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

Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs

Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs

¼ c. Dijon mustard

¼ c. grainy mustard

½ c. honey

1 tsp soy sauce

½ tsp dried tarragon

½ tsp ginger powder

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Preheat oven to 350⁰. Combine Dijon, grainy mustard, honey, soy sauce, tarragon and ginger in a large bowl. Coat chicken in mustard mixture and place on baking sheet. I added diced potatoes to the baking sheet and poured the remaining mustard mixture over all.  You could always leave the potatoes off or use other vegetables of your choice. Brussels sprouts might be good.

Yield: 6 servings.

Quinoa Chicken

Quinoa Chicken

2 c. fat free chicken broth

1 c. quinoa, rinsed

½ c. diced onion

½ tsp garlic powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp chili powder

1 lb ground chicken or turkey

14 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies

14 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

11 oz can green enchilada sauce

In medium sauce pan, bring broth to a boil and add quinoa; cook until water is absorbed. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook onion, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder and ground chicken (could also use diced chicken breast or thighs or cooked roasted chicken instead). When chicken is done add tomatoes, black beans and enchilada sauce. Add cooked quinoa and combine.  

Yield: 4 servings.

Ranch-Baked Chicken w/Bacon, Brussels Sprouts and Potatoes

Ranch-Baked Chicken w/ Bacon, Sprouts and Potatoes

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts

1 lb red potatoes, halved or quartered

1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed

Salt & pepper, to taste

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp thyme

1 oz pkg Ranch dressing powder

6 slices bacon

Preheat oven to 400⁰. Line baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place chicken on baking sheet. Add potatoes and sprouts to baking sheet.  Sprinkle all with salt, pepper, garlic powder and thyme. Pour Ranch dressing powder over all then lay bacon over the top.

Bake until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear, about 30-35 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings.

Chicken Tamale Bake

Hubby said I can make this again! 🙂 It’s a nice take on tamales.

Chicken Tamale Bake

1 large egg

14 ¾ oz cream style corn

8.5 oz pkg cornbread/muffin mix

4 oz chopped green chilies

1/3 c. skim milk

¼ c. shredded Mexican cheese blend


2 c. chopped cooked chicken

10 oz enchilada sauce

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp chili powder

¼ c. diced onion

1/3 c. whipped cream cheese

1 c. shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided

Preheat oven to 400⁰. In a large bowl, combine egg, corn, cornbread mix, green chilies, milk and cheese. Spray 13×9 with cooking spray and pour in cornbread mix. Bake until light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 15-18 minutes. In large skillet, combine chicken, enchilada sauce, cumin, paprika, chili powder, onion and whipped cream cheese. When well combined add ½ cup Mexican cheese and cook until melted. Spread over cornbread layer; top with cheese. Bake 10-12 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings.

Frosted Cinnamon Rolls

These were my first attempt at making cinnamon rolls and they were GREAT!

Frosted Cinnamon Rolls

5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour

18 oz yellow cake mix

2 pkgs quick-rise yeast

2 ½ c. warm water (120⁰-130⁰)

¼ c. butter, melted

1/3 c. packed brown sugar

1/3 c. Splenda or Stevia

2 TB ground cinnamon, or to taste


4 TB butter, softened

2 c. powdered sugar

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

2-3 TB skim milk

In a large bowl, combine 4 c. flour, cake mix, yeast and warm water. When smooth add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning once to grease to. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Punch dough down. Turn onto lightly floured surface; divide in half. Roll each portion into a 14×10 rectangle. Brush with butter; sprinkle with sugars and cinnamon. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with long side. Cut each roll into 12 slices; place cut side down in two greased 13×9 pans. Cover and let rise until almost doubled, about 20 minutes. Bake at 400⁰ for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 20 minutes. For frosting, in medium bowl, crem the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and enough milk to achieve desired consistency. Frost warm rolls.

Yield: 12.

DDD Review #9- crushcraft

To celebrate Hubby’s bday we picked out a DDD restaurant to visit. This hip Thai place was the chosen restaurant. It’s in a hip area of Uptown in Dallas. It’s unique and fun and really large! It has fun outdoor seating in the front and back. I had the Kra Pao–probably not something Guy would have chosen as it had a fried egg on top. It was sort of a Thai fried rice and had peppers and other vegetables, jasmine rice and ground pork. It was delicious! A tad oily for me, but great flavor nonetheless. Hubs had the Drunken Noodles and a papaya salad. He loved it!

crushcraft is definitely a 4 or 5 start place.