Sometimes I feel like my wife and I spend more time planning meals than actually cooking them. It’s a weekly brainstorming session wherein we somehow forget every dish we’ve ever enjoyed and have to come up with all-new dinner ideas from scratch.
Then during the week, we get busy and don’t feel like cooking because it takes too long or we’re missing a vital ingredient. It’s a vicious cycle of expensive takeout paired with unused groceries.
No more! We’ve vowed to get culinarily organized. Here are three great tools we’re using to help us keep the kitchen in order without spending much time doing it.
If you’ve ever been on a cooking blog, you know that most recipes kick off with about 15 paragraphs of the cook’s personal backstory before getting to the actual step by step instructions.
Enter Yummly, which aggregates great recipes from the nearly endless collection of cooking sites around the web. It helpfully creates a landing page of sorts for each recipe, which tells you how long it’ll take to make, the ingredients you’ll need, and even offers to search nearby grocery stores to have those ingredients delivered. Once you’ve decided to commit to a particular recipe, you’ll be shuttled off to its original cooking blog.
Yummly’s Quick Easy section is a must for finding recipes that use only a handful of ingredients, take only a handful of minutes to make, or both. You’ll find plenty there to keep the stove hot day after day.
And if you happen to run out of ideas from Yummly, Epicurious has a great Quick Easy section as well.
If you often find yourself internally screaming, “I don’t care what it is– just give me something to eat!” then the Allrecipes Dinner Spinner deserves a spot on your phone. It’s a fun tool that generates recipes for you based on the dish type, ingredients you have on-hand, and cooking time.
You can manually choose to lock in one, two, or all three categories or leave them all unchecked for a truly random outcome. You then shake your phone to start each row spinning like a roulette wheel. It’s an easy way to conjure up dinner ideas, especially if you don’t know what to cook or don’t want to think about cooking at all.
Don’t let the name fool you: The Cookie Rookie is about much more than baked goods. It’s a great site if you’re kinda-sorta getting serious about learning to cook but you’re still looking for easy, quick recipes.
There’s plenty here that can be made in less than 30 minutes with just a handful of ingredients, along with handy categories such as “Slow Cooker,” “One Pot,” “5 Ingredients or Less,” “Kid Friendly,” and more.
Each recipe includes clear instructions, stage-by-stage photos, ideas for related side dishes, and handy printable cards which automatically tweak the ingredient measurements based on how many people you’re cooking for.