Using SuperCook to Save on Your Grocery Bill

Over the last week, SuperCook has quickly become one of my favorite websites. Basically, SuperCook is a database of recipes that works in a very clever fashion – just start entering ingredients in the upper left and it will start listing recipes on the right. Every time you add another ingredient, it finds recipes using only those ingredients and only a minimum of additional items. So, let’s say you add “tomato sauce,” “pasta,” and “pork” – it’ll suggest spaghetti with marinara sauce, which you’ll only need parmesan cheese for.

It’s not perfect yet (there’s some limited ingredient misidentification), but the potential for an amazing amount of utility is in place. I found a wonderful simple grilled fish recipe very quickly just playing around with the tool. Quite simply, this is a wonderful online tool for anyone who cooks at home.

Naturally, I began to look at this tool through the lens of how can it save money for me and my readers. Here are some ways you can apply this tool to save money in your own kitchen.

Dig through the cupboards. You likely have some stuff buried in the back that you haven’t thought about using in ages. Plug it into this tool, add a few other seemingly compatible things you have lying around, and see what recipes this tool gives you. Ideally, you’ll come up with a number of interesting recipes.

Sit down with your grocery flyer. Find out what foods are on sale this week, then use the tool to see what sort of recipes you can make from these items that are on sale. Fish fillets, lemon juice, and potatoes are on sale? Pop all of those into this tool and it’ll spit out some recipes. Just go through the whole flyer and enter everything that seems tasty and you’ll find a big bundle of complete and nearly-complete recipes just waiting to be used.

Buy in bulk. If you have an opportunity to buy food in bulk, this tool can be phenomenal for helping you generate a ton of ideas for what to do with it. We’re considering buying a quarter of a cow for our deep freezer, so we’ve been looking at lots of beef recipes. I entered “beef” into this tool and was flooded with ideas, so I started thinking of foods that, in my mind, would be tasty with beef. There are more ideas here than I can possibly use, and I’m further convinced that the purchase is a good idea that will save us some real money.

Inspire yourself. Often, the one thing that gets me into the kitchen after a long day at work is inspiration – the idea that I can quickly cook something quite delicious for my family. All I have to do for some inspiration is to put in a thing or two that sound really tasty to me right now – say, chicken and parmesan cheese, and see what I can find. Then I keep adding stuff I know I have around the kitchen until I find a recipe.

SuperCook has very quickly become a part of our family’s meal planning routine, and it’s already saved us quite a bit of money by helping us figure out what to do with what we already have in the cupboard in conjunction with what’s on sale at the grocery store. Check it out.

Trent Hamm
Trent Hamm
Founder of The Simple Dollar

Trent Hamm founded The Simple Dollar in 2006 after developing innovative financial strategies to get out of debt. Since then, he’s written three books (published by Simon & Schuster and Financial Times Press), contributed to Business Insider, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, and Lifehacker, and been featured in The New York Times, TIME, Forbes, The Guardian, and elsewhere.

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