Recipes for the shut down

I thought this might be a good place to share some recipes for things to cook at home while we are shut in. My first suggestion here is for a yeast bread that I used to make with kindergarteners in an in school after school child care. We were open on those in-service days so had the kids all day. I would get them working in pairs in large plastic dish pans and we were able to use the ovens in the teacher's lounge to produce enough bread that we not only had lunch for the kids but a loaf for each of them to take home. The bread makes great French toast, grilled cheese sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches, etc. It has a texture more like cake than like bread. This recipe makes two loaves using your standard meat loaf type loaf pans.

1/2 stick butter
4 Tablespoons sugar
2 pkg yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
6 cups All Purpose (not self-rising) flour
4 Tablespoons poppyseeds (optional)
4 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 cups warm water

If your yeast is old, test it first by dissolving it in a 1/2 cup of the water with the sugar. It should start smelling 'yeasty' pretty quickly, but if it takes longer, just give it time to begin multiplying and stir in a tablespoon or two of flour to help feed it in your sugary slurry. Any lively cells will multiply rapidly. When you are getting a good yeasty smell, proceed.

Melt butter (yes margarine is okay but not the 'spreads'). Scrape your yeast mixture into your mixing bowl and add the other 2 cups of water, the salt, the poppyseeds, the melted butter and the salt. Stir together well. Stir in another 6 cups of flour. You can use an electric mixer if you want, though stirring with a spoon to get everything incorporated is all that is really needed. You should have a thick batter rather than a dough. Cover with a damp dish towel and allow to rise for 40 minutes.

Beat about 25 strokes to deflate the dough. Divide into two greased loaf pans. Cover with your damp dish towel and leave on your kitchen counter to rise for about an hour. When you peek under the towel the loaves should have doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375 and slide your loaves into the middle of the oven. They will need about 45 minutes to bake and should flop easily out of the pan when done. If you knock on the bottom of the loaf when you tip it out of the pan it should sound almost hollow. Cool on racks out of the pans. Slices best with a serrated knife. When cool the second loaf can be bagged and frozen as homemade bread tends to get stale and hard very quickly.

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Perfect timing Flash! I made this yesterday:

Crock Pot Beef Stew

1 carrot, large chopped
1/2 onion, large sliced
1 celery stalk, large chopped
2 mushrooms, large sliced
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 envelope onion dip
Stew beef, taco beef, whatever pinks your slippers

Mix the veggies in the slow cooker
Season the meat and add on top of the veggies
Pour in soup
Top with dip
Cook on low for 4 hours

The tomato soup turns into a thick sauce for the stew. It does not taste like tomatoes. Add stock or wine if you like a thinner sauce. Season to your liking.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
I love the tomato soup twist. Here is the reality of crock pot cooking for those who do not normally cook. You may not have the exact fresh ingredients around but frozen or canned items may work as well. Throw in a small bag of frozen peas or peas and carrots or peas, carrots & corn or add a can of them. A package of dry onion soup mix can do several things for you--it can season the pot so you don't need to figure out how much salt and pepper to use, and it can substitute for fresh onions.

I'll bet you have some old spices on your shelf that you bought for special dishes too long ago. Give them a sniff and see if you want the flavor in your stew. Oregano, basil, thyme, marjoram, fennel, onion powder, onion salt, rosemary, any of these can add a nice flavor. Go with no more than one or two selections so that you don't muddy the flavors.

Want to add a starch? if you add a little extra water to your stew you can throw in rice, pastas (macaroni, rotini etc.) half way through cooking. Or you can cook these things separately and serve the stew and sauce over them. Noodles cooked separately or potatoes cooked in the stew or separately can work.

Crock pots by their very nature of slow cooking meld flavors together well for comforting, flavorful meals.
Nonsense Pot Roast

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
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No Nonsense Pot Roast (Slow Cooker or Oven)
2 large carrots in chunks (optional, because you could also just steam those as a side dish)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 package of onion soup mix
mushrooms * see footnote
1 can (use the empty soup can to measure) water and/or red wine or some combination
3/4-1 lb chuck roast,

Mix everything except the meat in for slow cooker.or oven proof pot with lid
Hint: I use a liner in a slow cooker, for easy clean-up
Add meat. (Cut in pieces if it is a small pot.

Turn meat so that all of it is moist.

SLOW COOKER METHOD Cook on low for about 7-8 hours of on high for at least 5 hours. The meat should be fork tender.
IF USING OVEN METHOD: use a large pot with a tight lid. Set oven to 350 for one hours, then down to 250 for 4-5 hours.

* Mushrooms:
1 small can of stems and pieces will do nicely;
OR, several sliced fresh mushrooms;
or soak a large handful of dried shiitake mushrooms in HOT water for about 1 hour. Chop finely in a processor or by hand and add to the pot, mixing this in. This version acquires a seriously yummy taste!

