How to cook when you are packing and moving

Oct 7, 2008 at 12:18 p.m. ET

Whether you have moved fourteen times in the past six years or are in the midst of moving for the first time, you know that planning your meals to include anything but take-out is a challenge. But it isn't impossible. Here are a few simple tips to plan healthy somewhat home-cooked meals until you are unpacked.

Moving Boxes and Food

Tips to pack and plan meals when you are moving

  • Keep your kitchen functional for as long as possible, try to make it the very last part of the house to be packed.
  • Label individual boxes with specific kitchen supplies. For example, label a box with "kitchen utensils" and tape a list to the side of the box with everything that is in it. This will keep you organized when unpacking.
  • Place your most used kitchen items together in one box. If you frequently use your pasta pot and bowl, or skillet for eggs, put them in a box with other functional items (like knives and serving spoons) and label it. You can unpack this box first so you can cook. Be sure to include a kitchen towel and potholder, too.
  • Have paper plates, bowls, cups and utensils in reserve so you don't have to worry about unpacking your dishes — or washing dishes — just yet.
  • Stock up on frozen microwavable foods so all you have to do is heat and eat!
  • In the box with your most-used kitchen supplies, add a few boxes of pasta, sauce, a few herbs and spices, and cereal. This will get you through the first day or so.

Fast and easy recipes

These three or four ingredient recipes will keep your hunger at bay until you have a fully functional kitchen. And keep in mind, you can always fire up your grill, weather permitting.

Mango Chutney Turkey

Makes 6 servings

2 tablespoons honey
2 (8 ounces each) turkey breasts
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup mango chutney

Preheat grill pan or skillet over medium heat. Brush honey on turkey and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place turkey on pan or in skillet and cook, turning occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes or until fully cooked. Serve with mango chutney.

Super Simple Meatloaf

Makes 6 servings

1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1 (10-3/4 ounce) can vegetable soup
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until fully combined. Shape meat into a loaf pan and bake for 1-1/4 hours.

Orange Chicken

Makes 6 servings

6 chicken legs
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine marmalade and chili powder in a large plastic bag. Add chicken legs and shake until coated. Move chicken to a foil-covered baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, basting a few times while cooking.

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