During these uncertain times, I want to give you all some tips and guidance for cooking at home using lots of canned and dry goods. I know that this time can feel scary, so I wanted offer up something that always soothes me, inspiration for cooking and creating new recipes. Because of the situation, I know that we are all just working with what we’ve got, I urge you all to have fun with this and be creative with your substitutions! The goal is just to make delicious, comforting food for you and your family, so don’t be too hard on yourself here. I hope that you all stay safe and healthy, and thank you to everyone doing their part, whether that’s staying home, continuing to cook food to go, or on the front lines as a medical professional; we appreciate you so much and hope to be communing at dining tables again soon!
Tip 1: For all fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley, etc. if you want to keep them from wilting and going bad quickly, you can either wet a paper towel and wrap them in that and then follow up by a second layer of plastic wrap or simply get a glass or jar and fill it with water and stick them stem side in the water to keep them fresh for longer!
Tip 2: Freeze all your meats, but when you defrost them, be sure that they aren’t just defrosted and still cold, but that they are at room temperature before seasoning and cooking. When meats are cold, they are less able to take in all the flavors and if you are cooking say a steak to medium rare, the center will be cold if you don’t let it sit out until it is room temperature all the way through first.
Tip 3: When marinating, don’t use salt. I generally like to marinate meat before cooking anywhere from a few hours to 24 hours, but don’t add salt. It dehydrates the meat and can make it tough and dry. Add salt towards the end and give a generous amount just before eating so that the protein stays moist yet still flavorful.
Tip 4: Always rinse canned items. The liquid in cans of beans for example, is generally cloudy, you want to get all that off before using when possible for a better flavor. I like to use a strainer and run water over them until it runs clear.
Tip 5: When using lots of dry goods, try to use a mix of fresh and canned foods. Ensuring that you have a balanced dish is important, and that’s hard to do with all dry and canned goods. Even if it’s a squeeze of lemon or some fresh cilantro on top, some fresh vegetables etc. anything can keep your meals from feeling dull during these times.
Here are a few of my recipes to help you utilize what you have at home!