Travel Tips

Cooking Without a Recipe


Otherwise known as: throwing together what you have on hand to make a meal! By Gina Eggers

Happy winter to everyone, and I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. Those of you who were somewhere warm for the winter likely missed the three feet of snow and four-day power outage over the Thanksgiving weekend that I had. 

Lucky you! 

That weekend without power – along with the countless times in the Airstream where I have tried to use up leftovers – is what prompted this blog post. How do you put together a meal that is satisfying, delicious, and nutritionally adequate with no recipe? I try my best to hit on each of these four components:

  • Colorful! The more colors, the appetizing your meal will be. 
  • Different textures (crunchy, smooth, different size pieces, raw, cooked)
  • Different flavors (sweet, sour or bitter, tangy, tart, mild, spicy)
  • A balance of protein, carbs, grains, veggies, nuts, fruit or herbs.

Obviously, it can be hard to incorporate every one of these options in one dish, but I like to use them as guidelines for adding something to give zip to my dish. 

Herbs and spices are easy to keep on hand and last a long time. You can use up every vegetable you have left in the fridge and mix them with a cooked grain such as wheatberries or quinoa or farro or rice, add shrimp or chicken or canned tuna if you want, vinegar and olive oil or Italian dressing to mix it all together, and then add scallions or sesame seeds or chopped herbs for a topping. Put it all on a bed of lettuce – everything in one dish doesn’t have to be cooked. Put together a mix of cooked or sautéed vegetables with some raw ones for crunch or add nuts or dried fruit. Hard boil a couple eggs and slice those on top for some extra protein. 

Here’s a sample to get you started. The amounts of the ingredients are not important, and they aren’t set in stone. Use your creativity and what you have on hand (and what you like).


Wheatberry Salad with Dried Fruit and Nuts

Cook 1 cup of dried wheatberries (boil in water until soft and drain, about 50 minutes)

Stem a couple of leaves of kale, and chop very finely

A half of a red pepper, chopped small (or a yellow pepper or jalapeño)

2 scallions, chopped

1 stalk of celery, chopped small

Slivered almonds (about ¼ cup), any nut works, try peanuts or cashews

Dried cranberries or cherries (about ¼ cup)

Dried apricots, chopped into small pieces (about 6 apricots)

1 apple, chopped into small pieces (I didn’t peel it)

Chopped parsley for garnish or to mix in

For dressing: Whisk 1 clove minced garlic, chopped ginger or a ½ tsp. from a tube, a couple squirts of olive oil, lemon juice from half a lemon, a few tablespoons of vinegar (champagne or white wine or apple cider). Put all ingredients except dressing in a large bowl. Pour dressing over. Mix and eat. It keeps well for several days.

Gina Eggers and boyfriend Mark Kasten are owners of a 27’ FB Airstream International Serenity called “Something Shiny.” Gina has been a lifelong camper and foodie, attending classes and seminars around the United States on breads, grains and vegetarian/vegan and raw foods. She has been teaching classes at a kitchen store in Wisconsin, as well as in her home and the homes of others. She is a member of the Bread Baker’s Guild of America. You can reach Gina at [email protected] and you can find her on Instagram at @upnorthbread.