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The Kitchen

Five on Friday: Let’s Get Cooking!



It’s only a few more days until the official start of fall, my favorite season, hands down. Growing up in New England, most of my favorite memories involved colorful leaves or Halloween or apple orchards, and I actually looked forward to going back to school! The air was crisp and notebooks were brand new; it was a time to wake up and get inspired!

Even if you don’t have kids going to school, there’s something about this time of year that makes many people want to re-group as they say goodbye to the lazy days of summer and head into fall activities. For me, getting organized often involves streamlining the menu planning process. I love to collect and try new recipes, so for this week’s Friday Five, I’ve included my five favorite “go-to” recipe sites for your inspiration, along with a recipe from each. ENJOY!

Five Cooking Sites We Love


This is usually the first site I check when I want something easy, or to find something creative that uses the ingredients I have on hand. I like simple preparation, so I admit that if a recipe has a long ingredient list or too many steps, I look for another. The following is a seafood dish I make a lot. It’s easy and tasty.

Italian-Style Flounder

2) Food Network

For expert advice and instructional videos, this is the place to be. They also have a lot of information about their shows, like The Next Food Network Star. I admit that I don’t try as many Food Network recipes as I would like, because I get a bit intimidated at the thought of trying to meet the standards of celebrity chefs like Giada De Laurentiis or Alton Brown. There is a lot of inspiration here, and even copies of top-secret restaurant recipes. How about…

Almost-Famous Cinnamon Buns

3) Cooking Light

Light = Healthy, right?. Well, we hope so. I love their slide show collections of slow cooker favorites or quick and easy pasta recipes. Nearly every day while I’m eating lunch in front of my laptop, I’m also browsing the Cooking Light page for dinner inspiration. If you’re a fan of comfort foods like beef stroganoff, lighten them up with the recipe below. It contains ingredients like no-fat, low-sodium beef broth and reduced fat sour cream:

Beef Stroganoff

4) Real Simple

I like everything about this site, not just the recipes. It has straightforward and useful tips for all aspects of daily life. The following highlights one of my five-year-old’s favorites: mini burgers. He’s normally a picky eater, but occasionally he surprises me with what he will eat…like couscous.

Spiced Mini Burgers with Couscous Salad

5) Whole Foods Market

Despite its popular tongue-in-cheek nickname (“Whole Paycheck”), I’ve always liked this store, and their website is extremely informative. They offer coupons and great recipes, featuring many organic, vegetarian, and vegan options. Here’s a delicious salad with a simple ingredient list. (I absolutely love cilantro, by the way!)

Carrot, Red Onion, and Cilantro Salad

If you try any of the above recipes, let us know what you think. And feel free to share your fall favorites with us!


About katietesta

I am a mom, a wife, and a freelance writer. I love to research and have a passion for social justice and nonprofit work.


3 thoughts on “Five on Friday: Let’s Get Cooking!

  1. I came across your post today which was kismet because I was trying to think of some new menu ideas for my family.

    Posted by Mom of the little gherkins | September 14, 2012, 15:08
  2. Hooray! Glad you found us!

    Posted by katietesta | September 14, 2012, 15:40
  3. I LOVE! My amazing carrot cake and banana bread were found there, and they have done A LOT to make Husbandio think I’m a culinary super hero.

    Posted by mylifeisthebestlife | September 17, 2012, 11:32

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