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  • The Chopping Blog

How to Build your own Recipes

Posted by Drake on May 23, 2023


Once you’ve honed a few keys techniques and have had success executing some delicious or more elaborate recipes at home, it’s time you start building some of your own tasty creations! This is how you cater recipes to your own palate and increase your overall cooking skills. These are the recipes you pass on to friends and family and can become a timeless tradition among your loved ones.

When it comes to creating new dishes it’s important to have a good mental database of flavors, textures and colors. The best way to build your database is to try new produce, spices, condiments, and dishes as often as you can. When I want to build a recipe, my inspiration may come from a great dish I tried while out to dinner or an interesting condiment that I’ve come across at the grocery store. Utilization is important so many of my creations are derived from random ingredients that I have in the kitchen, maybe it’s produce that’s gone unused or even leftovers from a previous dinner.

Once I have an idea of what it is I'd like to make or what I’m in the mood for, I take to the internet and flip through some of my favorite cookbooks to find some recipes to use as a guideline. These recipes will give me ideas on different ingredients, ratios, and cooking techniques that I can incorporate into my own dish.

CookbooksNext, I work down the ingredient list and start making adjustments to suit my needs or swap in the ingredients that I have available. Finally, cook through your adjusted recipe, taking notes along the way to refine the recipe over the next few times you cook it. Once you’ve refined the recipe, feel free to call it your own and share with others!

One trick that professional chefs use to make a recipe consistent time after time is to scale your recipe in grams with a digital gram scale. This gram scaling is by no means necessary, however it will give very similar results each time the recipe is made and works best when it comes to baked goods.

Here’s an example of the process with a recent dinner I made at home. I wanted a creamy pasta dish with some greens and a protein. A quick search gave me this general recipe for a chicken penne pasta. I replaced a few items with ingredients that were available at home and easily created an entirely new delicious dish. Keep in mind you will generally want to keep some measurements consistent with the original recipe, you’ll want to maintain moisture and fat content when making replacements and think about how changes to the ingredients may affect the final product.


Original Chicken Penne 

10 oz short penne pasta

1.5 pound boneless skinless chicken breast 

2 Tablespoons olive oil

3-4 garlic cloves minced

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Kosher salt and ground pepper to taste      

8 oz sun-dried tomatoes

3 cups almond milk

2 Tablespoons all purpose flour

3 cups baby spinach

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese


Modified Chicken Pasta

10 oz Fettuccine egg noodle

1 pound spicy Italian sausage

2 Tablespoons olive oil

3-4 garlic cloves minced

1/2 teaspoons chili flakes

Kosher salt and ground pepper to taste

1.5 cups heavy cream

1/4 cup chicken stock

3 cups kale

1 cup dandelion greens

1 bunch fresh ramps

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

pasta dishAs you can see, I swapped out multiple items such as the pasta shape and the protein itself with what I had available. I adjusted the seasoning to be more on the spicy side in order to compliment the new protein (spicy sausage). Replacing the almond milk with heavy cream lends some sweetness to contrast the spice and adds a richer finish. I was also able to remove the flour that was used to thicken the almond milk because I can achieve this same thickening effect by slightly reducing my cream. Some chicken stock is added to adjust the consistency and sauciness of the dish. Finally, I was able to utilize some bitter greens and fresh ramps that I got from the farmer’s market! And just like that I have an entirely new recipe that I can refine and adjust over time to make it perfect.

Now you try... check out what’s in the pantry or fridge and start brainstorming your own creations. Join us at The Chopping Block for Essential Building Blocks on Saturday, June 3 at 9am to continue expanding your flavor palate and cooking techniques!

Learn more about Essential Building Blocks


Topics: recipe, Recipes, family recipes, copycat recipe, reading a recipe

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