Quarantine cooking

Creamy cioppino during quarantine anyone? (Photo courtesy of Laura Marie Anthony)

Sharing recipes was common in eras past. SN&R staff and friends put together this virtual recipe book to inspire everyone to try something new and get creative in the kitchen.

Tortilla soup with cilantro-lime tofu

(Recipe courtesy of Steph Rodriguez, serves 6 to 8)

I love soup—especially tortilla soup. I’ve tweaked this recipe throughout the years, and it’s easy to substitute different ingredients with whatever veggies you have in the fridge or in your backyard. This version uses cilantro-lime baked tofu cubes, but you can totally marinate chicken thighs in spices, pan fry them and toss them in for extra flavor. This is my hearty take on a classic recipe that can also be labeled vegan if you leave out the cheese and corn tortilla toppings. But I love cheese.

Tortilla soup. (Photo courtesy of Steph Rodriguez)


1 cup chopped cilantro

1 yellow onion, diced

1 16 ounce can black beans

1/2 cup frozen corn

1 package extra firm tofu

1-2 jalapeño(s)

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 red bell pepper, diced (green, yellow or orange works, too)

14 oz veggie broth (or chicken broth)

1 14 oz can diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cayenne (or more if you like spicy)

Tofu marinade:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup lime juice

2 cloves garlic, minced;

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 pinch cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions for soup:

Start by roasting your onion, bell pepper and jalapeño in a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and a bit charred. Toss garlic into skillet and stir until fragrant, careful not to burn. Turn off burner, set aside. In a large pot, add stock, diced tomatoes and dry spices over medium heat. Pour the onions and peppers into the pot and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Add in the black beans, corn, some chopped cilantro and tofu bits, and let the soup simmer for another 10 minutes on low heat. Lastly, fry up corn tortilla strips and garnish the soup. It tastes delicious with a bit of shredded cheese and a squeeze of lime.

Directions for tofu:

The trick to a well-marinated tofu is pressing all the water out. Squeeze the liquids out by firmly pressing with your hands and then finish it off by squeezing the block between paper towels or a cheese cloth. Slice long, thick rectangles and marinate in a Tupperware or Ziploc bag for as long as two hours (or overnight. Preheat your oven to 350 F, bake tofu on a cookie sheet with parchment paper for 10 minutes on each side until golden brown. Cut into cubes and toss into soup just before serving. Pro tip: If you have time, freeze the tofu package overnight before marinating. Then, defrost the tofu the next day and squeeze the water out. Why? This method turns the tofu into a super sponge that will quickly soak up any marinade.

Fruit cobbler

(Recipe courtesy of Debbie Arrington, serves 4 large portions)

Cobbler is resourceful comfort food, making the most of what’s available. You don’t even need an oven to “bake” this dessert. You can make it on the backyard grill. (Handy to know when the weather turns stifling!)

Use the fruit you have on hand, be it fresh juicy peaches or cling peaches out of a can. Besides peaches, this recipe works well with other cobbler favorites such as apples, blackberries, strawberries, rhubarb, apricots or nectarines. Canned pears or pineapple work, too. You can also mix and match; canned peaches and fresh blueberries make a delicious combination. The key to baking on the grill is having a pan that can take high heat. An 8-inch cast iron skillet is ideal. If you’d rather stay indoors, bake this cobbler at 375 degrees F in a preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Skillet cobbler. (Photo courtesy of Debbie Arrington)

Skillet cobbler:

3 cups fruit

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

For dough:

1 cup flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

4 tablespoons chilled butter

1/2 cup milk


If using fresh peaches, apples, pears, nectarines, etc., peel, seed and slice. Stem and wash berries. Drain canned fruit. In a bowl, toss prepared fruit with 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon flour and cinnamon.

In an 8-inch cast iron skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter. (This can be done on the stove top or grill.) Add fruit and cook over medium heat until juices become bubbly. Remove from heat.

In another bowl, combine remaining flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. With a pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until it resembles coarse meal. Add milk and stir to form a dough, like drop biscuits.

Spoon dough by heaping tablespoons over the fruit.

Meanwhile, warm the grill to about 400 degrees F. If using three burners, turn off the center burner.

Place a sheet of aluminum foil over the grill where the pan will sit, in the center of the grill over the off burner. Place pan on foil and close grill.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the top is golden brown. (You may need to adjust heat on grill to keep temperature about 350-375 degrees.) Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

Fast feijoada

(Recipe courtesy of Olla Swanson, serves 4)

Feijoada is a hearty Brazilian stew typically made with beef, pork and black beans. It normally takes hours to get the desired flavors and texture, but this pantry version cuts down the cooking time to an hour at most.

Homemade feijoada. (Photo courtesy of Olla Swanson)


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

12 ounce kielbasa or any smoked sausage sliced into half moons

2 15-ounce cans of black beans, drained and rinsed

2 1/2 cups beef broth

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tsp red pepper flakes (or more to taste)

1 bay leaf

Salt and pepper


Heat oil in a large shallow pan on medium-high heat. Saute onions and garlic until onions are translucent (about 3-4 minutes). Add sausage. Stir occasionally until sausage starts to brown, then add beans, beef broth, cumin, red pepper flakes and bay leaf. Heat until boiling, then turn down to medium-low heat. Let simmer for at least 30 minutes while occasionally stirring. Add more beef broth if the mixture becomes too thick. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mash beans for a thicker consistency. Serve with white rice.

