Cooking Without Recipes: 5 Easy Restaurant Quality Meals

London broil and zucchini – a meal I make fequently after driving all day.

It is no secret that I like to eat. A lot. I also like cooking without recipes most often. Like everyone else, I am frequently pressed for time. Instead of picking up crappy takeout, I have a few go-to meals that require under fifteen minutes of prep time. What are they? I’m glad you asked.


I simply put fish fillets in a foil pan, top with a pat of butter, some chopped garlic, salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon. (Total prep time: 5 minutes). At the same time, I put Brussels sprouts in another pan with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and cheese. (Another 5 minutes of prep.) Everything goes in the over for 15 – 20 minutes at 400 degrees, and dinner is served. Easy peasy.

Any type of fish and vegetable combination can be quick and easy.

Easiest. Meal. Ever. I am not kidding. I simply defrost a Minute London Broil steak an hour before I want to cook. Once thawed, season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Next, slice a couple of zucchini the long way (that way they will be easy to remove from the grill). Add salt, pepper, olive oil to the zucchini. Grill on high for 3 – 4 minutes per side. (Tip: put the vegetables on the cooler part of the grill first, then add meat. When the meat is finished cooking, the vegetables will be, too.)


For this dish, make the vegetables first. Cut an eggplant into small cubes and toss into a saute pan with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add a chopped tomato, or some canned chopped tomatoes and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. I like the thin sliced chicken cutlets, as there is no need to pound them, and it is one less step when preparing dinner. Add chicken to a hot saute pan with chopped garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper and olive oil. Cook until cooked through and starting to brown on each side, about 4 minutes per side over medium-high heat. Yes, you create a few extra dishes with this one, but it is still fast and easy.

Grouper with fruit salsa works, too.

OK, so this one will take about fifteen minutes to slice and chop. The end result is worth it. Hate salmon? Substitute chicken, meat or some other fish. After all, it is your dinner, not mine.

Start by putting some rice in a rice cooker and turning it on. (Sure, you can do this in a pot, but if you have this otherwise useless gadget now is a good time to break it out.)

Thinly slice an onion and put into a pan over medium-high heat with some olive oil. Slice two bell peppers (I like red and orange ones), and add those to the pan with a little garlic and soy sauce (or, if you are like me and avoid soy, use coconut aminos.) Saute until the vegetables are soft and delicious. You have my permission to taste test.

Put salmon in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, depending on the thickness. For thinner fish, check the doneness after about 12 minutes. While you are putting things in the oven, wrap some asparagus in foil with oil, salt, and pepper and put those in, too. They’ll be done at the same time as the fish.


Fancy? Yep. Time-consuming? Not at all. Let your meat sit out for about half an hour before seasoning and grilling (4 minutes per side for an inch thick steak). Meanwhile, if you have a side burner on your grill, you can sautee the spinach in some olive oil there. If not, do it indoors while your meat is resting.

It doesn’t have to take all day to prepare a great meal. The best part is, any of these can be adjusted to fit most diets and food preferences. Plus, you get to eat a great meal every night. What are your favorte cooking shortcuts?