When did it suddenly get ridiculously hard (and vitally important) to deal with cooking, grocery shopping, and planning weekly menus? Oh, yeah, probably when I woke up and realized I had two kids. In the blink of an eye the kitchen went from my happy place to a place I needed a Xanax just to enter. Rather than check myself into Bellevue or at the very least, call Domino’s, I found a few awesome meal-planning apps and regained control of dinnertime. If you’re anything like me (i.e. tired of wandering through the grocery store like a drone), you might want to check ‘em out, too.
All Recipes Dinner Spinner
Tired of that same old mac n’ cheese recipe you’ve been making since college? This $2.99 app is like roulette and a cookbook wrapped into one. Mix and match courses, ingredients, and cooking times, then shake your phone and the slot-machine-style interface compiles a list of yummy recipe ideas (plus an easy way to add to your grocery list). More info
Suck at organizing? Make it super-easy on yourself with this free app that groups your shopping list by aisle, and offers personalized recipe and ingredient suggestions. The calendar feature lets you assign recipes and ingredients to different days, and even get a reminder of when to make it. You can create specific shopping lists for various groups of people or meals, and add items to your list via barcode scanner or voice activation. Oh, it’s also psychic, and will suggest grocery items it thinks you might need. Yes, please! More info
Dazzled by celeb chefs? Have fun choosing between your favorite food network stars and see what they’ve got on the burner—or choose by ingredient. Plus, this free app has lots of helpful add-ons like measurement converters, cooking timers, and instructional videos. Sounds good? Add the menu to your shopping list, and turn your kitchen into Giada’s in the blink of an eye. More info
Don’t waste your time wondering what to cook, for a monthly or annual fee this service generates weekly menus (from paleo to vegetarian, or otherwise), complete with grocery lists, cooking instructions, and quick how-to videos. And listen up Moms, this app has specialized tips for getting picky eaters excited about dinner (and helping), with charts and infographics that you’ll practically want to print out and frame. More info
Epicurious’s free app will seduce reluctant cooks by allowing you to structure meals not only by ingredient or course, but by season or occasion. Live in North Carolina? With one click you’ll discover what’s in season in your area, and try making sautéed collard greens with recipes from Bon Appetit, Gourmet Magazine, and Self (to name a few). More info