OTTAWA -- If a trip to the grocery store used to be an opportunity to explore your culinary creativity, grocery shopping has become an arduous, and stressful, pandemic chore.

“It’s my worst thing to do these days,” says food specialist Korey Kealey.

Many agree.

That’s why I asked Korey to come up with some scrumptious, and affordable, menus that stretch food dollars and reduce the number of trips to the grocery store.

“To minimize the trips and maximize your time when you’re there, get as much as you can, and do the best with what you have,” says Kealey.

To do that Kealey is sharing recipes featuring eggs, potatoes, chicken (bought in bulk and frozen in individual, labelled portions) and cabbage.

“Cabbage is a great extender. Cabbage can go forever. It’s versatile.  It adds crunch.  It adds flavour, nutrition and volume” she says. “Basically we want to be using what’s available to us locally, that’s what the most affordable.

“And we want to be using all of the food in our fridge,” says Kealey.

Kealey welcomes your suggestions too.

Potato quiche

Potato Crusted Mini Veggie Quiche

Delicious potatoes combined with winter veggies make this simple recipe the week night star.

Preparation time: 20 Minutes

Cook time: 10 Minutes

Bake time: 55 minutes


2 tbsp (25 mL)

melted butter 3 peeled Ontario Potatoes, coarsely grated (about 2 cups/500 mL)

1 Ontario Onion, minced

1 Ontario Egg, lightly beaten

2 tbsp (25 mL) all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt


2 tbsp (25 mL) butter

1 cup (250 mL) sliced Ontario Mushrooms

1 cup (250 mL) finely shredded Ontario Cabbage

1/4 cup (50 mL) each chopped Ontario Onion and Carrot

2/3 cup (150 mL) Ontario Milk

2/3 cup (150 mL) light sour cream

3 Ontario Eggs, lightly beaten

3/4 cup (175 mL) shredded Swiss-style cheese

1/4 tsp (1 mL) each ground nutmeg, salt and Paprika

Grease nonstick muffin tin or 9-inch pie plate with melted butter. In bowl, combine potatoes and onion, egg, flour and salt; divide among muffin cups, pressing evenly up sides and over bottoms. Bake in 400°F (200°C) oven for about 20 minutes until crisp-browned at edges.

Meanwhile, in nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Cook mushrooms, cabbage, onion and carrot until soft. Cool slightly. Spoon into cooked shell. In bowl, whisk together milk, sour cream and eggs. Stir in cheese, nutmeg and salt. Pour over vegetable filling. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until set.

Cashew chicken

Cashew chicken

This classic stir-fry is perfect for celebrating Chinese New Year.Serve over rice or noodles.

Preparation Time:​20 minutes

Cooking Time:​20 minutes

Serves 4

2 tbsp (25 mL)​​vegetable oil

1 lb (500 g)​​boneless skinless Ontario Chicken, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces

1-1/2 cups (375 mL)​sliced Ontario Carrots

1 cup (250 mL)​​sliced Ontario Onions

2 cups (500 mL)​sliced Ontario Mushrooms

1​large clove Ontario Garlic, minced

1 tbsp (15 mL)​finely minced gingerroot

1/2 cup (125 mL)​chicken broth

1/2 cup (125 mL)​drained, canned sliced water chestnuts

3/4 cup (175 mL)​Ontario Bean Sprouts

1/3 cup (75 mL)​sliced green onions

1/2 cup (125 mL)​unsalted roasted cashews


1-1/4 cups (300 mL)​chicken broth

1/4 cup (50 mL)​soy sauce (preferably naturally brewed)

2 tbsp (25 mL)​cornstarch

2 tsp (10 mL)​sesame oil (optional)

In large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the oil overmedium heat. Add chicken; cook, stirring often, for 5 to 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove with slotted spoon; cover and keep warm.

Add remaining oil to pan. Add carrots and onions; cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Stir in mushrooms; cook for 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and ginger; cook for 1 minute. Add broth; cook for 3 minutes or until carrots are tender and broth has evaporated. Stir in cooked chicken and water chestnuts.

Sauce: In small bowl, whisk together broth, soy sauce, cornstarch, and sesame oil, if using; pour over contents of skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Stir in bean sprouts and green onions; cook for 30 seconds. Transfer to serving platter. Sprinkle cashews over top.