Getting the Most Out of Paprika Recipe Organization System

How many productivity apps have you downloaded but don’t really use? Productivity apps are meant to make our lives easier, but it can take a bit of work to put a new planning and organization system in place. Many of us are using our iPads like printed books, failing to take advantage of all the useful features that can make our lives more organized and efficient. I downloaded the Paprika desktop app for Mac months ago, but it wasn’t until I purchased the iPad version that I truly utilized the capabilities of this cloud-based system for recipe collection, meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking in the kitchen.

Are you tired of being disorganized in the kitchen? Does poor meal planning result in eating out more often than you’d like? Have you been using Paprika to collect recipes that you never end up cooking?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, keep reading to learn how to use Paprika for iPad to make cooking at home more organized, efficient and enjoyable.

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Set Up Your System

Setting up an organizational system takes a bit of work on the front end, but pays off by saving you time later on. Paprika offers apps for multiple devices (iPad, iPhone, Mac, Android), each with their own price point. I purchased the iPad app ($4.99) to run on my iPad mini along with the Mac desktop app ($19.99). In my opinion the cost is well worth it because Paprika provides such a great product and cloud syncing across all your devices is free.

The iPad mini provides the best of both worlds: it’s easier to cook with than the tiny iPhone screen but still convenient to carry for on the go grocery shopping.

The iPad mini provides the best of both worlds: it’s easier to cook with than the tiny iPhone screen but still convenient to carry for on-the-go grocery shopping.

Even though I own an iPhone, I prefer to use the iPad mini for portable access because I feel it provides the most comprehensive, useful experience from meal planning to grocery shopping to cooking in the kitchen. Paprika for desktop on the Mac is great for tedious data entry, like typing in your grandmother’s handwritten recipe for lasagna, but it’s not practical for grocery shopping or using in the kitchen.

Once you’ve downloaded the app, spend some time building your recipe database so you’ll have plenty of dishes to choose from for meal planning later. It’s easy to pull recipes from the web using the Paprika browser.

Once you’ve downloaded the app, spend some time building your recipe database so you’ll have plenty of dishes to choose from for meal planning later. It’s easy to pull recipes from the web using the Paprika browser.

It’s easy to use the Paprika browser on iPad to pull recipes from the web. You can download recipes with a single tap from over 190 supported sites, plus bookmark your favorite websites in the built-in browser. You can still pull recipes from unsupported sites — the process is just a bit more manual as you clip pieces and place them in categories like Ingredients and Directions. Spend some time building your recipe database and you’ll have plenty of dishes to choose from when it comes to meal planning later. Take the time to add your own photo of recipes that don’t come with a picture, this will enrich your Paprika experience over the long-term.

Before you start entering recipes, take a moment to set your preferences.

Before you start entering recipes, take a moment to set your preferences.

Before you start entering recipes, take a moment to set your preferences by tapping the cogwheel icon at the top of the screen. Sign in to enable syncing across multiple devices. You can also adjust recipe font size, group items on your grocery list by aisle and consolidate quantities of like items in the Ingredients lists (for example, 3 eggs + 4 eggs will display as 7 eggs). I like my week to start on Monday for meal planning purposes and find alphabetizing categories easier to read. Create a default email recipient if you’re always sending recipes to the same person (such as your sister, brother, mother or best friend).

Now that you’ve chosen your settings, focus on the recipe categories. The app comes with five categories that cannot be removed: All Recipes, Most Recent, Top Rated, Favorites and Uncategorized. It’s helpful to organize recipes further by adding your own categories. The more specific you get the easier it will be to navigate your collection.

Adding your own recipe Categories over time makes it easier to navigate your recipe collection. I’ve divided Main Course Meats into Poultry, Pork, Lamb and Beef.

Adding your own recipe Categories over time makes it easier to navigate your recipe collection. I’ve divided Main Course Meats into poultry, pork, beef and lamb.

I’ve added multiple meat categories (main course beef, lamb, pork or poultry), seafood (fish or shellfish), baking (sweet or savory), plus many more. A recipe can be associated with more than one category (for example: Roasted Parsnip and Apple Soup is assigned to soup and gluten free). Creating categories is an organic process that you’ll continue to refine as you add recipes to the app.

