Cooking During Social Distancing Vol. I

Trader Joe’s canned chicken chili with avocado and Mexican blend cheese

While we’ve always cooked at home a decent amount, it’s obviously become an even bigger part of our routine in the weeks that we’ve been social distancing. Pre-quarantine, we’d typically make one “recipe” on Sunday night and have that throughout the week, with other simple meals sprinkled in. I started working from home full-time in February and J almost always packs both meals, too, so we’re used to planning for three meals a day several days a week.

What’s changed is removing the restaurant factor almost entirely–obviously neither of us have any happy hours or dinners out planned–and being able to grocery shop each week. We were getting takeout for dinner twice a week (on the weekends–you can read more about that here) but are dropping that to once a week and adding on a quick breakfast or lunch pickup on Sundays instead. It’s a tough balance of wanting to support as many local businesses as we can, but also taking this time to reevaluate some longer term savings goals and finding ways to further tighten our budget!

I’ve been snapping some photos of our dinners and sharing them on Instagram Stories, but wanted to compile them here every couple weeks since they’ve been getting positive feedback on the ‘gram. Grocery wise, we stopped trips to the store and are getting delivery about every two weeks (trying to make it closer to three!)…we didn’t get on the Amazon Fresh cart train fast enough and they aren’t accepting new customers, so we’re just using Instacart and it’s been pretty easy to find delivery slots. The prices are higher than I’d like and once you add a generous tip it’s pretty expensive, but I’m reminding myself this is only temporary and I’ll be back in control doing my own shopping soon. That being said, we’re all in the same boat in not being able to run to the store for specific ingredients so a lot of our meals are just cobbled together with things we have. Our strategy is to mostly buy things that mix and match well rather than items to make up several specific recipes because items are regularly sold out with delivery. Even if you’re shopping in person, it’s not fun for something to be unavailable and force you to rethink your plan when the priority is to get in and out of the store quickly!

Cooking during social distancing

Here’s what we’ve been eating…also, these are all quickly snapped, un-staged iPhone shots–mostly shot in our kitchen (which has the most unsightly floor). Excuse the lighting :)

Cooking in Quarantine

Pasta with marinara sauce, ground turkey, and parsley with a side of roasted brussels sprouts + red onion with balsamic glaze

Cooking in Quarantine

Trader Joe’s frozen tempura chicken with brown rice and roasted brussels sprouts with balsamic glaze, with a side of Thai chili sauce

Cooking in Quarantine

Asian chicken meatballs with brown rice

Cooking in Quarantine

Alison Roman’s shallot pasta (chop your parsley more finely than I did!)

Cooking in Quarantine

Leftover shallot pasta (skipped the parsley this time), salad with mixed greens, red onions, almond slivers, and dried cranberries

Cooking in Quarantine

Chicken nuggets, Wegman’s frozen asparagus (boiled), crispy potatoes

Cooking in Quarantine

Baked salmon with lemon and thyme, brown rice, leftover crispy potatoes, and pesto

Cooking in Quarantine

Bon Appetit One-Skillet Rotisserie Chicken Pot Pie

Cooking in Quarantine

Mushroom quesadillas with chips, guac, and salsa (Trader Joe’s Salsa Authentica is the best!)

P.S. My favorite items from Trader Joe’s.


Leave a Comment


  1. Heather wrote:

    Love seeing what other people are making! Definitely going to add the pot pie ingredients to my next grocery order.

    Posted 4.24.20 Reply
    • Monica wrote:

      You won’t regret it!!

      Posted 4.28.20 Reply