Asian wings with cilantro and crushed peanuts

(Recipe courtesy of Justin Anderson, serves 3)

These sweet and tangy chicken wings hit multiple flavor and texture notes between the fresh-squeezed cara-cara orange juice and the crunchy peanut garnish. Sharing is optional.

Korean-style wings. (Photo courtesy of Justin Anderson)


2 pounds chicken wings

Kosher salt

Finely-ground black pepper

For the sauce:

3 tablespoons Sriracha sauce or Korean gochujang sauce

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon water

2 tablespoons juice from a freshly-squeezed cara-cara orange

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon butter (optional)

For garnish:

1 tablespoon Asian chile oil drizzle (optional)

1/4 cup finely-chopped cilantro

1/4 cup minced unsalted peanuts


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place wings skin-side down in rows and season with kosher salt and black pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes. Place soy sauce, chile sauce, fresh orange juice, sesame oil, sugar and rice wine vinegar into a medium sauce pan. Bring ingredients to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring often for about 10 minutes until desired consistency. (If the sauce is too thin, add 1 tablespoon of butter to thicken.) In a large bowl, toss roasted chicken wings with sauce, garnish with cilantro, peanuts and a drizzle of chile oil.

Fast and easy Russian sponge cake

(Recipe courtesy of Maria Ratinova, serves 8)

This traditional Russian cake, known as “charlotka,” is airy, moist and delicious. Plus, it’s made using six simple ingredients.

Simple Russian sponge cake. (Photo courtesy of Maria Ratinova.)


3 to 4 green sour apples

3 eggs

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar




Preheat the oven to 380° F. Grease an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with butter and sprinkle with flour so it sticks to the pan. Remove the rest. Peel and core the apples, slice into ¼- to ½-inch pieces and fill the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Beat eggs and whisk in sugar, using a hand or stand mixer. Add flour and mix together. Pour the dough in the pan so that the apples are all slightly covered. Bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour. Check with a toothpick—it should come out dry.

Lazy jerk sauce

(Recipe courtesy of Cathy Arnold, great marinade for chicken and veggies)

Spices lead to endless flavor possibilities. (Photo from Flickr)


1 glug olive oil

1 big splash of soy sauce

Juice of 1/2 a lime

1 big pinch of brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon of each:

Dried thyme

Granulated garlic

Ground ginger

Cayenne pepper

Ground allspice


Black pepper (or white)


Dump, massage, mix or slather onto your favorite meat or veggie. Marinate overnight in fridge, then barbecue, roast, broil or pan-sear to cook. This sauce is also great on pasta, potatoes, rice or whatever. Try it with some beans.

Maple-dijon glazed Brussels sprouts

(Recipe courtesy of Lindsay Oxford, serves up to 4)

1 pound Brussels sprouts

3 tablespoons maple syrup (100% pure)

1 to 2 tablespoon(s) Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon water

1 tablespoon olive oil

A pile of delicious Brussels. (Photo from Flickr)


First, prepare Brussels sprouts by washing them and halving or quartering them so they’re uniform size (Optional: I prefer to cut off the white parts.)

Next, make a glaze of 3 parts maple syrup (it’s important to use real, 100% maple syrup) to one part Dijon mustard and combine. Add a little bit of water or olive oil if the glaze seems too thick. Combine halved sprouts and the glaze in a bowl and mix and toss until fully coated. 

Two options for cooking: pan-sear over medium heat until slightly seared, or roast in the oven at 350 degrees F in a well-oiled pan or cookie sheet (maple syrup glaze makes for sticky cleanup) until lightly brown and crisp.

Vegan chili

(Recipe courtesy of Rachel Leibrock, serves 8)

Beans, beans the magical ingredient. (Photo from Flickr)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes (preferably fire-roasted), undrained
2 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained
1 (16-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, drained
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 chilis in adobo, chopped finely (optional, but highly recommended if you want the chili to have a little bite)

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add vegetable broth and next 8 ingredients (through cannellini beans), stirring to combine.

Stir tomato paste thoroughly into bean mixture. Add chilis, if using. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or longer if you want the flavors to deepen. Salt and pepper as needed. Ladle into bowls. Serve with cornbread or tortilla chips.

One grilled cheese sandwich

(Recipe courtesy of Rachel Mayfield, serves 1)

Look at that cheese. (Photo from Wiki Commons)

There’s nothing better than one grilled cheese sandwich … except, maybe, two grilled cheese sandwiches! Dress it up with extra ingredients such as tomato, lettuce or olive, or stay true to the original. It’s up to you. Unfortunately, this recipe only makes one grilled cheese sandwich, so if you want two, you’ll have to follow along two times.


