We’ve been working on this renovation for six months. Six long months. No kitchen table. No fresh bred. Lots of crock pot meals. And yet, even though we’re living in a SEVERELY truncated kitchen, it’s not…terrible? Seriously. Like it’s not FUN. But it’s not that bad.
Most importantly we are not:
Eating out profusely
Fighting over Ramen.
Which overall I am going to count as a win in my book. So today I want to share with you a video on four tips we’ve picked up on how to set yourself up for a less stressful kitchen renovation.
Tip 1: Pick Your Meals Wisely
Full confession time, I’ve never been one who LOVES to cook. I don’t mind it. I have to eat. But I don’t LOVE it. So the concept of making the few meals that I actually do like in an under equipped kitchen certainly didn’t have me jumping up and down.
For the first four months of the renovation, we really tried to just continue business as usual. Keep on truckin’. Make our usual meals. Unsurprisingly this didn’t work, we got super frustrated, and we ended up eating out a lot. NOT the best solution.
Eventually, I wised up. I went through our recipe book and pulled out recipes that could be made in bulk (four to eight servings at a time) OR could all be made in one pot.
It’s not that we’ll never get back around to the other recipes. But this is a transition kitchen. Those old favorites are just on standby. So instead, focus on creating meals that are one-pot and make multiple portions. This cuts down on your overall dishes but still puts great food on the table.
Tip 2: Get the right tools.
No you don’t have to go out and buy a whole new kitchen outfit. That’s what you’re working on in the renovation. But there are a few tools that really come in clutch in this situation.
The first is the almighty crock pot. This is similar to the one I have. I’m sure you have one. They’re just the absolute best for set it and forget it meals that make a LOT of servings. Our go to is Tex Mex soup which has this incredibly generic recipe found below.
Whatever Chicken Soup
5 ish pounds of whatever chicken you have
2 cans of whatever beans
1 can of something tomato
1 can or frozen bag of vegetables
2 packs of seasoning (taco, chili, fajita, whatever)
Cook on low for 8 hours. Shred chicken.
Add a dollop of something creamy if you want (cream, sour cream, cream cheese, milk, plain yogurt, whatever).
The second piece of crucial equipment is an electric skillet. Seriously. I would even say this thing is more amazing than the crock pot. It boils water super fast so you can make pasta. It’s HUGE so it makes great one pot meals. The power plug is detachable for easy cleaning. Hands down the best thing we bought.
Also notice that I did NOT say a hot plate? Yep. That’s right. Don’t waste your time. We have one and it is GARBAGE. I maybe use it once a month or so to make rice but otherwise, electric skillet all the way.
(Side note: don’t come after me about the InstantPot. It’s a pressure cooker. I don’t CARE if they say it’s safe. It still scares the crap out of me. KTHXBYE.)
Tip 3: Set Up an Actual Kitchen Space
Before we actually started this renovation I had the foolish idea that I was going to just limp along with a hot plate on a table in the corner of the study. Lol. Yeah ok Paige.
Very quickly I realized that wasn’t going to work. So we sectioned off a portion of the future dining room and set up a mini-kitchen. With all the essentials!
Counter top – snagged from kitchen demo
Pie safe/pantry – holds all our dry goods
Make shift wall shelves – toaster, toaster oven, etc.
VINTAGE FRIDGE – we’ve only had this in here for a few months. We just finished restoring it and were checking to make sure that it works properly.
Miscellaneous extra storage – baskets, cart, bins, whatever we have available.
Tip 4: Figure Out an Actual Sink
Ok ok ok I KNOW not everyone is going to have this luxury. We had the opportunity with this house to renovate more or less in whatever order we wanted to. Therefor we chose to renovate the laundry room before the kitchen. Why? So that we could put in a nice deep stainless steel sink.
This sink and little bit of counter have SAVED our sanity when it comes to washing dishes. We’re not hunched over a bathtub. We’re not fighting with our 1906 bathroom sink. We have a nice normal height counter with a nice normal faucet and a nice normal sink.
If there is anyway to hook up a utility sink in the garage, laundry room, upstairs bathroom, I would highly recommend doing so before you tear apart your kitchen. It just makes washing dishes so much easier.
And that’s basically it! With these four tips, we’ve really been able to survive our kitchen renovation without too much trouble. Are we a little bored of our food selection? Sure. Are we tired of carrying the dishes from the mudroom to the makeshift kitchen? Sure.
BUT. All in all, this kitchen renovation experience has not been nearly as terrible as I thought it would be. 10/10. Would renovate again.
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