Chicken Teriyaki Recipes

Search Tips: Finding the perfect recipe

Part of our Getting Started with BigOven blog series

One important job we have here at BigOven is putting you in touch with just the right recipe, as quickly and conveniently as possible.  At this writing, there are over 350,000 public recipes in the archive, with hundreds of thousands more stored privately*, and hundreds more being added every day.  So how do you make sure you’re finding the best one?

You'll find the search box at the top of every BigOven.com page.

You’ll find the search box at the top of every BigOven.com page.

The short answer is that you can use BigOven like a Google for recipes:  simply look at the top of any page on www.bigoven.com, type your search term and press return, and you’ve generally got the recipe you’re looking for on the first page.  But it goes way beyond Google, since the recipe results are actionable and mobile — you can build up your own collection, store them in folders*, make grocery lists, menu plans and much more.

But it can also help to know the nitty-gritty of how BigOven recipe search and sorting works.  So I wanted to take a moment to explain that, and provide a few tips to help you locate the right recipes straightaway.

Search Tips

  • BigOven’s default search is a title search.  That is, BigOven first looks in the recipe’s title for the search keywords you enter.  In the image above, I’ve entered “chicken teriyaki”, and the keyword(s) I entered are echoed back to me at the top of the search results page (marker 1 in the image above.)
  • If you go to BigOven and type “chicken teriyaki”, it will first display a list of all the recipes that have some form of the word “teriyaki” and “chicken” in the recipe title.  This restriction is by design.  With an October 2014 update, the keywords you enter no longer need to be a precise match — for instance, a search for “stir fries” will show recipes for “chicken stir fry” in the title.
  • Our usability tests indicate that the vast majority of times, people enter (parts of) recipe titles into the search boxes, so defaulting to title-based search often yields great results right away.  But there are some searches (for instance, an ingredient or technique-based search (“oranges peanuts beef”), or an appliance/technique search (“slow cooker chicken”).  For these types of searches, be sure to click the “Broaden Search” button (marker 3) before evaluating the results.
  • The search results page will show you the number of recipes found (2) and tell you the default sort order, as well as the number of recipes in each course (main dish, appetizers, etc.) (5).
  • Noise words like “the”, “for”, “recipe”, “is”, and “dish” will be ignored.
  • You can broaden the search by clicking the “Broaden search” button (3) that lives at the top of the search results.  This will execute another search, examining the entire recipe, including instructions, title, ingredients, and more.  On that “broad search” page, you’re also offered the one-click “narrow search” option, to go back to a title-based search, so you can toggle back and forth between them.
  • Power-user tip:  You may notice that there are regular, predictable URLs that are generated for “title” search and “anywhere” search.  A search for chicken teriyaki recipes by title looks like this:  http://www.bigoven.com/recipes/chicken%20teriyaki/title.  A search for recipes with the words “chicken” or “teriyaki” anywhere in the recipe document looks like this:  http://www.bigoven.com/recipes/chicken%20teriyaki/best.
  • You can search for a particular cook’s recipes by including their username in the search, but you must click that “broaden the search” button to see them.  (And you will not see the recipes they post privately, unless you’re signed in as them.)

What about sort order?  You might think a great way to sort is simply to sort them by average rating, highest-first. In our usability tests, we find that many people, particularly those brand-new to BigOven, expect this sort order, so we’ve made it one click away (3).

However, we don’t think average-rating-descending is the best sort order for most situations.

Why not?  Well, let’s say you’re looking for Apple Pie. For one thing, we think you’d first want your Apple Pie (the one your grandmother used to make) first on your list, regardless of what the star rating is, followed by all other Apple Pies.  And then, we don’t think that an Apple Pie recipe that has, let’s say — just a single 5-star rating from one cook — deserves to sort higher than a recipe that averages 4.98/5 from 6,000+ cooks.

