Quarantine cuisine: 23 recipes to get you out of your cooking rut

Quarantine cuisine: 23 recipes to get you out of your cooking rut
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We asked Agenda daily newsletter subscribers to send us their quarantine cuisine, and you delivered. Here are 23 recipes to try on your own, or you can challenge your group chat to a virtual cook-off.

Bonus: If you miss gathering with your people, there are ways to make mealtime feel more communal. One family shared that they started a group text called “Foodie Night” with six of their neighbors. They swap recipes, share photos of how it turned out, and give each other feedback on the finished product.

“This sense of community is getting us through this quarantine experience like champs,” they said.

(1) Brunch-style meatloaf

“Chicken has been in short supply on grocery store shelves during the last month and all I was able to find for protein was ground beef. I turned to an old standby: classic meatloaf with a ketchup glaze. I was getting bored of leftovers, so decided to try a brunch take on meatloaf with an over easy egg. TBH, I may never eat meatloaf any other way. I served it with a side of garlic sautéed kale and mushrooms.” — P

(photo above)

(2) Mediterranean flatbread

“My wife and I were craving Mediterranean food with a kick, and this falafel-spiced chickpea flatbread came out perfectly. Made some homemade tzatziki using Greek yogurt, fresh garlic, limes, and cucumber. Layered onto a heated naan. Combined a can of chickpeas with olive oil, salt, pepper, and other seasonings (we used some garam masala) into a skillet over medium heat for 6-8 minutes. Topped the naan with the chickpeas, some freshly cut onions, tomatoes, and Sriracha if you are looking for some more heat! Enjoy.” — J

mediterranean flatbread

(3) Peanut butter chocolate chip cookie skillet

“All you need is to melt a stick of butter in an ovenproof skillet, stir in 1/2 cup of white sugar, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, and a teaspoon of vanilla. After that cools, whisk in two eggs. In a separate bowl, combine a cup of all-purpose flour, 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mix all of that in the skillet and then fold in a cup of mini peanut butter chips. Bake for 15-18 minutes at 350 and then top with melted peanut butter, chocolate syrup, and your favorite local ice cream.” — T

(4) Slow cooker jambalaya

“The full recipe is here. You can either put everything in the slow cooker first thing in the morning and cook it on low all day or put it in after lunch and cook it on high for 4-5 hours. The only real ‘work’ involved is cutting up the chicken and the Andouille and peeling the shrimp. Cook some rice to serve it on and there’s dinner. And, yes, it does taste every bit as good as it looks!” — L

Slow Cooker Jambalaya

(5) Shakshuka

“My boyfriend, Ben, and I have been cooking way more than usual these past few weeks, but I must say, we’ve never eaten better!  Last night I was inspired by one of my fave Tupelo Honey dishes that I tried to mimic with what we had in the apartment. It’s called shakshuka, a tomato-based Mediterranean stew-like meal that can be served as a hearty breakfast or entreé. There’s sunny side eggs baked on top alongside with roasted red pepper, traditional spices, and feta. I always garnish with cilantro, and we added meatballs, too.” — S


(6) Honey cajun pork tenderloin

“All you need for the dry rub is some paprika, oregano, red chili powder, salt, and pepper. If you want a little extra kick, add approximately a tablespoon of red pepper flakes to the dry rub seasoning. Melt some butter and honey to an ovenproof skillet, sear the seasoned pork and then cook in the oven at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Wrap the pork in aluminum foil and then add water to the skillet and stir until the sauce thickens and then drizzle over the pork.” — T

Honey cajun pork tenderloin

(7) Bacon-wrapped fillet with sweet potato and roasted vegetables

“Dry-rubbed Black Forest bacon-wrapped filet mignon with salt and pepper, basted in garlic butter, and topped with fresh herbs. I served that alongside a baked sweet potato, sprinkled with cinnamon, and roasted broccolini and Brussels sprouts. I paired this with a nice glass of red and the perfect playlist for a magical night in.” — S

(8) Lemon cream butter cake


For the cream cheese filling:
8 oz full-fat cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup icing/confectioners’ sugar
3 Tbsp unsalted butter melted and slightly cooled
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
Zest of 1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed

For the cake:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt reduced to a pinch if using salted butter
1/2 cup unsalted butter melted and slightly cooled
2 large eggs
Zest of 2 small or one large lemons
2 Tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
1/2 tsp vanilla or vanilla bean paste
For garnish:
Additional icing/confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 325F (160C). Prepare an 8-inch springform pan by spraying with cooking spray and lining the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Place pan on a baking sheet and set aside. *Baking sheet is recommended as some small amount of butter may leak out during baking.

