Here's what the Cooking Light staff, past and present, are making while cooking from home during the COVID-19 pandemic—and they share why you should make them, too.

By Matthew A. Moore
May 20, 2020
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Photo: Greg Dupree

As a brand, our focus at Cooking Light has always been on cooking at home. Our mission for the last 30-plus years has been, at its core, to provide families with delicious, healthy recipes that they can easily—and proudly—serve at home "as an act of love," in the words of former Executive Editor Ann Taylor Pittman. That mission gets a little trickier to execute, though, when there is such uncertainty surrounding the availability of food items, or when exactly we'll have this virus beaten. And while there is no clear-cut blanket solution for everyone, we wanted to find out what our staff, past and present, has been serving up at home during this time in the hopes of providing you with some inspiration—and possibly even some new favorite recipes.

So we talked to some staffers and put together this list of recipes to help with your #coronacooking at home until we beat this thing. And you better believe we're going to beat this thing. Bone apple teeth!

Bonus: You can schedule these meals into your customized meal plans! Subscribe to the Cooking Light Diet today and forever take the hassle out of cooking at home.

Broccoli-and-Bacon Muffin-Tin Frittatas

According to Pittman, "These are a great breakfast option for sure, but they also make for a fantastic quick lunch or dinner. You can make them ahead of time and eat on them for a few days. And you can adapt them in so many ways. No fresh broccoli? Use frozen. No broccoli, period? Use fresh or frozen cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, or butternut squash—or pretty much any fresh vegetable that you steam or sauté first. No bacon? Leave it out, or sub in some chopped ham or chicken sausage. And use any cheese you have on hand."

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

Photo: Hector Sanchez

No one should need an excuse to eat pasta, but Darcy Lenz, former Assistant Editor of Cooking Light, gives you several anyway. "Aglio e olio—meaning garlic and oil—is a traditional Italian dish, rich in aromatic flavor, and Chef Quealy Watson's version here brilliantly taps Asian cultures' influence with the umami-rich addition of fish sauce and Thai basil. You can amp up the heartiness by adding meat if you like (crisped ground pork is great!) or stir in some additional veggies to boost the nutritional feels. What's also great about this mouthwatering recipe is that its simple framework is made of staples I typically have around (you can swap the refrigerated spaghetti for dried)—things like pasta, olive oil, garlic, and fish sauce—and then you can be fairly flexible with the other fresh ingredients based on what you have and/or what flavor profile you're going for."

Korean Pork Lettuce Wraps

Photo: Greg Dupree

Break out that slow cooker and let Josh Miller, former Food Editor of Cooking Light, tell you why these wraps should be on your radar. "First, it's super easy to make, thanks to grocery store ingredients you can get in one stop or have delivered. Second, the flavor is super-rich and the pork is so versatile—it's equally delish over regular rice or cauliflower rice, layered on a baguette for a twist on banh mi, or stuffed into tortillas for fusion tacos. Third? Having this recipe percolating in your slow cooker all day will fill your house with amazing aromas, lifting your family's mood and filling them with giddy anticipation for dinnertime!"

Chicken and Gnocchi Dumpling Soup

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Anyone who's read the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series knows we could all use a little more of that right now. Not only does this soup check the 'soothing and soul-warming' box, but it also incorporates pantry staples like all-purpose flour, chicken stock, and onions with a convenience item (prepackaged gnocchi) to make this filling main come together in about 30 minutes. And if you're an aspiring gardener right now, you can utilize homegrown herbs like rosemary and thyme to create a dinner you can be both proud to serve and eager to gobble up.

Smashed Chili Cheeseburgers

Caitlin Bensel

If you've been pining for a delicious cheeseburger and wanting to try eating as healthy as you're able during a stressful time, sign yourself up for this delicious recipe. It seriously comes together—prep to table—in less than 20 minutes (the author can attest to this and has made them multiple times) and the sweetness of the sour cream tempers the heat from the jalapeños perfectly. Plus, it uses just a few ingredients, meaning you'll hopefully be able to make these burgers ASAP.

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Tart with Gruyère

Iain Bagwell

This recipe looks more complicated than it is, but let former CookingLight.com Editor Kimberly Holland tell you why this recipe should be included in your wheelhouse. "The crust is made in a food processor and patted into a pie plate. It just comes together so easily that you'll be surprised, and it saves well, too. I'm not a real fan of leftovers, but I salivate when I know it's almost mealtime if this is in my fridge. Plus, since it does take a bit of extra work, now is a great opportunity to try it out whereas I might not during 'normal' times."

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