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Meals You Can Cook in a Tiny Kitchen

Last week I talked about ways to maneuver around the challenges of a small kitchen so you can still appreciate the joys of cooking. As I mentioned in the article (which I highly recommend you head over and read as a prerequisite to this one), if you’re new to cooking in a tiny kitchen, it’s probably best to start simple. Choose a few recipes that don’t require too many complex steps or cooking methods, with a minimum number of tools, gadgets, and bowls. Usually the length of the instructions list or the ‘total preparation time’ at the top tells me right away if a recipe is too involved for my expertise, time commitment, space, or ambition.

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for new recipes. A couple of my favorite recipe sites are sparkrecipes.com and allrecipes.com. I love these sites because of the size of their databases, which include categories for specific dietary needs as well as nutritional information, and they are updated constantly. The best part is that users like you and me can share favorite recipes on the site and rate them — many of them as simply as 1-2 steps. That’s my kind of recipe!

If you’re looking for something new to cook and pressed for time to scour the Internet for easy, nutritious, small-kitchen-friendly recipes, I’ve collected a few here for your convenience and experimentation. Perhaps you’ll find a few favorites to add to your recipe box. Enjoy.

From Around the Web…

Five Great Meals for Small Kitchens — this Apartment Therapy blog gives you a few basic ideas to get started — roast chicken, stir fries, and one-skillet dishes. Roast chicken or turkey goes a long way, and is easy to cook, but what if you don’t have a full-sized oven, or an oven at all? You could always poach it on the stovetop, place it in a slow cooker, or roast it in a countertop toaster/convection oven.

There are also many other simple but surprisingly gourmet dishes you can cook in a toaster/convection oven. Here’s a short list:

  • Breakfast foods
  • Muffins, breads, cookies
  • Pizzas, quesadillas, burgers, sandwiches
  • Veggie dishes, kebabs, salmon meatloaf
  • Veggie chips, roasted nuts and fruit

…and many more in this article: “60 Meals You Didn’t Know You Could Make in a Toaster Oven.”

Slow Cooker Meals

Slow cookers are a great idea no matter how small your kitchen is because they’re one of the rare ways to safely cook dinner while you’re away from home. One-pot dinners are also easy to prep (just throw it all in), and ideal for bulk-cooking and freezing. One of my favorite slow-cooker meals is soup. Try my favorite vegan black bean soup recipe from allrecipes.com, which can be ready in 45 minutes on the stovetop, or slow-cooked for several hours.

Microwave: More than Just Frozen Dinners

Most people have a microwave, but only use it to warm up leftovers or cook a quick frozen dinner now and then. Besides the fact that it’s a fast defrosting tool for meats, microwaves can pull their weight when it comes to cooking in a tiny kitchen. For a fun mouth-watering experience, check out this Buzzfeed list of “31 Microwave Recipes That Are Borderline Genius.” Just about every recipe site has a microwave category as well. Microwave cooking is especially suited for single-serve quantities if you live or eat alone a lot, and can be more nutritious than a pre-cooked frozen meal (unless you’re baking one of those cookies-in-a-mug).

One-Dish Oven Recipes

I also love being able to prepare an entire meal in a large glass baking dish. This is a basic, nutritious, tasty favorite:

Marinara Bake

Preheat the oven to 375. You’ll need 3 halved chicken breasts, 2 Tbsp of olive oil, 1 clove of minced garlic, 1 tsp. oregano, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, 3 cups of marinara sauce of choice, and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Rub the chicken with the olive oil and garlic and sprinkle on the seasonings. Pour the marinara over it and bake for 20 minutes. Add the cheese, and bake for 10 more minutes. You can add any additional vegetables you’d like, as well.

Other easy one-dish oven ideas are roasted veggies — like this Cilantro Lime Roasted Cauliflower. Seriously, it’s amazing — and baked fish.

The fact is, there are so many things you can cook in a small kitchen that are easy and don’t require an extensive amount of space or time. Try a few of these, and comment below with a few favorite small-kitchen recipes of your own.

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