The pot gravy is great on potatoes and carrots. If you insist, you can thicken it at the end, but I have not found this necessary.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/26/2020 09:08PM by walesmaven.
Easter is coming up so over the next few weeks we should be seeing some good deals on hams at the grocery store. This link is for you to scroll down to the pictures of the anatomy of a ham if you are not familiar with it. []

If you are a one or two person household you may not have dealt with a ham or have interest in doing so, but they offer inexpensive protein and a lot of flavor. We normally get a shank ham. They are almost always "fully cooked" such that all the cook needs to do is cook them long enough to warm through. While 'cook to' temperatures are still given, the reality is that commercially grown hogs are grain fed, not slops fed, and as such do not carry trichina. The "fully cooked" assures you that in any event the ham has been taken to temperatures high enough to kill any possible trichina and they will state "fully cooked" on the label.

While a ham has a bone (as shown in the drawing), it also has some substantial sections of boneless meat. What we tend to do is not cook the ham whole but rather take the bone out by cutting off sections of meat. Sections are then divided into meal size portions, plastic wrapped and put into freezer bags and frozen. Scrappy stuff gets put in containers to use in omelets, turned into ham salad spread or put into stir fries or potato dishes. The bone and any skin is then ready to go into a crock pot or large stew pot to flavor baked beans or soup.

If we are having folks over we will cook the shank ham whole and after dinner do our butchery to get meal sections to the freezer and a bone ready for seasoning other foods.
I made this the other day for the first time and it was really good and fairly easy.

Dirty brown rice

2 cups dry brown rice
4 cups chicken stock, or mixture of stock and water
1/2 t. or more Cajun seasoning to taste
2T butter or oil
1 bag frozen diced onions, peppers, celery, and parsley. The brand I use calls this "seasoning blend"
1/2 C. each frozen corn and frozen black beans
1 packaged smoked rope sausage, approximately 13-16 ounces, sliced into medallions.

Mix frozen onion/pepper/celery mix, rice, broth/water, butter/oil, corn, beans, and Cajun seasoning together. Prepare in electric rice cooker using appliance directions or using stovetop directions found on the rice package.

While the rice cooks, slice the sausage into thin medallions. Fry sausage in oversized frying pan. Set aside in the pan until the rice is done, keeping all rendered fat.

Once the rice is done, rewarm the sausage and pan if they have cooled. Turn the rice mixture out into the hot pan with the sausage (remember it said "oversized pan!" and stir, using steam from rice to deglaze the pan. Taste, and add more Cajun seasoning if needed. Bring back up to serving temperature.

Next time I'll probably try it with chicken or with chicken and sausage. The crispy bits in the pans are key so I think chicken alone may not be as good.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/26/2020 10:17PM by JustForFun.
I'm on an avocado toast kick.

Make toast
Mash up a ripe avocado (or slice a less ripe one)
Add salt and pepper to taste
Smear or arrange on top of toast
Top with optional chopped tomato and sweet onion strings
Split Pea Soup. Using a dutch oven, add a bag of split peas to four quarts of water or chicken stock, or add a bullion cube or two to the water. Add 1/2 a diced onion of whatever color you have on hand, plus a few thinly sliced carrots and a stalk or two of diced celery. Add 1/2-1 stick of butter or good quality margarine. Allow to boil before turning the heat down so the liquid just simmers. Stir occasionally so that the peas break up and become smooth. Once they are breaking down nicely, add some thyme and sage to taste, plus some salt and pepper. Continue simmering and stirring occasionally until the split peas are smooth and the veggies are tender. Take off the heat and add 1/2 cup cream, 1/2 & 1/2 or sour cream. Serve with sourdough bread. All soup items except the peas, liquid and butter/margarine are optional, depending on what is on hand.
I enjoy perogies and pot stickers done this way. Take a ceramic dish and pour in one-half inch of water. Add one teaspoon of oil, preferably sunflower, corn, canola. Place a small chopped onion into the pan. Add about twenty perogies or a small bag, any flavor you like. I pour a little teriyaki sauce, maple syrup, or sweet-sour sauce on it. This is optional. A couple tablespoons of salsa is good. Then I sprinkle some paprika, black pepper, salt, and Italian seasoning. You can add crisp bacon or roasted and shredded chicken if you like. I bake it with a lid on for twenty minutes, then take off the lid and broil five minutes. Pour off the water and let cool three to four minutes. Serves 2 to 3. Good with green beans or baked yam fries.
walesmaven posted this in the "What Are You Doing Today" thread, and we all loved. It quickly became one of my favorites!

Pesto Ranch Chicken

1 packet of powdered ranch dressing
1 jar of pesto
8 chicken thighs
1/2 cup of stock

Place chicken in the crockpot. Add stock. Sprinkle ranch dressing powder on chicken. Evenly spread the pesto over top of the chicken and ranch. Cook on high for 4 hours.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
Lentil soup in Instant Pot:

Add cumin seeds to olive oil. Let them crackle. Throw in some ginger n garlic paste. Add a little chopped onion, tomato, carrots and beans. Let them saute. Add salt, pepper and turmeric. Add soaked lentils (Soak for 30 minutes) with enough water to cover the top and more.

