Week Three Of Cooking Without A Kitchen

Last week’s menu plan saved the day for me more than once! Knowing what was for dinner, and knowing that it would all pull together fairly quickly and easily, kept us from running out for fast food on at least two separate occasions. Yay for menu planning!

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Not everything worked out perfectly. The double batch of rice I cooked Monday on the side burner of the BBQ was a disaster. Apparently, that burner does not turn down quite low enough to simmer rice. We were able to use about half  of the rice. The rest was burned to the bottom of the pan. I let the pan soak all night with some dishwasher detergent and really hot water, and Copper (bless him!) cleaned and scoured the rest out the next morning. That left us with no rice for Friday night’s Salisbury Steak, but I had mashed potato flakes on the shelf, that I use in a couple of recipes, and those worked out well. Not homemade mashed potatoes, of course; but with the gravy from the Salisbury Steak, they were good, and we scraped the bowl clean!

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Wrapping a loaf of frozen garlic bread in foil and putting it on top of the crockpot lid all day worked like a charm. The bread was piping hot, through and through. The Slow Cooker Liners have been wonderful, too. A small amount of liquid usually leaks out when I’m removing the liner, but there’s nothing baked, or cooked, onto the crockpot. Clean up is super easy.

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The one thing that has surprised me and that is working out  incredibly well is my electric skillet. I’ve had mine for years and years, and it’s always been a great tool. I just didn’t realize quite how versatile it could be. It’s really big, so it will handle large quantities. It’s non-stick and fully immersible, which makes washing up a snap. I made Sue Gregg’s Chicken Curry in it last week (instead of using the crockpot), and I’m making almost everything in it this week, including Saturday’s White Bean Soup.

All of the structural, plumbing and electrical work has been completed in the kitchen. The texture was sprayed on early Saturday morning. My husband tore out, and then relaid, our laminate flooring Saturday afternoon to cover up the huge hole in the middle where the island used to be. Today we’re painting, and the kitchen guy is hooking up a couple of new circuits to the outside electrical box and installing plugs, switchplates and maybe the LED can lights in the ceiling. Tuesday morning the cabinet installation begins. Yay!

kitchenreadyforcabinets

We’ll pass the half way mark for the kitchen remodel sometime this week. The goal is to stay the course with menu planning for the duration. Our wonderful across-the-road-neighbor-lady gifted us with some pizza gift cards, but I’m hanging on to them for an emergency. I am relying on some frozen, or partially prepared and frozen, foods during the remodeling, and I am grateful for them!

Here’s our dinner menu for this week.

MONDAY – Aaron is twenty today, and he took the day off from work to celebrate! Taking the birthday boy out for dinner is tradition in our family.

TUESDAY – Cheeseburgers & Frozen French Fries (wrapped in foil and cooked on the BBQ with the burgers)

WEDNESDAY – Breakfast for Dinner – Bacon, Eggs & Toast (electric skillet & toaster)

THURSDAY – Beef and Bean Burritos (filling made in the electric skillet, tortillas steamed in the microwave), green salad (Will has youth group at church on Thursday evenings, and Corin and my grandbabies usually visit on Thursday afternoons. Beef & Bean Burritos are quickly becoming our “go to” dinner on Thursdays.)

FRIDAY – Italian Meatballs (frozen from Costco, heated in the microwave), Pesto Pasta (cooked on the side burner of the BBQ), green salad

SATURDAY – Tickleberry Farm White Bean Soup made in the electric skillet and served with French Bread & Butter

Cooking without a kitchen has had its challenges, but it’s not been nearly as hard as I thought it would be. And honestly? The inconvenience of these few weeks will, I know, quickly fade into memory once the new kitchen is done. I am super grateful for what the Lord is providing!

If menu planning is new to you, or if you just need some help with getting started or coming up with some fresh ideas, the posts in  my Menu Planning Series might be helpful. There’s nothing to buy or download, just click and read!

