About Me

March 20, 2009 · 49 comments

Kathy StrahsIt’s the recipe collection I didn’t even realize I had – the one derived from the side of a bag of fresh vegetables, a box of sugar, a jar of mayonnaise.

As someone who regularly scours food blogs, magazines and cookbooks for new recipes to try I was stunned to discover one day that there were nearly 40 recipes printed on the packaging of food items I had in my refrigerator and pantry.Ā  I’d overlooked most of them all of these years. Of course, I’ve made everyone’s favorite Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe countless times and who doesn’t love Rice Krispy Treats? But what about all of these other on-the-package recipes? It occurred to me there could be some hidden gems in here.

Cooking On the Side – as in on the side of food packaging – is all about “revealing” these on-the-package recipes, with photos of how they actually turn out, cooking notes and more descriptive directions than package space usually allows for.

In addition to Cooking on the Side, I write Panini Happy – a food blog dedicated to panini and other original recipes for the panini grill. Before taking time off to focus on raising our two little kids, I worked in online marketing and advertising for several well-known brands. These days, Iā€™m enjoying the delicious life of a foodblogger in sunny San Diego.


Got feedback? Questions? You can reach me by e-mail at cookingontheside AT yahoo DOT com

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{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

Elle March 31, 2009 at 7:36 AM

Kathy, what a great idea! Those are some of my favorite recipes!


Jamie April 1, 2009 at 8:00 AM

Hi! I jumped over from Facebook to your other blog to here! Love both blogs and I would love to eat lunch at your house one day! I think the idea behind this blog is brilliant! Good for you!


sweetie June 25, 2009 at 5:47 AM

what a cute concept!

i’ve heard this recipe from the back of the domino confectioner’s sugar box is great:

-blondies on the back of the mini’s chocolate chip bag -ghiradelli cocoa box brownies
-baker’s chocolate one bowl brownies
-hershey’s perfectly chocolate cake (from the cocoa box)


Kathy June 25, 2009 at 7:50 AM

I’ve been eager to bake again so I’ll definitely look into these – thanks!


HoneyB July 23, 2009 at 11:24 AM

Awesome idea!


Caitlin October 25, 2009 at 10:43 AM

Love your blog!


Charlotte October 27, 2009 at 5:20 AM

Love your blog and I cant wait to try the pumpkin spice cake. And you are exactly right, some of the best recipes are on the box. The companies spend mega bucks developing recipes that showcase their products to the best use of them. Good luck with this great blog.


Tina November 15, 2009 at 8:15 PM

I enjoy the recipes I’ve tried so far & look forward to more. I really like your voice. Whoever is doing your photos (you?) is fantastic too!


Kathy November 15, 2009 at 9:29 PM

Thanks so much, Tina! Yes, I do my own photos – they’re a struggle sometimes but I have fun with it šŸ™‚


Jessica, Jill and Tamara November 16, 2009 at 5:03 PM

We just made the Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and they are fantastic! FYI…we didn’t have enough regular sugar so we used all brown sugar and they still turned out great! Thanks Kathy!


Kathy November 16, 2009 at 6:19 PM

I’m sure the brown sugar made them even better! šŸ™‚


Gudrun December 11, 2009 at 9:43 AM

I had a recipe I saved from the back of a generic brand container of oatmeal for the best oatmeal cookies, thanks for the reminder to dig it out! And some of those side-of-the-box recipes are actually created by pretty well know chefs šŸ™‚


Lynne December 19, 2009 at 4:06 PM

A fabulous idea.There are many very good recipes on the backs of boxes and other packaging.


Gretchen T January 8, 2010 at 10:18 PM

I just ran across your blog and I’m SO excited to start reading!!! So often when I find food blogs, I realize that the recipes they post are way too complicated or are for something that I would not want to cook. The recipes on your blog should be easy to follow, since they’re written for the masses, and will most likely be something I will want to cook since I already use a lot of the products on whose packages you’re finding the recipes!


Leslie Limon February 1, 2010 at 2:10 PM

I found your blog through the BYOB roundup and I just have to say that I love your blog. What a great idea! I have a drawer full of recipes that I’ve saved from boxes, cans and bags of food. I can’t wait to look through your recipes!

