Cooking without a kitchen

I know it’s been way too long since I’ve posted on here, so I’m asking your forgiveness.  One short month ago, my dear husband and I took the first step of the thousand-mile journey they call “Kitchen renovation.” When we bought our house, we were delighted by the expanse of counter space in the new kitchen – quite an upgrade from our apartment’s galley – but we wanted to inevitably upgrade it. The opportunity came to us much soon than we expected, for a price we couldn’t beat.  We’d have to do all the work, but there was  a certain appeal to it.  We’d be able to walk into our kitchen and say, “Heck yeah, that’s all ours!”

Taken over the weekend. We have cabinets down, but waiting (somewhat impatiently) for the counter. Can't wait to cook again!
Taken over the weekend. We have cabinets down, but waiting (somewhat impatiently) for the counter. Can’t wait to cook again!

We placed our order on a Thursday evening, and it was arranged that everything would come in the next Tuesday.  Tuesday? Yikes! I was counting on a couple extra cushion days to prepare for the coming chaos.  There would be at least a couple weeks where I would be cooking dinners without any kitchen at all.  The next day, as I sat at my desk sifting through crock pot recipes trying to figure out how many to make in advance, I lamented to a friend that it was looking doubtful I’d get the time to make the massive grocery excursion and compile the meals into freezer bags.

What happened next is an example of the blessing it is to have friends who treat you like family. This was the first day off she’d had in weeks, and she pipes right up with, “Oh, just let me take the dog out one more time, and I’ll be right up.” From Alexandria!  I all but literally ran through the shower and got my butt in gear, and in the hour it takes to get up here to me, I had a grocery list and a game plan more or less compiled, even with computer difficulties – why write down a recipe when you can put your laptop in the kitchen?  Save the paper.

The least I could do is buy the gal lunch – it’s only the right thing to do. But when we finished and brought those grocery bags in, we stood there and in an afternoon we pounded out fourteen meals for my freezer.  I still have no idea how it all fit in there, but I’m so glad it did.  My dear friend probably chopped about four pounds of onions, and that’s not exaggerating at all.  That’s in addition to bell peppers, sweet potatoes, carrots, and everything else.  I don’t think my chef’s knives have worked so hard.

I didn’t start cooking them right away; we still had a few days before we disconnected our plumbing and appliances, so I wanted to take advantage of that time.  The dining room table was already in the living room, as our first big step was to pull up the floor, and the stove and dishwasher soon followed it.  For the last three weeks, I’ve been cooking out of a toaster oven and a crockpot.  The microwave was mounted to the cabinets, and it’s only been in the last couple days I’ve had it back – I never thought I’d miss it so much.  I can’t lie, I cannot wait to stand at my stove truly, properly cook again.

Now, I’m not saying that the meals weren’t good, they just aren’t entirely reflective of my cooking.  It’s not necessarily the same flavor profiles, not quite flavorful enough, but still hot, and still filling.  There were a couple that still stood out really well, definitely worth making again.  I’ll be the first to tell you, I’m no master at crockpot cooking.    Now, I’m posting the picture off the original website, because mine turned out looking so bad I couldn’t make myself take a picture of it.  I left mine in the crockpot longer than planned, and it came out looking like dog food, not going to lie.  Despite appearances, it tasted really good.  I tweaked it a little from the original, but for the sake of my sanity, I stuck to what the blogger told me.  I really like that it uses chopped cauliflower instead of rice since rice in a crockpot runs the risk of going completely mushy, and it lowers carb count.

Crock Pot Stuffed Peppers (From Mark’s Daily Apple)

From - I could never make it look this good.
From – I could never make it look this good.


  • 2 pounds ground Italian sausage
  • 4 large green peppers
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower
  • 6 ounce can of tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 1 tsp dry or fresh tarragon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Finely dice the cauliflower, and put it in a large mixing bowl.  Chop the onion, garlic, and carrots, and add to the bowl.  Add in the seasonings and tomato paste, combine thoroughly.  

Cut the tops off the peppers, and remove the seeds.  Fill the peppers with the sausage mixture, and put in the crockpot.  Set to low, and leave it alone for six to eight hours.  


Tip of the week: Crockpot liners are a divine gift. They’re completely worth the small investment.