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16 Favorite Sources For Recipes

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source: Dana McMahan

I look everywhere for recipes.

I search my collection of 100+ cookbooks. I  spend tons of time (too much time) surfing cooking sites. And I constantly beg friends for their tastiest secrets.

As a result, I consider myself an expert on finding good recipes.

Here are 15 of my favorite sources for recipes

Allrecipes – Obviously, this has to be my first choice. I’ve found recipes for the perfect butter/margarine free cookies, cole slaw my sister-in-law drools over, and several very nice rice mixes. Plus, I adore skimming the variations and changes the readers write in about.

Friends – I share a lot of meals with family and friends so I frequently get to taste a variety of dishes. When I taste a recipe I like, I always call the next day and ask for it.

Quickies Cookbooks – I own both Quickies and Quickies 2, both by Monda Rosenberg. I also plan on purchasing Quickies Pasta. I’ve been using these super simple cookbooks for years and I love them.

Packaging – I’ve gotten some of my best recipes from the sides of packages. That’s how I first learned to make egg rolls, no-boil lasagne, and chocolate chip cheesecake.

Google – I love to put a random search term in Google and see what I come up with. One month I did nothing but enter in the names of countries plus the phrase “vegetarian appetizers”. Fun!

Joy Of Cooking (1975 version) – I use this mostly for baking. I really enjoy the pancakes, cakes and fruit breads and have made them many times. I consider these my “go-to recipes” for baking.

Recipe Notebooks – I have been keeping recipe notebooks since my early teens. Their stuffed full of handwritten recipes, copies of library cookbook recipes, online favorites and magazine clippings. By now, I have over a dozen recipe notebooks.

Kosher By DesignI own several of Susie Fishbein’s cookbooks and I wind up using them a lot. I’ve made her smoothie recipe, vegetarian cholent, and her Hasselback Potatoes.

Restaurant Menus – This is one of my stranger sources of recipes. I frequently look at online menus for unusual sandwich concepts or new potato bar ideas. Sometimes I use them for new smoothie combinations or pizza or ice cream toppings.

Quick and Easy CookbookThis is by the American Heart Society and I have a complete review here, along with my opinion on many of the specific recipes.

The Complete Passover Cookbook – Yes, I know, this book is meant only for Passover. I don’t care. We use it all year long and love it.

Experiments – I experiment a lot. I’ll read the title of a recipe just for inspiration and then I’ll make my own version of it, using my own ingredients and instructions. Or, after I pick out an interesting sounding recipe, I’ll read 5-6 versions of it, to get the basic ingredients and technical aspects down, but then make my own totally unique version.

The Complete Tightwad Gazette – Tightwad Gazette doesn’t have a lot of recipes, but every recipe  is special. My favorites are the Universal Recipes for muffins, casseroles, pilafs, etc. I’ve used these many times and they really work.

Youtube – I’ve gotten a few good recipes from Youtube cooking demonstrations. One, which I posted several years ago, is for a vegetarian bacon made from frying shredded cheese. I use this recipe at least one a week for lunch.

The 5 in 10 Pasta Cookbook – It amazes me that this book doesn’t have better rating on Amazon. It’s fabulous. I’ve made at least half of the non-meat dishes in the book,  and I loved them all but one (I don’t like sage!).

Miscellaneous cookbooks – I have also found one or two excellent recipes in Betty Crocker, The Great American Vegetarian, Saved By Soup and other assorted cookbooks, to numerous to mention.

11742257435_767e74b97f_zsource: Scott Akerman

Here are two recipes sources I’d like to try

Cooking Magazines – I actually have quite a few cooking magazines, including the special issues and annuals. For some reason, though, I almost never use them. I’m not even sure why, since the food looks very appealing.

Cooking Shows – I love to watch cooking shows but I never make anything from them. Maybe the stuff Emeril makes is too complicated for me, but I should be able to duplicate a Barefoot Contessa dish.

Please tell me your favorite source for recipes. I’d love to hear from you.

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Healthy and Delicious Matzoh Brei

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Matzah Brei Variation.jpgsource: Rebecca Siegel

Healthy versions of dishes are rarely more delicious than the originals. In fact, it almost never happens.

This lower-fat recipe for Matzoh Brei is one of the very few exceptions.

Traditional matzoh brei, made from matzoh and multiple eggs, is a heavy dish. Take out the extra eggs and you are left with a lower-fat, crisper, more flavorful variation. I think it tastes even better than its’ higher calorie counterpart.

This recipe, with a couple small changes, came from The Complete Passover Cookbook, by Frances R. AvRutick.


4 matzohs, broken into small pieces

3 cups water

1/2 cup chicken broth, made from power or bouillon

1 egg, beaten

3 tablespoons butter or olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste


Soak the broken matzoh in the water till soft, but not mushy. Drain well.

Stir in the egg and chicken broth.

Melt the butter or olive oil in a large, heavy pan, over medium heat.

Pour in the matzoh and egg mixture.

Using a spatula, turn mixture over (from bottom to top) when needed. Cook till excess liquid has disappeared and pieces are golden and slightly crispy. This should take from 3-5 minutes.

