Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Kitchen Updates

For years and years we've been daydreaming about one day redoing our kitchen and now that it's finally happening I can't believe how petrified I've been through the whole process.  While we are quite excited to finally be rid of the 47-year-old cabinets, countertops, oven, and linoleum, it has been a painstakingly slow process of deliberation to choose their replacements.    

On the one hand I know that brand new anything is going to feel amazing after living with a half-working, broken down kitchen for the last year or two (our dishwasher, oven, and sink were all broken at the time of tear-down), but still I have this nagging worry that I'm in way over my head with these expensive  (and permanent) decisions!  Thank goodness our contractor has been patient with us, because it's literally taken 9 months after signing the contract, to get to a place where we felt comfortable enough with our decisions to let them start working....and still we have our doubts.  

Now here's hoping that all the polling of my friends,  my Houzz and Pinterest perusing, and frequent Home Depot and showroom visits will have proven helpful to my cause, because the further we get on in this process the more I realize....

there's no turning back now!

And one of the only good things about taking so long to make all the decisions, is that I started freezing meals for these days back in April and had plenty of time to compile quite a stockpile in the meantime.   Now I have a freezer full of delicious homecooked meals ready to pop into the toaster oven most nights and I am proud to say that we've made it through one week of being kitchenless without a single fast food run.  Frozen convenience foods...yes, but fast!   (I'm sure this streak won't last, so I better brag while I can...) 

Here's a glimpse at what we ate:      

Day 1:  Lemon-Herbed Chicken and Veggies (frozen 3-1/2 months) - 3 stars-- we froze it already cooked with  all the juices, then cooked it frozen in 450 degree toaster oven (convection setting) for about an hour and 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The veggies were mushier than we preferred, but it was still enjoyable.

Day 2:  Homemade Pizza (frozen 2 months)-- 5 stars -- we baked the pizzas as usual, allowed them to cool, and wrapped them in plastic to freeze.  Then we put them still frozen directly onto the rack of the toaster oven (2 at a time) and baked them at 450 for about 15-20 minutes.  They turned out perfectly!

Day 3: Grilled burgers and hot dogs

Day 4:  Thai Chicken Peanut Noodles (frozen 4 months)--4 stars-- We cooked this as usual, then combined the chicken, sauce, and noodles all together and wrapped it tightly in plastic before freezing.  We thawed it in the fridge for about a day then baked it in the toaster oven at 450 (convection setting) for about 1 hour, stirring every 10 minutes (as soon as it's thawed enough to stir).

Day 5:  Boxed Taquitos from Costco with homemade salsa that Cami made with the heirloom tomatoes from our garden

Day 6:  Yogurt Baked Chicken Parmesan (frozen 4-1/2 months)--5 stars--Freeze raw and wrap in plastic.  Allow to thaw in the fridge for 24-hours, bake at 400 degrees in toaster oven (convection setting) for 50 min.  Increase temp and cook at 425 for last 10 minutes.  These turned out delicious and you could not even tell they'd ever been frozen.

Day 7:  Turkey Taco Casserole--Chicken Pot Pies from Costco--we had the turkey taco casserole thawing out in the fridge, before I realized that I was eating dinner at Enrichment night!  No need to waste a perfectly good homemade meal on a night when I won't be eating it.

*I froze all my meals in disposable 9x13-inch baking pans and wrapped them tightly in plastic wrap and foil.   I used sharpies to label each dish with what it was, the date, and any cooking directions.  I intended to do most of my cooking in a  toaster oven and didn't realize until I almost bought one that was too small, that most toaster ovens are not big enough to fit 9x13 pans.  It wasn't as big of a selection in the bigger sizes, but we have still been happy with the oven we bought and intend to keep using it even after our kitchen is done.  


Katie said...

First of all, I am SO impressed with your menu & preparation! I'm afraid it would be Five Guys for us every night.

Can't WAIT to see the progress of your kitchen. How fun!

annalisa said...

The kitchen is going to be awesome :)

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