Tiny House Cooking

There are 2 true necessities in life – shelter and nourishment. When your shelter is only 300 square feet, it affects how you are going to provide nourishment to your family. To be honest, I was completely spoiled in this area in our large, 2000 square foot house. I had a large side-by-side refrigerator and a 6 foot long deep freezer (it could hold a half-beef and 30 chickens, and still have room for frozen pizza and ice cream!) I also had an entire wall of shelves for my canned goods – seriously, an 8 foot wall with floor to ceiling shelves! I’m not sure if I was getting ready for the zombie apocalypse or what, but I could fix anything for any size crowd at the drop of a hat. There’s no doubt, this was the area that would have to be downsized the most if we were going to live in a tiny house!

Some of the canned goods we were able to store in our storage unit and shop out of that during the 7 months we lived in the tiny house. (Here I need to confess that we still didn’t use up all of our stockpiles in all that time! Yes, too much of a good thing is still too much!) We tried to eat up all the frozen meat we could before moving. We gave some of it away, and still had 3 roasts to fill up the tiny house freezer.

But I only had a couple of cabinet shelves and a medium sized refrigerator in the tiny house. Drastic times call for drastic measures. I decided to come up with a limited meal plan.

Breakfast: Monday through Friday was eggs – either scrambled with cheese and bacon bits, or omelets with cheese and bacon bits. Really, it’s just the same ingredients in 2 different shapes. Sometimes we had simple banana peanut butter smoothies. Saturday was bacon and pancakes, and Sunday was chocolate chip muffins.

Lunch: Quesadillas, leftovers, tuna salad, chef salad, or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I let the kids choose. Actually, the kids usually made their own lunch anyway (apparently, I can’t make a quesadilla as well as my son can!)

Dinner: Roasted chicken, roast beef, tacos, brats, hamburgers and hotdogs, pork steaks, grilled chicken salad, and pizza were on a rotating menu. Plus, most of these things could be cooked in a slow cooker or on the grill outside.

Dessert: Ice cream, popsicles, or popcorn

That was it, and we really didn’t get tired of those choices. It was just enough variety, and yet not too many ingredients. In fact, these menu items used common ingredients. I did have to do grocery shopping every single week yet make sure I didn’t buy too much at a time.

As far as kitchen appliances go, we had a stick blender, a coffee maker, and a slow cooker. No toaster (in fact, I still don’t have a toaster!), no electric griddle, no blender, no ice cream maker, no popcorn popper, no mixer. I learned you can make chocolate chip cookie dough by hand.

The worst part of tiny house cooking was not the limited menu; it was the fact that I set off the smoke alarms EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. There were smoke detectors in every room of the house (4 smoke detectors in 300 square feet is overkill, in my opinion) and they were wired together. And the vent hood over the stove wasn’t very efficient at all (actually the tiny window over the kitchen sink did a better job of ventilating!) The benefit was that no one would ever oversleep and miss breakfast, I guess.

Meal prepping also needed to be done efficiently because I only had 2 – 1 foot wide counter spots and the 2 person dining table to work with. I really learned to do 1 thing at a time, and clean up after that one thing before I started the next task. After spending 7 months in that kitchen, I knew exactly how I wanted to plan my next kitchen. And even though my current kitchen is only 9×14 feet, it has everything I need!)

In summary:

    Limit your meal plan (and ingredient list).

    Don’t install a smoke detector right above the stove.

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