How to Cook, Clean and Make the Most of Your Time Indoors

A home cook's guide to navigating life during the coronavirus

Like most of you, Taste of Home staffers are adjusting to what is needed right now—we’re working from home, taking care of our families and communities, and, of course, spending even more time in our kitchens.

During this challenging time, this is our promise to you: We’ll continue to share delicious recipes, making sure plenty of them use pantry staples or fewer ingredients. We’ll suggest substitution ideas, ways to stretch what you have on hand and kitchen projects to help you keep your kids busy. We’ll also offer tips about cleaning and other topics that we all have top of mind right now.

If you’re not already following us on social media, this is a great time to engage. Our editors are available to answer your questions and our community is here to support you. At Taste of Home, we know this to be true: We’re all in this together. Take care, and let’s stay connected!

—The Taste of Home team

Essential Recipes to Have on Hand

Now more than ever, we know you’re searching for easy recipes that use simple ingredients. Our community is leaning in on comforting favorites like Homemade Tortillas, Best Lasagna and Simple Taco Soup. And our staffers are following suit! We’re finding new ways to cook at home during quarantine while our office is closed. Check out the collections below for more ideas to feed you and yours.

Tips for Stocking Your Kitchen

While practicing social distancing, you may want to limit trips to the grocery store. If it’s possible to grocery shop online for delivery or pickup, all the better. While shopping, think about purchasing just the essential items that will keep your family fed (and happy!) for the next few weeks. Be kind and considerate to others by buying only what you need.

We’ve found that picking up pantry staples like pasta, canned beans, frozen veggies—as well as basics like eggs, milk and butter—are a great starting point for countless meals. If a certain item is out of stock at your store, we’ll help you get creative. Try new ingredients from different cuisines or learn how to make common pantry staples from scratch.

How to Freeze and Preserve Foods

While certain foods will last forever, fresh ingredients usually have a shelf life of a few days. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to trade fresh fruit and vegetables for frozen TV dinners. There are easy ways to keep produce fresh longer, like placing asparagus and carrots in water or squeezing lime juice on your avocado.

What’s more, you can freeze everything from bread to chicken to deli meat and extend their shelf life for months. Just be sure not to overload your freezer. This can cause the temperature to rise, and food to spoil!

How to Make the Most of Your Time Indoors

Doing our part to flatten the curve means we’re spending a lot of time inside with our nearest and dearest. We’ve gathered our favorite meal solutions for stressful times, plus delicious ways to make the most of this time with our kids.

Get Baking

In difficult times like these, more and more people are turning to simple baking recipes for comfort. A loaf of this Basic Homemade Bread is the perfect place to start. Once you’ve mastered that, try one of our beautiful bread recipes to help you perfect your craft. And if you don’t have an ingredient on hand, that’s no issue. We have plenty of options if you’re out of yeast, eggs or butter.

Want to connect with other bakers? Join our Bakeable community for baking tips, tricks and monthly challenges.

Comfort Foods for When You’re Feeling Stressed

At uncertain times like these, it’s natural to feel stressed. And when we’re stressed, we find ourselves craving easy comfort food. Take a few minutes to scroll through these feel-good recipes, then bookmark the ones you like best.

Parents, We’ve Got Your Back, Too

When everyone’s at home together, days can start feeling a little long. Why not get everybody involved in the kitchen? Start with our guide for cooking with kids. Then dig into these kid-friendly recipes and family activities for when you’re stuck inside.

Ways to Connect

Our community spirit is thriving, despite most of us being stuck at home. People are cheering on healthcare workers, grocery stores are having special shopping hours for the elderly and crafters are giving away slews of homemade face masks, among many other acts of kindness. Find more ways to connect in your community (and beyond) to help those in need and make people’s day a little better.

Activities for When You’re Staying Safe at Home

Want more ways to make the most of this time at home? Reader’s Digest, our sister brand, has plenty more ideas. Whether you’re sheltering solo or with your whole family, you could use a little levity about now to ease troubled times.

How to Clean and Disinfect Your Home

Having a clean home is an absolute must, especially right now. Make sure you have the right cleaning products on hand, then clean your house like a professional. Everyone can pitch in thanks to these age-appropriate chores for kids. Make sure you’re all using the proper hand-washing technique, too.