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Finding Recipes

February 8, 2012

I’m always looking around for new recipes – and I have a really bad habit of picking up random cookbooks from used bookstores that may or may not have a cooking style that I enjoy. To try and curb the ever-growing pile of cookbooks that seems to expand as it gets older, I’ve had to look at more creative (read:non-staying) ways of obtaining recipes to try! (Though one of my favorite cookbooks, “Family Feasts for $75 a week” was a great buy!) Here’s my top places to get recipes for experimentation:

You can get just about any recipe you need at allrecipes.com, or just see the “recipe of the day”, as well as read reviews & any changes that other home chefs may have made to the recipe. You can save to your “recipe box”, make & save your own version, view nutritional info! I made this Hot & Sour Soup last night with great success (and a savings from our Chinese place of $9 compared with a few cents over $3 for 6 servings – both omit the meat.) You can even search by ingredient or sans ingredient!

To get recipes straight to your email, sign up for the newsletters your favorite brands such as Betty CrockerSimply Potatoes, Gortons Fish, or Pillsbury. They also usually include printable coupon links for their products that are exclusive to email subscribers.

Chances are, your favorite chef sends out emails with recipes – I get a daily recipe from Rachael Ray and from Hungry Girl that I file away in a special folder. Then when I’m looking for something specific (Baked Stuff Apples or Honey Walnut Shrimp, anyone?), I do a search in my email to pull up what I’m looking for!

The government agency CDC even puts out a list of recipes broken down by the amount of time it takes to make them (of course I stick to the under 30 minute ones!) These are designed to be healthy.

A couple great blogs are the $5 Dinners blog (like this Mushroom & Garlic Pita Pizza) and A Year of Slowcooking (did you know you can make your own yogurt in a crockpot? And it’s actually really good!). It’s great that you read the comments on different entries to see what others substituted or had difficulty with.

I love to check out books from my library – I think this is probably the best way to tell if a cookbook is worth buying and taking up space in my kitchen! For instance, I checked out Carolina Cooking and the Weight Watchers Take-Out Tonight cookbooks, loved them both, and they now grace my cookbook shelf. Another selection from a highly regarded televised Italian chef looked equally appetizing, but turned out to cook with much different spices than I enjoy. And I checked out the Cookin’ with Coolio cookbook after reading the hilarious intro, but was glad after I tested a few meals that I didn’t buy it.

And, when all else fails, send out that chain email to 20 of your closest friends asking for their favorite recipe and hope that they respond. (I have gotten several of those in the past couple weeks, and am guilty of not reciprocating. Sorry!)

What are your favorite sources for finding something to make for dinner? Do you have any tips for making meals from ingredients you have?

From → frugal living

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