The Chef’s Plan #diglitclass

My individual learning plan (ILP) is becoming more of a presence in the kitchen, both with cooking and baking.  In order to do this, I have decided that each week I will tackle a different recipe and/or method of cooking.  I have made a preliminary calendar to accomplish my ILP goals and will explain a little bit about why I have chosen this recipe/method.

Week of 9/11: Chili and Cinnamon Rolls

Photo CC-By Nathan Borror


I know, it sounds weird.  But if you are from Nebraska, you know that chili and cinnamon rolls go together like peanut butter and jelly.  I don’t know why, but it just does.  My wife makes the best chili I’ve ever had – not too mild, not too hot.  To go along with that, my mom makes some killer homemade cinnamon rolls.  I hope to do this meal justice.


Week of 9/18: The Perfect Ribeye with a Reduction Sauce

I love steak. More importantly, I love good steak.  The word on the street is that there is a way to make The Perfect Ribeye.  I’m going to test this theory.  Along with this, I’m going to make a reduction sauce to go on top of the steak.  This may be the dish I am looking forward to making the most.

Week of 9/25: German Chocolate Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

Photo CC-By stu_spivack

This is my dad’s favorite cake.  I can’t tell you how many times my mom has made this for his birthday.  I would bet almost every year since they’ve been married (30+years) Well, I’m going to try my hand at this classic cake recipe.


Week of 10/2: Braised Pot Roast

I think I’ve covered this, but just to reiterate: I love meat.  In particular, I like good Nebraska beef.  My wife makes an amazing pot roast.  I am going to try a technique, braising, that neither one of us has ever tried.  Who knows? Maybe it will end up in the recipe box.

Week of 10/9: Apple Pie

Photo CC-By katie


My mom refuses to make frozen pies. Occasionally, if she’s crunched for time, she’ll use store-bought crusts.  I’m going 100% scratch for my all-American apple pie.




Week of 10/16: Soft Pretzels

I love pretzels.  My wife loves pretzels.  My kids love pretzels.  Seems like it just makes sense to give these a go.

Week of 10/23: Spatchcocked Chicken

I know.  That first word looks really weird.  So weird that spellcheck is telling me right now that it is spelled incorrectly.  But I promise you, it’s a word.  It’s a fancy word for a pretty simple cooking method.

Week of 10/30: Wild Duck Breast Recipe

Photo CC-By Brian Scott

This week is kind of on a TBD schedule.  I tweeted that I would really like to incorporate my love of hunting into my ILP, and I think this is the way to do it.  However, this also requires some cooperation from the birds.  If we haven’t gotten any ducks at this point, I will swap it out for a different recipe that was planned later in the plan.

Week of 11/6: Runzas (or Bierocks)

Similar to the chili and cinnamon roll conversation, Runza is a restaurant brand that sells a hamburger-onion-cabbage filled bread here in the midwest (started in Nebraska).  My mom makes incredible homemade runzas.  It would be nice to be able to make my own so that my mom doesn’t have to make them for us every time she comes to town.

Week of 11/13: Kolaches

Photo CC-By Rosie Lutrova


My wife is part Czech (she was born close to the Czech Capital of the US in southeast Nebraska) and she loves her kolaches.  Kolaches are small round pastries typically filled with a fruit filling. We get them occasionally when we go visit her grandparents, but nothing beats a homemade kolache for breakfast.



Week of 11/20: Brining and Smoking a Turkey

Because this is the week of Thanksgiving, of course I have to do a turkey recipe.  I plan on brining it earlier in the week and then smoking it on Thanksgiving day.  It’s already making me hungry.

Week of 11/27: Venison Recipe

This week will be similar to the duck breast week.  Hopefully, I (or my wife or son) will have taken a deer by this week.  If not, we will have to call an audible.

Week of 12/4: Candy Making

I’ll be honest, I’ve never made Christmas candy.  I’ve eaten plenty of it, but never actually made it myself.  I’m hoping my wife will help me out on this one as I have heard that sometimes making candy can be difficult.

Week of 12/11: Sugar Cookies

Photo CC-By Josh Puetz

Last but not least, the ever elusive sugar cookie.  My wife’s great-grandmother had a sugar cookie that was to die for.  But, to be honest, I’ve never been the one making them, only eating them.






So in a nutshell, this is what my agenda looks like for my ILP.  I was a little concerned about what I was going to do for project at the beginning, but I think I have put together a pretty solid plan of what I would like to learn throughout the remainder of the course.  And I think my wife is looking forward to finally not be the one in the kitchen.


4 thoughts on “The Chef’s Plan #diglitclass

  1. I love, love, love this ILP! I love to cook, and most importantly eat, but I have not had much practice in the kitchen throughout my life. Oftentimes I simply settle for living vicariously through the cooks on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Had I the tools to do cooking as passion-based learning I would have, but the dorms wouldn’t have been the best for this challenge. I can’t wait to see how all of your recipes turn out. My mouth was watering just as I read through them! If you need any tips or tricks as you go through, you might want to check out Pinterest if you haven’t already. It is a goldmine for all things food.


  2. I’m seriously FLOORED that you’ve already prepped a preliminary outline for the entire rest of the semester. I know it might change a bit, but this really shows your investment and excitement about what you are tackling. Everything sounds so delicious! I’m looking forward to following along.


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