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Making tasty food can help stave off the boredom of self-isolation. These simple but flavourful recipes should help.

But first, bulk prep. Chop several onions and store in an airtight container. Chop a whole head of garlic and lots of ginger, cover in oil. Make a batch of salad dressing. These will keep refrigerated for some time and make any recipe easier.

Cooking 101: Lucy Waverman decodes cooking techniques everyone can master

Pantry Pasta Add ¼ cup olive oil to a large skillet. Stir in 2 tsp chopped garlic and 1 cup chopped onion. Stir in 2 (596 mL) cans tomatoes, breaking up the whole tomatoes with your fingers. Bring to boil and simmer 45 minutes. After 30 minutes, add what you have on hand – 1/2 cup olives, a can of drained tuna, jarred red peppers,1 tsp chopped chilies, capers or pesto. Use some or none of these items. At the same time, add 1 package pasta – long or short – to heavily salted boiling water. Boil for one minute less than package instructions. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking water. Toss pasta and sauce with enough cooking water to thin the sauce, stirring together over heat. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and season well with salt and pepper, if needed. Serves 4 to 6.

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Pasta Frittata Beat, with salt, 2 eggs for each person, to a maximum of 8, and mix with leftover pasta and sauce. Add herbs, hot sauce or leftover veggies. Heat a skillet filmed with olive oil over medium heat, add eggs and pasta, and stir in ½ cup grated cheese of any kind. Stir occasionally, until the underside is brown and the mixture is beginning to set. Cover with another ½ cup grated cheese. Place under broiler until cheese is brown and top is cooked.

Pork with Beans and Kale Season 1½ lbs cubed shoulder pork with salt, pepper, lemon thyme or other herbs. Heat 3 tbsp oil in large sauté pan on high heat and sear pork, until browned. Remove to a plate and reserve. Reduce heat to medium and add 1 cup chopped onion. Cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Add 1 tbsp chopped garlic and 6 slivered fresh sage leaves or 1/2 tsp dried. Cook until garlic is softened, about 1 more minute. Stir in 2 cans of white or any other drained beans. Add pork plus 2 cups chicken stock. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes or until tender. If mixture begins to dry out, add extra stock or water. Add 6 cups thinly sliced kale and cook, covered, 5 more minutes until wilted. Season with salt, pepper and a spritz of lemon juice.

You can substitute sliced sausage or cubed chicken thighs for the pork, reducing the cooking time to 20 minutes, or omit the meat altogether. Spinach or Swiss chard work instead of kale.

Need some advice about kitchen life and entertaining? Send your questions to lwaverman@globeandmail.com.

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