Goals · Life

The Cookbook Project

I have mentioned before that I need to start using my cookbooks more often. They are taking up an entire pantry shelf, and I have only been using them when I’m looking for a specific recipe. And even then, I usually don’t find what I’m looking for and end up on Pinterest anyway.


Don’t mind Mr. Potato Head’s ear. Noah’s very into putting things in weird places lately.

I’ve also gotten into a rut. Making a menu for the week has been painful. I sit there, staring into space, and then write down something vague like “fish and broccoli”. We get to that day, and nobody wants fish or I didn’t get broccoli, so we just eat frozen pizza. Please tell me I’m not the only one!

Using my cookbooks more often will help cut down the drudgery of planning and making dinners. I started doing this in mid-February. In fact, since I started using cookbooks to plan meals, making a menu has been fun! And, of course, there is the added bonus of healthier, more complete meals.

Here are my goals for my “Cookbook Project”:

  • Make a new recipe out of a physical cookbook at least twice a week.
  • Make recipes that can either be completely made or at least prepped during nap time. Or at least are so quick to make that a roaming toddler isn’t a problem.
  • Get rid of cookbooks that don’t have good recipes!

These have been and will continue to be the goals for this project. Of course, sometimes life gets in the way. I forgot to take the hamburger out of the freezer and I can’t make meatballs. Tim mentioned a craving for something else. We ended up going out to dinner. Noah had a tooth-related meltdown. You know, stuff happens.

Here are some cookbook recipes I have made (with a * rating of 1-5).

  1. Lemon Blueberry Pancakes (Pioneer Woman Cooks) *****
    ~~ Amazing! We love these pancakes!
  2. Mediterranean Skillet Chicken (100 Chicken Recipes) ****
    ~~ It was okay, it uses condensed tomato soup, which gave it a weird flavor. It would have been better with just plain tomato sauce. Tim’s a purist.
  3. Beef Stroganoff Meatballs (Taste of Home: Winning Recipes) ****
    ~~ These were really good, and had a creamy mushroom sauce.
  4. Overnight Taco Fiesta Chicken Lasagne (from a magazine, recipe) *****
    ~~ Tim labeled this “a win”.
  5. Sauteed Shrimp with Garlic, Lime, and Chile Sauce (Best of the Best, Vol 10) ***
    ~~ I expected this to be better. It was a lot of work for not a super great meal.
  6. Stuffed meatloaf (maybe cheating? Recipe from Italian cooking class.)****
    ~~ You put cheese inside the meatloaf? Ok, sounds good to me! Also stuffed with ham, egg, and spinach.
  7. Sloppy Joes (Pioneer Woman Cooks) ****
    ~~ Those seasoning packets for sloppy joes don’t agree with my stomach and Tim hates ketchup, so I tried this. It tasted just like seasoning-packet SJ’s, just more work.
  8. Carbonara Frittata (Rachel Ray magazine, Jan/Feb 2017, recipe)
    ~~ Totally recommend this. It was really good! And pretty easy, too. It was kind of a spaghetti pie, but with eggs and ham, too.
  9. Beef and Bean burritos (Pioneer Woman Cooks) *****
    ~~ Also good. Even Noah liked it. Ree Drummond’s stuff is great, ya know? Someday I might make a bunch of these and stick them in the freezer.
  10. Chicken Philly Sandwiches (Back to School magazine) ***
    ~~ These probably would have been better except I used semi-gross pre-cooked chicken I found in the bottom of the freezer. It’s a good idea, though.
  11. Sirloin Stir Fry with Ramen (Back to School magazine) **
    ~~ Just not good. It had a weird flavor. I’ve made another similar recipe that was better.

Still to come: Broccoli Ham Stroganoff, Southern Chicken Roll-ups, and Pasta Crab Casserole (all from Taste of Home: Winning Recipes, seriously one of my favorite cookbooks).

What about you, do you use your cookbooks? What is your favorite?


6 thoughts on “The Cookbook Project

  1. What a great idea! Obviously your family is adventurous in eating – or at least open to new things. My husband is a quite picky eater. Since we’ve gotten married, my cookbooks have been rather collecting dust. I do have binders full of clipped recipes and notes of my own, though, which I use more often.
    I second the motion to make bread! I do that frequently – from pizza dough to oat soda bread to homemade soft pretzels to other rustic bread to challah. It’s do-able!


    1. My husband is fairly adventurous, though he is a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy. He’ll try anything once! And my kid will eat pretty much anything if we put tomato sauce (or bbq sauce) on it. It’s getting warm enough that dough will rise, but not too hot to turn on the oven, so I think I need to try bread again.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s