I am excited about this new (but kinda old) monthly feature here on Kitchen Concoctions. Since I started this blog, each month I have had reviews for various cookbooks, cooking magazines, and now food websites. I usually choose 4-5 recipes make them, share my opinion and give an overall review. For 2012 it will be cooking/food websites (not blogs), which I think will be pretty useful considering the techy world we live in now and I know I am not the only person who does most of their recipe browsing via the Internet.
Since the month is quickly coming to an end it is time for a review of January’s site; Food on the Table. I am sorta partial to this website since I do freelance work for it. With that being said, I created a rating scale (similar to the one I used for the magazines of the month), so that I could give fair and honest opinions of each website. And while I will answer the below questions to the best of my ability for every site I review, the review below is pretty extensive because I do freelance work for this site (I’m actually not being paid for this review, just giving my honest opinion and review0 I am most familiar with it.
Some of the recipes have pictures but not all. Most of the pictures are clear but because the pictures are small (probably ½ square inch) it is kind of hard to get a clear picture of the food. And yes, if you have been reading my blog long you will recognize some of the pictures on the Food on the Table site from Kitchen Concoctions because I took them!
Prep Time, Cooking Time, and Number of Servings listed: Yes
Almost every single recipe has this information included as well as a spiciness indicator, wait time and total time required.
Nutritional Information provided: Yes
Some of the recipes have this but not all. Also I must add that some of the recipes seem to be off on the nutritional provided, so if you are on a strict diet or have major health issues I would double check the nutritional information provided with a more repeatable source.
Clear, easy to follow directions and ease of preparation: Yes
This site is full of fast, easy, family friendly recipes. Most of the recipes can be made in 45 minutes or less of total time and call for only 7-8 ingredients.
Easily available ingredients and budget friendly: Yes
The premise of this site is to help you prepare a weekly meal plan based on current sales at your grocery store. The site gears you towards recipes that include these sale items, actually helping you save money. I’d say that has budget friendly ALL over it!
Variety of recipes: Dinner only
Since this is a meal planning site it focuses solely on main dish dinners and side dishes. There are some recipes that could be used for breakfast, lunch, appetizer, etc. but currently this site is focused just on dinner time. Hopefully in the future they can offer more variety of recipes
Meal Planning Feature: Yes
This site is more focused on meal planning based on weekly sale items at your local store, and providing recipes is an added bonus.
Source of recipes: Chef approved as well as user uploaded
This site has recipes developed, reviewed and edited by a team of chefs and cooks (including some of my personal tried and true) as well as recipes uploaded by the users themselves. Right now it is hard to distinguish between these two groups of recipes, although the recipes with photos are chef approved as users cannot upload their own photos at this time.
Cost: It is free to plan 3 meals a week but costs $9.95 per month to plan unlimited meals and have access to hundreds of more recipes.
Special feature: This website is focused on meal planning and saving you money by planning meals around the sales at your store. The site offers the ability to rate the recipes and leave comments on them. Also there is a discussion board where users can post questions and comments, which is monitored by the site staff (stop by sometime and say hi to me!) with timely responses and help. Also the site has the ability to add your own personal recipes and save them to your profile as well as search hundreds of others submitted by other members and the chefs.
Overall, the recipes I tried all month for this review and in the past have been a tasty huge success (but I’m not saying I have become a roasted grape fan)!
In case you missed it, here are the recipes I featured: