I kind of wanted to call this post “dinner irl: the no-kitchen edition”.
Because we have no kitchen. Literally.
We knew that the kitchen would not be ready when we moved in to our new house, so we were somewhat prepared. It also helped that we went through a kitchen reno not that long ago in our old house, and so were able to draw on some of the tactics we deployed to stay sane and organized.
The big difference between then and now is that the first time around I did no cooking. Literally. I didn’t wash a dish or dirty a pot for the duration of the project. The work took place during the height of the season for my landscape business, so I “gave myself” those few months off and made do with take-out, eating out and the kindness of friends and neighbors who brought meals.
This time around I wanted to make sure that I was able to keep Noah in the “mostly” gluten- and dairy-free zone that we strive for (am I the only person who thinks of this when the word “mostly” comes up?). And I knew that it would be much easier if I could make meals at home. Plus, with no kitchen I would be on an enforced break from work and have more time on my hands.
I plan to share our renovation with you and thought it would be fun to show some of the “before”, while taking you through how I’ve set up and work in our temporary kitchen!
So here it is:
It’s actually working out well, and it’s a set-up that I can definitely recommend, should you find yourself “kitchenless”.
This industrial shelving is command central – it holds all of our dry goods and larger kitchen utensils, as well as the new microwave. And my bourbon.
Our dining room table is the work surface, and also home to a double burner, coffee maker and toaster oven. Wire baskets on the side house small tools and utensils, foil and plastic wrap, and other sundry items.
I covered the table with the ugliest table protector ever, but it was perfect because it’s padded and completely wipe-downable. These features trumped its hideous appearance. Oh – and that foil-covered piece of wall? No, not channeling my inner Chuck McGill – just trying to keep things splatter-free…..
I was most excited about the double burner. Noah and I have eggs every morning so the ability to keep this up was key. And it also enables me to make pasta dishes, which drastically opened up options. I did a quick Pinterest search for “one-pot pasta dishes” and came across this one from The Pioneer Woman:
I adapted it slightly, adding sliced sausage that we cooked on the grill, and swapping out half the water for chicken stock. No mess, minimal clean up and a simple, crowd-pleasing dinner was served.
We were very fortunate to be able to hook up a utility sink right in the room, and our fridge and freezer were delivered the day after we moved in, giving us lots of space to store food.
And while I like to make a wide variety of dinners for my family, I’m simplifying for these few weeks, rotating just a handful of meals on the repeat.
Of course, if you have any recipes that I can make in my “kitchenless kitchen”, please share??
adapted slightly from The Pioneer Woman
1 pound penne, gluten-free or regular
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups water
2 cups chicken stock
1 head broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 pound sweet or spicy sausage, cooked and sliced
1 cup grated parmesan, plus extra for serving
Place pasta, garlic, salt and pepper, olive oil, water and chicken stock in a large pot. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 – 6 minutes.
Add the broccoli and butter and cook for another 2 – 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the cream, sausage and parmesan and cook for another 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve, passing more cheese if desired.
This delicious recipe brought to you by Sheri Silver
More “dinner irl” ideas on my Pinterest board!