If you’re someone who enjoys trying new recipes and adventuring in the kitchen, cooking at home can be one of the most relaxing, fun, and productive activities. However, if you’re like most people and live in a place that has a smaller than desired kitchen, or even none at all, you’re probably inclined to call your favorite restaurant up for takeout on a regular basis. Though we may not all be equipped with the kitchen of our dreams, there are several things we can do to make cooking in small spaces much easier. So, if you live in a dorm or apartment, keep reading to learn how you can make the most of the space you have!
Use a cooktop. There’s no need for a big fancy stove if you have a hot plate like our Induction Cooktop. With a variety of heat settings (and safety features built right in), you can do pretty much anything like boil water for pasta, sear a steak, or make stovetop popcorn. The best part? It tucks away into a cabinet or up on a shelf when you’re not using it (unlike a stove) so you can use your precious counter space for something else.
Embrace the toaster oven. Much like a cooktop, a toaster oven is an excellent and energy-efficient replacement for the bigger, more expensive real thing. It also heats up faster, which means your food can get on your plate more quickly, too. It has the ability to make foods crispy, unlike a microwave, so it’s obviously great for more than just toast. If you’ve got a mini baking sheet or ramekins, you can make things like homemade pizza, cakes, muffins, or baked eggs.
Make extra. Since cooking in a smaller space can feel like effort sometimes, making enough food to last for a few meals can help mitigate this issue later in the week. For example, if you’re going to be using your toaster oven to roast veggies on a Sunday, maybe make two batches so you can save yourself the trouble the next day and just reheat them. Or, if you’re going to be using your hot plate to boil pasta, make more than one serving so that you don’t have to pull it out again for a few days.
Pans & Utensils. Aside from having a few high-quality small appliances, it really just takes a good pan or two and utensils to make cooking in a small space happen. We’ve talked about the importance of having good knives on this blog before, so if you can invest in a couple of those, you’ll make your adventures in the kitchen so much more efficient. Other than that, just pick up a medium-sized pot and pan and you’ll be good to go. With these items, you’ll be able to chop, sauté and boil away whatever you need.
Buy pre-prepped ingredients whenever possible. Though it’s generally a touch more expensive to buy pre-cut items like mirepoix or butternut squash, the effort it can save down the line is so worth it, especially when you don’t have a ton of counter space. Items like pre-bagged salad mixes and rotisserie chickens are super helpful too, since they minimize the amount of work, time, and space you need to get dinner on the table. The best part about buying pre-prepped items is that you can supplement them with other things you cook without issue like pasta or vegetable side dishes since trying to figure out how to make a whole chicken in a toaster oven can be quite challenging...
Jordan Drankoski is the one woman star of the foodie blog Dancing for Donuts. She's a regular guest writer on ToBox serving up inspiration and recipes for the mind and soul. She loves spending time in the kitchen creating new recipes, hiking, trying new restaurants and visiting new places.