11 Meal Ideas for When You Don’t Like To Cook but LOVE To Bake

So I have this thing with fruit. And meat. When other people give it to me, I mostly trust it. When I try to prepare/bake/cook it, I can’t eat it. I don’t trust myself. With fruit, it’s definitely a texture thing. It has to be the perfect amount of ripe and the perfect level of dry and clean. With meat, it’s really that I have this fear of getting sick, but my fear is at a slightly irrational level. These are clearly a deeper sign of some bio-psychological issue, but I’ve learned to work with it over the years.

I’m a big baker, not necessarily because it’s rule-based (not a big rules person), but because it feels safe and foolproof on a virus/bacteria/texture level. Over the years, I’ve learned to love baking and slowly become a more horrible and lazy cook. Upon realizing this, I discovered that if I disguise actual meals as things I can bake, I will actually eat it. So here is my list of things I “bake” that can actually be consumed for real, nutritious meals.

Whatever Quiche

My mom actually has an excellent French quiche recipe, but it’s a bit expensive to constantly make each week. It’s mostly because it calls for really beautiful, expensive, French cheese. I usually make the crust from scratch since it requires me to “bake” and then fill the quiche with literally anything I have. I typically use a mixture of heavy cream and milk together with the eggs, and then use a white cheddar blend of some sort. I recently found a Gruyere mix at Aldi and I highly recommend this if you can find it on sale. My go-to fillings are spinach and bacon bits.

Here’s a generic recipe.

Blueberry or Really Any Fruit (Breakfast) Pie

I really don’t love blueberries, mostly because of the texture, but they are SO GOOD for you. So a few weeks ago, I thought “why not make a blueberry pie!” Most recipes will call for pre-made blueberry filling or some sort of jam, but I quite literally bought blueberries, smashed them up, and followed recipes for “blueberry pie filling from fresh blueberries.” I watched the sugar a bit and instead of making a pie top or a brown sugar crumble, I mixed extra smashed blueberries with some flour and sugar. I ate it for breakfast every day, and I’m not ashamed. If that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes.

Something like this.

Basic Soup and Bread

Soup is easy because it’s typically foolproof and mostly vegetables, which feels safe. All you need is a vegetable or chicken broth base and whatever vegetables you want. My preference is using a blender to make the soup creamy. A go-to of mine is potato and leek (blended) or even a DIY version of Paneria’s broccoli cheddar because, you guessed it, I have to trick myself into eating broccoli. Then, making soup gives you the excuse to make any kind of dunking bread you want!!!

Try this recipe.

Focaccia For Anything

Is it just me or is focaccia gay? No, seriously, every queer person I’ve ever had any sort of relationship with always had a thing for focaccia. I’ve come to the conclusion that focaccia is for the queer that isn’t quite on the level of buying sourdough starter but still wants to have a homemaker moment. It’s one of the easier breads to make and you can basically do whatever you want with it. I prefer a classic tomato, basil, mozzarella, but I’m also a big fan of using the plain olive oil and salt bake as sandwich bread.

Here’s a recipe to start with.

Apple/Banana Pancakes

I typically make them from scratch because I always have stuff on hand, but you definitely can just use box mix. During the fall months, I’ll cut up apples into little chunks and throw them in a pan with a little agave, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Once they’re soft and fragrant, I simply just dump them on top of my plain pancakes. With bananas, you can bake them into the batter or just put them on top. I’ll sometimes caramelize them with agave in a pan.

Banana/Pumpkin/Zucchini Bread

Again, the bread format really comes in clutch if I need to get rid of some zucchini or just need more vegetables in my life. Banana and pumpkin bread feel more desserty but since you can control the sugar, you can decide what exactly you want it to taste like.

Here’s a recipe for zucchini bread.

Dumplings with Chicken

This can be any chicken ‘n’ dumplings recipe online. The difference is that I put the emphasis on the dumplings because that part feels like baking. I look for an oven-based recipe so that I’m assured the chicken is fully cooked.

Kinda like this.

Vegan (or not) Sausage Roll

So I’ve never actually made this myself, but I’ve really wanted to! I fell in love with vegan sausage rolls while living in England, and I haven’t been able to find the right meat substitution for the filling. They just have better plant-based meat over there. It’s a savory pastry, so obviously it’s a baked good.

