Hey All! Today I’m deviating from design a bit and sharing another passion of mine with you. COOKING and BAKING! I LOVE to cook but I especially love to BAKE! I talked in a recent post about how I’ve been leaning into this hobby of mine while we’ve all been stuck at home in quarantine. It’s helped me to relax, destress, and has kept me busy on the bad days. I thought I’d share my favorite go-to recipes that we’ve been cooking over here. Nothing super fancy, most of them pretty easy, ALL of them delicious!
My favorite go-to recipes during quarantine
Go-to Breakfast favorites
Breakfast is one of our favorite meals to eat out. When the weekend rolls around, you can usually find us at one of our local breakfast joints for brunch. But, now that we are stuck at home, we are having to make our own.
During the week we are usually on our own. Grabbing some toast, cereal, fruit, or leftovers in the fridge. On the weekend though, my husband has been perfecting his pancake making skills. Guys, they are AHHH-MAZING!
He has a favorite go-to recipe and his pancakes always turn out so big and fluffy! I’ve stopped trying because even if I follow the same recipe, I can’t recreate what he does. They are just.so.good! He sometimes surprises me with a chocolate version which is equally delicious, but my current favorite is the lemon pancakes. Guys, no joke, these are INCREDIBLE! To the regular pancake batter, he adds lemon zest and a little vanilla. With a little side of berries, it’s the perfect breakfast for weekend mornings!
When we’re not in the mood for pancakes, Mike usually whips us up an egg sandwich or one of his famous egg scrambles.
The scrambles started off as an attempt to make an omelet but he couldn’t quite get the flip right. So now he justs sautés up whatever veggies we have in the fridge like onions, zucchini, and mushrooms. He’ll then set that aside and cook some scrambled eggs. Adding the veggies in when they are almost done. With some toast or hash browns, this is another one of our weekend go-to breakfasts that we love. Super easy and any leftovers we have during the week.
favorite and fast Lunch recipes
Lunchtime has been interesting in our house. When we both worked out of the home, we were either taking leftovers from dinner the night before or grabbing something out.
And while we can still grab leftovers at lunchtime, I’ve noticed that with both of us digging into them, they don’t seem to last as long. When shopping I’ve been trying to remember to grab “lunch” items. Things for sandwiches or frozen pizzas for last minute go-tos when the fridge is getting empty.
I try to always have a rotisserie chicken on hand and this has been perfect for lunch. We can add it to salads, make sandwiches, or eat it as is with some fruit or other sides. It’s the perfect short cut for many of our favorite go-to recipes.
When I feel like making something though I’ve found that the Pioneer Woman’s quesadilla recipe is a quick and yummy option. I don’t make mine quite the same but use her recipe as inspiration.
For mine, I sauté up some onions in a skillet with some melted butter. I’ll then add a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies and cook those with the onions for a few minutes to warm them through. Once done I’ll remove from the skillet and set them aside. Following the instructions in the recipe, I’ll add some more butter to the skillet and put one tortilla down in the melted butter. I add some of the sautéed onions, tomatoes, and chilies on top. Next goes some shredded rotisserie chicken followed by some shredded cheddar cheese. A second tortilla goes on top and I’ll flip the whole thing once the first side is browned. When the second side is golden and crispy, I’ll remove from the pan and top with some sour cream.
So quick, easy and delicious!
Lemon chicken with mushrooms
When I want to get “fancy” and have a lunch date at home with the hubby, I’ll make this. The key to making this recipe quick and fast is thin, boneless, skinless, chicken breast cutlets.
Get a couple of tablespoons of oil and butter in a pan to heat up and melt. I like to use my cast-iron skillet for this but you can use whatever pan you like. You will also need two bowls. One with some flour seasoned with salt and pepper. The other with a couple of beaten eggs.
Dunk each cutlet into the egg then into the flour mixture. When the butter is melted and the oil hot, lay them into the pan. Season with some extra salt and pepper and cook each side for a few minutes until the chicken is done.
While the chicken is cooking, throw a little butter into another sauté pan, and while it’s melting chop up the mushrooms. You can use any mushrooms you like for this recipe. We love portabella and can usually find them in the store.
Add the mushrooms to the melted butter, sprinkle with a little salt and cook until they are softened and browned. If you want to go the extra mile, angel hair pasta is the perfect complement to this.
While the mushrooms and chicken are cooking, boil some salted water in a pot. Add the angel hair and cook according to package instructions. We like Ohio City Pasta and keep it in our freezer. Their angel hair cooks up in like 3 mins and is delicious!
When the chicken is done, squeeze some lemon over the top. You can add a little zest too for extra lemony flavor.
Plate some of the angel hair with a chicken cutlet, or two, on top. Add the mushrooms and you’re done! A light and fresh meal perfect for springtime lunch at home.
Favorite Dinner Recipes
Honey lemon chicken
Are you sensing a trend over here? We are on a big time lemon kick! And this next recipe is no exception!
