Recipes for the dis-applianced???

scpalmettoMay 12, 2014

How are those of you without a working kitchen dealing and what are you eating. Has there ever been a thread with recipes for the dis-applianced? If my kitchen ever gets finished I will never look at another rotisserie chicken, which has been our mainstay for a while now. Chicken salad, microwave chicken soup, chef salad with chicken. We've had sandwiches and hamburgers too often and grilled fish and more chicken but my brain is finally fried and I don't know what to make anymore. Cleanup is also a big issue.
Not much in the way of take out around here. We are retired so we are eating 3 meals a day at home and, when they are here, I feed the contractors also. Someone should write a meal planner/cookbook for those undergoing a kitchen reno. I bet they would make a killing just with GW participants.

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I am so right there with you. I have a toaster oven and 1 induction hot plate type thingy and about 1 square foot of space for prep. I am so sick of French toast and scrambled eggs!!! My DH and I rarely eat out, much prefer fresh food prepared at home and this part of the reno is about to drive me NUTS!!! We cook on the grill a lot but any sides to go with the protein are a real pain!!! I know this will all be worth it eventually but we're not there yet...ugh!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 4:11PM
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You can make lots of things in a crockpot including cheesecake.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 4:24PM
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We learned to cook pizza on the grill. We also cooked a lot of veggies and potatoes on the grill. Our rice cooker got a lot of use!

Waffles, french toast, pancakes.

Once in a while, we imposed on our neighbors for the use of their stove or oven. We couldn't go too long without pasta (spaghetti sauce in the crockpot, noodles at the neighbors').

Oh, pot roast in the crock pot was a biggie at our house too. Potatoes, carrots, green beans, bell peppers, onions - everything went in there.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 4:30PM
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Demo is starting at our house next Monday. I am already dreading having no kitchen especially with four kids in the house. I will be following this thread. I plan on mostly eating grilled food includig veggies and sandwiches.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 4:37PM
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It's been on my mind, too. I have toaster oven, microwave, electric frypan, contact grill, slow cooker, and two hot pots, plus an outdoor gas grill, so as long as I don't get the harebrained impulse to roast a turkey, it ought to be OK. However, I'm also concerned about washing all these things during the time there is no kitchen sink, so I'll probably use the gas grill and the microwave as much as possible.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 4:48PM
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I made several different soups and froze them prior to our deconstruction and that worked pretty well. Dirty dishes were minimal for that - the empty soup container, two bowls, and a few spoons.

The crockpot is your friend, for sure when without appliances, easy clean up, or counter space - you can use the plastic liners also to make cleaning up the crockpot easier too. So, yeah, we had a fair amount of crockpot meals.

Also, we ate a LOT of guacamole! Just needed a sharp knife (used a paring knife that cut everything that was going in the guac), a fork and spoon, a small cutting board - and we were good.

Truth is, we did have the old range hooked up in our unfinished basement, but trying to cook with that was truly more frustration than it was worth because we had absolutely no prep space, no landing spot, and the only place to wash anything was in the laundry tub, which was pretty horrible.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 4:54PM
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Yes to crockpot LINERS! You can make lasagne in a crockpot. You do NOT need to precook pasta. Layer sauce, pasta, etc. Add a little water, maybe no more than 1 cup for a large crock. It will be done fast, maybe 2 hours. It will work with any pasta.

My mother (84) cooks almost exclusively in a crockpot. You can make almost anything! If you can get 2 of different sizes.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 5:06PM
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Maybe a good time to get a Vitamix!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 6:07PM
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LOL, I have a vitamix but have only used it for smoothies. I foolishly sold my All Clad slow cooker a few months ago, we rarely used it and I obviously wasn't thinking ahead. We are starting to get fresh veggies at our Farmer's Markets so veggies on the grill will be great.

Clean up is a real issue, the laundry room sink is not great, just washing salad greens is an issue.
Being a child of the forties, I had a lot of experience washing dishes by hand but I seem to have lost that skill over the years. The drying mat is on the clothes dryer which is a front loader set over a pedestal with a drawer so it it is way up there at eye level.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 7:09PM
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Beside the crockpot, MW and toaster oven, I found my George Foreman grill to be greatly useful. I used it to cook veggies, fish, chicken, veggie burgers, meats -- and it was easy to clean too.. I don't usually use the oven much anyway and really was able to make nice although simple meals with those 4 appliances. I really didn't miss anything -- even corn on the cob I usually cook in the microwave.

