Kosher Kitchen Remodeling Part 2
by Roberta Scher
This is the second part of a 3 part article.
Getting the house ready for the kitchen remodel
The shopping and appliance selection (described in Part 1) are time consuming tasks, but emptying the kitchen and adjoining rooms is even more intensive!
If you are refinishing or installing new floors, everything has to be moved or stored – every table, chair, lamp. and decorative object. You will discover things that you never even noticed were there! And where should it all go? Either into a rented storage unit, an outdoor storage pod, or in any rooms you are not renovating. We had sofas in the dining room, tables in the guest bedroom and a basement filled with knick knacks, chairs, and most all of our furniture.
If you are not budget driven (yes we are), you can arrange for professional furniture removal and storage. Important tip: If you like the furniture design layout of your rooms, take a photo of every room at every angle so that you will remember where to put it all back after the project (Yes, that day will come!).
Prepare for construction dust. Cover HVAC intake vents with filter material if floor or wallboard sanding will be part of the project. If indoor temperatures permit, turn off your HVAC system during the sanding. If possible, isolate the rooms being sanded by taping plastic sheets over passageways. Plan to change the furnace filters soon after sanding and construction.
During the tear-out and construction phase of a new kitchen, you must be ready for limited cooking unless you plan to eat every meal out.
Cooking without a kitchen... here's how to do it with a "temporary kitchen":
• If at all possible, have a refrigerator (a must!) and freezer available
• Hot plate • Slow cooker
• Grill • Outdoor grill
• Toaster • Coffee maker
• Blender • Single electric burner
• Tabletop style grill- like a George Foreman
We set up a table in our dining room for a coffee maker (Keurig), a toaster, and 2
microwaves, and we used our outdoor grill quite often.
We also used some metal industrial shelves like the ones pictured here for an open "pantry" area. The shelves, after a few days of use, were jam-packed with essential food and cooking supplies for our dining room cooking.
Among the supplies you will need:
• Disposable tableware including plates, bowls, hot and cold cups, flatware, serving utensils, and rolls and rolls of paper towels
• Microwave safe disposable bowls
• Temporary, easily accessible shelves to store pantry supplies
• Plastic wrap, foil, Ziploc bags
• Warming tray
• Single serve coffee maker such as a Keurig
• Instant Coffee
• Microwave safe kettle for boiling water
• Plastic pour over coffee cup
My project mantra: The dollar store is my friend; the dollar store is my friend ... the dollar store ...
We did not enjoy washing our utensils and bowls in the bathroom sink or bathtub, but that was our only choice. This was our least favorite aspect of the "cooking without a kitchen" process. So we stocked up on disposables. If you have a separate laundry sink (we don't), consider washing your dishes there.
Menus, Tips, Tricks
A kitchen remodel takes at least 60-120 days (except on TV). This is especially complicated for the kosher or budget conscious family due to the expense and limitations of eating out and ordering takeout food.
Make it ahead. Before your project begins, and if you have freezer space, we suggest that you prepare some freezable meals. I prepared various types of soups and froze them in disposable microwavable containers. We purchased many of these containers at 2/$1.00 at Dollar Tree.
I also froze brisket, lasagna and boneless chicken schnitzel.
Here are some menu ideas:
Cold cereal, microwave cereal, microwavable pancakes, waffles
Lunch: Sandwiches, salads (bagged, pre-cleaned lettuce only), microwavable ready to eat meals
Pizza in the microwave or on the grill
Microwave poached salmon
Microwave baked potatoes
Microwave rice, beans and cheese
Spaghetti with jarred sauce
Bottled salad dressing- We rarely use bottled salad dressing – but this was a staple during our remodel
Supermarket rotisserie chicken and cold cuts
Pre-made pizza crusts or ready to heat pizza
Canned tuna and salmon
Ice cream and more ice cream:)
We served rotisserie chicken, grilled chicken, grilled meats, potatoes, microwave steamed vegetables, salads, soups
We particularly loved our dessert of peaches macerated in brown sugar and liqueur served with parve Ice cream
We discovered that beets are excellent when microwaved. We simply washed them and put them in a microwave safe bowl filled about halfway with water; covered them; Then we cooled the beets, peeled, and continue to microwave until soft.
Three easy and convenient staple recipes for the kitchen-less family:
Potatoes: Cut into large chunks. Sprinkle with olive oil. Microwave a few minutes, turn potatoes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic...then microwave until done
Rice: Put 1 cup rice and 2 cups water or broth into a covered microwave-safe bowl, and microwave about 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and check for doneness. One cup of raw rice takes about 15 minutes.
Corn on the cob: Simply rinse; cover with a damp paper towel and microwave until soft.
A shout out for our Lekue microwave rice maker! I highly recommend this versatile kitchen tool. We used it to make rice, corn, pasta and noodles. Yes, spaghetti and various pastas can easily be cooked in the microwave. In fact, it was our most used, indispensible cooking tool through the entire remodel.
Grilled vegetables and fruits: If you have a grill, we suggest grilling tons of vegetables including zucchini, yellow squash, green beans and more. Pineapple and peaches are also grill friendly. The vegetables or fruits can be eaten chilled, added to rice or pasta, or used as side dishes
Working with the construction crew- Show some Southern Hospitality
Three R's of Keeping the Crew Happy- we found this advice online and think that it is great:
1. Refreshments: Offer coffee,bottled water or soft drinks. They'll appreciate it.
2. Responsibility: Move out of the way!
3. Respect: Say good morning, good night, and good job when appropriate.
The kitchen remodel process took 4 months, 4 long inconvenient months... So was it worth it?
Part 3 Coming Soon
I would be happy to answer any questions you might have- just email
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