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Q&A Tuesday: Help! What meals can I cook without an oven?

We are in the middle of a kitchen renovation, which, when finished will result in a fantastic update of a 60-year-old tiny city-apartment-sized kitchen. This project, however, has been subject to the inevitable delays and we’ve been without a working kitchen for a month and a half now and we’re expecting to be without one for another month and a half.

My creativity is running out and my food bill rising dramatically with eating out too often. What meals can you brainstorm that can be cooked using just a microwave & stove top? The oven does not work and dishes must be *very* minimal as the sink does not drain properly: we have to use the tiny bathroom sink (or the tub) instead. The disposal is also broken.

One pot/pan dishes are ideal. We do not own a crockpot. -Karyn

Back when I was 11 years old, we lived without a stove for seven months while we were living in a construction trailer and building our house. We only had a microwave, crock pot and electric skillet and we learned to make all sorts of pretty delicious meals sans an oven. So I just wanted to encourage you that it is totally possible to survive without an oven and eat at home.

Do you have a grill? This would be the time to pull it out. You can grill chicken, steak, hamburgers — and even pizza!

Do you have a waffle iron? If so, waffles are a simple dinner. Just fry up some bacon or sausage on the stove and add some fruit and you’ve got a delicious dinner.

There are multitudes of meals which can be made on the stove top. Check out this huge list of Skillet Meals.

If you’re still feeling like you need more ideas, I would heartily suggest you consider investing in a crock pot. You can find one at Walmart for under $30 and it will pay for itself over and over again. Check out the Crock Pot 365 Blog for more crock pot ideas than you could use in, well, a year!

You might also check out a post from a few months ago on Meals You Can Make in a Hotel Room. There are lots of ideas there which you might find inspirational and helpful.

What suggestions do the rest of you have for meals Karyn can make without an oven?

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  • Casey Malone says:

    Yes girl! Get you some crock pot liners and start cooking. Chilli, Mac N Cheese with Ham, Stew, Soups, Roasts, etc. You could grill out and use leftover for different meals. We do Pita Pizzas. We buy pita bread and slice it in half. Everyone can make their own pizza and then we grill them. Hang in there and save your eating out money for brand new kitchen stuff!

    • Betsy says:

      @Casey Malone, My thoughts exactly! A crock pot is worth the investment and the plastic crock pot liners are found in the same section where you buy ziplocs and other items. If you use the liners you just throw away the extra mess from the crock pot and it won’t require much washing at all! They’re so helpful.

    • Beth Long says:

      @Casey Malone, It looks like a lot of these could be made in a stew pot on the stove as well- macaroni, chilli, stew, soups, etc.

  • JoAnne says:

    I agree that a crockpot would be well worth the investment. You’ll find lots of uses for a crockpot after the renovation as well.

    • Laura says:

      Not picking on @JoAnne, but I wonder if Karyn doesn’t have room for a Crock Pot or for some other reason has found that they do not suit her and her family.

      Some stovetop ideas from my family’s repertoire:
      -Breakfast for dinner
      -Pot roast
      -Beef stew
      -Chicken n’ dumplings
      -Sesame chicken
      -Mongolian beef
      -Fried rice
      -Chicken or beef Tacos
      -Broccoli with Bowties (search for Ina Garten’s recipe)
      -Greek chicken pitas
      -Hotdogs and hamburgers can be made on the stovetop
      -Sauteed chicken… simply seasoned with either Adobo seasoning or just salt and pepper. I love serving this meal with a few easy steamed or microwaved vegetables.
      -We buy frozen pierogies and kielbasa sausage and sautee these up for a quick meal. If I have time I throw in a vegetable or two. *blush*

  • Sibyl Scott says:

    There are many ways to cook without an oven. I did not have one for some time. If you have one of those electric “turkey roaster” (nesco is a name) They have some on sale this time of year. You can bake almost anything in them. I have made cakes, biscuits, pizzas, just about anything in it. They are around $35-40.00 at Walmart right now because of Thanksgiving. I also use my electric skillet quite a bit, you can make a casserole in it and put the top on to melt the cheeses and such. Crockpots, and large toaster ovens work. As I said I was without an oven probably about 6 months, and was still able to make meals daily. Sometimes we have to think outside the box so to say.

  • Jennifer says:

    Save some of that dining out money and buy a crockpot! Love mine!

    I also love my waffle maker!

    Do you have an electric skillet? You can make sloppy joes in it-one dish!

  • Emily says:

    Stir-fries. They’re so easy to make in a wok or skillet. Make them with both meat and veggies, toss over some rice or rice stick noodles (both also made on the stovetop), and you’ve got a whole meal.

  • I know you said you don’t own a crockpot, but if you’re already eating out a lot right now anyway, it would still be much, much cheaper to get a crock pot than to keep going out to eat! If you REALLY need to keep the dishes minimal, they also have crock-pot liners that you can pop in before putting the food in. Then, you just serve your food, throw the liner away, and you’re done!

    My crock pot favorites:
    *Beef Stew
    *Chicken drumsticks & quartered potatoes with whatever seasonings I have on hand
    *Chicken cooked with salsa, served with cheese & tortillas
    *Beef roasts, cooked with carrots, sometimes potatos (I just wrote a post on that here:
    *Chicken with lemon seasoning, cooked with yellow and green zucchini

    If you want to cook in the skillet, my favorite meal is thinly sliced beef, sauted with lots of fresh veggies (whatever I have on hand – thin carrots, broccoli, snap peas, peppers, etc), a little garlic, soy sauce, and worch. sauce. I make rice once a week, and we use that throughout the week instead of making it (and cleaning dishes for it) several times.