Warning-- although I had protected the table with cardboard and vinyl tablecloth, there was some damage to the finish from moisture -- I think because the plastic wore out over time, got nicks and scratches in it.

A plastic dish basin was very useful for the washing up in the laundry tub.

Example recipe: grill eggplant, zucchini, peppers and mushrooms in the GF; toast some garlic bread or whatever you prefer for a base (pitas, tortillas, premade pizza crust) and smear some red sauce or pesto or even muffuletta salad, layer the cooked veggies, top with a bit of cheese and bake into the toaster oven until browned. Takes about 15 minutes or less.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 7:27PM
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For me the main problem has been not having a kitchen sink. I can microwave, crockpot and electric skillet all I want but the cleanup is difficult. I don't have a laundry sink, I took it out since I never used it and reused the space. The bathroom sinks are smallish and I get water everywhere. I really miss my kitchen sink. We should have everything but the backsplash functional by the 23rd. I am so excited.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 7:27PM
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We found the cooking to be not that bad, but, as others have said, the cleanup was awful. Trying to wash dishes in a laundry tub and piling them on top of the washer to dry was awful. Nothing got as clean as it should and it killed our backs. We tried to use paper and plastic everything so we could just toss them out.

This post was edited by Christina222 on Tue, May 13, 14 at 7:27

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 8:49PM
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I agree with the kitchen sink as the main problem but will add that a proper height countertop for chopping makes a real difference over time. I'm in month 7 without and my back is killing me from trying to chop in my bathroom kitchen much less do cleanup in a 12" sink. I'm so glad to have access to the grill again. I did chicken and veggies in foil tonight. Faster chopping with rough cut veggies and very little clean up.

We're eating too few salads because of the prep and way too many burger and fries. I've gained an easy 10 lbs. So ready for my sink! We're waiting for the island top to complete plumbing so hopefully within the next week.

I saved some recipes that were shared on GW years ago. Maybe it's time to start up another exchange for those just starting this journey.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 9:10PM
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scpalmetto- "when they are here, I feed the contractors also."

I think we may have discovered why it still hasn't been finished! :)

I was fortunate to be adding on to the back of my house for my new kitchen so I had my old kitchen fully functional the entire time though I will say, working on the remodel all day, every day, I didn't leave time for cooking proper meals and we ate whatever junk could be ready the fastest when we looked at the clock and saw that it was 6:30 and the kids were hungry.

There were countless frozen pizzas in the toaster oven, chicken nuggets and french fries in the toaster oven, bean and cheese burritos (open can of refried beans, smear some on a tortilla, sprinkle some cheese on and microwave for 30 seconds), nachos (same process as burritos really) etc.

I'm ashamed to admit I have gained 25 pounds in the last 9 months since we started the remodel due to crap food and excess alcohol (how else does one survive the process?!?)

Thankfully, though still not finished, I am not spending every spare second working on it anymore and I have finally gotten back to cooking wholesome meals and thankfully, my kids still like real food!! I was worried they wouldn't want healthy food again after eating junk for so long.

Good luck, I hope you find healthier alternatives than I did.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 9:46PM
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This thread scares me a little. My contractor arrives at 8am tomorrow to begin work and we're nowhere near done demobilizing. I just cooked my youngest son's favorite pasta and stocked up on chicken tenders from a nearby shop for my older son. We have a tiny space, so it should be done in weeks not months. And we lived off a burner for awhile last fall, when we hired a contractor who then flaked out. Still, it's hard to empty a room you've used daily for 11 years, and I'm not looking forward to any time without a kitchen sink.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 10:09PM
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One thing I forgot to mention, stock up on chinet plates and bowls. They are heavy duty, microwaveable, and most importantly, disposable!

Cut out as many dishes as possible.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 11:25PM
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Thank you all for this thread. Definitely bookmarking.

I'd already thought 'hey, juicing and smoothies!' That's been a big part of my plan for that time, but thought about the clean up and got less excited. Big thanks for bringing up proper chopping/prep height. Will try to find some way to do that.

I've always wanted a potting sink outside. I'm trying to think of some way to save the old sink base/sink/faucet and rig it to hook up to something. Would be helpful for just rinsing things off. No hot water, of course.

