Let's face it, we're all cooped up inside and having trouble staying sane more or less. The only thing we are really looking forward to are our (free) comedy events and then what we're having for breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner. For all those bakers and sous chefs out there, I'm sure you're going to town on trying new things at home with all the ingredients you can find laying around. Isn't it fun finding random spices that you didn't know existed in that old cabinet? We wanted to whip up a few delicious recipes for you that we've been cooking at home.
Aperitivo time is the best time of day that we all look forward to. It's between the hours of 6 and 7pm when you relax and unwind from your work day and enjoy a few small bites and maybe a glass of wine or beer. The honor hour is at 7pm every day to scream and clap for the health care workers and I love having aperitivo time lead into this honoring hour at 7pm. The sun is setting and you are unwinding from your day in quarantine, whether that's a day of working or finishing personal projects or a solid day of working, we all need to unwind for aperitivo time.
I'm sharing a few favorite recipes I love to keep you sane and help you find something delicious to whip up in the kitchen. Hopefully you have some of the ingredients in the below variety of recipes to whip up. I personally have loved experimenting on different recipes and dishes while in quarantine and hope you enjoy trying to do the same!
Cocktail Hors d'oeuvres
Easy to make Zucchini Sliders
Delicious, easy to make Zucchini Sliders! Perfect for aperitivo hour.
Makes 4 servings
1 extra large zucchini (or 2 medium/large), cut into 16 1/2inch-slices
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 lbs. lean ground beef
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
4 slices of cheddar cheese, cut into quarters to get 4 small squares
avocado oil cooking spray
Who doesn't love dinner time maybe coupled with a couple of episodes of Ozark?! Coming up with new recipes to try out even if it is just for you is so fun. We've currently been loving pasta recipes, from pasta salad to creamy pasta carbonara dishes. You can make it healthy or not so healthy, piled up with cheese and protein. A few favorites below.
Creamy Avocado Pasta with Roasted Red Peppers
This is a delicious (and healthy) pasta dish. Hint: cook the Rigatoni pasta to al dente. Add avocado dressing to the pasta bowl along with sliced roasted red peppers and sliced avocado. Toss everything together until evenly coated. Add salt, pepper, oregano or rosemary, and top it off with red chili flakes. Delish!
All the ingredients you need to make creamy avocado pastas. A food processor is needed to blend the avcados, spinach, garlic and lemon. You can pick whatever type of pasta you like most. Rigatoni and the twirly wirlies are my favorite... aka fusili pasta. 😉
Chicken Penne Pasta
Can't get enough pasta! Make this dish. It's delicious. I personally love it with a few peas, but @calories.hub does a great job explaining the steps to get this perfectly delicious dish made to the TEE. See ingredients below:
Enjoy as a cheat meal or substitute ingredients to fit your needs.
4 strips bacon cut into small pieces
2 large chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste
Flour for dredging
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy/whipping cream
5 ounces tomatoes chopped small
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
Boil a salted pot of water for the pasta. Cook it al dente according to package directions. Meanwhile, cut up the bacon (I use kitchen shears to make this job easy) and fry it in a skillet over medium-high heat until crispy. Once it's done, remove it to a paper towel-lined plate. Leave the bacon grease in the pan.
Meanwhile, prep your chicken. Cut it up and sprinkle it with the garlic powder and salt & pepper. Coat each piece in flour.
Cook the chicken over medium-high heat for about 3-4 minutes/side or until golden. You may need to work in two batches so as not to overcrowd the pan. Turn the heat down a little if needed (like if it's splattering a lot). Take the chicken out of the pan and set it aside.
Stir in the garlic and chicken broth. Scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Let it cook for about a minute or so.
Add the cream and tomatoes to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes or until the tomatoes start to lose their shape.
Add the chicken and bacon back into the pan and let it warm through for a few minutes (let the sauce thicken a bit). Be careful not to overcook the chicken. Stir in the parmesan and toss with the drained pasta. Season with extra salt & pepper if needed.
For Your Sweet Tooth
Come on after all this savory deliciousness where you labored away in the kitchen making the perfect apertivo and pasta dish, you need something to look forward to that satisfies your sweet craving. This is dessert time. Start the kettle for your tea, and pull out a dessert dish and mini fork for one of the below recipes we can't stop indulging on Carrot Cake Bars and Flourless Vegan Chocolate Bread.
Carrot Cake Bars
I absolutely love this carrot cake bar recipe from gimmesomeoven. I just made this recipe on Sunday and four days later, it's still good! There's only two of us in quarantine so I'm baking all these great recipes and don't have many people to share them with... oh well. Still experimenting and trying new things is keeping me busy and is fun! Below are the ingredients required for this delicious dessert:
CARROT CAKE BARS INGREDIENTS:
- 3/4 cup avocado oil (or vegetable oil, or any mild-flavored oil)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- pinch of ground cloves
- 8 ounces finely-grated* fresh carrots
- optional: 1/2 cup chopped nuts or 1/4 cup raisins
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING INGREDIENTS:
- 1 (8-ounce) package low-fat cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups sifted powdered sugar (use more/less to achieve your desired consistency)
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes in a 9x9" dish.
Flourless Vegan Chocolate Bread
Who doesn't love healthy FLOUR-LESS VEGAN BREAD ?!🍞😋
Thank you again @calories.hub for another delicious recipe share! What a treat. Very quick and easy to make. See ingredients below:
1 cup oats
3/4 cup cacao powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup apple sauce
1/3 cup drippy almond butter
1/2 cup nut milk
Pulse dry ingredients in a blender until it forms a fine powder. Add wet ingredients and blend again to form a thick batter. Bake in a pan at 350 F for 30-40 minutes. Option to add chocolate chips on top.
There's also some always LIVESTREAM cooking accounts having a ball in this quarantine making up some recipes as they go. You can learn a lot from them. Personally I've been loving these guys:
- Food and Drink on Twitch
- Anything and everything Gordon Ramsey - he's hilarious, and I just love his accent. He makes the best sandwiches and has character. Follow him here.
- Rachael Ray is awesome. Try this recipe here.
- Food and Wine Cooking: livestream
That's about it! Hope these fun, easy to make recipes keep you busy in the kitchen. Try them out and let us know what's your favorite! Bon appetito! Stay safe and stay home.