Try the vegan version.

Fridge Party Pizza

Trader Joe’s frozen pizza dough works great for this, but you can also make the dough from scratch if you have a bit more time. As long as you have any sauce based (including just straight up olive oil) and any type of cheese, you can throw anything you want on there. I’ve learned that some combos are better than others for sure, but every time I make pizza it’s because I have many vegetables about to go bad, so I make it work with whatever I have in the fridge.

Chicken Pot Pie

This one is a little more risky and I’ve honestly never made it myself, but it seems like a good idea, right? I usually just default to the Costco chicken pot pie because it’s pre-made and just needs to be reheated in an oven. One of these days I’ll actually make one, but it’s almost summer and pot pie is definitely a winter dish.

Here’s a simple recipe that utilizes frozen veggies.

(Caucasian) Casseroles

As much as I hate to admit it, casseroles feel like a good default option because they almost guarantee well baked vegetables and meats and the texture is usually creamy and delicious. I don’t actually make a lot of casseroles. In fact, the only one I’ve ever made is a corn casserole for Thanksgiving. If I can get over the shame of making a casserole, this might be a game-changer for me.

If you have any good hacks PLEASE comment and share the recipes!

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

Em Win

Originally from Toledo, Ohio, Em now lives in Los Angeles where she does many odd jobs in addition to writing. When she's not sending 7-minute voice messages to friends and family, she enjoys swimming, yoga, candle-making, tarot, drag, and talking about the Enneagram.

Em has written 71 articles for us.

15 Comments

  1. Ooh! I love this! I also tend in this direction! Quiche is one of my go-to for breakfast. I’m lazy so I use pre-made crust (the Pillsbury kid that’s rolled up tastes vastly better imo than the kinds that are frozen). I cover the bottom with a thin layer of shredded cheese, add veggies and occasionally meat, and then mix 3 eggs + 1 cup of milk and pour that over everything.

    My current veggie fault is roasted sweet potatoes with garlic and ginger, shredded spinach, and halved grape tomatoes. In the past I’ve done roasted zucchini and squash or tomatoes and breakfast sausage.

    I have very similar feelings to you wrt cooking meat. Two things that work for me are cooking bacon in the oven and buying pre-cooked chicken sausages (or pork or ttkey breakfast sausages) that can just get reheated in the microwave.

    Finally, I haven’t made chicken pot pie in ages and it’s on the higher end of complication of things I’ve made (even with store-bought crust), but when I did make it a couple of times I found this recipe super helpful because it’s really clearly organized and explicit about every step (and the results were tasty): https://www.cookingforengineers.com/recipe/42/Traditional-Chicken-Pot-Pie

  2. All of the cookery books by Rukmini Iyer are great for those of us who would rather chuck something in the oven than stand there and cook – I especially recommend her first one, The Roasting Tin, because she gives charts that help you make up your own combinations or add in something to a recipe and be sure it’ll cook properly. I cook her recipes all the time, they have really made my life better.

  3. Love this. One idea is sheet pan meals? Maybe would feel closer to baking? I like doing veggies + sausage (veg or not), or veggies + feta. Super easy and hands off, and I feel confident the meat is cooked.

    Appreciate you sharing this article with us <3

  4. Instead of using a crust I mix in some flour directly with the eggs and whatever-milk, before adding the other ingredients.

    This is a game-changer for me because I never have a ready-made crust on hand, and while I _can_ make a crust, it’s not a peaceful endeavour, and I usually end up with a frisbee anyway so.

    Basically, I double Revedeshautbois’ recipe above and add 1/2 cup of flour (slowly so there are no lumps)

  5. “focaccia is for the queer that isn’t quite on the level of buying sourdough starter but still wants to have a homemaker moment.”

    Wow, you are calling me out specifically

  6. Garbage Pizza Casserole: For using up the odds and ends if you bake a LOT of bread but can’t actually get a dinner going.

    -cut up a bunch of stale bread (cubed, like for stuffing or croutons)
    -grease a casserole dish
    -layer or toss bread with pizza sauce (tomato paste + seasonings or store-bought), mozzarella, and whatever vegetables/meats/other potential toppings are lying around
    -more cheese on top
    -bake at 350?? until everything is melted and the cheese on top is crisping (30min??)

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!