We have two bathrooms and there are two of us. I think the secret of our happy 18 years together is never having to share a bathroom. But I'm thinking maybe we designate one bathroom as the 'kitchen' clean up room and try to share a bath through the process. Thumbs up from those who've been through this?

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 11:31PM
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We did designate a bathroom to become the kitchen. I put a card table over the toilet as extra space and to prevent accidental bathroom use. My OTR microwave sits upon it and allows a little extra space for prep, though I barely have 2 sq. ft. for prep space. Since the space is small, frequently used pans are in the laundry room to the right, toaster oven in the bedroom to the left and food storage is in another bathroom closet upstairs. Dining table and most used dishes are on the same floor in the family room. I'm constantly running around to prepare a meal. I didn't mind this arrangement short term as I was glad I had a closet large enough to store my supplies, but it's become very old. I dread cooking most days, but get such an urge for healthy home cooking that it keeps me going.

I think your potting sink idea is super. Great idea!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 11:54PM
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"Yes" to those who have suggested "good" paper plates (like Chinet) and disposable cups. Usually, I'm not so much a fan...but during remodel, heck yeah. The less dishes to have to try to deal with, the better...when even trying to figure out how I was going to wash and dry the smallest amount of things - I used the top of the dryer as my dish drainer because it sat next to the laundry sink.

I did also keep a few regular plates out (and soup bowls!) since Chinet doesn't work for everything. I limited those so as to force me to clean as I went rather than waiting...I HATE handwashing dishes and would probably have left them pile up to the ceiling otherwise! haha

If you are a week or so before demo, get things together to make a few soups. I did a butternut squash soup, a beef barley (I think), chicken and rice, and a pumpkin soup...can you tell that we were starting our remodel in the late fall? I was able to use quart size mason jars with some expansion area open and put them in the freezer. I know other people use plastic ziplock bags with success.

We had a small box that held some simple most commonly used spices and that stayed by the microwave - salt, pepper, Turkish pepper flakes, garlic powder, etc. It sounds silly, but having those things that I use for many meals easily available helped quite a bit. I hated when I wanted to make something and had to try to see if I could find a spice in one of the not-so-easily accessible boxes.

We had a snack box also...sad to say, that got hit A LOT. I'm a generous "size up" from what I was prior to demo and reno.

Oh, and make sure that you know where your corkscrew is for your wine bottles. Keep that in an extremely handy position. And be flexible about what you drink it in...a few times, my drinks were in a coffee mug. Don't judge. ;-)

Cal - I'm not sure about what to tell you about sharing a bathroom. If you've never done it in your married life, with everything else being disrupted in your life, I'm not sure that I would be willing to give up a bathroom. If you do decide to do it, maybe you should do a trial run for a week or so before the reno starts...renovations are often VERY stressful, so changing something like bathroom habits as well could add even more stress.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 12:16AM
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I forgot to mention above, don't forget your pets! We moved our cat's designated feeding spot and stocked up on paper bowls for him. He normally eats out of china pet dishes but for the duration he used paper most of the time. If you can move the feeding spot well ahead of time so they get used to it.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 7:31AM
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bbtrix - what a great idea to designate a bathroom and cover the potty with a table. Wish I had thought of that.

Christina222, good of you to mention the pets. We did that but our dog, who occasionally suffers from seizures, usually only one or two a year, suffered 2 seizures the first week as they demo'd the space. He even knows the contractors well, they have worked for us 3 times in the past and they play with him all the time, but the disruption was hard on him. We had to up his dose of phenobarb and all has been well since, although he is a bit sleepy. Wish I had thought to send him to our son's home for that time to get him away from all the banging.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 8:52AM
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Agghhhh, sorry for the double post.

This post was edited by scpalmetto on Tue, May 13, 14 at 8:54

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 8:53AM
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I can't give recipes because we pretty much just grilled and got ready-made frozen things from Trader Joe's. But I do have a question - I did not feed the contractors. Was I supposed to? They work for the GC so it never occured to me to feed them. I think that would add an extra layer of burden to you at a time when you don't really need any extra stress. Is it normal to feed the contractors?

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 11:33AM
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We've been renovating for 2 months but we do have working appliances and a sink right now. No counters or kitchen storage though.

