Author Topic: Favorite cooking from scratch sites, blogs, etc.  (Read 8938 times)

irishbear99

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Favorite cooking from scratch sites, blogs, etc.
« on: December 19, 2014, 12:13:54 PM »
As part of our attempts to increase our badassidy, my husband and I have greatly reduced our eating out expenses by learning how to cook. More specifically, learning how to cook good food well. We're making solid progress in this endeavour; and a lot of what we make includes fresh and wholesome ingredients. However, most of our recipes still require some pre-packaged stuff (hello, Campbell's cream of chicken soup) and I really want to learn more about ditching the processed and convenience foods. I'm not a natural in the kitchen, but I can follow a recipe. I would love to get your recommendations for blogs or other sites that provide great instructions and/or recipes for cooking from scratch.

4alpacas

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Re: Favorite cooking from scratch sites, blogs, etc.
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2014, 12:16:13 PM »
Budget Bytes (budgetbytes.com) 

Great price break downs for recipes
Step by step pictures
Easy to use navigation

yandz

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Re: Favorite cooking from scratch sites, blogs, etc.
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2014, 12:20:51 PM »
I am a HUGE Smitten Kitchen fan (smittenkitchen.com)  She has a philosophy that there are no bad cooks, just bad recipes.  She is sometimes SUPER detailed because of this which can occasionally make it sound more intimidating than it is.  She tests and tests her recipes. Basically, if she has a recipe I am looking for, I know it is one of the best out there.

Others I reference regularly: budgetbytes.com, joythebaker.com (mostly baked goods but other food too, always good), mynewroots.org, pinterest boards of friends I know are good cooks to see which recipes they make. We all separate our boards as "plan to try" and "tried and true" so you know it was attempted and came out well :)

so.mpls

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Re: Favorite cooking from scratch sites, blogs, etc.
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2014, 12:35:23 PM »
I am a HUGE Smitten Kitchen fan (smittenkitchen.com)  She has a philosophy that there are no bad cooks, just bad recipes.  She is sometimes SUPER detailed because of this which can occasionally make it sound more intimidating than it is.  She tests and tests her recipes. Basically, if she has a recipe I am looking for, I know it is one of the best out there.

Others I reference regularly: budgetbytes.com, joythebaker.com (mostly baked goods but other food too, always good), mynewroots.org, pinterest boards of friends I know are good cooks to see which recipes they make. We all separate our boards as "plan to try" and "tried and true" so you know it was attempted and came out well :)

Came here to recommend Smitten Kitchen, too.  It's to the point where I don't even bother looking anywhere else unless I want to make something super specific that she doesn't have.  I love the way she lays out her recipes and I haven't been disappointed with anything I've made yet.

1967mama

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Re: Favorite cooking from scratch sites, blogs, etc.
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2014, 12:43:41 PM »

meyla

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Re: Favorite cooking from scratch sites, blogs, etc.
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2014, 12:45:03 PM »
I am in love with Mel's Kitchen Cafe. She often mentions that her motivation is to cook food for her kids where they can pronounce every ingredient that goes into the meal. Every single thing I've made from her website has been delicious. My family thinks I'm a good cook when I'm just following instructions from her website!

melskitchencafe.com

MandalayVA

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Re: Favorite cooking from scratch sites, blogs, etc.
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2014, 12:46:53 PM »
I like Smitten Kitchen but sometimes the recipes are really involved.  They come out really well, I'll add, but at the trouble of using seemingly every pot and bowl in my kitchen.

Budget Bytes, however, is awesome.  Very well formatted and easy to follow recipes, even as I take away points for Beth's overuse of the word "yummy."  (personal pet peeve, I hate that word)

paige

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Re: Favorite cooking from scratch sites, blogs, etc.
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2014, 12:53:36 PM »
Hello,

My favorite food blog is http://food52.com/ - they have great recipes and columns for an inexperienced cooks. Look for the columns "not recipe". These are columns that show how to cook a dish without a recipe and would be great to build your confidence in the kitchen. I haven't run into a bad recipe yet or one with processed food.

yandz

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Re: Favorite cooking from scratch sites, blogs, etc.
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2014, 12:58:53 PM »
I like Smitten Kitchen but sometimes the recipes are really involved.

