As our country continues to navigate the COVID-19 outbreak, millions of Filipinos are now spending their days at home due to the enhanced community quarantine. With all this time on our hands, we now have the opportunity to cook for ourselves and our families three times a day. But exactly what to cook is the question, given that supplies and our time to go outside for groceries are limited.
The key to cooking during the quarantine is to prepare food that can either last long or be reused into future dishes. Here we share 5 dishes that are perfect for the quarantine because of their longevity, without sacrificing their flavor. All of these recipes are easy to make and can be cooked with ingredients you might already have in the kitchen.
Slow-cooked chicken breast
Chicken is a must-have for any pantry because it is an inexpensive protein and a very hearty (and tasty!) way to amp up any meal. The beauty of a slow-cooked chicken breast, in particular, is that it can last for weeks if frozen and can be added into a variety of dishes without fail.
The breast can be seasoned with whatever spices you already have, like onions, garlic, chili powder, and maybe chicken or vegetable broth. Eat it whole the first time around, and leftovers can be shredded and frozen to be used in future recipes, like a chicken sandwich or a stir-fry.
Adobo is the classic Filipino dish that’s popular for not spoiling easily, even if it’s not refrigerated. This Pinoy favorite can last for three days even at room temperature because of the vinegary goodness used to cook it. Have it refrigerated and it lasts for much longer. Some people even say adobo tastes better with time, and maybe we’ll agree with that.
There are several ways of cooking adobo that you can choose from, from the classic pork recipe to varieties like adobong puti or adobo sa gata. Leftover adobo can be further reimagined into dishes like pulled pork adobo and crispy adobo flakes.
Chinese vegetable stir-fry
A vegetable stir-fry is a no-brainer meal that takes only 20 minutes to prepare but can last you for up to four days in the fridge. If you have any vegetables lying around that are nearing their shelf life, using them for a stir-fry is a smart way of cooking so that none of your perishables go to waste. Small cuts from your stir-fried vegetables can even be reused to make your breakfast fried rice extra special.
The great thing about a stir-fry is that it’ll taste amazing no matter what vegetables you have in the pantry. Throw in anything and everything, from carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, baby corn, and snap peas. Who said you can’t eat fresh veggies during quarantine?
Tomato-based pasta sauce
If ever you’re planning to have pasta for dinner and are going to make a pasta sauce from scratch, consider making much more sauce than what you will serve. A tomato-based sauce is very versatile and is a key ingredient for several of your favorite dishes. Extra portions of this sauce can save you lots of money and time when preparing for future dinner recipes, plus making your dish much more flavorful compared to just using store-bought tomato sauce.
Store it in a refrigerator and your pasta sauce can be good for at least a week. The possibilities are endless, as you can use this sauce to make a rice casserole, meatballs in tomato sauce, or even classics like chicken afritada.
Lumpiang shanghai is the ultimate Filipino comfort dish, and making them is super easy, even in big batches. Hopefully, you have lumpia wrappers readily available, but all other ingredients (ground pork, eggs, carrots, soy sauce, etc.) are very easy to find.
The best thing about lumpiang shanghai is that they are compact and freeze very well, and so you can store several batches of these little bites in the freezer for up to two months, ideal for the long durations of a quarantine. Keep them stashed in the freezer, and just fry yourself a few rolls whenever you want. Depending on how many you make, you might even have some lumpiang shanghai left long after the quarantine is over.
We hope that these easy-to-do and long-lasting recipes can help keep your stomachs full of hearty and healthy food, while minimizing your time outside to buy fast food or groceries. Let’s all stay safe, stay home, and stay healthy this quarantine season.
What other long-lasting dishes can you recommend to add to our list? Share them with us below!