You could use the size of your kitchen as an excuse for bad cooking or not cooking at all but not anymore. As I mentioned in 5 Space-Saving Appliances Small Kitchen Owners Need, many manufacturers are now offering all sorts of compact appliances that can help you become an iron chef. Believe it or not, even if your small kitchen only comes with a microwave, you can still make delicious meals (not frozen food) to impress your family and friends.
Therefore, stop blaming the equipment or kitchen size. Here are 10 easy, yet delightful meals you can easily prepare in your small kitchen. All you need is a portable induction cooktop, microwave or even better, just a countertop—no heat at all!
Portable Induction Cooktop Recipes for Special Date Nights
If you already traded in your gas range for more counter space, but still want to pick up your cooking skills occasionally, a portable induction cooktop will surely come in handy. Aside from putting it away when it’s not in use, it actually works like traditional stoves. You can use it to boil, sauté, stir-fry and grill as long as you cook in pans that don’t contain aluminum, copper and Pyrex.
Below are three quick, date-night recipes designed for portable induction cooktops:
(Recipes courtesy of Fagor)
Seared Scallops with Lemon Butter Sauce
- 1 pound large fresh sea scallops
- Kosher salt and white pepper, to taste
- 1 lemon (zest)
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted, sweet cream butter
- Chopped fresh, flat leaf parsley for garnish
- Lemon, quartered for garnish
- Pat scallops until very dry. Toss the scallops with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Set induction burner on the sear setting and heat the oil in a grill pan. When the oil becomes hot, add the scallops and cook the scallops on one side until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the butter to the pan. Just as the butter melts completely, turn the scallops over and add the lemon juice.
- Cook scallops an additional minute and move to a warm plate. Add lemon zest to pan and stir sauce to blend.
- Spoon any sauce in the pan over the scallops and sprinkle the parsley over the top.
- Serve immediately.
- 4 boneless chicken breast halves without skin
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf basil
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 to 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 cup Marsala wine
- Pound chicken to 1/4-inch thickness between 2 sheets of plastic wrap.
- Combine flour, salt, pepper, and basil; mix well.
- Heat oil and butter in an 11” sauté pan using the med-high setting on the induction burner.
- Dredge chicken in seasoned flour mixture. Cook chicken until lightly browned on first side, about 4 minutes. Turn chicken and cook about 2 minutes longer.
- Remove chicken and add mushrooms. Cook about 6 minutes until lightly browned.
- Add Marsala wine and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add chicken, reduce heat to med-low; cover and simmer 10 minutes and serve.
Beef Stew (Highly Recommend Cooking with a Pressure Cooker)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inches
- 2 medium onions, cut into wedges
- 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 8 oz. button mushrooms, halved
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and Pepper
- Set induction burner on sear and add olive oil to a 6-quart pressure cooker. Once the oil is hot, add the beef in batches and cook, turning occasionally until browned, about 6 minutes per batch.
- Transfer the beef to a plate once browned and season with salt and pepper. Once all the cubes are browned combine beef, carrots, onions, tomatoes, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme and pepper in the pressure cooker. Add wine, mushrooms and olives.
- Cover, lock and bring to high pressure using the stir-fry setting on the induction burner.
- Use boil setting to stabilize pressure and cook for 18 minutes. Depressurize cooker using quick-release method. Carefully remove the cover and discard the bay leaves.
- In a small bowl, mix together the flour and ½ cup of the cooking liquid from the pressure cooker. Blend and whisk the mixture into the sauce in the cooker.
- Cook the sauce on the induction burner using the BOIL setting, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic, orange zest and parsley and serve.
Microwave Recipes, from Breakfast to Dinner
Your microwave can do so much more than just heat leftovers or frozen food. From breakfast, snacks, dinner to dessert, it’s truly a time-saver, helping you prepare healthy meals that don’t come packaged in a box.
Okay, you may be skeptical about the word “healthy,” because rumor has it, microwaves can cause cancer. However, the American Cancer Society dispelled the myth. When microwaves are used according to instructions, there’s no evidence that microwaves pose a health risk to people.
To ensure your first microwaved meal is perfect and healthy, I picked four simple recipes, from breakfast to dinner and dessert that will never go wrong.
(Recipes courtesy of Greatist)
Breakfast: Quiche in a Mug
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of milk (preferably whole milk)
- 4-8 mini cherry tomatoes
- 1 slice of halloumi (diced)
- 1 teaspoon salted butter
- 1 slice of smoked salmon
- 1 slice of bread (preferably chiabatta)
- 1 or 2 slices of onion
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon of corriander
- Cut the mini cherry tomatoes in half.
- Slice the smoked salmon into thin strip.
- Tear the chiabatta bread into small pieces and pack it into a 1/8-cup measurement.
- Crack the egg into a large microwave safe mug, pour in the milk and mix together with a fork.
- Melt the butter in the microwave and add in the egg/milk mixture.
- Season with a pinch of salt, pepper and coriander.
- Toss in all the remanding ingredients. There’s no need to spread them evenly.
