How cookbook creators come up with new recipes

How Cookbook Creators Come Up With New Recipes

Where do great recipe book ideas come from? Celebrity chefs seem to pull ideas out of thin air and cook up a storm with ease. Amateur chefs may at times feel uninspired or as if they’re running dry for recipe ideas, which is more discouraging if they’re making a recipe book. However, culinary creativity doesn’t have to feel so painful. We’ll highlight the methods great chefs use to create scrumptious meals, along with practical sources of inspiration for beginners.

Recipe Book Ideas Straight from the Chef’s Mouth

First off, we’re going to tell you what a cook or chef will tell you themselves – there is no single method to create a new recipe. The world’s great culinary masterminds themselves will admit that they look everywhere for ideas. They may pull ideas from their cultural backgrounds, travel experiences, childhood memories, acquired knowledge and much more.

A Shortlist of Cooks’ and Chefs’ Recipe Inspirations

  • Ina Garten – Ina Garten, American author and host of Food Network series, Barefoot Contessa, says that she finds ideas for recipes “everywhere”. She has cited dinner parties, cookbooks and grocery stores as frequent sources of inspiration, referring to the them to keep a “running list of things” she likes to make.
  • Wes Lieberher – An American executive chef by day and a rock star by night, Wesley Lieberher first thinks about foods he loves or grew up with. He then considers how he can make them different, make it unique to him and how he can modify the ingredients of the dish.
  • Hayden Quinn – Mr. Quinn, who has appeared on MasterChef Australia pulls inspiration from research, travels, cookbooks, dining out at different restaurants, and watching food shows.
  • Donna Hay – The Australian food stylist, author and magazine editor is renowned for the simplicity of her recipes. In the past, Donna has stated that she collaborates with her team and as a collective, present ideas they’ve seen in their experiences or travels. She has also mentioned that she tweaks existing recipes that are already in her repertoire.
  • Michael Colameco – A veteran chef, author and personality, Michael Colameco ventures out to restaurants that have great ratings and reviews, to eat for pleasure and research. Doing so fills his palette with new recipe ideas he can replicate and then adapt. He acknowledges that most modern recipes are “compilations” of existing ones.
  • Devin Alexander – Devin Alexander, who has appeared on The Today Show and The Biggest Loser, admits that she will read every word on a menu to internalize the makings of great recipes. She also goes to restaurants to order what she wants to see – not just what she would like to eat. She then makes mental notes on how she can make alterations on exotic dishes to fit her needs or vision. Devin also pulls ideas from food shows on T.V., parties and events where food can be sampled.
  • Tim Maddams – The UK-based chef and TV personality says that great recipe book ideas are all about development. Fittingly, he starts with a dish he’s cooked before anything else. He may then add a garnish he saw on another dish, which often leads to other ingredient ideas popping up his brain for experimentation. Tim admits that these experiments do fail, but they improve as you practice over time. He also emphasizes the importance of networking with other cooks and chefs, eating at their restaurants and even speaking to others online to exchange ideas.

In the culinary book, “Kitchen Creativity: Unlocking Genius – with Wisdom, Inspiration, and Ideas from the World’s Most Creative Chefs”, written by Karen Page, she refers to the three-step process of mastery, alchemy, and creativity. We’ll abbreviate that to MAC. Essentially, MAC goes like this:

  • Mastery – Cook a meal many times without trying to invent anything at first. You will learn the basics in terms of preparation, ingredient use, cooking methods and more.
  • Alchemy – During this stage, you will become more attuned to the science behind a dish. You will know why it tastes better with or without certain ingredients or how altering cook temperature affects its texture.
  • Creativity – Once a dish becomes second-nature, you will have a mental archive of tricks that you can use to alter a dish without sacrificing its essence.

Karen’s model is no different than how a musician, writer or painter becomes a genius. They first imitate the greats, then they innovate by adding their own touches, and finally, they emerge with a completely new style – an invention.

With that said, let’s break down a few methods you can try when making your own recipe book.

Change the Cooking Method, Keep the Dish

When your well of inspiration runs dry, you might simply need to switch up your cooking method instead of looking for new ingredients. Food magazine, Bon Appetit, exemplified this with their Every Way to Cook/Make video series. They display 59 ways to make eggs (video below), 43 ways to cook steak and 63 ways to make potatoes.

