Weeknight Cooking

10 Dishes to Cook Without a Recipe This Winter

December 30, 2013

Here at Food52, we love recipes -- but do we always use them? Of course not. Because once you realize you don't always need a recipe, you'll make your favorite dishes a lot more often.

Today: How to make all your winter staples, without a recipe.

We're guessing you've made some resolutions for 2014. Maybe it's to relax, to let go, to be creative. Maybe it's to cook more; maybe it's to learn how to cook. Or maybe it's to perfect those dishes you turn to time and time again, the ones you'll cook on a weeknight, or with a drink in your hand, or on the phone with your girlfriend.

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In any of those cases, you should learn to cook without recipes: to get a few dishes up your sleeve that need no stress or pieces of paper or iPad or computer. Here are our 10 favorite dishes to cook without a recipe -- and how to do it.

Vegetarian or Vegan Chili

Veg chili from Food52 


Quinoa Salad 

Quinoa salad from Food52


Marinara Sauce 

Marinara sauce from Food52


Puréed Vegetable Soup

Vegetable soup from Food52


Grilled Cheese 

Grilled cheese from Food52


Roasted Vegetables

Roasted vegetables from Food52



Risotto from Food52


Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate from Food52



Pesto from Food52


French Toast

French toast from Food52

What will you make without a recipe this winter? Let us know in the comments -- or shoot us your Not Recipe at [email protected]!

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Brette Warshaw

Written by: Brette Warshaw

I'm a reader, eater, culinary thrill-seeker, and food nerd.

1 Comment

Stacy M. January 4, 2014
I have literally made all of these things (save the pesto) in the last couple months!