MPM ~ May 4th + My top 10 list for selecting recipes


Hello!  We had such a busy week and weekend here with piano festival activities and I must say I’m looking forward to bringing things down a notch or so this coming week.   I much prefer a slower paced lifestyle that is for sure.

As you can tell each week I love to try new recipes.  It keeps me on my toes and excited about cooking dinner.  I get bored easily so if I was making the same things for dinner over and over, I just wouldn’t look forward to it at all.  Chances are I wouldn’t commit to what I had planned.  So each week I include at least three new recipes into my menu plan to help avoid this.  I love wondering how each new recipe will taste and because I’ve been doing this now for awhile I have certain criteria that must be met with each recipe to hopefully ensure its success.  Here is a list of some of the things I consider.

My Top 10 List for Selecting New Recipes

1.  I look for recipes with preparation times of 30 minutes or less.

2.  I look for recipes with simple uncomplicated instructions.

3.  In an effort to save money, I look for recipes that don’t require hugely expensive ingredients.

4.  I almost always pass on recipes with long lists of ingredients because generally the longer the list of ingredients the longer the preparation time and expense.

5.  Ingredients have to be available at my local grocery store.  I do not have time to go hunting down ingredients at specialty shops.

6.  I prefer recipes that are healthy and not high in fat although if necessary I will substitute lower fat ingredients on my own.  In addition, while I love recipes that are quick and easy I don’t want to use a lot of processed ingredients to make it happen either.

7.  I particularly love recipes with big, colorful pictures of how the dish is suppose to look.  Somehow this is very comforting to me 🙂

8.  I pass on all fish/seafood recipes as my husband is allergic to these.

9.  I also prefer to make recipes that are already gluten and dairy free to accommodate my son however I’ve gotten pretty good at making the required adjustments needed to convert a recipe.

10.  I love when a recipe comes to me from someone else that is recommending it.  If a recipe meets my above criteria and is tried and true how can it possibly go wrong 🙂

Using the above criteria allows me to quickly assess whether or not a recipe is a contender.  If it isn’t I simply move on.   There are so many delicious recipes out there that I don’t think in my lifetime I’ll ever run out of choices.

What is your recipe selection criteria?

It’s Frugal Being Green has compiled a great list of fabulous menu planning resources that I think you might find helpful: 30 Quick, Green and Frugal Meal Planning Resources.

So here is what is on my menu this week:

Monday: Meatloaf Sandwiches (carried over from last week)

Tuesday: Spinach and Black Bean Lasagna

Wednesday: Asian Peanut Chicken Wraps

Thursday: Leftover buffet

Friday: Teriyaki Sirloin Steak served with baked potatoes and grilled peppers

Saturday: Slow Cooker Honey Mustard Lime Chicken served with rice and carrots

Simple Supper Sunday


Menu Plan Monday guidelines and banner selections can be found here.

Filed under: Menu Plan Monday


53 Responses to MPM ~ May 4th + My top 10 list for selecting recipes

  1. 1
    mjpuzzlemom says

    The Slow Cooker Honey Mustard Lime Chicken looks interesting. Please let us know how you like it.

    Thanks for hosting MPM.


  2. 2
    MemeGRL says

    Love your suggestions…my current one is to try to find things I can “morph” (like Robin Miller on Food Network) from one meal to the next–two meals, one prep. I’m lousy at that but really need to get better–spending too much time in the kitchen is impossible with kids the ages mine are right now!

  3. 3
    Alaina says

    Let us know how the Black bean and spinach lasagna turns out please. It sounds great!

  4. 4
    Phoebe says

    I, too, like to try new recipes almost every week. Thankfully my family isn’t picky and is very accepting of my experiments! 🙂

    The Honey Mustard Lime Chicken sounds like something that my husband would love..thanks!

  5. 6
    DSB says

    I’m back with my second attempt! It’s really simple, but I think as I get more used to actually planning my menus, I’ll be able to branch out a little bit more and of course I’ll eventually get around to trying some of the awesome recipes I’ve come across while surfing all your links 🙂

  6. 7
    [email protected] says

    Great list for selecting recipes! Pictures are important to me too, and the fewer the ingredients the better.
    Thanks for hosting!

