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Nov 6, 2009 06:21 AM

Upcoming kitchen remodel: what to eat for 3 weeks?

At long last, demolition is scheduled to begin on November 30 - I can't even begin to describe how excited I am!!! For about 3 weeks, we will have access to our refrigerator, toaster oven, and microwave - no stove/range, of course, and only the tiny sink in the half-bathroom for cleaning up. I'm trying to plan for meals that are either:
(a) entirely made ahead, frozen in portions, and thawed: e.g., stews, hearty soups, chili
(b) assembled from already-ready ingredients: fajitas using cooked chicken strips and frozen peppers and onions, etc.

Any suggestions (especially from those of you who have gone through this!) are more than welcome. Of course we will have to eat out occasionally, but I'd like to minimize that as much as possible...

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Yep. Been there.

    Lived on eating out and microwave meals for nearly 3 weeks. No tips - its was horrible, but worth it in the end

    1. I am a kitchen designer, I have also gone through a major kitchen remodel. I purchased a hot plate and it was a life saver. Ask around, someone might have one. Just remember not to plug everything in at once. I did use paper plates and bowls during the remodel. It just made clean up so much easier. Trader Joe's was a life saver, they have some decent prepackaged meals, and thier fresh vegies can be nucked in the bags they come in. If you have a BBQ that is really helpful, that way you can have some easy clean up proteins and grilled vegies. As a sidenote: the dust is going to be a pain, pack everything you think will be in it's path and cover what can't be packed. It get's into everything, TRUST ME!

      3 Replies
      1. re: JEN10

        JEN10 - TJ's was a blessing. Lots of good advise here: Define a cooking "area". Mine was a small alcove near a hall bathroom. Used paper plates, cups, etc. Parked my microwave, coffee maker, toaster in that area .. . and eventually gave in to eating out. I had access to a frig. It was only one month but man, was I glad when that was done. You'll got back into your kitchen wanting to cook EVERYTHING in your new digs! Congrats to the OP!

        1. re: JEN10

          I also bought a two burner hot plate and have an outdoor grill so really I could cook almost anything that didn't have to go into a full sized oven. We were in the midst of a whole house remodel and addition so the only place to do dishes was in the bathtub for several weeks. I covered the dining table with thick towels, a rubber door mat and put the hot plate on that. The MW was on a large packing box. You get the picture. I honestly didn't think it was as bad as I thought it would be --- maybe I'm just from hardy peasant stock.

          BTW where did that three week figure come from? Is it actually ten days which you have reasonably doubled to three weeks. We have some acquaintances whose remodel probably took four times longer than the estimate. Once things got torn out, problems surfaced. I hope you're not planning Christmas dinner at YOUR house :)

          1. re: c oliver

            Thanks c oliver..... I was just about to say plan on at least 6 weeks.

        2. If you're a fan of main course salads, don't forget you can put together some pretty nice meals at your grocery store's salad bar. It's not the most cost effective way to make a salad but it saves a lot of chopping and clean up and something fresh can be a nice change from the chili/soup/stew routine.

          1. Been there, too. My advise? Plan on 4 weeks.

            2 Replies
            1. re: ncmike276

              I'd say plan on 6 weeks! If you're lucky.

              1. re: pikawicca

                yep I always say double it and add 2 weeks!

            2. Did mine earlier this year. Complete gut down to the studs. Lasagna, roast up a bunch of chickens, tinga, any bbq (pulled pork, brisket, ribs.)

              AND A CROCK POT!!!!!
              Set up a CLEARLY defined area for food prep somewhere. If you are in a metro area, check You will go into this with the best intentions of cooking as much as possible, but it will probably turn out to be a hassle. I WANTED to cook, I was going through withdrawals, but it was such a hassle. I probably still did cook much more than most, but it was a hassle. Cleanup is what gets you.

              Also, go get some cheap toss away plates, plasticware, cups etc. It really is the cleanup that got me.

              Check the places that offer take out in your area for their daily specials.

              The very first thing my contractor told me (and he is a very close friend) was that most ppl plan and plan on cooking as much as they can during, but that lasts only a few weeks, and then it just gets sporadic. He said you are GOING to gain weight, because you are GOING to be eating out a lot. HE probably wouldn't have said that to other clients, but, he was speaking from experience of remodeling countless other kitchens. Good Luck!

              P.S. it wasn't as bad as everyone said it was, but we had a baby the day after demo started, so we were kinda preoccupied for the 3 months it took.

              3 Replies
              1. re: gordeaux

                Here's what got us through ours:
                - mini fridge and microwave - must haves
                - local grocery store's deli section - we're lucky to have a very good one
                - pizza - delivered fresh and hot - plus they have salads
                - restaurants

                Dinner is always the obvious question, but think about breakfast too - you might need to put the coffee maker in the bathroom, where there's water!

                And if you're thinking of making a meal now and then - think too about clean-up. Not that easy without a kitchen sink!

                1. re: gordeaux

                  I'd also getting a hot plate. They're pretty cheap and nice to have if you want to fry up eggs or grill a sandwich or burrito.

                  1. re: gmm

                    Nonstick electric griddle is basically a large hotplate that has it's own cooking vessel. Nonstick to make cleanup MUCH easier. A non stck panini press with interchangeable face plates would be a great idea. You'll have to pay up a little more.