This might sound insane, but I have a suggestion that saves cooking hassle, dishwashing hassle, money, and helps with weight loss! Intermittent fasting. It's the only way I manage to stay size 6 in a middle-aged body that wants to pack on fat. I only eat dinner and a snack and I've gottten used to it. I feed the kids breakfast and lunch but keep it simple. I've been my current weight for 4 years using this method. Before that I was size 12-14 for well over a decade.

Especially during a kitchen reno it is very nice to not have the entire day revolve around food.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 12:02PM
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LOL, not usually, but I live in a small town and these guys have become friends. We don't sit around the table or anything but if they are here when I am grilling burgers or something they always get some and they know the fridge in the garage is filled with water and soft drinks for them. I found I could bake 6 cookies at a time in the toaster oven so they enjoyed them as well.

If the fabricator had come through as planned, this entire reno (we completely gutted the kitchen to the studs) would have taken less than 3 weeks. I wanted to wait on the backsplash until I saw the room with the counters installed so that would have added a few hours down the road. The carpenters, plumber, electrician and painters all worked on schedule and did a great job. They deserved a few cookies. :-)

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 12:14PM
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Carnitas in the slow cooker:

You can warm up corn tortillas in the microwave by wrapping them in bundles of 2 in a damp paper towel, or by dipping them in water and putting them on a hot, nonstick skillet for 2 minutes. Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, minced onion and cilantro, salsa and a wedge of lime.

Chicken paprikash in the slow cooker:

Serve over rice. Trader Joe's sells cooked rice in microwaveable bags in their frozen section. (They also sell almond croissants that you can bake in a toaster oven.)

After that, I did the intermittent fasting plan (also cycling macros) for 2 years and lost a total of 45 lbs, mostly in the first year. It's more or less a habit now, so I'm not "doing it" so much as it's just a part of my life.

This post was edited by byzantine on Tue, May 13, 14 at 12:18

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 12:17PM
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Sigh, no nearby TJ's, closest is 2 hours +, but I do plan on heading that way shortly.

Congrats on the weight loss.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 7:17PM
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As far as dishwashing goes, my favorite way when reno-ing is a couple of dishpans with water in them set up on a table. They are the perfect height to keep from straining your back. (There's no way I'm going to wash in a little bathroom sink or stoop over a tub and kill my back if I can help it.) One dishpan is for wash water, the second is for rinse water. A third dishpan can hold a drying rack. Put a plastic table cloth and a big ole towel under everything to help with the drips. A bucket can be used to carry water to the table. If you are messy, only fill it half full so that it doesn't slosh over the sides. ; )

Here is a link that might be useful: Lots of good crock pot recipes

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 10:24PM
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Dishpan was in my plan. Went out and bought one then the first time I went to use it it wouldn't fit under the spout to fill. It is handy for transport of ingredients though. We anticipate so much yet still have so many gotchas!

I started off with two freezers full of homemade chicken stock, various soups, stew, and chile. I try to make 3-4 good meals a week with plenty of leftovers and freezing for another meal and even did prime rib at Christmas with house guests (that was fun). But just could not do it every night. Eating out has been our downfall. I also use intermittent fasting to maintain - time to go back to it.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 11:45PM
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Toaster oven
Rice cooker

Disposable utensils and plates
Tons of nonstick foil
Convenience foods (chopped garlic in a jar, chopped peppers and onions from the freezer or salad bar, etc)

Some favorites:

Pork chili in the crock pot, we served over open rolls:
Original recipe makes 8 servingsChange Servings
1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 2 inch strips (almost no prep)
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
3 (15 ounce) cans black beans (we use 2 cans)
1 (16 ounce) jar salsa
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder

Combine pork tenderloin, onion, red pepper, black beans, salsa, chicken broth, oregano, cumin, and chili powder in a slow cooker. Set to Low and cook for 8 to 10 hours.
Break up pieces of cooked pork to thicken the chili before serving.

Hobo pockets:
1 12-18 inch piece of regular and nonstick foil for each person, nonstick piece on top

Each packet gets a layer of thin (~1/4 in) sliced potatoes, some sliced onion, diced pepper, thin sliced carrot, diced tomato, a dab of diced garlic, a few small cubes of butter, and a medium sized hamburger party heavily seasoned with salt and pepper. Form foil into a packet, grill for about an hour depending on size of contents.

