Quarantine Cuisine Challenge Day #29 – The Supermarket

Tomorrow is the last day of my challenge to go 30 days without a trip to the supermarket. I almost made it. With just two days to go, I took advantage of a trip to Publix Pharmacy (to pick up a prescription) to shop for groceries, too. If you haven’t yet shopped inside a grocery store during the COVID19 quarantine, here’s what’s new.

An employee sprays and wipes shopping buggies before each use. I didn’t need a buggy wipe or hand sanitizer (although I carry my own hand sanitizer and used it). Incidentally, restrooms were open and I was able to wash my hands.

I wore a mask, but not everyone did. Shoppers did observe the 6-foot rule except when passing in an aisle. At 8:45 am, it wasn’t crowded.

Aisles are one-way. Directional signs are on the floors. Also, floors are marked in 6 foot intervals at checkout lines.

Many items have limits, and some shelves are still bare, but it’s much improved since March. Canned goods had a limit of two per item per customer. A month ago there wasn’t a can to be found. There was toilet paper but no paper napkins. (I’m not sure what to make of that.)

No complimentary coffee service. I typically grab a cup before I begin shopping, but it makes sense to suspend it during the pandemic. A sign assured customers it was a temporary measure. I realize not all grocery stores offer complimentary coffee, but they do here. Whether it’s a small town thing or a southern tradition, I couldn’t say.

No-touch payment. The credit/debit card reader is wiped by an employee after each use; but with the Publix app, I simply scan the bar code for my order with my iPhone and done! My digital coupons automatically apply, too. I felt high-tech.

Plexiglass partitions separate customers from cashiers. All employees we encountered wore masks.

I thanked the cashier and bagger for their work. I believe all shoppers should wear masks to protect these workers as a courtesy.

I missed my challenge, yet I learned to be creative in making substitutes. We actually enjoyed tuna croquettes when I ran out of salmon.

Stay safe, everyone. Soon we’ll have some restrictions lifted. Please be patient and considerate when shopping. Thanks for following me during my cooking challenge while quarantined.

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Quarantine Cuisine Day #28 – Jambalaya

Another day of “improv in the kitchen,” I wanted jambalaya yet had no andouille sausage. But I have plenty of Jimmy Dean’s fully cooked turkey sausage patties. I chopped the sausage and substituted it in my jambalaya recipe. It worked!

I scaled down my original recipe for today.

Pressure cooker jambalaya

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Quarantine Cuisine Day #27 – Oatmeal

Today we’re out of milk. The skim milk is gone, the unsweetened almond milk is gone, the evaporated milk is gone … we’ve even used the shelf-stable cartons of milk we typically stock for hurricane preparedness. No cold cereal today for breakfast.

Oatmeal to the rescue! Grocery stores frequently have oatmeal on sale as a BOGO (buy-one-get-one free), so we had two boxes of Quaker Old Fashion Oatmeal in the pantry. With a pressure cooker, perfect oatmeal is easy. Here’s how I cook it.

RECIPE

Oatmeal for two

Ingredients: 2/3 cups oats, 2 cups water, 1/4 tsp. Salt (or to taste), 1 1/2 tsp butter, and 1 cup water for the pressure cooker.

Directions: Pour 1 cup water into the pressure cooker pot. Add trivet. In a separate bowl or pot (any vessel that fits inside the cooker for pot-in-pot cooking), combine all other ingredients. Seal pressure cooker, set for 10 minutes, cook, and allow pressure to drop on its own. Do not vent manually. Carefully open the pressure cooker, remove the inner pot or bowl using potholders or mittens, and stir oatmeal vigorously. Serve immediately.

My husband eats his oatmeal with a Tablespoon of honey stirred in. I like to add cinnamon and stevia. There are endless possibilities to flavor oatmeal.

If you want larger servings (Ours are approximately 100 calories per serving , not including toppings), simply increase the amounts of oatmeal and water while maintaining the 1/3 cup oats/1 cup liquid ratio.

We will enjoy oatmeal again soon. It’s a hearty and satisfying breakfast.

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Quarantine Cuisine Day #26 – Taco Soup

Social media abound with recipes for taco soup, also known as 5-can soup. It’s a good pantry recipe that requires few fresh items. The 5 cans refer to two different cans of beans, a can of hominy, a can of Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies, and a can of whole kernel corn. (The ingredients vary, but it’s basically a soup with similar elements)

Ingredients for taco soup

Taco seasoning mix, a can or cup of chicken broth, a pound of ground meat, and an onion round out the recipe. Some versions include a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing, but mine doesn’t. My version includes a bit of garlic powder instead. I also add a cup of tomato sauce.

Today I wanted to cook taco soup but had no canned beans. Fortunately, I use pressure cookers. There’s no need for canned beans when I have a pressure cooker and dried beans. Cooking a pound of dried beans takes less than an hour. I mixed a cup of pinto beans and a cup of black beans, cooked them under pressure 40 minutes, and allowed pressure to drop on its own.

Meanwhile, I browned a pound of ground turkey and chopped the onion. I added all the cans (corn, Rotel, hominy, and tomato sauce), broth, seasonings, and browned ground turkey and onions to the beans to slow-cook until mealtime.

Taco soup can be served with a variety of toppings, such as cheese, cilantro, and/or crumbled tortilla chips. It’s an inexpensive soup that yields 6-8 servings.

Taco soup

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