So easy; is it really a recipe?

Sometimes you have go-to recipes that are so easy they have never actually been a recipe. Either it is something you have learned to make without a recipe written down. Other times you make something up on the fly and it ends up being so good you wish you had written it down These are those kinds of recipes. Cheap to make, yummy to eat and so easy you won’t need the recipe again. However, for the first time, here are a few of our easy favorites.

Italian Ham roll-ups

I made these up, including the name. I literally just call them Italian because we dip them in marinara sauce and one of my kids told me they taste like pizza. I was tired and my brain was didn’t want to make anything complicated for dinner one night. It needed to be filling and hot because we had been working outside in the cold all day…and I had ham that needed eaten. These were born. This is easily adjusted for however many you need to feed.

6 large flour tortillas. We usually only have the “burrito” size around our house.

3 oz cream cheese

1/2-pound sliced ham. I prefer leftover ham, but deli sliced works too

12 slices provolone or muenster cheese. Really you can use whatever you have on hand

1 fresh red pepper thinly sliced into strips

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1/4-1/2 cup shredded or grated parmesan cheese

Marinara sauce for dipping

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Line a small baking sheet with tin foil and lightly spray it with non-stick cooking spray.

Lay out the 6 tortillas.

Layer single slices of deli ham down the center of each tortilla.

Top with two slices of provolone or swiss.

Add some roasted red peppers in a line down the cheese.

Roll them up and place them seam down on the prepared baking sheet.

Brush the olive oil on the tops and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the parmesan is lightly browned and cheese is melted.

Cool slightly and serve with pizza sauce or marinara for dipping.

Chopped cheese sandwiches

This is not a philly, I would state that again, but I guess it would be redundant. If Philly Cheese Steak had a broke cousin, it would be the chopped cheese sandwich. It is no less tasty but much lower maintenance and faster to make and a little bit of a hodgepodge of ingredients.

6 8-inch soft rolls large sausage bun, medium sub roll, etc.

1.5 lbs. ground beef 80/20 (medium) grind. Or whatever ground meat you have, we usually use elk.

6-12 slices tomato sliced thin, halved. If these aren’t in season then skip them, this recipe isn’t worth having out of season mealy tomatoes that cost you $4 a piece.

pickled jalapeno slices to taste. I use my homemade cowboy candy.

12 tbsp chipotle aioli (spicy mayo)

12 slices cheddar cheese the older the better. Can use American cheese if that is what floats your boat.

1.5 cup onion diced small

1 medium green pepper diced small

12 tbsp butter

6 tsp steak spice

Cook the beef in a large skillet on medium until almost all brown

Add the onion and green pepper and the spices and continue to cook another 2-3 minutes until vegetables begin to soften a little.

Form the meat into a strip in the center of the pan, the width of your cheese slices.

lay the cheese on top of the beef in a line, covering the whole strip, add 1 tbsp of water to the side of the pan and cover for 1 minute or until the cheese has fully melted into the meat.

Using a spatula toss the meat into a pile, mixing in all the cheese.

Split the buns and butter liberally. Toast on middle rack under broiler for 1-2 minutes to desired doneness

Spread both sides inside with chipotle aioli. Place meat on the bun and then top with jalapeno and tomato. We like them hot, but they are pretty good room temperature.

Toasty Beans

This is literally beans and bread. I can almost guarantee that your family has eaten a form of this in some generation or other. I have made this in the instant pot but won’t be including those instructions since many don’t have one. You can make these in the slow cooker or the oven. I like to put these in right after lunch and then we have for dinner or likewise, cook the day before and reheat even for breakfast as the British do. These are NOT a traditional “baked bean” flavor and have a more tomato sauce.

1-pound dry navy beans

1 gallon water

1/4 cup kosher salt, plus more to taste

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

6 cups chicken or vegetable stock

2 1/2 cups tomato purée

3 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons molasses

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 bay leaves

Freshly ground black pepper

8 slices sourdough bread or other high quality rustic bread

Chopped fresh parsley to garnish, optional

In a large bowl, cover beans with 1 gallon of cold water. Add 1/4 cup kosher salt and stir to dissolve. Let soak overnight at room temperature. The next day, drain in a colander.

In a large Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until soft but not brown, about 4 minutes. Add soaked navy beans, 4 cups chicken broth, tomato purée, brown sugar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, cider vinegar, tomato paste, and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer, then cover and turn down. Simmer for about an hour until beans are tender but not fully done. Set oven at 275 and bake stirring occasionally, until beans are cooked, 4-5 hours, adding additional broth if beans begin to look dry. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Toast bread, then top with a generous portion of beans. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.