Quarantine Week 1

We started semi-quarantine life last week with it becoming a more complete quarantine Saturday. While we are permitted to grocery shop, we are trying to limit it as much as possible because of the risks of interaction and a general distrust of other people to be as cautious as we believe we are being. And yes, I’m aware I sound a bit nutty. Let’s just say that in a non-pandemic world, I am a bit of a germaphobe. For example, getting me to eat at a buffet is quite the feat. And yes, I’m aware that just because restaurant personnel are usually trained in food safety does not mean that they all adhere. However, as much as I like my own cooking, I occassionally need to not have to clean the dishes myself!

Anyway, I digress. So Wednesday night (3/18) was our last order out. We ordered from Rockwell’s Bar and Grill, our favorite neighborhood spot. We needed taquitos…which also led to some Louisiana eggrolls. Service was great. We ordered online, and I picked up. The staff were actively wiping down checkout screens and such. Sadly, they are currently closed due to the pandemic, which I admire, but we will miss them terribly until this is over. I generously let my husband have the leftovers the next day as he is going to have major withdrawals.

Thursday night (3/19), we ate leftover chickpea cakes (like a vegetarian crabcake) with dill sauce that I had made earlier in the week, and creamed spinach. I had made the chickpea cakes a few days earlier, and bunch spinach was on sale the last time I hit the grocery store and needed to be made.

Friday (3/20), I did hit Trader Joe’s for a wine/liquor run. People were generally distancing, but it made me even more paranoid. I used the instapot to make a corned beef I picked up a couple of weeks prior. After it cooked 90 minutes, I added a bag of sauerkraut and left it on warm for 15 minutes. It was perfect. I’ve been eating those leftovers through today, as it was a little over 4lbs of meat and 1lb kraut. It helps that my husband is not a huge fan of sauerkraut.

Saturday (3/21) and Sunday (3/22), we lived on leftovers from earlier in the week and freezer goods. We had shepherd’s pie I had made the prior Monday. This is not a true shepherd’s pie if you ask anyone in Ireland, but it is what I grew up with. It is made with ground beef instead of lamb and less like a stew under the potatoes. There also may have been some frozen taquitos. I’ll admit our eating isn’t always super healthy when we don’t have the kids to feed!

Monday (3/23), I made eggplant parmesan with one of the last pieces of fresh produce we had. My husband claimed not to really like eggplant and the kid had never had it. I used my airfryer to fry the eggplant and baked off the finished product in the oven. My husband had purchased one of the smallest eggplants, not understanding how eggplant parmesan works, so I ended up with a single layer rather than the lasagna style form I’ve made on the past. Luckily, we’d stocked up on cheese the weekend before. I served on a bed of spagetti with a side of buttered steamed brussel sprouts. It was a huge success. They both loved it.

Tuesday (3/24), I fried chicken using our airfryer. I had thawed it out over a couple of days, originally planning to smoke it. However, we live in Chicago and snow/rain/weather tends to happen. I decided I didn’t feel up to dealing with the elements to smoke, and my husband loves fried chicken. They were leg quarters, but I separated them into legs and thighs for frying. It being a non-kid night, we didn’t even both making vegetables. We also have a good amount of fried chicken left over.

Wednesday (3/25), I recreated a dinner at Rockwell’s. I told you, we are crazy about this place. I made burgers and a side of roasted potatoes with garlic and rosemary for my husband and I. We are working our way through about 10-12 lbs of a ground beef in our freezer. undefinedI made grilled cheese and sauteed corn for our 9 year old. I generally hate that she ALWAYS orders this when we go there, and I hate that there is not a vegetable anywhere near that plate of food. But I felt like a morale boost was in store since we can’t actually go to our favorite restaurants. undefinedThis dinner also fed into my cooking fanaticism, as I made the burger buns from scratch. It was a simple white bread bun recipe that I added toasted sesame seeds to, but I felt good about it. We also had brownie deserts from brownies I made the previous afternoon!

So, our first week has gone pretty smoothly. There was one grocery trip yesterday. Luckily, we have a Trader Joe’s that is very observant of the 6-foot distancing recommendation and helpfully limits capacity. But mostly, we’ve been living off food from the freezer and cabinet. Breakfast has been pretty standard with eggs and toast. Although we had leftover french toast casserole that the kid has been living on. Lunches are mostly leftovers with a sandwich or two thrown in. I anticipate I might break down and hit our local store at some point for something fresh, but at the rate we’re going, I believe I can hold out another week!

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