You have a barrage of cooking methods at your fingertips: baking, poaching, grilling, pan-frying, pan-searing, broiling, sauteing, simmering and more. Experimenting with varying cooking styles can alter or elevate the sensory appeal run-of-the-mill dish. You can, in effect, create a new recipe without changing a single ingredient!

Trading Places…With Ingredients

Eat the same thing long enough and you’ll get “taste blind”, a sad condition where you no longer appreciate a tasty, aromatic dish. Does that sound familiar? Using the same ingredients over and over again can do that, and you might eventually dislike an otherwise delicious recipe.

A simple fix for such redundancy is to swap out the usual ingredients for substitutes. For example, you can substitute:

  • Spinach for kale
  • Ground turkey for ground beef
  • Cauliflower for bread
  • Honey for sugar
  • Red wine for beef broth

These are just a few ideas you can start with. Make sure to start slow and pace yourself here: begin by swapping out just one ingredient at first. Follow up with a taste test. If it passes, you can think of other ingredients to swap out. It’s just a matter of rinsing and repeating until you arrive at a new version of the original recipe.

Another technique for adapting your ingredients is to take your favourite comfort foods and “adapt” them. You can turn a comfort food that may not be quite healthy and turn it into a hearty dish that’s tasty and nutritious. Or, you could change the form of a comfort food favourite to add variety. Even simply adding a new spice or sauce to an existing comfort food can make it more enjoyable.

Some examples include:

Simply look at your pantry for the items you make comfort foods with, and how you can add a twist – without ruining their taste of course! You might surprise yourself with what you create.

Blending Tastes From Around the Globe

Should you eat Mexican tonight? Or what about Italian? Or Japanese? Sometimes you’d like to have them all but when everyone around you is rolling their eyes at your indecisiveness, you might give in to peer pressure.

Fusion cuisines can fix that; they can even open you up to new recipe ideas altogether.

Fusion cuisine is defined as the “marriage of one or more cooking traditions, techniques or disciplines to form an altogether different approach or finished dish”. That means you can make a dish that incorporates American stylings with Caribbean ingredients, or French cuisine with Spanish cuisine. The options and possibilities are endless.

Examples of Successful Culinary Fusions

Going back to our MAC model mentioned before, it’s vital that you learn how to cook each meal separately before fusing them. Failing to get the essentials of individual cuisines right will likely turn out disastrous when you combine them.

Get Recipe Book Ideas From Food Science

Have you ever heard of edible science?

It’s exactly as it sounds – science experiments you can eat. It’s a popular activity for kids since they can turn things like slime and dough into tasty treats. The practice can be useful for serious cooks and chefs as well. In the culinary world, we’d liken this to food science, which is essentially the study of the nature of foods, food safety and processing and deterioration.

We’ll spare you from the culinary mambo jumbo, but you can try a kitchen experiment to alter the texture, taste and shape of popular foods to give them exciting new twists. It can be a great culinary tactic especially for the creation of desserts.

Examples of edible science foods you can make are:

Food experiments can do double duty for you and your kids. First, they can introduce new characteristics to the foods you already like and make them seem more enjoyable. Second, they’re fun to make, and they’re a great way to get your kids involved in the kitchen.

Recipe Book Ideas Can Be Found Anywhere & Everywhere

Great culinary ideas don’t come from a vacuum. At the opening section, we mentioned a few high-profile chefs who detailed where their ideas come from – many of them build off existing recipes and concepts. Be like them. Instead of stressing out about originality, look at how other master chefs and cooks create their meals and pull inspiration from their works.

You will slowly build a “culinary vocabulary” of sorts, which you can draw from when creating your own dishes. As you embark on your journey of making a recipe book, always keep in mind the words of this often misattributed quote: “Nothing is completely original.”

Need help and inspiration to make your own recipe book? Take a look at our resources page for recipe ideas and tips on how to make a cookbook.

Can you trademark a cookbook recipe

Trademarks, Copyrights, Patents: Can You Protect a Cookbook Recipe?

Let’s say you’ve created a scrumptious recipe that is uniquely yours. You haven’t seen it on the Food Network and it’s not something you read on a restaurant menu – it’s your own invention. You might feel the need to protect it. Securing legal protection for a recipe isn’t an easy-as-1-2-3 process- there are some formalities to consider. With that said, we’ll take a look at the different forms of legal protection and whether a recipe qualifies for them or not.

