Staying Motivated During the COVID-19 Pandemic (1:38)
May 27, 2020 — 3:30 p.m.
Many popular restaurants and beloved neighborhood eateries are closed (at least temporarily) due to stay-at-home orders, and we’re not sure when we’ll be able to safely dine out again. And while we all have a lot of other things to worry about right now, it’s okay to miss eating out. If you’re tired of rotating through the same tried-and-true recipes in your repertoire every week and miss many of your restaurant favorites, you’re not alone. Luckily, there are a lot of brilliant chefs and home cooks out there who have already experimented, tested, and perfected restaurant-inspired meals to make at home, so you can make the foods you miss most right in your own kitchen.
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Whether you’re craving your go-to breakfast or a high-end dinner for an at-home date night, these clever copycats will keep you satisfied until you can go out to eat again.
Bacon, Egg & Cheese Microwave Breakfast Sandwich
These fast-food-style sandwiches are super easy to put together, and you can even make and freeze them in advance, so all you have to do when you’re ready to eat is microwave! You can also try this lighter take, made with egg whites and reduced-fat cheese.
Blended Mocha Frappé
Yes, your all-time favorite coffeehouse drink can be made at home. All you need is a blender and a few basic ingredients and you can whip up this version of a rich, creamy, coffee-based beverage from the blog Saving Dollars & Sense. Just enjoy in moderation (this drink is very high in sugar and calories, so it should be savored as a special treat.)
Broccoli-cheddar soup, y’all! So hearty, filling, and cheesy, this take on the classic from Yammie’s Noshery almost feels more like an indulgent dip than a soup (and we like it that way). It’s especially decadent and delicious when served up in a homemade bread bowl.
There’s nothing quite like a good burrito, right? The satisfying chew of the tortilla wrap, the spice of the salsa, the cool creaminess of the guac … mmmmm. But if you can’t hit up your go-to Mexican restaurant for the real deal, you can make a good-for-you, burrito-inspired bowl at home. If you’re vegetarian or just temporarily cutting back on meat, you can try this flavor-packed vegetarian burrito bowl that swaps in sweet potato, refried beans, and brown rice. Or, if you eat meat, satisfy your Chipotle craving with this copycat chicken burrito bowl from Gimme Delicious.
If you don’t live on the West Coast, you may never have tried In-N-Out’s famous and not-so-secret “secret menu” cheeseburger, but we bet you’ve heard of it. Wherever you live, you can now make a burger inspired by their cult classic menu item, similarly smothered in onions and special sauce, thanks to the blogger, Buns in My Oven.
You don’t have to go to IKEA to get your Swedish meatball fix. These savory, gravy-smothered meatballs have achieved cult status for a reason, and we bet once you make them at home using this recipe from Dinner Then Dessert, these will become a new regular in your rotation. We recommend serving with creamy, whipped mashed potatoes or silky egg noodles and your favorite green vegetable.
Shrimp scampi is a menu staple at Italian restaurants all over the United States and is incredibly simple to make. Once you give Gail Simmons’ recipe a try, you’ll never order this classic pasta dish out again. Her recipe calls for a chickpea pasta that’s lower in carbs and higher in protein than traditional noodles, but feel free to use whatever kind of pasta you have on hand for this one. Whatever you use, the end result will be just as delicious.
If you’re as obsessed with Olive Garden as the rest of us (and why wouldn’t you be?) then you need to try these homemade garlic breadsticks. Jaclyn, the blogger behind Cooking Classy, has a seven-ingredient version that is approachable and accessible — even if you’ve never baked your own bread before. And BONUS: She includes variations for cheesy breadsticks and a sweet, cinnamon-sugar option … so, ya know, you might as well make a triple batch of this dough if you’re going to bother at all.
If you’re celebrating a special milestone like a birthday or anniversary while staying safe at home, you might be a bit bummed by the thought of forgoing a fancy dinner to mark the occasion. But you don’t have to; a traditional steakhouse feast is totally achievable at home. Start with The Dish’s DIY Fried Onion Blossom (don’t forget the dipping sauce!), then serve up the most perfectly juicy steak, courtesy of Bon Appetit’s Carla Lalli Music. Pair with crispy, loaded hasselback potatoes and a side of creamed spinach. To round out this classic spread, we recommend Gail Simmons’ simplified spin on a chocolate lava cake which can be made in your microwave in 90 seconds.