Part of PadGadget’s continuing series “Get Cooking with iPad“
Cooking Light Recipes: Quick and Healthy Menu Maker joins the ever-growing number of cooking-related apps for iPad. The app draws from its 300 recipes for main dishes, sides, and desserts, then suggests entire, harmonious meals.
Much like its namesake magazine, Cooking Light’s iPad app is aimed at the cook who is both health-conscious and busy. The recipes all feature fresh ingredients that require minimal preparation. Nutritional information is included for each dish and is generated by the meal as well, so the app lets a user see if she really can splurge on dessert
Large pictures accompany every recipe. Users can save favorite menus, favorite recipes, as well as send favorites by email, or to Facebook and Twitter.
The app is easy to use. Users can toggle between “menu view” and “dish view.” Hitting “suggested menu” multiple times would suggest more than one menu to go with a particular main dish, side, or dessert. It was fun to see all of the different suggested menus.
While everything related to menu planning was robust, the app had some gaping holes in its interface. There is no search function. If, for example, I want to consult the app for a bok choy recipe (as I did last night), the only option is to page through all of the vegetable side dishes looking for one. That is what I did, and I eventually found one bok choy recipe, which was exactly what I was looking for. I prepared it last night and it was delicious.
Can one iPad app replace more than a decade of dog-eared back issues of my favorite cooking magazine? The answers is, unfortunately, no. Cooking Light’s foray into the app store focuses in menu planning, and does not attempt to be an exhaustive recipe archive. This is unfortunate, because I’d really like to recycle those back issues, and it is going to be a long time before I load all of my favorites into The Recipe Box.
Cooking Light Recipes: Quick and Healthy Menu Maker is available for download in the App Store for $3.99.
What I liked: Cooking Light’s strength is its recipes. Of the 300 included recipes, I would be willing to cook nearly all of them. I almost never make dessert, but the number of no-cook recipes in the app may inspire me to try.
What I didn’t like: The lack of a search function reduces the utility of the app. An option to link to the website’s huge online resource would have made the app more useful. There were also full screen ads embedded in the interface. I would prefer not to encounter ads while using a paid app.
To buy or not to buy: While Cooking Light’s app still offers very strong recipes, weaknesses with the interface distracted from the overall experience. The app will appeal to health conscious users who want to plan entire menus, for that is the one aspect that made Cooking Light’s app stand apart from its competitors.
- App Name: Cooking Light Recipes: Quick and Healthy Menu Maker
- Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
- Category: Lifestyle
- Developer: Time Inc.
- Price: $3.99