August Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free—Dishes So Simple, No Recipe Required

When Naomi, our lovely friend across the pond and creator of Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free, asked for this year’s hostesses, I volunteered with the theme Dishes So Simple, No Recipe Required. I’m talking about simple, real food options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even a snack or appetizer. Have you ever gone to a restaurant and ordered an appetizer that was just a few ingredients and then been blown away by how good it was? You thought to yourself, hey, why didn’t I think of this? That happened last year when my sister and I had lunch at one of my favorite local restaurants. After perusing the menu, we each ordered the same appetizer as our meal—half an avocado stuffed with micro greens, crabmeat, and pine nuts, and drizzled with olive oil. Oh my goodness was that a perfect lunch! In fact, I could eat that for any meal. And clearly no recipe was needed. 

My dear friend, Ann, was visiting our area from Florida recently so we spent the day together. It was a very hot day, but a good one! Our first stop was at a restaurant that was formerly a very popular crabhouse right on the water. Crabhouses are famous for tables lined with brown paper, accessorized with crab mallets, and abundant paper towels, and then topped with mounds of steamed crabs. But this restaurant has gone upscale. I’m not even sure they serve steamed crabs any more, but they do serve lots of lovely seafood still, including my favorite—crabmeat. Ann and I could not resist the crab, avocado and tomato stack. Look at it … that’s so simple, it definitely does not need a recipe. All one needs is the three main ingredients, a dash of seasonings, a dish to use as a mold before making the final presentation, and a drizzle of colorful and flavorful topping perhaps. This creation happened to be topped with basil vinaigrette dressing, which was particularly nice and the perfect complement to the colors already in the dish. However, any simple dressing could have been used or none at all. Maybe instead of tomato, pico de gallo could have been used. Maybe instead of a dressing, a few herbs and spices could have been added to the simple mix. There are many wonderful possibilities with these ingredients and this concept, but none of them really require a recipe. 

This week, Mr. GFE and I enjoyed rumaki, one of our faves. If you’re not a liver lover, you’re going “Ewww” right about now. But a piece of chicken liver and a water chestnut wrapped in bacon is a heavenly bite to us. Three ingredients. No recipe required. 

When I do my gfe presentations and individuals invariably ask what I eat when I’m out running errands, they seem supremely disappointed when I tell them that I always carry apples and nuts with me and snack on those if necessary. They are looking for that perfect gluten-free snack or in-between meal that they can purchase on the run. I suspect that they’d be far happier with me if I said I run into at a convenience store, grab a sports drink and a gluten-free protein bar and then handed out a listing of gluten-free protein bars. Hmmm, a sports drink and a protein bar, but not some nuts and an apple. I’ll readily tell you that an apple and a handful of nuts are far more appealing to me than the aforementioned option. Simple. Easy. Satisfying.

Many like the simplicity of breakfast meals so much that they often opt for breakfast for dinner. Breakfast meals are usually ones that don’t require a recipe:  eggs in all shapes and forms, and with various toppings; toast; yogurt; fruit; simple cereals; or mix and match combinations … you know. Again, no recipe required.

We all have them in our repertoire … those meals that are so simple, they come together without a recipe. A lot of my meals are made that way. Sometimes I have to “work” to develop an actual recipe to share. Often I’m cooking using a method or basic series of steps. Sometimes I don’t even follow those in order, but if the recipe is simple enough, it really doesn’t matter. Some other favorite appetizers and meals of mine that are simple that they really don’t require a recipe are the following. Of course, these do have recipes, but they are really only guidelines to be used for inspiration.   

Cucumber Chickpea Bruschetta 

Special Turkey Breast 

The World’s Easiest and Most Delicious Pulled Pork

Cayenne-Lime Salmon

Will you submit a real food, gluten-free meal that doesn’t really require a recipe this month? Please share the ingredients and give us the general idea of how your meal comes together in just a few steps. It can be a longtime favorite or a meal that you just created when inspiration struck for Go Ahead Honey. Go Ahead Honey has a history of getting folks to think outside the box. This time I’m asking you to think outside the recipe box. Are you up for the challenge? Oops, I mean non-challenge of this month’s Go Ahead Honey event because I really don’t think this will be a hard one for folks, and we’ll all benefit sharing our simple meal ideas. August has a reputation for getting a bit crazy towards the end of the month with folks heading back to school/college and all that entails with purchasing school supplies, moving kids back to campus, shuttling non-drivers to sports activities, etc. These simple meal ideas could be a wonderful thing for all of us! 