  7. 8
    Mrs. Wilson says

    I’m cleaning out my cupboards this week and using mostly items that are either non-perishable or in my freezer. Thought you’d be proud 🙂

  8. 9
    Sarah says

    I’m so excited to have you try the Spinach and Black Bean I had on my Meal Plan last week. I can’t wait to hear how you like it!

  9. 10
    Katy says

    We LOVED the Baked Chicken Teriyaki you made a few weeks ago! We tried it this week and it will be a family favorite from now on!!! Thanks!

  10. 11
    Laura says

    Oh Katy isn’t that just the best recipe…I’m so craving it now 🙂

  11. 12
    Mama Kalila says

    I like to try new stuff too… and have similar criteria for them. The main one is just affordability though. I’d love to make fancy things w/ all kinds of ingredients… but not possible as a general rule lol.

    Completely random question… Is anyone on here on a hypoglycemic diet? I’ve known about mine for years but wasn’t given direction (other than add meals) and am trying to figure this out. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  12. 13
    Steph @ Problem Solvin Mom says

    Love your list – you’ve inspired me to go back and add a little bit to my post on the subject. Your menu sounds great! We are also on the go a lot this week, so I can’t wait to check out your recipes, as they sound less basic than what we are up to – thanks! 🙂

  13. 14
    susieshomemade says

    My menu planning criteria is pretty similiar. I would also include that I look for recipes to use with items that are on sale:-)

  14. 15
    Women Living Well says

    I always look for dishes that are healthy, low calorie, low fat and pleasing to the eye. For example a simple Chicken Breast cooked on the grill with fresh pinapple slices, melon, corn on the cob and rice.

    My husband and I eat a salad for lunch everyday – but what we put on the salad always varies – from hard boiled eggs, to almonds, cheese, and berries.

    Here’s a link to a list of my favorite healthy desserts:


  15. 16
    Meredith says

    I love your list of criteria for a new recipe! I love to try new recipes, but only when they are fairly straightforward, and I can be pretty confident based on the ingredients and cooking directions that it will turn out!

  16. 17
    Snow White says

    that list is pretty much equivalent to mine… except we add no nuts to ours 🙂 I’m always looking for ways to make recipes healthier.

  17. 18
    Jo's Quirky Cooking says

    Your list looks quite like mine, except I don’t get easily scared off when there’s a long ingredient list – especially if it’s spices/herbs! I love trying new combinations, or figuring out my own.

  18. 19
    Colleen says

    The slow cooker chicken sounds yummy. Thanks for another nice week!

  19. 20
    Kelli Miller says

    8. I pass on all fish/seafood recipes as my husband is allergic to these.

    **I am only allergic to shellfish (Iodine) but that also means that I can’t take a multi-vitamin because they contain Iodine.

    I love seafood but it can kill me now so I have to steer clear LOL!

  20. 21
    Erika says

    I completely agree with the picture aspect. I do have some reliable cookbooks without pictures, but the picture sure helps me envision how the final product is going to taste.

    The only other criteria I have is dependant on the time of year. With a hubby who works seasonally, when he’s not working, any new recipes I make have to involve on-hand ingredients as much as possible. Thankfully, we’ve discovered a lot of family favorites doing this.

    I’m going back to find that baked chicken teriyaki- that sounds great!

  21. 22
    The Happy Housewife says

    Great criteria! I realized we were getting in a rut with menu planning lately, so I am trying some new recipes this week. My criteria is similar to yours although we don’t have the dairy/ gluten requirements. We are also trying to eat more fish, since it is so healthy!

  22. 23
    SheilaG says

    When I’m searching for recipes, I’m usually in a hurry because it’s late and I’m looking for something to make! It’s usually because I’m not organized. So speed is often the main criteria.

