What's for Dinner, Mom?

Kim Conte

I cleaned out my fridge last week and here's what's left: chicken breasts, some frozen corn, an onion, and a pomegranate (weird, I know). For the life of me, I couldn't figure what I could cook for dinner with such an odd assortment of ingredients. Then I ran across this discussion about Web sites that have an ingredient search—you type in the ingredients you have in your kitchen, and it spits out recipes you can make from those ingredients. Easy!

I visited a few sites to figure out which ones were the most user-friendly, which ones had good menu ideas (versus gross suggestions), and which were not worth our time. Unfortunately, none of the sites could find any use for the darn pomegranate (join the club), but I came up with some good stuff all the same. Here's what I found...


This recipe site has a recipe sifter tool, which allows you to filter by ingredient. Using the main ingredient list, I chose "chicken breasts," "corn," and "onions," (pomegranate was not even an option) and it gave me the following recipes:

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Taco Bake

Overall, this site was easy to use and the recipes sounded good, but both called for ingredients I didn't have (jalapeno, taco seasoning, enchilada sauce??). Looks like there's a trip to the grocery store in my future.


This recipe site has a great ingredient search feature: You can type in the ingredients you have AND the ones you don't have (so, in my case, jalapeno, taco seasoning, enchilada sauce, etc.) This site gave me 11 yummy-sounding recipes for my three ingredients, including:

Turkey Chili

South of the Border Casserole

BBQ Chili Pasta

Overall, I liked this site a lot because it was very user-friendly, letting me search by ingredients that I don't have at the moment.


At KraftFoods.com you just type in three ingredients, choose what type of meal you are cooking (breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc.), and it churns out recipe ideas. My three ingredients turned up 20 (!!!!!) options. Some of the best-sounding recipes included:


Southwest Chicken and Rice

Similar to RecipeZaar.com, KraftFoods.com was a bit frustrating to use because it turned up recipes with ingredients that I didn't have, but I really liked how the search results were displayed in an easy-to-read format so you could tell quickly which recipes were quick and easy, which ones were healthy, etc.


CookingByNumbers.com is a really bare-bones site where you click on the ingredients of things you have in your refrigerator and your cupboard. Then it tells you what percentage of ingredients you have to make a particular dish, so in this case: I had 100 percent of the 2 ingredients (corn and water) to make steamed corn (um, duh, thanks) and 67 percent percent of the 3 ingredients needed to make roast chicken (I needed butter). It actually suggested 30 items, but I needed more ingredients for most of them.

Overall, this site isn't going to win any creativity points, but it's really basic recipes are helpful for when you only have a few ingredients on hand.

What's your favorite Web site to search by ingredient? What am I missing?

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