10 Ways to Simplify Making Dinner Using Your Smartphone or Tablet

Woman cooking with tablet

No matter how many differences moms have, there's one commonality among us: We don't always have time to dedicate to all the planning, shopping, and cooking it takes to make dinner every night. Sure, who wouldn't love to spend hours perfecting a meal that's worthy of a thousand Instagram likes? Well, thanks to some help from modern technology, we can dream about those savory dishes and make them too.


Here are 10 ways to use your smartphone or tablet (and some of our favorite apps!) to make the daily chore of feeding a family a little bit simpler.

On your mark. Get set. Cook!

1. Meal planning is everything. Or it can be! Meal planning will make your life sooo much simpler -- so long as you remember to do it! Luckily, we have phones and devices that are "smart" and can take care of all those menial tasks. Spoonacular is a digital meal planner that can turn the chaos known as your mommy thoughts into super-delicious dinners for your family. You can organize your recipes and schedule ahead.

2. Create Pinterest boards. Ah, yes, the place of all things pretty. Having Pinterest boards dedicated to quick meals and easy-prep dishes can be a saving grace. Nowadays, a good number of food pins come with the recipes, which will cut down on time spent visiting each site and jotting them down.

3. Save away on Facebook. Hopefully you're following delectable Facebook pages like Tasty, which not only provide amazing recipe ideas but also break down the instructions in a quick video. To save a video to use later, simply click the drop-down arrow to the right of the video and select "Save Video." This way, you're able to find it in the "Saved" tab under "Favorites" (on the left sidebar of the homepage) when you're ready to cook.

4. Bookmark those freezer meals. Face it, some days are busier than others. Bookmark those freezer meal ideas for days when you're able to make a few dinners for nights ahead that are full of nothing but chaos. Your future self will thank you. Some moms use their smart devices to create alarms or reminders for when they need to thaw out a freezer meal. 

More from The Stir: 8 Tips for Freezer Meals Your Family Will Love

5. Clip recipes and catalog them. Evernote is so awesome for so many reasons. Rather than write all the recipes you come across on paper, use Evernote's "Clip it" button, both in your Internet browser and Evernote app. It's easy to use, allows you to place your finds in notebooks (you can create "What to eat this week," as an example), and make tags -- like dinner, beef, slow-cooking, healthy, and whatever else comes to mind. This way, if you're at the store trying to think of what to make with the chicken you're about to buy, you can open your Evernote app and look at all of your recipes under the "chicken" tab and pick up any other needed ingredients.

6. Sort your grocery list and pantry needs. There are tons of apps that create grocery lists, but Out of Milk might prove to make your life a little easier and shopping more efficient. Rather than spend time trying to itemize your needs (you know, what you need from the dairy aisle, or the produce section) -- or making some super-long list that requires you to dash through the aisles like you're on a timed game show -- you can type in your needs and let the app categorize them for you. You also have the ability to mark any coupons you have (hopefully you'll remember to bring them).

7. Use what's in your fridge. Sometimes, you don't have time to wander the aisles of a grocery store waiting for inspiration. Your kids are hungry ... right now. Apps like Empty Fridge empower you to take what you already have in your refrigerator and turn it into a culinary masterpiece just in time for dinner.

More from The Stir: 6 Kid-Friendly Family Dinners for Under $5

8. Get help with cooking math. How many fluid ounces are in a liter? Stop bogging your brain with so much math -- and save it for homework time! You, Mom, need a cooking measurement app that will help you quickly convert recipes and deal with those pesky fractions.

9. Download a kitchen timer. No, seriously. No parent wants to cook up a meal and put it in the oven, only to forget about said meal and have it burn while you're helping your kids with homework in the family room. Yeah, having a kitchen timer app on your smartphone or tablet might not be a bad idea.

10. Keep the pizza place on speed dial. Look, it's really great you want to prepare some amazing spread of food, but let's get real: You don't need to feel like a failure if it doesn't happen. That's why pizza companies created their own super-efficient apps. Sometimes parents need to have access to instant food that can get to their homes with the click of a button -- and in 30 minutes or less. 


Image via Syda Productions/Shutterstock

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