Greetings from Mexico! šŸ˜€


Kathy February 1, 2010 at 2:20 PM

A designated drawer – now there’s a good idea! I’ve been storing them in a ziploc bag. So glad you found me, Leslie!


Amy February 2, 2010 at 7:38 PM

This is such a clever idea. Love both your blogs, Kathy. I consider you a great find of 2010 – perfect way to start off my new year.


Kathy February 2, 2010 at 7:46 PM

That is incredibly kind of you, Amy – thank you so much! šŸ™‚


Christie February 9, 2010 at 8:52 PM

I just stumbled on your site searching for fun Valentine’s Day cookie recipes. The timing is amazing as I announced yesterday my plans to embark on a blogging journey of cooking my way through “Commander’s Palace New Orleans Cookbook”. The movie Julie & Julia truly inspired me. I’m not a blogger and someone who thinks she is ready to stretch her cooking abilities.
I look forward to following you from now on.
Take care.


LeahGirl March 18, 2010 at 12:28 PM

You are awesome!


Julie June 12, 2010 at 7:09 AM

I just found your website while looking for a new recipe. I love the idea. In fact, one of the recipes from the side of the bisquick box has become a favorite of ours … Ultimate Chicken Fingers! Give it a try!


Chrystal January 7, 2011 at 4:24 PM

Found you!!

Great recipes and love your web site! Those are two very lucky kids to have you as their mom.

Stay healthy!


Kathy January 7, 2011 at 10:26 PM

Awww…thank you so much!!


Heidi February 12, 2011 at 2:57 PM

I was searching for a new recipe for Braised Short Ribs and was delighted to find the Wolfgang Puck recipe on your site. The ribs were awesome. I love reading recipes also and had to check if you had my most favorite recipe that I have found on packaging – the fudge recipe found on Eagle Sweetened Condensed Milk. I make it every year to give as gifts and friends ask me for it again and again. It is amazing what you can find on the packaging of a product. Thanks for doing this in one spot!


Christie March 16, 2011 at 6:33 PM

Just stumbled here by accident and can’t stop reading-what a great blog you have going! Glad I found it šŸ™‚


Kathy March 16, 2011 at 7:40 PM

Thanks so much, Christie – I’m glad you found it too!


Cynthia E March 23, 2011 at 3:30 PM

The Land o Lakes CC Cookies was off the hook. I think I could have use just a little more salt (I used sea salt, that might have made a difference). But the texture of the cookie was PERFECT. thanks for sharing.


Heather May 31, 2011 at 6:23 PM

Hello! It was great to meet you at BlogHer Food a couple of weekends ago. I had a great time talking to you and have really enjoyed your reading your blogs!


Kathy May 31, 2011 at 6:36 PM

Thanks so much, Heather – it was lovely to meet you too!


Jennifer July 6, 2011 at 6:42 PM

Just discovered your blog while randomly searching for a chocolate chip recipe besides the one published by Toll House. I’m so glad I found this site, and I’ll be returning often!


My Inner Chick August 19, 2011 at 3:36 PM

–I love your idea for this blog. VERY cool! šŸ™‚


Donna R October 8, 2011 at 9:01 AM

Hey Kathy, love the blog…I’ve only tried the hershey’s chocolate cupcakes which were a big hit at home and at work, but awesome. (the second time I made them, I sprayed the cupcake pans/ skipped the liners, and squiggled some white frosting on top of the chocolate….my family swore they were just like Hostess cupcakes! I love when I get away with making a homemade , chemical free treat. Thanks again


shelley dowling November 27, 2011 at 12:14 PM

The french apple pie recipe I found on your site was wonderful. Everyone at my thanksgiving dinner loved it, and I will make it again, once my calorie intake has settled back to normal after our feasting! I had an old recipe for French apple pie from my mother in Canada from the 50’s or 60’s. It was very close to the recipe you provided, except had one half of the sugar in the topping.


