Shrimp Scampi Florentine

This was really good! And came in handy when the week’s veggie box contained a lot of spinach.

Shrimp Scampi Florentine

Shrimp Scampi Florentine

6 oz whole wheat spaghetti

1 TB butter

¼ c. EVOO

3 TB prepared basil pesto

Dash garlic powder

½ c. sliced grape tomatoes

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

¼ tsp black pepper

3 oz veggie cream cheese

1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 c. fresh spinach, rinsed and stemmed

Cook spaghetti to al dente’ in boiling water. Combine butter and olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Stir in pesto, garlic powder and tomatoes and simmer until the tomatoes soften, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese and stir to combine. Season with red pepper flakes and black pepper. Stir in the shrimp and cook just until they turn pink. Add the spinach and stir until wilted, about 1 minute. Fold in pasta and serve.

Yield: 4 servings.

Breakfast Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Hubby loved these.

Breakfast Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

8 eggs

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1/8 c. milk

8 slices Colby cheddar

12 strips cooked bacon (or ham)

8 slices low cal wheat bread

Whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Spray medium skillet with cooking spray and add eggs. Make sure eggs cook evenly. When it begins to bubble or set on top, flip to the other side; about 3 minutes on each side. If it breaks, just try to keep the pieces large. Place cooked egg on a plate and wipe out the skillet. Place cheese on each side of bread, then enough egg to cover the bread and 3 strips of bacon (you could also use ham slices). Spray outsides of bread with butter spray and cook in skillet over medium heat.

Yield: 4 sandwiches.

Cranberry Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas

Tasty enchilada version with spicy and sweet.

Cranberry Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas

2 ½ c. diced cooked chicken

15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 c. shredded, reduced fat Colby-Jack cheese, divided

14 oz can whole berry cranberry sauce, divided

3 oz light cream cheese

1 ½ c. salsa, divided

1 to 2 TB finely chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp black pepper

8 low carb tortillas

Preheat oven to 350*. Combine chicken, beans, ¾ cup of cheese, 2/3 cup cranberry sauce, cream cheese, salsa, chipotle peppers, cumin, chili powder, and pepper. Place ¾ c of chicken mixture on the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place in greased 13×9 pan, seam side down. Combine the remaining salsa and cranberry sauce; pour over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese. Bake 25 minutes or until bubbly.

Yield: 8 servings.

No Bake Hazelnut Cookie Dough Cheesecake

I made this for Hubby’s birthday. It was really good! But I’m wondering about using fat free, sugar free instant pudding in place of the cocoa in the cheesecake…

No Bake Hazelnut Cookie Dough Cheesecake

Edible Cookie Dough

1 c. flour

¾ c. packed brown sugar

½ c. butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla

½ tsp salt

2 TB milk, if needed

1/3 c. mini chocolate chips

Cheesecake

1 c. heavy cream

1 T B plus ½ c. powdered sugar

16 oz light cream cheese

3 TB cocoa powder (instant pudding?)

13 oz Nutella

In a medium skillet, cook the flour, stirring constantly. This may change the color a little.

In medium bowl, add the brown sugar, butter, vanilla, salt and flour.  If the mixture is dry add the milk. If too moist add a little more flour.  Fold in the chocolate chips and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the heavy cream and tablespoon of powdered sugar, until stiff peaks form. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining cream cheese, powdered sugar, cocoa powder (wondering if pudding mix would work) and Nutella. When well combined, fold in whipped cream.

Lightly spray pie pan with cooking spray or rub with butter. Press a thin layer of the cookie dough in the bottom and up the sides, leaving a cup or more to roll into small balls for the top.  Top the crust with the Nutella mixture and spread evenly over the cake. Top with additional whipped topping (I used the canned kind) and the cookie dough balls.

Spray the pie pan lightly with cooking spray or coat lightly with butter. Place part of the edible cookie dough in the pie plate and up the sides.
Top the crust with the cheesecake filling.
Make little balls of the remaining dough and put on top. I used spray whipped cream to decorate the top as well.

How to Self-Publish Your Cookbook – Step #4

Now that you’ve entered your recipes, pictures, stories or whatever into the book, you’re almost done! As I mentioned before, most platforms let you move the recipes and/or pages around so start looking at the book to see if you like the order. The two platforms I mentioned have a table of contents automatically created as you enter the recipes so take a look at that and make sure 1) all the recipes you wanted to include are listed there, and 2) everything is in the order you prefer.