I can understand this. I tend to use her recipes when I am looking to truly cook.  I really enjoy cooking when I feel I have time for it - with time it feels like a hobby.  She does have some, but fewer, recipes for the daily grind. Deb's recipes become my "main cook" for the week. Like make a big batch of something (Southwestern Brisket anyone??) on the weekend and then eat it throughout the week in varied forms (tacos! sandwiches! w/ cooked greens!) it works great. Mix that in with some easy stir fry or soup and we are good to go.

ketchup

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Re: Favorite cooking from scratch sites, blogs, etc.
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2014, 01:12:06 PM »
One tactic that I like to use sometimes is to think of something I enjoy at a sit-down restaurant, and look for a recipe for that.  It combines the task of finding a recipe with wanting to go out to eat less.

I went out with coworkers to get Thai food one lunch break a few months back, and found I quite enjoyed basil fried rice.  A few days later, I found a recipe online and made my own.  It turned out even better, and now when I have a hankering for fried rice, that doesn't turn into wanting to go out to eat and get a less healthy, less tasty, more expensive, less convenient meal.

halftimer

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Re: Favorite cooking from scratch sites, blogs, etc.
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2014, 01:14:03 PM »
I like http://thestonesoup.com/blog/  it mostly has a 5 ingredient rule so it uses real food but doesn't take long. You get a free e-cookbook if you sign up for email updates too.  A few recipes use canned veg or beans or frozen peas, but there is always a way to use the same fresh ingredient. Lots of options for each recipe to customize too - to make it more budget, vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, vegan, etc.

mm1970

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Re: Favorite cooking from scratch sites, blogs, etc.
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2014, 01:14:50 PM »

looknsharp

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Re: Favorite cooking from scratch sites, blogs, etc.
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2014, 01:55:52 PM »
I've been lurking around the forums for a while but haven't posted yet. My fiancé and I use thefresh20.com. You download 5 recipes a week with a 20 ingredient or fewer grocery list. The best part is they have a prep sheet for the beginning of the week. One hour in the beginning of the week doing prep and the rest of the meals come together really quickly during the week, when you're busy. It also significantly cut down on our food waste since each recipe makes 4 servings. It cost $18 for 3 months, which, to us, is worth it. They also offer a free trial meal plan.

Jon_Snow

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Re: Favorite cooking from scratch sites, blogs, etc.
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2014, 02:05:17 PM »
For the sake of all that is good decent, BUDGET BYTES!!!!

I'm obsessed with this site -  I'm making sweet potato chipotle burgers for my wife tonight!

mrsggrowsveg

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Re: Favorite cooking from scratch sites, blogs, etc.
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2014, 02:38:26 PM »
Here are a few sites I find myself always going back to:

Minimalist Baker:  mostly vegan, but amazing and very simple recipes
Pioneer Woman:  Her holiday recipes are awesome
All Recipes:  I love this site because there are so many reviews.  It is easy to find a good recipe that really works.

Philociraptor

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Re: Favorite cooking from scratch sites, blogs, etc.
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2014, 02:47:04 PM »
While I'm a habitual meat-eater, Thug Kitchen is good for vegan recipes and a laugh.

While a bit confusing, chowhunter is great for Paleo stuffs.

irishbear99

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Re: Favorite cooking from scratch sites, blogs, etc.
« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2014, 02:47:48 PM »
Thank you all so much for the recommendations! I have two weeks of vacation coming up and I'm looking forward to browsing through the sites mentioned.

My first project is going to be figuring out how to make homemade stock. I have the TG turkey carcass in the freezer (well, the leg, thigh, and wing bones, anyway) that's just waiting to be made into some delicious, homemade soup.

Thanks, again, and keep 'em coming if you have more suggestions!

MsAligned

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Re: Favorite cooking from scratch sites, blogs, etc.
« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2014, 02:50:24 PM »
Google “clean eating” blogs and paleo blogs. Due to food allergies and IBS problems I cook everything from scratch so I know what’s in it. These sites have great recipes.
http://www.thegraciouspantry.com/
http://nourishedkitchen.com/
http://www.slenderkitchen.com/
http://nomnompaleo.com/
http://food52.com/
I also use http://allrecipes.com/ but you have to pick through them to find ones that don’t use packaged items. It’s handy for entering ingredients you have on hand to find recipes using them. My SO and I are foodies and cook most meals. He is in the fine dining business but we rarely find restaurants that serve food better than what we can cook at home and we hate dropping big bucks on bad food.

