Quarantine cuisine: Four cheap and easy recipes

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Sabrina Guillen
Communications Assistant
Mon, 05/04/2020 - 11:15

Recently, during my time on the internet I’ve come across a lot more pictures where people are showing off what cool and new recipes they’re trying at home now that they have more time on their hands. While many of those look amazing and probably taste even better, for us students who might be in a tough economic situation because of COVID-19, don’t have the means to buy elaborate ingredients, or just want something fast and tasty, we need alternatives. My household has been doing a lot of experimentation during quarantining, but we’ve also fallen back on many of our traditional family dishes on the days where we might be feeling a bit more sluggish and anxious and want something simple. To help inspire your cooking while we all stay hunkered down, as well as provide good ways to save money on groceries, I’ve collected some of my favorite family dishes for you to read through. Warning: these recipes will make many helpings and are great for leftovers!

Spaghetti al Tonno

This is one of my favorite dishes to make when I forgot to take meat out to defrost or just need something that can be ready within 20 minutes. As the name suggests, this is a rather simple combination that my family does with a sour-cream and cheese based sauce to make for good comfort food.


  • 1 can of tuna
  • 1 bunch of parsley (dried parsley can be substituted here)
  • 1-2 containers of sour cream
  • 1 egg yellow
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan
  • Salt, pepper, and garlic (lots of it!)


  • In a separate pan heat up your sour cream, egg yellow, spices, and parmesan until you get a warm, cream sauce.
  • Cook as much pasta as desired.
  • Mix finished pasta and sauce and add parsley as a final touch.

Chili Con Carne

Recently I’ve been pretty unhappy with the cold and wet weather that the Canadian spring has given us, but one good thing that has come out of it is more soup dishes before the summer hits.


  • 500 gram minced meat
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 large can of tomatoes
  • 1 large container of mushrooms
  • 2 small cans of kidney beans
  • 1 (or more if needed) can of tomato paste
  • Oregano, Salt, Cinnamon, and Garlic
  • Chili seasoning
  • 1 bouillon cube


  • Brown your minced meat in a large pot and add a bit of water to it.
  • Toss in the rest of your ingredients, seasoning to taste.
  • Let simmer on low heat for 45 minutes.

Blue Chip Salad

As children, my sisters and I, like most of you I’m sure, weren’t the biggest fan of vegetables or salads, so my mom had to get creative. She knew, though, that we loved snack food, like chips. I’m not 100% of the origins of this recipe but it’s simple, straightforward, and super tasty.


  • Romaine lettuce as desired
  • 1 can of corn
  • Chicken breasts grilled in BBQ sauce
  • Blue tortilla chips
  • Ranch sauce
  • BBQ sauce


  • Grill your chicken breasts in a BBQ sauce of your choice and cut into strips or small chunks.
  • Combine your lettuce, corn, and chips into a bowl depending on how many servings you’re looking for.
  • Mix together your favorite Ranch and BBQ sauces to taste to create the dressing.
  • Add all ingredients together and toss.

Spicy Nuts

A family friend introduced us to a rather addictive snack that has become a staple of our holiday season but still makes appearances through the year. This brings together the world of sweet roasted nuts with some nice heat to really kick your snacking to the next level.


  • ½ cup egg white (about 3) slightly beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 8 cups pecans


  • Add egg whites to the pecans in a bowl and then coat with sugar mix.
  • Spread the coated pecans cleanly on baking sheets
  • Bake 20-25 minutes at 350°F, making sure to take out the pecans at the halfway point and flip them.

We hope these recipes inspired some cooking endeavors of your own. Stay healthy and stay safe!