I think most stay-at-home-moms dream of being the consummate homemaker. We envision staying on top of that laundry pile (and putting it away before the next load is ready to wash), planning our meals at least a week in advance, grocery shopping with a well-organized list, making wholesome dinners, and keeping our home well-organized; all the while giving our children the perfect amounts of love and attention. Some days we come closer to the vision than others and, thankfully, the web is filled with useful resources when we need quick inspiration or an extra boost.
Allrecipes is one of my first go-to sites on a day when dinner is a bit of an afterthought, a crying baby renders the planned 3 course meal impossible, or I simply didn’t make it to the store to replenish my pantry as scheduled. This clever cooking site invites cooks from all over to submit original recipes and then allows users to rate them. I’ve found some staple recipes searching this site, as well as some “good enough in a pinch” recipes. The recipe box feature allows me to save my favorites, as well as recipes I’d like to return to later when I have the time or ingredients.
While I am proud to boast that I recently successfully completed a 2 week meal plan, planned out all of the shopping, stocked my freezer, then managed to stretch that meal plan 3 to 4 days longer, this was not the case tonight. Life’s been busy lately with the start of preschool, a surge in Scentsy orders, and writing assignments. I’m not complaining – it’s just that something has to give sometimes. That something won’t be my kids, so meal planning has gone by the wayside a bit.
Tonight I knew I had broccoli I wanted to try to introduce into a recipe my daughter might eat (see: cheese) and to use some frozen chicken. I logged into www.allrecipes.com and headed to my favorite section: the ingredient search. Once there, I typed in “chicken” and “broccoli” under the ingredients I wanted. Numerous recipes popped up and I selected Sour Cream Broccoli Casserole. I quickly scanned the time needed and the ingredient list, saw that this was viable, then headed to the comments section to see recommendations. Then, I asked the servings calculator to cut the recipe in half for me, printed it, and I was on my way! Instead of hurriedly searching through recipe books, resorting to prepackaged food, or getting frustrated, I made a quick and nutritious dinner.
I highly recommend using and contributing recipes to www.allrecipes.com.
Here are a Few Recommendations for getting the most out of this site:
* Create an account. You’ll need this to save to your recipe box, a must-have.
* Collections can be helpful, but I prefer to search by ingredient or recipe name.
* The Ingredient Search can be a lifesaver. Don’t forget to try out “Ingredients I don’t want.” This can really save you time when your pantry options are slim.
* Organizing results by “rating” can be very useful. This will bring the most-loved recipes to the top.
* Always read the comments section. This is full of useful gems, such as suggested ingredients to add or omit, recommended adjustments to cooking times, or other helpful ideas.
* Trust your instincts. I followed recipes exactly at first, but soon found that many of these recipes are most useful as a starting point. Feel free to adjust and adapt recipes according to your preferences.
What’s in My Recipe Box? Here’s a couple go-to recipes I use (with adaptations):
Slow-Cooker Texas Pulled Pork
Lemon Herb BBQ Sauce for Chicken (walk, don’t run, to try)
White Sauce (add mozzerella, pepper, and garlic for a delicious homemade sauce)
Terry’s Favorite Easy Chicken Pie (Family favorite, with added seasonings)
Creamy Chicken Lasagne