Wednesday, March 30, 2011

No Oven? No Problem!

Since the title of this blog is Gourmet Runner, you might be asking yourself when exactly that side of the equation would show itself. The truth is, I love cooking food, reading about food, and learning how to make good food great by upping the nutritional benefits. Living in a motel, however...not conducive to gourmet anything. Since I have a good 4 weeks (minimum!) left until I can dream of my new lovely kitchen in our yet-to-be-built home, I thought a post on how to make nutritious food without a traditional kitchen might be beneficial to me AND to anyone curious about how to make it work.
At my disposal, I have a mini-fridge, a microwave, and um...yeah, that’s it. 
My "kitchen". Oh, and a cat. 

Here are some essentials that I eat regularly:
  1. Healthy Microwave Meals---Yes, these are often laden with sodium, small, and can be expensive. So, I take advantage of sales whenever possible, and try to add something into every meal. Sometimes it’s a side of raw fruit or veggies. Last night I mixed in some kale before microwaving my stir-fry chicken. Turned out to be delicious!
  2. Bags of Frozen Veggies (to steam)---These bags are usually cheap, and contain 4 or more servings of vegetables. Since the vegetables are picked at the height of freshness and flash-frozen, they are just as nutritious as fresh ones. 
  3. Quick Brown/Wild Rice---I found some small containers of wild and brown rice that are super quick--one minute in the microwave is all. They are often a base for meals, I’ll add a veggie, a canned soup, etc.
  4. Sweet Potatoes---Hands-down favorite for me. Cheap and easy. I’ll microwave one to mix with just about anything. Sometimes just cooked and sliced up is perfect!
  5. Sandwiches--- Maybe not the most revolutionary idea, but they’re simple and quick. I’m on a PB&J kick right now, big time. Using whole wheat bread, natural PB and sugar-free jelly upgrades this kids sandwich. 
  6. Oatmeal---Besides being an everyday breakfast for me, add-ins can make oatmeal take on a whole new dimension. I add a whole sweet potato (mashed) into oatmeal with some peanut butter--voila! Lunch! For a late-night snack, a spoonful of nutella into oatmeal with some fresh strawberries is amazing. I’ve read about some people turning oatmeal savory. Great idea too, but my sweet tooth is too powerful :)
  7. Greek Yogurt/Protein Bars---By far the hardest thing to get enough of is protein. Not having a way to cook meat, tofu, eggs, etc. is challenging. Pre-cooked chicken breast is available in the supermarket, but at a big expense (for my wallet AND my sodium intake). I include a greek yogurt in my diet nearly daily, and often a protein bar as a snack after the gym. I also try to get protein from sources like soymilk, peanut butter, almonds, and the occasional protein powder. 
Any suggestions for ways to increase the quality of my food? Or any simple recipes that don’t require an oven? Thanks!


  1. Adding sweet potato to oatmeal is genius! That sounds AMAZING. I will have to try that out. Thanks!

  2. It would be hard to come up with yummy and healthy meals staying in a hotel with only a microwave, but it sounds like you're doing a fantastic job!

    You can also cook eggs in the microwave.

  3. Ugh 4 weeks in a motel! YUCK! However, you have a huge payoff coming soon so I guess it's not too bad!! I agree to adding eggs into the mix!!!

  4. bean salad, great / simple / tasty and no cooking needed

  5. Hey Vanessa! thanks for checking out my blog! These are great options/alternatives for oven work! :) My hubby travels A LOT so I often am alone on meal planning and these choices are perfect!!

  6. A sweet potato in oatmeal?! Crazy talk! I'm so interested in trying this now.

    I never use my oven. I'm just becoming friends with my crock pot now. I even make my eggs in the microwave. Well, eggbeaters. I just put them in a mug, heat them up, add some salsa and a little goat cheese and enjoy a little piece of heaven.

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