One of the things I love about our produce coop is that it pushes me out of my comfort zone in the kitchen. Because of the way it is set up, I don’t get a say in what produce I take home each week. I make my weekly contribution and the organizers get as much produce as they can at the best price possible to divide up among the contributors. This means the selection of produce is always different and always a surprise. I used to get things in my basket and have to google them because I had no idea what they were. That still happens on occasion, but, because we’ve been participating for two years, (Happy Bountiful Baskets anniversary to me!!) I’m much more produce-literate than when I first started. Thanks to Bountiful Baskets, my family’s culinary repertoire has immensely expanded in the last two years.
However, my weekly basket still manages to push me out of my comfort zone. Now, it’s not so much because I don’t know how to prepare any given ingredient. It’s because I open my fridge or pantry and see some odd collection of items that I have no idea how to use together before they spoil. I don’t know why, but this seems to be a new problem for me. Part of the issue may be that, thanks to our revised dietary standards, pasta is no longer an option. You can incorporate almost anything into a rice or pasta dish. Having that option taken away has forced me to cook differently and see ingredients differently. Another part may be that I’m pregnant and that always limits what sounds good to me. But whatever the reason for my lack of vision, today I found a little “cheat” and with this little “cheat” my struggles in this area should vanish!
Have you ever used SuperCook.com?? It’s so awesome! I stumbled across it on accident while I was looking for a recipe site that I vaguely remembered using in the past. The site in question had a feature where I could search recipes by ingredient. Considering my current dilemma, I figured that was exactly what I needed. But, while I was trying to find that site, I found supercook.com instead.
Basically, SuperCook is just a search engine. You select the ingredients you have on hand, and it searches the web (not just one measly little site!) for recipes that match your ingredient list. How brilliant is that?! What’s even better is, if you create a free account, the site remembers the ingredients you’ve entered. That means I can enter all my spices and other regular pantry staples one time and I won’t need to do it again. I can just change out the fresh ingredients based on what I currently have. As you add ingredients, the recipe lists updates, sorting results by how many of the ingredients you already have on hand. You even can emphasize particular ingredients to ensure you get results that include those items. Finally, once you start finding interesting options, you can save the recipes you find or create a shopping list. I’m not sure that I will use the shopping list feature, but it’s still neat to have.
OH!! I forgot to tell you about my favorite, favorite feature! You can add in your dietary restrictions and any offending recipes are automatically filtered out! Now I don’t have to search through endless pasta recipes to find something more conducive to how we eat in our home! Can you feel my excitement?? I’m seriously so, so happy about this little discovery. Anything that makes meal planning easier is a win in my book!
Lastly, I’d just like to reassure you that I was not compensated in any way for this glowing endorsement of supercook.com. I just like to share the good things I stumble upon in case you think they’re good things too. Go check it out for yourself. Happy cooking!