Submit your entry via email to me (with Go Ahead Honey in the subject line) at by Wednesday, August 24Sunday, August 28. If you’re a blogger, please send your post URL and your photo. If you’re a non-blogger, please send your text entry via email with your photo. You don’t have to be a gluten-free blogger or individual to submit an entry, but your entry does have to be gluten free. Note that the submission date is a tad earlier than usual for this monthly event’s due date, because only two days later I’ll be toodling somewhere with Mr. GFE on vacation on our motorcycle, so I’m hoping to have the entries up on the day we leave. We’re headed to Bermuda for a little vacation, but while Mr. GFE is scuba diving in the morning, I can do my wrap up. I can’t wait to see the lovely simple meal ideas you all come up with! Look for the roundup by the end of the month. psst … Iris is hosting next month with Healthy Chinese Food as her theme.

For future planning, take a look at the rest of the hosts and themes for Go Ahead Honey on Naomi’s blog, Staight Into Bed Cakefree and Dried, here. And for fun, you can read the amazing adventure that we had with Go Ahead Honey, the last time I hosted. It was summer then, too, and the theme was Make Me a Happy Camper. Check out that roundup here. Last, but not least, don’t forget to check out Diane’s (The Whole Gang) roundup from last month—It All Ends Here … recipes to end a meal … a roundup with a decidely, “deathly hallowish” flavor!

Not just gf, but gfe!

Full Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post may contain one or more affiliate links. If you purchase through them, your cost will always be the same, but I will receive a small commission. Thanks for the support! Read the full disclaimer here.


30 Responses to “August Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free—Dishes So Simple, No Recipe Required”

  1. Kalinda on August 2nd, 2011 12:57 pm

    Yay! My kind of cooking, the kind that doesn’t really involve thinking. Of course I’ll have to brainstorm to come up with the perfect non-recipe. Heh. ;) Guess I’ll go start working on that.

    • Shirley on August 4th, 2011 9:02 pm

      Hi Kalinda–It seems like many of us cook without recipes. ;-) Don’t overthink it. ;-) Looking forward to what you come up with. :-)


  2. Jenn on August 2nd, 2011 1:47 pm

    Ha this has been my cooking for most of the Summer!! What a PERFECT theme, LOVE it!!!!!!

    • Shirley on August 4th, 2011 9:04 pm

      Hey Jenn–So happy to hear your enthusiastic response! I think it will be so much fun to see how folks are cooking and creating sensational without recipes. :-)


  3. Sweets By Vicky on August 2nd, 2011 9:29 pm

    This is when I say…baking without a recipe is difficult!!! :)

    • Shirley on August 4th, 2011 9:07 pm

      Hi Vicky–If you’re making cupcakes and cakes … yep, probably so, but fruit dishes and super simple desserts might work with this. I challenge you to come up with something! ;-)


  4. glutenfreeforgood on August 2nd, 2011 9:47 pm

    I’m definitely a “no recipe” kind of cook. I also do that thing you mentioned – “hey, why didn’t I think of that.” Especially when it’s something like that crab, greens, pine nuts stuffed in the avocado dish. It does sound delightful. Perfect for hot summer days. Now I’m thinking of all the things I could fill an avocado with. What a great idea. And yes, why didn’t I think of that?!
    Perfect theme, indeed!

    • Shirley on August 4th, 2011 9:20 pm

      Glad you like the theme, Melissa! Avocaods are wonderful serving vessels. I filled one with crabmeat and other goodies w while back–tantastic! :-)


  5. Zoe on August 2nd, 2011 10:56 pm

    What a great theme, Shirley! :) This is often the same approach I have when doing everyday cooking (baking is another matter, of course); mine is often intuitive, generally without measuring except by feeling (thinking of Julia Child’s philosophy that everything should be measured).