Buy a subscription to COOKS magazine to learn how to cook the basics well and buy a good set of knives (Wustof or Henkels). Turn up the music and cook. It can be a fun and relaxing way to do something together. We open a bottle of wine and cook on Sundays and eat soups, salads and leftovers the rest of the week.

Al1961

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Re: Favorite cooking from scratch sites, blogs, etc.
« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2014, 04:19:40 PM »
Would you believe YouTube?

Try the following channels:
White Trash Cooking
Michael's Home Cooking
Genarro Contaldo

There's always Jamie Oliver's Food Tube channel.

Al

Exhale

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Re: Favorite cooking from scratch sites, blogs, etc.
« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2014, 08:43:46 AM »
Check out the Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4 a Day by Leanne Brown available for free here: https://8b862ca0073972f0472b704e2c0c21d0480f50d3.googledrive.com/host/0Bxd6wdCBD_2tdUdtM0d4WTJmclU/good-and-cheap.pdf

It's my how-to for frugal yummy eating.


Noodle

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Re: Favorite cooking from scratch sites, blogs, etc.
« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2014, 09:17:04 AM »
They aren't websites, but if you are looking to learn to cook and want really detailed instructions, the "Cook's Illustrated" books (also "The Best Recipes") are great. Your local library almost certainly has them, and you can keep an eye out for used copies...or if you have people in your life who want to give you presents, they are great for that.

Miamoo

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Re: Favorite cooking from scratch sites, blogs, etc.
« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2014, 10:31:29 AM »
Try this.  Quit paying for the creamed soups with questionable ingredients in BPA lined cans.

http://youtu.be/FeKowSRn28A

To make it richer use some milk (1/2 milk 1/2 water) instead of all water.

Good stuff.

ketchup

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Re: Favorite cooking from scratch sites, blogs, etc.
« Reply #22 on: December 20, 2014, 11:22:07 AM »
Thank you all so much for the recommendations! I have two weeks of vacation coming up and I'm looking forward to browsing through the sites mentioned.

My first project is going to be figuring out how to make homemade stock. I have the TG turkey carcass in the freezer (well, the leg, thigh, and wing bones, anyway) that's just waiting to be made into some delicious, homemade soup.

Thanks, again, and keep 'em coming if you have more suggestions!
Homemade stock is a great place to start!  It's super easy and way better than anything you can get at the store.

There are a lot of recipes out there for this sort of thing (some unnecessarily complicated), but it boils down to essentially the following:

Throw the bones in a pot (or if you have a slow cooker or pressure cooker use that).  Chop up some veggies and throw them in (I use carrots and celery).  Throw in just a "glug" or two of vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar).  Fill the pot up with water so it covers everything, and it let it simmer until your house smells beyond amazing and the bones are so weak that they easily snap in your hand.  That means you got all the good stuff out of the bones.  Then strain out the bones/veggies (toss 'em) and store the stock however you want (I like to use pint-sized mason jars and freeze what I'm not going to use right away).

Khaetra

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Re: Favorite cooking from scratch sites, blogs, etc.
« Reply #23 on: December 20, 2014, 12:20:43 PM »
One of my favorite sites is http://www.cookinglight.com/.  They have something for everyone.

sheepstache

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Re: Favorite cooking from scratch sites, blogs, etc.
« Reply #24 on: December 20, 2014, 01:19:46 PM »
I like Amateur Gourmet. I had to take it out of my rss feed because I got too much of a backlog of things I wanted to try. I particularly like the desserts, they tend to be unique which makes them seem a bit fancy but not actually that hard. It's a nice mix of basic stuff and fancy recipes from, like, Gia de Laurentis (sp?) and Thomas Keller, etc., but always with follow-along pictures that make it easier.

Allie

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Re: Favorite cooking from scratch sites, blogs, etc.
« Reply #25 on: December 20, 2014, 03:24:02 PM »
I enjoy the prudent homemaker, pioneer woman cooks (she has lots of pictures!), and one hundred dollars a month. 

Consider mom on a mission.  She does freezer cooking and it's pretty simple.  If you want to become a fresh food gourmet, it may not be what you're looking for but it's budget friendly and really step by step to get a menu ready.

Also, I have found that simply googling whatever you want to learn to do and checking out YouTube videos makes things easy to understand.  I recently learned to properly cook a fancy steak, get custard just right, and make homemade noodles.  Probably not necessary for most recipes, but certainly more informative than a written recipe if you need to learn a technique!