  • KellyF says:

    My grandparents oven quit working so they used a toaster oven they kept in their camper.
    Don’t forget how great breakfast for dinner can be, especially an omelet! I love making omelets w/cheese, turkey, spinach and adding salsa and best of all, it only dirties a tiny frying pan!
    A friend of mine isn’t a fan of cooking but has attempted to change since getting married and makes “Supper Bakes” in the microwave instead of the oven (you buy the chicken and add it to noodles or rice w/seasoning, also add water and butter usually)…several meals can be made in the microwave that most people think are “oven” meals.
    A crock pot might also be the best idea…check thrift/resale stores! I know, I personally have 3 crockpots for some reason….one is large for roasts & such, also kinda high tech but it was a steal, and another is average size and the 3rd is small-perfect for meatballs/bbq mini weenies/cheese dip.
    Good luck 🙂

  • Oh I have to recommend a crock pot as well. Great for those days when you know you are too burnt out to think about dinner. Throw a bunch of ingredients in in the morning and voila!

    We love sandwiches, soups and salads…but I can see those getting old after awhile. Breakfast for dinner.

    I wonder how big your freezer space is? Could you have a freezer cooking party at a friends house and store some easily microwaveable casseroles in your freezer (you could freeze portions in ziplocs and reheat in bowls?)

  • Carol says:

    I would defiantly invest in the crock pot also. Even some of the drugstores, are starting to sell the small ones for pretty cheap.

    Do you have some close friends or family that you can go to and borrow the kitchen of? Maybe spend a night/weekend and and do some freeze and go meals? Pancakes and french toast are big hits in our house when we don’t want to make a huge mess. Roaster chickens from the grocery store can be turned into many different meals from one chicken. Good luck with the upcoming new kitchen!

  • Invest in a crockpot! They cost from $30-$60 at Target, Kohls, Wal-Mart, etc. You are probably spending at least $20 (if not more depending on your family size) eating out so purchasing a crockpot would be a good investment. You can also buy Reynolds Crockpt Liners (with the ziploc bags at the store) and clean-up will be minimal.

  • Megan says:

    Agreed that a crockpot would help out. Here’s a recipe for an inexpensive scalloped potato dish that my family loves (my only changes are using sliced polish sausages and cream of celery soup instead of cream of mushroom). It says crock pot but I think you could simmer in a pot on the stove until potatoes are tender…perhaps and hour or two on low heat? Fried rice would be another easy one to make in a skillet. I don’t have a great recipe but here’s one that I’ve tried: Otherwise, things like spanish rice and fajitas, tacos, Thai dishes like curry and peanut sauce (there are some simple mixes from Thai Kitchen that may not rock your world but are passable if you don’t want to cook from scratch), Italian cream pasta dishes (like fettuchine alfredo with either jarred or homemade sauce and steamed veggies), stir fry, stew (… Writing this I’m realizing I don’t use my oven that much! Oh, also, this was our dinner tonight (easy to make and delicious), Irish Chicken and Dumplings: Hope that helps!

  • Del says:

    I would also suggest getting a crock pot. It’s also a time-saver while you’re doing all your renovations!

    There are lots of breakfast type foods that can be cooked in one or two pans with little mess. Egg and deli meat ham sandwiches, fried eggs with toast, pancakes. How about cooking up some bacon and making BLT’s? We like cream of wheat which is a great one-pan food, but I know not everyone loves that. How about baked potatoes in the microwave with lots of toppings to choose from to make it more filling? Sometimes I cube chicken, cook it, add some seasoning, then put it on top of salad fixings. This is a simple, one pan meal.

  • HeatherW says:

    We need a Canadian version of your blog! So many times I wish I could apply for the giveaways and discounts, but they usually don’t apply north of the border.. BOO! ;0)

  • Michele says:

    I agree with the others, invest in a decent crockpot. Crockpot lasagna is delicious, as is chili and other soups/stews. You can easily make a whole chicken or roast in the crockpot as well. You may not miss the oven if you use the crockpot for your meats. Grilling is another great idea. We love grilling veggies along with our meat or fish.

  • Heather says:

    We’re in the same boat. In week five of a renovation of a 60 year old kitchen. Delays. Dishes in the tub. House in chaos. All of the mentioned methods of cooking and food prep had to be done on dining room table, which my one year old is able to climb on at light speed. I had previously put a lot of stuff in the freezer, but that’s all about gone now. However, we do have some temporary counters down now which has made my life a lot easier toddler-wise. The end is in sight.

    Definitely buy or borrow a crock-pot AND those expensive liner bags. Considering the cost of meal out, it’s worth it.

    Try tortilla soup. Mostly canned ingredients, so little prep. Canned tomatoes, or Rotel, chicken, corn, broth, black beans. Add some cumin, chili powder, onion, or whatever. Cook in crockpot. Serve with preshredded cheese and tortilla chips.

    Several times we’ve gone to Kroger in the evening and got a rotisserie chicken marked down and reheated it in the microwave the next day. Leftovers can go in soup or fried rice (we just had that last night).

    Spaghetti with jarred sauce only gets one pot dirty, and it’s just the pasta pot, so not too hard to wash. You can take the lid off and heat the sauce in the microwave. Get a better brand so you won’t miss the meat. Add some preshredded cheese to the top. Do a different type of pasta.

    Keilbasa with thinly sliced potatoes and onions cook up yummy in an electric skillet.

    For veggies, I have been buying (on sale) those frozen kind that you “steam” in the bag in the microwave. I serve them right out of the bag – classy, I know, but anything to save washing a dish! You can also do rice that way in the microwave.

    Before washing dishes, I take a paper napkin and wipe out every bit of crumbs. We have drainage problems also.

    Spending more at the store for convenience items is still cheaper than eating out. Buy something special or different to keep everyone’s spirits up. Fresh pineapple, hummus, Oreos, popsicles . . . . whatever it takes!

  • Karen says:

    Honestly, I NEVER turn on my oven to cook (I do for baking, of course). I saute all of my meats (spray pan with meat in pan) or make skillet meals. I either use packaged stuff (ie. Hamburger Helper) and add in a my own veggies or make rice or noodles to accompany the meat and microwave-steamed veggies.

  • Hollaina says:

    Crock pots are a God-send. You could also look into a George Foreman grill; Those things are great too. 🙂

  • Hollaina says:

    Oh, and for Crock pot recipes that rock, try: These are economical and easy!!!

  • Kimiko says:

    On our blog, my sister and I share recipes and tips for frugal cooking at home. You can browse our recipes as not all of them use the oven (spaghetti sauce, taco salad, breakfast burritos, fried rice, soups, etc.). Check it out at!

  • Ann says:

    We went without an oven for about 4 months after ours died and I was trying to save up to pay cash for a new one. Luckily it was through the summer months so I was able to grill outside often. We ate lots of skillet and crockpot meals, along with fast food. I didn’t miss it at first but by the last month I was really ready for that new oven!

  • Kim says:

    I would either invest in a crockpot or a 4 quart pressure cooker. The pressure cooker cooks things very fast on the stovetop. I just made a fabulous, falling apart tender, pot roast in my pressure cooker in about 35 minutes! It’s like magic. A whole cut-up chicken cooks in 8 (yes, 8) minutes once you get it up to pressure, which takes just a few minutes on my gas stove top.

    One of my favorite stovetop recipes is to boil some ravioli or tortellini (could be done in the microwave) and to make a simple tomato cream sauce on the stovetop. I like Rachel Ray’s recipe from her first cookbook.

    Best of luck!

    • Rachael says:

      Rachael Ray’s recipes found on or on her website might be helpful. Because she cooks 30 minute meals, many are made without the oven.

  • Becky Cruz says:

    I agree that investing in a crockpot is the way to go. But anything made in the crockpot can also be cooked in a dutch oven on the stove top. Soups, stews, meat & veggies, you name it it can probably be cooked on top of the stove. I do a great old fashioned pot roast with dry onion soup ,cream of mushroom soup, potatoes & carrots. A great one pot meal. Put the roast & soups & 1 cup of water into pot, cook 2 hours on med-low to low heat. Add veggies and cook another 45 minutes or until veggies are tender. Dinner is done! Most crock pot recipes can be adapted for the stove top, just takes a little experimenting. Good luck and enjoy your new kitchen!

  • marie says:

    I would look at a thrift store like Goodwill for a crockpot. Many people have suggested some wonderful meal ideas so I don’t want to repeat. Another great tool is a rice maker. I can make rice in 5minutes in my microwave. I can also use it to boil potatoes and mash them in it for mash potatoes. You can even steam veggies in it.

  • Ana says:

    Look for your crockpot at CVS, Rite-aid, etc. They carry seasonal items and small kitchen electrics would fall into this category because they make fast Christmas gifts. I found a 3 quart crockpot at CVS for 75% off which made is $4.25!!!! I used my ecbs to pay for it which made it 67 cents! I am in love with my pot. I come home to fully cooked meals 🙂

  • Jill says:

    I know it’s a long shot but if Karyn lives anywhere near SW Iowa, I will give her an extra crock pot I have (still in the box)! I think we received it as a wedding present and I already had one. Would love to give it to someone who could use it.

  • Anne says:

    Guess this is just going to firm up what others have stressed —– get a crockpot! I have walked in your current shoes and survived with a crockpot, a single burner hot plate, and a small rotissere oven that was about the size of a microwave. I tended to use the crockpot the most for ease.

    We hardly ever ate out. I also set up a temporary pantry right in the dining room, so snacks and breakfast foods were easily accessible to kids and hubbie. You can cook so many things in the crockpot. Including meatloaf, different soups and stews, roast, meat you can easily shred for sandwiches and quesadilla’s. You can even cook dessert in them. So easy. Try it! You probably even have a friend that would loan you one if you don’t want to buy.

  • kelly says:

    we went without a stove & oven for 6 weeks and I must say between our grill, crockpot, and electric skillet, I didn’t feel like it was too big of a deal! The only bummer was that I couldn’t bake. But definitely, you must get a crockpot & electric skillet! you’ll be so glad you did, even when your oven is back!

  • Loretta says:

    Stir fry works well, taco soup (if you have a heavy pot you can brown the ground beef/turkey in the pot, drain, then add canned veggies), and chili (also browning meat in the pot). You can microwave rice with chopped up ham/turkey/beef etc. Serve with salad or sliced raw vegetables. A crockpot would definitely be a worthwhile investment and you would have more variety in your meals.

  • Diana says:

    Get a crock pot! 🙂 You can also make English Muffins on the stove-top for a bread idea–there are recipes all over online. The bake in a pan on the stove-top.

    Scrambled eggs are great, as are hardboiled eggs (egg salad!) or a main dish salad with a can of tuna on top for protein.

    Also, stirfrys are one-skillet, and I would definitely recommend making a big pot of rice once a week so you only have to wash the pan once. Happy stove-top cooking!

  • Sarah says:

    My husband and I love this meal. I got the idea from a soup can.

    Broccoli Cheese Chicken

    Get a bag of frozen chicken patties and microwave them. Boil some egg noodles. And mix 1 can of Campbells Broccoli Cheese Soup and 1/3 cup milk. Heat in a sauce pan. Put the noodles on a plate, chicken on top and pour the sauce over the top. It’s delicious! If you have a larger family just make more sauce and noodles. The whole meal will cost less than $10 and it truly is delicious!

  • I make a killer broiled tilapia parmesan in my toaster oven. It’s a countertop toaster oven/convection oven, and it’s so nice to use when I don’t want to heat up the kitchen!

