Looking for some healthy recipe resources
June 2, 2009 11:15 AM   Subscribe

Looking for cookbooks, blogs, websites, and forums that specialize in simple, healthy recipes.

I'm a single guy who doesn't have a whole lot of time to cook or wash dishes. But I'm tired of eating out all the time, and would like to change my eating habits.

I'm not looking for a "diet." I want to make a permanent change in the way I eat.

I like healthy/vegetarian food, but am not myself a vegetarian. So no dietary restrictions really, except that the food must be healthy, nutritious, low-fat and low-calorie.

I don't mind putting some effort into my meals, but ideally these recipes wouldn't require a lot of time-consuming preparation or cleanup.

Assume that I don't know anything at all about cooking, because, well, I kinda don't.
posted by Afroblanco to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 67 users marked this as a favorite
Cheap Healthy Good is a great cooking resource.
posted by Night_owl at 11:20 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]

Have you considered Seattle Sutton meals? It's not a recipe resouce, but if you are used to eating out, this is a bit healthier.
posted by sarajane at 11:28 AM on June 2, 2009

My dad is a huge fan of Cooking Light. And if he can handle those recipes, I'm sure anyone can.
posted by olinerd at 11:28 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything would definitely help you out.
posted by bcwinters at 11:30 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

Most of the cooking blogs I follow are vegetarian or vegan...the following are a few of my favorites. You may run into a few time-consuming recipes in the sites below most of them contain fairly simple stuff.

posted by pghjezebel at 11:30 AM on June 2, 2009

Two essential cookbooks:

1. Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

2. Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

The books are pretty similar. They're both big books that are mean to be the vegetarian cooking encyclopedia. You could get either one, and it'd be the only vegetarian cookbook you'd ever need. (They're both frequently recommended on AskMe.)

They'll be especially useful if you "don't know anything at all about cooking," since they provide not just recipes but basic info on techniques, equipment, spices/herbs, how to store and prepare different types of food, etc.

One reason I like both of these books is that they avoid the mind-numbing format of many cookbooks that have one magnificent-looking recipe on each page that makes you think, "Wow, I can't imagine making this!" Madison and Bittman both give you a range from simple to complex. For instance, Bittman tells you how to make a simple tomato-based sauce, then gives a list of ideas for variations. Madison describes in meticulous detail exactly how to make a plain omlet and other useful eggs dishes, then gives lots of ideas for making them more interesting. They don't just give you meals that will impress guests at a dinner party (Madison has recipes for egg salad and grilled-cheese sandwiches; Bittman has a recipe for "water soup"!).

A couple websites:

Vegetarian Times has this recipe search form, with lots of checkboxes including "Easy."

A Veggie Venture -- that list of recipes includes a section on "quick vegetable recipes." Click that link and you'll get recipes in order of how quick they are (starting with "5 minutes").
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:35 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

FATFREE: The Low Fat Vegetarian Recipe Archive has lots of good recipes. The site is simple and easy to use.
posted by candyland at 11:41 AM on June 2, 2009

I like my crockpot (aka A Slow Cooker). You can make relatively inexpensive meals - with leftovers - that don't require any cooking skills, or fancy equipment (a basic crockpot should cost you less than $40).

Check out A Year of CrockPotting for ideas and recipes.
posted by socrateaser at 11:52 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]

Enthusiastically seconding Cooking Light. The recipes are not only healthy and easy, they're always really delicious. I don't know what their recipe development magic is but I have been a rabid fan of the magazine for a long time. It's worth subscribing; it makes using the website easier, and when the new issue arrives I usually end up making 2 or 3 things out of the magazine within the next couple of weeks because it's got inspiring, different ideas that I wouldn't come up with myself.

Also, they embrace your philosophy. Cooking Light isn't about 'dieting' or lightening regular recipes with faux ingredients. They advocate a sensible, balanced, tasty diet made from real foods with a lot of fruits and veggies - the exact thing for wanting to make a permanent change in the way you eat.
posted by Miko at 11:53 AM on June 2, 2009

Rachel Ray's 30-Minute Meals has been a staple of my quick and easy recipe collection for years.
posted by netbros at 12:32 PM on June 2, 2009

I love Cooking Light also. I subscribe to many food magazines but Cooking Light is the one I actually cook from. Just one caveat: pay close attention to their recommended serving sizes, especially on things like sauces and desserts. They don't use weird diet ingredients, so one of the ways they get some of their recipes to fit into the 'light' restrictions is by making portions very small. They recently had a fixture on how to make classic sauces like mayonnaise and hollandaise... I was very intrigued to see how they were going to pull off light hollandaise sauce. Turned out that it was just regular hollandaise sauce, but the recommended serving size was one tablespoon!
posted by Daily Alice at 12:37 PM on June 2, 2009

I taught myself to cook using Everyday Food magazine and the companion cookbook. The recipes are simple, don't require tons of time or ingredients, and are relatively healthy.
posted by capsizing at 12:40 PM on June 2, 2009

Thirding Cooking Light. Also, this Weight Watchers cookbook is surprisingly good. I was skeptical, but there's some pretty solid recipes in it that don't rely on artificial sweeteners or cutting your guacamole with mashed peas or somesuch nonsense.
posted by electroboy at 12:43 PM on June 2, 2009

Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks, already mentioned, has fairly recently started Super Natural Recipe Search, which searches only healthy whole foods type recipes from around the web that she's handpicked.
posted by thread_makimaki at 1:46 PM on June 2, 2009

Nthing Cooking Light and 101 Cookbooks. Also Eating Well has a lot of simple and delicious healthy recipes.
posted by creepygirl at 10:15 PM on June 2, 2009

I would second Simply Recipes. It is definitely my First Stop when searching for menu ideas. The directions are very clear, wonderful pictures, easily available ingredients (with room to put in your own tastes). They are not ALL healthy, but she does focus on fresh, real ingredients and there are lots of healthy and vegetarian meals on her site.
posted by like_neon at 3:48 AM on June 3, 2009

I like:
Simply Recipes, Fatfree Vegan Kitchen, DinnerCakes, and Coconut & Lime.
posted by defben at 6:44 AM on June 3, 2009

I really loved this book Pantry Raid. Some incredibly easy, very tasty recipes. Several of them have become staples in my cooking repetoire.

The book's out of print, but it'd be worth hunting down a copy used or at the library.
posted by peggynature at 5:04 PM on June 3, 2009

Body For Life

101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less - New York Times

Cooking Light

Nutrition Data- Know What You Eat

Cooking Art - Vegetarian dishes

netbros post - Better Than 1000 Cookbooks

Over 100 Quick and Easy Healthy Foods
- recipes

Recipesia - over 25,000 recipes on yummy, nutritious, or basically natural foods

The Web Food Guide

Digestion Time Of Foods

The World's Healthiest Foods

Bon apetit and a toast to your good health!
posted by nickyskye at 8:51 PM on June 3, 2009

Response by poster: Oh my god! Thank you all so much! So many amazing suggestions. I want to mark everyone here as "best answer," but I know people get annoyed by that.

Still, y'all are awesome. I look forward to finally being able to make something other than a salad!
posted by Afroblanco at 9:19 PM on June 4, 2009

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