By Alan Markoff
When it comes to meal planning during a time when we’re asked to stay home as much as possible, think of it as extended camping in a remote location where you can bring your whole refrigerator/freezer. You want to, as much as possible, have all the ingredients you need in your pantry or in your fridge.
First, you need a stock of the basics: salt, pepper, cooking/salad oils; vinegars, dried herbs and spices (oregano, basil, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, etc.), condiments (mustards, ketchup, hot sauces, etc.). You probably have many or all of these, but before you head to the supermarket, check to see if you need more.
Next, plan your menus based on a variety of factors including your budget, what you/your family likes to eat and what you can make over a period of at least a week with a declining selection of fresh ingredients. Plan to use fresh, perishable ingredients first and then meals that can use dry goods, frozen ingredients and long-lasting refrigerated ingredients toward the end of your “camping trip.”
Think about dishes that use dry ingredients or long-lasting perishables that can make a variety of meals, like rice, pasta and potatoes. Also stock up on some canned or jarred goods like tuna, corned beef, peanut butter, jams and jellies, and tomatoes, as well as the basics like bread, butter, cheeses, milk, eggs and lunch meats, keeping in mind that sliced salami is going to last a lot longer in the fridge than sliced turkey or roast beef.
Think about dishes that provide lots of leftovers – soups, chili, marinara sauce or even a whole turkey can feed entire families and still leave leftovers.
Don’t forget about fruit and vegetables. Fresh fruits and vegetables won’t last a long time, so supplement them with frozen varieties and items that will keep for a long time in the fridge – like a bag of lemons, which are not only good and healthy in drinks, but can also be used to add flavour and acidic balance to many dishes.
These are times when we need some indulgences, so treats are important, too. Fresh fruit is excellent, for as long as it lasts, and popcorn is a good treat and one that can be enjoyed by the whole family while watching a film on Netflix. And don’t forget chocolate. When the coronavirus isolation gets you down, a satisfying piece of chocolate can do wonders for your mood.
If you are looking for some at-home recipes to make with or for the family this Easter weekend, click here for our collection of recipes from Camana Bay’s chefs.
About the author
Alan Markoff has worked with Dart as the editor for Camana Bay Times for three years and has been writing professionally since 1997. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Alan graduated from the State University of New York at Albany with a degree in English, and first moved to the Cayman Islands in 1982. He has 16 years of experience in the real estate industry and previously worked as a journalist for Cayman Compass before joining Dart to relaunch the Camana Bay Times monthly newspaper. An avid baseball fan, Alan loves travelling but also schedules trips back home around catching a summer game or two with his home team, Cleveland Indians. He is a movie buff who spends many an evening catching a film at Camana Bay Cinema. It was at one of these movies that he met his wife, Lynn!