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Kitchen Renovation Survival Guide

Tips and Kitchenware For Eating Well During Your Kitchen Renovation

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Most people approach a kitchen renovation with a combination of excitement and dread. It's exciting to get an entirely new kitchen, but it's one of those projects that always takes far more time (not to mention money) than expected. And living without a kitchen for the duration of the renovation is certainly a challenge.

Especially for a lengthy renovation, it's not always practical to move out of your home, or to eat take-out the entire time. But it's possible, even without a sink or a stove, to cook and eat during the renovation. Read on to learn about what cooking equipment and kitchenware you should leave unpacked, and how you can prepare simple meals even without a full kitchen.

What to Leave Unpacked

As you pack up your kitchen, there are certain items, tools and appliances that you should leave out. All of some of these tools are helpful basics for preparing and serving meals:
  • One plate, bowl, mug, glass and set of eating utensils for each member of the family. Alternately, you can use disposable dinnerware and eating utensils, but it's more eco-friendly to avoid disposables.
  • One 2-quart saucepan – for heating canned soup or boiling small amounts of pasta
  • One nonstick skillet, 10-12 inches diameter – for scrambling eggs or making sautéed or stir-fried dishes
  • Plastic mixing bowl – can double as a salad or serving bowl
  • A slow cooker – For making easy, one-pot stews or chili
  • A toaster oven – For making toast, heating leftovers or baking small batches of emergency cookies
  • A countertop grill, preferably with griddle plates, like the Cuisinart Griddler – To grill chicken, steaks or fish, or make pressed sandwiches
  • A portable induction cooktop or a propane camp stove (this should be set up outside). If you use the induction cooktop, make sure that your cookware is compatible with induction cooking.
  • A large cutting board
  • A colander for washing salad greens, draining water from pasta or boiled vegetables, or rinsing berries.
  • Kitchen utensils: Wooden spoon, tongs, can opener, turner spatula, chef's knife, paring knife
  • A plastic wash tub, sponge, dish detergent and 2 dishtowels – use it in the bathtub or utility sink to hand-wash your dishes. Air dry the dishes on one towel spread out on the kitchen table or hand-dry them.

Set Up a Makeshift Kitchen

Figure out where you can set up your kitchen area. A laundry room is ideal, since you probably already have a sink there that you can use for getting water and doing dishes. But even one end of your kitchen table can work, especially if the weather's nice enough that you can set up your dining area on the porch. The area should be big enough for your cutting board and one of the appliances. If your packed kitchenware is in boxes, the tops of the boxes are the ideal place to store the food that doesn't need to be refrigerated. Use your cutting board as your work surface, so that it's easy to clean off.

Don't overlook using your outdoor grill. You can cook an entire meal on the grill by grilling sliced vegetables and fish or beef fillets, chicken breasts, or kebabs. The best part is, there's very little clean-up!

Continue reading for kitchen renovation meal and clean-up ideas.

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