If done correctly, the completed Matzoh Brei should appear lightly browned, and end up in large, scrambled pieces.

Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed.

Serve immediately or refrigerate and reheat with 24 hours.

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3 Ingredient High Protein Salad

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5346503674_111c08a7a3_zsource: Kris Donaldson

I eat this yummy salad all the time. It takes about a minute to make and tastes delicious. In addition, since I’m a vegetarian, I can always use the extra protein. By the way, you can cucumber and diced tomato if you want, but it’s totally unnecessary.


mixed greens

cottage cheese

creamy garlic dressing


Place the greens in a plate. Add a scoop of cottage cheese. Dallop with a generous amount of garlic dressing.

Serve immediately so the lettuce doesn’t wilt.

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Annette’s Easy Tortilla Soup

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annettes-easy-tortilla-soupsource: miss_yasmina

This recipe is a convenience food version of a soup I found online. The original dish had over 20 different ingredients, but the use of taco seasoning and a few other simplifications has produced a much easier to make meal.


1 medium onion, chopped fine

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 package taco seasoning mix

1 can tomato paste

2 tablespoons onion soup mix

3 cups water

1 cup mild salsa

2 can black beans, drained

spicy tortilla chips


Fry onion in oil till golden. Stir in all other ingredients except chips. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add additional water if needed.

Garnish with chips immediately before serving.

Optional: Shredded cheese and sour cream also can be used as garnishes.

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101 Baked Potato Bar Ideas

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15061201353_2eb671a869_zsource: Pedro Fernandes

Baked Potato Bars are a perfect way to feed people. They are relatively inexpensive, offer something for just about everyone’s taste, and are easy to throw together.

In addition, it’s easy to vary the number of folks you prepare for. I’ve made baked potato bars for my immediate family using just butter, sour cream, shredded cheese, imitation bacon bits, broccoli florets and chives. I’ve also made potato bars for company, but these have featured at least a dozen ingredients.

Another convenient feature for me is that you can feed both vegetarians and meat-eaters at the same meal. Just have a separate sections; one for  the vegetarians and one for the carnivores.

I’ve thrown together a quick guide to making your next baked potato bar perfect. Please email me if you have any further questions.


2509961072_b6b2936bf1_zsource: Ryan

Step 1: Choose the perfect potato.

Most people prefer a russet for baking. They are cheap and have a delicious tasting peel.

On a personal note, I actually prefer Yukon Gold potatoes, but alas,  I have been told by the experts that I’m wrong.

Irregardless of the type of potato you choose, check to make sure there are few discolorations and NO foul smell.

2628138967_6252ee24c7_zsource: bourgeoisbee

Step 2: Preparation, preparation, preparation

To prepare the potatoes, start by giving them a good cleaning. There are brushes made for this purchase, but unless you are buying directly from the farm, I believe a strong stream or spray of water and your hands are good enough.

When clean, cut any discolorations from the potatoes. If the discolored bits are too large, don’t be afraid to throw the potato out or save it for another use.

4339682644_ef11644389_zsource: Jesse Menn

Step 3: To wrap, or not wrap… that is the question.

When making a single potato for myself, I usually pop it into the microwave for six minutes, turn it, and then do 3 or 4 minutes on the second side. This doesn’t work, however, when you’re preparing for a crowd.

When cooking potatoes for a crowd, you’ll need to use the oven.

According to the official Idaho Potato website, potatoes should be baked for one hour at 400 degrees.

In addition, and I found this strange, they suggest skipping the foil. I was always raised on foil wrapped potatoes, but according to the site, these potatoes will come out steamed instead of baked.

Finally, skip the salt and oil. Just place the potato directly on your oven rack in a single layer.

101 Baked Potato Bar Ideas

source: Mattias Handley

Perfect Baked Potatoes

If you are not serving any other dishes, prepare 1 large or two medium baked potatoes per person. If other foods are available, like salad or a main course, prepare a medium large potato for each guest.


Idaho Potatoes, washed and cleaned


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the potatoes directly on the racks of the oven, in a single layer. Cook for 50-60 minutes, depending on size.

4087787233_52e7599ee6_zsource: Nathanael Coyne

101 Potato Bar Ideas

• Meat & Fish Proteins •
taco meat
flaked tuna (water or oil)
smoked salmon
real beef crumbles, sauteed
chopped salami
chopped/shredded chicken
shredded beef
chopped grilled chicken
meat chili
chopped barbecue

• Vegetarian & Vegan Proteins •
canned chili beans
fried egg
vegan beef crumbles, sauteed
lentil soup
leftover vegan chili
imitation bacon bits
black beans

• Dairy Proteins •
grated Parmesan
crumbled blue cheese
shredded cheddar cheese
cottage cheese
feta cheese
shredded Monterey Jack
Greek yogurt or plain yogurt
goat cheese, crumbled
ricotta cheese
mozzarella (chunks/shredded)

• Garnishes •
chopped chives
chopped green olives
sour cream
chopped black olives
chopped onions
toasted bread crumbs
crumbled tortilla chips
chopped scallions

• Oils & Butters •
garlic butter
dill butter
paprika butter
butter or margarine
plain olive oil
garlic olive oil
truffle oil