    I’ll think of what I can contribute for your theme, Shirley! :)

    • Shirley on August 4th, 2011 9:23 pm

      Hi Zoe–Yes, everyday cooking lends itself well to this approach, but alas baking is more challenging. Don’t rule it out though. Can’t wait to see your entry! :-)


  6. Tall Clover Farm on August 3rd, 2011 9:28 am

    Um um um, you’re making me hungry at 6:00 am in the morning. Is that too early for crab cakes? Heck no! Nice “not-recipes” inspiration!

    • Shirley on August 4th, 2011 9:25 pm

      Hi Tom–Glad to see a west coaster who shares our love of crab cakes! :-) Nope, never too early for a crabcake for me. ;-)


  7. Sharon M. on August 3rd, 2011 1:18 pm

    We are crab lovers in our house as well! Love, love,love them. I too carry snacks with me when I am on the go. Usually some home thrown together trail mix with whatever I have in the pantry or I make a foamie in a “to go” cup. I really like your new gfe heading. Perfect. Take care and enjoy the remaining weeks of summer.

    Sharon M.

    • Shirley on August 4th, 2011 9:30 pm

      Hi Sharon–Crab lovers rule! ;-) Your “on the road” snacks sound wonderful to me! :) Thanks so much for the great summer wishes! Same to you, dear! :-)


  8. Linda on August 3rd, 2011 3:56 pm

    That avocado stack looks great! This is a great idea for a theme, and I already have an idea of what I’m going to post.

    Somehow I missed the fact that you ride a motorcycle with Mr. GFE! We have two dirt bikes that all my guys enjoy riding on my parents’ property. My husband would love to get a street bike, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen. My dad used to ride a motorcycle and since my mom couldn’t drive due to poor eye sight she had to ride to work on the back. I always loved riding with my dad, I haven’t been brave enough to try the dirt bikes though. I’m afraid I’d end up hurting myself. :)

    • Shirley on August 4th, 2011 9:33 pm

      Hi Linda–I agree on the avocado stack! It delighted us both. :-) How cool that you already have an idea for a dish that doesn’t need a recipe–can’t wait to see it!

      I’m on the back of the bike, too. I like it back there. ;-)

  9. Ricki on August 3rd, 2011 9:26 pm

    Great, Shirley! I am determined to play along this month!

    • Shirley on August 4th, 2011 9:38 pm

      Hey Ricki–Oh how wonderful that you will be joining us this month! Can’t wait to see a non-recipe from you! ;-)


  10. InTolerantChef on August 4th, 2011 6:07 am

    Mmmmm I love the look of the crab stack! Great idea as so many meals are favourites, but so easy that no recipe is needed. Lots of inspiration out there!

    • Shirley on August 4th, 2011 9:38 pm

      Hi InTolerantChef–Happy to hear that you’re another no-recipe-needed chef! Hope you’ll join in! :-)


  11. Jen @ The RA Vegan on August 14th, 2011 2:06 pm

    Yum. I Shirley, would you like us to come up with a whole meal or just a recipe? I made a nice side dish for a party tonight and thought “This would be perfect for August Go Ahead” but in reading your post it looks like it should be a whole meal. So just clarifying to make sure I don’t make a mistake! Looking forward to this one!

    • Shirley on August 14th, 2011 9:30 pm

      Hi Jen–Oh, gosh, no, just a dish is required! And it could be any kind of dish … appetizer, side dish, entree, etc. Sorry for any confusion. Can’t wait for you to join in! :-)


  12. Iris on August 20th, 2011 12:10 am

    I completely forgot about GAHIGF until a reader just e-mailed me and asked how she could join in (which of course reminded me that I’m hosting next month!). Hopefully I can come up with a simple recipe in the next couple of days. Would hate to miss one of my favorite bloggers’ lineup!

    • Shirley on August 22nd, 2011 11:13 am

      I know you can come up with something, Iris! I’m so glad you were reminded of the event by a reader. Hope she’s joining in, too! :-)


  13. Ricki on September 1st, 2011 10:21 pm

    I know it’s too late, but I just posted a recipe that’s perfect for this event. . . linked up! :)

Leave a reply

Related Posts with Thumbnails