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Real Life Quickfire Challenges (kid-friendly, yes, umami not so much)

October 8, 2009

We’re all still basking in the glow of hearing our name spoken aloud on last night’s episode of Top Chef, where the Quickfire challenge was created around randomly selected criteria from’s cool recipe search.  The show selected the categories Mood, Cuisine, and Taste/Texture, which made for some fine reality television (Stressed, Umami, Latin American, anyone?).

But back in the world of reality reality, without the television part, our Cookstr searches are usually a little bit different.  I’m looking to get a weeknight dinner on the table, find something new to tantalize the kids, put together a Saturday night dinner party (without a whole lot of last minute prep), or find a way to use up that rutabega that’s looks a little wrinkly and slightly accusing in the back of the fridge.

Here are some searches and some results that have been deployed in my kitchen in recent weeks, and what I ended up making:

Typed in chicken, clicked under an hour, kid-friendly.  The pick: Sesame and Soy Brined Chicken

Typed in chili, clicked make-ahead, dinner.  The pick: Chicken Black Bean Chili

Typed in barbecue sauce, clicked make-ahead, family get-together.  The pick: Neely’s Barbecue Sauce

Typed in bittersweet chocolate, clicked 5-ingredients or less.  The pick: Chocolate Panini

And on a regular basis I type in bananas, because there are always 2-4 bananas threatening to become compost in my kitchen, and I am practically depression era in my desire not to throw away food.  Here are my two go-to recipes: Banana Cake and Banana Bread .

(Full disclosure: I buy extra bananas and let them get brown on purpose.)

We’d love to know what your search du jour is, and what you’re finding (and, also what you’re looking for that we should add!).

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Elizabeth permalink
    October 8, 2009 8:12 pm

    I have 15 frozen, overripe bananas in my freezer right now. Yes, I’m going to be doing a recipe search using “bananas”, “breads”, “muffins”, and “kid-friendly” on shortly and get to work. I did not grow up during the Depression, but I have inherited some mighty cheap (ahem, cost-conscious and thrifty) genes.

    My RealLife QuickFire Challenges? After being the primary cook of my family for 24 years and having not only picky teenage eaters and budgetary concerns,
    I have developed a strategy for meal planning that seems to meet my real life challenges.

    First, check the supermarket circulars and determine which vegetables, fruits, meat, poultry, or fish are on sale this week. Second, buy the sale items. Third, throw into the freezer what you are not possibly going to use in the next few days. Fourth, head immediately to Cookstr. com and start searching for recipes featuring these very same sale item foods. Fifth, torture yourself with the reality of “so many great recipes, so little time!”. Finally, close eyes, pick some recipes, and start cooking. If feeling good about oneself after lavish praise from family over meals, end up buying one of the cookbooks whose recipes you used.

    • Andrea permalink
      October 16, 2009 4:58 pm

      If your looking for something to do with the frozen banana’s put one in a blender with some oatmeal, apple juice and maple syrup. Make a great smoothy. You can play with the amount of each ingredient to your taste and texture liking.

      I also heard about cookstr on Top Chef and immediatly had to check it out. Great site!! I have a recipe picked out that I will try this weekend, Chicken Adobe, and I will soon be trying many more. Thanks!!

    • May 26, 2012 7:54 pm

      che la grafica di Undercover non era per nintee male.Quello che non mi piaceva di Undercover e’ che era semplicemente noioso.E’ vero che la Wii tecnicamente e’ molto inferiore alla Xobx e PS3 , ma questo non giustifica la mediocrita’ generale dei titoli di corsaproposti.Per quale motivo BURNOUT 2 per Gamecube e’ ancora un bel titolo e anche molto divertente??? dove esiste anche una gestione degli scontri!!!E’ mai possibile che con una Console decisamente piu’ potente non si riesca a fare di meglio???Ho la brutta ampressione che questo nuo Need for Speed sia un po’ troppo arcade . un altro paio di titoli NFS di questo genere e riusciranno a raggiungere il livello F-ZERO del GC di 5 anni fa.Speriamo solo sia una brutta impressione.

  2. Dana permalink
    October 8, 2009 10:49 pm

    I watch Top Chef every week and so when i watched it last night i found out about cookstr so now im on it and i really do enjoy the things that are on this site. I like that i can put in what im looking for and you’ll give me a great meal idea.
    Thank you

  3. Amy Henry permalink
    October 9, 2009 9:40 pm

    My searches are driven by ingredients (right now I have beautiful acorn and butternut squash waiting for the right recipe) or entertaining occasions (we had two great brunches this summer and I did all my planning with online recipes). I think cookstr offers a different perspective from the two sites I use most often (food network and – both of which are great, but it’s always good to have another source. By the way, my brunch experience this summer took me to another very good resource: I’m looking forward to making use of and like the variety of chefs represented!

  4. Jerri permalink
    October 9, 2009 10:13 pm

    This is actually for a good friend. She has a 7 year old son who will not eat meat and is a somewhat picky eater (as most kids that age are). so my search is
    Kid-friendly vegetarian

  5. kaya permalink
    October 10, 2009 8:49 pm

    My new addiction! Cookstr!

    I actually work in the F&B Industry, and usually run a 90 hour work week (no surprise…) I always come home from amazing events, determined to cook, plate and serve these fantabulous dishes… (HUGE on tasting menu’s). The reality is, that I barely have the time to throw something together, and I’m really into the low-carb, low calories meals.

    As I am getting more comfortable with the site, my searches arent really matched well. I search for chicken dinners, in different search variations, and a lot of soup dishes come up. Also, and forgive the sp*, I want to make an amous bouche. I just want to make one perfect pretty little sea bass, with pickled whatever… 😉

    The final luxury I unfortunately do not have is the fresh acorns, and butternut squash, etc. I am a New Yorker, so what Whole Foods has, I grab and run…

    So to boil it down – I hope to find some easy, sexy, healthy dinner dishes… and i’m really excited to explore my way around Cookstr… I am already planning my New York Yankees World Series game day party and looks like the tricks of the trade are right here!

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