“Mom, what’s for dinner?” Do you know how much I dislike that question? Of course you do because you dislike it, too. I do love to cook but, believe it or not, I do not cook fabulous meals every night of the week. In fact, I don’t cook fabulous meals most nights of the week. My family is just like every other family that eats some form of chicken at least 2 to 3 nights per week, has pizza night on Friday and does something with ground beef and pasta to fill in on the other nights. I am woefully uninspired. Well, that’s not really true. I am very inspired but, there is only so much inspiration that my family will take, unless it’s dessert. Then I can do whatever I want to and they are all pretty much standing around waiting for it to come out of the oven.
Recently I have been asked by a few people where do I go to gather recipes and the answer is anywhere and everywhere. It’s true! I’m kinda like a recipe scout, always on the lookout for something good. And since I’m never satisfied, and constantly adapting other recipes , I have two recipe files and this crazy (and always growing) collection of cooking magazines and cookbooks hidden away in my inner sanctum – also known as my pantry – that serves as my home base for all things culinary.
I honestly think that if I buy one more cooking magazine my husband is going to lose his cool…oh, well. Of course, this doesn’t take into account the cooking websites that I use. I have binders of printed recipes from the internet. Sometimes I wonder if the thrill is in collecting them and not necessarily making them? Hhhmm, that sounds like an obsession. At any rate, I thought that I would share some of my favorite websites and my “go to” cookbooks with you AND (notice, the all caps there? That means it’s important) I’m inviting you to post a reply and share some of yours with me.
Let’s see, as far as websites go, my most favorite “go to” website is Foodnetwork.com for a lot of reasons, the least of which is that it’s really easy to maneuver. You can search by ingredient, recipe or chef and quite honestly, I’ve never made a recipe from the site that wasn’t great. Also, I really like the fact that they have recipes that are extremely easy while others are more difficult at the gourmet level. Great variety to choose from. Next, would be TastyKitchen.com again because of its ease of use and sheer volume of recipes. Also, one of the really great things about this site is that the people posting their recipes are moms and home cooks (and really good ones) just like us, so the recipes tend to be a little more family friendly. I think that I have to give an honorable mention to Allrecipes.com. While this is a user-friendly site, the quality of all of the recipes is not quite the same as the others I mentioned.
Now, for the cookbooks! I could not function without these two cookbooks in my home:
Yes, even before I lived in the south, I used these two cookbooks and for a number of reasons, including but, not limited to:
1. There is not one bad recipe in either the original or the updated versions!
2. Expertly organized with an exhaustive index base on subject, recipe and menu.
3. SO MUCH INFORMATION! There are sections on organizing and stocking your kitchen, cutlery dictionary, meal planning, substitution tables, conversion charts, cooking temperature charts, entertaining and so much more.
4. Beautifully photographed.
5. The updated version has lightened up recipes.
I know that I sound like a commercial but, they really are phenomenal and I highly recommend them. And to show you just how much I love them, here is a recipe that I just love from the updated version (pictured above on the right):
Brown Sugar Frosted Cupcakes
- 1 cup shortening $
- 2 cups sugar $
- 4 large eggs $
- 3 cups cake flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk $
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Brown Sugar Frosting
- Beat shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to shortening mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low-speed until blended after each addition. Stir in extracts. Spoon batter into paper-lined muffin pans, filling them half full.
- Bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Remove and cool on wire racks. Spread with Brown Sugar Frosting.
Brown Sugar Frosting
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine $
- 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup dark corn syrup
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 3 cups sifted powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup, and cream of tartar; bring to a boil. Boil 5 minutes. (Do not stir.) Remove from heat; stir in powdered sugar, whipping cream, and vanilla.
- Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes. Spread on cupcakes immediately.
This last photo has absolutely nothing to do with what I’ve been talking about…at all. However, it was the highlight of my evening. Daddy came home from work and went up to the girl’s playroom to sit down to a tea party. He even remembered to raise his pinkie when he drank his “tea”.
Daddy at a tea party = adorable! By the way, I was heating up a pizza while all of this was going on.
Makes me happy! 🙂