No-Recipe Meal Ideas

Maybe you just flat out have too much going on (or are even just too lazy, which is fine) to put a lot of effort in to a meal. Or maybe you are just starting to dabble in to a Paleo or whole food diet and don’t want to get too crazy yet. Or maybe you are a bad cook. This post is for you: No recipes to follow, no measuring, no running to the store last-minute for the ingredient you forgot – just creating flavorful food (that isn’t boring!) to properly fuel your body.

No-Recipe Meal ideas // Whole Life Handbook //

Before we get in to it, here are some tips that will make throwing together no-recipe meals even easier:

  • Keep easy protein sources on hand: chicken breast/thighs/drumsticks, chicken sausage, ground turkey, frozen burger patties, eggs, etc. All things you can “dress up” pretty easily or cook without a lot of experience.
  • Make sure your pantry is stocked with good spice blends to jazz up your protein without putting in a lot of effort. I’m personally a huge fan of the Primal Palate spice blends. They’ve already done the work for you to measure and combine different spices that work well together. Plus, they are organic, gluten free, non-GMO, kosher, and Whole 30 approved (spoiler alert – your typical store-bought spices have a lot of nastiness hiding in them). My absolute favorites are the Meat & Potatoes Seasoning and Adobo Seasoning. This Signature Blends pack comes with the Meat & Potato, BBQ and Adobo.
  • Grab a few clean, flavorful salad dressings and condiments to keep in the fridge. These make it easy to dress up green veggies you may not normally be inclined to eat (kale, arugula, etc). I don’t love the idea of always covering vegetables in dressing, but if it’s getting more veggies in your diet, more power to you! I’ll use some of the oil-based dressings as chicken marinade, too. I’m a big fan of Tesse Mae’s, which I’ve found at Whole Foods, Hy-Vee and even Target. They make ketchup, too. You can find good dressings (like Primal Kitchen) online at places like Thrive Market, too, so no excuses! Obviously you can make your own dressings, but the focus of this post is convenience.
  • Keep green veggies on hand that are easy to prepare, like bagged greens such as kale or arugula along with frozen vegetables like broccoli and green beans.

Here’s a few “no-recipe” meal ideas–Paleo and Whole 30 approved!

Chicken, Sweet Potatoes & Green Beans

No-Recipe Meal Ideas // Whole Life Handbook //

This one is a super simple one pan meal. Peel and chop up a couple sweet potatoes into large chunks (I slice them in to 1-inch thick slices and then cut those in half) and line them up down one third of a 9×13 baking dish. Place 3-4 chicken breast or some thighs and drumsticks down the center third of the dish. Empty a bag of frozen green beans down the last third. Cover everything with a little avocado oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle everything with some pink Himalayan sea salt. Sprinkle pepper over the green beans and chicken as well as a spice blend like Meat & Potatoes. I also like to add a little cinnamon to the sweet potatoes. Cover the pan in foil and put in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes (depending on the size of your chicken) until chicken is cooked through.

Drumsticks with Greens

No-Recipe Meal Ideas // Whole Life Handbook //

Lay out the drumsticks on a baking pan (line the pan with tin foil for easy clean up!) and spray with avocado oil. Season with a spice blend–I like to use the Barbecue or Meat & Potato Seasoning from Primal Palate. Turn and season the other side as well. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 35 minutes (or until cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees). Serve with a big side of greens (kale, arugula, or whatever you have on hand) dressed in your favorite dressing.

Chicken sausage, guacamole, greens

No-Recipe Meal ideas // Whole Life Handbook //

I always have at least two packs of chicken sausage in my fridge at any time. It’s such a life saver! Aidell’s is a widely available brand and most of the flavors are pretty clean. Brat Hans is one of my favorite brands. Trader Joe’s has some good ones as well. How simple is it to just heat up a sausage or two and plate it with some green veggies (add dressing if you need to). Plop some guac on top. Need more fuel? Add a  boiled egg or sweet potato baked in the microwave. Poke a bunch of holes in it and microwave it for about 8 minutes, turning halfway through. Or get yourself a potato bag and skip the hole poking–plus it’ll only take about 3.5 minutes to cook the potato.

Burger and Fries

No-Recipe Meal Ideas // Whole Life Handbook //

Peel and slice up a couple sweet potatoes in to wedges. Lay out on a sheet pan and toss with some avocado oil, salt and pepper. Make sure they are spaced out on the pan so they can bake up and get crisp instead of steaming right next to each other. Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes, turning one half way through. Serve with a pan-grilled burger (I like the frozen grassfed patties from Costco, or check out my burger recipe here if you are a recipe-follower) wrapped in some lettuce with toppings like avocado or guacamole, ketchup. If it’s nice out, you can grill the wedges and the burger. Make sure to coat the wedges well with oil so they don’t burn. Keep them in indirect heat. They’ll take about 25 minutes – turn halfway through.

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