  • Keepthecheeze says:

    You could buy a nice one and buy a couple of others at a thrift store. They are unbelievably cheap on your electric bill, and with 2 or more you can make things at the same time, like meatballs in one and bread in the other or roasted (yes roasted!) veggies, or baked potatoes.

  • Julia says:

    If you don’t want to buy a crock pot, you might be able to borrow one from a friend. Some people I know have more than one.

    Also, you could check out a Chinese food cookbook from the library. Asian cooking is easy to do with minimal cookware. It’s fairly easy to rinse out a wok or saute pan. We used to wash all of our dishes in the bathroom when we lived in a small apartment overseas that had no kitchen.

  • Cristina says:

    I personally don’t use the oven very often. Or the microwave. And I just started using a crock pot. Whatever I cook(I’m cooking every day,no joke),I make it on the stove. Or the grill. Soups,fries,steaks,Chinese food,breakfasts,etc. Even crepes,they’re so easy. You name it,I can find you a way to make it on the stove. And the grill is not only healthy,but delicious too. Whatever I cook,I make it as healthy as possible. I boil potatoes and either eat them boiled with butter and sour cream,either mashed. The steak,I never make it in oil as it can be cancerous, so I cook in butter. Add some water,and steam it:healthy and delicious. And so much more!:) use your imagination.

  • You don’t have to get a crockpot.

    I use my stovetop every day. I make the following meals in one pan: hearty soups, meatless chicken fried steak, spanish rice, and stir fry. I have several 2 pan meals as well, and they’re all $2-$5 for my family of 8.

    Pot roast, baked beans, chili and stew can also be made on the stovetop instead of in a crockpot as well (and they cook quicker, too!)

  • Grilled cheese with Tomato Basil soup. Chili. Spagetti or any pasta such as the Penne ala Betsy from the Pioneer Woman’s website. Quesadillas. Tacos. Breakfast (pancakes, bacon, and eggs) or omlettes. Sloppy Joes.

  • Ann says:

    I haven’t had a oven for 7 years! You can cook almost anything on the stove top. I cook alot on the grill, from turkeys to cakes. I dont like crock pots they take to long! If you don’t have a stove top a double electric burner is what I use. If you don’t have a grill, there is a $50. cooker,electric that cooks a 20lb turkey& a whole lot more! A toaster oven also is great for many things from cookies to biscuts,steak and much more. Good luck!

  • Andrea C says:

    I hate turning on the oven in the summer time, so a few years ago I started using our grill to make casseroles. I just use my older 9×13 and put an oven thermometer in there! It takes a bit to get used to the setting your flame, and I always use aluminum foil on top to help prevent grill flavors, and keep the heat in.
    We’ve done lasagna, pizza, and just about any other regular casserole. Baked potatoes (which can also be done in the microwave in less time), and canned veggies.

  • Nichola says:

    I am just at the end of a 3 month kitchen renovation.

    Crockpot was great, but def not the only option.

    I learned to do pizza in an electric skillet, you could do it on the stove top as well. Start with a cold pan, oil it well, and put dough and all the toppings on. Cook at about 400 for 20 min or so…. Not the best you’ve ever had in your life, but pretty tasty and way easier on the budget.

    Pancakes are good anytime.

    I did a lot of stir fry stuff, and pasta dishes paired with a stir fry of veggies is pretty good and easy.

    One easy lunch/snack idea that we enjoyed was cream cheese spread on a hearty cracker, like Wasa, with a natural lunch meat and a pickle. Simple but really tasty.

    I also did no bake cookies, and I like to add a bunch of stuff not called for in the recipe. Extra nuts, unsweetened coconut, hemp hearts, etc. Makes a nice treat, and can be pretty healthy as well.

  • Easiest recipe I know.

    Bean Soup:

    1 can chicken broth
    1 can rotel
    1 can refried beans

    Heat the three ingredients in a pot. Typically on the stove but this could probably be done in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave. Stir until ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Serve over tortilla chips and sprinkle on some shredded cheese.

    We just had this for dinner, I love it.

  • Allison says:

    We also recently remodeled our home, including updating an older kitchen. We only had to live in our house without a useable kitchen for about 2 weeks, but we faced similar challenges. We used paper plates and cups and plastic utensils to make clean-up easier. We ate a lot of ham or PB&J sandwiches and grilled hot dogs, hamburgers or chicken. For easy veggies, you can get the steamfresh microwaveable veggies and serve them directly from the bag onto paper plates for easy clean up (and there are frequently coupons for these). Fruit or fruit salad can also easily accompany meals without much effort. Having a stove-top available could let you make one-dish meals such as hamburger helper or chili. I also like the idea of getting a crock-pot with the liners to make clean-up easier. Don’t get discouraged….my husband kept telling me “It’s only temporary.” Our kitchen is now complete and I am once again enjoying being able to cook regular meals for my family again. I don’t even mind the clean-up too much, now that I have a dishwasher!

  • Teri Capshaw says:

    My zesty brocolli stir fry might be nice for something different. It’s a family favorite that’s super easy to make and healthy. In fact, it’s so healthy I’m amazed by how much we enjoy it. I have a picture and the recipe on my blog:

    I also have a ton of other simple stove-top recipes I need to post. This is a good reminder that I should get to work!

    I wish you and your family the best– I’m sure you can’t wait for that beautiful new kitchen.

