16 April 2007

Cooking for a family during a kitchen remodel? Talk amongst yourselves.

Lisa asks:

Any ideas for cooking for a family of five during a kitchen remodel?

We've never undergone a kitchen remodel, but friends who have set up a card table in the basement and relied on a Crock Pot, a microwave, and disposable dinnerware. Dry evenings were spent in the back yard having BBQ picnics.

Any Parenthacker wisdom to share?

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CrocPot was good. Microwave was good. But the electric wok was a lifesaver. We were able to do some of those skillet meals in there. We could fry up an egg or two, also. Made things feel a little more like "homemade", I guess.

Of course, we did our kitchen in the dead of winter, and so couldn't use the grill.

Toaster oven was great - frozen pizzas if we didn't feel like "cooking." You'd be amazed at how much cooking you can do in a microwave - mashed potatoes, rice crispy bars, scrambled eggs etc. We also had a lot of waffles with the wafflemaker.

An electric skillet would have been the only thing I wished we would have had last summer. Hard to cook meat in a microwave, and didn't want to fire up the grill every night.

Crock pot & electric skillet got a lot of use, but the lifesaver for us was the Toaster Oven. We dedicated one bathroom as the "kitchen". Cooking appliances lived on top of the washer & dryer in the adjacent laudry room. (Be sure to get a plug strip with a GFI.) We also used our bottom dishwasher rack as a drying rack for stuff we washed.

Good luck.

We moved into our half-finished house with 7 children, 12yo and under.
No running water except at the tub and toilet, no kitchen at all.
Crockpot was helpful, propane grill was great in nice weather.
2 lifesaving devices that gave us plenty of variety w/o a full kitchen: a $29 electric roaster (like a small oven, but far more versatile than a toaster oven) and a little $20 unit from WalMart with 2 electric burners. Like a mini stovetop, capable of normal cooking. With these 2 items, I could cook anything at all!

excellent ideas- I used my crockpot bunched during our kitchen remodel- makes the hungry tired meal time a breeze!
My only addition is prob. that Little Ceasars sells pizza in our area for $5 a piece- what a cheap way to feed our family of seven!

Since I always camped, I used my camp stove (in a well-ventilated room, i.e., windows open).

We love the crockpot for easy meals any time. To make clean-up super easy, we use the crock pot liner bags - contains the liquid and mess, you just wrap up and throw away. You still have to do a quick wipe of the inside of the crockpot, but you avoid the baked on grime.

I've got a steamer that makes rice, chicken, veggies, etc. It's got 2 layers, so you can cook nearly an entire meal in there. It's like the crock pot, but you don't have to prepare so early.

I second using the bathroom sink to wash dishes, and using the tub to dry them. Buy some sturdy plastic dishes from Target so you don't worry about dropping them on the ceramic.

We turned the smallest bedroom into a mini kitchen/dining room, with a small table, microwave, toaster oven, crock pot, and hot pot. We put shelves in the small closet and used it as a pantry. We found frozen dinners were our last choice--they weren't that good. Toaster oven and crock pot meals were much better. And whatever you make, make enough for leftovers.

Timely! Our remodel starts next Monday. 10-12 weeks.

and for great crockpot meal recipes, I've found the www.mccormick.com website to have great recipes. just go to recipe collections and then to crockpot. the scalloped potato and pork chop casserole and white bean chicken chili were awesome!

Trader Joes pre-cooked rice in the bags were a lifesaver. Micro them in the bathroom/ad hoc kitchen and add toppings -- plain for kids, pre-cooked Indian (also from Trader Joes) packs for the more adventurous. I didn't care about the food actually. I just made sure to have a place to set up my espresso maker.

We would use a camp stove, George Foreman grill, and a fire pit to cook on. Then for cleaning the dishes an old wash tub. For hot water we used a coffee pot for camping.

We just got done with our remodel and lived.
1- It was really important to have a space that was a make shift kitchen and treat it like one. We had one set of floor to ceiling metro shelving on wheels that had our microwave, food staples we needed, crock, electric skillet + steamer.
If possible, ask for the oven to leave last or even better stay in the kitchen if at all possible.
2-We held out with real plates for a bit - but the paper plates saved our sanity.
3- Lastly, we made a ton of freezer meals beforehand and lived off those for a couple months - no dinner prep.

Astonishing how the microwave oven was pushed almost off the list of alternative ways of preparing meals. I've been working on a book of microwave cooking which employs the microwave oven as a device for cooking. With a bit of imagination, experience, and patience you can learn that it is possible for your microwave cooker to produce many of your favorite recipes with ease and comfort. You may find it easy to maintain the weight you want or even lose a few pounds -- oil almost disappears from your recipes,and recipes for steaming, poaching, sauteeing, broiling your favorite foods suddenly appear as tasteful and economical parts of your diet.In addition, you weight control is very easy.

Your micro won't bake cakes (brownies are good and some others as well)but it's marvelous for producing pies and fruit-based desserts. Your wonderful conventional oven doesn't open cans and a barbeque arrangement isn't always possible. Every appliance has its own particular talents and every venue has its drawbacks Take a breath and start thinking microwave.

I second the toaster oven, it was a lifesaver !
But the rice cooker comes in a close second for me !
And DON'T stress it-use paper plates- take a dishwashing break and use as much disposable as possible, because doing dishes in the bathroom is NOT fun.

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