  • So instead, BigOven uses a sophisticated sort-ordering system to try to present you the best and most relevant recipes for your query first.  Among other things, BigOven will always first show you the recipes that you’ve added which meet your search terms first in any search result.  So, if you’ve added a recipe for grilled chicken, your grilled chicken will sort above all other recipes.  We also take into account the average review, the number of people giving it high marks, the presence of a photo, how many people want to try it, our editorial assessment of photo quality, the relevance to your keywords, and more.  These rankings are changing all the time, which over time helps bring the cream to the top.
  • You can change the default sort order, and refine your search further by clicking the “Refine or Sort” button (4) on the right hand side of the page.  Doing this will open up an advanced search filter — just enter the terms you want to apply and press Update:Refine your recipe search

Looking for a recipe that you’ve added, or marked “Try”, saved to a Folder*, or made before?  Rather than searching, you might want to head over to your “My Recipes” area, found by clicking the open book in the toolbar:

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 9.27.03 AM

This is often the quickest way to find a recipe you’ve added, marked favorite, try soon, or made.  On any of those sections, just click the appropriate folder and then start typing a keyword from the recipe title, as you’ll see in the brief video below:

Did you mean “Chicken Teriyaki”?

BigOven now offers suggestions for simple typos.  For instance, if you type in “chicken terriyaki” [sic], BigOven.com will suggest the correct spelling, and give you a handy link to the corrected search term:

It's not "chicken terriyaki", it's "chicken teriyaki"

It’s not “chicken terriyaki”, it’s “chicken teriyaki”

To our friends abroad — we use the generally accepted American spelling.  (Sorry mates, we had to agree on a convention, and that’s where 70%+ of our cooks are… :-))

Learn More about Ingredients and Techniques at Bottom of Page

You’ll also find links to helpful articles at the bottom of the search page — so, for instance, your chicken teriyaki search includes links to articles on chicken (storage tips, freshness tips, what the various USDA Grades of chicken mean, etc.), as well as teriyaki sauce:

teriyaki-learn-more

Bonus: Look for Related Cooking Tip at the Page Footer

We love learning and sharing cooking tips.

At the bottom of your search, you may find a tip related to ingredients in your search.  In the case of our search for “chicken teriyaki,” BigOven shares the following tip about chicken:

“Tip: For crispy chicken skin, sprinkle salt over the chicken the day before you plan on cooking it. Leave the chicken uncovered on a plate in the fridge so the air and salt can draw out excess water.”

There you have it!  A few explanatory bits about how BigOven recipe search works.  Questions or comments?  Leave them in the reply area, below.  Happy cooking!

*Private recipes and recipe folders are a feature of BigOven Pro membership, which removes all ads and unlocks special features.

 

Carve a perfect pumpkin with these tips

Tips to Carve a Perfect Pumpkin

We held a small pumpkin-carving at the office last week, and had a lot of fun making halloween creations.  Here are some tips we used to get the best effect:

What You’ll Need

  1. Pumpkin-carving tools: poking tool (such as a thumbtack or scalpel), a few sturdy pumpkin saws.  We like wooden pumpkin-carving tools rather than the plastic ones.
  2. A sturdy table
  3. Kitchen knives — particularly ones
  4. Newspaper or a plastic tablecloth
  5. Large bowls
  6. Tape
  7. Strainer
  8. A printer and paper (if you’re using a stencil.)
  9. A few tablespoons all-purpose flour

Carve a Perfect Pumpkin

Spread out the newspaper or protective tablecloth on your workspace.  Cut the top off the pumpkin in a small circle around the top.  Grab the stem, and carefully remove it.

Using a large spoon or pumpkin scooping tool, remove all the seeds and place in a strainer.  Try to separate the seeds from the sinew and pulp.  (Keep the seeds!  They make terrific roasted pumpkin seeds or pumpkin seed brittle.)

Once the skin is removed, find a stencil or template.  You can find a lot of great stencils online with a quick Google Images Search for pumpkin stencils.  Find the ones you want and print them out. Cut the excess off from around the pattern, and tape the stencil onto your pumpkin.

Now, perforate the pumpkin all along the stencil, along the key lines where you’ll cut.

Once that’s done, carefully remove the stencil (you’ll want it as a reference, so don’t let it tear).  To make your perforation holes much easier to see, take a small amount of all-purpose flour in your hand and rub it over where the holes are.  You’ll see them turn white.

Cut along these white holes with your pumpkin saw, and one-by-one, punch them in.

Tip:  Do the smallest, most delicate cuts first, and save the structurally-supported cuts for last. In this way, you’ll have more structural support for the smallest elements.

