Cheryl’s Cuisine: COVID Cooking

By Cheryl Radkiewicz

Coping during this time of “quarantine” has not been easy.  Being a social person, I used to spend hours grocery shopping, looking around, searching for new items and new ideas, talking to friends, acquaintances,  parents of former students, and even former students who are now adults with their own families.  I so miss my grocery shopping trips that are now limited to twice per month.

My trips are now comprised of the following steps: Get in store, get what you need, no looking around, don’t bump into the robot patrolling the aisles at Giant, follow the arrows,  don’t shop for more items than allowed (limit 1 or 2), check out quickly, load up and head home.  Actually, I’ve shopped at all the local grocery stores to experience the “new way” of shopping.  It’s actually taken the pleasure out of the trips for me.  

So, how have you been coping during this time? What do you miss the most? Besides “normal” grocery shopping, I miss meeting my friends for lunch.  Retired teachers love meeting for lunch.  

Coping for me started with trying to sew masks for us when everyone was sold out.  That didn’t work out very well considering the fact that when I was in high school and college, I made my own clothes.  I’ve evidently lost that skill.    Fortunately, I was able to purchase some masks when CVS got its new shipment.   So now I’ve graduated to doing my needlework and latch-hooking rugs.   However,  most of my time is spent cooking (no surprise), but now it’s “Covid Cooking”, using items you have in your pantry and freezer…no running out for items.  

So this month I’m sharing my “Covid Cooking” dishes:  

Grilled Rib Eyes with Beer and Brown Sugar Marinade:

2 Rib Eye steaks
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup beer
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
Sprinkle garlic powder
Sprinkle cayenne pepper

Mix together brown  sugar, beer and teriyaki sauce in plastic storage bag.  Add steak and marinate overnight in refrigerator.  When ready to cook, remove from marinade and rub steaks with a mixture of seasonings.  Broil until desired doneness.  Heat leftover marinade on  stove to boiling and simmer while steaks broil.  Baste tops of steaks with marinade before serving.  


Slow Cooker Brisket:

1-3 lb. beef brisket
1 -12 oz. bottle chili sauce
1 pkg. dry onion soup mix
2 tsp. garlic powder

Place brisket in slow cooker.  In medium bowl, mix together the chili sauce, onion soup mix and garlic powder.  Pour over brisket.  Cover, and cook on Low for 8-10 hours.  Slice brisket against the grain and pour gravy over slices.  Note:  You can also place this in baking  dish , pour over ingredients, wrap tightly with foil, and bake in 325 oven for 3 1/2 hours.


Honey Garlic Pork Chops:

6-1″ thick pork chops
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed

Combine ketchup, soy sauce and garlic.  Broil pork chops.  During the last few minutes, pour sauce over and baste.  Continue cooking until sauce and chops are cooked through.


Banana Creme Pie:

1 pie crust, baked
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/3 cups whole milk
4  eggs, beaten
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 Tbsp. butter
3 large bananas
1 cup heavy cream, whipped

In small saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt and milk.  Whisk over medium heat until hot and bubbly.  Let boil 1 minute and remove from heat.  Whisk 1/2 cup of hot mixture into eggs a spoonful at a time until incorporated.  Pour egg mixture back into pot and whisk.  Bring to low boil and let cook 1 minute.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and butter.   Transfer to large bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly on top of filling. Refrigerate 30-45 minutes.  Spread thin layer of the custard into prepared, cooled pie crust.  Add sliced bananas and remaining custard.  Spread with whipped cream and refrigerate at least 3 hours.


Blueberry Cobbler:

1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pint (2 cups) blueberries
1 cup baking mix (Bisquick)
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp. melted butter.

Combine sugar, cornstarch, water and vanilla.  Place blueberries in 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.  Pour sugar mixture over berries.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven until bubbly.  Combine baking mix, milk and melted butter.  Drop by tablespoonfuls over hot berries, increase oven to 425 degrees, and bake for 15 minutes or until topping is lightly browned like biscuits.  Serve with vanilla ice cream.


When you don’t have any cake mixes in the house, this is perfect and it’s only 8×8″:

Perfect Chocolate Cake:

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup  milk
1/4 cup oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup warm water or coffee

Preheat oven to 350.  Line a 8×8″ glass baking dish with parchment paper and spray sides and bottom.  Mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in bowl.  Add in egg, milk, oil and vanilla and mix on low until fully incorporated.  When mixed in, increase speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes. 

Add in warm water or coffee and gently stir.  Batter will be thin.  Pour batter into prepared baking dish.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes in pan, then continue cooling on a rack until room temperature.

1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla

In medium microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate chips in microwave at 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring after each heating until fully melted. 

Add sour cream and vanilla and stir by hand until frosting is well combined and fluffy. Spread over cooled cake.   

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