I love to cook.  And because I’m a Frugal Franny, I refuse to actually buy cookbooks, especially when there is a plethora of free recipes online.  There are a ton of recipe sites, but one of my absolute favorites is AllRecipes.com.  All of their recipes are rated by others who have made them, and even if a recipe isn’t rated high on its own, you can always use others’ tips and tricks to make it better.  Plus, they have an ingredient search, which is great when you’re trying to raid your pantry and figure out what to make with what you already have.

But enough about the website–I was absolutely stoked when I found out they had an iPhone app called the Dinner Spinner.  They actually have two versions of their app–the free version and the Dinner Spinner Pro, which costs $2.99.

The Dinner Spinner concept is simple–you choose the kind of food you want to make (side, salad, main dish, beverage, dessert, etc.), the main ingredients (beef, chicken, chocolate, etc.) and how long you want it to take (20 minutes or less, over an hour, slow cooker, etc.).  Once you select these–or shake your iPhone to have it randomly spin for you–you will be presented with a list of some of the more popular recipes from the site to choose from for the meal of your choice.  You can then add the ones you like to your favorites, and go back to them at a later time if you’d like.

The free version of Dinner Spinner also allows you to search the recipe database from AllRecipes.com, but will only provide some of the more popular recipes.  You can also search by a single ingredient, or by nutritional information. The paid version, Dinner Spinner Pro, gives you a little more flexibility, especially if you are a member of their site.  You can store recipes in your recipe box, create a shopping list, and search the entire database of recipes, not just the popular ones.  This is helpful if you are looking for a more obscure recipe.  You can also search by up to eight ingredients, and can rate the recipes and add your own photos straight from the iPhone app.  This gives you the same flexibility as the website, making it an all-around effective application that essentially acts just like the website itself.

Dinner Spinner and Dinner Spinner Pro are two great apps that really deserve some attention from the cooking community.  The AllRecipes.com website is extensive and helpful, as are their iPhone apps, so it’s nice to have iPhone apps that replicate most everything you can do on the actual site itself.

Happy cooking, everyone!