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Learn to cook with left-over ingredients

July 9, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Did you know the average American throws away 14-percent of the groceries they buy at the store? If you don't want to waste food anymore, Food Coach Lori Corbin has some suggestions on how to use what you have before it goes bad. Lily Wu enjoys cooking, but she's not the type to plan a seven day menu for her family.

"I am not organized enough to plan everything a week in advance," said Wu.

She's exactly the kind of person several new cooking Web Sites are designed for. When she wants to make a meal, she just has to log on, input the ingredients she has to work with, and she'll instantly be fed several options.

"Pretty much any combination you can think of, at least some recipes will pop up, or if there's nothing you can make right this second, it'll at least tell you what recipes are close to those ingredients," said Tim Lang, SuperCook.com.

There's SuperCook.com, Recipe Matcher, BigOven, Mealopedia and more. They use search engines to find you recipes from all over the Web. Each site offers different options. For example, on Super Cook, if you open an account it will customize suggestions for you.

"It can also do things like keep track of what's in your kitchen and it can make custom suggestions for you on what other ingredients to buy," said Lang.

Lily likes all recipes dot com because she can also input ingredients she doesn't want to use.

"That's very useful for me because sometimes you have someone with allergies or is picky," said Wu.

Not a super chef? You don't have to be, the recipes you typically get are easy to follow. But if you're a great cook you can certainly expand your options.

"If you're a more experienced chef, you can start to envision more possibilities and maybe get out of a recipe rut you have been in for a while," said Lang.

And a tasty way to save money is to check what you have leftover in the fridge or pantry, then got to Leftover Wizard at BigOven.com. Put in three main ingredients like chicken, rice, and mushrooms they will show you all the recipes they have involving these foods. Boasting over 170,000 leftover recipes, there's little need to eat the same foods twice.

Those sites are free, and with some you can create your own account to keep track of your ingredients and choices.

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