, fresh dill, a cucumber, oil, minced garlic, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, pita bread, tomatoes, onion, and shredded lettuce.

    What I did: Like I said before, I’m not one to follow a recipe. So I skimmed a gyro recipe that seemed pretty legit and made sure I could make it with the ingredients I had. I started by prepping and marinating the meat so I could start cooking right after I made the sauce and prepped my vegetables. To do this I took a large bowl and placed the chicken cutlets inside, whcih in this case there were 6. Next, I measured out ½ a cup of greek yogurt and dumped it in the bowl. After, I squeezed in a whole lemon and added about a tablespoon of each of my seasonings. I mixed it all up and made sure every chicken slice was coated in yogurt, and then I placed foil on top of the bowl and let it sit on the side. While the chicken marinated, I worked on the tzatziki and toppings. For the sauce, I measured another ½ cup of greek yogurt into a bowl. Then, I took another bowl and (after peeling my cucumber) shredded my cucumber into it. One of the main components in tzatziki sauce is the cucumber juice so I had to put all the cucumber shreds in a napkin and drain the juice out. This step felt kind of long but when I was done I poured the cucumber juice and some of the left over shreds into my bowl of yogurt. I squeezed in half of my remaining lemon, added two tablespoons of garlic, and two tablespoons of fresh dill. To finish it off, I stirred everything up and added some seasonings to taste. With my sauce finished, I heated my pita bread in my toaster oven on warm, sliced up my tomatoes, and julienned my onion. Now that all of my toppings were finished being prepped (and my chicken had marinated for an hour), I poured a couple tablespoons of oil into a pan and set my stove to medium heat. When it was warm, I put my chicken cutlets in the pan and cooked each side for about 5-6 minutes each or until the chicken was thoroughly cooked. Lastly, I cut the chicken into smaller pieces that would fit better into a gyro, and the meal was ready to be served. 

    My whole family enjoyed this and although it was different from the donner kebab gyros we usually eat, it was still really good. I definitely recommend cooking your chicken in some kind of yogurt whether you make this recipe or something completely different. You can’t even taste the yogurt after it’s cooked but the chicken will be really moist and flavorful. 

  5. 5. Pankeke (Keke)

    Pankeke is one of my favorite deserts. This a traditional Samoan dish that is basically a better version of a pancake. My dad used to make these for me and my siblings when we were kids, and it had been a few years since we had them, so we convinced him to make them again. I helped a little so, for article purposes, this is one of the 7 recipes I made while in quarantine.

    Things you’ll need: A lot of cooking oil (maybe 6 cups), flour, sugar, baking powder, and water. (Optional: ripe bananas and powdered sugar)

    What my dad did: To make about 20 ‘keke’ he combined 4 cups of flour, 2 cups of granulated sugar, and 3 teaspoons of baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Then he stirred in 3 mashed bananas and the 2 cups of water. When he was done, he was left with a thick and sticky dough. I thought it looked weird but he assured me this was right. Next, he heated the oil in a big pot or wok on the stove making sure it was bubbling a bit. This next part got a little tricky. In order to get the pankeke to look the way it does, you have to carefully use a ladle and fill it about halfway, and then hold another spoon inside the oil at the surface of the pot and pour your ladle of keke mix into this spoon. While doing this, my dad made sure to move the spoon in the oil around to help the batter form into a spherical shape. Once that batter solidified, he let the keke cook until it was a golden-brown color and then he placed them on a napkin lined plate. This step may take a while to perfect so don’t be surprised if you end up with 2-3 misshaped keke. At this point, they should look like hush puppies. To serve, he sprinkled them with powdered sugar. 

    I like these because they’re simple to make and satisfy my sweet tooth. They’re also an interesting take on a traditional breakfast item.

  6. 6. College Budget Chow Mein

    If you’re a college student, you know how difficult it can be to make yourself dinner, whether it be finding the time to do it or having the money to go grocery shopping. This next recipe is just something I kinda made that came out surprisingly good so if you ever need a quick, cheap dinner but are tired of eating plain ramen all the time, this is definitely for you. 

    What you’ll need: a pack of your favorite ramen noodles (I used beef flavored), ½ cup of frozen vegetable medley (mine had green beans, corn, carrots, and peas), 2 tbsp of cooking oil, some kind of protein (I recommend tofu, chicken, or spam), and finally some seasonings--for this recipe I used garlic salt, pepper, and the ramen seasoning.

    What I did: First, I boiled a pot of water to cook the noodles in. At the same time, I started to heat up small cubes of spam in a pan with oil. Once the water was boiling, I put the noodles in and let them soften. Then I drained the water and put the noodles in the frying pan with the spam, added my frozen vegetables, and my seasonings. I let everything cook until the noodles got a little sticky and crispy. 

    It only took me about 10 minutes to prep and cook and cost around $5, considering I already had most of the supplies at home. It wasn’t Chinese take-out-quality chow mein, but it was better than eating another plain bowl of top ramen. If you’re looking to save on time and money, try this one out.

  7. 7. Tik Tok Sunflower Potatoes

    onion and potatoes

    Tik Tok has been one of the highlights of being inside all day. Here is another recipe I saw going viral on the app. It’s basically the holy grail of breakfast potatoes. If you have the time to spend on it, I definitely recommend trying it! 

    What you’ll need: a non-stick pan, 2 large potatoes, 5 tbsp of cooking oil, garlic salt, pepper, other seasonings you like (I used chili powder and italian seasoning), and whatever extra toppings you want (I used eggs, cheese, and turkey bacon).

    What I did: To prepare, I cut up the potatoes into thin slices. I also cut up a few slices of my bacon into little pieces. Then I heated up a few tablespoons of oil in a skillet on the stove and layered my potato slices inside in a spiral, sunflower-like pattern, making sure to leave the center open to put in my eggs and bacon later. I poured the remaining oil on top, seasoned this side of the "sunflower," and sprinkled some bacon bits and cheese on top. I let the potatoes sit for about 10 minutes until the bottoms were crisp and golden. I carefully flipped it over and let the other side cook for about 10 minutes as well. Once all the potatoes were a light gold color on both sides, I flipped it over again and began putting my toppings on. In the center, I cracked open two eggs, let them cook sunny side up, and then sprinkled more cheese on top. Once the eggs were cooked all the way, I took a spatula and placed the entire "sunflower" on a plate.

    This was really cool to make and I can see why there was so much Tik Tok hype! It came out pretty good, and I love potatoes so this was a great meal for me. Next time, I think I might go without the eggs just to make the process a little easier and, instead, make an avocado smash to eat on top!