Family Recipe Reviews
I am not a cook!! So let’s just get that clear right now. I can cook but I am not a cook. That’s why I have chosen to share my recipe reviews for families instead of attempting to create my own.
For these reviews, I hope to provide you with the information I am always looking at when I’m on the hunt for a new recipe to try. I’ll judge recipes on a couple of different things and let you know how they went over with my little ones.
The Criteria for Family Recipe Reviews
Pantry Staple Friendliness
Obviously, all the criteria are important but this one, in particular, is important to me because I tend to stock up on the basics often but beyond that, it usually means a special trip to the store. And that requires loading up 3 kids, unloading them, getting them in and through the store (many grocery stores don’t have the big ride along carts so someone has to walk or I have to put all 3 across the seat if they do happen to have a double), get what I need, checkout, load the kids and groceries back up, and then unload it all again. If you’re exhausted just thinking about it so am I.
So if the recipe uses basic pantry and fridge/freezer supplies I am all for it!!! That is a HUGE win in my book.
I am working to meal plan better and so I can get the special ingredients at the same time I do my normal shopping but it doesn’t always happen.
So what am I looking for to see if a recipe is pantry friendly?
- Does it have special ingredients not normally found in my pantry?
- Can I pick up those ingredients well ahead of time or will they go bad quickly?
- Are the ingredients able to be stored in a way to prolong their life?
- Does it use basic pantry staples?
- Does it use an abnormally large amount of a pantry staple?
- Are there things I can substitute to get close enough without a special trip to the store?
This one is very much up to interpretation and depends at least somewhat on what your family normally eats. Reviewing recipes for families is very dependant on the typical family diet. So I will try and keep this section as objective as possible.
My goal is to give you a heads up if recipes are a bit spicy, a bit mushy, a bit tough, or anything else that might come up so you can make the best decision for your family. Your family may like things a bit spicy. Or yours may have enough teeth to chew it even if it’s a bit tough. I can’t tell you how many “family friendly” recipes I see that my kids would make a huge mess eating. Sometimes that’s ok but other times I need it quick and as clean as possible.
Another piece will include how easily adaptable it is for young eaters. Can it but cut down to bite size pieces easily for a baby or is it difficult for little ones to eat with utensils?
Of course, I’ll also let you know what we thought of the taste overall as well.
I’m looking for:
- Does the recipe need modifying for infants doing baby led weaning?
- Can it easily be modified if needed?
- Is it easy for young kids to eat (easy to pick up or use a utensil)?
- Is there anything notable about it (slimy, mushy, spicy)?
- How does it taste?
- Was it truly healthy?
- Was it a hit or miss?
If you aren’t trained in the culinary arts then figuring out all those fancy terms can be intimidating. Fortunately, my mom, grandmas, and great-grandma (and maybe a few HGTV cooking shows) taught me how to cook decently and follow a recipe. I even know what many of those fancy terms mean. Though executing them is a whole other story.
But it’s not just about knowing how to do the cooking. I discard plenty of recipes because their steps were long and complicated. It can’t take me 4 hours every day to cook dinner! I have way too much chaos in my house for that. However, if it’s a crockpot meal where I set it and forget it that’s a different story.
Here’s what I’m looking for when it comes to cooking friendliness:
- Are the steps difficult or complicated?
- How many steps are there (not necessarily the number listed but how many things do I actually have to do)?
- How long will it take? Crockpot type meals are somewhat exempt other than for me to note it has to be started early.
- Any special skills?
- How easy is the recipe to understand?
- Are there good tips and tricks included if needed?
How Did it Go?
The last thing to do, of course, is actually make and eat it.
So my whole family plays Guinea pig and I cook and we all eat the recipe. Then I’ll tell you, my readers, how it all went from start to finish.
I Actually Cook it and Eat It
I’m not an amazing cook but I can usually follow instructions so my kids and I (and Hubby when he’s home) will test out each recipe.
I follow the directions as listed only adjusting if I absolutely have to.
I Make My Kids Try It Too
Yes, I make my kids try new things. We try not to make food a battle at our house. However, they learn from an early age they have to try new things.
So my kids will at least try a few bites and I’ll let you know what was a hit and what was a miss.
An Overview of the Whole Experience
The last part of the review will be my overall thoughts on the recipe and anything I might change next time or make adjustments for if we choose to use it again.
I plan for this to act as a bit of an overall summary as well.
Why Do Reviews?
Why not just put up my own recipes? Well, this isn’t a cooking blog to start with but recipe reviews for families is something I wish I could find more readily available online.
Again, I’m Not a Cook
Did I mention I’m only an alright cook? Putting together a recipe and tweaking it till it’s really good is just not my thing. I have no desire to make 10 batches of cookies to find out if a quarter cup of flour makes a difference or not.
I See Recipes but I want Info that is Independent of the Creator
Of course, the creator of the recipe is going to think its good. They made it after all. I am always searching for reviews that help me understand ahead of time what is going to be involved in creating this recipe. Recipe cards and most food bloggers are really good at including prep time, cook time, and of course ingredients. But that just isn’t enough. Yes, I can skim the recipe but as a busy mom, I wish more recipes were sorted based on the criteria I will be looking for.
Plus, a lot of places claim to have kid-friendly recipes but I feel very few are family friendly. No offense, but I’m looking for a little more than pizza, hamburger, bunny shaped sandwiches, or mac and cheese for dinner. Not that there is anything wrong with those and we enjoy them from time to time.
Recipe Reviews Aren’t just for Critics
It’s inevitable that if you watch a movie about a chef there always has to be a food critic. However, honestly, the most difficult to please palates are often young children. They don’t like things that taste funny and they don’t like things that feel funny in their mouths. That’s why part of this process is to see how the kids like it.
If all goes well you have a MomLife 5 star recipe on your hands.
I wanted to create these recipe reviews for families as a resource I am always looking for but haven’t found. As you browse through recipes you can use the tags to find fast and easy meals, pantry-friendly meals, kid friendly meals, and many more. With this collection, any mom can find a meal to have on the table for dinner every night. Even if that dinner is actually breakfast.