About a month ago I started carving out a few hours every Sunday to prepare all my meals for the coming week. It’s quite the process, but I’m a busy bee, and it saves me enough time in the morning that I can spend a few more glorious minutes in bed, so is definitely worth it. It also means I’m eating healthier and saving money by not buying breakfast and lunch every day. More than that though, it has re-ignited my inner chef, and that’s where I’ve found that my smartphone comes in handy.
Here are four great ways a smartphone can help in the kitchen.
Use your smartphone to find great recipes
I’m always envious of those who can look in their fridge or pantry and come up with an amazing dish without following a recipe. I am not one of those people, so when it comes time to cook, I turn to my smartphone to find some easy and healthy recipes that also freeze well. There are quite possibly a trillion recipe apps out there, but my favourite is BigOven. This app allows you to search thousands of recipes, save your favourites or your own, create grocery shopping lists based on your recipe choices, and my personal favourite aspect–the “Use Up Leftovers” function. With it, you can enter up to three different ingredients, and based on those, BigOven will list options you can make.
Set multiple timers on your phone
Having a timer on your oven or microwave is great, but when happens when you are cooking multiple items at the same time? When I’m doing my meal prep I might have chicken baking in the oven, vegetables steaming in my steamer, and quinoa boiling away on the stove, so one timer just doesn’t cut it. However, with an app like Timer+, I can set as many timers as I want, and because it runs in the background, I can simultaneously use other apps, or surf the web for new recipes. Last week I had laundry in while I was cooking, so used the app to alert me to when my washing was done, which helped me avoid the whole I-left-my-wash-in-the-machine-too-long-so-a-neighbour-removed-it-for-me-and-left-it-in-a-wet-pile situation that can happen with communal laundry facilities.
Use an app for converting measurements
Math and I have never really gotten along, but as someone who frequently cooks for one, I find myself needing to halve recipes, or even cut them down by three quarters, but that involves fractions, so I typically end up destroying what would have otherwise been a good recipe. That’s where the KitchenCalculator app comes in exceptionally handy. Not only does it quickly scale your recipes for you, but it allows you to convert ingredients from weight to volume and vice versa. I don’t know how many times I’ve used it to convert ounces to milliliters! So convenient.
Let your phone be your cooking instructor
Not only does having your smartphone in the kitchen allow you to keep your recipe in front of you while you slice and dice, but if you have questions about certain techniques that are outside of your culinary comfort zone, you can simply look them up online. One day out of frustration I went on to my smartphone while cooking to find a video that would show me how to cut onions without crying. I found one right away that showed me that if I kept the onion stem on while cutting, my tears would be greatly reduced. Because of the availability of how-to-videos, you can start to feel more comfortable about your cooking prowess when your smartphone is by your side.
Smartphones are fantastic for helping you find recipes and enhance your cooking skills, and have made my life a whole lot easier in the kitchen, but apps and videos are just the tip of the iceberg. More and more connected appliances are coming out every day, like this Wi-Fi capable range from Samsung, which allows your to use your smartphone to monitor and control your oven, adjust its settings, receive notifications, and even download recipes, all via an app. Similarly, there is an increasing number of connected refrigerators, blenders and coffee makers available to add a whole other dimension to your cooking experience and make a smartphone an absolute necessity in any kitchen.