Batch Cooking During the Corona Crisis

We are deep in a health crisis right now and I think the rumors may be true – it’s only going to get worse. The Corona Virus is here and it’s time to act. It seems to be the only thing anyone can talk about these days. I unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) love a good crisis and tend to fall down the rabbit hole of news and the media. My kids need to leave their universities, events are getting cancelled everywhere.

Whether or not you get the virus, staying in on a Saturday night, alone, feels a little more appealing right now than a crowded restaurant or concert hall.

On that note, it’s time to prepare for (the phrase of the year) social distancing in earnest. Last week I wrote about eating your best right now and just how important that is. I , for one, am going to give my body a fighting chance to face this illness. My top go to foods – citrus, yogurt, dark leafy greens, onions, garlic, spices and herbs – are in the daily meal rotation everyday.

I’m not trying to be an alarmist, but nonetheless, I did go to the grocery store to stock up on a few (dozen) things, just in case we do have a self imposed quarantine. Footnote: this also happened to be a good excuse to go into my deep freezer, toss things that were expired/old, clean things out so I could see what I have. It’s a good idea to do this anyway, so I hardly feel like this is a waste of my time.

Here is my plan to stocking my pantry and freezer and getting prepared:

Go Through Your Cabinets, Spice Drawers and Freezer

Anything been hiding in there for months, or even years? It’s okay, forgive yourself for those decade old spices, toss them and move on. Foods with freezer burn or expiration dates should also get tossed without shame.

Buy Your Essential Pantry Items

I’m thinking in terms of a crisis but it is also a great habit to get into anyway. Think about what you use a lot of, and consider what comfort type foods you would want if you were stuck at home. They should also last you a while too. To my list went:

Whole Grains – brown rice, farro, quinoa, oats, whole grain pastas
Dried beans – chickpeas, white beans, kidney beans
Seeds and nuts – flax, chia, hemp, almonds, walnuts, cashews
Bags of onion and garlic
Tofu and tempeh, which last a while in the refrigerator
Frozen vegetables such as kale, cauliflower, broccoli to add to soups or grain pilafs
Canned tomatoes and tomato paste
Boxed plant based milks to make smoothies
Frozen fruit such as berries, peaches, pineapple to add to smoothies
Dark chocolate chips (If I have to be in quarantine, my Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies are a must)
Whole wheat pastry flour and almond flour
Ground turkey to make Turkey Meatballs and Turkey Red Bean Chili

Become a Batch Cooking Pro

Batch cooking is not foreign to me. In fact I do it a lot. Probably more when I had three kids at home. But, the way this crisis is going, they are all going to be home in a matter of days, with one already on his way from the West Coast.

Batch cooking sounds labor intensive but, in reality, it saves you tons of time. During the rest of your quarantine, you will thank yourself for having something that you can pull out of the freezer.

I spent last weekend making and freezing:

Turkey Meatballs. I wrapped these in plastic wrap and into a freezer bag they went.
Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Cookie dough. I froze the dough balls then simply put them in a freezer bag. All you need to do is pop a couple on a tray and bake them up.
Turkey and Red Bean Chili. Ladled this chili into single serving containers and into the freezer they went.
Pumpkin Crumb Muffins. Used the last of my pumpkin puree in my cabinets, baked and froze these too.
Homemade Bone Broth. To sip on or to use in soups, stews and grains. Now I have a lot waiting for me in my freezer too.
Homemade Tomato Sauce. Make a big pot of sauce and freeze into single serving containers. So much better than store bought.

 

I feel as prepared as I can be for any impending doom. Although I hope it doesn’t get any worse than it is right now, knowing I have meals and food that I love and make me feel good is essential for me.

 

How about you? What are you going to do to prepare for the crisis? Let me know in the comments below.

 

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