So many recipes; so little time
There's millions of fantastic sounding recpies around; too many to ever try them all. How does one choose? What criteria do you use....fewest ingredients? less labor intensive? etc?
Mostly, I like to choose recipes based on what I have in the house already. Less shopping involved :)
Ain't that the truth!
I go in "phases". Usually, I try to pick something challenging and interesting that I haven't made before for "weekend cooking". I have more time and can relax and have fun with something more labor intensive. I look forward to relaxing in the kitchen with some big "project" on weekends :)
For weekday cooking, I vary soooo much and often try different things out of my own ethnic comfort zone. I really like East Indian and Vietnamese foods...maybe once or twice per week I try a new recipe out in one of those cuisines. Then a creative soup/salad or sandwich "bistro night" one night, maybe a crockpot meal (soup, chili, pulled pork type thing) on a night where I know I will be late. I peruse recipes with those types of meals in mind.
Now that I put this in writing, I guess my choices are more about how much time I have to devote to dinner as much as trying out new recipes.
We have a chalkboard in the side kitchen area and we post what we want...then we make it.
Only criteria is if the ingredients aren't in the house, the person who made the suggestion has to buy the ingredients. Every one who eats here, cooks.
The main thing is it has to be something both of us may like. That means, among other things, no cream soups and not many vegetarian offerings. She won't eat the former and I'm unfulfilled by the latter. Also, bland foods are pretty much non-starters. We both love the heat and the spice. The Khantessa doesn't care much for Thai or Chinese, so those are pretty much out of bounds. And neither of us eat shellfish. If a recipe meets all of those requirements, it will fall under consideration.
And like sedimental, the complex and/or labor-intensive dishes are reserved for Saturdays and Sundays. On weeknights we cook quicker, easier recipes.
The main criteria in my house are
1) What do I have time to cook (insane hours)
2) What are the highest-quality items that I can afford within my grocery budget
3) What fits my DH's diet guidelines (very low carb)
The season affects it too. I made a potroast on Tuesday night, something I hadn't done since...April? I think?
This is where meal planning comes in. Each week I look first at what I have that I want to use, then I look at the circular to see what is on sale (online we don't get the paper). Then I choose my meals from the manyany recipes I have in various formats. Sometimes I look at recipes first and do the process backwards. At one point I was making something new almost every night.
I am not a slave to a recipe any longer depending in what I am doing.
Last night I made Pakistani Goat with potatoes and ginger masoor dal.
Tonight is probably baked egg rolls.
ETA: I shop once a week and so when I get home all my ingredients are there. An I take out anything that needs to thaw and put it in the fridge the night before or two if it is large.