Creating a Family Recipe Book

Dear Fellow Journalers,

A family recipe book is not actually a journal in the strictest sense, although it can be argued that your thoughts about preparing a special meal or memories of holiday cookie making marathons at your home can be a journaling experience. Either way, the creating of a family recipe book, like  Marybeth’s Treasure Box  is special.

About a year ago I started to clean out my recipe book. Actually I had to! I had received a small plastic sleeved book years ago when I was first married. It had over 50 small index sized sleeves and corresponding blank index cards upon which I had copied recipes. However, I now had over 20 cookbooks in my kitchen with various hand-written recipes placed in the pages. I needed to organize and badly! My family was growing up and I knew eventually I  would need family recipes as my daughter-in-law was always asking how I made my meatballs or salad dressing that my son liked.

I purchased a 3 ring binder with plastic cover and  a box of plastic pre-drilled 3 ring sleeves. I divided my recipes by type – meat, salads, soups etc. After deciding how many  genres I had, I decided on what color paper (from my stash) I needed for each type of food. For instance, I used red for meat, green for chicken, yellow for desserts etc. I gathered all my recipes together and proceeded to hand-write each one on lined paper. That seemed to take forever! But in the end, all of the recipes were in one place, easy to find and read, and most importantly safe from spilled ingredients! One day I went to Michael’s Craft Store for paper for a project I was working on, and found to my surprise, that the store was having a special sale on paper ” Buy 10 for $1! ” Always on the lookout for additional matte cardstock I checked out the sale. Lo and behold, there was a stash of cookbook paper! It had food words on it in various fonts – Apron, spoon, High Heat, Chicken legs, Meatballs  etc. I bought it without hesitation and one of the pages now adorns the cover of my cookbook!

If you decide that you want to try this, here are some suggestions:

Purchase a blank book with lined pages. If  you can find one with a spiral-bound spine it will be able to lay flat on a counter.

Ask your family for recipes. Read and adapt if you want. Also ask your relatives for photos and memories surrounding the recipes.

Write the recipes in your own handwriting.

Compose a forward. Leave a message in the first few pages for your family members to remember you.

Don’t limit your book to recipes only. Add kitchen tips or your opinions.

When setting up your recipes write a little description of the dish. See Denise’s comments about her salad in my December 7th post.

Write the ingredients down and instructions like a recipe. Estimate how many servings. Finish with serving suggestions ie: serve with red wine.

Happy cooking and creating!


Dinah’s Chicken

     Years ago, my husband had a good friend named Dinah. She made this dish one night and my husband raved about it so much that she finally sent me the recipe. It is a family favorite.


1 1/4# boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tbl. margarine or butter, melted

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. dried parsley flakes

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. dried thyme

1 tbl. Dijon mustard- I use Grey Poupon (the one in the jar)

1 tbl. honey

Makes 2 servings. For 4-5 servings, multiply ingredients

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in Pam-sprayed shallow baking pan. Put all spices in bowl, doubling or tripling as needed. Melt butter/margarine in small microwavable bowl and add to mixture. Without rinsing, mix honey and mustard in same bowl and then add to large bowl. Mix well. Spoon over chicken. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Take off foil and re-baste with marinade. Bake again for 30 minutes. Serve over rice.


December 2016

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