Updated: Dec 8, 2020
As most of you know, I’ve been a stay at home mom (SAHM) for a little over 3 years. With COVID-19 spreading, that’s not likely to change. These last 3 years, I can honestly say that I’ve been super productive. I started two businesses (only one is active now), learned new skills, and gotten better at old ones.
I know that being a SAHM isn’t nearly the same thing as being quarantined, however I still feel like there’s a lot of overlap in how we can all get through this. I’m always down to help if I can, so here is a list of tips and tricks (and recipes) you can use if you’re self-quarantining or social distancing.
Get ready for the longest blog post I’ve ever written.
Note: there are no affiliate links in this post.
Somewhat understandably, grocery store shelves are being cleared out. But is anyone paying attention to the fresh food? Likely not, since it expires faster than the canned stuff. Generally, fresh food is cheaper, so I’m going to talk about how to use, reuse, and save it to help save you a few coins.
If you don’t have a deep freezer or and industrial freezer, you probably thing that your meat is going to go bad after a few days. I’m happy to tell you that is not the case. (Full disclosure: we have a deep freezer. Highly recommend getting one if you have the money and storage space.)
According to an article on Huffington Post, these are the freezer times for meat:
Cooked poultry — 4 months
Uncooked poultry parts — 9 months
Uncooked whole poultry — 12 months
Cooked meat — 2 to 3 months
Uncooked roasts — 4 to 12 months
Uncooked steaks or chops — 4 to 12 months
Uncooked ground meat — 3 to 4 months
Like seafood? Me too! Here are The Spruce Eats’s freezer times for seafood:
Fatty Fish (such as bluefish, mackerel, salmon) — 3 months
Lean or White Fish (cod, flounder, haddock, sole) — 6 months
Crab (cooked) — 2 months
Crab (raw or live) — 3 months
Crayfish (raw) — 4 months
Lobster (cooked) — 2 months
Lobster (raw/live) — 3 months
Shellfish (cooked) — 3 months
Shrimp (raw) — 4 months
Squid, Octopus, or Calamari (raw) — 4 months
Veggies & Fruit
One best ways I’ve learned to save veggies and fruit is to freeze them. According to an article on The Spruce Eats, these are freezer times for fruits and veggies.
Commercially Frozen Vegetables — 1 year stored in original package
Asparagus — 1 year
Avocado — 5 months
Beets — 1 year
Bell or Sweet Peppers and Chile Peppers — 3 to 4 months
Broccoli — 1 year
Carrots — 1 year
Cauliflower — 1 year
Celery — 1 year
Corn — 8 months
Green or Wax beans — 1 year
Leafy greens — 8 months
Mushrooms (cooked) — 1 year
Mushrooms (raw) — 8 months
Peas — 8 months
Tomatoes — 3 to 4 months
Winter Squash and Pumpkin (cooked) — 1 year
Zucchini and Summer Squash — 8 months
Commercially Frozen — 1 year
Apples — 4 months
Apricots — 6 months
Bananas — 8 months
Cherries — 6 months
Cranberries — 1 year
Peaches — 4 months
Fruit Juices — 1 year
This isn’t a complete list and you may have to do your own research, but this is a good starting point. The Spruce Eats has another great article on freezing even more foods (and whether you should or not) here.
I like to cook, but I always try to find a quicker way to do it (especially since I still don’t take the chicken out of the freezer at a decent time). We have a few appliances that make cooking easier and faster.
These are a “few” of the recipes that I’ve made (or attempted) in the last 3 years that use these tools, or the best cooking tools, your freshly washed hands.
Pressure Cooker Recipes
Shredded Chicken (Pro tip: use chicken broth/stock you may already have or use the pressure cooker recipe above this one. Water makes it taste bland. And season your chicken!)
Hot tip: If you chop your veggies before freezing them, don’t throw out anything! Save them to throw it in your stocks and broths for additional flavor!
Slow Cooker Recipes
Cilantro lime tacos (use the shredded chicken from the Instant Pot section!)
Hot tip: Some pressure cookers have a slow cooker function as well so you don’t need to buy a separate appliance!
Air Fryer Recipes
Chocolate Chip Cookies – This is the only recipe I use now. Also, change your life and brown that butter before you add it. You’re welcome.
Guacamole (Yes, it's just an infographic. But trust me.)
Pizza dough in 30 minutes!
Appliances, Tools, and Other Stuff
Here is a list of all of my highly recommended tools and appliances, plus one more non-kitchen thing that I think we all need to get into.
Like I stated before, some pressure cookers have more functions than just pressure cooking. You can saute in it, slow cook, make yogurt.. SO MANY THINGS.
I’ve seen a lot of people say you don’t need an air fryer if you have a convection oven (I saw somebody say you don’t need one if you don’t have one which… okay). You can fry things so much faster in an air fryer. Getting your temps and desired crispiness is a task, but if you’re up to the challenge, it’s worth it.
I love zoodles and a spiralizer makes creating them a breeze. Plus, a spiralizer usually isn't that expensive.
I’m one of those people who has an insane amount of tears when handling onions. This doesn’t just make cutting those easier, it makes quick work of dicing EVERY veggie I use.
If you don’t have a stand mixer, this might be the next best thing (for non-bread dough). You can literally through all of the ingredients for the guacamole I posted earlier and just blend to your desired consistency.
Storage Container Set
We have A LOT of these. A cereal dispenser, a cereal container, even a coffee storage (at my heavy-handed suggestion). These are great for storing dry snacks like nuts, dried fruits, trail mix, and, well.. cereal.
STOP CLEARING OUT THE TOILET PAPER AISLES. Get a bidet instead! Save your toilet paper money and have a cleaner tush at the same time.
This is scary for a lot of us, especially with the likelihood that most of us will be infected and that quite a few people didn't make it. Just be sure to keep your hands clean and off your face (unless you're cleaning it) and if you feel like you've been affected, stay away from others (the immunocompromised and elderly, especially).
Note about affiliate links
I opted not to put affiliate links in this blog post because it felt gross. I don't want anyone to think that we are trying to capitalize off of this pandemic. If you request links to the specific products I mention in the "Appliance, Tools, and Other Stuff" section, I'll gladly provide them.