Pepperplate is a service which aims to revitalize your kitchen workflow. Currently you might be stashing PDF recipes in iBooks or saving recipe webpages in Evernote but with Pepperplate your recipes can work smarter.
Before you can use Pepperplate you will need to go here and create an account. Creating an account is free and allows you access to your account from the web, iPhone, Android, and iPad.
Pepperplate is your go-to kitchen app. The app can store recipes, plan meals, and create shopping list from your recipes. The app supports timers while cooking your recipes and you can share your recipes through email, Facebook, and Twitter.
Pepperplate may not seem to be an app to get overwhelmingly excited about, but I beg to differ with that thought. I was tired of trying to configure meals together after working all day. I ended up eating the same thing multiple nights in a row and wanted to start varying my food preparation knowledge. To do this though, you must prepare.
Preparing your meals in advance is the hard part because it takes work. I stumbled upon Pepperplate when I was wanting to start being more proactive in my food preparation and it has helped tremendously with me trying new recipes and keeping my kitchen organized.
As previously mentioned, you will need an account to use Pepperplate. The account and service is free. Once your account is setup you can start creating and importing recipes. A nice feature in Pepperplate is that the service supports several sites that a recipe can be imported from. The service has an Add to Pepperplate bookmark which makes it really easy to import recipes. Pepperplate also lets you add your own recipes manually which is great for recipes that have been passed down to you or your favourites from recipe books. The Add to Pepperplate bookmark works for importing recipes in Safari on your iPad, which is nice, but I would really like to see a browser within the app that would already have the supported sites bookmarked so you did not have to leave the app to look for recipes to add.
Adding recipes by hand is as painless as it could be. There are three sections to complete when adding your recipe. The info screen is where you can input the image from your photo library, add a title, add details for how long it will take, add notes, and categories.
The ingredients screen is where you can add instructions. This is going to be most detailed entry pane because it can be very detailed.
When entering your ingredients, you can separate by ingredient groups using brackets such as [Pie Crust] and [Pie Filling].
After getting all of your ingredients entered it’s time to list out the instructions. You can also use brackets here as well to keep your ingredients grouped together appropriately. After getting everything listed, just save your recipe and you are ready to start planning.
Planning Your Meals
Pepperplate includes a calendar and meal planner aspect to the service so that you can plan out all of your meals accordingly. Pressing the planner opens up a calendar view with a data entry pane next to the calendar.
In the data entry pane you can add text entries to write your meal plans for items that might not have a recipe. For example, if you are going to have a ham sandwich and chips for lunch, just type the details into the planner. To add a recipe that already is imported or created in Pepperplate just go to the recipes tab and press the Add To drop down menu and press planner. That will bring up a calendar view which will let you choose the date and time for the meal.
Usually the most difficult aspect of meal planning is making sure you have all the ingredients. Pepperplate makes it easy by allowing you to quickly add ingredients from your recipes to your shopping list. While viewing a recipe and pressing the Add To drop down menu there is an option to add to shopping list. Pressing this will send all the ingredients listed under the recipe to your shopping list. Not only that but Pepperplate will organize the items into aisle categories, which is awesome.
It always frustrates me to have one more item on my list and to realize it is at the complete opposite side of the store. Pepperplate also allows you add items manually such as ham for your sandwich. Once you add your manual items to the list as well it will try and sort the items for you based upon aisles. For example, when I manually entered ham it categorized it in the meat section.
If an item is categorized in the wrong spot, you can move it by pressing the pencil icon next the item selecting move and choosing the appropriate category.
Pepperplate also supports creating menus. Menus allow you to join together separate recipes to make your menu for a meal. Combining a salad recipe, with a main entree, and then finishing it with some dessert should be a great dinner. These menus can be saved for quick reference.
Your menus can be added to the planner as well so you can plan your meals with a complete menu.
Pepperplate does not just help you plan your meals and get all of your ingredients but it can also help during the actual cooking of the meals. Of course you will be referencing your instructions while cooking but when you press the Cook Now button it will bring up the ingredients and instructions laid out neatly, with access to timers.
You can set two timers to run simultaneously per recipe but if you have multiple recipes cooking at the same time then each recipe can have its’ own timers. The best part is that the timers will continue to run in the background while you wait for your food to be ready.
All is not perfect though. Pepperplate claims that you can use your iPhone as a timer connected through the iPad app while cooking. While this isn’t necessary since the iPad has built in timers I wanted to try it out since they claim it can be done. Unfortunately, I never could get it to work. My iPhone would recognize the iPad and when I tried to connect to the iPad it just kept pulling up a dialog box saying the iPad was found but no message would appear on the iPad for me to approve the connection.
Again, this is not a deal breaker and I probably would not have used the feature but if it’s advertised the developers should make sure it works consistently.
Pepperplate has really been a useful utility in the kitchen. I am now able to plan meals and create shopping list in a very easy way. I am trying new recipes and saving time because I plan my meals in advance. I am also saving a little money because I am going into the store with a list and sticking to it. If you want to start planning meals and become more productive in the kitchen, Pepperplate is a solid choice.