I can't go out every night, but I also can't really cook. I do cook, but it's not second nature to me. An omelet, that's second nature. But food that is serve-able to a spouse, parents, other guests? That presents a challenge.
Enter: My Favorite Places to Get Recipes
I definitely can't take credit for discovering any of these. They all came on recommendations from friends, links from other sites, or books from--um--my mom. Or they were in the newspaper.
Which brings me to...the NEWSPAPER! Once in a while stuff in the Times or Post will intrigue me and I'll try it. Like this no-bake coconut-mascarpone-blueberry concoction, constructed with the assistance of a store-bought (gasp!) pound cake. Leave the oven off, save some energy. A few days ago the Times reeled me in with this, and after listening to a speech about The Greatness of Swiss Chard, I may have to try it.
Cara's Cravings: Health-conscious but not always super-healthy, Cara explains her recipes well, mentions substitutions she made or different methods she tried, and always includes a picture, even if it comes out funny-looking. She also does what I do (and most people, probably), which is find something I like and then just do different versions of it. Mini turkey-cilantro burgers in pita! Big turkey-cilantro burgers in big pita! Roasted-red-pepper-cilantro-ground-turkey tacos!
Kalyn's Kitchen: I am not and never have been on the South Beach Diet, but healthy food is healthy food. Kalyn's instructions are REALLY CLEAR, she often posts pictures along the way, so you can see what the food should look like at various stages of preparation. This is key for people like me who get paranoid, "Oh no! Should it look like this? I think I did something wrong. It's RUINED!!!!" Also, she'll suggest other recipes to go with a certain dish, and has everything divided up into a zilliondy categories. (For example, Homepage > Salads > Salads With Beans Grains Pasta and Rice > Salads With Pasta > Pasta Salad with Slow Roasted Tomatoes, Grilled Zucchini, and Basil. And for SB followers, she'll tell you for what phase the recipe is appropriate, and whether it's a "once a while treat" or a staple.
DESSERT, also known as Inkpad Chocolate. Yep, I know that little bundle of messy-faced cuteness, but she's not so tiny anymore. Now she's big--big into making delicious baked goods!!!
Food Network The Food Network has a zillion recipes on the web site, and they are rated by difficulty. I like to stick to "Easy" dishes, thank you very much. I find myself virtually flipping through Paula Deen if I want a cream-filled decadent dessert for some friends who aren't calorie-counting, Sandra Lee for quick ("cheating") methods, and Giada De Laurentiis for lots of stuff. Rachel Ray obviously is known for her quick yet tasty meals, and if you are like B and find RR a bit grating, then perhaps her silent online recipes will serve you well! I also have Giada's "Everyday Italian" cookbook, and a lot of my "staple" stuff from the past year comes from that book. Lemon spaghetti, white bean dip with pita chips, pesto recipes, tortellini in broth, etc etc.
And lastly, a BOOK! My mom gave me a copy of WeightWatchers Ultimate Flex & Core Cookbook. While I don't exactly know the ins and outs of what "flex" and "core" mean in the WW world, I do know that the recipes are light, healthy, and easy to prepare. Also a lot of the recipes use similar or repetitive ingredients, for example, salsa. Stock up on salsa and open the book, maybe you've got something to make!