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    14 Realistic Recipes I've Been Loving During Quarantine

    Get out of your recipe rut with these tried-and-true, delicious meals.

    Maybe you're in a cooking rut, or perhaps you're tired of making the same few recipes. If you're looking for a little inspiration, here are some of my absolute favorite recipes. I've been making them time and time again, and they never seem to get old.

    1. Take-Out Style Spicy Sesame Noodles

    A bowl of sesame noodles with chopped scallions and thinly sliced cucumbers.
    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    Cold sesame noodles have to be one of my favorite dishes on the planet, but I always assumed they would be difficult to make at home. Then I tried this New York Times cooking recipe and I'm not exaggerating when I say it changed my life. You'll need a few condiments and seasonings to make this at home like soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and chile oil, but all are pretty widely available at most grocery stores. The only ingredient I've had a hard time finding is sesame paste, but I just substitute tahini mixed with sesame oil and it works fine. Making this noodle dish is surprisingly no-fuss. Just mix all of the ingredients together for the dressing, boil the noodles, slice some cucumbers, and toss it all together. Come to think of it... I'll be making these tonight. Get the recipe for takeout-style spicy sesame noodles here.

    2. Ina Garten's Flounder Milanese

    A plate with breaded fish Milanese and arugula salad.
    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    I love making fish as much as possible during the summer, and I'm always looking for new and exciting seafood recipes. This Ina Garten fish Milanese has been one of my go-tos lately. The recipe calls for sole or flounder, but I've used halibut and cod loin too. The fish gets dredged in eggs, flour, and breadcrumbs, then it's sautéd in a little bit of butter. This is a great meal for people who aren't usually huge fish lovers because the flavor is mild and the breading almost makes you forget you're eating seafood. Get the recipe for Ina Garten's flounder milanese here.

    3. Summer Tomato Salad With Peaches, Prosciutto, and Burrata

    A plate with sliced tomatoes, peaches, arugula, prosciutto, and burrata with olive oil and balsamic.
    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    Name a more perfect seasonal combination than tomatoes and burrata....I'll wait. Not only does this easy recipe require zero cooking, but it's absolutely delicious. You can customize it with whatever product you've picked up from your local grocery store or farmers market. I love starting with juicy heirloom tomatoes, sliced peaches or nectarine, a little bite of arugula, and prosciutto, then topping it with a big spoonful of creamy burrata and a drizzle of sea salt, olive oil, and balsamic. It's soo easy, you don't even need a recipe to pull it together. And while it takes about 10 minutes to assemble, it looks and tastes totally fancy.

    4. Coconut-Miso Salmon Curry

    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    I make some variation of salmon once a week because it's affordable, nutritious, and I really just love the taste. I love this New York Times cooking recipe because it always tastes a bit out of the ordinary and exciting. Plus, it comes together in a single pan so it's very easy. All you have to do is combine garlic and ginger in a pot, then add miso, coconut milk, some water, and then the salmon. I often add some extra veggies to cook in the coconut milk as well. Serve it with a side of rice and you've got a delicious home-cooked meal that tastes like something you got at a restaurant. Get the recipe for coconut-miso salmon curry here.

    5. Pasta Alla Norma (Pasta With Eggplant)

    A plate of penne with eggplant in tomato sauce with pesto and mozzarella cheese.
    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    If you're looking for a great new pasta recipe that isn't your basic spaghetti in tomato sauce, this is one I would suggest trying. It's actually very easy to make and requires only a few ingredients: chopped tomatoes, eggplant, pasta, garlic, cheese, and basil. I often add some extra ingredients like red chili flakes and a drizzle of pesto. This recipe comes together in about half an hour. While you boil the pasta, sauté the eggplant in oil, add the chopped tomatoes and garlic, and then combine everything. Top with fresh torn basil and cheese and enjoy! Get the recipe for pasta alla Norma here.

    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    These Thai-inspired shrimp lettuce wraps are unreal, and my favorite thing about them is the two-ingredient peanut sauce. All you need is a bottle of store-bought sesame ginger dressing (I used Ken's) and creamy peanut butter. To make the lettuce wraps, you'll want something like Boston lettuce or even green cabbage leaves. When I make these for my family, I serve them DIY-style with grilled shrimp, sliced cucumber, carrot, radish, and nectarine or mango. Then everyone just makes their own wraps. If you don't love shrimp, you could use chicken, tofu, or ground pork. Get the recipe for shrimp lettuce wraps with peanut sauce here.

    7. Chicken Yakitori

    Chicken yakitori skewers on a serving platter with chopped scallions.
    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    During the summer, I try to grill as much as possible, and this yakitori chicken recipe is a huge crowd-pleaser. I use boneless chicken thighs marinated in mirin, soy sauce, sake, and brown sugar. I also throw in fresh garlic and ginger for a little more flavor. Just place the chicken thighs onto skewers and grill them for a few minutes on each side until the chicken is crispy and the outside has a nice glaze. If you don't have sake or mirin, I've made the marinade with vodka or rice vinegar, and it always tastes great. Get the recipe for chicken yakitori here.

