Cooking is one of my very favorite things to do when I have a bit of free time. I find it incredibly relaxing, and if done right, it often results in me eating untold quantities of cookies. Delicious cookies. Sadly, free time is like unobtanium around here (topical!), which is why you will often see plaintive tweets from me at 1 in the morning as I wait for bread dough to rise, bemoaning the fact that I neglected to start the whole process earlier.
My poor planning skills are only exacerbated by the fact that both my husband and I work full time, so our dinners are often slapdash and totally thrown together. Lately, we’ve been feeling that perhaps we should put in a bit more effort on Sunday, and truly organize ourselves, mealwise, for the week. You know, so we could have actual, proper meals and our children could remember that food comes in non-nugget and tot form.
I was recently contacted by Kraft Foods to review their iPhone app, iFood Assistant 2.0, which retails for 99 cents,* and puts 7,000 recipes at your fingertips. I was all, “YES PLEASE WHERE DO I SIGN UP.”
I downloaded the app, and immediately put it to work.
One of my Actual, Proper Responsible Meal Planning strategies had been to cook up a big ol’ vat of soup on Sunday which we could eat throughout the week and/or freeze, so obviously I headed to the “Soups” section, because I am a winner, and also very smart. Time being the commodity that it is around here, I was also interested in the “Prep in 30 minutes or less” category. It was there that I found the Tomato Broccoli Soup, which could not have been easier, and tasted great. (It contains Good Seasons dressing mix, which, along with onion soup mix, are my secret ingredients in a bazillion of my recipes.)
Another great feature that I LOVED was the “What’s On Hand” section, where you plug in up to three ingredients you’d like to cook with (the predictive input there is a plus) and it searches the database for recipes you can make with those items. It was through this feature that I discovered Hot & Spicy Brittle recipe, which we’ve concluded must contain trace amounts of crack, such is its addictive deliciousness.
In terms of navigation, the layout of the app is very straightforward, and easy to follow. One area for improvement, however, would be to -- after clicking on a recipe, and then hitting the “back” arrow -- have your spot on the page be “anchored,” rather than sending you back up to the top of the page. Not a big issue, but it would be a nice enhancement.
In all, I highly recommend the purchase of this app; for 99 cents, you get a highly searchable database of 7,000 recipes, a whole mess o’ features I haven’t even mentioned here. (oh, fine: a few more—a Shopping List section where you can add items by aisle, recipe, or even store locator! WE ARE IN THE FUTURE, people. You can even email the shopping list to yourself.) It’s precisely the type of app I’d have downloaded on my own, which, to me, is always a good litmus test as to whether or not I’d endorse a product.
And! Two lucky readers can try this app out, as I’m running a little contest. Seeing as I’m trying to be better about cooking real dinners lately, simply enter by giving me your best go-to, easy, peasy recipe. (You can either leave a link to it in the comments, or cut and paste it there. I’m not picky!)
I will select two winners at random. The first winner will get a $50 American Express gift card, and the second will get a $25 iTunes gift card.
The contest will end Wednesday January 27, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.
Good luck! I can’t wait to see your recipes!
*I have been compensated by Kraft Foods to cover the cost of groceries to try out recipes featured on iFood Assistant 2.0, downloading the app and conducting reader giveaways. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive sentiments towards iFood Assistant or other Kraft Foods mobile offerings.