12 Fresh Cooking Ideas

Culinary

Mix up your Pandemic Meal Planning

Are you looking to step up your home cooking game? You are at the right place! As much as I enjoy eating out at local restaurants, a given from my previous blog 'Supporting Local Restaurants', I equally enjoy trying new things in the kitchen at home. From messy and simple, to seemingly fancy high-end restaurant dishes, you name it, I'll try cooking it! With the current pandemic, it is the perfect time to try recreating one of your favorite dishes that you normally can get from a restaurant. You would be surprised about the number of recipes online with a quick Google Search. From super easy Chick-fil-A knock offs (the secret is to marinate your chicken in pickle juice) to crispy pork carnitas, it's out there.

With that being said, here are twelve dishes for your hungry stomachs consideration. I CHALLENGE anyone reading this to share a photo of a dish they have cooked over the past year, as we approach the one-year anniversary of staying indoors as much as possible.


Beef Wellington

Beef Wellington

This dish is our family's annual tradition for New Year's Day, and after several years, we have refined the process more and more! There is a lot of preparation to make this dish, but overall, it is not something to be intimidated by.
No-Noodle Lasagna

No-Noodle Lasagna

For those trying to cut the carbs, this Lasagna will make you drool (that is coming from someone that loves pasta). The secret - making your own 'noodles' with CHEESE. That's right, cheese noodles. Better than pasta, I dare say.
Beef Stroganoff Soup

Beef Stroganoff Soup

Soups are a great comfort food and also freeze well. Take any non-soup dish you like, Google it's soup counterpart, and I guarantee you will find a recipe for it!
Spaghetti & Meatballs with Squash

Spaghetti & Meatballs with Squash

Another noodle-less option, replace your noodles with Spaghetti Squash! This meatball recipe also comes together very quickly in about 40 minutes, and despite that, the sauce is rich in flavor and those meatballs are super tender.
Tikka Masala

Tikka Masala

You can't go wrong with Tikka Masala, a classic Indian dish (yes - soupified as well!). We had leftover limes and sour cream and made lime-infused water as well as homemade Naan (which only needed sour cream and flour).
Breakfast Sandwiches

Breakfast Sandwiches

There are many options to your breakfast sandwich. Biscuits or English Muffins (both excellent choices)? Fried egg, overeasy? We added chives, cheddar cheese, a gravy, and the highly-advised caramelized onions (so rich and delicious).
Seafood Alfredo

Seafood Alfredo

Alfredo sauce is a surprisingly easy sauce to make, requiring very few ingredients. Toss in your sauce with a seafood mix, and you are set. Don't forget the garlic bread!
Pork Carnitas Tacos

Pork Carnitas Tacos

We. Love. Tacos. One of my favorites in town is the Pork Carnitas from Taqueria El Ranchito. It turns out to be a very easy dish to make at home and also freezes well (yes!). The recipe we found involves slow cooking the pork in a crock pot all day in spices. Once done, you can FREEZE it at this stage. For eating that night, you take the pork and broil it until crispy. Top with all your favorites! We love sour cream, pico de gallo, lettuce, and cheese.
Sloppy Joe Grilled Cheese with Mac & Cheese

Sloppy Joe Grilled Cheese with Mac & Cheese

Ok, so this is a weird one that turned out amazing! One of those "early pandemic" dishes comfort concoctions. Sloppy Joe sauce, mac and cheese; why NOT combined both into a grilled cheese sandwich? Inspired by Steak N' Shake's Frisco Melt.
Breakfast Steak & Eggs

Breakfast Steak & Eggs

Leftover steak and potatoes? Turn it into breakfast quick and easy (I dare say OVER easy!). Nothing like eggs and steak with a runny yoke to start your day.
Prime Rib with Loaded Potato

Prime Rib with Loaded Potato

Just like the beef wellington, this is a dish that is not as difficult to make at home as you may think. It actually cooks really quickly, roasting the outside on a broil for about 15 minute and then cooking it off at lower temps for about 15 more minutes per pound for medium rare. Served with a classic loaded baked potato.
Steak with Pan Sauce, Mushrooms, & Onion

Steak with Pan Sauce, Mushrooms, & Onion

I am slowly perfecting cooking steaks in a cast iron skillet, and this is my best version yet! It's seared perfectly and basted with butter, garlic, and thyme. Let it rest for 10 minutes, and use that same pan to cook your onions and mushrooms (leaving the garlic in there). For bonus points, turn it into a quick pan sauce by then adding some wine and beef broth, along with butter and a mix of water and cornstarch to thicken (Google 'pan sauce' for some recipes). Tender beef, rich and full of flavor! My favorite cut is the ribeye, which Costco has the best quality of locally, offering USDA Prime grade. This is the highest USDA grade, offering the most marbling and is the type of grade usually used by high-end restaurants.


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About the Author

Nicholas Klein

Founder and visual artist, specializing in all aspects of a businesses presence from imagery and video to graphics and web. A graduate of IPFW with a Bachelor in Fine Arts, Concentration Photography as well as an Associates Degree in Business. His personal photography works are focused on landscape, travel, and aerial photography.

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