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Appy Friday: Apps That Dish Up Mealtime Ideas

Not sure what to cook for dinner tonight? These apps can help.

Lauren Goode

What’s for dinner? It’s a question that gnaws at many of us each week, each day. But you don’t have to resort to making tuna casserole surprise again (or if you’re like me, a bowl of cereal) if you’re fresh out of ideas.

There are plenty of recipe discovery and meal-planning apps that can help you whip up a plan for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tamron Hall of the “Today” show uses Foodgawker, a Web and mobile app that’s updated daily with recipes and mouth-watering photos from food bloggers.

Re/code senior reviewer Lauren Goode has also tested a number of apps to help channel your inner “Top Chef.” Food on the Table is a free iOS and Android app that gives you five weekly dinner menus based on your preferences. It even alerts you when your local grocery store has a sale on any ingredients you need for your meals that week.

If you like to bookmark recipes as you’re browsing the Web, My Recipe Book can help you organize them all in one place. From the iOS app, which costs $1.99, you can access numerous food sites like Allrecipes and Epicurious, and then import recipes into your notebook to reference later. You don’t need a constant Internet connection to view them, either.

If you don’t have time to go to the grocery store, there are services that will deliver dinner kits to your door, with recipe cards and all the pre-portioned ingredients needed to make the meal.

BlueApron charges $10 per meal per person, and you can order up to three different meals a week. The company serves “states east of the Mississippi and west of Colorado.” Shipping is free, and food is shipped from local fulfillment centers to ensure that you’re getting fresh ingredients.

Meanwhile, Plated lets you select from seven different meals each week. If you sign up for a Plated membership for $10 a month, the cost per person per meal is $12, while nonmembers pay $15 per meal. The service is available in 95 percent of the country, but not in Colorado and some parts of Texas.

Just be aware that while you can indicate whether you’re a vegetarian or a meat-eater, neither BlueApron nor Plated offer much in the way of menu options if you’re gluten-free or have food allergies or other dietary requirements.

Finally, Blush for Wine and WineRatings+ can help you find a nice wine to pair with your meal and, of course, to toast the chef.

(Appy Friday is a series by the “Today” show and Re/code that highlights some of today’s best apps. NBCUniversal is an investor in Revere Digital, which owns this website.)

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