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Cooking Without A Kitchen
checkered diner
nebet_het wrote in original_cins
Welcome to a quirky little diary about my life! This evening I will welcome you into my little motel room where I currently reside with the SO and my 2 pooties. Pics will be included;) Let's start with a pic of my pootie Button in a somewhat er, um amusing pose: Button
Ok, now on to the cooking!



First off the motel room we are in does not have a kitchenette but there was a microwave and a half-size fridge to start us off. I moved the microwave on top of the fridge to make room for my computer which is on the dresser.
Microwave and fridge
Microwave and fridge

Next we got 2 of our collapsible wood bookcases and put them up to serve as a pantry of sorts.
Pantry
Pantry

You can see we have things like dishes and storage containers on the upper shelves and then food down below.
Then we bought an electric skillet which works wonderfully for a variety of things. For Christmas we received a Foreman grill! So we decided to purchase a small card table to create a working space for these items.
Foreman grill and electric skillet
Foreman grill and electric skillet

Now the first time we tried to use the grill we tripped the circuit breaker for our room so now we are cautious to make sure other appliances like the fridge, microwave etc. are not in use when we fire it up;)
The bathroom is our sink for washing dishes and prepping veggies etc. Here we have an electric kettle, French press and the water pitcher for filtered water.
Bathroom Setup
Bathroom Setup
All my good knives are alas in storage in Portland so we got an inexpensive 3pc set of these Hamilton Forge knives and a small cutting board.
Cutting board & knives
Cutting board & knives
They have actually turned out to be quite nice for the price! I think we payed about $20! The wooden lap desk these are on in the pic also serves for a prep surface and a serving tray when we are eating. Yeah, no table in this room:(

Now, as for cooking I have learned a lot about cooking in the microwave as opposed to just heating things up. I've also gotten used to creating a lot of one-dish meals to be more efficient in the use of appliances and dishes.

Tuna Casserole
This is pretty simple and can all be done in the microwave in a 2qt Pyrex casserole.
4oz (1/2 an 8oz pkg) of egg noodles
2 cans of tuna
1 can of green beans or other preferred veggie
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
First you need to cook the pasta. I boil water in the electric kettle then pour that over the noodles in the casserole until they are just covered. Add a little salt and then cook in the microwave for about 8 mins until the pasta is al dente. You will want to give it a stir about every 2 mins to keep it from sticking together. Once done drain off any excess water and dump in the rest of ingredients and fold together. Sprinkle with a little more cheese if you like;) Return to the microwave and cover and cook for about 4-5 minutes until it is hot and bubbly. Let set and cool for a few minutes before serving. The only thing missing from a traditional oven baked casserole is a crunchy topping but the microwave doesn't do that so well.

The microwave is also a great way to cook fresh pasta like tortellini. I just boil water in the electric kettle, pour it over about 8oz of the pasta until it is covered and nuke it for about 8 mins. Give it a stir every couple of minutes to make sure it isn't sticking together. Then drain off the water and toss with pesto. Add some good crusty bread and a salad and yum! I've also boiled small red potatoes and then drained them and tossed with butter to go with bratwurst and cabbage sauteed in the electric skillet.

Sausage & Cabbage
4 links of Polish sausage i.e. bratwurst etc. or one horseshoe link of kielbasa
1/2 head of green cabbage chopped finely
1/4 cup of beer
salt & pepper
splash of apple cider vinegar
Slice the sausage into coin sized pieces about 1" thick. Saute in the skillet on med. heat (mine is usually set to about 250)until nicely browned. Add the cabbage, a sprinkling of kosher salt, a few grinds of black pepper then add the beer and the vinegar. Give a stir and then cover and let simmer on low (about 200 on mine) until cabbage reaches desired tenderness. Serve over mashed potatoes or alongside boiled red potatoes.

Another great electric skillet meal is breakfast. I don't usually eat when I get up but I love making breakfast for dinner. I start by making home fried red potatoes (which you can also fancy up by adding some chopped peppers, onions etc.) then putting them in the casserole to stay warm while I fry up some bacon or sausage. Last I make scrambled eggs and sometimes add some shredded cheese to the eggs.

Here is a nice comfort food dish that is a great way to use up leftover jarred spaghetti sauce:

Eggs in Purgatory
2 eggs
About 1-2 cups of spaghetti sauce
Parmesan cheese for garnish
Heat the sauce in the skillet until simmering. Slowly break in the eggs and then cover and let simmer until the whites are set and yolk is slightly runny (or cooked to your preference). Spoon the sauce into a bowl and top with an egg then add salt,pepper and freshly grated Parmesan to taste. Serve with some good crusty bread or toast.

So that's just a taste of what I've been cooking w/o a real kitchen! One of the drawbacks to this type of living is we don't have a lot of refrigerator space for fresh veggies and other ingredients so I have found myself using more pre-packaged foods like Rice-a-Roni and even instant mashed potatoes but I do try to make balanced meals as much as possible. And it's certainly more budget-friendly than eating out all the time like folks expected us to do.

Originally posted at Dkos for the What's For Dinner series.

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You are such a talented and resourceful lady!
Those eggs in purgatory sound delicious, I'm going to give that a try asap.

Unappreciated by many is a partner willing to wash two feet of dishes in two inches of sink.

I'm really just astonished at how well you've been able to cook here and I can't tell you often enough how awesome you are.

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