As a quick side note, we want to remind you that we are not legal experts ourselves and the information we’re sharing is based on the research of intellectual property laws.

4 Levels of Legal Protection for Cookbook Publishers to Know

A cold hard truth in the culinary world is that no one truly owns a recipe. At some point, if a recipe becomes famous, other cooks and chefs will emulate it or at least draw inspiration from it. That’s how beginner chefs learn their craft and how more experienced ones expand their culinary repertoire.

With that said, there are certain instances where a chef or cook should protect their creation when they have the legal right to do so. Whatever the occasion, the recipe’s legal status will have to somehow qualify for one of four types of intellectual property termscopyright, patent, trademark and trade secrets.


The purpose of copyright law is to protect the creators and authors of original works, whether that work is a musical composition, literary work or some other form of creation.

Recipes themselves are not protected by copyright. Yes, they might contain your own unique blend of ingredients or feature an innovative cooking method, but you don’t own the names of food ingredients or cooking techniques. For example, ingredients such as “1 tbsp of butter” or “bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit” are facts and instructions. They’re considered utilitarian information that is freely available to the public, and you can’t own them.

But there is some good news. After you publish a cookbook, copyright law can protect you if your food preparations incorporate highly creative concepts. In other words, if you are naming them, artfully designing them or creating them in collaboration with another brand or an event, you might be able to obtain a copyright for your work.

One example of this is Caitilin Freeman’s Mondrian cake and her cookbook, Modern Art Desserts. The cakes were created for the Blue Bottle Coffee at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and featured intricate design patterns reminiscent of artistic masterpieces. She was most certainly able to obtain a copyright for her cookbook.


The purpose of a patent is to protect an invention that solves technical problems. In the culinary world, a patent may provide more value than copyright if you’ve created a new tool, method or formula as that would fall under the category of “invention”.

However, there are some ground rules that chefs need to know before seeking a patent. The invention must be the first of its kind, unknown to the rest of the world. Also, the form this invention takes needs consideration as well. A new mechanical tool will most likely have no issue getting a patent. A new substance may be eligible for a chemical patent. A new recipe, on its own, would likely not get considered.

Of course, if your recipe has some sort of zany new chemical composition, then it may qualify for a chemical patent. The greater likelihood though is that it may qualify for a trade secret (more on this below). Again, simply arranging a new way to combine ingredients is viewed as public knowledge, and therefore, not up for patent consideration.


Trademark law protects brand names, logos, taglines/slogans and catchphrases. Every famous food tagline you can think of such as McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” and Burger King’s “Have It Your Way”, are trademarked expressions. It can also protect a food brand’s packaging and the appearance/shape of its food from being stolen. For example, the Coca Cola bottle is trademarked for its iconic shape.

Ultimately, a trademark is geared towards protecting brand assets behind a food product, as opposed to its recipe. This may seem like a disadvantage for the average cook or chef, but for those who own restaurants, this is great news. Not only will trademark law protect your restaurant name, logo and slogan (if you have one), it can protect the creative names of meals on your menu.

Keep in mind too, that if you want to create a recipe book, for commercial purposes, the name of that book can be submitted for a trademark.

Trade Secrets

You’ve probably noticed a recurring theme here – the law doesn’t protect recipes themselves. They offer protection for the works they appear in, such as a cookbook, or the food products they’re used in. However, there’s another form of legal protection that chefs and cooks may want to consider – trade secrets.

A trade secret is essentially a form of information that is only known by its owner or creator, which usually gives them a competitive advantage. Many recipes for food and drinks are trade secrets – Coca Cola’s ingredient base, KFC batter and more. Essentially, their unique combination of ingredients will not be shared with the public.

When a recipe qualifies as a trade secret, the creator can rest assured that its ingredients will never be revealed. There is one caveat here: a recipe that’s considered a trade secret can’t appear in a cookbook because its ingredients must remain hidden to retain its status.

Should Cookbook Publishers Protect Their Recipes?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this question. It simply depends on what a chef or a cook is looking to protect and for what purpose. Let’s summarize what we’ve discussed above.