    When I’m planning menus, I just like to browse recipe sites and look at what’s there, and then I don’t care so much about time!

  23. 24
    Joyce says

    My criteria is pretty much the same as yours actually…with the exception of the allergies ones since we don’t have any. But we do have friends who do, and when they come over for meals, it’s good to have some recipes that don’t have things that people are generally allergic to. #10 is my personal favorite because you can ask the person for tips if you get stuck, etc. Can’t do without photos. Thanks.

  24. 25
    Jenny says

    I’ve never really thought about the criteria I use to select recipes, but they are very similar to yours. We don’t have food allergies, so that doesn’t affect us.

    I enjoy reading your blog.

    Oh, and I used a cookie to insert my name in Mr. Linky, and it says I’m new. Actually, this is my second time to link, so I apologize for that. I didn’t know how to repair it.

  25. 26
    Annie (SisterWisdom) says

    I look for recipes that are
    1) simple
    2) full of fresh ingredients
    3) quick prep OR make ahead.

    Those three criteria keep me sane and keep my family well-fed…most of the time! 🙂

  26. 27
    jsprik says

    ooohhhh, the asian peanut chicken wraps sound good!!!

  27. 28
    Mimi @ The Things We Do says

    Hi! First time here and excited to join in the party!

    Those Asian Chicken wraps sound so delish! Hmmm…. maybe next week!

    I like to try new things too. And I like to cook (but not clean) so the fewer “dishes” the better!

    My husband, who is extremely fit, struggles with his cholesterol so the foods have to be healthy and not high in fat. Fish, chicken and turkey are staples in this house.

    I like to use fresh, non-processed foods. Veggies that are in season…

  28. 29
    Susanne says

    That spinach and black bean lasagna sounds good, Laura. I’ll have to give it a try. We miss lasagna around here since our youngest quite eating beef and pork.

  29. 30
    thursday says

    I’ve been trying new recipes lately (since I don’t have too many things I can make – I’m not really a cook). The recipe has to be simple, generally vegetarian (we rarely have meat in the house), and a fairly short list of ingredients (if it’s long I will forget something critical). Unfortunately, I never know what I won’t be able to find at the stores here. Kale? Shiitake mushrooms? Red Pepper?!! Onions?! So frustrating. Apparently unsweetened coconut is not a normal ingredient, either. Oh, and I don’t do melted (stringy) cheese either.

    Do you know how few recipes I’ve found that fit these criteria?

  30. 31
    Gudrun says

    I try new recipes a lot, too, mostly because of something I have received in our veggie box. This week, I got a pile of fava beans, so I dug out two new recipes from, one for a great appetizer we had last night and one for a pasta dish later this week.

    This week, I am also having a giveaway on Kitchen Gadget Girl – two handmade aprons! Just in time for Mother’s Day 🙂

  31. 32
    Angie (Losing It and Loving It) says

    Hubby cooks most of the time and doesn’t use recipes but we just come up with our menu plan out of the blue every week. Sometimes we don’t stick with it but we try to.

    Have a great week!

    PS. Those Asian Peanut Chicken wraps sound good!

  32. 33
    Anna says

    My criteria is about the same as yours- even down to the allergies. My husband has an allergy to shellfish and my son is allergic to milk and peanuts.

    I also like to have most of my recipes be ones that can be easily eaten as leftovers (either frozen or refrigerated) That way I only have to cook 3-4 times each week.

  33. 34
    debi b says

    Great recipe list!
    I am all about quick recipes with natural ingredients.

  34. 35
    kat says

    We tend to look for things that call for seasonal vegetables. When planning a weekly menu we often look for recipes that call for the same ingredients since we are cooking for two & often have half a can or something or half a bunch of something leftover from one dish. We look for things & techniques we’ve never tried before

  35. 36
    Saver Queen says

    I use the exact same criteria, minus the dietary restrictions! Great menu for the week. Yum, I love leftover meatloaf sandwiches!