  • Erika says:

    I lived without a kitchen for the first year of my marriage and learned to cook everything on a hotplate and in a toaster oven (we didn’t have ROOM for a crock pot or anything really at that time and the kitchen was totally unfinished) and lived off camp furniture and a piece of small counter top mounted on some 2 x 4s. A loaf pan was my best friend (and I just got a new toaster oven at Target on clearance for 10.00, so watch your clearance sales :). You can make casseroles in a toaster oven in a loaf pan…cream of chicken soup, some canned veggies and cooked rice (you can make it on your stovetop or you can get a veggie steamer/rice cooker at Wal-Mart for about 20.00…mine’s a Black and Decker and I LOVEEEE it!). Meatloaf is super easy in a toaster oven. If you get a 4 to 6 slicer you can actually bake chicken breasts on the small baking pans pretty easy, although I usually just cooked chicken on the stove top with some chicken broth or something. With a toaster oven you can bake cookies in small amounts, make loaf sized cakes, even bake bread in it. Honestly, even a high end really NICE model of toaster oven can usually be scored for about 50.00, which is what? Two nights of eating out?

    After that first year of marriage I’ve NEVER been without a toaster oven…not a once :). It’s the one investment I’m definitely willing to make.

  • Milly says:

    do the math…

    bread + cheese + butter + foil + iron (yep, the one for your clothes)


    quick grilled cheese sandwiches.

    kids love it because it is so different, it can be made pretty much anywhere (I’ve done it in hotel rooms and the coffee table when our kitchen was being remodeled) and there is ZERO cleanup except the butter knife.

  • Janine says:

    Gotta agree about the Crockpot. You’ll love having it even after the kitchen is done. When I was in Target a week ago the regular size Crockpots were on sale for $19.95 and the large ones for $24.95! You also may be able to borrow one, as I suspect I’m not the only person with more than one, lol. Get a Crockpot, though, not another brand– and if you go to the thrift store, skip any that don’t have a removeable crock. They’re much more trouble than they’re worth. Good luck & enjoy your new kitchen!

  • Just tonight I made microwave enchiladas. I have the recipe here:

    Basically, make your taco meat, then put some meat and cheese (tonight I added black beans–I’ve used refried beans in the past) in a tortilla, roll it, put it in a micro-safe dish. Pour enchilada sauce over it, and sprinkle with cheese. Microwave for 3-5 minutes and Voila! Dinner with no oven! (and in less than 20 minutes!)

  • Camille says:

    Living in the desert, I don’t turn on my oven for a good 4 months a year! I cook on the stove and use the Crock Pot. Target has them for under $20. I also HIGHLY recommend a toaster oven. I promise you’ll use it even after the renovation. I love mine! Another gadget to consider is an electric roaster. They are everywhere right now for Thanksgiving. I bake a lot of stuff in there over the summer. I don’t use it as much as my toaster oven though. But you can often find the roasters at yard sales.

  • Dana S says:

    Here’s a recipe we all love for Sesame chicken. Serve with brown rice, and steamed (microwaved) carrots or broccoli.

    My kiddos (who are 5 and 7) ask for this on a weekly basis!

  • Natalie says:

    I vote get a george foreman grill. They are quick, wasy to clean and you can make all kinds of meat dishes on them. The crock pot would be a great for you too.

  • Shannon says:

    I LOVE my toaster oven. I use it to make tuna melts or veggie melts, or even roast small pans of veggies or meat. It could cook a casserole and some are made to cook pizzas. As for stove top meals, my favorite is one my mom calls Zucchini Casserole.

    Brown 1 lb of ground beef (or pork, turkey, elk, etc) with a chopped onion and a little garlic. Drain well. Slice several zucchini very thinly, and layer them in the skillet over medium heat, seasoning with salt and pepper between each layer. When you’ve finished layering, pour a can of tomato sauce over the top, and season some more. Cover and cook till the zucchini are tender, then add some sharp cheddar to the top and cover to melt. Serve right out of the pan. Delicious!!

  • stacy says:

    We lost our oven when we were expecting our second child (he is 16 now)-even back then we would not buy anything unless we could pay cash for it-so we went without an oven for just about a year. I made serious use of our crockpot and microwave. We were fortunate enough that it was a wall oven we lost so we still had our cooktop (sort of only a couple burners worked) and skillet casseroles were made quite frequently. Our gas grill was also used even in the dead of winter.

  • Michelle says:

    I just want to point out that a CrockPot would cost the same or less as one meal out for a family of four, a great investment over time! Use it twice and it pays for itself.

  • Angie says:

    I think you need to go get a crockpot for $20 it will be better than eating out like you have been!

  • Angela says:

    The Pampered Chef has an awesome stoneware piece that you can use to make some unbelievable meals in the microwave. I know that may sound gross but I make them and you would never guess they were made in the microwave. It is called the Deep Covered Baker, it can be used in the oven or microwave and there are tons of recipes that can be made in the microwave in 30 minutes or less. I love my Deep Covered Baker!

    • karla says:


      i was going to suggest that also! you can even make a whole chicken in the microwave! i was skeptical at first but it turned out great. It is a little pricey but it is definitely cheaper than several meals out. you can get recipes for it right off their website.

  • Sara Conley says:

    I lived for a month in an extended stay hotel with only a stove top and microwave – no crockpot or oven. I was really happy because we didn’t eat out at all that month. We only ate in. Here are few things we ate – none of them were incredible, but we were going for easy and cheap.

    Grilled Cheese
    Pan Fried Sausages with Onions, Peppers and Hot Mustard on Rye French Dip – thinly sliced deli roast beef and swiss on hoagie rolls with beef broth warmed for dipping
    Meatball Subs – hoagie rolls, meatballs cooked in a pan, marinara sauce and parmesan cheese
    Sloppy Joes

    Tex Mex:
    Quesadillas – sandwich shredded cheese between 2 tortillas and cook until cheese is melty on a dry skillet. Use a pizza cutter or knife to cut into wedges.
    Tacos – brown hamburger meat and onion together and use a taco seasoning pack. Then fill tortillas with meat, lettuce, tomato, cheese and salsa.
    Bean burritos – cook chopped onion in a bit of oil until translucent, add a can of refried beans and cook through, add cheese (maybe 1/2 c per small can of beans). Spoon mixture into tortillas and roll up like burritos. Place the burritos you want to eat on a plate, cover with a wet paper towel to keep the tortilla texture nice and warm in the microwave for about 2 minutes. Serve with salsa.

    Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce
    Cooked penne with asparagus steamed in the microwave, chopped tomato, olive oil, garlic, black & red pepper flakes, and plenty of parmesan

    Big Salads
    Taco Salad – browned hamburger meat, lettuce, tomato, crushed tortilla chips, cheese, canned pinto beans drained and rinsed, salsa for dressing
    Chef Salad – lettuce, tomato, peas steamed in the microwave and cooled, diced harboiled egg, cheese, chopped deli meat turkey/ham, ranch or blue cheese dressing

    Too many ideas to name…definitely use if you’re needing free new recipes.

  • Leah says:

    I hardly ever use my oven…I don’t think I would be at a loss without it lol.
    Something like fajitas or burritos seem optimal. You really just need one skillet, and they’re not too messy.
    Things I generally serve when I don’t want to cook: beans tossed in salsa over rice topped with various things like cheese, avocado, tomatoes, japs, whatever I have on hand. I make dried beans, but if you buy canned, this is a no brainer, you just have to cook the rice (and you can buy microwave rice if you use the microwave, I try to avoid it). You could also make fajitas/burritos from the pre-cooked chicken (rotisserie, or sliced chicken that you buy near the lunch meat) for another easy meal (rotisserie chicken is not all that expensive, it has a lot of meat on it, and I usually boil the bones for broth to get more for my money). Pasta with canned sauce (again, homemade is better, but if you have to make due) can be easy (for added health benefits, add veggies like spinach to the sauce). Stir fries are easy, although they can be kind of messy. They’d be a one pan recipe if you microwaved rice (you can buy bags of frozen veggies so that you don’t have to dirty a cutting board, and use rotisserie chicken if you don’t want to cook chicken). Omelets can be made in a single pan, especially if you buy frozen veggies. Just scramble directly in the pan and proceed as usual.
    To sum it up, just try to rethink your favorite recipes using healthy “convenience” items like frozen veggies (these generally have close to the same nutritional value as fresh) and pre-cooked rotisserie chicken. Try to prepare whatever you can *in* the pan instead of using a separate dish.
    Good luck 🙂

  • CJ says:

    My oven has been broken for almost a year (the 2nd time I’ve been through this) and I don’t plan to get it fixed. I’ve found all kind of things can be cooked on the stove top instead the oven – chicken, fish, fries, potatoes, meat patties (instead of baking a meatloaf) and of course all the usuals that just need a stovetop – pastas, soups, vegetables, etc. I do miss not being able to bake pizza, biscuits, cookies, etc. But I refuse to fix or buy a new oven every 5 years!

    • Leah says:

      @CJ, I see things like pizza, cake, etc. in crock pot cookbooks all the time- so you definitely do not need an oven to “bake” 🙂

  • Mikki says:

    We do this every year, actually. I refuse to use the oven during the summer months to help keep the house cool and energy costs down. I use the crockpot a lot but not nearly as much as we grill. We grill all the time in the summer! We also have a skillet and George Forman grill if we really want hot food. Otherwise I do stovetop cooking or even sandwiches/cold food.

  • Jen says:

    A rotisserie chicken from Costco or other store is a great way to skip the oven part — and it could cost less than buying raw! I make a Rick Bayless recipie for Chipotle Chicken Salad. It’s served cold and even the kids love it.

  • Erin says:

    If you don’t have a Crock Pot, there’s probably a good reason, so I wouldn’t invest in one for only six weeks. I have one I use a couple times a year. I just don’t care for the kinds of food made in them. You can modify most recipes for a Dutch oven. You can also modify many recipes to make them one-pot meals if you plan well (cook noodles first in the pot you’ll be making the stroganoff or sauce in). Some basic suggestions: tacos, stroganoff (Cooking Light has wonderful stroganoff recipes for chicken, beef, and pork!), Italian/Polish sausage sandwiches with peppers and onions, stovetop mac and cheese (Cooking Light has many wonderful mac and cheese recipes–choose the ones with lots of stars. Also, if a recipe calls for broiling, just skip that step!), smothered pork chops, quesadillas, taco salads (try with sliced chicken breast and ranch dressing mixed with a pureed, canned chipotle), stovetop meatloaf patties, easy pasta fagioli (, and so on.

    One of my all-time favorite quick and easy recipes is chicken chilaquiles. The recipe may look weird, but it is delicious!:

    Keep in mind that you can modify recipes to use whatever ingredients you have on hand or like.

  • SarahMay says:

    A series of “How to Cook Without and Oven” and “No-Cook Meal Ideas” from this summer might be helpful:

  • Crystal says:

    Pasta is always a good go-to quick meal that doesn’t use an oven. You can make any variety of sauces to go on it on the stove as well. Just start with some garlic and onions, saute it them, add some protein, veges, and spices and some sort of liquid (canned tomatoes, chicken broth, milk or cream, etc) to make it a little saucier then toss it all together. Its not a one pot meal, since you have the pasta pot and a saute pan, but not bad!

  • nancy l. says:

    I’m not sure if this was suggested already, but if you have a thrift shop or Goodwill/Salvation Army store nearby, I’d look there for a crockpot before buying one new. You should be able to get a good sized one for under $10 or so. That way you can try it out and if you find you don’t like it, you’re not out a lot of money. We use ours pretty consistently. I work over supper time one or two nights a week. It’s soooo easy to put a meal in the crockpot in the morning and then my husband and sons have a hot meal for supper. I’ve found that some of the all day cooking meals are a bit mushy for our taste. I usually just shorten the cooking time by not starting them until closer to noon. Works well for us!!

