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WIAW: Recipe?? and BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad - mylittletablespoon

WIAW: Recipe?? and BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad

“Recipe” is such a wonky term, isn’t it?


I mean, as Webster describes it, a recipe is “a set of instructions for preparing a particular dish, including a list of the ingredients required.”

But really, a recipe is like all things – movies, songs, books – there is only so much pure originality that can go on in this world.  Eventually something  is going to be borrowed from something else.  But that’s the beauty of it, no?  The world works by sharing ideas from one to the next, and then each individual makes its unique tweaks and twods to then make it something different. Even if still similar.

It’s fairly rare that I follow an actual recipe, ingredient for ingredient, step by step. The majority of my meals are created by having scoured too many a number of recipes and then kind of meshing them all together, or taking one idea and putting it into something of my own. But I wouldn’t necessarily then say I’ve now made a “new” recipe.  I’m not quite yet calling myself a “recipe creator,” after all.

But I do get inspiration. I mish and mash. I always make sure I give credit where its due – most definitely if I’ve only tweaked one or two things. I wonder where the line is? How many ingredients do you alter before calling it a new recipe? Hm.

As I was looking at my meals from Monday, I was thinking about the notion of a “recipe” and thought that I would – because this is my party blog – share my total non-recipe recipes that I used on this particular day.


“Recipe” #1:  Grate an entire pear into your pancake batter to create “pear pancakes” – it adds a lovely little crunch and sweetness to each bite.

“Recipe” #2:  Combine 1 Tbsp peanut butter powder (yes, I know) with 2 Tbsp almond/regular milk and microwave for 15 seconds to create a “peanut butter sauce.”

“Recipe” #3:  Buy chocolate cream cheese.

Okay not as much of a recipe. But do it.

Pear Pancakes with Chocolate and Peanut Butter Recipe

Pear pancakes (regular pancakes with grated pear through batter) + chocolate cream cheese + peanut butter sauce + blueberries and pear

Pear Pancakes with Chocolate and Peanut Butter Recipe

The pancakes were leftover from the weekend, and were all the boy’s creation.  So that’s where the real credit lies.  But look at that poooooool of chocolatey nutty goodness. That…that was all me.


“Recipe” #4:  Roast a spaghetti squash, mix the insides with 1/4 cup cottage cheese and marinara sauce. Top with spinach, crumbled protein of choice and grated cheese. Reheat for a super easy “lasagna stuffed spaghetti squash.”

Stuffed Lasagnia Squash

Spaghetti Squash stuffed with cottage cheese, marinara, spinach, ground turkey and more cheeeeese


… sometimes snacks don’t need recipes.



Oh but hey, this guy really does have recipes.  Many, actually.

Brownie WIAW: Recipe

Three ingredient brownie 

“Recipe” #5:  Do not eat as you are literally running through a door.  You may trip.  Or run into it.


Now here is my real question.  Are salads really “recipes?” I mean, yes, they are, because someone needs to come up with the idea of ingredients and dressing.  But I, for one, feel a titch silly showcasing one of my salad creations as a  “recipe” because it is really just throwing leftovers into a bowl.  But slap on some (super necessary) instructions and by dammit, Webster calls it a recipe.  For this one, I got my inspiration from something I had in a restaurant months ago, but made enough tweaks that I’ve decided I will now call it my own.  Really, I’m just loving it so much right now that I wanted to share.

BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad WIAW: Recipe

I’m even going to put in measurements.  Because I’m a professional.  Even though I’m basically making them up. Shhhhhh.

BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad | WIAW: Recipe

“Recipe” #6:

BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

3-4 cups romaine lettuce
1 chicken breast or thigh, cooked and shredded
1/4 cup quinoa, cooked
1/4 cup corn
1/2 tomato, chopped
1/4 cup feta, crumbled
Cilantro to garnish


1 Tbsp your favourite BBQ sauce
1 Tbsp your favourite Ranch dressing
1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Cook chicken by preferred method (I prefer in a slow cooker with a small layering of chicken stock for extra moisture). Cook 1/4 cup dry quinoa in 1/2 cup water, turned to boil and then left to simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Place shredded chicken, quinoa and all salad ingredients on top a bed of romaine. Stir together dressing ingredients. Drizzle over salad and garnish with cilantro.