When done, clean up your workspace and place a small tea candle in your jack-o-lantern.  Enjoy your Halloween creation!

Organize your recipes in the cloud and on your iPhone, iPad, Android or Windows Phone!

Adding Recipes: How to Get All Your Recipes Organized in the Cloud, on your Phone and iPad (Tutorial)

Part of our Getting Started with BigOven blog series

Few things are more frustrating for the home cook than the “I know that recipe is somewhere around here” feeling. Getting your recipes organized in one searchable location in the cloud gives you the power to find just what to make, whether you’re at the grocery store looking for inspiration,  planning the week’s meals, or at the kitchen counter needing a quick reminder about a particular recipe’s steps.

BigOven was built from the ground-up to be the best recipe organizer for home cooks. And it all begins with building up your personal recipe collection.

You can have fun with BigOven without adding a single recipe of your own — you can simply browse through BigOven’s 350,000+ recipes (we’d recommend you start with the Seasonal Recipe Collections, a hand-picked set of recipes from our editors) and click the paperclip icon on recipes you’d like to Try.

But every home cook has their own library of family favorites; you can add your own recipes in one of five easy ways, and we strongly encourage you to get your favorites online!

Take these Simple Steps to Organize Your Recipes

1)  First, Join BigOven:  Visit http://www.bigoven.com and click “Join”.  Basic membership is free; Pro membership unlocks full recipe organizing features, removes all ads and costs just $1.99/month or $19.99/year.  You only need one account, and Pro membership is unlocked across all your points of service.  (The mobile apps are available for Android, Android Tablet, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Windows Phone, Kindle Fire and NOOK, and are all free.)

2) Add your recipes:  Click “+ Add Recipe” to bring up the 4 handy ways to add recipes:

2014-10-27_9-39-47

Adding Recipes to BigOven

You can add recipes in one of five easy ways: by (a) typing them into the form, (b) copying and pasting from Word or text recipes, (c) clipping them from one of dozens of food websites,  (d) letting BigOven transcribe a photograph of a written recipe, or (e) importing from an existing recipe software program.

Add recipes to the cloud in  one of 4 easy ways

Add recipes to the cloud in one of 4 easy ways

Let’s look at each of these in turn:

a) Type Recipes into BigOven

The most straightforward way to add recipes is to simply type the recipe into the Add Recipe form, located at http://www.bigoven.com/recipe/post.

b) Copy and Paste from Word or a Text Document

If you’ve already got recipes in digital format, you’ll probably find our “Copy and Paste Import” option the easiest method.  To use this method:

  • Go to the source material, select the area of text (the entire source recipe) using the mouse and press ctrl-c (on Windows) or command-C (Mac), or choose “Edit” then “Copy” from the menu, to copy the full recipe text to the clipboard.
  • Visit Copy and Paste Import at http://www.bigoven.com/recipe/quickimport
  • Highlight the Step 1 box and press ctrl-v (on Windows) or command-v (Mac) to paste in the recipe text.
  • Highlight just the recipe title in the textbox and press the “Title =>” button
  • Highlight just the recipe ingredients block and press the “Ingredients=>” button
  • Repeat the above process for all the key elements of the recipe — Title, Ingredients, Summary, Source URL, etc.
  • When done, press “Save”

This method will save a lot of retyping, and recipes can generally be entered in about a minute using this method.  To try it out, visit Copy and Paste Recipe Import at http://www.bigoven.com/recipe/quickimport

c) Clip from Food Websites

BigOven’s Recipe Clipper lets you import recipes from dozens of popular cooking websites by clicking a button on your toolbar.  It’s free.

  • Get the Recipe Clipper and drag it onto your “Favorites” toolbar in IE, Chrome or Firefox
  • Visit the the website(s) with the recipes you’d like to clip
  • When you see a recipe detail page of one you’d like to remember, click the “Add to BigOven” button.
  • Review the ready-to-save information on the Recipe Add screen (you’ll be asked to categorize the recipe for later use) and click “Save” at the bottom of the page.

d) Snap a photo and let BigOven transcribe it for you

Do you have recipes in handwritten form, or magazine or newspaper clippings in a notebook, and want to let someone else do the data-entry?

