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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

10 Dinners at Home With No Kitchen: What We've Really Been Eating

It is Day 10 here of having no kitchen while the renovations continue.  Two weeks ago I had noble plans of coming up with creative dinners for the family using only the crockpot, microwave, and indoor grill.  I thought I'd compose a fantastic, helpful blog post full of simple recipes that others could use if their families were also without a kitchen for some period of time.  Our family brainstormed ideas, and I created a memo in my phone of dinner ideas, along with a list of ingredients I would need.  The reality is that I've only made two of those meals.

In all fairness to me, I couldn't have known that over these ten days I would have sick children home from school and Church a total of four days.  Nor that my husband would be home from work with an injured foot for two days.  Or that in this period of time the children would have one early dismissal, one snow day, and one 2-hour delay due to ice. Plus there was the holiday yesterday when everyone was home that I did know would occur.  Oh, and I couldn't have predicted that I would end up with a killer sinus headache that no OTC meds could touch that lasted for two whole days.  Tending to everyone's needs while squeezing through the mounds of stuff stashed in the dining room trying to find where I put the cough drops, pain relievers, herbal teas, cold medicines, ice packs, etc. proved to be a part-time job.  I soon realized that the hearty beef stews, burgers and veggies done on the George Foreman grill, and pulled pork sandwiches with freshly chopped tossed salads were not going to happen.  Sigh...

Instead, this is what we've actually been eating for dinner for the past ten days.  This includes what we're having tonight.  Other than a scheduled dinner out this Thursday due to a track meet we have to attend, I have no clue what we'll be eating during the remainder of the renovation.  I will say that my crockpot has gotten a lot of use due to the discovery of these Reynolds Slow Cooker liners that a friend told me about.  If it weren't for these, the crockpot would be packed away in the basement somewhere until I have my kitchen back.

Day 1: Frozen burritos and pizza bites heated in microwave (the only frozen dinners eaten so far)
Day 2: Takeout from Pizza Hut only because the pizzas were 50% off that day, and our daughter had a coupon for a free personal pan pizza
Day 3: 3 large cans of beef barley soup warmed in the crockpot and cold cut sandwiches
Day 4: Tacos with grass-fed ground beef browned in microwave with chips and salsa and queso
Day 5: My homemade crab dip, artisan cheese with crackers, baked potatoes (microwaved) with leftover taco meat, & canned baked beans heated in microwave
Day 6: Deli roast beef & cheese sandwiches on kaiser buns, potato chips, & pickle spears for the kiddos.  Hubby & I attended a cocktail party and ate there.
Day 7: 3 large cans of chicken noodle soup in crockpot & crackers.  This was a lean night and my refrigerator was getting bare, but I was 2 pounds lighter the next morning!
Day 8: Grilled bacon wrapped pork loin that Hubby froze weeks ago, potatoes done on the grill out back, green beans steamed in microwave
Day 9: Meatball subs from frozen mini meatballs cooked with jarred spaghetti sauce heated in crockpot, raw veggie platter
Day 10: Deli creamy potato/bacon soup in crockpot, bakery croissants

This was Day 8: Barbecued bacon wrapped pork tenderloin and potatoes that Hubby created himself and put on the patio grill surrounded by snow.  It was, by far, the best dinner we'd eaten in a week even if it was a coronary event just waiting to happen.

What I have realized over the past ten days is just how much of my kitchen I take for granted.  With absolutely no counter space for preparing food right now, it is very difficult to make anything from scratch.  With no cupboard space, all my food ingredients are packed up in boxes and bags or crammed on shelves in the basement.  With no sink in which to wash dishes and cutting boards and knives, it's nearly impossible to rinse, peel, pare, and slice fruits and vegetables.  And of course, with no stove or oven, I am relegated to using only the microwave, crockpot, or grill.  Or we eat things raw.  I have to totally rethink what I should buy at the grocery store, and I'm finding that to be way more challenging than I'd originally thought.

So, instead of publishing a post full of recipes for wonderful "kitchenless" dinners for your families, I humbly post what we're really eating for dinner during this temporary sabbatical from cooking.  I am still welcoming any simple meal ideas from you Dear Readers.  I think we've probably got another ten days or so before we are back in our farmhouse kitchen.



  1. This sounds like quite the adventure! We do our best to eat lots of healthy food in our home, too. We don't even have a microwave! Which I know, some can't live without. Anyway, I guess I would suggest something simple like.... a chicken noodle soup in the crockpot with baked potatoes in the microwave. That would probably be a great way (with the soup) for you all to hydrate after being under the weather.

    Hope you feel better! God's Blessings!!! Net

    1. Thanks for the idea, Net. I think if I purchased chopped chicken and diced veggies from the supermarket, that soup would be great. And we didn't have a microwave either for years. My parents bought us this one for when they were housesitting for us. It's coming in handy now though. :)

  2. I'll send you some pins for crockpot recipes. I use mine all of the time. I'm just not sure how they'll workout prepping somewhere other than the kitchen!

    1. Thanks for the pins, Adrienne. I'm going to try the mac& cheese recipe for sure. I think some of the chicken ones are doable too. My in-laws reminded me that we do have a fully stocked working kitchen up at the cabin that we could be using. I guess I just haven't felt like toting all the ingredients up there. Maybe this weekend...


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