Plan Your Meals

You’ve set up your personalized system full of categorized recipes, now it’s time to plan your meals. Paprika offers several ways to do the same tasks, but I find it easiest to do the work in the Meals section of the app (icon on the bottom right of the screen). Here you can use the calendar to view a week at a time, each day displayed vertically on the left side of the screen. Select a day of the week to view meals scheduled for that day.

Use the calendar in the Meals section to view a week at a time, each day displayed vertically on the left side of the screen.

Use the calendar in the Meals section to view a week at a time, each day displayed vertically on the left side of the screen.

Choose a day of the week and tap Add Meal to browse your recipe collection or enter a custom meal title. If you’ve got a good selection of recipes to choose from, planning a week of meals becomes a game, like filling in a puzzle. Use Paprika to label meals accordingly: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner or Snack.

Choose a day of the week and tap Add Meal to browse your recipe collection or enter a custom meal title.

Choose a day of the week and tap Add Meal to browse your recipe collection or enter a custom meal title.

Manually entering a meal name is good for planned leftovers (for example: chicken soup served over multiple days), because adding the whole recipe from your database again would increase the ingredient quantities in your grocery list later. It’s important to keep your grocery list in mind during the meal planning stage. Once you’ve planned all your meals for the week you’ll feel a great sense of satisfaction.

Manage Your Grocery Lists

You’ve planned a week’s worth of meals, now you’re ready to create a grocery-shopping list. Select the box and arrow icon at the top of the screen for options, depending on how often you like to visit the store. You can add a day or a whole week to the grocery list.

From the meal planning section you can add a day’s or a week’s worth of meals to your grocery list, depending on how often you like to shop.

From the meal planning section you can add a day’s or a week’s worth of meals to your grocery list, depending on how often you like to shop.

This is where things could get a bit complicated, if you let it happen. The app will ask you to choose ingredients, giving you the opportunity to deselect items you already have on hand before creating the grocery list. To keep things simple, I like to add the day or week to my grocery list (keeping all ingredients), and then move to the Groceries section of the app to make any modifications. Like I said earlier, there are many ways to do the same task, so figure out what works for you.

When you add days to your grocery list, Paprika gives you the opportunity to deselect ingredients you’ve already got on hand. I prefer to add all items and then modify my list in the Groceries section later.

When you add days to your grocery list, Paprika gives you the opportunity to deselect ingredients you’ve already got on hand. I prefer to add all items and then modify my list in the Groceries section later.

Now head over to the Groceries section to view your lists. Paprika provides several ways to view your grocery list: Entire Grocery List, My Items and by the recipe. Before I leave for the store I glance over the Entire Grocery List and use the Edit button to delete or amend the quantities of items I’ve already got on hand. It’s nice to be able to tap the + button to add my own items to the list as well.

Before heading to the grocery store, look over your Grocery List and use the Edit button to delete any items you’ve already got on hand.

Before heading to the grocery store, look over your Grocery List and use the Edit button to delete any items you’ve already got on hand.

I find it convenient to take the iPad mini on the go to the grocery store and work through my list of items to buy. The app offers several ways to view the grocery list: All items, Bought items or items To Buy. These views are especially handy if you’ve got to make multiple trips to different stores or farmer’s markets to get what you need.

Paprika In The Kitchen

More than any other device, the iPad is especially suited to using in the kitchen. It’s portable but not so small that recipes are difficult to read from afar (like the iPhone). Prop the iPad up on a stand and follow the directions to make the recipe. Most recipes can be displayed on one screen, with minimal scrolling so you don’t have to touch the screen with dirty fingers.

Prop the iPad on it's stand and it's easy to cook along with the recipe directions in the kitchen.

Prop the iPad on it’s stand and it’s easy to cook along with the recipe directions in the kitchen.

It’s easy to add notes to a recipe while you’re cooking, and you can also rate the recipe or add it to your favorites. Tools like the ability to set multiple timers, convert ingredient measurements or scale quantities make cooking more efficient and organized.

Conclusion

The French have a saying used in cooking, mise en place, which means “everything in its place.” The best cooks run an efficient, well-organized kitchen. Many people use Paprika to organize their recipe collection, but few utilize all the capabilities this app has to offer from meal planning to grocery shopping to actual cooking. Using a system like this requires a commitment to spending the time entering data, but it pays off by making the planning and execution of meals so much easier.

Hopefully these capabilities are only the tip of the iceberg as Paprika continues to evolve with every update. The future of cooking lies in our mobile devices, and I’m excited to see how the iPad will continue to enhance the cooking experience.


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