I tried this honey lemon chicken recipe awhile ago and have been coming back to it quite a bit while quarantining.
It’s super simple to make and I’ve even had success with switching up the cooking a bit when I’m being extra lazy.
The first time I made it, I followed the recipe pretty much to the “T”. The marinade is super simple to make. It’s a mix of fresh squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper. I think it also calls for some garlic but I leave that out as Mike has an allergy to it.
The recipe calls for boneless, skin on chicken thighs. The skin on is key! You’re going to be broiling the chicken and that crispy, lemony, honey chicken skin is EVERYTHING!
When I can’t find boneless I’ll grab bone-in but will usually switch up the cooking method a bit. After searing the chicken on both sides, I’ll pop it in the oven at 375 degrees to finish cooking all the way through. Mine usually takes about 20-25 minutes but you may need to adjust based on your oven.
In this case, most of the marinade gets poured on with about 5 minutes left. And if the skin isn’t as crispy as I like, I’ll turn on the broil to finish it off. Once done, take them out of the pan and pour the rest of the marinade, along with the honey, into the pan to make a quick sauce. Pour it over the chicken and you’re done!
Serve with a salad or some veggies or any other favorite side. Try this one out and let me know how much you LOVE that crispy skin!
Go-to Veggie Soup
I think Mike asks me to make this at least once every couple of weeks. It’s so simple and the perfect way to use up whatever veggies you have in the fridge that are about to go bad. You can also use frozen if you like. It makes a big batch, mostly because I don’t know how to make a small batch of soup!
This recipe can be tailored to you and your family’s taste. I like to start off by sautéing some diced up onion in some oil that’s been heating up in my cast iron dutch oven pot. Once translucent, I’ll start adding in the other chopped up veggies. Starting with the crunchiest ones first, like celery and carrots, since they need longer to cook.
Other veggies I like to throw in when we have them on hand include zucchini, mushrooms, parsnips, and green beans. I also like to add corn or peas but usually use the frozen kind.
Once all your veggies have started to soften, add your broth or stock. Around 6-8 cups. You can eyeball this though and will depend on how many veggies you’ve added. I know I called this veggie soup but we’ve been known to use whatever we have on hand. Which is usually a combo of chicken and veggie broth. I also like mixing in some bone broth because it makes me feel extra healthy :).
To the veggies and broth, add a can of diced tomatoes and season with some salt and pepper. You can also add oregano, parsley, and or rosemary depending on your preference.
Bring all of this to a boil and let it go for about 20 minutes or so. To make the soup extra delicious and healthy, add some fresh chopped kale to the pot during the last 5-10 minutes! Cook until wilted down. If I’m adding frozen peas or corn, they go in when there are 5 minutes left.
Mike likes his straight up with a hunk of crusty bread. Mine gets some grated parmesan cheese on top!
So easy! So healthy! And leftovers for DAYS!
Because we’ve been stuck at home, I’ve been trying to make sure we have things on hand to snack on. Berries, grapes, and nuts are my go-tos. Mike loves carrots and apples.
But, we’re not always so good with our snacking choices. A cookie or three may sneak their way into my tummy now and again. 🙂
Current favorite cookie crush
In fact, you may have heard me mention these Brown Butter and Nutella Stuffed cookies a time or two. I love them so much and raved about them here and here.
I’ve made them three times now and I’m still not sick of them. Trust me. If you haven’t tried them yet….what are you waiting for?!?
go-to CHARCUTERIE board
Who doesn’t love a good charcuterie board? In fact, sometimes Mike and I will skip dinner altogether and just have this.
Lately, I’ve been putting together mini boards for us to snack on before dinner on the weekends.
The best part about a charcuterie board is that you can customize it to your liking. Our favorite board has goat, manchego, and cheddar cheeses. Maybe some prosciutto or salami if we have it on hand. Crackers and a baguette because some cheese is better with crispy crackers and others are good on soft, warm bread. Nuts and berries and/or dried fruit. And for a special treat, some dark chocolate!
Side note – I like to drizzle some honey on my goat cheese or roll it in some crushed pistachios. I got this idea from one of our favorite local wineries and it really elevates the goat cheese and makes the board feel extra special.
Light and sweet vanilla scones
It’s been a while since I made these vanilla bean scones. I’d forgotten how simple and easy they are to make. I recently whipped up a batch and they didn’t last long in our house.
I make them with the intention of having them for breakfast but most of the time we end up eating them as an after-dinner treat! If you don’t have vanilla bean paste just sub in vanilla extract instead. It’s not an ingredient I keep on hand and the extract seems to work just fine.
I’ve also never glazed ours before. Mike prefers them without and I’ve found that just a sprinkle of sugar on the top before they bake is all they need!
There you have it! Our favorite go-to recipes that are fast and easy to whip up while home during quarantine. If you give any of these a try let me know what you think!
What are the recipes you’ve had on repeat while staying home and cooking?
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