Quarantine Cooking: Your Guide to Boxed Meals

Quarantine Cooking: Your Guide to Boxed Meals

Sam Spray and Riley Coesens

As the days of quarantine come and go, minds wander to the possibility of fine-tuning their culinary skills; that is dumb. The chefs have found it to be an utmost necessity to enjoy the delicacy that is boxed food. Despite our title as “The Chefs,” which would suggest that we know how to cook anything whatsoever, we have embarked on yet another journey in the kitchen to discover how horribly we can make simple dishes taste. In today’s edition of “Worst Cooks in America,” we have selected the following items for our 5-star line-up menu: Kraft mac and cheese, Knorr Spanish rice, Totino’s pizza rolls, and Pillsbury toaster strudels. Regardless of the harsh quarantine reality we are all facing, these foods may provide comfort when paired with Tiger King or any other Netflix binge of your choosing. Even COVID-19 cannot stop The Chefs from providing comedic relief, so without further ado, let’s get (box) cookin’!

Kraft mac and cheese is a childhood staple. We are children at heart, so we decided to prepare a batch of this cheesy delight in order to provide you, our loyal readers, with a description in case anyone is contemplating making this dish themselves. To begin, this is a quick, easy meal to prepare for anyone, especially young, impatient kids. In terms of taste and texture, it was subpar at best: “This mac and cheese tastes like if you put cooked noodles and a slice of American cheese with the plastic still on in the microwave on high for one minute and 45 seconds and then chowed,” said Sam. “The cheese used would never be used to make a charcuterie board. It’s not great, but it is mac and cheese, and in this game of Cheap Food Bingo, that’s what really counts.” Riley added, “It could be worse, but it could certainly be better–I have never craved this powdered cheese pasta past the age of 10.” We would give this a score of e, which is equal to approximately 2.7 (out of 10). 

Next up: Spanish rice packets. These come in a variety of flavors to appeal to a large audience of rice fanatics. Riley described this rice as, “A great alternative to avoiding leaving the house to dine at a Mexican restaurant. Though it does not capture the entire essence of flavors that one may desire in a Spanish rice, it does the job.” Chef Sam said it was “bland.” To cook this meal, one must add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and two cups of water to boil with the contents of the package. In fewer than 10 minutes, an entire family can enjoy a minimally spicy dish from home. Riley rated this as 7.3/10, whereas Sam found it worthy of no more than a 1/10. 

Pizza Rolls contain the beauty of pizza in a small, snackable bite and are appealing to the masses. They come in a variety of flavors, most notably pepperoni, which is a personal favorite of both Chefs’. “Pizza Rolls are a magnificent frugal-friendly snack. They are delicious in the same way that cold pizza is,” said Sam. “While they may not be for the food connoisseur, they serve their purpose of being a midnight snack, and do it flawlessly.” Riley added, “They’re an adolescent favorite for a reason.” We rated this together as 7.5/10. 

Toaster Strudels: the ultimate treat for the lazy, bored, baker during this quarantine. These are an essential for everyday eating anyway, however, they have become more vital since the lockdown. These are available in numerous flavors, but our favorites are apple (Sam) and raspberry (Riley). “The icing adds the perfect finish to an already glorious creation,” Riley explained. “It is also helpful that they are inexpensive, as it is not uncommon for me to eat multiple in one sitting. They are extremely easy for anyone with three brain cells to prepare.” Sam added, “They are a delicious breakfast treat rivaled only by cinnamon rolls.” Overall, we rated these as 8.5, because they consistently offer a sweet escape from reality. 

The foods we tried today are all very easy to make. They can be served to children stuck at home, away from school, or indulged in by adults as well. Although they do not all possess quality flavor palettes, they are warm, enticing dishes that will get the job done. So while you sit at home in quarantine, contemplating what to do, you may have the inclination to learn how to cook; take it from these chefs–real cooking is overrated. Grab your favorite boxed meal instead and use your extra time to watch more TikToks.