Recipes to try while social distancing

Feeling stir-crazy at home? Now is the perfect time to try out some new recipes. If you’re tired of making the same old mac n’ cheese, here’s some tried-and-true recipes that can help you shake up your meals and make your stomach (and heart) happy.

If you want comfort food and amazing leftovers…

My mom created this recipe when I was in high school, and it has been a staple in my recipe book ever since. It is 9×13 inches of delicious, and (although not the healthiest), it is fool-proof and reheats in the microwave beautifully.

BBQ Potato Casserole

  • 1-lb. ground beef
  • Your favorite BBQ sauce (I like KC Masterpiece)
  • 2-lb. package frozen shredded hashbrown potatoes
  • 1/2 c. melted butter
  • 1 can of cream of chicken soup
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Garlic powder
  • Nature’s Seasoning
  • Plain potato chips (I like to use Ruffles)

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Brown the ground beef and drain grease; place in a 9×13 pan.

3.  Add BBQ sauce and mix until meat is covered (I use about ¾ an 18 oz. jar of sauce). Spread out mixture to cover bottom of the pan.

5.  In a large bowl, put in hashbrowns (make sure you break them up to make stirring easier), melted butter, soup, sour cream and cheddar cheese, then mix well.

6.  Add 1 tsp. Nature’s Seasoning (½ tsp. of salt and ½ tsp. of pepper) and ½ tsp. of garlic powder, then stir.

7.  Place potato mixture on top of BBQ meat.

8.  Crush up potato chips into small pieces and cover the top of the potatoes. (If I know I am making this for myself and want lots of leftovers, sometimes I will skip this step. The chips add a good crunch, but they don’t reheat as well as the rest of the casserole.)

9.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, until bubbly and edges are brown.

If you’re looking for something a little healthier but still quick and easy…

A little twist on a sloppy joe! If you like sweet potatoes, my roommate dices and bakes sweet potatoes until they’re almost crunchy. If you’re like me and don’t care for sweet potatoes, feel free to basically put the topping on anything (bonus points if it’s a veggie!) Try this healthy sloppy joe recipe from the Real Food with Jessica blog.

If you’re looking for something sweet that isn’t candy…

Supposedly this was passed down from my dad’s college roommate’s cousin’s grandma (or something like that), but it’s my favorite dessert in the world. Basically a marriage of pie and brownie that is easy-to-make but turns out every time. Thank me later.

Fudge Pie

  • 2 squares (1 oz. each) unsweetened chocolate
  • ½ c. butter or margarine
  • 2 eggs, well-beaten
  • 1 c. sugar
  • ¼ c. all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 pie crust (I use refrigerated Pillsbury crust (shhh), but use your favorite kind/recipe.)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place pie crust into an 8-inch pie shell.
  3. Melt chocolate and butter together in a saucepan.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, sugar and flour, then add chocolate mixture and vanilla extract.
  5. Pour mixture into pie shell and bake for 20-25 minutes. Check the middle with a toothpick; it should remove clean.
  6. Serve with vanilla ice cream, or if you’re feeling really adventurous, I like to beat together 1 c. heavy whipping cream, 2 tbsp. powdered sugar and 1 tsp. of vanilla, and make my own whipped cream!

And last (but not least) if you’re looking for a challenge…

This recipe is the definition of a labor of love, but, man, is it worth it. If you’re a seafood-lover, I like to add shrimp and/or crawfish to the original recipe. It makes enough to feed an army, but the leftovers reheat on the stove. Serve over rice…yum. Try Emeril Lagasse’s Gumbo YaYa.

I hope you found something new to try! Social distancing is hard. For me, one “bright side” I’ve found is that quarantine has given me the time to cook some of the recipes I don’t have time to make otherwise. I encourage you to take this time to enjoy the hobbies (food-related or not) that often get overshadowed by dental school. Happy cooking!

~Brianne Schmiegelow, Missouri-Kansas City ’21, ASDA Contributing Editor

Brianne Schmiegelow

Brianne Schmiegelow is a fourth-year student at the UMKC School of Dentistry from Lockwood, Missouri. Her favorite part of dental school has been meeting patients and giving them a chance to have a healthier smile.

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