  • Jennifer says:

    We completely remodeled our kitchen last summer and so I was also without a kitchen for a good 6 weeks. I also had to get very creative with meals as I operate a daycare in my home and lunches still had to get served…even without an oven. As many others have suggested, a crock-pot is a must. I also purchased a toaster oven from Wal-Mart for around $50 and LOVE it! I still use my toaster oven more than my oven. Unless I am baking something (which I rarely do bake), I always use my toaster oven. Kid friendly meals like chicken nuggets, fish sticks, corn dogs, etc. work great in there. I have also toasted bagels, english muffins, frozen pancakes/waffles, and have also cooked casseroles and lasagna in mine. I recommend getting a larger one so that it will hold the larger casserole dishes. Soups and salads are also a great go-to/few dishes meals (I remember washing dishes in the bathroom tub…not fun at all!) Good luck!

  • Susan says:

    I would suggest tacos, omelettes/scrambled eggs, quesadillas, stir fry. There are a ton of things to make with only a stove top.

  • I’ve also been there and done that. No oven for a year. No stovetop either during that year. I survived with a crockpot, an electric hot plate borrowed from our church (it had 1 working burner), an electric skillet and also a toaster oven. When the stove went out, I bought a larger size toaster oven for under $80 at Target. That toaster oven was my only oven for the next year. We cooked everything in it. It was big enough to fit a round pizza pan or 2 side-by-side loan pans or an 8×8 dish, so any food that could fit that size pan was cooked in the toaster oven. We relied on our regular menus but just had to coordinate the cooking methods. Didn’t invent any new recipes but we survived on the usual. Hang in there! Your new kitchen will be SO WORTH IT when it’s completed and you’ve sacrificed to get there!
    Shannon in Indiana <

  • Lauren C. :) says:

    I have a very unusual idea. There is a cookbook out there called “Cooking without an oven”. This guy wrote this cookbook for the person who is on the road traveling for business a lot.
    Among some of the things I remember is doing scrambled eggs in a coffee pot. Basically, you steam the eggs by putting them in a coffee filter where the grinds usually go and you get cooked scrambled eggs. There were quit a few other recipes, too. You might look for it online, and in your library and/or local bookstore.

    Hope that helps, and good luck!

  • Kris says:

    What about cooking several meals at a friend’s house? That way you can wash most of the dishes in a real kitchen sink/dishwasher and heat up the food in the microwave at home as needed. That way your are not having to change your regular method of cooking and you can have a fun visit as well. (I think the lack of an oven wouldn’t bother me near as much as lack of a kitchen sink/disposal/dishwasher.)

    • Heather says:

      @Kris, Totally agree! I miss my sink the most – more than the oven. People are giving great non-oven recipes, but many of them will dirty a lot of dishes. NOT worth it.

  • Erin says:

    I actually have had to do this, and I bought Pampered Chef’s Deep Covered Baker, and I was able to make a huge amount of dinners through there. Whole chickens, pork roasts, casseroles, etc. It’s a great investment and you can still have healthy foods. It worked for me!

  • andrea says:

    I have a toaster oven that is also a small convection oven that is really handy. You can even roast a smaller-sized chicken in it or a smaller cut of meat. It’s nice to have in case our oven ever goes down (which it has been known to do). Also, crockpots are wonderful!!

  • Elizabeth says:

    My parents completely re-did the kitchen when I was little and we didn’t have an oven or a stove for almost a year (it always takes SO MUCH longer than expected). We did end up eating out a lot more, but we also grilled a lot and my mom learned that you can make a TON of things in the microwave. You can steam veggies and cook pasta and rice in the microwave! We also ate a lot of frozen lean cuisine type dinners. If you look for a sale and get the non-big name ones, they aren’t too expensive. And for once everyone got to eat what they wanted, which was kinda cool.

  • shannon morales says:

    We have a toaster oven and a few baking dishes that fit in there. I love it and it takes about 60% of the regular time to cook than a regular oven. (Simple things like meatloaf, chicken and rice dish, tater tot surprise, etc)If you could find a toaster oven or crock-pot at a second hand store or craigslist, I would encourage that. What it costs for 1 or 2 meals out, you could pay for one of these items. Plus, I find the crockpot helps heat my kitchen in the winter, which is the central part of our house.

  • Jan says:

    Our electric goes out often in the winter. When it does I serve a Rotesseri chicken form the stores and cheese slices and fruit or Ham cheese and fruit hope that helps a bit.

  • Jodi says:

    Broccoli Cheddar baked potatoes
    Pizza bagels or english muffin pizzas
    Tuna Melts with chips or french fries

  • Jiya says:

    I almost never use my oven in the summer, so try thinking of summer cooking — salads, sandwiches, stovetop meals. Tacos are one of our favorite meals, & you don’t need the oven for them. Soups or stews are good too.

  • Mandy says:

    Without knowing the details of why you don’t have a crockpot, I would totally suggest you get one if they are easily overcome obsticles. If $30 is too much, try a thrift store – especially on a sale day – like Goodwill. If you don’t have room for a crockpot, then try to find a spot for it in the garage, a bedroom closet, etc. Depending on where you are in the country, if your weather is mild (70 degrees or more), you can put your crockpot on your patio to cook. I know some people who do this because they don’t care for the lingering smells of the crockpot. The blog Crystal recommended is fabulous, and I especially like that she rates how each recipe turns out.

    Good luck!

  • Kerry D. says:

    I make my meatloaf in a glass bowl, dig a hole in the center so that it has a giant donut shape, and cook on high about 20 minutes. Everyone thinks it’s strange, but it cooks faster than if I bake it.

