The Photo Cookbook – Simple & Delicious

Autumn brings about a return to routines. The leisurely days of summer are over. Kids go back to school and life becomes busier as extracurricular activities resume: after school sports and choir practice, school plays and orchestra performances. Kids aren’t the only ones caught up in the go-go-go; parents have PTA meetings to attend, gym sessions to sweat through, book clubs to host and date nights to prioritize. As the calendar fills up and we feel stretched ever thinner, gathering over a home-cooked meal becomes more difficult. We’re too busy to plan and shop, too tired to cook, too rushed to sit down for thirty minutes as a family.

Here on Foodie Friday, the month of September is dedicated to gathering around the table for a home cooked family meal. Each week I’ll be sharing an app that makes cooking at home 5 nights a week simple, easy and fun. Look for tips on sharing the workload (it’s not all on Mom’s shoulders) and getting kids involved. Find clever ideas for prepping ahead so you can get dinner on the table in minutes. Whether you’re a busy professional couple with one child or a stay-at-home parent to four, making time to gather around the table as a family is a challenge. Make a goal this month to start a new routine, with a little help from your iPad.

Keep reading to find out more about my first pick of the series.

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Introducing The Photo Cookbook

The Photo Cookbook – Simple & Delicious is one of a whole collection of apps that provide step-by-step photographs of every recipe. The Simple & Delicious recipe collection contains 60 recipes organized by course: Appetizers & Co, Pasta, Pizza & Co, Entrées and Desserts. This is the perfect recipe collection for busy people who don’t love to cook but still want to avoid ordering takeout.

The app has a fresh, modern design that’s very inviting, nothing intimidating or cheffy here.

The app has a fresh, modern design that’s very inviting, nothing intimidating or cheffy here.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of making lofty goals and setting yourself up for failure when starting a new routine. The Photo Cookbook – Simple & Delicious sets you up for success with uncomplicated, familiar dishes. This app focuses on the basics, like eggs, sandwiches, soups and pastas. Meat, poultry and seafood are simply prepared by grilling, roasting or stewing. If you’re moved to try one of the easy desserts (chocolate mousse or mini apple crisps) the family meal will feel a bit more special.

Meal Planning

The user interface is designed for mixing and matching: scroll up and down within the four vertical columns to visualize each course of your meal coming together. If to-do lists overwhelm you, you’ll appreciate this compartmentalized approach to meal planning. Pairing up courses feels like a game, which is great for getting the kids involved in solving the “What’s for dinner?” puzzle.

The recipes are simple dishes inspired by cuisines from around the world, from classic roast chicken to the exotic Asian noodle bowl.

The recipes are simple dishes inspired by cuisines from around the world, from classic roast chicken to the exotic Asian noodle bowl.

The first thing to think about when planning meals with this app is how much time you have available to cook. Have a look at your calendar and decide which nights to eat on and which nights the kids are home with plenty of homework to do. You’ll find a good mix of recipes that can be on the table in minutes and other dishes that take a bit of prep and require longer cooking times.

It’s easy to see everything you need for the recipe with one quick glance. Tap on an ingredient for more info.

It’s easy to see everything you need for the recipe with one quick glance. Tap on an ingredient for more info.

For example, a quick omelet appetizer paired with Shrimp Noodle Bowl is a satisfying meal that provides plenty of fuel as an early supper before soccer practice.

Plan the week’s worth of meals on Sunday and let your older children help by chopping the vegetables for dishes like the stir-fry and omelet filling or shaping meatballs (with supervision) and refrigerating them in airtight containers.

Chicken Pot Pies are perfect for nights when you’ve got a bit of time to let the dish bake in the oven. It’s easy to sauté the filling and roll out a store-bought piecrust. Help the kids with their homework while the potpies bubble away in the oven, filling the kitchen with their mouth-watering aroma.

Using a store-bought piecrust for the chicken potpies saves time and energy, making it easier to put a dish that feels special on the table.

Using a store-bought piecrust for the chicken potpies saves time and energy, making it easier to put a dish that feels special on the table.

Some dishes, like Pot Roast, Meatloaf or even meat-free Eggplant Casserole, actually taste better if served the day after they are cooked. The meat retains its juices and flavors deepen, so pop a meatloaf in the oven after the kids have gone to bed or throw together the Minestrone Soup on Saturday and toss it in the freezer for later.

When cooking soups and stews ahead, leave out pasta or rice, which will continue to soak up moisture and dry out the dish as it sits in the fridge. Add these starches to the meal when reheating and serving for supper.

You don’t have to go the whole nine yards and cook meals ahead, with Burritos you can cook the filling and wrap it up in the tortilla, placing the burritos in a baking dish in the fridge. At dinnertime, simply finish the dish off in the oven to heat through and melt the cheese. Lasagna is another dish suited to this technique.

Get dinner on the table fast by filling burritos and storing them in the fridge until you’re ready to heat them through in the oven and serve for supper.

Get dinner on the table fast by filling burritos and storing them in the fridge until you’re ready to heat them through in the oven and serve for supper.

Maybe you’re just too busy for planning ahead and prepping out meals for the week? That’s ok. The app has a week’s worth of recipes that can be made start-to-finish in 20 minutes or less. Go for the Quick Tomato Soup and a Vegetable Pizza with store-bought dough, or Turkey Stir-FryMushroom Stroganoff or Stuffed Chicken Breasts with tomatoes and ciabatta. The most important thing is gathering at the table for a home cooked meal, it doesn’t matter how much time you spend in the kitchen.

Conclusion

The Photo Cookbook – Simple & Delicious is a fun, flavorful, modern collection of recipes to start your new routine of cooking at home 5 nights a week. The recipes are simple, but not boring. You’ll find a good mix of familiar flavors and new dishes to try. It’s great to have step-by-step photos to guide you through each recipe, because you’ve got enough on your mind with kids running around. The app also gives calorie counts per serving, so if you or your partner follows a special diet you’ll still be able to eat with the family. Add your own notes to recipes and email ingredients lists to make shopping easier. This app has everything you need to get in the habit of sharing meals as a family.


Summary

The Photos Cookbook - Simple & Delicious is a collection of 60 recipes with step-by-step photographs.