Prepare the filling: In a large bowl with an electric beater or the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium-high peed for about 5 minutes, until smooth and creamy.
Add the icing sugar and beat for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until completely combined, about 1 minute. Add the melted butter, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice. Beat until completely combined, about 1 minute. Set aside.

Prepare the cake batter: In large bowl, whisk together the flour, white sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk in melted (cooled) butter, eggs, lemon juice, vanilla and lemon zest just until combined. Do not over mix.
Pour the cake batter evenly into the prepared springform pan. Spread to the edges and level batter. Carefully pour the filling mixture evenly over the cake batter, spreading it to within about 1/2 inch of the edge of the pan, leaving that 1/2-inch around the outside with just bare cake batter visible.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until the outside edges of the cake is light golden and the centre of the cake is set. You can test with a cake tester around the outside edges, but not in the centre, as it is mostly cream cheese. You want the center to be set, so you can test by moving the pan a little to see how jiggly the centre is.

Allow cake to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and carefully remove the outer ring. Allow to cool completely at room temperature for 1 hour, then transfer to a serving plate and refrigerate to chill before serving.

To serve, serve chilled, with a little sprinkling of icing/confectioners’ sugar. — T

lemon cream butter cake'

(9) Vegan cauliflower and sweet potato tacos

“My husband decided to go vegetarian about a month ago, so I’ve had to get creative with meals lately. I found this cauliflower and sweet potato taco recipe (totally vegan actually), and we’ve made it 3 times since. THEY ARE SO DAMN DELICIOUS you don’t even miss the meat! The secret is really in the sauce though. It’s a chipotle cashew crema sauce … I would spread this on just about anything at this point. You also smash up an avocado, squeeze fresh lime juice in it, add a pinch of salt, and use this spread as the base at your bottom of your taco.” — B

vegan tacos

(10) Fruity Pebble croissant French toast

Fruity Pebble Croissant French Toast, eggs and applewood smoked bacon. Croissant toast and bacon are from WholeFoods.” – K

fuity pebble french toast

(11) Chimichurri flank steak

“Flank steak simply seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper. Seared on a high heat cast iron pan on the stove top for about 4 minutes each side then finished about 10 minutes in the oven at 375 (can’t cook beyond medium rare otherwise it becomes a shoe). Topped with a family recipe chimichurri (Argentina’s favorite condiment. It’s our ketchup). Roasted corn, mashed potatoes, and sautéed broccoli with roasted garlic. Not easy on the waste band but hits the spot. (We bought the dish from clearance at West Elm on Metropolitan Ave in case you were wondering.)” — R

Chimichurri flank steak

(12) Mexican pizzas

“They are very customizable and everyone chooses their own toppings. Serves 4. I always serve them with tortilla chips and salsa. (For a vegetarian version I replace the beef with sauteéd red pepper and zucchini)

8 tortillas
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 lb lean ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
1 (10 oz) can enchilada sauce
1 (15 oz) can refried beans
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1 (8 oz) bag shredded Mexican blend cheese

