More and more of our favorite magazines are stepping up their game with their own iPhone and iPad apps. Take this new one from Real Simple called "No Time to Cook," which features all the magazine's best quick-fix weeknight recipes. Now here's an app we can use.
I really like that this app launches right into what we're using it for: a quick recommendation for an equally quick dinner. You can see this screen in the top-right image above. We don't have to wade through multiple screens to get there or make a lot of decisions. We simply tap the type of dish we're in the mood for, how much time we have, and then we go.
Small complaint here: I do wish that "Go" button were a little more obvious. I know it's there now, but the first time I used the app, I waited several seconds for the program to advance on its own and thought the app had frozen. Even now, it takes a second to remember to hit the button.
Once you've narrowed down your choices by dish and time, you get to the scrolling list you see directly above. Again, the layout is simple and intuitive, exactly what we need when we're desperate for dinner ideas. From this screen, we can further sort our options by specific type of dish, for instance "low-calorie" dishes or "easy-elegant" dishes. We can also change our original dish and time selection if we aren't seeing what we want or realize that we have less (or more) time than we thought.
Choose a recipe and we're taken to a screen with a lovely picture, the list of ingredients, and the directions (see screenshot below). We can stay here, or we can have the program take us through the recipe step-by-step with embedded timers to help us stay on track. There is also a space for notes, nutritional information on the recipe, recipe tips, and even videos showing potentially unfamiliar techniques in the recipe.
On the whole, this app feels - and is! - wonderfully simple and stream-lined. I love how intuitive it is to use and how genuinely easy it is to arrive at a tasty dinner that fits my mood and schedule. The options are there if you need them, but the focus is really just finding you something to make for dinner. For this, I am sure I will be grateful again and again.
Oh, and did I mention this app is available for the iPhone, too?!
Have you tried this app from Real Simple? What do you think of it?
Updated: The developers of this app say that there are currently no sponsor ads in the app (though there used to be and it's possible this could change again in the future). They also say the app contains about 850 total recipes and they have no immediate plans to add more to the collection.
• Find It! No Time to Cook?, $4.99 for the iPad or iPhone app on iTunes
Related: Substitutions: A Handy App for the iPhone and iPad
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Images: Real Simple)