Here are my suggestions for a Quarantine shopping list. Since I am currently pregnant, I want to be prepared.
You hear stories of people ordering cases of toilet paper and dozens of boxes of macaroni and cheese. Or people filling their carts with boxes of pasta and jars of tomato sauce. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to be in quarantine, I am pretty sure that eating the same simple meal over and over again will only make the situation even more boring.
I want to share some meal ideas that either freeze well or can be made with pantry items. I am also sharing my quarantine shopping lists. I’m not a medical professional or infectious disease expert, I am just a paranoid pregnant woman who wants to be prepared.
You can read more about Coronavirus (Covid-19) on the CDC website.
Quarantine Meal Prep
Meals Made with Pantry Items
Let’s start with meals that you can make with pantry items.
The basic ingredients for making risotto are broth and rice. Then you can add in any vegetables and cheese that you like. Cheese like Parmesan will last for months in the fridge, and frozen vegetables like broccoli and spinach work well with risotto.
Chili is made with pantry items and it freezes well. If you make vegetarian chili, you can use all shelf stable products. Or you can use meat that has been frozen to make chili – ground meat or larger cuts of meat cut into cubes both work. Make a big batch of chili, portion it into meal sizes, and freeze it. The thing I love about chili is that you can get creative with it. Serve over macaroni and cheese, scoop some over a baked potato, or make nachos.
This is one of Charles’s favorite meals. It’s as simple as a baked potato filled with baked beans and topped with cheese. Both potatoes and canned beans are pantry items that will last a long time, and some shredded cheeses have expiration dates that are months away.
You can use rice or quinoa, frozen meat, and frozen veggies to make a ginger garlic beef stir fry or a cashew chicken stir fry. All of the ingredients needed to make the sauces are shelf stable and will last a long time in the fridge once opened.
One of my favorite breakfasts is made with things you probably have at home already! The base of chilaquiles is tortilla chips and salsa. Then you can add in beans and corn if you have it. I like to serve chilaquiles topped with sunny side up eggs and cheese. It’s so good and so easy to make!
Freezer Friendly Meals
Here are some meals that freeze well and/or that can be made with frozen ingredients. If you are stuck in quarantine for 14 days or more, you are going to run out of fresh meat and vegetables. That is where meal prepping freezer friendly meals, or just freezing ground beef or chicken comes into play.
Broth based soups freeze well, and they give you the opportunity to prepare complete nutritious meals. If you make tomato soup you can add cheesy toast and serve it French Onion Soup style or you can add frozen tortellini to mix things up. Other soups that we love include tortilla soup, Guinness Stew, and Thai curry noodle soup. (Note: soups with cream usually don’t freeze well).
You have two options. You can either make bolognese with fresh tomatoes and freeze it, or you can make bolognese with frozen beef and canned tomatoes. Having bolognese opens up a variety of dinner options. You can make spaghetti squash, a simple pasta, or pizza.
This taco pie made with layers of seasoned beef, beans, tomatoes, corn, salsa, cheese, and tortillas freezes well. Or you can make a vegetarian version with pantry items.
Buffalo chicken freezes well. Just let the chicken cool and then place it in an air tight container or a plastic bag with the air squeezed out. You can add the buffalo chicken to a sandwich, taco, macaroni and cheese, pizza, enchilada, or serve over grits. See my list of best buffalo chicken recipes.
Enchiladas can be frozen and store bought enchilada sauce is a shelf stable time saver. Just prep the enchiladas, cover tightly, and freeze.
This recipe freezes well and is easy to portion into separate containers so that you can freeze batches that are just the right size based on the size of your family. For two I use a bread pan, for a larger family use a casserole dish.
Quarantine Shopping List
Here are some shelf stable / long lasting items that you may want to stock up on.
Chicken Broth or Vegetable Broth
Risotto Rice (Arborio Rice)
Cheese (packaged cheese can last 3-5 months – check the expiration date)
Organic Milk (organic stays fresh longer and often it doesn’t expire for 6 weeks)
Cans of Soup
Frozen Vegetables and Canned Vegetables
Pizza Crust (you can freeze it)
Pancake Mix (just add water)
Non Food Items I Stocked Up On
Zinc Supplements (some doctors say this might help you fend off the virus)
Small Alcohol Wipes (don’t buy these – people who depend on daily injections need these, but if you have some at home they are great for wiping down your phone – I had 200 leftover from IVF)
Hand Sanitizer or 91% Rubbing Alcohol and Aloe to make your own
Toilet Paper (I bought 24 rolls just in case)
Antibacterial Hand and Dish Soap (I refilled all soup dispensers in my home with this)
Contact Lens Solution
*At least 30 days of any prescription or over the counter medication you need (in my case prenatal vitamins, Bonjesta, and Pepcid)