Sometimes when I think about what to cook for dinner, my brain hurts. There are just too many factors to consider, including: what’s in the pantry, what I feel like, what needs to be used up, what my picky husband will actually touch, what I would actually prefer. This is a result of living in a country where our choices and options regarding food are so mind-bogglingly vast for many of us. It’s terribly easy to fall into a rut of only eating five or six different dishes that you know you’ll like, but that can get so tiring. So what’s a conscious cook to do when looking for fast, healthy, meal ideas? Find out, after the jump…
Your best bet is turning to the Web. They don’t call it the information superhighway for nothing. But that superhighway has millions of cars. Where to even begin? Thanks to StumbleUpon and my own obsession with food websites, I’ve found four great resources to turn to when ideas (and patience) run dry. They run the gamut from exhaustive lists to tools that will help you make something out of practically nothing.
- SuperCook. If you haven’t found this already, you’re probably looking for it. Type in what you’ve got in the fridge and pantry, it spits out a list of recipes you can make. There are a few of these out there; I think this one’s the best, because it’s super user-friendly. It even breaks up the generated recipes into courses. This is a must-have for the home cook’s online bookmarks.
- The Urban Vegan’s 101 Lists. Even if you’re not vegan, you’re here at EatDrinkBetter, which leads me to believe you’re open to meatless meals, no? Phildelphia’s Urban Vegan is a meal-concept machine. She’s generated three unbelievable lists of 101 fast vegan meals for fall, summer, and picnics. Seriously, I have no idea how she does it, but adapt her lists, and you’ll easily be able to answer the question “So what can a vegan eat?”
- Food Network. I love the Food Network. I really do. But as little as two years ago, trying to find either healthy or meatless meals was darn near impossible. I felt like I do when I go to restaurants where the only vegetarian option is the ubiquitous portabello sandwich: healthy, meat-free meals are an afterthought. No longer. They now have a vegetarian-friendly section that looks like they actually put time and effort into it. They even have a <gasp> vegan section.
- Real Simple Food. There are several good things about Real Simple–mainly, that everything in the magazine is available online for free, along with exclusive online content. In addition, their recipes (of which there are tens of thousands) mostly use whole foods (i.e. real ingredients) but are usually time-friendly for those in a hurry. As far a comprehensive resource, Real Simple is the way to go for tips, lists, tool, and especially time-friendly recipes.
Add these four websites to your bookmarks and click away when fresh meal-planning ideas are few and far between.