Ann Kelly’s Quarantine Kitchen

It's tough to wake up in a good mood sometimes, and even harder these days. If you're not able to make it out for your morning cup of coffee or would just like to find a new way to enjoy it I have an idea. I'm going to give this a try over the weekend. Have you ever heard of whipped coffee? I'm not talking about the whipped cream, I'm talking about the coffee itself. I'll have pics and video this weekend but if you're open to giving it a try let me see how it works out for you. Hey, it's a little upper body workout if you choose to use that good old wisk and not a hand blender!

You want to start a real debate? Start with sauce. Gravy. But whatever you call it when it’s YOURS it’s special. This recipe from Ann Kelly’s Quarantine Kitchen is a keeper. I started with a quick pantry check and found everything I needed. A couple of tablespoons of a good extra virgin olive oil in the bottom of the pot with one chopped up onion sauted for about five minutes. Then the four 14 ounce cans of diced tomatoes along with a teaspoon of Italian seasoning,  three cloves of garlic (okay, I used four since I love it) and finally a teaspoon of salt and one-half a teaspoon of pepper. But honestly those spices are all to your particular taste. I had everything I needed and added a couple of small cans of mushroom. It all simmers for about 20 minutes or until it’s as thick as you like. Easy stuff, freezes nicely and perfect for quick pasta supper. Or whatever you’d like to use it for. Meatball sub, anyone! There are plenty of quick and easy recipes when google around but make it your own and enjoy. But all these recipes really are about comfort food. So let me, along with your ideas, take what’s making us uncomfortable an perhaps a little scared and give you that safe place that’s our kitchens.

I'm adding brain food to the mix with a recipe for oven roasted maple salmon. The beautiful part of this dish is that you can start with frozen filets right out of the freezer. Just a few ingredients, and in less than half an hour I have some very tasty filets ready to go. By the way I did not use all the glaze to cut back on some calories and it was just fine.  And the whole house did not smell like fish. Now I have four salmon filets ready to go for the next weeks meals.

I'm seen numerous memes about gaining weight while you're working at home. Funny until it's you, right? Keeping my immune system strong is my first priority and I'm happy to share a few ideas with you from a registered dietician. My pantry is stocked with plenty of canned items and the freezer with vegetables, fruits and plenty of protein options. You can make a good meal from all of those, and add at home workout to the mix. Keeping our minds and body in shape will make for a much happier at home experience. See what you might already have on hand for an at-home gym, and if a workout with Chris Hemsworth would make you happy be my guest!

This is easy one I also used the slow cooker for and that's beef stew. We all might have this one in the book or recipe file handed down from your Mom or Grandmother and it's a matter of taste for seasoning and what veggies you might prefer. Honestly, I go with a slightly better grand of beef than just the stew meat but to save money let's go with that. Make sure the veggies are all cut about the same size for even cooking and let the aroma fill the air for stay at home heaven! Up next, a recipe that uses frozen salmon filets I also have and need to use.

I have some go-to recipes that are quick, easy and will make for a happy family. I found this one some time ago from Allrecipes for Zesty Slow Cooker Chicken Barbeque. and I share it a lot. . The beauty of this is you can take frozen chicken breasts and add those right into the  slow cooker along with the rest of the ingredients and just walk away for a few hours. Add a crisp salad and rolls for a nice dinner that also freezes very nicely. That's what I was looking  for to add to the freezer meals.

The New York Times also did a story on easy recipes you can prepare for self-quarantine and what you should have on hand. So while the slow cooker did the work for me I took the time to make the kitchen look less like a staging area and more like the kitchen I love. That meant getting the pantry in stcked with what I might need for the next few weeks.  Think of the basics like pasta, rice, beans and canned foods. Check your spices, and add things like vinegar, olive oils as well as peanut and other nut butters. I needed to freshen up the baking items as well.  I'm cooking meals ahead that will be on hand just in case, just like in hurricane season. Snacks? Of course but let's make sure along with the ones that would be considered treats that you have items like nuts, dried fruit along with low sugar selections, chips that are baked, etc. I also stocked up on protein powder for smoothies, drinks with electrolytes (low or no sugar) and my favorite fizzy waters.

Please don’t forget to also support local restaurants and delivery options that are struggling to stay alive . Please let us know if you are open, what you’re offering, hours, etc. Pictures are also appreciated. I’ll keep sharing my favorites and some suggestions for quick, easy meals and of course I’d like to hear from you and what your go-to’s are. Just send them to ann.kelly@cmg.com along with a picture or two. We’re all in this together so let’s share the love in Ann Kelly’s Quarantine Kitchen.

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