Are you thinking of diving into a kitchen renovation this year or already have one scheduled? Then you’re probably thinking “how will I survive without a kitchen?!” After having survived a 4 month kitchen renovation, I can tell you it’s not easy but it isn’t the end of the world, either! With some preparation, planning, and the right recipes – you will get through it.
How to Prepare for a Kitchen Renovation
The first thing you’re going to want to do is figure out where you can set up a temporary kitchen in the remaining space of your home. For us, we chose our three seasons porch which is right off of our living/family room. This was convenient for us as it was a larger space, could fit our dining room table and main cooking appliances (minus a range oven), and was close to the area our kids would be playing. If you want to see a video of our temporary kitchen, check out my Instagram Page and click on my Kitchen Reno highlights!
Since our kitchen renovation started in the fall and ended in the winter, the cold weather eventually forced us to move our temporary kitchen location to our basement. This wasn’t ideal but we made do – we had to get much more creative with easy meals during this portion of the renovation! Also, be sure to take the season into account. If you’re renovating in the warmer months, take advantage of your grill!
Another thing to consider is where you will wash dishes. In a utility sink? In a bath tub? We actually hooked up our dishwasher in the basement, which was amazing. For bigger dishes that we usually hand wash, we used our utility sink which was right next to where we set up the dishwasher. Just do whatever is most convenient for your set up!
After figuring out where you’re going to set up the temporary kitchen, you’ll want to figure out how you can lay it out so it is functional, and what kitchen appliances/tools are MUST HAVES. Here is my list.
Must Have Kitchen Appliances and Tools
These are the tools that I used daily or at least multiple times a week during our kitchen renovation.
Slow Cooker – I had a handful of freezer slow cooker meals that we made this fall that I found incredibly helpful during our kitchen renovation. It was such a treat being able to dump it all into the slow cooker and have dinner ready at the end of the day.
Instant Pot – The Instant Pot was truly a lifesaver for us during our renovation. From pasta and soup to oatmeal and rice, it saved us so much time and hassle.
Blender – If you like smoothies, which are a great healthy and easy breakfast or snack option during the renovation, you’ll definitely want to keep your blender out. It can also be helpful for pureeing soups!
Hot Plate – I used this quite a bit in the beginning before realizing how amazing the electric wok is (which I mention in the next section). If you like one-skillet meals or make a lot of things on the stovetop, hot plates are pretty inexpensive and can be very helpful!
One of each kitchen tool such as – one spatula, one wooden spoon, one good cutting knife, one good paring knife, one wine bottle opener 😉 as well as one small pot and one medium/large pot.
Appliances and Tools That Were Surprisingly Helpful
These are appliances that I kept out of storage during the kitchen renovation, but didn’t realize just how handy they would become!
Electric Wok – I made everything from stir fries to and fried rice to eggs and taco meat in it. It’s super versatile and heats up so fast!
Air Fryer – my kids LOVE chicken nuggets and tater tots and this not only makes awesome chicken nuggets and tater tots, but makes them FAST!
Panini Press – This is an appliance we use every once in awhile in our regular kitchen, but used ALL the time during the renovation. Paninis are so easy for lunches and dinners! We also loved making breakfast sandwiches on them when we had a bit more time for breakfast.
Water Dispenser – It didn’t occur to me until the first day of our renovation that I wouldn’t have anywhere to fill up my water bottle! We were mainly using our bathroom sink for water but my water bottle didn’t fit underneath it. The Primo Water Dispenser, which also has a Keurig coffee maker in it, was a lifesaver!
Toaster Oven – a friend of mine loaned us his toaster/convection oven and it was a total lifesaver. As someone who loves to cook and bake, it was HARD not having an oven. This allowed me to make casseroles, cookies, cakes, brownies, etc. and took up much less space than a full oven.
Recipes That We Loved During the Kitchen Renovation
Obviously during a kitchen renovation, simple recipes are the best! I realized how important it was to find recipes that required very little chopping or prep work, and ones that didn’t require baking. Side note: we did borrow a toaster oven from a friend for the last couple of months of the renovation, which was super helpful! It opened up a lot of options as far as meal options that could be baked.
Instant Pot Chicken Taco Soup – minimal chopping and maximum flavor!
One Skillet Chicken Teriyaki and Rice – again, very little prep work means very few dishes to clean!
Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches – I loved making this chicken for dinner and then having it for lunch for the next few days!
Instant Pot Corn on the Cob – great during grilling season when we could grill burgers or brats and wanted corn on the cob to go with!
Instant Pot Tandoori Chicken (with Trader Joe’s frozen brown rice!)
Freezer Friendly Southwestern Breakfast Burritos – total lifesaver! I made a big batch of these ahead of time so Marc and I could quickly heat one up in the morning.
Slow Cooker Oatmeal – SO good. I love making this and then having it for breakfast all week long.
One Pot Macaroni and Cheese from Five Heart Home – if I was ever out of the boxed variety or wanted something a little more satisfying, this was my go-to recipe.
One Pot Weeknight Spaghetti – can’t beat good ‘ol spaghetti – especially when it’s all made in one pot!
Convenience Foods That Were a Life Saver
Minced Garlic – One less tool to dirty and I can never really tell a difference so…winning!
Minced Ginger – I found this in the produce area of our grocery store and since I cook a lot with fresh ginger, this was super helpful to have on hand!
Frozen Pre-Cooked Rice – I bought ours from Trader Joe’s and it was so nice to have one less thing to cook – just pop it in the microwave!
Rotisserie Chicken – such a no brainer. I loved buying a rotisserie chicken to have as a main for dinner. We could usually finish off an entire chicken as a family of four but if there were leftovers, they were great for salads or sandwiches the next day!
Frozen Meals from Trader Joe’s – My husband LOVES TJ’s Orange chicken which we found out is delicious in the air fryer. With a side of their frozen fried rice, everyone was happy at the dinner table. Our other favorites from TJ’s: Mushroom Flatbread, Chicken Tikka Masala with their frozen naan, sweet potato gnocchi with butter and sage, and mac and cheese bites.
Mac and Cheese – My kids love it. I love it. It’s EASY! Served with some microwaved frozen veggies and fruit and there’s lunch or dinner for ya!
And that’s it! That’s how you survive a kitchen renovation without getting takeout every night. Honestly, we probably only ate out once every couple of weeks. Not too bad! Be sure to check back later this week for our kitchen renovation reveal and how to eat healthy during a kitchen renovation!