Monday, August 8, 2011

commentary: cooking stove-less

Yesterday, when I posted my weekend review you must have thought that M and I had a fully-equipped kitchen in our beach hotel to muster up such great looking meals? I know, I know. They do look fantastic. But I'll let you in on a little secret - everything this weekend was made without stove or oven.

Yes, a kitchenette, they call it. I found out this nasty little detail ahead of time and to save money and calories I decided to figure out how to prepare three of our five beach dinners oven-less, stove-less, and top-less. Oh wait, not top-less.

I know you are wondering, how did I ever manage? Well, just for you, here are my cooking stove-less secrets, meal by meal.

Friday Night Menu: Honey-soy chicken, 'baked' sweet potatoes, and steamed broccoli.

Microwave Honey-Soy Chicken

1 3-lb chicken
1 oven cooking bag
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup sherry (or apple juice or water or white cooking wine or white vinegar)
1 tbsp water
2 tbsp cornstarch

Place whole chicken in an oven bag and place in large microwavable dish. Combine soy sauce, honey, and sherry. Pour over chicken. Close bag and marinate for about 2 hours, turning chicken over occasionally.

Slit cooking bag before microwaving. Microwave for about 25-30 minutes.

Sauce: After chicken is cooked, cut corner off bag and drain juices into cornstarch mixture. Stir to blend. Microwave sauce on high for 2-3 minutes.

Note: I didn't quite follow this recipe. First off, I had no measuring cups or spoons so everything was eye-balled. I also failed to read the whole recipe and dumped the cornstarch mixture in the bag prior to microwaving - it worked fine and created a thick, yummy sauce. I know you are skeptical about microwaving a chicken, but it comes out super-moist with a surprisingly brown skin and fantastic sauce. It also made great leftovers to add to sandwiches and salads for lunch throughout the week. M even asked for the recipe to make himself!

'Baked' Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes
Olive oil
Toppings of choice

Clean sweet potatoes (we made two) and puncture each several times with a fork. Place in a crock pot, drizzle with olive oil and a few shakes of cinnamon. Cook on low for about 6 hours. Add toppings of your choice. I ate mine with a little real butter, several sprays of 'spray' butter, and brown sugar. M ate his simply, with real butter.

Steamed Broccoli. Simply steam broccoli in microwave and serve with butter (I use spray butter), salt, and pepper.

Saturday Night Menu: Hamburgers, foil-grilled kale, and baked beans

I was lucky that our beach complex had outdoor gas grills and I have a handy boyfriend. I made sure to take advantage of this fact when planning.

Foil-Grilled Kale

Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Chop kale into bite-sized pieces, removing steams. Place two pieces of aluminum foil on a working surface like a cross. Place cleaned kale into the center of foil. Season kale with olive oil, salt and pepper. Fold the foil over kale like a burrito. Cook on a grill with medium heat for about 12 minutes with lid closed.


We like simple, real burgers. Just hamburger meat, salt, and pepper. 

Send boyfriend out to the grill with hamburger patties (and kale).

Baked beans. Simply buy a good can of pre-made baked beans and microwave. Instant side.

Sunday Night Menu: Crock pot chicken burritos, chips and salsa, kale and spinach salad

Crock Pot Chicken (or Beef) Burritos 

1-2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or London broil)
1 (1.25 oz) package taco seasoning mix (I used less because I had about a pound of chicken)
Cooking spray
1 cup chopped onion
1 (4.5 oz) can chopped green chiles
1 tbsp vinegar (I also added a bit of water because I used chicken, not red meat)
Tortillas (I used a corn and flour tortilla)
Toppings (I used spinach, salsa, and guacamole)

Rub seasoning mix over both sides. Place meat in a crock pot coated with cooking spray. Add onion, vinegar (and water), and green chiles. Cover with lid; cook on low for 4-6 hours for chicken (9 hours for London broil). Remove meat from crock pot, reserving liquid; shred meat with two forks. Combine meat and reserved liquid. Stir well.

Assemble your tortilla and enjoy. 

Note: This is my Mom's recipe and is really great with London broil. We substituted chicken to avoid having red meat twice in one weekend. Just cook the chicken less time and it still comes out great.

Chips and Salsa. Easy enough.

Kale and Spinach Salad.

I used leftover kale from Saturday night to make this simple side salad. In the mix: raw kale (the trick is to marinate your kale in dressing for about 15 minutes to tenderize), spinach, tomatoes, onions. All tossed in a light Italian dressing

And now you too, can cook without a stove.


  1. Great post. I'm going to try chicken burritos and sweet pots in the mic. Very useful!

  2. How did the crock pot creations turn out? I would love to use mine more often.

  3. @Imagine - the crock pot meals were great! I felt the same way about my crock pot, never really used it much. It is especially nice when there is very little work to do at dinner time. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

  4. You inspired me to use my crock pot. I used it to make pulled bbq chicken. So simple and easy.

  5. @Imagine: fantastic! crock pots are under appreciated! glad it was yummy and easy.