Grill or broil in toaster oven using nonstick foil instead of a pan (or as a liner). We did fish this way as well as reheating frozen stuff (toaster).

Pot roast or beef stew works well in the crock pot because you only have to prep some veggies, so only a knife and board to wash.

We also ate a lot of cucumber/ tomato salad, just cut them up and add balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and fresh parsley (I like to add chives or green onion too, DH adds mini fresh mozzarella balls).

English muffin pizza! Toast lightly, spread on sauce, add cheese, toast until bubbly. Great for lunch!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 1:47AM
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One of my favorite no cook meals is panzanella/bread salad Ina Garten and Giada both have good recipes. It's our no meat meal but I add garbanzos for protein. You do need to toast the bread but other than that the recipe is just a bunch of chopping.

I have done it with and without the fresh basil and I do like it better with the basil.

Here is a link that might be useful: Panzanella

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 7:07AM
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To solve our dish dilemma, we actually bought a cheapie plastic laundry sink and put it on our back porch. It gets water from the hose, and drains into a bucket. To get hot water, I use my electric kettle. For doing dishes, it's been great--except for days like yesterday, when it snowed, and the paper plates came out.

I'd cooked & frozen a bunch of things before the remodel (seasoned taco meat, sloppy joes meat, pulled BBQ chicken, pulled pork), and I've been reheating a lot of those things on our hot plate, served with hamburger buns or tortillas, and fruit or a salad. I froze a couple of flank steaks in marinades, and we've grilled those up, using the leftovers in salads.

I also made, and froze, several balls of pizza dough, so we've enjoyed pizzas on the grill, too. Tonight's dinner was sandwiches of grilled chicken sausages with onions & peppers, and cantaloupe on the side. Overall, I feel like we've been able to feed ourselves fairly healthily for the past several weeks, without resorting to takeout too often.

What's killing me, though, is my inability to bake very much! Since the remodel started, I made a small cake in my toaster oven, and I sneaked over to my MIL's house to bake snickerdoodles, but that's been about it.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 11:12PM
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Buying two commercial-style bus bins solved a lot of our dish woes. Well, except for the time DH tried to do dishes before he was fully awake, set the bin on the edge of the bathroom sink and it fell off.

I never liked that teapot anyway. *grin*

Here is a link that might be useful: Rubbermaid Bus Bin

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 5:41PM
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I've posted this before, but we kept a list of what we ate - it might help inspire you with some ideas. We're lucky to have a basement with a proper sink, and my GC moved the old wall oven down there, put a 4pin plug on it, and I could run it (and the broiler) off the dryer outlet.
We also had:
rice cooker (which we could boil pasta in, and do all kinds of things and used it as a crock pot)
A single electric coil burner (cost $13!)
Electric kettle.

This is a list of meals we made:

Chicken a la King & rice
Cassoulet (cheats: canned beans, duck leg from the store)
Hamburgers and tabbouleh
Cassoulet, fried artichokes and salad and breadsticks
Egg fried rice
Strawberry shortcake
slow-cooked porkribs and tabbouleh
Pasta with fish sauce
Grilled pork tenderloin and corn and vidalia onions
Cauliflower in lemon sauce and brown rice
Smoked fish risotto
Grilled chicken, mashed potato and broccoli
Roast chicken, roast potatoes, peas and gravy
Chicken pot pies (two days) and salad
Salad with shrimp and ham
Beef stew and noodles (two days)
Tuna salad, tabbouleh and salad
slow-cooked pork ribs
Stir-fried shrimp and vegetables and egg fried rice
Pasta and marinara sauce
Steak, corn and string beans
soup, roast peppers, breadsticks and fried eggplant
Roast chicken legs, new potatoes, beans, eggplant and gravy
Chicken in red wine over noodles
strawberry rhubarb pie
Escarole and beans
Fried eggplant and courgettes; pasta with vongole; veal rolatini; strawberry shortcake (we had guests)
Salad with prosciutto
Smoked fish risotto
Poached eggs and ham; mushrooms and chips
Broccoli vichyssoise; tomato soup (twice)
Fried eggplant; courgettes and artichoke
Bison burgers, corn and salad
Baby back ribs, corn and salad
Stir fired pork and peppers; shrimp and vegetables; fried rice
Broccoli soup and salad

We set out to make it a challenge to eat well and actually had a lot of fun with just the burner and rice cooker.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 5:53PM
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