Copyright law protects actual works of authorship such as a cookbook but not recipes themselves. A patent protects inventions that solve technical problems (ie. a new type of kitchen utensil), while trademarks protect a brand’s identity (ie. Kelloggs, The Keg’s logo, KFC recipes). Trade secrets, however, can protect a recipe as long as the ingredients of that recipe are never revealed.

If you are looking to create a recipe book, especially for commercial use, then you might want to consider copyright. A trade secret can protect your recipe from being stolen, but that would mean you couldn’t put it in your cookbook because its ingredients would then be public knowledge.

With all that said, your final decision should also come from the insights of a lawyer. They will help you determine what the best course of action is along with alternatives if a certain form of intellectual property doesn’t work for you.

Are you looking to create a recipe book but have no idea where to start? Take a look at our resources page to help you find recipes and other inspirations for your culinary creations!

Famous Cookbooks

5 Famous Cookbooks to Inspire Your Own

The decision to create a cookbook can excite you but it can also feel overwhelming. Where do you start? What should it look like and how should it read? Where should your ideas for recipes come from?

These questions can be answered by simply looking at other cookbooks for inspiration. Let’s look at some of these most successful cookbooks, the characteristics that made them iconic and what recipe makers can learn from them.

1. “The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African-American Cookbooks” by Toni Tipton-Martin (2015)

The Jemima code by Toni Tipton Martin

Written by Toni Tipton-Martin, The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African-American Cookbooks, is a culinary catalogue filled with African-American recipes that span multiple generations. It features over 150 African-American cookbooks that date back to the 1800s to more recent works published by authors such as Edna Lewis and Vertamae Grosvenor.

The arrangement of the books are chronological and each one has an illustrated photo of their covers. Many of the selected cookbooks include notes provided by Tipton-Martin about their authors, their contributions to the culinary culture, and the historical significance of each book.

Takeaways: If you want to make your own cookbook, feature recipes that come from your culture or ancestry. Consider adding notes about the creator of a recipe and not just the recipe itself. Also, elevate your cookbook design by adding illustrations to capture the past, especially if you don’t have photos of the recipes themselves.

2. “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child, Simone Beck & Louisette Bertholle

Mastering the art of cooking by Julia Child

Julia Child was a culinary legend with legions of adoring viewers and she made them feel as if they were cooking with her in the kitchen. Her cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”, puts her recipes on display – 524 of them – with highly detailed descriptions and instructive illustrations.

The book guides the cook from beginning to end, providing ideas on buying and handling raw ingredients right down to plate decor. The recipes are broken down using logical sequences that are easy to follow, and feature adapted techniques that make French cuisine easy for North Americans to prepare. The book even offers suggestions on food and drink pairings.

Takeaways: Don’t be afraid to hold your audience’s hand. Rather than posting a generic list of ingredients, your cookbook format can feature verbal and visual instructions that spell out the process from start to finish. Trust us – beginner cooks will love the guidance!

3. “The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating” by Fergus Henderson

The Whole Beast Fergus Henderson

This cookbook captures a long-lost tradition – the full-body consumption of an animal. Author and chef, Fergus Henderson, brings the spirit of his London restaurant, St. John, into his cookbook by introducing his innovative take on meat dishes.

The cookbook is a carnivore’s delight, featuring recipes such as Roast Bone Marrow and Rabbit Wrapped in Fennel and Bacon. However, he does include some veggie dishes and desserts as well. The cookbook design and layout features a minimalist writing style paired with crisp photography.

Takeaways: Just like The Whole Beast’s focus on meat dishes, you can center your own cookbook around a theme. That theme could pertain to a certain diet, geographic region or even a food group. Also, if you have good photography skills or even just a folder stocked with high-quality pictures, let your visuals do most of the talking instead of the writing. If you decide to make a visually-oriented cookbook, you can take a look at our free image database to get started.

4. “Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking,” by Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young, and Maxime Bilet (2011)

Modernist Cuisine

Cooking is both an art and a science, and few cookbooks understand this as well as “Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking.” This cookbook is a 2,438 page extravaganza (divided into five books) filled with kitchen experiments, scientific explanations, and cooking models you’d be hard-pressed to find in your typical Food Network show.

