How to Survive a Week Without Dishes

2016-04-27 17.39.20DAYS #305-311

ORIGINAL RECIPES: None needed*

TIMING: Approximately 20-30 minutes per dinner

DIFFICULTY: Easy on all counts

TOOLS: See below

COOK TYPE: Varies, but mostly low-key stovetop and oven

HEALTH: Also varies. I tried to make things as well-rounded and nutrient-rich as possible, while using a lot of processed foods. I do not normally condone eating (especially this much) processed food, but when the going gets rough…

EXPERIENCE: Whenever we end up eating like this (which has been a few times during the moving process), we miss our homemade meals. Really. We all do.

But here’s the story.

This is a bonus blog entry, for you. I thought it might be nice for you (or me) to have in the future, if my kitchen (or yours) was ever packed up for another week. This is a way to spend little time in the kitchen (when you should be packing and canceling utilities), use very few dishes (I request below that you leave just a few out), and not spend your precious time, money, and calories on nutrient-deficient and energy-sapping fast food.

We are in the process of renovating, staging, selling, moving, building, and moving again. We have one week until the moving van shows up (for the first move), and it is imperative that we start getting all our carefully-staged things into boxes. Including all our dishes, pots, pans, etc.

We also have a whole lot of things to do on top of living our normal lives with our already-busy normal schedule. So, while I would love to lounge around the kitchen all week creating no-bake granola bars in disposable pans, I had to think quick, easy, and quick. And quick.

This would also be helpful if you were going to be staying at a vacation home for a week and weren’t planning on eating out much.

Here is my attempt at a week without dishes.

NOTES: You could nix the rice cooker and buy microwave rice (for 2 meals). We don’t have a microwave, and I thought it worth it to leave the rice cooker out.

DISHES TO LEAVE OUT AND WASH EACH NIGHT:

  • Sheet pan/jelly roll pan
  • Rice cooker
  • Wok
  • Flat-sided wooden spoon
  • Coffee machine
  • Dish soap
  • Hand soap
  • Spatula and pizza cutter
  • Paring knife
  • Small cutting board
  • Can opener
  • 2 oven mitts
  • Measuring cup
  • Large sauce pan/small soup pot
  • Tongs
  • Foil/wax paper/plastic wrap
  • Garbage bags
  • Storage bags of various sizes
  • Chip clips

 NEW “DISHES” TO BUY:

  • Paper plates
  • Plastic utensils
  • Paper bowls
  • Napkins
  • Plastic cups/paper cups (for hot AND cold)
  • Paper towels
  • Pack of sponges
  • A few leftover containers, especially for lunches

THINGS YOU PROBABLY STILL HAVE ON HAND: 

  • Salt and pepper
  • Coffee
  • Creamer
  • Sweetener
  • Olive oil
  • Pizza trimmings, like Parmesan, garlic powder, sesame seeds, red pepper flake
  • Salad dressing
  • Mayo
  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Jasmine Rice
  • Butter
  • BBQ/honey mustard sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Safflower or peanut oil

GROCERY LIST:

  • Pre-made pizza dough
  • 1 can or jar pizza sauce
  • 1 package grated mozzarella
  • Some no-cook pizza toppings  (like pepperoni and olives)
  • 1 bagged salad
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Frozen French fries
  • 1 can baked beans
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 jar Thai curry sauce  (or Thai curry paste and 1 can coconut milk)
  • 1 package extra firm tofu (or fried tofu, or a meat like beef or chicken)
  • 1 can bamboo shoots
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 jar Indian curry sauce
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 pound chicken (or other meat, like pork or beef, or paneer)
  • 1 small jar chutney
  • 1 jar Indian pickled veggie
  • Frozen naan or chapati
  • Frozen Chinese entrée (including a veggie)
  • Vegetable dumplings, gyoza, or springrolls
  • 1 pound ground beef or frozen meatballs
  • 1 jar marinara
  • Spaghetti
  • Giardiniera
  • 1 can/jar Italian olives
  • 2 Juices (or lemonade)
  • 2 boxes cereal
  • 1-2 packages bagels
  • Cream cheese
  • Milk
  • Breakfast fruit (like berries and bananas)
  • Instant breakfast drink mixes or instant oatmeal packets
  • 2 packages lunchmeat
  • 3 types of bread/wraps
  • 2 cans tuna
  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly
  • Optional alternative spread (like hazlenut)
  • Baby carrots
  • Pre-cut, stand-alone veggies
  • Large pack clementines
  • Large bag apples
  • Individual yogurts/squeezers
  • Cheese sticks
  • 1-2 bags pretzels
  • 1-2 bags munchies, like popcorn or corn chips
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • 2 bags tortilla chips
  • 2 containers hummus (or hummus and another dip)
  • 2 boxes crackers
  • 1-2 boxes cookies

 

THE MEAL PLAN!