Kathy Strahs November 27, 2011 at 12:23 PM

So glad to hear the pie went over well! I made it this year too, I love that recipe. šŸ™‚


Mary January 5, 2012 at 4:44 PM

I love your blog! What a great idea. I just subscribed and can’t wait for the emails. I wish you peace and good food in the new year.



Maxine January 7, 2012 at 9:10 AM

I love browsing for new ideas especially when it involves baking. I can’t believe that I haven’t seen your website before!! Excellent idea! Will be checking you often. Congrats.


Lauren @ KidEats February 9, 2012 at 9:22 PM

What a GREAT concept! (I found your blog because someone pinned those precious Valentine’s Rice Krispie’s treats… and we are on the SAME page because I made something similar this weekend too and am posting about them tomorrow!) šŸ™‚

My FAVORITE ‘on the box’ recipe is the Dark Molten Chocolate Cakes on the Baker’s Bittersweet Baking Chocolate (the purple box). These things are easy to make, can even be made ahead of time, and make an IMPRESSIVE dessert… just like restaurant moltens!

So glad to have found you! ~ Lauren


Lynne Lloyd March 4, 2012 at 8:24 AM

I found a “on the side” recipe that I love and wanted to recommend it to you for review as well. It’s from Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge brownies, and it’s called “Fudgy Pretzel Brownie” – – absolutely awesome!!!

Lynne Lloyd


Chris April 6, 2012 at 10:44 AM

Awesome idea, and I will be trying some of these recipes soon! I didn’t know if you’ve tried the Oatmaeal Chocolate Chip Cookies on the Quaker lid or not, but I get RAVE reviews wherever I take them. I personally leave out the cinnamon because it doesn’t seem to go with chocolate chip to me. Enjoy!


Madeline March 15, 2014 at 10:51 PM

Ever try hot chocolate with cinnamon? Very common in Mexican chocolate Moles and even American brownies.


Kathy Strahs March 16, 2014 at 7:29 AM

Yes! I love Mexican chocolate. I posted these Mexican Chocolate Crackled Cookies over the holidays last year: https://cookingontheside.com/mexican-chocolate-crackled-cookies/


Sage April 14, 2012 at 10:59 AM

Hi !
Just read your biscuit test using White Lily Flour. I live in Los Angeles and if you are ever in LA, you can purchase it at Surfas in Culver City. http://www.surfaslosangeles.com/about



Kathy Strahs April 14, 2012 at 11:03 AM

Thanks so much! Surfas has been high on my list of places to visit soon – you’ve given me one more good reason. šŸ™‚


Shut Up & Cook June 7, 2012 at 5:17 PM

Looking forward to meeting you tomorrow at the BlogHer dinner at Canlis. If you’ve never been you’re in for a treat!


Linda August 15, 2012 at 4:41 AM

I am so glad I came across your recipe for 7-Layer Dip. It is the traditional one that we have been enjoying for years in Texas. It has all of the ingredients that we love. Thank you Kathy!


Madeline March 15, 2014 at 10:48 PM


Bought your panini cookbook and am really enjoying using it. I recently bought a Cuisinart Deluxe Grill and didn’t have a very good idea of how to make various food on it. Your book is teaching me how in a simple and delicious way.

I also like your two blogs and your personality. You come across as a lovely person.
Enjoy beautiful San Diego and the showers. I know what an event they are as we live in Los Angeles, and any rain is a wonderful event and makes me feel less guilty about being indoors and reading or cooking.

Keep up the good work!



Kathy Strahs March 16, 2014 at 7:27 AM

Thank you so much, Madeline! ~Kathy


SHEILA HINDS August 4, 2015 at 7:24 AM

l am looking for a granola cookie recipe. The granola recipe i had i found on the cereal box but no longer have that particular one. The brand of cereal is Quaker, and the cookies consisted of oats, honey, raisins, and almonds. If you know of this recipe, could you let me know.

Thank You!


Kathy Strahs August 20, 2015 at 3:09 PM

Hi Sheila — My apologies for the delayed response. I’m afraid I haven’t come across a granola cookie recipe. The only Quaker recipe I know of is the Vanishing Oatmeal Cookie recipe: https://cookingontheside.com/oatmeal-raisin-cookies/

~ Kathy