Next, download the preview/pdf of your book and start carefully reviewing your book. Look for typos and anything that might confuse a reader. Sometimes you have spent so much time with a book that it’s hard for you to spot the typos or errors. Maybe you know someone with great attention to detail and they would be willing to review the book for you? Sometimes, even then, there may be some typos. That’s ok. It makes your book human. 🙂

After you’ve made any last changes or corrections, you’re ready to submit your book! Congratulations!

What questions do you have? Anything I didn’t cover?

How to Self-Publish Your Cookbook – Step #3

Once you’ve located all of your recipes and photographs into sections or categories it is time to prepare the recipes. First, consider what platform you are going to use to publish your book. Do you want to type them up, add the pictures and run to Kinko’s? (Do they still exist??)

For the cookbooks I was selling online, and at craft shows and farmer’s markets I used Morris Press Cookbooks from Nebraska. They create A LOT of church cookbooks, among others. No, I am not getting paid to mention them or anyone else. I’m just telling you what worked for me. I had only one picture in the books and it was at the front of the book. So if you are dreaming of adding a lot of pictures, this may not be the platform for you, unless you want to type it up and send it to them as a pdf they can just print. I did do a book that way. It was a combo book. Appetizers on one side, then you flipped it over and there was a dessert book. What I really liked about Morris Press, among other things, is the covers and dividers you can choose from. I haven’t been to their site in a while, but when I was creating those books I thought they had some really cute options to choose from. Keep in mind that the number of dividers you use, brings the cost of the book up. I learned that after my first book. It’s best to combine what you can and what you can and as it makes sense. So, for instance, instead of having a divider for chicken, a divider for pork, and a divider for beef, you might want to have a section for “meat” and just the one divider. I think the charge was .10 per divider per book. Which adds up if you’re printing a lot of books.

For this last book Hubby and I created, we used Createmycookbook.com. You can scope out their charges, but if I remember correctly, you could create a 100 page book with 20-25 pictures and get it printed for $20 per book (depending on the type of cover you chose), plus shipping. I really liked that I could change recipe formats. One recipe might be a standard two column lists of ingredients with directions below and another might be a list of ingredients with numbered instructions. You can also change fonts on every recipe if you like. I don’t recommend that, but you can. What really sold me on them for this book was that it allowed me to enter many more pictures, as well as story pages where I could add devotions. And the cost wasn’t prohibitive even if I only wanted 5 to 6 books. I did not, however, see a way to add dividers, but maybe I missed that somehow. Still, the book made a nice Christmas gift. Again, no, I’m not getting paid by them to recommend them.

So, will you enter the recipes yourself in the online platform, type them in a Word doc and send a pdf to be published or hire someone to type them for you? Yes, I believe both Morris Press and Create My Cookbook will type the recipes for you if you pay them. If you want me to organize them and type them for you, I charge $2 to $3 per page.

For our purposes here, let’s say you are typing them into an online platform. It’s pretty much like using Word. You can bold titles, copy and paste, etc. And when you get the recipes typed in the platform will let you move them around if you decide they aren’t in the order you prefer. Or maybe someone sends you a recipe late and you need to slide it in. Totally doable.

Think about the recipes you see in books and how they are structured. As you start typing list the ingredients in the order of use in the recipe. If you first need to chop half an onion, then the onion and amount go first on your list. You also want to be consistent with how you list the ingredients and measures. For instance, I use TB for tablespoon, but I’ve also seen Tbsp for tablespoon. There’s no law. Use whatever you like, just make sure people will be able to understand what you mean.

After you’ve listed the ingredients in order, make sure the directions are in order and that they tell the reader what to do with each ingredient. Should I preheat the over now? Is the pasta supposed to be cooked before adding it in? Or do I dump it in uncooked? Some people using your book might be beginners at cooking. Be kind to them and make the instructions easy to follow.

Createmycookbook’s platform allowed us to tell a little bit about each recipe. So I was able to tell about some of the family recipes–who’s they were and their claim to fame. My slow cooker sausage dressing recipe once won a prize in Light & Tasty (Taste of Home) magazine! This platform also allowed me to upload family pictures from my computer.

In summary, consider what platform you want to use and carefully type in your recipes and stories, and sprinkle in pictures (if you’re adding them).

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about final steps. You’re almost there!

How to Self-Publish Your Cookbook – Step #2

Yesterday we talked about first identifying what your book will contain and who will be the audience.

Today, let’s look more closely at the book contents and talk about how to prepare your contents. Let’s say you have decided to include family recipes and family photographs. You will want to start gathering your recipes and the photographs you want to include. Think about categorizing the recipes into sections such as, appetizers, soups, salads, main dishes, desserts. Or maybe you want to categorize the recipes by year or decade: 1970, 1980, 1990, etc. The farmer’s market cookbook I created was categorized by Spring, Summer and Fall. The recipes in those sections utilized fresh produce you could find at the market during those seasons.

Now, look at the recipes you have and put them into your categories. You might also want to take notes on recipes you want to include, but don’t have yet. If others will be providing recipes, communicate your need to them and a date by when you will need their recipes or photographs. If you want to offer the book as Christmas gifts I would recommend obtaining the recipes by May at the latest. This gives you plenty of time to get them typed up.

Pay attention to how many recipes and pictures your book will have. This determines the cost if you decide to go with an online company to actually produce your book. Otherwise, you could control the entire book– type it up and have it copied for others or send it as a digital file.

It will be helpful to have the photographs as digital images for ease of inclusion in the book. You may be able to take a decent photograph of those you don’t have as digital files and still include them. This might also be a good choice for recipes in the handwriting of a member who has passed. Handwriting tends to be very unique and as soon as you see it, you know who’s writing it is. Maybe you’d like to include the recipe as a photograph to preserve the handwriting. Play with lighting to make sure you get the best image possible.

So for this step you have determined the sections of the cookbook and the number of recipes and photographs you would like to use.

Tomorrow, let’s talk about how to start typing the recipes.

Is This the Year?

I’ve self-published more than 20 cookbooks since 2005 and every so often someone will say to me, “Oh, I would love to write a cookbook of my family recipes.” Is THIS the year you actually do it?

I would love to help you. I’m going to create a series of posts that outline the steps to take to publish your own cookbook.

Today, let’s decide what your book will look like.

First, decide what kind of book you want to create. Recipes, sure, but do you want to add pictures to the book? Pictures of food? Or pictures of family members? Do you want to add family stories? Will you be the only author? Or will family members be submitting contents as well?

This year, my husband and I created a cookbook of favorite recipes from my family and his, including recipes he used to make for his daughters. BUT we also included devotions suitable for those who might have questions about Christianity and what it is to be a believer. We created this book specifically for his daughters and my nephews and niece. We completed a version for his family that included pictures of that side of the family and then changed out the pictures for my family version.

Who is your audience? Is this just a family cookbook? Or will it also be for friends? Will it be for sale in your community?

I used to sell cookbooks at my local farmer’s market and even created a cookbook from the market with seasonal produce recipes and recipes submitted by the other vendors. Another cookbook I created was for a RV dealer to give to customers who purchased an RV. That book contained a lot of grilling and one pot meals suitable for RV life. Maybe you have a lot of knowledge of cooking for young children, so your book is going to help moms everywhere.

If you’re going to sell your book in your community, start to consider who might purchase it and where you might be able to market this book.

Another thing to consider is whether you need printed copies or will only want digital versions. Again, who is your audience and what type of book will suit them best?

So, your first step is to think about the type of book you want to create, who will receive it, and how they will access it.

Black-Eyed Pea Dip

We had this tasty dip on New Year’s Day and it’s a keeper!

Black-Eyed Pea Dip

2 TB finely diced onion

14 oz can black eyed peas, rinsed and drained

3 oz light cream cheese

10 slices tamed jalapenos

1 c. grated cheddar cheese

3 TB salsa

Hot sauce, to taste

Preheat oven to 350*. Place peas in medium bowl and partially mash some. Add remaining ingredients and bake 20 minutes or until bubbly.  Stir and serve.

Yield: 6 servings.

Chorizo Breakfast Tacos

Hubby and I loved these!

Chorizo Breakfast Tacos

7 oz pork chorizo

12 oz shredded potatoes

1/3 c. diced onion

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp onion powder

Salt and pepper, to taste

6 eggs, beaten

8 Small tortillas

½ c. shredded cheddar cheese

Salsa, cilantro- optional

Add chorizo, potatoes and onion to large skillet.  Cook until potatoes are done. Add garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.  Add eggs and stir so softly set. Divide mixture between tortillas and top with cheese and salsa and cilantro, if desired.

Yield: 8