Okay nowwww I feel silly. “Place all salad ingredients on top a bed of romaine…..”  Oie vey.


Recipe #7:  When you are fatigued from all your labourous recipe making (sweat sweat pant pant), gladly accept the piece of cake your partner brings over.  Don’t even try to call it your own.  Just eat it and smile.

Carrot Cake | WIAW: Recipe

Carrot cake + blueberries + single piece of chocolate

…because I have a complete inability to end my night without chocolate.

Complete. Inability.

Whether you call it a recipe or not; whether it is your own or a collection of a few…throw some things together, pay dues where they need to be paid, and feel grateful for being able to take part in the great circle of life recipe creation. Thanks to Jenn and her fabulous hosts for giving us a space to do so.

Tell me,

How many ingredients do you change before calling it “your own” recipe?

What delicious “recipe” did you create today!?




  1. chasetheredgrape | 3rd Feb 16

    Love this! So often I think to myself that something’s to simple to be a recipe so I never bother posting them – but combinations are in fact recipes!
    I have just finished eating, for lunch, a bowl with greens, beets, butternut squash, leftover shredded salsa chicken and cottage cheese – sooooo goooooood!!!!

    • mylittletablespoon | 4th Feb 16

      Yup – me too, precisely. Maybe its really just a matter of personality type? Some seem to have no problem throwing even a few things together and shouting it out to the world as a recipe.
      And see that lunch of yours? Totally recipe worthy. And one which I am going to have to borrow. I would have never thought of adding cottage cheese to go along with the rest of the ingredients. Now all you need is a fancy name for it πŸ™‚

  2. danielle saucy smith | 3rd Feb 16

    This is perfect. As much as I adore cookbooks and reading recipes, I’m not much of a recipe follower. I can if necessary but never without a tweak or few. The peanut butter sauce and pancakes look incredible. My breakfast lately has been plain yogurt with local honey and homemade stewed fruits and ginger. Sometimes a few servings. I can’t be bothered with a recipe but somehow food gets in and tastes good, that’s all that matters:)

    • mylittletablespoon | 4th Feb 16

      Same! I love love love cookbooks and flipping through recipes, and always wish I used them more, but when it comes down to choosing something to make… I seem to always get too “lazy” to go to the actual books. Quite strange.
      Your yogurt bowl sounds divine. Do you mean real ginger!? I’ve started adding candied ginger to mine and am loving it.

  3. SuzLyfe | 3rd Feb 16

    Spot on. So many of my recipes are just me putting things together and they happen to be tasty enough that I want to share, so I call them recipes so that other people will (hopefully) join in on the fun.
    And I want every single thing that you ate. SEND IT OVA

    • mylittletablespoon | 4th Feb 16

      Well whatever you do – just keep doing it. You have a talent for “putting things together” and yes, you must share them! Fun and delicious.

  4. Kate Bennett | 3rd Feb 16

    I rarely ever follow a recipe to a T unless it’s a cake.. you can’t mess with those unless only you plan to eat it, haha. I probably have to change ingredients and quantities before I’d feel comfortable calling it my own. But even when I do call it my own, I just know someone’s already made it and it’s on the interwebs somewhere!
    Chocolate cream cheese? Now that sounds pretty awesome. I just had regular cream cheese and feel like I’m missing out.

    • mylittletablespoon | 4th Feb 16

      Oh yes, some recipes like for cakes or yeast bread must be followed. I’ve thought I could get away with making my own stubborn tweaks with these things…. but have always learned my lesson. Sometimes I don’t post something for the very reason of just assuming someone already has. But this doesn’t seem to stop other people?

  5. bucketlisttummy | 3rd Feb 16

    I have a Complete. Inability. Also. Chocolate makes us sleep better, right? Errrr. Love your take on this. I always adopt/modify recipes, or combined 5 based on what I have. I am in love with my strawberry cream cheese but I’ll try chocolate because you tell me to.

    • mylittletablespoon | 4th Feb 16

      Sleep AND magnesium. We are doing the right thing.
      I’m glad you are willing to expand your horizons πŸ™‚

  6. Beauty in Christ (@Emily11949309) | 3rd Feb 16

    YES, a recipe in the kitchen is like an open palette for being creative. I think it’s the way God gave me of expressing art. πŸ™‚ Cooking is definitely an art, and I’ve come to appreciate it the more I follow other foodie blogs and try to develop my own recipes. I’m thankful that God gave us SO many different varieties of food to make such delicious, colorful creations.

