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Cooking and Shopping During the Coronavirus Crisis

By practicing social distancing, we are all doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19.  While grocery stores remain open, limiting your visits will help protect you and others.  To help you minimize your number of trips while maximizing your home economics, here is a shopping list that includes shelf-stable, hearty, versatile foods and ingredients, good for no-waste meal planning now and into the future.

Apples – Good source of fiber, great eaten raw, baked or made into apple sauce by tossing into a Crock-Pot with a few tablespoons of water

Bananas – If you can’t eat them before they brown, banana can be sliced and frozen or made into banana bread

Whole carrots – Use to make mirepoix (a flavor base made up of onion, celery and carrot), great snack as is or roasted for a side dish

Yellow onions – Mirepoix ingredient, add flavor to pretty much anything

Celery – Mirepoix ingredient, great snack with peanut butter

Potatoes – There are a million ways to enjoy potatoes! Baked, boiled, broiled, grilled or fried, these hearty carbs are inexpensive and filling

Whole chicken – Yes, your roaster can rival the Costco rotisserie! Stuff with mirepoix or large pieces of onion, celery and carrots. Halfway through cooking, pull the carrots out to caramelize in the pan and serve as a side. After you’ve made a fancy meal of the breast, legs and thighs, pick-off any leftover meat and set aside (for use in soup or chicken salad), then put any left over bones, skin and uneaten onions, carrots and celery into a Crock-Pot and fill with water, cook on low all day to make a delicious soup stock

Chicken thighs – For those too chicken for a whole chicken.

Bacon – Everything is better with bacon. Bake on a sheet pan for the crispiest texture and save the grease for frying (… don’t judge me, these are tough times!)

Cheese – Because without cheese, life simply wouldn’t be worth living. Personally, I think cheddar-jack is the most versatile and hardworking of all the cheeses, since it’s great on eggs, in Tex-Mex dishes, as a chili topper or just nibbled off the block for comfort

All-purpose flour – Use to make roux, as a thickener for soups and sauces, to make bread, noodles, dumplings, pizza dough and pie

Butter – I personally prefer real, salted butter in sticks

Yeast – Don’t be intimidated by the thought of baking your own bread! You can do it!

Frozen bread dough – If you’re not brave enough to bake your own bread, can be used for rolls, loaves, or make your own pocket sandwiches by filling with different meats and cheeses before baking

Baking soda – Basic baking ingredient

Sugar – Basic baking ingredient

Eggs – Great source of protein, and last a long time in the fridge

Peanut butter or any other type of nut butter – Great source of protein and a pantry staple, great by the spoonful, on toast, mixed with oatmeal or used in cookies

Honey – Use as a sugar substitute

Oatmeal – Great for breakfast and baking

Pasta – Make your own pasta sauce with canned tomatoes, be creative, or simply toss with butter, salt and pepper

Beans (canned or dry) – I like black beans, red beans (for chili) and garbanzo beans (for salads, hummus or roasting to make a crunchy snack)

Canned tomatoes – Add to chili, stews and soups or use to make homemade pasta sauce or salsa

Powdered milk, or shelf stable oat or nut milk – For drinking and baking. If you’re a coffee drinker, consider cans of sweetened condensed milk for your daily drink

Mixed vegetables (canned or frozen) – Great for a healthy side, add to soups or in shepherd’s or pot pie

Dry spices – Everything is better with a little seasoning, I like rosemary with chicken, as well as dill. Powdered garlic or dried shallots, smoked paprika, fennel and red pepper flakes are also among my pantry staples 

Wine – Adds depth and flavor to dishes, but save most of it for drinking!