Six Easy Recipes for People Who Don’t Cook (Like Me)

published by Nancy J. Bailey on Feb 10, 2008

In my book Return to Manitou, I describe how one day I attempted to save my marriage by becoming a better cook. Probably understandably, I am single now, but have investigated cooking a little further and found easy ways to have great meals. Here are a few of my favorites.

I started with a green bean casserole. The oven was too hot, and there was still grease on the grill from the Thanksgiving turkey. The grease ignited. I threw cornstarch on the grease, thinking it would kill the fire. But then it really took off! I realize later that I was supposed to use baking soda.

I am currently cooking and have found new and easy ways to make great meals.

Camper Stew

This is a great camping recipe, but converted well to the crock pot


  • Lb Ground Beef – Browned
  • 1-16oz Can Tomatoes-Stewed or Diced is fine
  • 1-16oz Can Corn
  • 1-16oz Can Peas
  • 1-16oz Can Pork & Beans


  1. Dump everything into your crock pot cook on low 8-10 hours. Serve with Corn bread.
  2. If you are in a hurry you can do this on top of the stove, or make a single box of cornbread mix, and dump it in spoonfuls all over the top of the bubbling stew and let it continue to simmer until the cornbread is done.
  3. It won’t brown, but the steam and heat from the stew do cook it through and you have a one dish dinner!
  4. Make sure you are using a heavy pot.

You can use kidney beans instead of the peas. Or you can use both peas and kidney beans.

French Onion Beef Crock Pot Meal


  • 1 1/4 pounds of boneless beef round steak
  • 1 package (8 oz) of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 large onion, sliced into rings
  • 1 can of condensed French onion soup
  • 1 package of herb stuffing mix
  • 1/4 cup of butter, melted
  • 4 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Cut the beef into six serving sized pieces.
  2. Next layer half of the beef, mushrooms and onion in a crock pot.
  3. Repeat the layers until everything is used up.
  4. Pour the soup over the ingredients in the crock pot.
  5. Cover and cook on a low setting for 8-10 hours or until the beef is tender.
  6. Before you are ready to serve the meal, toss entire contents of stuffing box with melted butter and a ½ cup of the sauce from the crock pot.
  7. Next put stuffing on top of the meal in the crock pot.
  8. Cover and increase the heat to high.
  9. Cook for ten minutes or until the stuffing is fluffy.
  10. Sprinkle with cheese, recover.
  11. Cook until cheese is melted.

Can be doubled for larger crock pots!


Sort of a burrito, kind of an enchilada.

Make sure you use really good tomatillo salsa.


  • 2 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (a little more than half a chicken)
  • Juice of 1 lime (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/2 cups tomatillo salsa
  • 1 jalapeño, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/2 small red onion, minced
  • 4 flour tortillas
  • 4 slices asadero or provolone cheese (about 4 ounces)


  1. Heat oven to 450°F.
  2. Put the chicken in a small bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the lime juice, 1/2 cup of the salsa, 1 teaspoon of the minced jalapeño, 1 tablespoon of the cilantro, the minced onion, and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Place a quarter of the chicken mixture on the lower third of one of the tortillas and roll it into a cylinder from the bottom up, tucking in the sides as you go, so that no chicken escapes from the ends.
  4. Place the filled tortilla in a square 8-by-8-inch baking dish with the seam facing down. Repeat with the remaining chicken and tortillas.
  5. Combine the remaining 1 cup salsa with 1 tablespoon water, the remaining lime juice, the cilantro, and the jalapeño.
  6. Arrange the slices of cheese over the tortillas and pour the salsa mixture over the top. Bake until the cheese is browned and melted, 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Creamy Chicken and Dumplings

Skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs add to the ease of this recipe. Condensed soup and refrigerated biscuits also add convenience.


  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast halves or thighs, cut into one inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or butter
  • 1 stalk of celery, sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 10 3/4 ounce can condensed cream of chicken with herbs soup
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 4.5-ounce package (6) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits*
  • 1 cup frozen peas


  1. Place flour in a plastic bag.
  2. Add chicken pieces and shake until coated.
  3. In large saucepan cook chicken, celery and onion in hot margarine for two to three minutes or until chicken is brown.
  4. Stir in broth, condensed soup and pepper.
  5. Bring to boiling, reduce heat.
  6. Simmer covered about 20 minutes or until chicken and vegetables are tender.
  7. Meanwhile separate biscuits.
  8. Cut each biscuit into quarters.
  9. Stir peas into chicken mixture: return to boiling.
  10. Place biscuit pieces on top of chicken mixture.
  11. Simmer, covered over medium-low heat 10-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of biscuit comes out clean.
  12. Serve in bowls.
  13. As an option, substitute drop biscuits for refrigerated biscuits.
  14. To prepare, in a medium bowl combine 1 cup packaged biscuit mix and 1/3 cup milk.
  15. Drop mixture by teaspoonfuls into 8 dumplings on top of chicken mixture.
  16. Cook, covered, as directed.

Chicken Tortilla Soup


  • 1 (15 oz.) can whole-kernel corn, drained, or 2 C. frozen
  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans chicken broth
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans
  • 1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies
  • 1 t. cumin
  • salt to taste
  • 1 lb. boneless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped (in a real crunch you can use one 10-ounce can chunk chicken)


  • Tortilla chips
  • Shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese for topping


  1. Pour corn, broth, beans, tomatoes and chilies into large saucepan.
  2. Add cumin, salt and chicken.
  3. Simmer over medium heat until chicken is heated through.
  4. Serve with tortilla chips and shredded cheese.
  5. For added spicy flavor, cook chicken in taco seasoning, or add a couple of teaspoons of taco seasoning or chili powder to the soup.

Makes 6 servings.


Dump Cake

This one is so named because you only have to dump all the ingredients into a cake pan and stick it in the oven.


  • One can crushed pineapple in heavy syrup
  • One can cherry pie filling
  • One box yellow cake mix
  • One stick of cold butter or margarine
  • ½ cup chopped nuts



  1. Dump the pineapple and its syrup into a 13 x 9 cake pan and spread it on the bottom.
  2. Cover the pineapple with the cherry pie filling. Sprinkle the cake mix evenly over the fruit.
  3. Cut the cold margarine or butter into thin pats and place them evenly over the cake mix.
  4. Scatter nuts on top. Bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Bon appetit!

6 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. # 1 by Savage Belief
    February 27th, 2008 at 2:59 pm #

    Great ideas! The camper chili though, when made during a multi-day camping trip, should consist of what ever leftovers there are from the previous days and nights meals. Makes for less to “pack out”.

  2. # 2 by Allison Jae
    October 12th, 2008 at 3:34 pm #

    That creamy chicken and Dumpling sound really good. I’m going to try that one.

  3. # 3 by ptoolen
    October 13th, 2008 at 8:15 pm #

    thanks for these great recipes. I don’t really like to cook unless it’s something quick and easy. My daughter has taken up cooking and likes to do everything the hard way. I say,”why do it the hard way when you can do it quick and easy?” lol But she jt enjoys it unlike me.

  4. # 4 by alvinwriter
    January 22nd, 2011 at 7:48 am #

    These seem to be really good. They make my mouth water by just reading the recipes.

  5. # 5 by A Bromley
    March 6th, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    Wonderful recipes. Thanks for sharing. I do love to cook though some days little time to really cook but these will make my busy day a whole lot easier. Thanks.

  6. # 6 by mattierice
    March 26th, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

    Thanks for the recipes they were really good and easy to cook thank you sooo much and i really like ALL of your articles

Leave a comment

comments powered by Disqus