    • mylittletablespoon | 4th Feb 16

      Absolutely! Recipe creating and cooking in any form is a total form of art and creativity – one of the main reasons I love it so much. I love that you are creating your own recipes more now – you do have a natural talent!

  7. katalysthealth | 3rd Feb 16

    Everything looks great! Especially that salad though….gimme! I love mixing ranch and BBQ sauce to create a dressing. It’s the perfect Tex-Mex topper! Well, that and crunchy corn tortilla chips I make in the oven with a squeeze of lime and sea salt πŸ™‚

  8. blondepancake | 3rd Feb 16

    Those pancakes look to DIE for. Hope you’re having a great week! xo πŸ™‚

  9. Morgan @ Managing Mommyhood | 3rd Feb 16

    To be honest, I’ve seen BIG food bloggers post basically another recipe verbatim, changing one tiny measurement or something, and just writing, “adapted from…” So if they can do that, I mean.. I think so long as you put in some creativity and genuine thought, and the credit back to where it should be if it’s still very reminiscent, you’re gold.

    • mylittletablespoon | 4th Feb 16

      Yep yep yep…
      I’m just too scared to even try to do that. How would someone not catch on? I really have to feel like I’ve changed a solid amount before calling it something new.

  10. Melissa (I Crashed the Web) | 3rd Feb 16

    Good questions! I often will look to other places for inspiration and create what i think is my own recipe only to find another person has already shared it with just a few changes in measurements. I guess there’s nothing new anymore, amiright? Thanks for sharing your own WIAW!

    • mylittletablespoon | 4th Feb 16

      Exactly. Even if you think you’ve created something completely original, chances are there is something similar out there. But hey – we can’t do anything about that. I say we can each still create and share and who cares if there are overlaps.

  11. hungryforbalance | 3rd Feb 16

    I’m glad I’m not alone in my recipe creation process. I feel like people must have been either a lot more creative before the Internet! Either that or they were what I like to call ‘recipe stickers’ .
    Chocolate is always an essential ending to my day.

    • mylittletablespoon | 4th Feb 16

      Baha – touche! People must have actually looked in real books! Gasp!

  12. Aurora | 3rd Feb 16

    I love the idea of grating pear (or any fruit) into pancakes! That needs to happen ASAP.

  13. Rach @ This Italian Family | 3rd Feb 16

    That salad looks delicious so I totally call it a recipe! πŸ˜‰ I know what you mean, though. A lot of times I call something “a meal idea” if it’s just too much of a stretch to call it a recipe, ha! Also, I love the idea of grated pear in pancakes! Yum!

    • mylittletablespoon | 4th Feb 16

      Haha, yes, “meal idea” is probably much more appropriate for many of the things that I do. But that’s okay. As long as it tastes good I don’t care what you call it πŸ™‚

  14. fuelforfreedom | 3rd Feb 16

    Haha, so great! I never used to consider salads a “recipe,” and yet everytime I make one at my dining hall’s salad bar, I get compliments on it. I guess slapping things on a pile of lettuce is a talent. Definitely trying the spaghetti squash and pancake ideas though.

    • mylittletablespoon | 4th Feb 16

      Well then obviously you’ve got a mean salad talent that needs to be shared! Why not give some crazy combinations a schmancy name. Who knows, they could turn famous?

  15. Stephanie Leduc | 3rd Feb 16

    I definitely agree that recipes aren’t a strict set of rules! Those pancakes do not even make sense to me, the idea of grating pears is AMAZING! Your supper is probably the most beautiful salad ever, what an amazing day of eats. Thanks for sharing all these “recipes” with us :)!

    • mylittletablespoon | 4th Feb 16

      Haha. But, you, I know, have some amazing recipes and an amazing ability to actually follow a real one. So I need to take a little of that from you. The grated pear was brilliant – I’d like to try apple next.