You might find it easiest to pay BigOven to transcribe them for you.  Simply get out your smartphone, tablet, digital camera or scanner and snap photos of the recipes, and upload them to BigOven’s RecipeScan service.  On the web, you can visit BigOven’s RecipeScan transcription service, or, if you have one of the free BigOven recipe apps, click “Add Recipe > Import via RecipeScan” and upload it that way.

As a free member, you’re given 3 RecipeScan credits to try.  RecipeScan credits can be purchased for just $0.59 apiece if purchased in volume (100 RecipeScan credits), or $0.99 apiece in lower volume.

e)  Bulk upload recipes from desktop software (advanced)

Do you have recipes in Mastercook (MX2) or Mealmaster (MMF) format?  You might be able to use BigOven for Windows to import them locally into BigOven for Windows and then use the Cloud Uploader tool to upload them to your account.  (BigOven Pro membership required.)  To do this, download the free BigOven for Windows desktop recipe software, and then use File > Import to import recipes from MXP, MX2 or MMF format into a new BigOven recipe box.  From there, you can post the recipes (one by one) to BigOven.com, or use the free BigOven Cloud Upload tool to upload your .CRB recipe box to BigOven.  Note that if you have recipes in Mastercook binary (.MC2 or .MC) format, you’ll first need to load Mastercook and select the recipes you’d like to export, and export them to MMF or MX2 format.

Great!  Now you’ve got your recipes online.  Now what?

Once you’ve entered your recipes into BigOven, your life as a home cook is made much easier!

Just sign in to any web browser with your login, and your “My Recipes” dashboard will be right there for you.  You should also take a minute to download the FREE BigOven recipe app for your mobile platform(s) at http://www.bigoven.com/mobile or Google Play, the Apple App Store, the Amazon Marketplace, or Windows Phone Marketplace.

Consider these examples:

  • When you’re out at the grocery store, look for what’s on sale, or what’s freshest, and then search your library for recipes featuring that ingredient.  Click the grocery cart button, and BigOven will make you a list of the ingredients you need to make that recipe.
  • Recipes you’ve added will always sort to the top of your searches, whenever you’re signed in.  That is, if you’ve added your Apple Pie, that recipe will sort to the top when you search for “Apple Pie”, ahead of all other matching recipes.
  • Share your recipes with friends and family by simply sharing the URL http://www.bigoven.com/myrecipes/{your-username}
  • Plan shopping trips in advance to save time and money.  On Sundays, whip out the BigOven Menu Planner on your tablet, phone, or web (http://www.bigoven.com/plan) and drag and drop recipes from your “My Recipes” area to the calendar.  Then just click the “Make a grocery list” button, highlight the days you’d like to add, and BigOven will generate a ready-to-go grocery list for you!
Plan your meals for the week, then make a grocery list!

Plan your meals for the week, then make a grocery list!

  • Eat healthier. BigOven generates nutritional facts for all your recipes.  You can tailor long-time family favorites to be more healthy if you’d like.  To see the nutrition facts (Pro membership required), simply visit the recipe detail and click “Nutrition”.  For instance, a nutrition heatmap for Artichoke Mushroom Risotto looks like this (below.)  It’s easy to see where the calories, protein and sodium come from!
  • Create a folder for each member of the household.  BigOven Pro membership unlocks the Recipe Folders feature, letting you organize recipes into folders.  These folders can be organized however you like — one useful trick is to create a folder containing the favorite recipes of each member of the household that you cook for.  Then, it’s easy to make them something special when it’s just the two of you!
Nutrition for Artichoke Mushroom Risotto

Nutrition for Artichoke Mushroom Risotto

  • Take your recipes with you, wherever you go.  As long as you have a smartphone, tablet, or access to the web, your recipes are right there with you:  at the grocery store, at a friend’s house, at relatives while visiting, on summer vacation… wherever you want them, whenever you want them.

Get recipes organized as a gift for someone else!

Thinking this might be a good gift for a cook you know?  Go ahead and create an account on their behalf (using your own email address), enter the recipes, then, when the gift-giving time approaches, simply contact BigOven’s support desk, and we’ll be happy to help you transfer ownership of that account to someone else. It makes a great holiday gift: your recipient will save time, save money, and have more fun in the kitchen.

Share the fun - invite a cook you know to BigOven

Give and Get Free BigOven Pro Membership

Invite a friend to join BigOven and you both get BigOven Pro Membership free for 30 days! Learn more about BigOven Pro.