Modernist Cuisine was co-created by a team of chefs, scientists, editors, and writers. It’s a publication for culinary nerds, a chef’s cookbook so-to-speak. Readers can flip through pages and pages of beautifully-rendered illustrations and the brilliant techniques they explain.

Takeaway: If you’ve been praised for the creativity/artistry, bread/depth of knowledge or a unique perspective you bring to the kitchen, consider this as you make your own cookbook. That may include adding twists on familiar recipes or interesting discoveries you’ve made while cooking your favorite cuisines.

5. “Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book” by Agnes White Tizard (1950)

Betty Crocker Cookbook Agnes White Tizard

The name is a household one that almost everyone with a kitchen and a pantry will recognize. Even though Betty Crocker is a fictional character created by an ad agency, her influence inspired a generation of chefs and bakers and a legendary cookbook published in the 50s.

This picture cookbook, written by Agnes White Tizard, features a lighthearted mix of practical cooking tips, useful hints and color photography that brought these recipes to light.

The cookbook features just about every recipe you can think of ranging from chicken tomato aspic to steak dinners and more. It also provides insights on how to decorate cakes, tips on rationing meals, setting up kitchen equipment and cooking for parties. The Betty Crocker cookbook is a masterclass in comprehensive kitchen education.

Takeaways: When you make your own recipe book, consider how you can dish out a full-course (excuse the pun) of kitchen education to your audience. If you can prepare recipes, decorate plates, set up the kitchen and provide food storage tips, then add these insights in your cookbook.

The World’s Most Iconic Cookbooks Will Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

To make your own recipe book, you need to be creative, informative and engaging. Nevertheless, you don’t have to pull your ideas from some otherworldly realm – you just have to look at the famous cookbooks that have already been published.

Your goal shouldn’t be to steal what they say or do, but rather, to use the techniques they incorporate and use them as a jumping-off point for inspiration. By doing so, you will find it easy to build the foundation of your own cookbook and fill in its blanks with the recipes you have to offer!

Do you need help finding inspiration for your cookbook? Take a look at our resources page to find everything from new recipes to ideas for making recipe scrapbooks.

Oatmeal raspberry muffins

Oatmeal raspberry muffins
I made these muffins the other morning for the family and they were a huge hit. Not only were they moist and satisfying right out of the oven, but they stayed soft the next day too.


1 cup oats
1 cup buttermilk (or milk with 1 tsp vinegar or lemon juice)
zest of one lemon (optional)
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup frozen berries (blueberries or raspberries are great here- cranberries would work too, but up the sugar to 1 1/2 cups)
White sugar for sprinkling on top

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 375
Line muffin tin with non stick liners, or grease muffin tin
Mix milk and vinegar if you are not using buttermilk
Add egg, vanilla and oil
In a separate bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and soda
Mix in frozen berries
Add wet ingredients to dry. Mix with as few strokes as possible until just blended
Spoon into prepared muffin tin, filling 3/4 of the way
Sprinkle with sugar
Bask 20-25 minutes until just set

Cool and enjoy :)
Fresh berry muffins

Two week Coronavirus quarantine meal plan and shopping list

About ten days ago, the Canadian Health minister advised people to stock up so that they would have enough food for two weeks of quarantine. The Covid19 virus, also known as Coronavirus, has thrown people into a full blown stockpiling frenzy, with shelves emptying across the globe. With some planning though, and a few trips to the store, you can calmly put food aside to last you two weeks of quarantine without going crazy. Aside from stocking up on a little bit of toilet paper (seriously people, why do you need 100 rolls of toilet paper!), tissue, soap, detergent, alcohol and aloe gel to make my own hand sanitizer (2/3 90% isopropyl alcohol to 1/3 aloe vera gel), medications and advil, I also stocked up on staples and frozen goods that would ensure we would all eat delicious and nutritious food should we be asked to put ourselves in isolation.
I am starting to see see advice online on how to stock your pantry to make sure you have good nutritious food should you be asked to self isolate for a period of two weeks, or what famous chefs would make if they are in quarantine. But really, that’s not that useful.
I thought I would go one step further and share with you the two week quarantine meal plan and shopping list that I came up with to make sure that while we may not be allowed to leave the house, we will still eat well! I am French after all, and if you’re going to feed yourself, it may as well be delicious. I should mention that we are a family of four with a 15 year old boy that is always hungry, and an 11 year old girl that is very fussy and hates all dairy (which is why frozen pizzas are not on the menu!) except chocolate milk, and also won’t touch eggs. Argh.
I have not included recipes here, just brief descriptions of assembly methods. Please post comments if you would like me to develop these further into recipes, or make these into a downloadable Coronavirus Two Week Quanrantine Cookbook.
Let me start off with my two week isolation shopping list that covers everything I need in case we are put into quarantine. A lot of this was purchased at Costco. I’ve divided it into pantry staples and freezer goods. A chest freezer is a must I think if you’re going to put enough food aside:

