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Find Great Last Minute Meal Ideas

by Suzanne Kantra on November 20, 2016

It’s 5:30PM, the kids are hungry and I’m starting to feel like a contestant on Food Network’s Chopped. I need to make a healthy meal for five out of whatever I can find in my refrigerator and pantry ASAP. I haven’t been to the supermarket in nearly a week and all I have is pork tenderloin, some carrots, Israeli couscous, a couple of onions, plus whatever spices and staples I normally have on hand.

I could go to just about any recipe site and start looking at all of the pork tenderloin recipes. But it’s a frustrating process when so many of the recipes require ingredients I don’t have. That’s where sites like SuperCook, Recipe Matcher, Recipe Key, and Yummly come in handy. I just enter in the ingredients I have on hand, and they give me a matching list of recipes.

My favorite of the sites is SuperCook because I can store the staples I keep in my kitchen—butter, salt, tomato paste etc. – so I don’t need to re-enter them every time, which saves me time. And if I happen to be out of tomato paste, I simply delete it from my pantry for that day’s search. There’s also an “Exclusions” list. I can select individual ingredients or whole categories, like all gluten, all nuts or all meat.

SuperCook’s recipes come from professional chefs, so I find the quality tends to be the best. There are plenty of recipes to choose from, and you can quickly narrowed by choices by clicking on an ingredient in your pantry. If an ingredient isn’t in my pantry, and "i" icon will appear. Click on the icon will pull up a list of missing ingredients so there won’t be any surprises.

Two other great recipe sites that let you store your pantry online are and You won’t find recipes there from well-known pros though. They’re set up to let you store your own recipes and search recipes from other home cooks.


For recipes without the pantry option, I turn to Yummly for its unmatched ability to deliver recipes that meet my exact needs. In addition to including and excluding ingredients (including allergens), you can sort by diet (vegan, pescetarian, ovo vegetarian), Nutritional value (fat, calories, cholesterol, carbs), prep time, cost, taste (movable sliders for salty, savory, sour, bitter, sweet), type of cuisine and techniques.

Yummly also has an app (free in the Apple App Store and Google Play) more limited search functionality. You can search for pork loin with apples, but you can't add ingredients, just exclude those you don't want. You can sort, though, by dietary preferences, nutritional information, taste, prep time, type of cuisine and cooking technique.

So what ended up on our plates for dinner? A slight variation on Martha Stewart’s Pork Tenderloin with Honeyed Butter, some carrots with butter and dill and Israeli couscous with a little butter, onion and chicken stock. Not bad for a Wednesday night.

[Image credit: Yummly, Supercook, 


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