  16. Joyce | 4th Feb 16

    My family members and I have a bit of a disagreement about recipes. My mom almost never follows them; she’s one of those cooks who makes stuff up and doesn’t measure. I, on the other hand, can have a fridge full of food but think “there’s nothing to eat” because I don’t have all the ingredients for a particular recipe. Like I’ve not been cooking long enough to make something up. Ha! Nice post.

    • mylittletablespoon | 4th Feb 16

      Jealous of your mom. I’m not quite that confident with my ingredients yet. But I am pretty good at just using what I have in the fridge and skipping or adding different things. You can do it! Get that creative wild side on!

  17. Ellie | 4th Feb 16

    Mmm BBQ sauce and ranch! That is my favorite recipe from this post πŸ˜‰ I think a few bloggers capitalize on the random things you can throw together, give it a fancy name, take a picture and BOOK recipe. Arman from The Big Man’s World is wonderful at this! I love his recipes and it really is mostly just putting random stuff together.
    Always end the night on chocolate though. That is a recipe for life!

    • mylittletablespoon | 4th Feb 16

      Yep. I really think that’s the main premise behind most recipes. Which is great. That’s what we love them for. Arman’s recipes are brilliant BECAUSE they are so simple – yet no one else has actually bothered to come up with them and give them a name.

  18. Jacklyn @ Jack's Balancing Act | 4th Feb 16

    Ahhh so much goodness and meal inspiration in one post! I am actually a TOTAL recipe follower and I’m trying to get more comfortable “winging it” but it doesn’t come naturally to me. Also, I sort of want to hug or handshake or salute your boy haha for his contributions to this day πŸ™‚

    • mylittletablespoon | 4th Feb 16

      I think, then, we need to combine a bit of both our recipe making skills. I’d like to follow more recipes as is. I’ll pass on the salute πŸ™‚

  19. cookiesnchem | 4th Feb 16

    That carrot cake! OMG. But all of your meals look SO incredible as always! I love the lasagna stuffed squash. Saved to my computer for future inspiration! Thank you so much πŸ™‚ I love your non-recipe recipes because they are so creative.

  20. snackiebird | 4th Feb 16

    I wanna be honest – I am suck at making recipes! I just love cooking and mix all that I think will taste great. And I always confusing then people ask me for recipe πŸ˜€

    • mylittletablespoon | 5th Feb 16

      That’s all that cooking is! – mixing all the things together and hoping it tastes great! I’m pretty sure, knowing your blog, you most definitely know how to work a kitchen πŸ™‚

  21. caileejoy | 4th Feb 16

    YUM! I love these “recipes”! Honestly, these are the kinds that I prefer! Anything with tons of ingredients and steps usually isn’t for me. All of these look awesome btw! I LOVE powdered PB and order it online in bulk (which reminds me… I need to order more!) I need to try that pancake sauce! YUM πŸ™‚

    • mylittletablespoon | 5th Feb 16

      Right? I feel like as soon as the ingredient list passes, oh, 6?… I mentally check out. I’m trying to get better at this though, as sometimes even these recipes are totally easy to make. I just need a little more patience maybe. I hope you try the sauce – from a fellow pb powder lover to another πŸ™‚

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  23. faithvandermolen | 6th Feb 16

    It’s so hard to know when a recipe is actually “yours.” It’s the big debate for food bloggers. Either way, all your “recipes” look amazing!

  24. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets | 7th Feb 16

    I really don’t think any recipe is unique. We just haven’t scoured the internet hard enough to find it. I’m much like you, I create most of my recipes using tips and techniques I’ve learned over the years through countless other recipes. I do like to put my unique spin on things, but to be completely honest, I’m sure if I looked hard, I’d find someone else has put my spin on it already. It’s the nature of the beast.

    And yes, salads (and smoothies) are recipes too, although I totally struggle with this as well. Food Gawker will not accept a recipe submission though if all ingredients and quantities of same are not spelled out. I learned that one the hard way. I simply just tell myself there is someone, somewhere it benefits to list out the various ingredients and quantities, and if it’s only a salad or a smoothie, I’ve helped them get there.

    P.S. I love the look of this salad!!

    • mylittletablespoon | 7th Feb 16

      Such good wisdom. “Unique spins” are all we can really ask for – and this is what makes each recipe their own thing. And you are so right, there is always someone out there that will find a recipe and see its ideas for the first time, or need those measurements, so our work is never gone for waste.

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