Wondering what to make for dinner tonight? Bored with the same ol’ chicken-and-pasta bake or spaghetti with meat sauce from a jar? Why not explore some of these Websites, each of them wonderful in its own way, for new ideas for unique and inspiring home-cooked meals?
Recipezaar: By far my favorite recipe site right now, Recipezaar is as much a community as it is an online source of recipes for everything from chili and burgers to vegetarian meatloaf, biscotti and even non-food concoctions like homemade bath salts, bathtime fingerpaints and natural lip balms. The user-friendly site currently features some 208,000 recipes, and gives users the option of searching and sorting recipes according to any number of factors, keeping their favorite recipes in a single free, personal online cookbook, or creating unlimited cookbooks for sharing, along with other perks, for $24.95 per year. The site also features plenty of appealing photos, and I’ve found its recipe rating system for users to be highly reliable and a great gauge of whether a recipe is worth trying.
Epicurious.com: My previous favorite, Epicurious.com lets you browse or search through more than 22,000 different recipes, not including another 1,300 or so recipes for drinks of all kinds. Epicurious.com also offers a selection of menus from Bon Appetit and Gourmet, restaurant reports, online user forums, email newsletters and an online shop with cookware, kitchen gear, gourmet foods and more.
Top Secret Recipes: Ever find such a great dish at a major restaurant that you’d like to be able to make it at home? Top Secret Recipes offers copycat recipes for entrees, desserts and drinks from such establishments as Applebee’s, Benihana, Bonefish Grill, Cheesecake Factory, Hard Rock Cafe, In-N-Out, Joe’s Stone Crab, Outback Steakhouse. Romano’s Macaroni Grill and more.
Copycat Restaurant Recipe Index: Similar to Top Secret Recipes, this site provides recipes for home-made versions of dining-out favorites from restaurants like Bennigan’s, Boston Market, California Pizza Kitchen, Olive Garden, Red Lobster and TGI Friday’s.
Food Network: Come for the Iron Chef, stay for the hearty Southern cooking of Paula Deen, the entertainingly varied menu of Emeril Lagasse, the hyper food travels of Rachael Ray and more. In addition to recipes from every show, the Food Network Website features party ideas, food travel tips, guides to healthy eating, online shopping and more.
All Recipes: Want to browse just one category of recipes? All Recipes offers easy-to-search collections of recipes for everything from appetizers and desserts to quick meals and holiday-themed menus.
RecipeLand.com: This site is great for its at-a-glance collection of recipes from basic to bizarre. Collections cover everything from the cooking of Afghanistan and the American Civil War era to strudels, stuffings and yogurt recipes.
RecipeSource: Browse recipes by ethnic origin or food type: from Argentina to Vietnam, bean salads to vegetarian. The site also covers weird recipes (Vulcan Wedding Cake, anyone?), craft and dog food ideas, food humor and Medieval recipes.
Homecrafting.com: While not strictly a food site, Homecrafting.com offers a wide array of recipes for food gifts like jalapeno jelly and homemade apple butter.
World Recipes: Another great site for exploring ethnic cuisines of all kinds, World Recipes also features a cooking glossary and online shop.