7 Cooking Apps for Recipe Challenged Moms

Heather Chaet

great food apps for momsI am not a great cook. Well, let's rephrase: I don't know if I am a great cook or not, because I don't know how to cook. I have grand illusions of learning how to cook, not necessarily working my way through Julia Child's cookbook a la Julie & Julia, but I am seriously figuring out how to get better in the kitchen. I am a modern mom, totally gadget-ed out with an iPod and iPad. I have apps that help me find the nearest Starbucks or tell me if I need an umbrella ... there's bound to be an app to teach me how to be a better cook, right?

You bet your blender there is -- I've got the top apps for those of us moms who are a tad cooking-challenged.

The Photo Cookbook -- Whenever I am cooking, I always stare at what's in my bowl or pot and wonder, "Is this what it is supposed to look like?" The Photo Cookbook app answers that question -- it has 80 recipes, and for each one, it has a photo with what you should see in front of you. Not just a pic of the finished dish, but one for each step of the way. The other nice thing: each recipe only takes 30 minutes max. Nice for time-crunched moms, not just the cooking newbies. It's $4.99.

Real Simple’s No Time to Cook? -- I love Real Simple magazine and this app doesn't disappoint. With 850 recipes that are, as you might guess, real simple, it also offers how-to videos. All of the recipes are made in 40 minutes or less, and you can search by how long you have to cook, by ingredient, or by preparation. They even have a "no-cook" meals option -- sounds right up this non-cook's alley. It's also $4.99.

Jamie Oliver's 20-Minute Meals -- I adore Jamie Oliver, not just his accent, but his no-frills approach to yummy food. This app gives you 60 of his recipes with super-easy, step-by-step instructions. This app is loaded with hints and how-tos for basic cooking skills and kitchen essential info, featuring the lovable Jamie himself walking you through it. It's a bit more, $7.99.

Whole Foods Market Recipes -- Sometimes, half of the battle for me is knowing what to do with the ingredients I have in the cupboard. This app features the "On Hand" search, where you key in what you have on hand and it tells you what you can make. With tons of options when searching for gluten-free, nut-free, or many other specific diet need recipes, it's awesome for moms cooking for kiddos with allergies. And it's free!

AllRecipes.com Dinner Spinner -- This app has what seems like a gazillion recipes, all from its website. The nice thing about this one is it takes the guesswork (and second-guessing) out of your meal planning, something that gets me every time I even think about what to try to cook for dinner. You key in the main ingredient and how long you want to spend cooking it and -- voila! -- some great recipe choices to select from. Only $2.99 from the Apple store.

BigOven -- This free app (yes, free!) is one of the most downloaded cooking apps. With more than 170,000 recipes, you can narrow your search for recipes by ingredient or keyword, and it creates a shopping list for you, all handy-dandy on your iPod! It also has a cool "Leftover Wizard," which can tell you how to use your leftovers to make something different the next night. You can download it from Apple.com.

Fooducate -- Okay, sometimes you're going to feel like making something from scratch and you find yourself in the grocery store. How to pick something that is good for your family? With the Fooducate app, you scan the bar code of the product, and how it ranks in terms of nutrition and all of that other stuff pops up. If it really isn't so great health-wise, it will give you options as to what would be a better choice.

What is your favorite cooking app?


Image via Apple

Read More