Paprika Recipe Manager for iPad, iPhone, Mac and Android
It’s four o’clock in the afternoon, what are you cooking for dinner?
Last week I wrote about the importance of meal planning and how adding a little bit of organization to your week can take the pressure off the late-afternoon rush to prepare a family meal. I'm going to admit right now, I'm not a very good menu planner but I'm willing to try and get better.
Personally, I like to look in the refrigerator and freezer to see what's on hand and then come up with something at the last minute. This drives my wife crazy.
She is very organized and likes to look through one of my current cooking magazines, find a few meals that look interesting, and prepare a shopping list to use at the market. This way we know exactly what we're going to eat each night of the week.
This is a much more efficient way to plan a weeks worth of meals and I have to admit it reduces the stress of coming up with something to cook at a moment's notice. If only there was an app that could help me get organized!
Turns out there are plenty of them and I've tried quite a few but one of the most useful meal-planning and food-organizing apps I have come across is called Paprika, which allows you to easily manage your recipes and meals from your desktop computer, iPad, iPhone and now Android. And they all can be synced together in a "Cloud".
When using Paprika, you avoid the uncertainty about what to cook for dinner, you save money when you visit the grocery store, and your ingredients and meals are organized ahead of time so that you are confident and well-prepared in the kitchen when dinner time rolls around.
And how cool is it to have all your favorite recipes on hand wherever you go? Take a look at the features Paprika offers—it may be an extremely useful application for at-home cooks to purchase and download.
Paprika Recipe Manager Features
So, you have no idea what to make for dinner for the week. The natural place to search for meal ideas is online. You know that your daughter has been craving chicken Parmesan so, to start, you browse the web until you find a suitable recipe.
Recipes and Meals If the web recipe you find is micro-formatted (and most big-name cooking websites are), all you have to do is hit “save” in the upper right hand corner of the page, and your chicken parm will appear on the “Recipes” homepage of your Paprika account.
For Tuesday night you find a nice tofu stir fry option from Martha Stuart; beef wellington for Wednesday found on Reluctant Gourmet; penne pasta with Bolognese sauce for Thursday taken from your grandmother’s recipe book—you get the idea.
After all your recipes have been either automatically saved or manually entered, they will appear on the recipe page and laid out in a meal-calendar that you have built for the entire week. Congratulations, you now have at least a loose idea of what you’re going to put on the table for dinner!
Paprika goes well beyond simply laying out your desired meal choices. The application allows you to categorize your meal choices and archive them, so that different recipes can be easily found in the future. For example, create a category for Italian dishes, seafood, vegetarian meals, sauces, pastas, and salads—the list is endless.
The application comes with a few basic categories already listed, but you can add as many of your own as you want. Your chosen meals for the week can also be organized as either a breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack.
Ingredients and Grocery List
One of the best parts of Paprika is its ability to create a grocery list for you to use the next time your shopping for meals. You can click on a specific meal and add it to your “Groceries”, so that all the necessary ingredients appear in an items list on the bottom toolbar.
From there, you can go through the list and check off items that you already have in the house, so that the only ingredients that appear are the ones you need to buy at the store.
After you have created and edited your grocery list, the application allows you to either email the list to your smart phone, print out a hard copy, or cloud sync it to another application location.
I prefer to have the list printed out so that I don’t have to walk around the grocery store looking at my phone, but it’s up to you which option you prefer.
Have all Your Favorite Recipes at Your Fingertips
My favorite part of this application is that you can access all your favorite recipes from a variety of sources in one place.
You can search these recipes easily by category and continue to use them for future meals. Instead of lugging around a recipe book, you can bring your iPad into the kitchen with you or just pull up the app on your computer if you have one nearby. I like being able to bring all my favorite recipes with me when I’m traveling or on vacation.
After you have gone shopping and prepared your meals, you can delete recipes from your meal calendar or keep them archived in your chosen categories. You can also add notes to the recipes, rate them or manually, and edit any information you want. Furthermore, you can change the size of a recipe to serve any number of people, and your ingredients will automatically adjust accordingly.
The Paprika app may seem a little pricey: the desktop version costs the most and is around $20 while the iPhone IOS, Android, and iPad application is about $5. This may seem a bit expensive but if you think about the cost of purchasing one cookbook (which could be up to 40 bucks), you are actually saving a lot of money.
This is a cookbook that you have created yourself using your favorite recipes, and it’s something that you can continually update and edit.
Think about it. You can create your own electronic cookbook with thousands of recipes you find on the Internet. If you add a recipe and it doesn’t work out as well as you hoped, delete it and find one that’s better.
I’ve been adding some of my “as good as it gets” recipes from The Reluctant Gourmet web site to my Paprika but I also have dozens of others from some of my favorite websites.
You can find the app on iTunes Store or read more about it at Paprika.