Monday, January 11, 2010

We love to are our secrets and sources

After last week's meal planning post, a few people asked what we like to cook, where we get our recipes, what kind of food do we make most, etc....

So here ya go...all of my kitchen secrets!

Let's start with the internet. I get probably two thirds of our recipes from the web. I follow a lot of food blogs in my Google Readers, as does J. When I see a recipe I like in Google Reader, I star it (the little star in the top left hand corner of the post). Once it's starred, It is saved in my starred categories. When J finds recipes he likes, he saves the links in a Google Document* that he constantly updates.

*Google Documents: Fabulous tool. We share so many things with each other using them: recipes, budgets, Christmas lists, to-do lists...we seriously love G-Docs!

Some food blogs/sites I love to use:

Food Gawker FULL of good stuff...and weird stuff. If you subscribe to this one, you'll get about 100 updates a day. Some are excellent, some are crazy, bizarre, very complicated dishes. I often hit "Mark All As Read" with this site, but I've also found many of my favorite meals from here. It's also full of great food photography!
Use Real Butter
For the love of cooking...
Iowa Girl Eats
Food Network...Giada's recipes are always a hit around here.
Kraft Foods...not the best recipes, however they calculate calories and fat for their recipes which I love.
Real Simple which is one of my favorite magazines as well! They also calculate the nutrition facts for you.
Tasty Kitchen which is run by The Pioneer Woman (whom we all know and love)

Some food blogs/sites J loves to use (written by J himself): - The source of your absolute favorite dish, Kidney Beans and Chorizo. He posts a lot of frou-frou stuff, but some good stuff, too. - A lot of stuff that takes me outside of my comfort zone, in a good way; this is where I got my Shawarma recipe. Also, they have a knack for recipes that are simple - few ingredients and little prep - without being bland, like the Shrimp Pasta w/ Lemon that I make. I've got a lot of recipes from this one on my "To-Make" list that I haven't had occasion to make yet. And from left field: - She's, well, she's eclectic; you really have to eye her dishes critically. This is the source of the infamous BBQ-Chicken-Pasta-BleuCheese disaster, but also of the Mongolian pork recipe (she used steak) and Salisbury Chicken, both of which have made repeat appearances.

When we cook using internet recipes, we often have a set up like this. Laptop on the counter amidst all the fun!

Some of our recipes come from the following cooking magazines. My mother in law went a little crazy (I mean that in a good way) and got us subscriptions t0 FOUR cooking magazines last year. We get Taste of Home, Taste of Home: Cooking for 2, Taste of Home: Healthy Cooking, and
Everyday with Rachael Ray.

And we still love our cookbooks. A few of my favorites that I have:

Our row of cookbooks on the middle shelf...there are so many more I'd like to own!

The Comfort Table by Katie Lee Joel (now just Katie Lee), a wedding shower gift

Heart of the Home: Notes from a Vineyard Kitchen by Susan Branch, another shower gift
The gift giver claimed that it's one of her favorite cookbooks.
It's quickly become one of mine, as well!

And of course my Rachael Ray books. I like her show way more than her books. They're okay, but I learn better when I see her make it on TV.
Just In Time, 365: No Repeats -- A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners , 30 Minute Meals: Get Real Meals

One of my favorite parts of cooking with cookbooks: my cookbook stand my grandmother got me for Christmas a few years ago!

The last place I find my recipes is from my mom. She often shares a lot of her old and favorite recipes with me, along with new ones she finds. I'll leave you with one recipe I've received from her that J and I both love. It has no meat, but it's so filling, very easy, fairly healthy, and super cheap if you're cooking on a budget...and if you used whole grain pasta, it'd be even healthier!

Serves 4

1 14 1/2 oz can chopped tomatoes
1 small can chopped green chilies
1 8 1/2 oz. can black beans (do not drain)
1 Bay leaf
2 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. dried oregano
ground black pepper to taste
1 16 oz. pkg. dried spaghetti *I only use about ¾ a package.

In a saucepan over medium heat stir tomatoes, beans, bay leaf, garlic salt, oregano and black pepper. Cook until thickened, approx. 45 mins.

Cook spaghetti according to direction and drain. Remove bay leaf from sauce and either mix with sauce or serve over spaghetti.

1.86 grams fat per serving

I hope this helps some of you! I share a lot of my recipes on my blog and tag them. Click here to see all my recipe posts. If you have more questions, leave them in the comments or email me. Also, feel free to share any sites or sources you use to find great recipes. I love finding new recipes.

**PS, thanks to my wonderful husband for helping fix this post when Blogger was being dumb. He was in bed reading a book, and let me bug him for help. He's my computer genius!**


  1. your star is in the upper right hand corner of reader? mine is in the lower left - weird! our kitchen counter looks the same way when i cook - macbook perched on the counter with all of the clutter. i'm so paranoid i'll spill on it one time, though. my dream is to invent a wall-mounted digital recipe thing that links up to epicurious and other recipe websites. sort of like a touch screen flat screen on the wall. think your computer genius huband wants to help me invent that? probably something already exists. who knows.

    and katie lee's cookbook is so good - her recipes are awesome!! she was actually a sorority sister of mine in college...a very sweet girl as well!

  2. Love this post!! We use the internet for recipes all the time, too. (Giada is a hit in our home, too, and I adore her cookbook) and are my two 'go to' sites. I also have a stash of cookbooks that I like to cook out of.

    I'm currently cooking out of the Farm Chicks cookbook...making cinnamon rolls tomorrow for Wednesday morning's breakfast.

    Thanks for the black bean sketti recipe...I'm gonna try that one out. :)

  3. the cookbook shelf...I LOVE displaying my cookbooks...they are so pretty! thanks for all the links...amazing!

  4. Wow! I wish I could become a better cook like you are.

  5. You guys are quite the little cookers! I just love it! Thanks for sharing so many great sites, I will have to check them out!

  6. Real Simple has a cooking magazine called "Simple and Delicious" ITS AMAZING! I always pick up the newest issue when I'm at the grocery store, the only downside is its only published 6 times a year :(

  7. Love this post! I'm going to have to check out some of these recipes and sites.

  8. I love, love, love, love this post. I am going to keep it starred :)

    Oh, and do you happen to know where your sweet grandma got that cookbookstand because I need it. *makes grabby hands* So cute!!

  9. Good idea! I get tons of inspiration from blogs. I need to start starring my favorite posts.

  10. I do the same thing - starring recipes on blogs then using them for my weekly menus.

    And guess what - your black bean spaghetti just got a star! :)

  11. PS - this post is starred in my reader. I just went back to it to try out some of your links. Apparently my work has blocked "Iowa Girl Eats" as porn. Hmmm... I've never been to her site, but I'm fairly sure our internet filter is a little off. Either that, or where are you referring us to? :) haha