- Place the mug in the center of the microwave and cook on high for 1 minute.
- Remove the quiche from the microwave and serve.
Snacks: Potato Chips
- 1 1/3 pounds Yukon Gold or red potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed
- 2 teaspoons or so of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Cooking spray
- Slice potatoes into 1/8-inch rounds for thicker potato chips. For thinner ones, use a mandolin to cut very thin slices.
- Toss slices in a medium bowl with oil and salt to coat evenly.
- Coat a large microwave-proof plate with cooking spray. Arrange some potato slices in a single layer on the plate.
- Place the plate into the microwave, leave it uncovered and cook on high for 2-3 minutes until potato slices turn brown.
- Turn slices over and continue microwaving until they start to crisp and brown around the edges, about 35 seconds for very thin potato slices or 2-4 minutes for thicker slices.
- Check frequently and rearrange slices as needed to prevent scorching.
- Transfer chips to another plate and allow to cool completely.
- Repeat process with remaining slices.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Lunch/Dinner: Microwave Risotto
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth, plus extra if needed
- 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
- 3/4 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
- In a small pan, melt butter over medium heat and sauté the garlic and onions for about 2 minutes.
- In a 3-quart microwave safe dish, heat the vegetable broth for 2 minutes.
- Stir the garlic and onion mixture and uncooked rice into the bowl of broth. Cover tightly and microwave on high for 6 minutes.
- Stir in the wine, cover, and cook for 10 minutes more.
- Since all microwaves are different, if the rice is not fully cooked add ¼ cup broth and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Stir in the cheese and serve.
Dessert: Chocolate Mochi Donuts
- 1/4 cup mochiko or glutinous rice flour
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 4 tablespoon milk
- 1 tablespoon oil
- Combine all ingredients into a mug and mix with a small whisk until batter is smooth.
- If using mugs to cook, split batter into two mugs and microwave each separately for about 1 minute, or until cooked. If pouring into donut molds, the batter in the mug was enough for two regular-sized donut molds to be filled about 2/3 full. Cook each separately for about 1 minute. If using smaller molds, adjust time according.
- Once mochi cools, you can decorate with glaze and/or sprinkles.
No-Heat, No-Fuss Recipes
Unfortunately, for city dwellers living in a teeny tiny kitchen with little counter space, the above recipes will not work. As such, you won’t be able to fit an induction cooktop or microwave when your counters are crowded with bowls of ingredients.
Hence, why bother cooking with heat? By adapting your cooking method, you can absolutely cook with ease no matter how small your kitchen is. Here are three no-heat, no-fuss recipes that can help you become a more efficient, professional small kitchen cook. Most importantly, they’re perfect for brown bagging.
(Recipes courtesy of WholeLiving)
Strawberry Oat Bars
- 1 1/2 cups pitted dates
- 1/4 cup raw macadamia nuts
- 2 tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats
- Pinch sea salt
- 1 cup strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
- Pulse dates, nuts, oats and salt in a food processor until combined.
- Press the date mixture into the bottom of a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
- Mash half the strawberries and spread on top of date mixture. Top with remaining strawberries. Slice into rectangles.
- 8 ounces cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped raw walnuts
- 2 tablespoons torn fresh basil, plus leaves for garnish
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- Sea salt
- 1 zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise, slices cut into 1/4-inch-long strips
- In a bowl, combine tomatoes, garlic, walnuts, basil and oil. Season with salt.
- Let stand 20 minutes.
- Toss with zucchini and garnish with basil.
French Tuna Salad Sandwich
(Recipes courtesy of FOOD52)
- 1/2 loaf crusty French baguette
- 1 clove garlic, cut in half
- 4-6 basil leaves
- 1 (6oz) can tuna
- 3/4 cup Nicoise or Kalamata olives, sliced
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin
- 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1jar or can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped (optional)
- 1/4 cup blanched French green beans, sliced into thirds (optional)
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Slice the loaf of bread in half lengthwise. Remove some of the insides of the bottom half to create a trough into which the filling will go.
- Brush both halves with a little extra virgin olive oil.
- Rub each with the garlic.
- Line the half with the trough with the basil leaves.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the tuna, olives, red bell pepper, onion, parsley, artichoke hearts (if using) and green beans (if using).
- In a measuring cup or small bowl, whisk the lemon juice into the olive oil until it is combined.
- Pour the vinaigrette into the tuna mixture and stir to combine.
- Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.
- Spoon tuna mixture into the trough of the baguette over the basil leaves.
- Wrap sandwich well in plastic.
- Crush it down by placing a brick or heavy cast iron skillet and refrigerate, preferably with the weight, overnight.
- In the morning, cut sandwich in half. Wrap in foil, brown bag it and enjoy it at work.
Just because your kitchen is small, that doesn’t mean you can’t be a good cook. Next time, before you use your kitchen size as an excuse for not cooking, double check if the above recipes are REALLY impossible with your tiny space. Chances are, they’re not.
Do you have secret recipes that are designed for small kitchens? If so, feel free to share your recipes in the comments below. We love to hear from our fans!