Sunday, November 8, 2015

Cooking from scratch....ideas from an Ex-pat Kitchen

Before I arrived in Chad, I used to think cooking from scratch meant something like putting together a lasagna: mixing together the bottled sauce with the cooked meat, mixing the ricotta cheese, egg, parmesan cheese, and parsley together, layering them between noodles and baking it.....BUT....I was wrong....apparently that is only partially cooking from scratch. :)

Since pasta sauce is a ridiculous price here in Chad, and you can't get ricotta/cottage cheese.....I had to change up the way I made lasagna....and quickly realized that this was not the same level of 'cooking from scratch' that I thought I was a part in Chad, you make the ingredients to then put into the recipe you are making.....get what I'm saying? For example....If I am making a lasagna....I must first make pasta sauce and then a cheese sauce (and make the milk to go into the cheese sauce), before cooking the meat and layering the lasagna.

Another example: if I want to make pumpkin muffins, I have to skin the pumpkin/remove seeds etc, roast the pumpkin, then puree it, and then I can use it in the pumpkin muffin recipe (whew!) can of ready-made puree to dump in! Ya....a whole new level!

Anyways, it got me thinking....I know I am not the only Ex-pat out there who was thrown into the deep end of 'cooking from scratch' and trying to find decent recipes that don't call for 'a can of this' or a 'jar of that' in my daily dinner adventures. After living overseas for 3 years (I know, I am still a novice....but....I have learned a thing or two in the kitchen since we first arrived), I now have a small but tasty repertoire of recipes that I am able to make with the ingredients found here in Chad and most likely found in other African cities (in fact, you probably have more of a selection of food items as Chad is fairly limited due to its landlocked location). I would love to share these with you, and if it makes even one night of cooking less of a struggle or challenge, then my goal would be met!

I'm titling this series "Ideas from an Ex-pat Kitchen" and hope to have regular recipes posted for you all to re-create wherever you are living! Hoping your families love them as much as mine do....Oh and I would LOVE to post YOUR tried and true recipes that you have found to be favorites of your family...made from scratch of course. You can email them to and I will share it with all of us 'overseas' mamas!

A Sneak Peak at some 'made from scratch' recipes to come:

Spaghetti Sauce (with 'hidden' veggies like zucchini, spinach, carrots etc)
Banana Ice Cream/smoothie
The Gooiest Brownies ever
Lemon blondies
Icing Sugar
Chicken Pot Pie
Pressure Cooker Beef Stroganoff
BBQ Sauce

And lots more.....stay tuned!


  1. Super great idea Merilee! Wish I'd had this when we were overseas!

    1. Any recipes to contribute? We can learn from your culinary wisdom!! :)

  2. That is such a good idea! I'm curious to see what your recipes are like!!!