Figuring out what to cook every night can be a chore — but now it's one less thing to worry about. Why? Because we have it all figured out for you.
"What exactly is the Recipe SWAT Team?" you may ask. It sounds awfully competitive, and potentially violent. Well, it is competitive, but it's never gotten violent — at least, not yet (not even when we had Recipe SWAT Team: Lobster for which we got some free live lobster).
It's an Iron Chef-style themed recipe contest that we hold in-house every week for The Daily Meal staff. Originally conceived in the early days of The Daily Meal by Yasmin Fahr, the founding Cook editor, the vision for Recipe SWAT Team was to give the staff a new way to express their creativity each week and to inspire readers to cook along with us and experiment at home. (And perhaps, for us to "ride to the rescue" of home cooks in need of a bit of help.)
While it's a lot of fun, it is, indeed, a lot of work each week. Each week, we pick a star ingredient or theme, our editors decide what they're going to cook, and we make a shopping list. Once the groceries arrive, the competitors have just three days to take a pretty photo and write up a coherent recipe and intro. By Friday, the recipes are edited, posted to our site, and wrapped up neatly into a story. Whatever night they choose to make their recipe, you can be assured that our staff members are in the same boat you're in on a typical weeknight — pressed for time, tired, and most importantly, hungry. So these recipes are about as real as they get. Most of them are easy enough to execute on a busy weeknight and don't have weird ingredients, and all have been taste-tested by the trusty The Daily Meal staff.
The very first Recipe SWAT Team theme was (drumroll, please) — chicken, of course. (Did you really expect anything else?) Since then, there have been a few changes, most notable of course, the recent inclusion of the members of the Culinary Content Network on Facebook. The Culinary Content Network is a community of serious bloggers who love to cook and develop recipes. Every Friday, we announce the next week's theme ingredient on the Cook channel page, as well as on the Culinary Content Network Facebook group. Recipes are then submitted throughout the following week for inclusion in the Friday post. If you're a serious food blogger and develop your own original recipes, this would be a great opportunity for you to increase your exposure and really get your name out there — and the winner gets a cookbook!
As a tribute to the now long and storied history of Recipe SWAT Team, we've decided to start a collection of all the Recipe SWAT Teams — ever. So you can find your favorite one from the past and see what the latest and greatest is from our home kitchens. Be sure to check back each week as we add an oldie from the archives, as well as the week's latest creations.
Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.