I’m joining Laura for this week’s Menu Plan Monday. Be sure to hop over there for a whole bunch of menu planning ideas.

 

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16 comments to Week Three Of Cooking Without A Kitchen

  • Jill

    Love this weeks menu and a very Happy Birthday to Aaron!! 20 years old..wow.

  • i’m honored to be included in your recipe lineup! i’ve *never* a crock pot liner. didn’t even know they existed until now. thank you!!! i’ve burned more rice than bridges in my life. 🙁 your kitchen is really coming together beautifully cheryl – thank you for sharing updates with your readers. so happy you’re being blessed. hugs.

    • I wouldn’t use them all the time, jAne, but they’ve sure made life easier with no sink, garbage disposal or dishwasher. They’re nice for potlucks, too.

  • celina

    thanks for feedback on liners….sometimes I can see them being a life and time saver…

    my mom ADORED her skillet, it was older than me..she made tons in there…especially when our stove broke, and that took a while to fix/replace. she also had a battery pack you could plug something in..so if the power was out she could use that. I remember even taking it on trips. she made the best popcorn in it too….

  • Corin

    Woohoo! It’s an adventure!

    Do you have something that can get really hot that will fit inside of your crockpot? (A pyrex measuring cup, bread pan, mixing bowl…) If so you can cook the rice just like I do with oatmeal. It works great and never burns! You could do it overnight if you need the crockpot for your main dish, and then reheat it later. 🙂

    • Wait? What? I do have a fairly good size pyrex bowl that’s not packed away. I’ll check to see if it fits in the crockpot. If it does, I will be texting you for details!! Thanks!

      • Corin

        Just put the rice/oats in the bowl with however much water, salt, and butter (if any) that you regularly do, then put an inch or so of water in the bottom of the crock. Put the lid on, set it to “low” and leave it for 6 or more hours.

        I start groats in the crock-pot before I go to bed and, as long as they keep the lid on, everyone has hot oatmeal in the morning whether they’re the first or last ones up. Even when the last one isn’t up until almost noon. 😉 It doesn’t burn, and I’ve never had rice or oats go mushy, sticky, or dry that way.

  • Elizabeth V.

    As we anticipate a kitchen remodeling project, I am following your posts with great interest. I can tell I will be very glad I kept my electric skillet. I haven’t used it in years but it seemed like something I should keep. Happy Birthday to your guy! In all the years I’ve followed your blog, I never realized he was the same age as my son who will celebrate his “no longer a teenager” birthday next month. Here is an easy microwave dinner to add to your collection. I take those wonderful Costco meatballs and put them in a Pyrex bowl, topping them with most of a jar of marinara sauce (Ragu/Trader Joes/frozen homemade). I then cook it for around 15 minutes in the microwave until the meatballs are piping hot. I use this to make meatball subs on rolls or French bread slices. A slice of provolone cheese on top quickly melts and is a yummy addition. A green salad and or some fruit and your dinner is complete. I love this meal in the summer because my kitchen stays cool.

    • Elizabeth – My son, William, LOVES meatball sandwiches. I’d thought about making them for him, and I’ll try it just as you’ve suggested soon. Thanks!

  • Jane

    I enjoy your blog, and this is the first time I have commented. Greetings from Sussex, England! I have discovered that putting rice in a pyrex or other microwaveable container with plenty of boiling water and a litle salt for exactly 10 minutes in the microwave gives a good cooked rice, without it going mushy. Make sure you take it out of the microwave once the 10 minutes is up, and drain any excess water, or it will go mushy. All the best with the new kitchen! Jane

    • Jane – Hello, and thanks for leaving your first comment! I hope it won’t be your last. I love hearing from my readers, and I especially love when they share such great tips. Thanks!

  • tammy

    You are a trooper!!! 🙂 So encouraging to see and hear how you are doin so well in a challenging situation!!! You are my constant inspiration for meal plannin and holdin my plans loosely. Lord Bless you and yours and Happy Birthday to Aaron!