Pantry staples:

Instant oatmeal packages
Coffee and coffee filter
Applesauce (I bought six)
Long life chocolate milk
Canned tomatoes (6-8 cans)
Tomato sauce (2-4 jars)
Low sodium chicken broth (12)
Olive oil
Chick peas (6 cans)
Black beans
Mixed beans
Sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
Chopped garlic
Chopped ginger
Coconut milk (3 cans)
Red lentils
Dried peas
Taco kit
Skim milk powder
Dried mushrooms
Long life milk (12 1 litre boxes)
Freeze dried parsley
Boxed mashed potatoes
lemon juice
BBQ sauce
Brownie mix

Frozen foods

Ready made wonton soups (they had these are Costco and they looked delicious)
Frozen croissants (12) (did I mention I was french?!)
Ground beef (4 packages)
Lamb chops (8)
Honey baked ham on the bone
Chicken breasts(8)
Frozen spinach
Frozen peas
Frozen edamame
Frozen pork dumplings (1 pack)
Frozen apples
Frozen pineapple
Frozen broccoli
Frozen french fries
Tater tots
Frozen corn
Frozen chopped onion
Frozen green beans
2 dozen Bagels
Ready to bake baguettes (6)
Orange juice concentrate
Frozen strawberries
Sausages (8)
Chicken thighs (2 packs of 8)
Chicken breast on the bone (4)
Pancetta (3 packs)
Stewing beef (1 pack)
Whole chicken (1)
Pork shoulder (also called picnic roast) (2)
Sliced turkey breast (lunch meats)
Frozen chicken soulaki (already cooked, from Costco)
Tzaziki (you can freeze this)
Cheddar (you can freeze cheese if you are going to grate it later)
Flour tortillas
Pita breads
Butter (you can freeze it)
I am considering chopping some red peppers into strips and freezing them to use in soup etc)
Burger buns
frozen pie shells (4)
frozen puff pastry
I also chopped up some bananas and threw them in the freezer for smoothies
I put some fresh thyme in the freezer too as it’s my fave
I chopped some carrots and put them into bags in the freezer for soups
Shredded parmesan (or buy the shelf one)
Ice cream
Bacon if you can’t live without it!

I also have an ongoing supply in my house of basics like salt and pepper, vegetable oil, mustard, spices, onions, bread crumbs etc. I also usually have enough jam, honey, maple syrup, pancake mix etc that I didn’t feel I needed to go out and stock up on these things.

With all of these things on hand, here are 14 lunches and 14 dinners I came up with. I definitely have enough to make more of than just this, or share meals with elderly neighbors should the need arise to help my community out. I did realize that fresh food (we have salad with every meal) would be difficult and we would really miss crunchy food. Am considering grabbing some pickles, and maybe those lettuces that have the roots attached, although I’m not sure I have room in my fridge to have a bunch of lettuce growing in the back of it. I am also making sure I have 12 eggs in the fridge at all times.

My plan for breakfasts:

Home made muffins (made with frozen fruit, and early on while I still have eggs)
Smoothies (spinach in these!)

