Dinner parties are the perfect way to catch up with friends, but they can also be stressful to prepare. Luckily, there are apps out there to help streamline your summer soirees. These five apps will make entertaining a breeze.
BigOven’s draw is its massive catalog of recipes — it boasts more than 350,000 in virtually every category of cuisine. Every meal type is on tap, from breakfast to dinner, and a nifty tool generates entrees out of three leftover ingredients. Moreover, BigOven features an archival function that lets you save digital copies of family recipes: snap a photo of said recipe, upload it, and the app will organize it by folder and category. The app also features a built-in meal planner and allows you manage your grocery list, which automatically lists ingredients by department and recipe.
If you’re an indecisive drinker who finds wine lists intimidating, there’s always Lush. The app dispenses esoteric names and, instead, categorizes drinks by flavor profile. Want something nutty? Lush will serve up a collection of cocktails that meet that description. Prefer something minty? Lush has those as well. The app will filter drinks based on the ingredient, too, and features rotating editorial lists fit for any occasion — i.e. “girl’s night out” and “brunch.” You can also favorite drinks when you’re out and about, and, when you’re mixing, summon a stylized graphic that helps to illustrate common mixology proportions.
Few things are as rewarding as successfully creating an appetizing meal from scratch, and even the most inexperienced of cooks can look like a gourmet chef with the help of Epicurious Recipes & Shopping List. This app places more than 30,000 recipes at your fingertips, offering step-by-step instructions from meal preparation to the first bite. Once you’ve picked a recipe, Epicurious will generate a shopping list to ensure you have all the right ingredients before you start. You’ll never be missing that final dash of seasoning or forget how long to set the oven again.
Based on the best-selling book by Mark Bittman, a New York Times columnist and chef, How to Cook Everything teaches you everything you need to know about cooking. Not only are there more than 20,000 recipes with step-by-step instructions, but also instructional videos to help beginner cooks learn basic skills, and feel more comfortable around the kitchen. The sheer amount of recipes can be overwhelming, but the search function works well, and finding recipes based on ingredients you already have laying around the house is easy. Additionally, the tutorials are informative for both amateurs and seasoned pros alike. The app also comes with a built-in timer for each step, meaning you don’t have to worry about checking your salmon fillets every two minutes.
A night out on the town is fun, but barhopping can quickly get expensive. Instead, stay in for the night, have some friends over, and impress them with your amateur bar skills with the help of Mixologist Drink Recipes. If you have a specific drink in mind, simply search through the drink categories to find it, and mix away. Got a cabinet full of liquor and not sure what to do with it? Plug in what you have and the app will conveniently spit out every cocktail combination at your disposal. It’ll even point you towards the nearest liquor store if you’re missing a crucial ingredient. The app guides you through the basics, such as making a simple gin and tonic, and then puts your skills to the test with more complicated concoctions like mixing a Sex on the Beach or the Smashing Pumpkin.