Large food manufacturers maintain some of the best menu and recipe planning web sites on the internet. Loaded with ideas and information, you'll find abundant photos of the entire preparation process along with tips and suggestions to make your cooking better.

These sites promote the manufacturer's products, of course, and specialize in easy, fast cooking. Web site offerings serve up massive, free recipe databases. Easily searchable and updated regularly, harried cooks are presented with a treasure trove of resources.

Freebies include:

  • Sign up for a free, full-color glossy magazine sent to your home
  • Recipe Box to store your own recipes
  • Make your own Meal and Fitness Plan
  • Logs and journals for tracking exercise and weight loss
  • Food calculators for carbohydrates, calcium, body mass index

The parent company for many other brands, including Oscar Mayer, Minute Rice, and Jell-O, Kraft lists those brands here:

Each brand links to its own web site with recipes and cooking tips.

From here you can go to many of Campbell's other web sites, including Pepperidge Farms and Pace. Sign up for a daily recipe e-mail, get an on-line recipe box, lots of recipes with ratings by consumers (good AND bad). Categories include Homemade in 20 minutes and Favorite Family Meals.

Try out their own diet plan,"Soup for Life," a 1,200 calorie per day plan with 30 days of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, provided in a downloadable PDF file.

Click on the Hersheys Kitchen link. Find baking tips, recipes and recipe box, a grocery list builder, monthly recipe newsletter, games, crafts, sweepstakes. Need a quick, no-calorie chocolate fix? Check out the opening screen at their site.

Click on recipes. General Mills includes Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, and Bisquick. Find all their brands on this page:

From there you can click to each specific brand's web site.

The seasoning company. Click on recipes, message boards, a comprehensive spice encyclopedia, and "A Taste for Health," which includes low-sodium recipes.

The tunafish people! Lots of recipes and ways to eat tuna so you don't end up with the same old tuna sandwich. Try appetizers, wraps, salads, and pasta dishes. You can even download a Charlie the Tuna screensaver!

Lots of recipes in categories like "Rush Hour Recipes." Download Jolly Green Giant wallpaper!

You know them as the breakfast cereal company, but their web site boasts a wealth of recipes, such as Busy Day Meatloaf using Kellogg's® Stuffing Mix, and Cheese and Spinach Pie made with Special K cereal.

Features include a recipe box and a recipe club, and you can print 3x5 or 4x6 recipe cards.

Hormel makes a number of food brands, listed on their web site. Sign up for the weekly newsletter, "Your Personal Chef," packed with "fresh snack and meal solutions, tips and ideas and special offers."

Neat features:

  • Extensive recipe database
  • Articles on wine and making flavored butters
  • Printable Family Dinner Magic Weekly Meal & Activity Planner with icons you glue onto magnets

Get lots of information on Tyson chicken, beef, and pork products. Along with the usual recipe database, visit the Foodwise Learning Center for tips on food handling safety, buying meat, and meat cooking.

Tyson's provides "Five Days of Dinner," a weekly list of menus, each one with full-color photos, nutrition information, cooking instructions, and serving suggestions. Get it e-mailed to you or print in recipe card fashion.

With all of these great web sites, you may never need to buy another cook book again!