Honest to Goodness | Seattle Personal Chef

COVID-19 Cooking Tips: Making Use of On-Hand Ingredients

Keeping our pantry stocked with the basics is one of the many challenges requiring us to seek COVID-19 cooking tips. Not only are we trying to minimize trips to the grocery store for health reasons, we often face long lines and out-of-stock items when we do go to the store. Home cooks may find their pantries and refrigerators dwindling down to a small selection of seemingly incompatible ingredients.

During this coronavirus pandemic when restaurants are closed, more people are cooking at home for themselves. The question of “What’s for dinner?” occurs daily. This question is usually followed by “What can I make with what I have?” Well, there is an art to cooking with what you have. Even under “normal” circumstances, it is a great idea to make the most of the ingredients on hand. Doing so is resourceful and minimizes food waste.

Pantry Organization

Step one in this process for our COVID-19 cooking tips is to get organized. Cooking with what you have starts with knowing what you have. Some of our clients find this organization step challenging and turn to us for help. Our kitchen organization makeover makes it easy for you to know exactly what you have in your pantry and where in your kitchen cabinets you can find the cooking tools for what you want to make.

kitchen organization covid-19 cooking tips
Keep your cupboards well-organized so you can see more easily what ingredients and tools you have.
Cooking Staples

Second, keeping your pantry stocked with a good foundation of staples will go a long way in helping you succeed when you are stuck in a cooking rut. Here are some examples of great basics to have on hand:

  • Oil – olive, vegetable, coconut, avocado, grapeseed
  • Vinegar – balsamic, distilled white, red wine, apple cider
  • Legumes – dried and canned lentils, beans, chickpeas
  • A variety of spices and herbs
  • Soup broths – chicken, beef, seafood, vegetable
  • Canned tomato products – paste, sauce, diced, crushed, stewed
  • Rice – jasmine, brown, wild
  • Pasta – long noodles, short shapes
  • Wine – some for the pot, some for the cook 😊
Recipe Inspiration
Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad
For something different, this Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad with Pico de Gallo could be made with steak or shrimp, pinto beans, and grilled corn or zucchini.

The next step is to find some culinary inspiration. It is easy to do a quick search online with the main ingredients you want to use to find a new recipe idea. For instance, if you have chicken, frozen spinach, and a can of black beans, enter those items in an online search and some of the first recipe suggestions you’ll get are Chicken and Black Bean Burritos and Melissa’s Chicken, Spinach, and Black Bean Enchiladas. Yum! Who doesn’t love Tex-Mex food?

Social media is also a great place to turn to for culinary inspirations. Our chefs are always finding creative ways to combine ingredients, so don’t hesitate to message us on Facebook or Instagram for ideas! While we may be personal chefs, we are home cooks too and are always happy to offer advice. If you find yourself repeating the same recipes over and over, keep in mind that we have a lot of resources to share with you. Let’s plan a virtual cooking class together or ask us to send you some tried-and-true recipes from our company’s database.

Experiment!

The last of our COVID-19 cooking tips is to have the courage to experiment! You never know when swapping out the protein source, vegetable, or grain in a recipe can lead to your new favorite dish.

We hope you feel inspired to learn something new in your kitchen while you are at home more often these days. Remember, we are all in this together. Nourish your body as best as possible to stay healthy and energized. You will be surprised at how much you can do with the ingredients you have on-hand!