I love my cookbooks, but it takes time to sift through them to find a new recipe. On most weeknights, I don't have the time to sift through my ever-expanding pile. Usually, I'll turn to one of my favorite recipe websites for inspiration when once again I've got a package of defrosted chicken staring me in the face.

What's great about a well put together recipe website is that it is quickly searchable. I can search for "chicken" and come up with dozens, even hundreds of recipes. If a quick glance at one site's offerings doesn't thrill me, I can move on to the next in seconds. 

Here are my three go-to sites and a few of my favorite recipes from the sites.

  1. Simply Recipes - This is a family recipe blog written by Elise Bauer. She puts up recipes that her family or her friends have tried. I like it because it has meals that actual families have tried and liked and because they use "mostly whole food ingredients and only occasionally a few things from cans or prepared foods. We believe in a varied, healthy diet, using real butter, real cream, eggs, lots of green vegetables, and protein from meat, fish, beans, and cheese." 

    Readers have a chance to comment on the recipes, and while there are usually several "Wow, this looks really good" type comments, there are also comments from readers who have made the recipes. I will usually not make a recipe from a website unless there is some sort of user feedback associated with the website (yet, I have no problem with the fact that there is no user feedback with a cookbook).

    zucchini ricotta frittata - this is in the breakfast/brunch category, but it makes a fabulous quick dinner on a hot summer night when the zucchini is overly abundant
  2. Food Network - Yes, I frequently go to the Food Network site. There are two celebrity cooks whose recipes I trust - namely Alton Brown and Giada DiLaurentiis. When I'm looking for the best recipe or method for something common, I go to Alton.  When I'm just looking for something yummy, I go to Giada - her recipes never fail. I have a feeling that I could trust Ina Garten's recipes, too, but I've never tried one because her kitchen intimidates me. Sad, but true.

    Alton's chicken stock - basic, easy, and good 
    Giada's crab and ricotta cannelloni - I'm telling you, yummy (but not really something you can easily throw together on a weeknight)
  3. Allrecipes.com - This is my top go-to site. All of the recipes are contributed from users, and those who try the recipe can rate it and make comments. It has over 40,000 recipes and a great search feature. Not only can I search for "chicken" but I can search by cut of chicken and additional ingredients that I have on hand. So say you have chicken, honey and mustard which you know work well together, but you're looking for something new to do with them. You can search for "chicken" and "honey" and "mustard" and come up with over 70 recipes using those ingredients (plus others) including one of my family's favorites, Baked Honey Mustard II.

    As I write this, I've got Easy Slow Cooker French Dip cooking on my counter top - I add a 1/4 cup of soy sauce to the recipe and always use a dark beer. 

So there you have it. My top three go-to recipes websites for ideas on a hectic weeknight. What are your go-tos?

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

My top three go-to recipe sites
Chicken for dinner again? Here are three great websites to find out how to do something new to it.