Pressure cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Garnish with cilantro or cream.

Serve with brown rice. My tried and tested recipe for the fluffiest brown rice.
Add 2 1/2 cup of water for a cup of brown rice. Pressure cook for 23 minutes. NPR 10 minutes.

Made that yesterday for lunch. You could substitute or leave out any veggie.
@Flash......I had 2 yellow cake mixes in my pantry. Today we are going to make the pineapple, Brown sugar easy cake recipe you suggested. I had made it once and everyone loved it.

I also made a chicken pot roast with carrots and potatoes. Substituted the beef for chicken as DD's will not eat beef. OMG, it was so delicious.
This isn't a recipe but a staple. I use dated raw vegetables to make stock. If I have shrimp or lobster shells, meat bones, or parmesan rinds, one or the other will go in the stock with the veggies. If I am feeling fancy, I will buy chicken necks and backs from the grocery. I also use fresh herbs up this way.

The only vegetable I don't use in the stock is any type of pepper. Peppers make stock bitter.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
I make jam with dated fruits. I blend the fruits and put them in a saucepan with sugar, lemon juice and water. We always have some homemade jam for toast this way. Of course, I make small batches because I don't want to go through the hassle of canning and sterilizing.
I am eyeing some of that frozen poached chicken and wondering how that would be with some General Tso's sauce, some yellow rice and a steamed green veg. Not wanting to order Chinese (or any other) take out and also not wanting to deep fry any chicken.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
I think take-out is safe enough (except salads and other cold items) since you can pay for it online and disinfect the exterior packaging, then reheat the food to a temperature that's sure to kill any pathogens. I do that all the time.
Dated fruits? I dated some nuts in my life, but not fruits.

@Mum wrote:

I make jam with dated fruits. I blend the fruits and put them in a saucepan with sugar, lemon juice and water. We always have some homemade jam for toast this way. Of course, I make small batches because I don't want to go through the hassle of canning and sterilizing.
@JASFLALMT I was just trying to copy Honny with her using the word dated vegetables...LOL.
When I first became a massage therapist, my first job was at a salon and spa. The owner was a very uptight lady. She once wrote a note on the dry erase board she had on the refrigerator that said, "People, please date your food." Someone else wrote underneath it: "Why, what's wrong with men?"

I thought of that when I saw your post.
All the stuff I have been making so far is stuff you don't need a recipe for, comfort foods we all know how to make without looking at a recipe. Soups, stews, salads, etc. But today I am making Panko and parmesan breaded chicken thighs in the air fryer. I froze them in buttermilk and they are thawing in the refrigerator. I have leftover potato salad that I made with barbecued ribs the other day (again, no recipes needed) and I guess we will have some peas as the vegetable.
I made this recipe for oatmeal cookies. It is a fantastic recipe. The texture of these things is perfect. Chewy and soft in the center. []
Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup today. Will substitute Sharp Cheddar Cheese for the Monterrey. Do not have bell peppers, sour cream or lime. Using dried cilantro. Smells so good! []
If anyone is wanting to make a nice meal from what they have on hand already, The Flavor Bible is an awesome tool for this. Look up an ingredient and cross-match it to others you have / want to use and it will make suggestions.

I have a habit of buying jars of interesting sauces and spices from little shops as I travel. Unfortunately i don't have an equivalent drive to use them when I get home so over time I get a collection of them. This book helps me incorporate them into my kitchen. And it can help match orphaned items from the pantry into a wonderful meal.

Over time it will teach a person how to match flavors together. It does have some recipes but it's not exactly a recipe book. It's more of a "food pairings" guide. Several prominent chefs contributed to it's creation.

The link below pulls it up on Amazon, or for those who don't like links just search for "The Flavor Bible".

Honey garlic teriyaki chicken at Walesmavens request.

Put 4-6 boneless skinless chicken thighs in the bottom of a medium or large slow cooker. Place 3-4 chopped carrots and 3-4 potatoes peeled and diced into medium chunks on top.
In a large soup type bowl mix 1/4 cup of soy or teriyaki sauce, 1/4 cup of ketchup, 1/4 cup of honey, 1 t. chopped garlic, and a pinch of thyme and another of oregano. You can add some hot pepper flakes if you like a little heat. spoon the sauce over the veggies and chicken and then place the lid on and cook about 4 hours on high.
The chicken will be fall apart tender and the veggies are delicious cooked in the sauce. You can add green beans or broccoli 30 minutes before the end of cooking time. ( I always forget and end up just eating the carrots and potatoes which are actually enough.)
Many thanks, CQ. I always prefer chicken or turkey thighs because they are more flavorful. This looks like a winner. I actually have everything on the list already in stock.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
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It's extremely delicious. I make it about once a week or twice a month. The leftover teriyaki flavored chicken thighs are really good in fried rice too.
Hmm, no ketchup. What to use instead that does not require opening a large amount? Some seafood sauce from the fridge? A little V-8 Juice ?

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/01/2020 09:28PM by walesmaven.
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