Author Topic: Unusual grocery situation  (Read 5743 times)

Amanda

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Unusual grocery situation
« on: June 28, 2015, 05:32:47 PM »
Normally I manage to keep my family on a fairly tight grocery budget. I cook from scratch, buy in bulk, use up leftovers, etc. However, for the next month or so we are in the midst of remodeling our kitchen and front room. The stove is disappearing tomorrow and there is not much other space in our small house for an alternative set up. One week's worth of cold cereal and convenience foods was shockingly spendy.

Could I trouble the mustache crowd for some hot weather appropriate (over 100 for the foreseeable future and we don't have AC), limited facilities, eating tips?

I will have the fridge plugged in on the patio throughout the remodel and have a microwave and a toaster oven if I can just find a spot to set them up.

Jakejake

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Re: Unusual grocery situation
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2015, 05:46:52 PM »
I would use the microwave, but not a toaster oven in that heat. (Disclaimer - I have no experience with a toaster oven, but it sounds hot!).  Cheap eats for a microwave - a pack of tortillas, a can of refried beans, a brick of cheese and some hot sauce.

You probably have enough heat to start a batch of yogurt in the morning and have it be done by evening - add some jam or fruit to flavor it.

Also, gazpacho if you have a way to blend it.

11ducks

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Re: Unusual grocery situation
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2015, 05:53:53 PM »
Do you have a slow cooker? That can be set up outside (as long as you aren't too rural where animals will try to get at it? Toasted sandwiches?

deborah

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Re: Unusual grocery situation
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2015, 05:59:31 PM »
Make sure that you keep the fridge out of the sun. Do you have a tarp that could sunproof the patio?

I had no kitchen for a few months when I had a renovation done many years ago. My main problem was a food preparation area, and food storage.  Many foods can be cooked in a microwave, and you could possibly locate it above the refrigerator. I used the time without a kitchen to learn how to cook with the microwave, and I found there were very few things I couldn't cook that way. It also tends to be easier to clean the cooking dishes afterwards. There are now very many microwave recipes on the internet. When I had no kitchen I relied on my recipe books.

At the moment, when it is very hot salads with a can of tuna or BBQed meat may be your best bet for most meals (if you have a BBQ). Obviously cooked chicken is generally available from supermarkets, and these are often cheaper if they are sold cold. Your family could have fun making a solar cooker from cardboard, aluminium foil, a baking bag and a pot - there are many methods on the internet. It might be worth investing in an electric crockpot if the weather gets colder, but I found that the refrigerator and microwave was all I needed.

Tieke

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Re: Unusual grocery situation
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2015, 06:01:38 PM »
If you're cereal eaters, you could try making your own - bulk buying nuts, rolled oats, dried fruit etc. will let you make a nice muesli pretty cheaply.  Muesli can be good for adding a little interest to other types of breakfasts too, eg. eating fresh fruit and homemade yoghurt with a little muesli scattered over it. 

I'd make up a big batch of salad dressing since that keeps for ages in the fridge, and make salad a staple food for the month.  There are loads of vegetables that work well in a salad, so that gives a wide range of options for choosing from whatever is in season and cheap.  If your family are meat eaters, there are a few good cold meat options that work in salads as well, eg. smoked chicken or fish.  (That might be too pricey, but I have lived somewhere where this was actually pretty economical, so it's just a thought.)

It's not the most nutritious meal in the world, but pasta is a good alternative to store-bought convenience foods also - you can either microwave it and throw in some veges (using heated tomatoes to create sauce) or if you can't face that in the heat, make a pasta salad out of it (again, with veges).  Cheap and easy!

crispy

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Re: Unusual grocery situation
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2015, 06:05:05 PM »
Do you have a grill?  You can always do burgers, hot dogs, foil packs (whatever proteins, seasonings, veggies you want wrapped in foil), steaks, etc.

Rotisserie chicken is cheap and can be used in a variety of ways.  I like to do entrée salads and shredded chicken is always good on that. 

Mrs.LC

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Re: Unusual grocery situation
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2015, 07:14:59 PM »
Salads and sandwiches
Raw vegetables with dip
In-season fruit
Cheese, sausage, and crackers

We use our toaster oven instead of the regular oven whenever possible. It bakes wonderful chicken and pork chops. Haven't taken the time to to an energy audit on it but know that it cooks faster and doesn't take as long to heat up as the big oven. Also use it to bake casseroles, muffins, quick breads, etc.

Annamal

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Re: Unusual grocery situation
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2015, 07:32:14 PM »
There's a south American pickled salad called curtido which in some of its incarnations is made by slicing cabbage,carrots, onoins and jalapenos into vinegar and water with spices. It lasts really well in the fridge and looks great (I think there's variations that do not use vinegar and are more like sourkrout but we just use the vinegar method).
 
it keeps for a couple of weeks and is awesome as a side dish.

Also have you got a rice maker? If not it might be worth buying one as it gives you a quick way of making rice and steamed vegetables at the same time.

plugging away

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Re: Unusual grocery situation
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2015, 08:13:50 PM »
Baked potatoes. Cheap, healthy and easy to make in the microwave.