BREAKFAST OPTIONS:

  • Cereal with milk
  • Bagel with cream cheese
  • Fruit (with optional peanut butter/spread)
  • Instant breakfast drink/oatmeal

LUNCH OPTIONS (WHICH ALL PACK PERFECTLY):

  • Lunchmeat sandwich/wrap
  • Tuna sandwich/wrap
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich/wrap
  • Alternative spread sandwich/wrap
  • Last night’s leftovers
  • SIDES:
  • Carrots
  • Veggies
  • Clementine
  • Apple
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese Stick
  • Pretzels
  • Munchies

 

SNACK OPTIONS:

  • Salsa with tortilla chips
  • Guacamole with tortilla chips
  • Hummus with crackers
  • Cookies
  • Leftover fruit and veggies

NIGHT ONE: PIZZA NIGHT

  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Gently pull out pizza dough into roughly the shape of your baking pan. Set in the pan and continue to pull out and gently press down until it fits just inside.
  3. Spread pizza sauce on the dough, almost to the edges. Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese. Top with your toppings.
  4. Drizzle olive oil around the edge of the pizza, on the crust. Sprinkle liberally with salt and optional garlic powder, sesame seeds, and/or Parmesan cheese.
  5. When oven is completely pre-heated, bake pizza for approximately 20 minutes. While pizza bakes, prepare bag salad and set out salad dressing.
  6. Remove pizza, and immediately cut and serve, optionally with red pepper flake, and the salad.

NIGHT TWO: CHINESE NIGHT

  1. Cook 1 1/2 cups Jasmine rice in your rice cooker according to package directions.
  2. Prepare frozen Chinese entree according to package directions.
  3. Prepare dumplings/spring rolls according to package directions.
  4. Serve with soy sauce and any other condiments you may have on hand.

NIGHT THREE: INDIAN NIGHT

  1. In a little oil, cook chopped chicken (or other meat) until browned nicely. Add Indian curry sauce and drained chickpeas and bring to a simmer. Simmer until meat is cooked through.
  2. Meanwhile, heat chapati or naan according to package directions. Spread with butter while still hot.
  3. Serve sauce with the bread for dipping, with chutney and pickle on the side.

NIGHT FOUR: AMERICAN NIGHT

  1. Cook chicken nuggets according to package directions.
  2. Cook fries according to package directions.
  3. Warm baked beans in your sauce/soup pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  4. Meanwhile, cut cucumbers into wedges and plate with cherry tomatoes.
  5. Serve everything with ketchup, barbecue sauce, and optional salad dressing for dipping.

NIGHT FIVE: THAI NIGHT

  1. Cook 1 1/2 cups Jasmine rice in your rice cooker according to package directions.
  2. Heat a wok over medium-high heat. Add diced tofu and let simmer until dry. Add 2 tablespoons safflower or peanut oil and stir-fry until tofu is golden. Add 1 sliced bell pepper and continue to cook until pepper is tender. Add Thai sauce (or 2 tablespoons Thai curry paste and the can of coconut milk). Add drained bamboo shoots. Cook until sauce is hot.
  3. Butter and salt the rice, and serve curry over top.

NIGHT SIX: SPAGHETTI NIGHT

  1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions in a pot of salted water.
  2. Meanwhile, in your wok, brown ground beef until cooked through (or heat frozen meatballs according to package directions). Add marinara and heat over medium until warmed through. Keep warm at a low temperature.
  3. When the pasta is al dente, add it to the pasta sauce with the tongs. Toss for 1 minute, then serve hot with Giardiniera and olives on the side.

NIGHT SEVEN: ONE LAST NIGHT AT YOUR FAVORITE LOCAL RESTAURANT

  1. Go to your favorite local restaurant and celebrate, enjoying it one last time.
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