Quarantine Recipes: Become your own Chef

For those of us sheltering in place, we have learned a “new normal”. If you are already an exquisite chef extraordinaire (as you can see I’ve been reading a lot of Fancy Nancy books to my kids), then this post is NOT for you. I am a very BASIC eater, and cooker. Left up to me, we’d be having grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, and canned soup… Boring. Here are some EASY recipes you can try that might spice up your food life and remind your family why they love gathering around the table for meals.

Santa Fe Casserole Bake

  • 1 lb Lean Ground beef (I use turkey)
  • 1 Package Taco Seasoning
  • 2 Cups Chicken Broth
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 Cup Sour Cream
  • 1 Can (7 oz) Diced green chilies
    1 Bag (11 oz) Tortilla Chips
  • 2 Cups (8 oz) grated Monterey Jack and Cheddar Cheese
  • ½ Cup sliced Green Onions

In a medium skillet ( I use a large pot), brown meat, and stir until crumbly; drain fat. Add taco seasoning mix until everything is coated. In a small bowl combine flour and broth, add to meat; bring to a boil to mixture will start to thicken. Stir in sour cream and green chilies; mix until everything is incorporated. In a lightly greased 13x9x2 baking dish, place half the bag of chips. Top with ½ of the meat mixture, sprinkle a cup of cheese on top. Layer again half the bag of chips, top with ½ of the meat mixture, sprinkle a cup of cheese on top. Top with green onions, bake uncovered at 375 for 20 minutes, let stand for 5 minutes before serving, Enjoy ????

Chicken Bowtie Delight

Chicken, pasta (bowtie or spiral), frozen mix veg., small onion and ketchup.

  1. Season and cook chicken with chopped onion – set aside
  2. Cook pasta when almost fully cooked add the small packet of mixed veg.
  3. Drain pasta and veg mix then add to the chicken, stir and add ketchup for color.

It’s simple and kids love it. LOL

Easy Beef and Broccoli


  • 2/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha, or more, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound flank steak, thinly sliced across the grain
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, chicken stock, honey, vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, sesame oil, cornstarch, Sriracha, ginger, red pepper flakes and 1/4 cup water; set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add steak and cook, flipping once, until browned, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Stir in broccoli and soy sauce mixture until tender and slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately.

Vegan Stuffed Sweet Potatoes:

  • Sweet potatoes– I typically bake my sweet potatoes in the oven… super easy (but it takes a bit longer)
  • Black beans– you can make your own or do what I pretty much always do which is simply drain and rinse a can of black beans.
  • Onion and other veggies– as written, the recipe simply calls for onion. However, you could easily saute up some other veggies if you’d like. I’ve made this several times with bell pepper as well and always love that.
  • Spices– I used a simple mix of spices that result in a kind of taco seasoning that I really love. Feel free to use whatever spices you desire here but my recipe as written is a great starting point!

One Pan Sausage and Veggies


  • 2 cups (~1 small) red potato
  • 3/4ths pound green beans
  • 1 large head of broccoli (~ 1 and 1/2 cups)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups chopped bell peppers 2 large or 6-7 mini sweet bell peppers
  • 9 ounces smoked sausage I use turkey or chicken, not ground sausage
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Serve with: fresh parsley, quinoa/rice, lots of freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

  2. Line a large sheet pan with foil or parchment paper.

  3. Prep the veggies: chop the red potatoes (pretty small pieces here so they will be tender in time), trim the green beans and halve, chop the broccoli, chop the peppers into thick squares, and coin the sausage in thick slices.

  4. Place all the veggies and sausage on a sheet pan. Pour the olive oil and all the spices on top. Toss to evenly coat all the veggies and meat. (recommended 15×21 inch sheet pan)

  5. Bake 15 minutes, remove from the oven and flip/stir all the veggies around. Return to the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until vegetables are crisp tender and sausage is browned.

  6. If desired, sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese over the veggies and sausage as soon as they come out of the oven.

  7. Enjoy with rice or quinoa and fresh parsley if desired.


Pesto Chicken


  • 3 chicken breasts, organic recommended
  • 1 6 oz. jar basil pesto
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced
  • 3 –6 slices mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Season chicken breasts liberally with salt and pepper.
  2. OPTIONAL STEP: While the oven is preheating you can heat some olive oil or butter in a skillet. Once hot add the chicken breast and sear for 1-2 minutes on each side until caramelized. The chicken should still be raw in the center.
  3. Arrange chicken breasts (seared or raw) onto a baking dish or rimmed baking sheet.
  4. Use a spoon to cover chicken with pesto.
  5. Top each chicken breast with 1 slice of mozzarella cheese and 2 sliced tomatoes.
  6. Bake for 20- 30 minutes (time will vary depending on thickness of chicken and whether or not it has been seared), or until chicken is no longer pink in the center. Broil the chicken the final 2 minutes so that the cheese is bubbly and golden. Serve immediately.
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