23 Jul How to Cook Great Meals in Your Tiny Kitchen While Also Keeping Your Sanity!
If you consider yourself a culinary connoisseur, love to cook, or just see eating as a functional event, you are going to need a way to prepare your meals. Many people believe that when you move into the tiny lifestyle, that you have to make sacrifices when it comes to cooking. Do not worry because that is not the case at all! I love to cook and if I thought going tiny would change any of that, I wouldn’t do it, but do not fret. Read on!
Clean as You Go and Keep Moving
In a small kitchen, countertop space is a commodity. Being messy and unorganized is not an option. So over the years, I’ve trained myself to streamline my cooking process. The trick is to never stop moving. Even while my food is cooking, I’m putting things away and washing dishes. This method has helped me clear the clutter in my kitchen.
Multiply your prep area
An ideal cooking area allows you to spread out and multi-task through the process of preparing a meal, but counter space is scarce in small, compact kitchens. To address this, first make sure you’re not cluttering available counters with unnecessary items that aren’t used on a regular basis. Secondly, here are a few suggestions for multiplying your prep area even further:
- Use a glass-top stove as another countertop (just make sure all the burners are off!)
- Place grate covers, cookie sheets, or large cutting boards over conventional stove tops.
- Span the sink with a cutting board (you can even buy one especially built for this purpose).
- Lay a cutting board or cookie sheet across an open drawer.
- Utilize tiered cooling racks to hold prepared materials or prepped dishes.
Get the right gadgets.
Smaller kitchens will allow fewer small appliances and gadgets, so it’s important to get tools that can perform more than one function. In my case, I have a Farberware Air Fryer Oven that bakes, fries, broils, roasts and toasts. I can cook a small frozen pizza or bake my neighbor a batch of muffins in this appliance. I love it & when I first started using it, I didn’t turn on my oven until I wanted to make a full pan of lasagna – more than a year without using my oven!
A few other great appliances to own are:
- An Instant Pot – you’d be amazed at what all this appliance can cook! Not only that, it is super-fast!! Basically an electric pressure cooker, but you can cook everything from breakfast to dinner; Full course meals, hard boiled eggs, even hummus, cakes – the possibilities are endless!
Take a look recipes.instantpot.com
- An Immersion Blender – This amazing multi-tasking tool can often replace a number of larger, clunkier appliances, and because it’s so easy to clean and reuse, it’s an amazing thing to have around when you’re cooking in a tiny space.
- A compact Microwave/Convection Oven – the Convection oven is very similar to the Air Fryer Oven I mention above but if you have to have a microwave, a compact space saver version might be the best.
Also, let’s not forget that many folks who go tiny move some of their life right outside. Maybe they have an eating area on an outdoor deck. Or they have a sitting area around a fire pit that serves as their living room. A lot of tiny housers do a lot of their cooking on a grill. Many grills have at least one side burner, which many times, that is all you need. Grills easily can bake, grill and most can even handle a rotisserie if you want it.
Meal prep & Batch cooking
If you aren’t familiar with it, it simply means to choose 1 to 2 days a week to cook larger portions or pre-prepare foods. This makes them easier to grab and serve throughout the busy week. I cook up several pounds of chicken each Sunday. I usually choose a whole chicken to roast for Sunday dinner so I can make bone broth from the carcass during the week. At the same time, I bake about 2-3 pounds of chicken drumsticks, which are great for easy lunches. Boneless, skinless thighs which work well sliced on top of a big salad for dinner. On Sunday afternoon or Monday morning, I’ll make a pound of bacon in my Air Fryer oven & keep it in the fridge to make breakfast sandwiches, BLT’s, toppings for potatoes, salads or omelets or whatever you like.
But, start simple…
Cooking in a small kitchen will take some getting used to, especially if you’re used to a larger one. Although it’s possible to ‘cheat’ on complex recipes by using fewer separate bowls and pans for each step, it’s best to start simple to get a feel for what your kitchen can handle. Besides, basic recipes that only require 1-2 separate steps and little prep space can be just as delicious as more elaborate fare.
Tiny living means sacrificing a bit of space, but it also allows you to get more creative about how to continue enjoying your favorite hobbies. Practice a few of these tips and don’t stop cooking!
Thank you and until next time, Keep Living Tiny & Dreaming Big!