Reminiscing on 1 year in a pandemic + A menu featuring my favorite “quarantine” foods

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I’m sure we all have some memory or story from March 13, 2020. Mine might be similar to yours — I went to work and within a few hours of being there, I realized that I wouldn’t be returning to the office for a few weeks,but it could be as long as a few months. I later realized that “15 days to slow the spread” was going to take a little longer than 15 days…

I’ve always loved cooking — if you’ve been following my journery for more than a few minutes you know that cooking is one of my favorite pastimes. Although cooking for my family is something that I’ve always done, cooking was starting feeling like a chore as I balanced motherhood, social activities, life, and working. One good thing that emerged from all of my time at home was getting to slow down and just enjoy cooking. I made bread, learned to smoke meats, and even had the time to test and develop new recipes (a few of which are featured in this week’s meal plan).

It’s been quite a year — with more than 530,000 Covid-19 deaths and almost 30 million cases, I don’t take the last year lightly. The impact that this virus has had on our world and local communities is devastating, however I do still have so much hope for our world.

I’m excited about the year to come and my hope is that I can continue to set aside the time to just enjoy cooking and creating recipes! It’s been one of the greatest blessings from this chaotic year and I hope that my recipes bring you a little joy.

This Week’s Menu

This week’s menu features 5 comfort food recipes that became household favorites for us during the early months of the pandemic. I can’t promise that this week’s recipes are the healthiest but they sure are delicious. Instead of including a 6th recipe I decided to provide my FAVORITE desert that I cooked multiple times during the first few months of our time at home.

Each day includes additional notes, tips, and recommendations to help you prep the meals. Unless noted, all meals are 4 servings.


Total Time from Start to Finish: Approximately 50 minutes

The Mac and Cheese recipe serves 10. Consider making recipe adjustments based on your needs.

Buy some steam in the bag broccoli for an easy vegetable.

Notes and Recommendations: You can make this Mac and Cheese recipe with any type of “tube” Pasta. Standard macaroni works perfectly fine in this recipe. The recipe online says it takes an hour, however I find that it’s more like 40-50 minutes in totoal (and only requires about 5 minutes of prep work — most of that time is either on the stove boiling or in the oven baking).

Meal Prep Tips: Boil the pasta first. Once the mac and cheese is in the oven, then start cooking your salmon and steaming your broccoli.


Total Time from Start to Finish: 45 minutes

Notes and Recommendations: Soy sauce is not gluten free so you can replace soy sauce with Tamari. Although tamari is not a “gluten free soy sauce” it is a gluten free alternative that has a very similar taste and texture!


Total Time from Start to Finish: 20 minutes

Notes and Recommendations: This recipe calls for pre cooked shrimp or chicken. You can cook or own shrimp but that adds fmore time to the recipe


Total Time from Start to Finish: 50 minutes in the oven + 3 hours marinating

Wings recipe serves 2-3 make recipe adjustments accordingly.

Meal Prep TIps: The wings can marinate for more than 3 hours. Prep the wings in the morning or the night before.


Total Time from Start to Finish: 45 minutes

The French Fry recipe serves 2-3. Adjust recipe ingredients accordingly.

Notes and Recommendations: This recipe calls for anchovy paste — you can leave this out and the burgers will still taste delicious.

Meal Prep Tip: Prep the french fries and put them in the over first. Work on the burgers while the fries are cooking

Saturday [SWEETS]

Saturday Sweets is all about dessert! Let’s be honest, every once we want something a little more exciting thatn break and bake cookies, or donuts from the grocery store. Today’s Saturday Sweets are my favorite chocolate chip cookies! Yes, they’re a little extra work, but they are WORTH the effort.

Total Time from Start to Finish: 25 minutes

This recipe makes 8 extra large cookies.

Notes and Recommendations: Although they take about 25 minutes from start to finish, you’ll want to consider adding in a little time for them to cool before enjoying.

Meal Prep Tips: Serve with a tall glass of milk.

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