2 slices of bread

2 tablespoons butter

1 to 2 slices of cheese


Spread butter on two slices of bread. Place one slice (butter side down) into pan on heated stove top. Place cheese on top of bread, then place the last slice of bread on top (butter side up). When bottom slice turns golden brown, flip sandwich and let the other side cook. Once the bread is crispy and the cheese is melted, toss that sandwich onto a plate of your choice and tuck a little napkin in your shirt collar. Bon appetit!

Surprise enchiladas

(Recipe courtesy of Debbie Arrington, serves 4)

The surprise is what’s inside (in this case, pumpkin, black beans and leftover pork roast).

From the outside, you’d never guess what’s inside these enchiladas. That’s why they’re called “surprise enchiladas.” The filling depends on what’s in the refrigerator. It’s a good way to use leftover roast meat. Combining one cup of cubed pork roast with black beans and roast pumpkin stretched the meat into a full meal for three or four people.

This recipe works great with chicken instead of pork, too. (Did I say versatile?) Or try cubes of leftover beef with black beans and rice. Or skip the meat and increase the beans and pumpkin to 1-1/2 cups each. Or substitute cooked rice, corn or potatoes for the pork or the beans. The idea is to make the most of what you have on hand. The idea is to come up with 3 cups of pre-cooked filling, enough for six enchiladas.

I’m still cooking with my fall pumpkin harvest (one left!), so I used fresh roast pumpkin in this recipe. But steamed pumpkin or canned pumpkin will work, too.

Surprise enchiladas! (Photo courtesy of Debbie Arrington)


1 cup onion, chopped

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1 cup pork roast, cooked and diced

1 cup black beans, cooked and drained

1 cup pumpkin, cooked

1/4 cup mild chiles, seeded and chopped

1/2 cup salsa (fresh or jarred)

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

6 soft flour tortillas (soft taco size)

For sauce:

1 cup tomato sauce

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

1/2 teaspoon chile powder

1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup sliced black olives


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or grease a 9-inch baking dish; set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil and saute chopped onion until translucent. Add pork and brown slightly. Add beans and pumpkin, stir lightly. Add chiles, salsa and pepper flakes; heat filling until warmed through.

Meanwhile, prepare sauce. In a small saucepan, combine tomato sauce, cumin and chile powder. Gently warm until almost bubbly.

One at a time, place a generous 1/2 cup of filling at the center of a tortilla; roll up and place in baking dish. Roll filling in each tortilla until dish is full. Cover with sauce. Top with shredded cheese and garnish with sliced olives.  

Bake enchiladas in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese starts to brown. (Put a cookie sheet under the baking dish to prevent overflow. If cheese browns too quickly, shield with aluminum foil.)

After removing from oven, let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Serve warm with guacamole and salsa.

Creamy cioppino

(Recipe courtesy of Laura Marie Anthony, serves 6)

This is my adaptation of the classic Italian-American dish, cioppino, which originated in San Francisco. What I love about cioppino is the ability to improvise based on ingredients at hand. Sometimes, I don’t have all the produce or can’t afford the seafood it calls for. The last time I made it, I only had the can of diced tomatoes, but no tomato paste. I improvised there and simply reduced the liquid broth mixture for 20 to 30 minutes longer than the recipe calls for. That way, you get a more robust flavor from your broth.

I also didn’t have any fennel or onion, and I only had minced garlic. The bay leaf is great for flavor, but you won’t ruin the meal without it. I do believe the white wine and fish stock is pretty important to the flavor complex, and the heavy whipping cream at the end really adds a special something.

Creamy cioppino. (Photo courtesy of Laura Marie Anthony)


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
3 large shallots, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
5 cups fish stock
1 bay leaf

1/4 cup to 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 to 3 lbs seafood of your choice—goes great with frozen mussels, shrimp, crab, chunks of fish filet, imitation lobster meat, etc. You can go as expensive or as cheap as you need to. The last time I had some baked tempura shrimp, I added it at the last minute as a garnish. Use your imagination!


Heat the oil in a very large pot over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, shallots and salt and saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and saute 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add tomatoes with their juices, wine, fish stock and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low. Cover and simmer until the flavors blend, about 30 minutes. Taste your broth. Is the flavor robust? If it isn’t, reduce uncovered for another 15 minutes on medium heat.

Reduce heat to medium low. Add the seafood; imitation crab or lobster can go in at any time. If you’re using mussels and/or clams, cover and cook until the clams and mussels begin to open, about 5 minutes. If available, add the shrimp and fish. Simmer gently until the fish and shrimp are cooked through, and the clams are completely open, stirring gently, about 5 minutes longer (discard any clams and mussels that do not open). The goal is to cook the seafood thoroughly without overdoing it and making it rubbery. Add heavy whipping cream and season the soup to taste with more salt and red pepper flakes. Garnish with parsley flakes if you wish. Ladle the soup into bowls and enjoy!

Our content is free, but not free to produce

If you value our local news, arts and entertainment coverage, become an SN&R supporter with a one-time or recurring donation. Help us keep our reporters at work, bringing you the stories that need to be told.


Stay Updated

For the latest local news, arts and entertainment, sign up for our newsletter.
We'll tell you the story behind the story.

Be the first to comment on "Quarantine cooking"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.