Carrie Bradshaw once referred to her oven as a place to store shoes. Though, I'm not half the shoe fan that Bradshaw is, before I lived with my husband, I wasn't really interested in cooking. It can be rough to cook for one (yes, I have heard of leftovers) but, it didn't seem worth all the effort to me. I stuck with really basic dishes that provided enough nourishment for me to last an entire night of dancing or I'd order take out. Sure, every once in a while I'd try something but, I definitely wasn't Rachael Ray.
When Nando moved in with me, almost four years ago, I found it much more fun to stay in and yes, at first, I did want to impress him. Like all good modern singletons, I turned to my good friend Google to provide me with the answers and came across AllRecipes.com. Voila! A social networking site by home chefs for chefs like me? I am not alone, this is good.
Not only am I not alone but, there are recipes on everything you could possibly want on the site by everyday people who happen to possess the chef gene or passion. Just enter your term into the search box and hit go. Then, all available recipes on your search term appear, along with ratings from chefs that have used the recipes before. There are also reviews from these chefs which often hold helpful tips- if you don't have an ingredient, they offer you an alternative or they have tips to help make the dish taste better. You can also calculate the dish for however many people you will be feeding, so that you could literally feed an army. Also, with each meal, there are beverage pairings with links to the drink recipes.
Besides recipes, there is an entire cooking community here for you to join for free. Yes, they have a paid membership that provides much more for you- creating a weekly shopping list for you based on recipes you want to use and many more things. I have the free membership and it works fine for me. You have your own recipe box that stores all the recipes you come across and want to try. You can share your recipes on Twitter and Facebook, so that your friends can check out what you have planned or try something themselves. I often email the recipes to myself so that I have even easier access to them.
They do have an iPhone app which is pretty cool. Check out @JackLeblond's review of it! Basically, it gives you recipes at your fingertips and if you're stumped for a meal, they have this great interactive tool that lets you shake the iPhone/iPod to get a recipe idea.
There are also recipe lists and you can choose what part of the meal you are interested in cooking. . There are all sorts of recipe lists (Drinks, Kid-Friendly, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Heart Healthy, Summer, Grilling, etc). They also provide you with Menus that range from Quick and Easy, Weeknight, Make Ahead, Kid-Friendly, Leftovers, etc. There are all sorts of recipes from all over the world on here as well. I also like that they allow you to plan your meals for a whole week- this not only allows you to control what you eat but, it saves you money.
It doesn't matter if you have a huge dinner party coming up or a new love interest that you're trying to impress, AllRecipes.com is there for you every step of the way. In a world, when we're trying to have it all, it's always nice to know that there's help out there and a one-stop shop that make it possible for us to have it all. Stiff drinks, good food, great company...all fed and satisfied.