Living the home-cooked life out of a mini-fridge

You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food.
~Paul Prudhomme

The first thing in my house to break down on me was the fridge. The only appliance that was not covered by the home warranty. And buying a new one would involve depriving me of the last of my emergency fund, or now that the final car payment has been sent off, siphon off the first of the funds that would replenish it.

Luckily, a friend was kind enough to allow me to borrow a mini-fridge. Not only that, but he’s in the middle of a full kitchen remodel and his wife wants a new fridge. They’ve promised me their old one. The mini-fridge, while still small, is a better size for me, except the freezer isn’t nearly big enough. And since I’m running tight on funds, I’m cooking about 90% of my food right now.

Yes, I’m cooking 90% of my meals while using a mini-fridge.

It’s not so bad, actually. I do batch cooking, which seems like something that wouldn’t lend itself well to the mini-fridge life, but it works. I go to the store, buy the ingredients I need, then come home and cook the meal. There aren’t any loose veggies or trays of chicken sitting about in my fridge. It’s all cooked and portioned out so I can Fridge-Tetris it nicely in there amongst the other obligate fridge items.

I store my sodas for work, the tea and beer for at home, the condiments that need refrigeration, and a week’s worth of food in the mini-fridge. There’s still room for my water pitcher, too, believe it or not. There is not, however, room for TV dinners or leftovers from eating out. Good thing I’m not doing any of the former and extremely little of the latter. I still wonder how the can’t-cook-won’t-cook crowd survives.

Now, the freezer is a problem. I normally portion out chicken breasts into singles, but without the freezer room I have to cook the chicken pretty much immediately for lack of space. This weekend I’m making enchiladas and chicken penne gorgonzola. I have to decide if I want to split a whole tray of chicken for these recipes, or if I want to use beef for the enchiladas and pre-cooked chicken for the penne gorgonzola. It depends on how small of a chicken tray I can get and how much the beef and pre-cooked chicken costs. And just forget about my tendency to hoard bread. There’s no way I can fit even one loaf in that little thing.

What I need is a fridge slightly larger than the mini-fridge with a freezer that’s almost as big as the refrigerator itself. But nope, they don’t make those. They just make really big refrigerators. And then even bigger refrigerators. I suppose if you have a family you’re feeding, but I don’t need that much room. And I cook!

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2 Responses to “Living the home-cooked life out of a mini-fridge”

  1. So, odd question. Been struggling with a bit of a weight problem myself, and I took to measuring all the food I eat.

    When I didn’t do this I just ate more when I made portions for multiple days. (And I still struggle with portioning when hungry enough).

    How do you deal with proper portioning? And with that small sized fridge, I assume you don’t drink alcohol right?

    • I actually portion it all out once it comes off the stove or out of the oven. So my fridge has multiple stacks of small tupperware containers, each one a meal. Things like egg salad sandwiches, which I don’t portion out immediately, get portioned out with a ladle when I prepare the meal to be eaten.

      And yeah, sometimes portioning really sucks, most especially in the evenings for me. I eat an early dinner, and sometimes I get the craving for a bite later on. I usually solve that by just not having anything to snack on, because if I do, I WILL snack.

      I do drink alcohol, but currently I only have a single bomber (22 oz) that’s waiting for someone to come over willing to split it with me. I had a few other bombers, but I drank them so they wouldn’t be taking up space in the fridge. :P

      Sorry for the late reply! WordPress didn’t tell me I had a comment. :(

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