How I rate each recipe.
Mental Cost (ingredient availability):
- Low: You should be able to find all of the ingredients at any regular grocery store.
- Medium: You should be able to find most of the ingredients at any regular grocery store; but one or two ingredients might require a pass through a special section that you particular store may or may not have (think “organic” or “ethnic”, for example).
- High: You will probably have to make a special trip to an ethnic market or health food store for a few ingredients.
Financial Cost (ingredient cost):
- Low: ingredients are common and cheap. (Think canned goods, basic produce, etc.)
- Medium: some of the ingredients are cheap, but a few items might be a little spendy (think saffron, out-of-season produce, etc.)
- High: many of the ingredients are gonna cost ya.
Emotional Cost (cooking skill level):
- Low: Pretty much anyone can make this recipe. (Skills required include being able to open cans, stir a pot, etc.)
- Medium: If you can navigate around your own kitchen with relative ease, you’re probably fine to make this recipe. (Skills required include being able to cut food into even pieces, sauté onions without burning them, etc.)
- High: It would help if you have been cooking for a long time, or have taken a cooking class or two. (Skills required include using being able to use special kitchen gear like a springform pan, work with difficult ingredients like phylo dough, manage multiple time-critical components at once, etc.)
Time Cost (recipe preparation):
- Low: Recipe can be done in 30 minutes from start to finish.
- Medium: Recipe requires at least 30 minutes of hands-on time (either in the prep, the execution, or a combination of the two).
- High: Recipe requires at least 60 minutes of hands-on time, or requires a lot of tending/babysitting.
Life Cost (clean up time/effort):
- Low: Super easy to clean up afterwards. (Prep was minimal, or the recipe was cooked in a single pan/pot, etc.)
- Medium: An average amount of clean-up is required. (A lot of containers were needed to hold various prep items, or a few different pots/pans were used during the cooking process, etc.)
- High: It takes almost as long to clean-up as it did to cook the meal. (A plethora of items needed to be used to make the recipe, or special items were required that must be hand-washed, etc.)
Worth It? (rate from 1-5):
- 5: The meal was delicious, the cooking time and effort was outstandingly minimal, and the recipe provides a solid financial return-on-investment.
- 4: One of the factors from the “5” scale is missing. (So, the food might be delicious, but is a pain in the tookus to make; or the food might be tasty and quick, but the ingredients cost a lot; etc.)
- 3: The food tastes just okay. Or, the food tastes great, but the recipe is a hassle. Or, the food is delish, and the recipe is easy enough, but the financial cost is prohibitive.
- 2: The food is nothing special, and the recipe is a hassle or the financial cost will put you in the poor house.
- 1: The food is not very good, and/or the recipe is annoying, and/or getting the ingredients just isn’t worth it. Seriously, why bother?