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Use Your Phone to Satisfy Your App-etite

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A generation ago, Betty Crocker's cookbook was just about the only help around for a mom in the kitchen. Today, however, cookbooks, grocery lists and nutritional guides can fit into the palm of your hand with smart phone apps.

Give It Some Time

In the event that you prefer to do your cooking by putting the ingredients together and walking away, the Crock-Pot Recipes app may be your new best e-friend. iCookBook.com highlights how this $3.99 app for iPhones and iPads has consistently been one of the top-selling food and cooking apps on the market. Not all meals take eight hours. Some can be ready in a matter of minutes. In addition to the recipes, this Crock-Pot cheat sheet includes a calculator for portion and ingredient control as well as a shopping list.

The Next Best Thing

Need Asiago cheese but don't have it? Want to make something with Chinese Five Spice but can't run to the store? The Portuguese have a word for improvising with only what you have on hand, descerano, a philosophy you can adopt by downloading an app on your Apple tablets or smartphones from T-mobile. The 99-cent iOS Substitutions app allows you to figure out how best to make a great meal without adhering to the strict guidelines of a recipe, according to the App store. Not only can you get substitutes for recipes, but you can also figure out how to lower the sodium content or make gluten-free meals out of your usual favorites.

Perfect Produce

When do artichokes come in season? How much should you pay for a pound of russet potatoes? How do you tell when pears have ripened enough to be ready to eat? Perfect Produce for Android and iOS allows you to get the 411 on the fruits and veggies of your choosing, for only $1.99 on the Apple and Android app markets. Find what to look for, what to avoid, and how to make great vegetarian meals out of your grocery store's produce section.

MealBoard

It's not just college students who open their refrigerator and have to come up with a meal out of lunchmeat and bananas. For those who prefer to create entrees with whatever they have available, or who want to clean out a pantry, the MealBoard app offers a great stepping stone to maximizing what you have on hand. The app's site, Mealboard.com explains that you can simply combine the basic ingredients -- any meat, starch, veggies, and sauces -- and plug it into this app. For the cost of only $2.99, the iOS Mealboard churns out a few meal ideas ranging from the common (pork chops) to the wild (chicken squash curry). What's more, you can use this app to plan out what food you do intend to add by creating grocery and meal lists for the upcoming week's worth of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Better still, it tacks on the price tag of meal items so that you can go to the grocery without expecting to spend more than you bring.

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