• Sauces •
pizza sauce
marinara sauce
Alfredo sauce
pesto sauce
cream of celery soup
ranch dressing
mild salsa
blue cheese dressing
beef gravy
mushroom gravy
onion gravy
homemade guacamole
cheese sauce
creme fraiche
garlic dressing
nacho sauce
barbecue sauce
cream of mushroom soup
hot sauce
buffalo sauce

• Vegetables •
roasted red peppers
sauted mushrooms
cooked peas
chopped tomatoes
avocado chunks
steamed broccoli florets
steamed cauliflower florets
diced red pepper
artichoke hearts
chopped green pepper
cooked mixed vegetables
roasted garlic
steamed vegetables
chopped sun dried tomatoes
creamed corn
creamed spinach
sliced jalapenos
steamed green beans
steamed asparagus
grilled corn
grilled onions
caramelized onion
sauteed spinach
mixed grilled vegetables
stir fried vegetables
alfalfa sprouts
cooked mixed vegetables
chopped sun-dried tomatoes
chopped artichokes
grilled eggplant

• Herbs & Spices •
regular salt
seasoned salt
sea salt
black pepper
crushed red pepper
chopped fresh basil
fresh chopped rosemary
fresh fresh cilantro
fresh fresh oregano
chopped fresh parsley
fresh chopped dill
chopped fresh chives
chopped green onion

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Baked Potatoes With A Dash Of Fun

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4863288401_baf27d1b73_zsource: alanagkelly

I love to make baked potatoes. Not only do the kids adore them, they are very easy to throw together. Here are a couple of my favorite spuds.

The Everything Potato

Stuff a baked potato with everything you have in the house. This includes butter, salt, sour cream, chopped chives, veggie bacon and anything else you love. Yummy!

The Pizza Potato

Top a split potato with marinara or pizza sauce plus shredded cheese. Be sure to reheat the potato long enough for the cheese to melt.

The Sloppy Joe Potato

Slice a baked potato down the middle. Top with Vegetarian Almost Joes. Shredded cheese is optional.

The Double Cheesy

Combine drained cottage cheese, shaved Parmesan, chopped green onions, white pepper, basil, garlic powder and paprika. Mix well and add to your baked potato.

Leftovers Potato

Stuff a potato with leftover cubes of meat or chicken, plus the sauce that originally accompanied it. If you have any veggies left from the meal, that’s a bonus.

Sweet Potato Deliciousness

Scoop out the insides of the potatoes. Combine the flesh with butter, brown sugar, a pinch of cinnamon, miniature marshmallows and chopped pecans. Re-stuff the potatoes and bake for 20 more minutes.

Here are some other quick ideas:

sauteed onions w/ or w/o garlic

lightly steamed cauliflower and cheese

ricotta (plain or seasoned with salt, pepper and fresh herbs of any kind)

lightly steamed broccoli and cheese

garlic salt, black pepper, paprika, red pepper, chives, butter, sour cream, or plain yogurt, grated cheese, black olives

butter and cream of celery soup

Parmesan cheese sprinkled over another topping

garlic, vegan chicken broth, sour cream, pepper, Parmesan and paprika mixed with mashed potatoes

cheese, sour cream and veggies

plain or herbed cream cheese (you can make your own)

fresh snipped herbs like parsley, tarragon, chervil, chives…don’t mix

feta with or without the addition of  sour cream

salsa, shredded cheese and some sour cream

chopped leftover cooked veggies with some kind of creamy topping

grated cheese and grilled onions

tomatoes, green onion, pepper, salt and balsamic vinegar

butter, salt, pepper and lightly steamed, sauteed or microwaved bell pepper slices

cream cheese mixed with handful of  hot cooked veggies

black beans and salsa

sour cream (low-fat is okay but non-fat won’t have enough creaminess)

sauteed peppers and onions

plain yogurt or plain yogurt seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic

broccoli or spinach dip

sauteed green peppers, onions, sour cream, butter, salt and pepper

If you have additional toppings to recommend please email me in the comment section. I will be happy to publish your suggestions along with your name.

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Copycat Rice A Roni

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IMG_1528source: Katie Inglis

What is Rice A Roni? It’s a delicious combination of spaghetti and rice, cooked in broth. I got the original recipe for this dish from my friend Michal, but I have tweaked it a bit over the years.


1/2 cup uncooked spaghetti, broken into small pieces

3/4 cup rice

2 tablespoons oil

2 cups water

quantity of chicken bouillon powder to make two cups broth (I use vegan/parve)

garlic and pepper, to taste


Brown spaghetti in oil till it starts to turn slightly golden. Add rice and continue cooking a few more minutes. Add bouillon powder plus water and simmer till water is absorbed. Add garlic and pepper to taste. Stir well.

Three Variations

For a fancier dish, try all three variations at the same time. For an every day dish, try just one of the variations at a time.

1. When cooking is completed, add 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce to taste.

2. Add 1/3 cup chopped almonds with the water. Continue with recipe as directed.

3. Add a small, finely chopped onion with the spaghetti. Continue with recipe as directed.

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