With your help, we’ve grown to over 2.5 million members and 11+ million downloads.  We’d like to thank you when you spread the word.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Visit http://www.bigoven.com/invite for your custom invite link. 
  2. Share your invite link with friends via email, Facebook or Twitter!
  3. When your friends join via that link, they 30 days of Pro membership free, without entering any payment information. And you’ll get 30 days of free Pro membership. If you’re already a Pro member, we’ll add 30 days of free Pro membership to your account. Some restrictions may apply. See below.

Ready?  Visit www.bigoven.com/invite and invite friends!

Restrictions

  • You can earn up to three months of free Pro membership for inviting friends.
  • After you upgrade, you may need to sign out and sign back in to enjoy your new Pro membership.
  • Invite-a-Friend sign up is available on the www.bigoven.com website or in your mobile web browser.
  • For technical reasons, we are unable to offer free-month Pro extensions to Google Play recurring submissions at this time; instead, those Pro members are awarded 5 RecipeScan credits for each new signup, for up to 15 free RecipeScan credits.

New look for BigOven.com

New Recipe Tiles

Today we released some improvements to the way recipes are displayed on BigOven.com. Our goals were to simplify and beautify the interface, deliver tablet-friendly improvements, and make it easier to create a “Try” list for perusal later.

Do a search on BigOven, or visit your own personal “My Recipes” area, and you’ll see a tile that looks like this:

New recipe tile

 

1.  The drag handle, present in your “My Recipes” view, lets you drag and drop the recipe to one of your recipe folders. Your “My Recipes” area can be found by clicking on the My Recipes icon, which looks like a cookbook:

my-recipes-icon

The “X” in the upper right of the tile, also present in your “My Recipes” view, means “remove this recipe from the current folder”.  If you’re on your “My Recipes” area, click this icon, and it’ll be removed from the list.

2.  The Try icon (the paperclip) means “I’d like to try this recipe“.  It’s a toggle-state — click it once for ON (red) and click it again for off (grey).

to-try-icon

BigOven keeps track of your “Try” recipes.  This way, you’ll always have a ready-list of recipes to get you unstuck for dinner.  On the web, you can see your Try recipes on your “My Recipes” page, at www.bigoven.com/myrecipes.  These “Try” recipes are kept permanently for you (long ago, they used to expire, but do to your overwhelming requests, these “Recipes to Try” never expire.)

Key time-saving tip: BigOven stores stuff for you in the cloud.  Why?  Because the list of recipes you mark Favorite, and Try, and your menu planner and grocery list all sync with the free BigOven recipe and grocery list apps.  So you can be at work and browse the web, mark a few recipes to “Try”, and then simply open the BigOven app on your iPhone when at the grocery store, and those recipes are right there for you, ready to make into a grocery list with whatever is freshest.

3.  The third row of the new recipe tile gives you handy access to Favoriting a recipe, adding a recipe to your Grocery List, and adding it to your Menu Planner.

FAQ:  About BigOven’s Favorites and Try List

New Collection Tiles

We’ve also released a new way to view Recipe Collections.  Collections are hand-picked, seasonal, “Best of BigOven” recipes organized around a theme.  You’ll find these in the “Get Ideas” section of the site.

recipe-collection-quick-and-easy-weeknight-meals

 

We hope you enjoy these new improvements.  We usability test BigOven all the time, and incorporate your feedback, and these tests, in our new designs.

Our goal is to make BigOven the most-used, best-loved app for home cooks.  How are we doing?  If you like it — tell a friend about BigOven, and get easy access to their favorite recipes, too! Happy cooking.

A new way to get around the site quickly and easily

BigOven has updated its navigation to provide a better user experience. We have incorporated clean, crisp icons so you can quickly and easily get to where you want to go.
Easy new navigation options

BigOven’s easy new navigation options

The simplified navigation showcases the top features you’ve come to love from BigOven:
Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 9.28.22 AM Get Ideas:  Find inspiration for your next meal.
Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 9.27.03 AM My Recipes:  Store all your recipes in one place.
Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 9.27.13 AM Grocery List:  Make your list and bring it to the store.
Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 9.27.42 AM Menu Planner:  Plan a week’s worth of meals.
Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 9.27.25 AM Use Up Leftovers:  Use up what’s in your fridge.

