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Our colleague Leora Arnowitz from the USA TODAY Life team is here to share some cooking ideas and techniques you may want to try while stuck at home.  

As coronavirus spreads in the U.S., and an increasing number of Americans are staying home – either by choice or because of imposed shelter-in-place orders – chances are you are looking for some at-home entertainment.

We’ve got you covered.

There are 100 movies you can watch, great TV shows to binge and you can even have a Netflix party. But if you want to give yourself – or your family – a break from screen time, the kitchen is a great place to keep busy.

Maybe you’re missing your restaurant favorites or you just want to try something new, now that you’ve stress-baked dozens of cookies, it’s time to get serious in the kitchen.

We’ve compiled some advanced cooking techniques you can master to make you feel like a Top Chef during your time in quarantine. And yes, you will want to wear an apron when tackling these tough cooking challenges.

More: Best recipes for stress baking during the pandemic, from beginner level to challenging

Pasta from scratch

Grocery stores around the country are selling out of staples like pasta, so it’s a better time than ever to learn to make pasta by hand. If you have a pasta machine at home, more power to you. (If you're in the market for one, you can check out Reviewed's list of the best pasta makers.) But you don’t actually need any fancy tools to make pasta from scratch. You also don’t need a lot of ingredients. The basic make-it-yourself pasta recipes call for flour, eggs, salt and water. Some recipes are eggless too, so if you are struggling to find eggs at your local store, you can opt for a water-and-flour recipe. Keep three tricks in mind when making homemade pasta: be patient, knead your dough well and roll it really thin. You can cut it into fettucine or make fun bow ties.

Macarons

French macarons are finicky, and things like oven temperature and the exact number of times you fold your batter can affect how they turn out. Those challenges make it the perfect project to tackle while you’re staying at home. To make the cookies, you will need almond flour, egg whites, salt, vanilla extract, powdered and regular sugar.Another great thing about making macarons: You can get creative with the fillings. You may have to try making macarons more than once to get those Instagram-perfect light and airy cookies, and that’s part of why this is a great way to pass the time.

Poached eggs with hollandaise

If you’re missing your favorite brunch spot while staying home, you can treat yourself to some homemade poached eggs and learn a little something in the process. Poached eggs don’t take a long time to cook – just a few minutes – but it can be tricky to get them just right. It’s key to make sure your water is just simmering and that you don’t overcook the eggs. Once you’ve got that down, you’ll want to start on some hollandaise. You’ll need egg yolks, lemon juice and not a whole lot else. The thing to watch out for with hollandaise is that you don’t overheat your yolks or else you’ll wind up with scrambled eggs instead of a smooth sauce to top your poached eggs. If you plan right, you can use the yolks for your hollandaise and the whites for the macarons mentioned above.

Homemade vegetable stock

Many at-home cooks will tell you they mastered homemade stock long ago since it’s a surefire way to make restaurant-quality dishes at home. If you’ve never tried it, now is the perfect time since you’ll want to be more conscious than ever about not letting any food scraps go to waste. Vegetable stock can be made from the leftover veggie pieces you would otherwise throw out. You can save scraps over a few days and use them to make a rich and delicious stock that will be the base of the rest of your recipes for the week, like risotto or minestrone soup.

Sous vide

Sous vide is the trendiest way to cook myriad dishes from meat to fish to eggs. If you’ve never tried it, now might be the perfect time since there are so many varieties of sous vide cooking to explore. Sous vide cooking involves cooking your food at an exact low temperature in a vacuum sealed bag for a long period of time. The plus side? You’ve got nothing but time while stuck at home. The negative? You will need some special tools you may not have on hand. Order those gadgets and make a steakhouse-quality meal at home. Reviewed's pick for the best immersion circulators is the Anova Precision Cooker WiFi, on sale right now for $149.25.  

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