14 Lunches:

1. Wonton soup (just heat and serve. I made sure these didn’t have MSG as that gives me a headache)
2. Three bean salad (can of beans, can of tuna, can of corn if you like it, chopped shallot if you have it, tsp of mustard, 2 tblsp vinegar, 3 tblsp oil, salt and pepper, dried parsley)
3. 4. Turkey/blt sandwiches (2x)
5. Chicken souvlaki (frozen chicken sticks, pita breads, tzatziki, pickles)
6. Tomato soup (home made or canned)
7. Ham/split pea soup (after having eaten honey baked ham, boil bone with dried (soaked) peas)
8. Corn chowder (corn, onion, red peppers, spices, and broth)
9. Cream of broccoli soup (onion, broccoli, spices, broth, skim milk powder after it’s cooked and shredded cheese on top)
10. Hamburgers and fries
11. Falafels (I would likely make some hummus at some point with chick peas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and oil)
12. Curried red lentil soup with coconut milk
13. Quiche (pancetta/bacon, egg, milk and cheese)
14. Pea soup (sort of like broccoli soup) with pancetta and croutons (make croutons out of stale baguette from lunch, brushed with olive oil and salt and baked in the oven or pan fried)
15. Fried dumplings and edamame (make sauce with soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and hot sauce)

14+ dinners:

1. Chicken pot pie (I make a delicious one with chicken thighs sauteed with pancetta, onions, thyme, mushrooms, (re-hyrdate dried mushrooms in warmed up white wine), then thicken it with broth and flour, and top with puff pastry
2. Chili
3. Chicken fajitas (recognizing that the peppers would likely be soggy, and we would re-use thawed tzatziki instead of sour cream)
4. Spaghetti bolognese
5. Beef stew (with red wine, tomato sauce, broth, carrots onions and mushrooms) with mashed potatoes
6. Chicken and broccoli stir fry with rice
7. Pulled pork on baguette with mustard and fried onions
8. Roast chicken with thyme and garlic and tater tots, served with stewed tomatoes (remove juice from whole canned tomatoes, lay whole tomatoes in oven pan, top with breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic and Parmesan, cook 20 minutes, then broil)
9. Grilled sausages with fried gnocchi and green beans
10. Tacos (again, no sour cream here, but hey, we are on lock down, so will make do with tzatziki and salsa!)
11. Grilled lamb chops with green beans and tomatoes and rice (make a tomato sauce with lots of olive oil and garlic, then add green beans and cook until beans are done)
12. Pork shoulder with white wine and mushrooms (insta pot pork shoulder with onions, mushrooms, thyme and white wine) with mashed potatoes
13. Baked chicken breasts (on the bone) with garlic and thyme with french fries and broccoli
14. Pasta with sun dried tomatoes, sausage and garlic
15. Coconut curry (thai curry paste, chicken thighs, broth and coconut milk) and rice
16. Mushroom risotto (I usually have arborio rice, and this works so well with dried mushrooms)
17. Butter chicken (spices, chicken, canned tomatoes in insta -pot, then finish off with coconut milk)
18. Honey baked ham, mashed potatoes and peas

I also thought about our sweet tooth, so had the following ideas for


Apple/fruit crumbles
Fruit pie
Brownies (I bought mix, the kind where you just add water, no eggs)
Apple sauce
Ice cream

I would love to hear your comments or feedback. I am not a dietitian, but someone that knows how to cook, a pretty good planner, and a mom. I have tried to make sure all meals provide protein, grains and fruits and vegetables. As the season moves one, it may be a good idea to plant some lettuce in the yard. I really think that’s the thing I would miss most should we be put into a two week quarantine. But I’m not worried. I’ve planned, and if we get sick, we get sick. We will do out part to make sure we don’t infect the community by staying home and eating well!


Refrigerator pickled vegetables

I recently learned how to make quick refrigerator pickles from my greek friend Peggy. Now I’m obsessed! They’re so super quick and easy, deliciously crunchy and spicy. Try pickled onions on burgers, in salads, gourmet sandwiches, next to grilled meats… Or how about pickled beans in a spicy bloody mary (or Ceasar for my Canadian friends!). And pickled jalapenos on fish tacos, picked cauliflower on a cheese and charcuterie platter – well, they just make everything better!
pickled veg

Ingredients for pickled onions, beans, asparagus or cauliflower

1-2 red onions, cauliflower, green beans or asparagus
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp sugar
3/4 to 1 cup apple cider vinegar, or as needed to fill your jar (I prefer white vinegar for beans, asparagus and cauliflower)
1/2 tsp pickling spices (you can make your own with peppercorns, mustard seed, coriander seed, bay leaf, chili pepper- experiment with the tastes that you enjoy)