  • Emily says:

    I’d have to disagree with all those recommending getting a crockpot. Like one commenter said earlier, if she doesn’t already have a crockpot, there is probably a reason. I have a crockpot simply because I got one as a wedding gift almost 10 years ago, but I almost NEVER use it. We just don’t care for the taste of meat cooked in a crockpot. It is ok for things like soups I suppose, and I used to use it occasionally for making a pasta sauce that was ok. But I don’t find it all that convenient and we don’t care for the types of meals that can be done in a crockpot. We prefer sauteed or grilled meat, both of which can be done w/o an oven. So, just a thought to consider, not everyone loves their crockpot!

  • Carrie says:

    Um, anybody else sick of reading crockpot crockpot crockpot????

    I haven’t had a stove or an oven since March. We get by with a toaster oven, grill, George Foreman Grill, Quesadilla maker and, most importantly: microwave and electric skillet. I have a crockpot, but we don’t bust it out until autumn leaves start to fall. We’re seasonal eaters and “crockpot” just says fall/winter to me 🙂

    Our favorite stove/oven free option: Chicken Taco Bake: 3 chicken breasts (cooked on George), cubed and cooked in taco sauce in skillet. 1 package cream cheese (also cooked in taco sauce), 1 large jar salsa. Garnish with shredded cheese, serve with taco chips.

  • Linda B says:

    We once went without an oven for six months. With a crock pot you can cook soups, stews, chili, and beef & pork dinners complete with vegetables. Anything else can be made on the stove top or grill. This will get you through until your beautiful kitchen is complete.

  • Wow! There’s so many options already above – but I’ll throw one into the mix. Just today I posted this recipe:

    Easy Chicken N Dumplins using a pre-cooked chicken from the grocery store! Hooray that cuts out half the work!!

    Here’s the link:


    • karla says:


      that looks good!
      if you are short on counter space and are looking for less cleanup… I don’t see why you couldn’t use refrigerated biscuits like Pillsbury instead of making them. I can get the basic store brand ones for .49 at my store.
      just a thought

  • fairydust says:

    I haven’t had a chance to read all the comments yet, so this may have been covered, but I’m a huge fan of stir-frys. You can put virtually anything in a stir-fry and all it takes is one large frying pan or even a large pot of some kind. Any veggie (just about), meat, eggs, pepperoni, lots of different spice options. Go nuts with it (and nuts are another good item to add). Another thing I love are the one-bag skillet meals like Bertolli and TGIF from the freezer section of just about any grocery store. And if you have a ‘wave, there are lots of steam-in-the-bag frozen veggie options available now.

  • Pam says:

    Don’t be shy about letting your friends know that you are in need of a crock pot. Sometimes people has small appliances they want to dispose of for free or sell for a small fee.

  • Anna says:

    Oh, Karyn, I feel your pain. I married my husband and two months into our marriage we ripped out our kitchen. Two months into that, I found out I was expecting our first child. We were without a kitchen for a total of 6 months and we really only had a freezer to keep our food cold since our refrigerator really wasn’t working. I used two electric frying pans, and the use of our microwave really didn’t get much use after I found out I was pregnant.
    So, we lived on hot pockets, lean pockets, pasta dishes (spaghetti, stroganoff, mac n cheese) and lots of stir fries. We did sandwiches a lot (as long as our sandwich stuff wasn’t frozen =)) for our lunches for work, grilled cheese was also good. We ate canned soup and I guess lots of pre-made things. We did eat out about once a week, but considering what we were working with, i think that was pretty good! I figured that even buying pre-made stuff at the grocery store was still cheaper (and probably healthier) than eating out all the time.
    I hope the renovations go quickly for you! God’s Blessings!

  • We don’t have a microwave so got a large toaster oven instead when we married. It’s fabulous and we can even make pizzas in there. You mentioned you don’t have a crockpot, but I bet you could get one at Goodwill for just a few bucks!

  • Joy says:

    Stirfries would be good. You could saute chicken or skirt steaks and veggies and make some rice to go along with it.

    Also brown hamburger meat for tacos. Or steak/chicken for fajitas. None of these dishes require an oven.
    Check online or at garage sales for used crockpots if you don’t want to invest in brand new. But it would be worth it in the long run if you did.
    ♥ Joy

  • Sunny says:

    This is my first time to leave a comment! I cannot help myself to say something. I am a Chinese. Before I came to US, my family never had an oven, neither did any people I knew in China. Stir-fry is easy and quick. The most basic stir-fry only requires soy sauce, salt and sugar. It will taste pretty good.

    My husband, who is an American, loves the dish of stir-fry egg and tomatoes. It is super easy. Scramble some 6 eggs in 1 tbsp cooking oil (add a little bit salt when you beat eggs) and take it out from the pan. Cut 3 big tomatoes (or 6 roma tomatoes) into wedges, and cook in 1 tbsp cooking oil, add 1/2 tsp salt and 2 tbsp sugar. Add 1/2 c water and cook tomatoes soft on medium heat and liquid gets thick a little bit about 5 mins. And put scrambled eggs back, and stir with tomato for a minute. And it will be ready to come out. Serve it on rice. It is a sour and sweet dish. If you like sour flavor more, add less sugar. And if you like it sweet, add more sugar. Just don’t forget that a little bit salt, otherwise, it will never taste right. If you like extra sauce to pour on rice, add a little bit more water when you cook the tomatoes. It will only take your 15 to 20 mins to make it.

    Check out some Asian cooking books from library may give you some ideas.

  • student says:

    I say make grilled cheese. bread & cheese & pickles. Wrap in foil. Use an iron to toast them. For more reference- see movie benny & joon 😉

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