I cook dinner about five nights a week. For some reason, most people are genuinely shocked when I tell them this. Nothing elaborate; I simply try to stick to healthy and quick. Roasted chicken, grilled fish tacos, Greek salads with pita and homemade tzatziki. In fact, I often think that cooking dinner is the one thing that still terrifies many smart, busy, professional women. From my sisters-in-law to friends and co-workers, a lot of people seem baffled by the fact that I can pull together a decent, healthy meal almost every night of the week. In fact, that knowledge is almost inevitably followed by an email asking for ideas and recipes (and sometimes even lessons). My mom, who happens to be a great cook, loves to tell people that 70% of being a good cook is having good recipes and the other 30% is effort. (Unfortunately, The Food Network’s Sandra Lee has built an empire based around her belief that home cooking should mean 70% store-bought ingredients, and 30% fresh food. ) I used to laugh at my mom, but now I couldn’t agree more. To be fair, I do have a strong interest in cooking. I do watch the Food Network incessantly, and buy cookbooks and cooking magazines on regular basis. But I wasn’t always like that, and day-to-day, when I’m low on ideas, I usually turn to the Web for inspiration. Obviously, there are an infinite amount resources for quick, simple, healthy recipes that will impress your family/significant other/friends and make you look like you actually know what you’re doing — even when you don’t. In the spirit of “fake it ‘til you make it,” here are five of my personal favorites:
I discovered Kalyn’s Kitchen during a brief experimentation with the South Beach Diet and never stopped checking back. Kalyn, a home cook, focuses her blog on “easy-but-interesting” recipes that fall mostly in the healthy, lower-glycemic eating realm — but don’t dismiss her just because of that. Her extensive collection of recipes covers everything from breakfasts to desserts and (for anyone on the South Beach Diet) she has tons of well-organized archives to help you find exactly what you’re craving.
I’m a huge fan of Amy McCoy and her blog. Not one to sacrifice style or taste, Amy’s creative but budget-friendly recipes are a great resource no matter what’s in your bank account. Recipes range from honey-thyme beet soup and turkey-squash chili to egg nog-hazelnut cupcakes. She also shares great narratives on restaurants, travel, and ingredients.
Gina’s endless supply of recipes literally span everything from soup to nuts. Summer tomato salad, turkey meatballs, and low-fat creamy blue cheese dressing are just a few examples of her range. Gina not only provides great, simple recipes but accompanies them with gorgeous photos and calorie counts.
When healthy and sustainable aren’t the top of your list, this blog is the place for you. Blogger Stephanie Manley combined her restaurant industry experience with a chemistry degree and took them to the kitchen to replicate recipes from her favorite restaurants around the country. Search by ingredient or specific restaurant to get exactly what you want.
I like to visit this blog just to drool over the photos of baked goods, but delve deeper and you can find a wealth of creative ideas for the kitchen. And though the pics are decadent, the food isn’t always, as Amber (the blog’s author) often attempts to substitute healthy ingredients in her cooking.