Amanda

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Re: Unusual grocery situation
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2015, 10:14:34 PM »
Thank you for the suggestions so far. Some of these are obvious but I hadn't thought of them. I think my biggest difficulty is not planning ahead sufficiently. The situational limitations are less the issue than the failure to plan.

No ricemaker and we're not big rice eaters so maybe I won't get it. We do have a charcoal grill and I love the idea of the foil packs. I can do some quick chopping prep on a cutting board outside and then not have any dishes to do in the bathroom sink! My husband loves salads and if I get the pre-chopped lettuce I can make it even without much prep area. I'm fairly carnivorous so I will definitely cook up some chicken to chop and throw on top. I've been doing yogurt and granola for breakfast and we have done cheese and fruit and crackers many nights for a light dinner.

Any other simple meal suggestions would be welcome. I appreciate the input!

Definitely planning on covering the fridge! Probably will use a shipping blanket and a light colored tarp.



deborah

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Re: Unusual grocery situation
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2015, 10:20:48 PM »
Definitely planning on covering the fridge! Probably will use a shipping blanket and a light colored tarp.
Just don't cover the part where it does the heat exchange - your fridge manual almost certainly says that it needs some air gap around it. Otherwise it might catch fire, and certainly won't work as well as it could.

lakemom

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Re: Unusual grocery situation
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2015, 05:58:28 AM »
Ask among friends and family if someone has a two burner propane camp stove (you know....the big green ones...coleman I think) set it up on the outdoor table or a couple of sawhorses and you can cook just about anything outside that you could cook inside.  One of these stoves is safe enough to use in the house as well as long as you are well ventilated.  Also, eggs, breakfast meats, and pancakes can all be cooked on a griddle over a grill (gas is easier than charcoal but with practice timing the coals that works too).  If you eat oatmeal the "quick" oats will cook with just boiling water (measure out the serving of oats, pour the proper amount of boiling water over them, stir, cover and let sit for 2 minutes, stir again and eat or if needed let set a bit longer.  For dinners, again anything that can be cooked on the stovetop inside can be made on a camp stove or on a grill, you just have to be a little more vigilant with keeping an eye on it since the heat is less consistant.  As far as a "prep area"  grab 2 sawhorses or 2 barstools or 2 something the same size and sturdy and a decent sized scrap of wood (even one you buy for this specific purpose) and set yourself up a countertop somewhere in the house near your current food storage areas.  Hang in there you'll figure it out!  And someday look back on it as an adventure.  When we redid the kitchen in our previous home I got rid of the old stove the day before the new was due to arrive only to be called that morning to be told it was backordered and wouldn't be in for 4 weeks!  We had 4 kids under 10 at the time PLUS I was sitting for 3 others.  You'd be amazed at what you can cook in a toaster oven!

MayDay

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Re: Unusual grocery situation
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2015, 06:40:18 AM »
Ditto the camping stove!  We lost power for a week 3 summers ago, and all our kitchen appliances were electric.  We set the camp stove up on the patio and boiled water for noodles, tea, oatmeal, heated up soup, etc.

Melf

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Re: Unusual grocery situation
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2015, 06:42:36 AM »
I would also say to not be afraid of using the toaster oven when needed if you've already got one.  I prefer using mine rather than the range oven whenever possible.  Mine is a small convection toaster oven and I think it works just as well as the conventional.  It's just a bonus that it needs very little pre-heating and doesn't heat up the house either.

snshijuptr

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Re: Unusual grocery situation
« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2015, 08:25:40 AM »
Consider buying an electric skillet or wok. We lived in a unit that didn't have a stove for 6 months with only limited access to the full kitchen. We used the electric skillet and wok all the time. Also consider buying an electric pressure cooker and if you don't have one, a slow cooker. My pressure cooker can saute and simmer in addition to pressure cooking. You can usually find these used at a thrift store.

Lis

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Re: Unusual grocery situation
« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2015, 09:20:40 AM »
Do you have any neighbors who would let you use their kitchen to make a few bulk meals? I'd be happy to let a close neighbor use my kitchen in exchange for a meal or something :)

Jack

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Re: Unusual grocery situation
« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2015, 09:25:10 AM »
Combining the "camping stove" and "electric skillet" ideas, I suggest a hot plate. If you have to buy new then induction is best, but if you can find a regular resistance-coil one at a yard sale or thrift store that'd be good enough for the length of the renovation.

crispy

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Re: Unusual grocery situation
« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2015, 11:08:16 AM »
When we stay at a hotel, we do a quick nachos meal with chicken or beef (I buy rotisserie or buy the ready made taco meat in the deli section), refreid beans,  cheese, sour cream, lettuce, tomato, salsa, and pre-made guacamole served over tortilla chips. You can skip the meat and just do refried beans, too.  It is good and you literally throw together stuff that is already made.

I also like to do shredded chicken or pork in a crockpot for sandwiches.  All you need is the chicken or pork, some spices, and then add BBq sauce. 


relena

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Re: Unusual grocery situation
« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2015, 12:22:57 PM »
you could also make tacos, burritos, fajitas with grilled meat/veggies

2ndTimer

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Re: Unusual grocery situation
« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2015, 12:41:53 PM »
One summer we lived with a very small frig and not much cooking facility.  We ate millions of sub sandwiches made with cheap ham and mustard on store French bread.