So you’ve stocked up on food for self-isolation. Now what?

Shopping on the spot.
Shopping on the spot.
Image: Reuters/Neil Hall
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The rapid spread of Covid-19 is forcing people into their homes, the effect of global governments asking citizens everywhere to self-isolate and practice social distancing.

And whether a person dreads or loves the idea, the extra time spent indoors almost certainly means a lot more home cooking. The data show people are expecting as much. According to Nielsen data for the week of March 7 compared to the same time in 2019, US grocery stores saw sales of shelf-stable foods go up: dried beans by 63%, rice by 58%, chickpeas and black beans by 47%, and tuna by 31%.

Now that people are staring down so much time at home, it’ll be helpful to become familiar with recipes that can be stretched over long periods of time with some versatility and creativity. With that in mind, Quartz has a suggested grocery list and three basic recipes that provide 22 servings and the opportunity to create a number of extra dishes.

Our starter grocery list

Embracing home cooking means committing to having a little fun in the kitchen.  With that in mind, feel free to add this list for your own experimentation. If you love adding hot sauce to everything, add it to the list.

What to buy:

  • 8 chicken breasts
  • 3 32oz. containers veggie broth
  • 3 red onions
  • 3 yellow onions
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 28oz. can plum tomatoes
  • 1 bottle balsamic vinegar
  • 1 bag grains (rice, farro, bulgar)
  • 1 box pasta
  • 2 heads garlic
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1 bottle olive oil
  • 4 large carrots
  • 1 bunch celery
  • 1 bag dried red lentils
  • Spinach or lettuce
  • 1 lemon

You’ll probably want these spices: Paprika, ground cumin, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes.

Pro-tip interlude

Quartz asked Adeena Sussman, the chef and author of cookbook, Sababa, what item she always has on hand in her kitchen, and what she’d definitely want in the event of a quarantine.

“Tahini!” she says. “It is a quick-change artist, can go from sweet to savory, is shelf-stable, a superfood, protein-packed, filled with good fat, delicious off a spoon, poured directly onto protein or veggies, or incorporated into any number of recipes.”

And now, the recipes

Here are three dishes that we think go the distance.

The beauty of making slow-cooked chicken is that it’s an excellent source of protein, it can be frozen and kept for weeks, and it can be applied to a number of recipes. Eat it whole as part of a meal, shred it for use as a topping for salad, make tacos, or toss it into a chicken salad. The possibilities are endless.

It’s perhaps our most controversial suggestion, but hear us out. A batch of shakshuka red sauce can be used for the traditional dish and also be saved for use on pasta. It’ll be spicier than your nonna’s spaghetti, but after days of being cooped up at home, we bet the extra kick will be appreciated.

Lastly, a tried and true stew. They go the distance on their own. Easy to freeze, easy to reheat, and comforting to eat, this is a dish that’ll last you a while and be tasty. You’re encouraged to play with spices, add in leafy greens to wilt for extra texture, or add to a grain bowl for a more substantial meal.