Recipes for staying in

Published 9:58 am Thursday, March 19, 2020

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If you are looking for some meals to make while staying in with family and loved ones, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has put together some delicious recipes that are great for a cozy night at home, including:

Chicken Alfredo with a Twist


  • 2 ½ cups rotini pasta, whole-wheat, dry (10 oz)
  • 2 cans low-fat, reduced-sodium cream of chicken soup (two 10¾-oz cans)
  • 1 1/3 cups fat-free half and half
  • ¼ tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups cooked diced chicken, ½” pieces (12 oz)
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  1. In a large pot, bring 2 quarts water to a boil. Gradually stir in pasta and return to a boil. Cook uncovered about 8-10 minutes or until tender. Do not overcook. Drain well.
  2. Mix soup, half-and-half, pepper, garlic powder, parmesan cheese, and chicken in a large pot. Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring often. Heat to 165 °F or higher for at least 15 seconds
  3. Combine noodles and sauce right before serving. Serve hot.

Courtesy Van Buren Middle School, Kettering, Ohio.

Rainbow Rice


  • ½ cup brown rice, long-grain, regular, dry
  • 3 Tbsp brown and wild rice blend, dry
  • 6 Tbsp barley, quick pearl, dry
  • 2 tsp low-sodium chicken base
  • 2 Tbsp quinoa, dry
  • 3 Tbsp bulgur wheat, dry
  • 1 cup fresh carrots, peeled, diced
  • 1 cup fresh red bell peppers, seeded, diced
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 3 ½ cups cooked diced chicken, ½” pieces (12 oz)
  • 1 ½ cups fresh baby spinach, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F.
  2. In a medium pot, combine brown rice, wild rice blend, barley and 1 tsp chicken base with 1 ¼ cups water.
  3. Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer until water runs clear, not cloudy. In a small pot, combine quinoa and bulgur wheat with ¾ cup water and remaining 1 tsp chicken base.
  4. Bring both uncovered pots to a rolling boil. Stir occasionally. Turn heat down and simmer over low heat until water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Cover and cook an additional 10 minutes over low heat. Fluff with a fork.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine carrots and red peppers. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Toss lightly. Pour into a large nonstick baking pan. Roast at 350 °F for 20 minutes or until tender.
  6. Combine cooked grains, chicken and spinach with roasted vegetables. Mix well. Return to oven and bake for 15 minutes to an internal temperature of 165 °F or higher for at least 15 seconds (use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature). Serve hot.

Courtesy Highland Elementary School, Cheshire, Connecticut.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Stew


  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ small pepper dried New Mexican chili pepper, whole
  • 1 ¼ cups fresh onions, peeled, diced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 ½ cups fresh sweet potatoes, peeled, cubed ½”
  • 6 cups canned low-sodium black beans, drained, rinsed
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 cups fresh swiss chard, no stems, chopped


  1. Heat vegetable oil in a large pot. Cook chili pepper and onions for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add cumin and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add sweet potatoes, black beans, orange juice and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  4. Remove chili pepper and discard.
  5. Add vinegar, salt and pepper.
  6. Add Swiss chard. Cover and continue cooking until Swiss chard is tender. Serve hot.

*May serve over brown rice or whole-wheat couscous.

Courtesy Skyline High School, Oakland, California.

Fiesta Wraps


  • ¼ cup quinoa, dry
  • 2 ¼ cups canned low-sodium black beans, drained, rinsed
  • ¼ cup fresh red bell pepper, seeded, diced
  • ¼ cup fresh red onions, peeled, diced
  • ½ cup fresh carrots, peeled, shredded
  • ¼ cup reduced-fat white cheddar cheese, shredded (1 oz)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 ¼ tsp fresh lime juice
  • 6 whole-wheat tortillas, 6”
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil


  1. Preheat oven to 325 °F.
  2. Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer until water runs clear, not cloudy. Combine quinoa and ¾ cup water in a small pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer until water is completely absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. When done, quinoa will be soft and a white ring will pop out of the kernel. The white ring will appear only when it is fully cooked. Fluff with a fork and set aside. A rice cooker may be used with the same quantity of quinoa and water.
  3. Place black beans in a large mixing bowl. Lightly mash beans by squeezing them using gloved hands (at least 50 percent of the beans should appear whole). Be careful not to over-mash beans.
  4. To make filling, add to the mashed beans the quinoa, red peppers, red onions, carrots, cheese, chili powder, cumin and lime juice.
  5. For each wrap, place ½ cup of filling on the bottom half of tortilla and roll in the form of a burrito. The wrap may also be folded in half like a taco.
  6. Brush filled wraps lightly with vegetable oil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 325 °F. Wraps will be lightly brown. Serve hot.

Courtesy Charter Oak International Academy, West Hartford, Connecticut.



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