The Wheaton Blog
A New Homeowner’s Guide to Cooking During a Household Move: Easy Food to Make at Home
If you’re about to move or have just recently moved, it can be difficult to to think about something as daunting as cooking meals for the week. If your life is packed in boxes, “what should I cook this week?” is probably the last thing on your mind.
Getting set up with moving day snacks and post-moving meal prep can be a great way to avoid falling into a take-out rut, which can put an even bigger dent in your wallet after your recent moving expenses.
Having easy meals when moving for you and your family will not only keep you fueled for the relocation process, but will get you feeling back to normal after the chaos of uprooting your life. When you’re spending all day moving and unloading boxes, there’s nothing better than a nice home-cooked meal at the end of the day. Ready for our best new homeowner weeknight dinner recipes and cooking tips? Keep reading!
Unpack & Organize Your Kitchen First
We know, this one sounds like a drag. There are boxes everywhere, things you used daily are now hard to find and your life might feel a bit messy after moving day. Try to prioritize unpacking your kitchen as much as possible to set yourself up for success. This will make it easier to take inventory of what ingredients you have and allow you to find recipe ideas that work for you to avoid ordering pizza for a week (or more) straight.
If you have a slow cooker, instant pot or a similar kitchen gadget, make sure to locate that right away to make the most of these popular moving-friendly meals! You’ll also want to have your Tupperware located and cleaned. This way you can store leftovers from these quick and easy big-batch recipes.
Take a Full Kitchen Inventory
After you unpack your kitchen, take full inventory of what you’re working with. This includes your pantry, fridge and freezer. Write it all down (even the spices!) to get you in an organized headspace before making a trip to the store to get ingredients for those easy meals for moving week.
Tip: this is a great activity to pass along to your kiddos if you have them! Kids always want to help and get involved, but their willingness to assist might be less welcomed when it comes to organizing and unpacking. Having them take kitchen inventory is a fun way to keep them occupied while you unpack.
Groceries to Buy When you First Move In
Now isn’t the time to reinvent the wheel; after you’ve taken inventory of what pantry staples and fridge items you have, buy what you love! If you know your or your family always reaches for an apple or a sandwich at lunch time, these things should make it onto your post-move shopping list.
Other staple vegetables like carrots, onions and potatoes will go a long way and adapt to almost any casserole or soup recipe out there—so feel free to stock up on some of those, too (bonus, these veggies also have a long shelf life). Overall, you want to eat foods that will nourish and fuel you during moving time.
Here’s a brief list of grocery staples to stock up on after a move to make easy meals that last a week:
- Ground beef
- Deli meat
- Hot sauce
- Soy sauce
Modify this list as much as you need for your own preferences, but it’s good to have some fresh items on hand to keep yourself fueled during a move. Add any spices or sauces you know you always reach for, especially since these types of pantry items tend to get tossed before a move.
Set Yourself Up For Success
The worst thing you can do during a move is tell yourself that there’s no time to cook. You’re unbelievably busy and likely have little desire to spend time in the kitchen making stir fry when there are boxes to unpack. Start by setting aside time for meal plan and prep. Even if it’s just 10 minutes in the morning to plan a meal for dinner and blocking off 30 minutes during your evening to cook, setting aside time to get it done will make a big difference.
Plus, you’ll thank yourself the next day when you have enough leftovers for another dinner, without any of the work!
Make Meals That Last a Few Days
Meal prepping and leftovers are going to be your best friend during your move. You want nourishing meals on the table when dinner time rolls around. Meal time needs to be quick and easy when you’re trying to get settled in your new space. Making big-batch, easy meals that last a week will help save you time, keep you sane and won’t require multiple grocery shopping trips.
Don’t be afraid to modify a recipe. If you find a recipe you love but don’t have an ingredient and refuse to make another trip to the store, don’t panic. Search for a substitute and simply modify it to fit your preferences or current kitchen arsenal.
Let’s dive into some of our favorite moving-friendly recipes for new homeowners that will save you time, money and hassle:
Easy Meals For Moving Week
Here’s a few of our favorite easy meals that last a week— if you’re only cooking for one or two people, you’ll have lots of leftovers. If your family is larger, simply double the recipe to ensure you have plenty ready to go for future meals!
They’re family-friendly, easy to modify and tend to make enough to last you more than just one meal. All you need is a few base ingredients like your favorite protein, whatever vegetables you have on hand, a grain like rice or quinoa and your go-to spices of choice! Casseroles make the perfect comfort food to cozy up to after a long day. Here are a few of our tried and true simple recipes to get you started.
- Easy Chicken & Rice Casserole: Adapt this one with whatever veggies work best for you.
- Beef Enchilada Casserole: A great family recipe that kids can help make.
- Baked Spaghetti Casserole: Don’t resort to boring food – this recipe switches up the typical spaghetti dinner.
- The Best Tuna Noodle Casserole: Pantry staples unite to pull together this filling meal that makes great leftovers.
Comfort in a bowl is what you need to melt away stress during a move. You’ll only need a few dishes for these recipes, like a large stock or crock pot, which keeps clean up to a bare minimum.
- Tortellini & Spinach Soup: A simple & delicious option that’s great to serve with some garlic breadsticks from the freezer section.
- Old Fashioned Potato Soup: Comforting as they come, this one is perfect to melt away the moving stress.
- Vegan Instant Pot Lentil Soup: Hearty, cozy and very hands-off.
- Vegetarian Chickpea Noodle Soup: A delicious veggie-based twist on a classic.
The best part about pastas is that they’re appealing to kids and adults alike. If you have picky eaters, it’s easy to set aside some plain noodles from the recipe with little or simple seasonings that the kids will eat. Making meal time easy during moving week is all about adjusting.
- One Pot Wonder Tomato Basil Pasta: There’s no time wasted doing dishes with this one!
- Adult Mac N Cheese (that kids will devour as well)
- Greek Pasta Toss: Add your favorite protein or keep it vegetarian!
Wheaton World Wide: Your Recipe for Relocation Success
Wheaton World Wide knows that life moves fast, that’s why we’re here to not only help move your life, but provide you with tips for all the small things that accompany the moving process (like cooking as a new homeowner). If you’re looking for professional household moving help, contact Wheaton today. We’ve helped thousands of families start their new beginnings with ease and we would love to help you as well!