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Life During COVID-19: Pantry Staple Recipes

COVID-19 has changed nearly all aspects of life, including our eating habits. Instead of picking up groceries whenever, we are being asked to go once or twice a week, stores may have reduced hours, and many products are out of stock. Yet, we still have to eat. This doesn’t mean, however, that we have to eat plain and boring food. Instead, I’m taking the time to brush up on my culinary skills and to try new food. Below are some of my favorite pantry staple (or nearly all pantry staple) recipes that I’ve been eating.

  1. 1. Cinnamon Amish Bread

    Although this delicious bread has some perishable ingredients, this is a recipe worth sacrificing a few eggs and cups of milk for. Perfect for snacks, desserts and breakfast, this cinnamon Amish bread barely lasted two days in my apartment before being gobbled up. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can easily make some by combining milk and vinegar or lemon juice and letting sit for five minutes. The hardest thing about making this is waiting for it to bake.

    Recipe here.

  2. 2. Brothy Pasta with Chickpeas

    I’m a huge fan of bon appétit’s recipes, and this was no exception. This super simple recipe may not look like much, but its simplicity is an asset. The sweetness of the tomatoes shines through beautifully without being overwhelming. The chickpeas add a delicious chewy texture, without becoming grainy. I sauteed tomato paste with the onions and mashed up the chickpeas, and it turned out excellent. I was worried that it would be too liquid, but the starches from the pasta and the chickpeas thickened it.

    Recipe here.

  3. 3. Broken Glass Jell-O

    Sweet, creamy and jiggly, broken glass Jell-O is easy to make and fun to eat! I never enjoyed Jell-O as a child, but I’m glad I gave it a second try. Adding a dollop of whipped cream makes it even better. This recipe is versatile, as well. You can have anywhere from three to six varieties of Jell-O, and in any flavor combination. I personally used lime, grape, cherry and raspberry. If making this recipe, be sure to read the description of the video, and to allow the sweetened condensed milk jelly cool to room temperature before pouring.

    Recipe here.

  4. 4. 30 Minute Dinner Rolls

    This was one of the first recipes I shared with my landlord, and for good reason! These buns are fluffy, buttery and deliciously simple. They also don’t take hours to make, which is a massive plus. Bread is often out of stock at my local grocery store, so I’ve been taking the time to make my own. While sometimes time consuming, it’s absolutely worth it. This recipe is no exception! I enjoy eating the buns with honey butter, or with soup. 

    Recipe here.

  5. 5. Fried Rice

    Fried rice is my secret weapon when it comes to using up leftovers. I never make fried rice the same way twice. Leftover chicken? Throw it in the rice. Eggs about to go bad? Rice! Frozen veggies? Add. To. Rice. To me, there’s something so comforting about this dish. It’s simple, yet packs a flavorful punch. Fried rice is best made with day-old rice, but if you don’t have that much time, you can make rice an hour in advance and place it in the fridge, uncovered. However, even with fresh rice, it is absolutely delicious.

    There are many variations, but here is one recipe.

COVID-19 has also drastically changed the way I eat and think about food. My treat foods were pomegranates and crackers, and I’m now unable to get either. When I do get a treat, I now take the time to really savor it. I recognize more thoroughly how special they are, and in turn, this helps me be a bit more grateful in life. 

To learn how to better grocery shop, check out my old HCYU article here.