Tuesday, July 17, 2012

No Recipe Required

Sometimes it's just nice to throw together a meal without having to hunt down the recipe.

Here are a few of my favorite "no recipe required" meals.  They definitely come in handy for me and I hope they will come in handy for you too.

I would love to hear some of your favorite recipe-free go-to meals too!

Slow Cooker Ranch Pork Chops with Mashed Potatoes


4 pork chops
1 packet ranch dressing mix
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
Instant mashed potatoes or your favorite homemade mashed potatoes


Place pork chops in a single layer in your slow cooker.  Sprinkle ranch dressing packet evenly over your pork chops.  Top each pork chop with the cream of chicken soup (1/4 can per pork chop).

Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours.

Serve pork chops and gravy with mashed potatoes.

Source: I saw an idea similar to this one on Pinterest.  You can find the recipe I originally found here.  It's from a blog called "Chef in Training."  Apparently, she got that recipe from another blog called "Real Mom Kitchen", which you can find here.  So, share and share alike!

Notes: I was looking for a meal to make that consisted of things I already had in the house and with the exception of the potatoes from the original recipe, I had everything.  So, rather than making the garlic-Parmesan potatoes that the original recipe called for, I used two packages of Idahoan instant mashed potatoes.  It tasted great and it was a lot easier than making mashed potatoes from scratch!  Though her mashed potato recipe looks fantastic and I'll need to try it.

Kid Friendly Pizza Bites


1 can refrigerated biscuits (8 biscuits--16.3 oz)
1/2 cup pizza sauce (from a jar)
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
Toppings, to taste (such as pepperoni, olives, Canadian bacon, pineapple, cooked and crumbled sausage, etc.)
Additional pizza sauce for dipping, if desired


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut each biscuit into quarters.  In a bowl, mix biscuits, pizza sauce, and toppings until the sauce has evenly coated the biscuits.

Pour biscuit/pizza sauce mixture into a 9-inch pie plate.

Bake for 20 minutes.  Top with mozzarella cheese and bake for another 5 minutes, or until the biscuits are done and slightly browned and the mozzarella has melted.

Source: I found the idea on the Pillsbury website here.

Notes: My boys love pizza, so I thought this would be a nice way to give them what they like and yet still mix it up.  They loved it.  My oldest son loves to dip his pizza bites in pizza sauce and/or ranch dressing.

Breakfast Burritos


Scrambled eggs (salted and peppered to taste)
Shredded cheese


Top each tortilla with scrambled eggs, shredded cheese, salsa, and bacon.  Roll up like a burrito (or eat it like a taco, if you prefer).

Source: I don't know who came up with this idea, but bless their heart!  

Notes: This makes a super easy, quick, and fulfilling breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Biscuits and Gravy


1 can refrigerated biscuits (8 biscuits--16.3 oz)
1 packet white country gravy mix
Sausage, optional (patties, links, or cooked sausage crumbles)


Bake biscuits according to package directions.

Prepare gravy according to package directions.

Serve biscuits, halved, and topped with country gravy.  You can either serve the sausage on the side (my preference), or you can mix chopped or crumbled cooked sausage into the gravy.

Source: I don't know where this one came from, so let's just say...Denny's!  Ha ha!

Notes: This is one of my favorite breakfasts.  And it's hearty enough to serve for dinner too.  I prefer not to put the sausage into the gravy because the gravy is surprisingly low-calorie by itself.  So, then I can slather my biscuits in gravy without any guilt and still enjoy my sausage on the side.

Baked Potato Bar


Large baking potatoes
Favorite toppings (butter, sour cream, shredded cheese, salt, pepper, crumbled bacon, chili, broccoli and cheese, etc.)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Wash and scrub baking potatoes.  Pierce with a fork 3-4 times.  Wrap in aluminum foil, if desired.

Bake potatoes for 1 to 2 1/2 hours (depends on the size of your potatoes).  Check potatoes for doneness by piercing with a fork.  I would plan on at least 2 hours for large potatoes.  If they get done early, you can always keep them warm in a cooler or roasting pan.  But it's better to have them done early than underdone when it's time to eat!

Top potatoes with your favorite toppings.

Source: Just common sense, I guess!  I'll bet people have been doing this for centuries.

Notes: My ideal baked potato has butter, sour cream, salt, pepper, and shredded cheese mixed and mashed together while it is still piping hot.  Yum!

What is YOUR favorite way to eat a baked potato?  Any favorite toppings that I forgot to mention?

Stir Fry


Chicken, beef, or pork, sliced thinly
Favorite fresh veggies (such as mushrooms, bell peppers, broccoli, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, snap peas, red onions, carrots, etc.)
Or, frozen stir fry vegetable mix
Bottled stir fry sauce (this time, I used House of Tsang General Tsao Sauce...yum!)


Cook meat in a little oil until cooked through (or to desired doneness for beef). Remove meat and place on a plate.  Cover to keep warm.

Cook vegetables until crisp-tender.

Return meat to pan and add desired amount of stir fry sauce. Serve over brown or white rice.

Source: Again, I'm not sure who came up with this, but bless their hearts!

Notes: This is one of those great dinners to throw together than can be done so easily with any mix of meat and veggies that you have on hand.  It's fast and easy, but it's also a nice change of pace from the norm.

Navajo Tacos


Vegetable oil for frying
Frozen roll dough (2 rolls per person), thawed, and slightly risen
Canned chili or ground beef (seasoned with favorite spices or taco seasoning mix)
Refried beans (or black or pinto beans)
Shredded cheese
Shredded lettuce
Diced tomato
Sour cream
Additional favorite toppings: sliced black olives, sliced pickled jalapeno peppers, ranch dressing (or cilantro-lime dressing, salsa-ranch dressing, etc.), cilantro, etc.


Heat oil in a deep frying pan or skillet until it reaches 375 degrees F.

Combine two rolls and flatten into a 6-inch circle.  Fry in oil about 30 seconds per side, or until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.  Repeat until you have the desired amount of fry bread.

Source: I don't know when our family started making this, but Rhodes Bread was probably an influence.  You can find their recipe here.

Notes: I like to go the easy route and top my Navajo tacos with refried beans and chili rather than making seasoned ground beef.  But that's just me!  Do whatever you like!

BLT Sandwiches


Bacon (2 slices per person, at least)
Iceberg lettuce
Sliced tomatoes
Salt and pepper, if desired


Cook bacon.  My preferred method is to bake the bacon (because when I make it on the stove-top I always get grease burns!).  You can bake the bacon at 400 degrees F. for 15-20 minutes or until desired doneness or at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes (if you want more in-dept directions, check out this fantastic recipe here.).

Toast bread and top with mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and pepper, if desired.

Place bacon, lettuce, and tomato on top of the first slice of bread and top with the remaining slice of bread. Enjoy!

Source: Let's face it, a lot of these "no recipe required" meals are old classics without a known source or origin.  Here's what Wikipedia has to say about it: The BLT evolved from the tea sandwiches served before 1900 at a similar time to the club sandwich, although it is unclear when the name BLT became the norm.

1 comment:

  1. I always liked Denise's pizza roll ups: rhodes dough, thawed, filled with mozarella & pepperoni, baked and dipped in pizza sauce.

    I really have given up on stir fry's. I think that I just overcook everything. The meat ends up dry and the vegetables soggy.

    You know I love Stroganoff for potato toppings. Yum. Yum....