Toppings (optional):
sliced green onions
sliced jalapeños
sliced olives
sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Brown 1lb lean ground beef and drain excess grease. Add 2 tablespoons enchilada sauce, 1/2 cup water and 1 packet of taco seasoning. Bring just to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until thickened.
3. Warm the refried beans with 2 tablespoons enchilada sauce on low
4. Lightly toast tortillas on large, flat skillet: brush each side with oil before toasting. (Alternately, you can bake the tortillas at 375 for 10 minutes)
5. Assemble the pizzas: on one tortilla, spread a heaping spoonful of refried beans then top with a layer of seasoned ground beef. Top with another tortilla. Spread a spoonful of enchilada sauce on top, sprinkle on some diced tomatoes then cover with a layer of cheese.
6. Bake 8-10 minutes on a large baking sheet until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and add toppings of choice. Slice with a pizza cutter into quarters and serve!” — K

mexican pizza

(13) Grilled salmon sandwich

“My favorite coronavirus lunch was a grilled salmon sandwich with Granny Smith apple, spring mix, Swiss cheese, turkey bacon, and herb, garlic, and lemon aioli, on grilled honey wheat bread.” — A

(14) No-knead artisan-style bread

“I have joined the bread-making trend and have been baking during quarantine. I normally make cakes and cookies on my account lulasbakery, but I have enjoyed learning a new skill during this down time. I cannot tell you how easy this recipe is!” — J


(15) Croissants and pan au chocolates

“Inspired by my quarantine re-binge watching of the Great British Baking Show, I decided to quarantine bake croissants and pan au chocolates! The key is, to quote Ina Garten, use GOOD butter. It require 1.5 days of my time to allow the dough to rest properly and create those lovely flaky layers, but thanks to the quarantine, I had plenty of time! Recipe compliments of the blog BessieBakes.” — A

Croissants and pan au chocolates

(16) Lemon crusted chicken

“Lemon crusted chicken with mashed potatoes and garlic carrots.” — O

Editor’s note: We found a similar recipe here with step-by-step instructions 

Lemon crusted chicken

(17) Shrimp and grits

“Our take on shrimp and grits: Shrimp, onions, mushrooms, and pancetta, sautéed with garlic and white wine over cheese, cream, and stock polenta! Garnished with scallions, and the La Crema Chardonnay to cleanse.” — B

Shrimp & Grits

(18) Turkey chili and fixings

“A. Zucchini squash stir fry (squash, tomato, onion, seasoning)
B. Tumeric rice with canned garbanzo (best served with harissa or habanero hot sauce).
C. Fresh steamed broccoli
D. Turkey chili: no beans, no ketchup. Just turkey, onion, cilantro, garlic, basil, maybe fresh ginger or squeeze of lime, served with side of homemade Nicaraguan pickled onions.” — J

chili and fixings

(19) Savory scones

“I am so proud I made bacon, cheddar, and chives scones with my daughter. They turned out delicious. Here is the recipe:

2 cups (241g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or 2 cups (227g) Pastry Flour Blend
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon (14g) baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
4 tablespoons (57g) cold butter
1 cup (113g) very coarsely grated or diced cheddar cheese
1/3 cup (about 14g) snipped fresh chives or 1/3 cup (21g) finely diced scallion tops (the green part)
1/2 pound (227g) bacon, cooked, cooled, and crumbled (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (198g) heavy cream or whipping cream, or enough to make the dough cohesive.” — C

savory scones

(20) Pecan-crusted lamb

Bruce Moffett’s cookbook, page 171: Pecan-crusted lamb. We used a bottle of Chianti from Foxcroft in the making. (On the side), made gruyere Mac ‘n cheese, whole wheat yeast rolls, and poached shrimp green bean salad with homemade buttermilk dressing. Served with 2013 Keswick Cab Sauv Estate Reserve, a Virginia wine.” — L

(21) Vegan apricot glazed tofu

“Apricot glazed tofu, roasted potatoes with rosemary and salad.” — K

Editor’s note: We found a similar recipe here with step-by-step instructions

vegan apricot glazed tofu

(22) Vegan black eyed pea patties

“Black eyed pea patties with chipotle aioli, rice and grilled asparagus.” — K

Editor’s note: We found a similar recipe here with step-by-step instructions

vegan black eyed pea patties

(23) Pantry delicacies

“A memorable meal from our family. We’re deep in pantry comfort food and it’s glorious. Box mashed potatoes are life. Feeling anxious, cooped up, driven crazy by your kids? Kraft mac ‘n cheese can handle all this. Highly recommend.” — K

pantry delicacies

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