No longer. Having looked at recipe after recipe in my classes, it has become second nature to really see what the recipe is asking for. Most of them have components, which, when placed together, create a symphony of flavors that blaze your feasting senses.
When it comes down to choosing the recipe to make for dinner, I generally stick to a few rules. First off, the length of the ingredients list can make or break your meal. I know after a full day of classes, the last thing I want to do is to get out a bunch of ingredients from my fridge and pantry and take maybe a tablespoon or less of each and have to put it all back. Obnoxious. Who says you need innumerable ingredients to make a dish superb? No one, I say! Therefore, when it comes down to the ingredient list, try to stick with recipes that have 10 or less ingredients per component. It will absolutely save you from several headaches down the line. The component distinction is also crucial, which brings me to my second rule:
Components are separate items that can be combined together to complete a dish. I don't usually include garnishes as a component because, really, in most recipes they can be omitted without any discernible loss of quality in the dish. Components can include creating your own marinara sauce (one component), to use with chicken parmesan (which is another component). If you choose to have a vegetable with that dish (and you should!) it would be another component. For this completed dish, you have three main components that go into preparing it. My second rule involves using less than 4 components per completed dish. Is this really important? you ask. It depends. If you're brave enough to handle more than 4, I applaud you. I, on the other hand, am not. Or, at least, I wasn't before I went to culinary school. It's just a lot to take on for one meal, especially after we have been working all day, no?
Final rule is: if it doesn't have a photo, RUN AWAY! Ok, so maybe that's a little overkill, but think about it. You have to have a measuring stick so that your completed meal doesn't look a mess. Its nice to have a guideline, ESPECIALLY if it's your first time making it.
So, as usual, this is where I place my suggestion for your next meal. Trust me when I say that I would not put this up if I didn't think it fell in the "do-able" category. Capiche? I also never put up a recipe that I haven't tried myself. Ok. Now get cooking!