DIY Recipe Book


I cook much like my mom.  She was always an awesome cook. She had the magical way of opening her cupboards, seeing what she had, and throwing together something delicious with nothing more than a can of vegetables, a hot dog and a potato. It was amazing. I somehow inherited her knack for cooking this way. The downside to this, is many times we have sat down and oohed and awed over something divinely delicious (more when my mom is cooking than me) and have no idea how it turned out. I have asked her for recipes  before but she can’t really duplicate it more than saying, “You know…it’s a little bit of this, a dash of that….”

I don’t know how impressed my kids are really with my cooking, but I hope someday they will want to duplicate something I make  because it tastes like home and comfort to them. My girls are always eager to help in the kitchen (which, as any mom or dad knows isn’t always the most helpful thing) but instead of shooing them out, I decided to start giving them “cooking lessons”. We strap on our aprons, put on our imagination caps, sometimes we talk with an accent, and pretend that the girls are in my cooking class at some fine culinary institute and I teach them. I let them help me measure things out and stir things up.  It doesn’t really ever go as smoothly as all that and we are being candid here, but more often than not it’s fun and a good way to connect with them and teach them something valuable at the same time. 

During this little experiment, it has also helped me to realize the value of measurements. I usually just throw a dash of this and a spot of that into the pot, but when they are helping, I rely on measurements so they aren’t dumping six cups of baking soda into something when only a half a teaspoon is necessary. Hence this idea came to me!

When I was a little girl, my grandmother gave me this recipe book for kids and I still treasure it as one of my favorite gifts ever. I still use it for the yummy coffee cake recipe in it.  I figured my girls, too, might appreciate one of their own but with family recipes in it that are of my own variation or ones that my mother or grandmother or aunt would concoct.

So, we went to the Dollar Tree and got these little journals that I used for this father’s day project.

The girls asked me to draw pictures of them on the front as chefs, which I did with Sharpies then let them color them in and decorate as they preferred. 

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Then, we wrote our first recipe in the book, homemade spaghetti sauce. They drew a picture of spaghetti on the opposite page. And we cooked.

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I’m all about starting new traditions with my kids! Hopefully this will be one that sticks. What are some fond traditions you have with your mom?



Chicken Enchilada Lasagna

There were two meals that were my husband’s absolute favorites, and two meals I could never get right.  First of all, he loves lasagna.  When we were first married, I would try to surprise him with it, but we had little money, so I was be a little conservative with the ingredients. I didn’t add as much cheese or sauce as necessary. I was so proud of myself, I didn’t even really notice how dry it was…..until my husband finally had the guts to tell me, five years into our marriage. Talk about embarrassing. Then, of course, there were the chicken enchiladas that I mentioned in my ice cream cake post.  When I tried to improve upon the lasagna, even adding sausage (how can you go wrong with sausage?!) he would take a bite and say, “It’s good, it’s just that it’s not like they make at Olive Garden.” I love to create my own things, and hate following a recipe of any sort. I have since learned, though, since these few mishaps, to just follow the recipes he gives me and don’t ask any questions.  We are both much happier that way. However, I decided to try to combine the two. It seemed like an idea of pure genius!  This way, he could say that someone else’s recipe was not quite as good as mine:) I really like that idea. I made this last night, and he loved it! So, I thought I would pass it along to you! Hope you enjoy it, and I would love to hear feedback if you have tried it!

1 10.5oz can cream of mushroom soup

16 oz. sour cream

8oz package of shredded cheddar cheese

2 skinless chicken breasts, boiled and shredded

1 box lasagna noodles

Cook noodles according to package instructions, boiling to the taste and texture you prefer. I prefer them to have a little bite left and not too mushy. Lay them out in one layer on the bottom of a greased 9×13″  pan.  Mix cheese, chicken, sour cream, and soup in a large bowl, being sure to leave out just some cheese and soup to pour over the top of the lasagna.  Spread the mixture on top of the noodles.  Add another layer of noodles, and spread with remainder of the mixture.  Add a little milk to the remaining soup and cheddar and pour over top.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes until it is heated through.  Let cool for a few minutes before cutting and dishing out. Enjoy!