You open the fridge; you see what’s inside. You open the pantry, and you see what you have. With all those ingredients, you need to figure out what to make. Sounds like a typical day, right? Let’s make it easier.
Cooking at home is often about constraints. Either you need to figure out what you can make with the ingredients at hand, or you need to whip up something based on how much time you have. It’s the same with making that perfect glass of healthy juice in the morning, or figuring out a delicious cocktail for Friday nights.
Instead of trying to be a creative genius like contestants on cooking shows, let these helpful sites find delicious recipes based on your restrictions. It’ll be our little secret and you’ll get all the credit.
MyFridgeFood (Web): Select Your Ingredients, Get Recipes
Don’t go by the name, MyFridgeFood isn’t restricted to items you’ll only store in your refrigerator. Its easy interface makes it the first of these “find by ingredient” sites you should check out.
The Quick Kitchen lists all the common items that are found in most kitchens. Just tick the boxes, click “Find Recipes”, and you’ll get a list of what you can make. If you want to expand the list of items, the Show All Ingredients button has everything you’ll need.
I like MyFridgeFood because it doesn’t ask you to name an item, the site names them. Often, with such sites, you might spell an ingredient as “apple” and the site won’t match it with recipes that have the ingredient spelt as “apples” or “Granny Smith apple”. That reduces your chances of finding good recipes. MyFridgeFood’s selection process is a better deal, in that sense. Plus, it’ll help you figure out what to do with leftovers.
JuiceRecipes (Web): Make Healthy Juices with What You Have
Those packaged juices you drink in the morning aren’t that healthy, you know? Forget about that boring glass of OJ. You can learn to eat and drink healthy while also getting a whole lot of different tastes if you know what to make.
JuiceRecipes has a list of ingredients that juice lovers are bound to love. It’s neatly sorted into five categories: fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, nuts and seeds, and sweeteners. Granted, they only accept honey as a sweetener, but you can smartly make substitutes, can’t you?
Select the ingredients you have and JuiceRecipes will match it with a selection of refreshing, healthy juices that you can make in a jiffy.
SmoothieRecipes (Web): Make Lip-Smacking Smoothies
SmoothieRecipes is the sister site of JuiceRecipes, so the interface is almost the same. However, the ingredients change substantially. Smoothies are going to be more popular in the gym-going crowd, and this reflects that clientele.
The list of allowed vegetables is reduced, and several new items are added. For example, you get cocoa powder as a sweetener (but make sure you’re using a sweetened cocoa powder). There are also new sections for Liquids (almond milk, coconut water, ice, protein powder) and grains (oats).
Again, select what you want and you’ll get several recipes. SmoothieRecipes and JuiceRecipes both have several tips and culinary challenges to improve your skills.
Cocktail Builder (Web): Build Drinks from Whatever is in Your Bar
Not everyone has a well-stocked bar with different liquors and mixers to build delicious cocktails at the spur of the moment. But you’d be surprised by how many different drinks you can make with some basic ingredients.
Cocktail Builder is a wonderful site that works perfectly on both desktop and mobile. Add ingredients you have, like different alcohols, lemon, salt, coffee, seltzer water, and whatever else you have on hand. The site will quickly show you all the cocktails you can make, and what else you could make with one or two more ingredients. Check these too, since often, you might have the items but you just didn’t list them.
Log in with your Gmail or Facebook and Cocktail Builder will remember what is stocked in your bar, so you don’t need to add all items every time. You can also search for a cocktail directly to find its recipe.
RecipeKey (Web): Sort by Time, Difficulty, Cooking Method, and more
Ingredients aren’t your only restriction in the kitchen. You might only have half an hour to make your food, or you might be stuck with only a microwave oven to make something (hello, college students). RecipeKey has more than one way to sort the food you can make.
There are six broad categories:
- Meal type: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, appetizer, dessert, side dish.
- Difficulty: Easy, medium, hard.
- Cuisine: Italian, French, Cuban, Mediterranean, and several more.
- Popular ingredient: Egg, ground beef, chicken breast, broccoli, etc.
- Cook method: Microwave, grill, stove, oven, slow cooker.
- Time: Prep time, cook time (both with <15, 15-30, and >30 minutes’ options).
Of these, the cook method, difficulty, and time are the most useful sections. I’d advise ignoring the rest, they don’t really do a good job of filtering your list by much. In case you’re not comfortable in the kitchen, it’s best to start with a good online guide for cooking beginners.
Do You Use Online Recipes or Wing It?
Home cooks have two distinct styles: those who love to follow a recipe and those who trust their instincts to make something delicious. Which one are you?
How often do you look up recipes online to cook up something delicious? What’s your favorite recipe site?
Image Credits: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock