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Three Easy Recipes to Learn to Cook During Quarantine

A few delectable beginner recipes featuring daily staples and the occasional sweet snack.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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By Sabrina Chen

With many restaurants closing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and with all this newfound time in self-quarantine, why not learn how to cook—and eat some delicious food in the process? Here are a couple of great beginner recipes because there’s no better way to learn than to start cooking.

(Good) Scrambled Eggs

It’s incredibly easy to make acceptable scrambled eggs, but this recipe will help you make great ones. Soft and creamy, these eggs will take your breakfast to the next level. Serves four.

(Recipe courtesy of The Incredible Egg)


8 eggs

½ cup of milk

Two pinches of salt and pepper

4 tsp butter


Put the eggs, milk, and seasoning in a large bowl. Take your whisk or fork (or electric mixer if you have one), and start stirring until the eggs break down into a consistent liquid.

Take a medium/large pan, and put it on the stove. Turn the heat to medium, and then add the butter.

Once the butter melts, pour the eggs into the pan. Carefully use a spatula to slowly move the parts that have cooked more around the pan, and mix them into the rest. Don’t overdo this step.

Keep cooking the eggs slowly until you can’t see any more liquid. It is key to give them time so they come out creamy. They should come together loosely, and there shouldn’t be any liquid when you lift them.


Quarantine can be depressing, and what better way to brighten these days than with some fresh-baked brownies? Ideally, they will be fudgy and chewy, a little crispy on the outside, and soft at the center. Experiment with the baking time to find a texture that you like. Makes 12 brownies.

(Recipe courtesy of The New York Times)


½ cup of cocoa powder

1 stick butter

2 eggs

1 cup of sugar

¼ cup flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

A pinch of salt


Preheat your oven to 325°F.

Take a saucepan, and turn on the heat. Put the butter and then the cocoa powder in, and stir until they are completely mixed into one liquid—make sure there aren’t any butter chunks.

Take the mixture off the stove, and once it cools down a bit, pour it into a big bowl, and then whisk the eggs in, one by one (an electric whisk will make this a lot easier).

Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Then add the cocoa powder mixture to it, and stir until combined.

Grease an 8x8 pan with butter (or spray/oil), and then pour the mixture in. Bake for 30 minutes.

Mashed Potatoes

Another classic, this dish is both easy and rewarding to make. While it should be creamy, the recipe is very flexible—you can experiment with the amount of butter and half-and-half to get a consistency that you like. Serves four to five.

(Recipe courtesy of Kitchn)


2.5 lbs Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes

1.5 tbsp salt

1 stick of butter

1 cup of half-and-half


Put your potatoes in a big pot, and then fill it with cold water until the water level is about an inch above the potatoes. Add a tablespoon of salt. Put the pot on the stove, and set the heat to medium-high. Try to keep the water simmering—just below a full boil. Cook for about 30 minutes until they are quite soft. Test them by sticking a knife into one: if it slides right off, they are done. It may take longer depending on the size of the potato.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat the butter in a saucepan, and in another, heat the half-and-half and ½ tbsp of salt.

Drain the water from the pot.

Peel the potatoes, and then mash them (a potato masher works best). Stop early if you want chunkier mashed potatoes.

Add the butter and half-and-half, and slowly stir them in. It may seem like you’ve added too much initially, but keep stirring, and the potatoes will eventually absorb the liquid. You should end up with soft, consistent, and creamy mashed potatoes. Add a dollop of butter on top, and serve.

I can't wait to see what you’ll make this quarantine. Let me know how it goes!