  36. 37
    [email protected] Fit Mom says

    We look for much of the same (except we are nut-free), with the addition of whatever’s in season locally, along with whatever grains I have camping out in my pantry. Trying hard to use up what we have before buying it first. Great guidelines, thanks for sharing!

  37. 38
    Kirsten says

    I love this resource and am psyched to participate!

  38. 39
    Noreen Smith says

    This is my first week of sharing my menu plan. I’ve used so many ideas from all of you here at orgjunkie, so I thought it was time I did some sharing! Thanks!

  39. 40
    micki says

    I’m addicted to food network, so often I will try a recipe just because I’ve seen it on TV. I know what my family will eat and try to add variety in to that mix. I menu plan based on what is on sale at the store, too, so that plays a big part. The next two weeks, I’m trying to avoid the store, so it’s going to be really stretching the budget!

  40. 41
    niki says

    It all sound so good, especially the asian chicken wraps!



  41. 42
    Jen says

    Thanks for making it so easy share, I love all the new ideas I am getting! ps: this is my first time using the Mr. Linky 🙂

  42. 43
    Whitney says

    First time posting a menu! I am excited to have found you….Thanks so much!

  43. 44
    Creative Triplet Mom says

    I try a lot of recipes, why? Because really there is nothing that I really like that winds up in my book of favorites (tried and true make again recipes). I really have to love it for it to make it in my book. Like I have to crave it again to make it again. After making a recipe I usually rate it by how many people eat it and if there is left overs. If there are no leftovers I know the recipe is a keeper. If my husband makes lunch and puts it in his lunch box for the next day I know it’s a keeper. If it sits in my fridge for more than 2 days that it’s not a recipe that I will make again.

  44. 45
    Merrilee says

    I often pick my menu based on what I already have. Do I have frozen chicken breasts? Hamburger? Steaks? Shrimp? Then, I pick something that sounds good based on that. However, I like to try new things too.
    So for me, it’s whatever I feel like.

  45. 46
    Whitney says

    Your slow cooker chicken sounds delicious! I need to try it!

  46. 47
    Jena OrganizingMommy says

    I guess extra work isn’t as traumatic for me, since I’m used to making my own bread and other things from scratch. And I’m not overly concerned about making it super cheap, since I tend to cook with all fresh veggies, which makes it more expensive. But it works for our family. I would like to make a list like this for myself though. There may be some recipes that I am continuing to use that are just not working.

  47. 48
    Rebecca says

    I don’t know if I have a list… my mother in law is a great cook, so my husband doesn’t care for bland food, so it has to be interesting and have some spices (or be able to have spices added). I can’t do cow’s milk, so anything dairy has to be easily substituted with something not crazy expensive. (That’s one thing I hate about a lot of casserole/OAMC recipes, most have cheese). I like to find easy or make ahead meals, and we like to mix in a few really healthy veggie meals in our meal planning (although those tend to be more time consuming so sometimes we get lazy about this).

  48. 49
    The Meal Planner says

    Woo hoo! I made the criteria for the Honey Mustard Lime Chicken!! I’m so glad you decided to try it and it has piqued so many others interest. I really hope you enjoy it 🙂

  49. 50
    Danielle says

    I just wanted to say I absolutely love what you are doing? Keep up the good work and I look foward to all your blogs “Process” is my favorite

  50. 51
    Rachel says

    I’m late, but I’m here! Looking forward to checking out everyone’s menus.

  51. 52
    jennifer says

    I love menu-planning. With a family of 7 it really is a necessity!

  52. 53
    Momma Goose says

    Oh my. I can’t tell you how happy I am to have stumbled upon your blog. I can tell I’m going to appreciate all of your organizational advice, but I am especially excited about your meal planning tips. I have been wondering for a long time how people go about planning meals for the week–I am very bad at it! Thank you so much for sharing your tricks and recipes!!!!! (PS: With the exception of skipping seafood, your recipe criteria are EXACTLY the same as mine!! And I’m so happy that you think there are a lot of recipes that fit these criteria, because sometimes I feel that my criteria limit me. Can’t wait to check out your recipes!!)


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