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Rachael Ray Shares COVID-19 Food Shopping Tips, Cooking Hacks

<span class=Rachael Ray Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/Shutterstock” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/ZbuRRg76HQw98hASJjlieg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTEyNDI7aD0xOTE4LjI2MjQ0MzQzODkxNA–/https://www.usmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Rachael-Ray-Ways-to-Shop-for-Food-Amid-COVID.jpg?w=663″ data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/ZbuRRg76HQw98hASJjlieg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTEyNDI7aD0xOTE4LjI2MjQ0MzQzODkxNA–/https://www.usmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Rachael-Ray-Ways-to-Shop-for-Food-Amid-COVID.jpg?w=663″/>
Rachael Ray Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Sharing her wisdom with the rest of Us! Rachael Ray shared some “smarter and better” food shopping tips exclusively with Us Weekly and they’re bound to come in handy during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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The 51-year-old bestselling author and award-winning daytime TV show host spoke with Us on August 5, days before a fire seriously damaged a portion of her upstate New York home. Like most people in quarantine, she’s been doing plenty of online shopping, as opposed to venturing out to the grocery store. “I had no idea how many little extras you get buying seafood, produce, meats and anything else online,” she said. “You can also search for better prices than I thought were possible. I’m finding an enormous amount of bargains, quite frankly.”

The Rachael Ray host added: “I think I’m learning how to buy smarter and better than I have had the ability to in years because it’s such a competitive market.”

When it comes cooking, Ray said she’s having fun experimenting with new foods and recipes during quarantine. “Just this past weekend, I had so many tomatoes to use that I fired the oven and made slow-roasted tomatoes [and] I had to think of about 100 different things to do with all [of them],” she told Us. “I made a penne alla vodka sauce. I made a few lasagnas.”

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Another food the New York native has plenty of? Eggplants from her garden. “I made croquettes for the first time in a while,” she shared. “You have to work with what you have and necessity is the mother of all invention. And that’s the fun part about it. Every day is like an Iron Chef competition here.”

The Book of Burger author also opened up about the “daunting” pantry inside her country home. She shared a look at the food-filled room on her show in March. Miraculously, it wasn’t heavily damaged during the fire.

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When asked how she keeps the pantry neat, Ray said: “I am a list-maker by nature and I make a scary amount of lists for all aspects of life. What I need to order online, what staples I have run out of, what I have in my freezer, what I have in my fridge. I take daily recounts of everything I have.”

The My Year in Meals author also recommends lists when food shopping and meal prepping, especially during the current health crisis. “I have learned some new kitchen hacks in quarantine,” she explained. “I go back to the list making thing. It’s so important for everyone to be super disciplined about what’s in their freezer, what’s in their fridge, and process everything from the market when they come home.”

Prior to the fire at her home, Ray was also hosting a free virtual cooking camp from her home called Rachael Ray’s Yum-o! Cooking Camp. The 16-part live virtual series, which launched on July 30, was designed to help provide a fun and accessible activity to support families whose camps and child care centers are closed this summer.

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The interactive online activity connected viewers to their favorite chefs, celebrities and lifestyle personalities who taught them simple recipes, skills and techniques designed to up their culinary game. Though the recipes were created to be easy enough for kids ages 8 to 15 to follow along, everyone was welcome to join. The virtual camp was slated to run for several more weeks, though it’s not yet clear if it will continue given the current state of Ray’s home.

Given the constantly evolving nature of COVID-19, Us Weekly wants our readers to have access to the most accurate resources. For the most up-to-date coronavirus information, guidance, and support, consult the CDC, WHO, and information from local public health officials. If you’re experiencing coronavirus symptoms, call your primary care provider for medical advice.