COVID-19. It’s staggering to think that a tiny virus could have such a substantial impact on daily life.
If you’ve visited the grocery store lately, you probably saw empty aisles and just a few kitchen staples remaining. So what can you make to eat?
When life gets challenging, you can still whip up “struggle meals” with simple ingredients you have in your kitchen already.
The following recipes are big on flavor and macronutrients, but small on the ingredient list.
Let’s get started.
1. Bean Burritos
You can find burritos at just about every convenience store for pennies for a good reason. They don’t need many ingredients, and nearly everyone has beans on their pantry shelves.
The humble wrap plays a starring role in many easy-to-prepare meals, so you know they have survival power.
Even though this recipe calls for Monterey jack cheese, you can substitute nearly any shredded version you have on hand. You can also add any vegetables you like.
2. Cheesy Avocado Quesadillas
There’s nothing like a quesadilla when it comes to comfort food.
These treats are like a south-of-the-border grilled cheese, and all you need to make a simple version of this recipe is a pan, a block of cheddar or cotija, and some flour or corn tortillas.
This recipe incorporates ground beef and avocado to add some more weight to the traditional dish.
The meat provides filling protein to fuel your muscles through your confinement. Avocados contain a host of heart-healthy fats and Vitamin E to keep your blood vessels pliable and skin smooth.
You want to rock a clear complexion when you emerge from hiding, after all.
3. Peanut Butter and Jelly Flapjacks
Who doesn’t have any peanut butter or jelly lurking in their pantry? You don’t need to wait for breakfast to enjoy this sweet and salty treat.
You can nosh on them around the clock — handy if you’re stuck inside during the quarantine. Choose any flavor of jam you have on hand. It doesn’t matter if it’s grape jelly or orange marmalade.
4. Butter Smoked Cabbage
Nearly every store still has cabbage, and it’s the ideal vegetable for troubled times because it lasts in your refrigerator almost forever.
While you can consume this veggie raw, smoking it brings out the sweetness of the leaves.
They can also make a far sturdier low-carb wrap than lettuce leaves for those who are following diets such as keto.
All you need for this recipe is a head of cabbage, some butter, balsamic vinegar and your favorite rub.
Smoke it on the grill for two hours while you return to your online ukulele lessons and dig in after.
5. Brown Butter Basted Steak
If you’re a carnivorous survivalist, you hopefully have a freezer full of steak in your basement or garage.
Whip out a rib eye for this simple recipe that packs a protein punch.
Rosemary is high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, so if you’re feeling under the weather, either due to COVID-19 or the common flu, this dish may help you ease aches and pains.
6. Egg Drop Ramen
It’s funny how a pandemic transports you back to your starving undergrad days.
You can always count on ramen — chances are, your local grocer still has some if your cupboard is bare.
However, these meals offer little but empty carbs on their own. Adding an egg to this dish gives you additional protein, as well as omega-3 fatty acids for brain health.
7. Root Beer Pulled Pork
You might have used to marinate cuts of meat wine in the past.
However, liquor supplies are running thin, and you want to save yourself a few glasses for those nights you need help unwinding.
All you need is a can of root beer for this dish’s marinade. The sugars in the soda tenderize the meat while adding delectable sweetness.
8. Mushroom Pork Chops
Who says you can’t make gourmet-tasting meals with only six ingredients?
The only item you may need is fresh mushrooms, although you can use jarred or canned versions in a pinch.
Most cupboards contain a can or two of cream of mushroom soup for cooking purposes, so put it to use.
If you have a herb garden, feel free to spice this up however you like.
9. Grilled Chicken Skewers
Right now, you probably need to get outside more than ever, so why not fire up the grill for these flavorful chicken skewers?
If you have some soy sauce in your fridge and honey in the pantry, you have nearly everything you need for this dish.
Serve these up over rice, or pair them with some fresh ears of corn — another veggie that lasts forever in your refrigerator.
10. Shrimp Fried Rice
Seafood contains omega-3 fatty acids that are critical for neurological health.
Some research indicates consumption can help boost your mood — who couldn’t use that during these troubled times?
This recipe uses frozen mixed vegetables you can pull right from your freezer. Add some bacon crumbles for a salty flavor and added fat.
Struggle Meals: Conclusion
These dishes — along with some meals-ready-to-eat— will help you survive the quarantine. They feature easy-to-find ingredients you probably have on hand already.
Count on these recipes to keep you well-fed during the tumultuous months ahead.
What meals do you make when supplies are a struggle? Let us know in the comments below.