A lot of us are spending much more time at home now as a result of school and work closures caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak, in an effort to adhere to calls for social distancing.

How to make the most of that time? If being in the kitchen brings you solace — and is maybe a way to keep your kids occupied, too — here are some ideas from our archives to put all those hours to work for you.

Five-Spice Braised Short Ribs, above. Braises are just the type of dish to start in late morning or early afternoon to have ready by the time dinner rolls around. This one makes for especially enticing aromas thanks to garlic, cinnamon, star anise, five spice and more.

See also: Wine-Braised Pot RoastSlow Cooker Tea-Braised Chuck Roast With Ginger and Orange.



(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Soft Pretzels. Yeasted bread is another category that lends itself to long days at home. Most of the time is inactive, so put in a little bit of work and let rising do the rest. For a kid-friendly project (let them shape to their hearts’ content!), consider these pretzels.

See also: Best-of BagelsNo-Knead Whole-Wheat Bread, Fast Focaccia.



(Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post; food styling by Bonnie S. Benwick/The Washington Post)

Slow Cooker Barbecue Pulled Chicken. If you’re accustomed to using a slow cooker on days you go to the office, you might as well do it when at the home office, too. This recipe is a family crowd-pleaser and also pantry-friendly.



(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

S’mores Ice Cream. Here’s another kid-approved project that lets you do some fun group learning time in the morning (yes, there’s math in cooking!), with the payoff a few hours later once the ice cream has set.

See also: Rainbow Sprinkle Icebox CakeBanana Split Sundae Pie.



(Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post)

Chipotle Honey-Marinated SteakMarinating is another good way to be efficient over the course of a day at home. Here, meat gets a sweet and spicy treatment. If you don’t have hot honey in your pantry, check out any number of recipes for it online.

See also: Mango-Lime Marinated Chicken ThighsGrilled Maple-Marinated Portobello Mushrooms

More from Voraciously:

Here’s what you need to know about dining out in the age of coronavirus

The good news about food safety and coronavirus: It’s the same advice we’ve known all along

Here’s how Padma Lakshmi and other expert cooks say you should stock your pantry for a coronavirus quarantine

Food delivery can help with ‘social distancing,’ though some drivers are concerned for their own health