    8. Linguine With Clams

    A pot of linguine with clams topped with fresh parsley.
    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    I've been quarantining by the beach, and one of my family's favorite activities is to go clamming. Then we turn those fresh clams into this outrageously good pasta recipe. Of course, you don't need to dig for your own clams...you can easily buy them from your local market. The clams cook in a broth made of white wine, olive oil, shallots, and garlic. Once the clams open, toss in cooked pasta, butter, parsley, and lemon juice, and toss it all together. It's the easiest and most impressive 30-minute pasta recipe. Get the recipe for linguine with clams here.

    9. Miso-Glazed Fish

    Miso cod with sesame noodles and grilled asparagus on a plate.
    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    This recipe is inspired by Nobu's signature miso black cod, but black cod can be really difficult to find, so it calls for any fatty fish like salmon or Arctic char. I've made it with cod loin and black sole as well. Marinate the fish in a mixture of miso, mirin, sake, sesame oil, and sugar for a few hours so the fish is well-coated. Broil it for about three minutes per side so the exterior gets slightly glazed, and then finish it in the oven for about five minutes. It's that simple, and it tastes like a restaurant-quality meal. Get the recipe for miso fish here.

    10. Sourdough Pizza

    A sourdough pizza crust topped with tomato sauce, cheese, and basil.
    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    Like the entire rest of the world, I started making sourdough bread during quarantine. I made my own starter from scratch and I can happily say I've successfully kept it alive for three months now. Recently, I started experimenting with sourdough pizza, and it's been a game-changer. The crust comes out perfect every time: airy and doughy and slightly charred. Making the dough requires a little time, but it's far less intensive than making bread. The most important thing is patience because you'll want to let the dough proof in the fridge for at least six hours, but preferably even longer. The dough comes out pretty wet, so you'll need to use some flour when handling it, and a generous shake of semolina flour on your pizza peel helps it slide right off into your oven. Get the recipe for sourdough pizza here.

    11. Vietnamese Shrimp Noodle Bowls

    A Vietnamese shrimp noodle bowl with lots of veggies like cucumber, carrot, avocado, and lettuce.
    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    Call it a noodle bowl, call it a salad, call it whatever you want: this Vietnamese-inspired dish is a delightfully refreshing and satisfying summer meal. Start with a mixture of vermicelli noodles and some sort of lettuce at the base, then customize it with whatever ingredients you like best including your favorite veggies and protein. The nuoc cham sauce — made with oil, fish sauce, ginger, lime, rice vinegar, and honey — is the perfect combination of sweet and tangy and savory. Get the recipe for Vietnamese shrimp noodle bowls here.

    12. Pork and Chive Dumplings

    Pork dumplings two ways, both boiled and air-fried.
    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    If you've never made dumplings at home, it might just become your new favorite quarantine activity. There's something so satisfying about filling and folding the little doughy dumpling wrappers, which you can buy from most grocery stores. I love this combination of ground pork, chives, mixed with ginger, cilantro, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. I usually add very thinly chopped Napa cabbage into the mixture too. Once you've made the dumplings, you can boil, steam, or fry them. I recently tried cooking them in the air fryer, which I highly recommend if you have one. Get the recipe for pork and chive dumplings here.

    13. Baked Eggplant Parmesan

    A baking dish filled with eggplant Parmesan topped with cheese and chopped basil.
    Gimme Some Oven / Via gimmesomeoven.com

    I try to eat a few vegetarian meals every week, but in my family it can be difficult finding meatless recipes that everyone enjoys. Eggplant parm is one of the few winners. In order to make it very crispy, I cook the breaded eggplant rounds in the air fryer before assembling and baking the whole dish, but you could always just pan-sear the eggplant too. This is a great dish for a big group because you can make a big batch and it doesn't require any fancy ingredients. It takes about an hour total, but the prep work is pretty no-fuss and the rest of the time is just waiting for the eggplant parm to bake. Get the recipe for baked eggplant Parmesan here.

    14. Seared Sesame Crusted Tuna

    A plate of sliced, sesame crusted seared tuna, cooked rare.
    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    You'll want to start with sushi-grade tuna for this recipe because it's served rare, although you can leave the fish on the pan for as long as you want to ensure it's cooked to your desired doneness. Coat the tuna in a mixture of soy sauce, mirin, honey and sesame oil, then coat the tuna in a mixture of black and white sesame seeds. Get a skillet sizzling hot and then cook the tuna for about two minutes on each side and slice it. I usually serve seared tuna on a big salad with edamame, avocado, scallions, radishes, and whatever other veggies are in my fridge. Get the recipe for sesame seared tuna here.