Ingredients for pickled jalapenos

2 cloves garlic, sliced or smashed
2 tsp coarse salt
1-3 tblsp sugar (higher quantity of sugar will lessen the heat of jalapenos)
3/4 – 1 cup white vinegar
2 thai chili peppers (if you like additional spice)
1/2 tsp pickling spices (see note above)

Preparation instructions

Prepare vegetables- for onion and jalapenos, slice into thin slices
For beans, trim into lengths that will fit into your jar
For cauliflower, trim into small florets
Wash prepared vegetables with hot water from the kettle, dry on a paper towel
Add all spices to the bottom of a clean 8oz jar
Add 1/4″ of the vinegar and stir until dissolved
Pack vegetables tightly into jar.
Pour remaining vinegar over top, push veggies down father, and top up, leaving a little at the top.
Screw top on and label. Keep refrigerated. These will be ready to eat in a day or two.
Eat within two months. Don’t leave these out on the counter for long periods of time- they are not sterilized, so treat them accordingly!
Tip: don’t use metal when preparing these- it doesn’t get along well with vinegar!
Tip: Change up the flavor by adding fresh thyme, dill, ginger, turmeric- whatever you like!

easy curried lentil soup

Super quick curried lentil soup with coconut milk

This is a recipe I make when I have no food in the house! I often just throw a bunch of vegetables together with some red lentils, spices and broth, and see what happens. But I think this version turned out especially delicious with it’s simplicity and cozy warmth. It’s a breeze to make vegan or vegetarian, although, being French, I tend to go for the dairy/bone broth version!
easy curried lentil soup


1 tsp olive oil (or other type of vegetable oil)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp grated ginger (I used the jarred kind I had in the fridge)
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups red lentils
4 cups broth
1 small 5.5oz can of coconut milk
greek yogurt or sour cream or non dairy alternative for topping
chopped cilantro


Heat oil in medium saucepan
Add onion, garlic and ginger. Cook over medium/low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring so it doesn’t burn
Add spice. Stir and cook an additional 3 minutes or so.
Add lentils and broth, stir, cover and cook 30 minutes or so until lentils are soft and mushy.
If it gets too dry, add a bit of water. Stir every 10 minutes or so to make sure lentils don’t stick
Add coconut milk.
Heat through.
Serve with a dollop of yogurt, chopped cilantro, and hot sauce (always!)

Cheesy cheddar meatloaf

Ingredient list

2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
32 Ritz crackers, crushed
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon mustard

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Beat eggs. Add milk and crackers . Stir in onion and cheese. Add ground beef. Mix well. Shape into a loaf.
3. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
4. Combine ketchup, brown sugar and mustard to make topping. Spoon half of the topping over the meatloaf after 30 min. of baking. Return loaf to over for 10 more min. of baking. Spoon the rest of the topping over meatloaf, return to oven and bake for 5-10 min more.

Creamy chorizo and tortellini soup

Ingredient list

1 lb. chorizo sausage
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 small shallot, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
¼ c. all-purpose flour
5 c. chicken broth
14 oz. refrigerated cheese tortellini
1 tsp. kosher sea salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. Italian seasoning
6 ounces chopped fresh spinach
2 c. half & half (or heavy cream)

1. In a large pan set over medium-high, cook the sausage until browned. Drain as much grease from the pan as possible. Set aside.

2. In a large pot, add onion, shallot and carrot, sauté for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional 2 minutes, or until fragrant, stirring occasionally to prevent it from burning.

3. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually add in the chicken broth, whisk to combine. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 6 minutes.

4. Pat as much grease as possible off of the chorizo, then add it along with the tortellini, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, spinach, and half & half. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until the tortellini is fully cooked.

5. Serve immediately with freshly grated parmesan, if desired.

Heavenly Halibut

Ingredient list

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons chopped green onions
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 dash hot pepper sauce
2 pounds skinless halibut fillets

1. Preheat the oven broiler. Grease a baking dish.

2. In a bowl, mix the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise, lemon juice, green onions, salt, and hot pepper sauce.

3. Arrange the halibut fillets in the prepared baking dish.

4. Broil halibut fillets 8 minutes in the prepared oven, or until easily flaked with a fork. Spread with the Parmesan cheese mixture, and continue broiling 2 minutes, or until topping is bubbly and lightly browned.

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