Right now, I have the world's fugliest kitchen (correction- as of when I first started writing this it was super-fugly. Now it's just unfinished).
In the name of sanity (not frugality), my husband and I turned a blind eye to what turned out to be roach shit encrusted cabinets and walls. Those dark spots in the picture above... roach shit, and dead roaches. Merry Christmas!
We've finally started our kitchen remodel which includes electric work, plumbing, gas, new sheetrock, primer, paint, some additional flooring, pushing a wall out (about 1/2"), and installing new cabinets and a new countertop.
As a result, we expect for our kitchen to look like some version of this for the next four-five weeks. During this time we won't eat out more than normal during that time (except for the week we are on vacation). Here's how we plan to survive.
Convince ourselves eating at home is a need
The first step to eating at home is to convince yourself (and all your kitchen patrons) that it's a need.
My husband is none too picky about his eating habits (one of many blessing of marrying a man who was single for five years before we went on a date). As long as he consumes enough calories in a day, he asserts that he will be fine. My son would prefer to eat chicken nuggets for every meal, but we largely ignore his opinions (the perils of being 2).
I'm really the only person who needs to be convinced of the merits/necessity of eating at home. Thankfully, the risk of gestational diabetes is a good trick for convincing yourself that you need some healthy alternatives to fast food.
Other ways that I convince myself that eating at home is a must is reminding myself of the following:
I'm sure I could just as easily come up with reasons to justify eating out, but if you can mentally ascent that you ought to do something, you are mere steps away from actually doing it. Which is why if you want to eat at home during a renovation, you need to start with your head.
Deciding what to eat
After I accepted that I needed to eat at home, I simply had to come up with a few meals that could be prepped/cleaned in a matter of minutes without the aid of modern amenities like counter space or a kitchen sink.
Normally, in a pinch, I pick up a few carb heavy pre-made/frozen dishes like lasagnas, pizzas, or pasta dinners, but these aren't healthy choices, and one can only eat so many pasta dishes before deciding that not eating is the better choice. Our remodel will go on for several weeks, and I can't depend on crap from the freezer section much more than I should count on fast food.
I also nixed most crockpot meals, since my favorite crockpot meals still require the stove and plenty of chopping.
Here's what we're eating instead. Eggs.
Eggs are super fast to prepare, can easily be combined with strips of pepper, onion, and cheese to make delicious meals. Over the next 7 days we will eat eggs for dinner 3 times (and for breakfast 7 times). If you have access to even a single burner (and you don't have an egg allergy), you can eat at home during a renovation. These are our egg dishes du jour.
A few other things we will eat include:
The sides for our meals will be fresh fruit or veggies and dip. Breakfast and lunch can go on as normal since these are pretty much oatmeal, toast, sandwiches, eggs, fruit, crackers and some sort of junk food for Rob.
This plan is all well and good, until you realize that I don't have any cabinets at all. Literally, no cabinet space. We still have a fridge, but it can't hold all our food and our construction materials too (yes, I admit that an entire shelf of the fridge is devoted to glue and the majority of another is devoted to sparkling water, beer, and a Brita filter).
We've found the perfect storage solution in diaper boxes! I simply removed the packages of diapers and threw those in my son's closet (BTW- he's still going strong on the potty training front, these diapers are for our newest addition), and I store our foodstuffs in diaper boxes on the couch.
Other than a huge increase in the number of requests for pretzels or chips (from my son, who can now see them), and a few incidents involving spilled...everything, this solution works perfectly. Diaper boxes are the correct depth for holding food, but ensuring you can see everything in the box. They are far superior to liquor boxes.
I'll be very thankful when we can graduate back to real cabinets, but for the time being our in progress kitchen isn't hindering us too badly.
So what genius meal ideas do you have for me? Minimizing dishes is my number one aim, followed by speed of prep.
I'm a wife, a mom, an employee, and a personal finance nerd who is devoted to spreadsheeting my way through life.