We are striving to make BigOven more usable, intuitive and accessible.  (You’ll see these new icons in future versions of the apps, too.)  Go ahead and give our navigation a try.

Love your BigOven app? Get early access…

BigOven is looking for cooks who’d like to be on the leading edge of new app releases via the BigOven Early Access program.  

We’re building a small list of users who get early access to our releases. We want to hear how they work for you and what could make them even better.  If you’re on this list, when we have new releases ready to go, you’ll get early access (free of course) and can provide us immediate feedback before we make a broader release to millions of cooks.  With an inside-track to development, you’ll have a chance to voice your opinions directly into the new product development process.  

BigOven Mobile Applications

BigOven Mobile Applications

If you use the BigOven apps regularly and want to participate, please request early access:

Request early access to BigOven apps.

We’re interested in iOS and Android users.

Who is ‘early access’ best suited to?

  • If you use one or more of the BigOven apps regularly and rely upon them for your kitchen organizing, and have a little time to spare to help us improve via quick feedback
  • If you use BigOven but regularly wish to give feedback on how they could work better for you
  • If you are comfortable with how BigOven mobile apps work

Making it easier to join in the cooking fun

Today we’ve released an important set of improvements to the website for brand-new users who do not yet have an account.  Prior to this change, if cooks wanted to try out the “Make a grocery list” or “Make a Menu Plan” feature, they’d have to create a free account.  Starting today, they can just click a button to start to explore, saving the account details later.  We call this project “Open House” and it’s designed to let new cooks explore the site without commitment.

For cooks who want to add recipes, make a grocery list or menu plan, simply visit www.bigoven.com and click the option you’d like.  Then, you can either choose to sign up free, or click “Join Later”.  “Join Later” will actually provision a temporary account for you to use, which lasts for 24 hours.  At any time, you can save your information and make it a full account simply by finishing the signup process (indicating your email address, choosing a username, and creating a password.)

try-it-out

We’ll be watching to see what this does to our join-rates and will have more to share in a few weeks’ time.  Thanks!

 

 

 

We’re Usability Testing All the Time

At BigOven, we’re big fans of usability testing.  Our current favorite provider is UserTesting.com, which lets us kick off various task-based tests, select a panel of users, and literally watch as they discover the site, or the apps, for the first time.  UserTesting.com lets us specify a set of tasks and observe what they do; what they think is useful and what is hard to discover.  We then take that feedback and incorporate it into our site and app updates.  (The user is paid for their time.)

As an example, watch as real-life home cook Jennifer discovers how to:

  • Find a recipe or two she’d like to make
  • Make a grocery list sorted by aisle
  • Share recipes with friends

We notice, for instance, that it’s currently not obvious to many cooks that the “Try Soon” list is populated with three recipes right from the start, so we’re going to try to make that clearer in the future.  We’ve also noticed that cooks aren’t as aware of the benefits of a hosted grocery list (one that fully syncs with the apps) as we think they could be – it’s a terrific time-saving tool.  We also see that the popular suggestion about combining like items on the grocery list comes up as well.

Thanks to these tests, plus your comments to us, site logs, support tickets, reviews in the app store, discussions on Facebook and annual surveys, we’re able to make continuous improvements to help make BigOven the most-used, most-loved app for home cooks.

Recipe tagging eliminated in favor of Recipe Folders

We have removed the ability to tag recipes with arbitrary keywords, in favor of Recipe Folders, which is a more powerful and customizable feature. 

Our data has shown that recipe tagging was a very little-used feature, and it added additional clutter to the recipe details page.  Significant editorial maintenance effort was necessary to keep the tags relevant to everyone (e.g., a tag with “Jim’s Favorites” has no meaning to most of us) — and free of spamming.  As a final consideration, major search engines like Google tend to mistake clumps of lots of links for keyword-stuffing – we don’t want to send any low-quality signals to Google when the pages are being indexed.

So, for all these reasons, we’ve removed arbitrary recipe tagging.  If you’re a recipe poster, you can still include keywords in written text in the description, heading or more, and a search anywhere will still find that recipe.  Pro members can make use of Recipe Folders to create personal collections and share those with friends and family.