Cooking Under Quarantine


Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Story By: Kiran Kaur, Reporter

Adjusting to life under quarantine has brought on many revelations, big and small. It wasn’t until quarantine that I realized how social the act of eating is. Eating came second when going out to a restaurant, after actually sitting down and hanging out with friends. 

The good thing is, cooking at home can actually be fun. You decide what you want to make with the ingredients. Right now it seems like the only thing we can control. 

However, going to the grocery store isn’t exactly feasible at the moment and with so many products out of stock too, it means we have to make do with what we’ve got. 


For Breakfast: Eggs on toast with assorted fruit 

This breakfast meal gives a good start to the day whatever time you might wake up. The best thing about it is that it can be catered to any individual! 

Make your eggs any way you want; poached, sunny-side up, fried, boiled, scrambled, Just Egg plant based and so much more. Personally, I love my eggs poached and to do that you must:

  1. Bring a pan of water to boil, then turn it down to low heat.
  2. Crack an egg into a small bowl.
  3. Use a big spoon to create a swirly vortex in the water.
  4. Pour the egg from the bowl into the vortex and let it poach for 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Use a big spoon to scoop it out, and you’re done! Salt and pepper to taste.

The kind of fruit you use is also all up to you. I ended up using some strawberries I found in my fridge and bananas that have been laying around for days. 

Additionally, you can also add any sort of meat you may have in the fridge. It could be ham, sausage, chicken or anything else you might desire. Cook it on the stovetop if you need to with some olive oil and seasoning to taste.

If you don’t have a toaster, slap some butter onto the slices of bread and let them rest on a pan that’s on the stovetop until toasted on each side.So, you’ve got your bread with eggs and optional meat with assorted fruits and now you can start your day inside. 


Lunch: Olive oil and garlic pasta (Pasta Aglio e Olio)

For lunch, I looked into my pantry and saw a pretty old box of pasta everyone forgot about and finally decided to put it to use. 

You can use any pasta you can find in your pantry as well, rigatoni, spaghetti, elbow macaroni, and etc. For this pasta, I went the Italian route and used the classic olive oil and garlic pairing. I remembered the combination from watching Jon Favreau in the movie Chef (2014). 

The ingredients for one serving size are:

4 oz. of spaghetti 

2-3 garlic cloves

3 tablespoons olive oil 

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)

2 tablespoons parsley

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese 

1 lemon (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste.

  1. Cook the pasta in boiling water according to the instructions on the box. I usually go for al dente. After that, drain the pasta and set it aside.
  2. In a pan I added the olive oil and garlic over medium heat and cooked until the garlic was toasted golden brown, then took it off the heat. 
  3. Add in the pasta to the pan, along with the red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Also half the amount of cheese and stir until mixed thoroughly.
  4. Top with the rest of the cheese and serve! I like to add in some freshly squeezed lemon juice.  

With this recipe you can also add in any kind of meat or vegetable you want to. Brussel sprouts or asparagus can go well with these ingredients, and chicken as far as meats go!


Dinner: Lentil soup (Dhal Makhani)

My family and I never have a shortage of lentils because we’re Indian, so I decided to take advantage of that and make some Dhal. 

Lentils are a delicious way of getting your protein intake and they’re low in calories as well. More importantly, they are cheap! Any indian store you go to will have huge packets of an assortment of lentils so they will last you for a long time as well. 

I didn’t want to spend a lot of time actually making dinner so I used the crock pot for this meal and let it do all the work. I left it to cook after having breakfast earlier in the morning so when the time comes I was able to just help myself. 

(Getting a slow cooker as a college student is also a really good way to save yourself some money!)

For this recipe, you do have to soak the lentils in water overnight if you intend to use dry ones. 

The recipe is as follows: 

1 cup of whole black lentils (urad dal)

½ cup kidney beans (rajma)

4 roma tomatoes diced

1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger

7 garlic cloves minced

1 bayleaf

3 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon chili powder (½ for less heat)

½ teaspoon turmeric powder

2 tablespoons butter

¼ cup cream

Salt and pepper to taste.

  1. Throw everything into the crockpot except for the cream and add 4 cups of water to it. Stir it all together and let it cook on high for 8 hours, checking towards the consistency of the lentils before it’s finished. They should smush easily between your fingers. Make sure to add salt if necessary.
  2. Once the lentils are ready, add in the cream and mix well, cooking in the crockpot for another 20 minutes. 
  3. Serve hot, with some butter on top. 

There are many different kinds of soups to choose from, you can even make up your own with the ingredients you have in your kitchen. 

Try to base it off of two or more vegetables that are  filling and go well together. Like potatoes and leeks, or carrots and tomatoes. 

You can add meat into the mix as well! Remember to season really well if you’re not using a pre-made broth of some sort too. 

As far as these recipes go, they can just be starting points for you. You can make them as individualistic as you like, or take them as inspiration to do something else from your pantry.