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Kitchen Tech Tips: Cooking and Meal Planning Apps

As summer ends and we head into the busiest time of year for many, planning meals ahead of time can help make things less stressful.

That’s why this week we bring you three great apps to help find, schedule, and prepare meals easier than ever.

Big Oven offers more than 350,000 recipes, featured collections, and menus. It can be customized to lifestyle and diet – even season – and has a feature to schedule meals. Big Oven also lets you convert recipes into shopping lists. Better yet, if you have a bunch of ingredients lying around but don’t know what to do with them, just type them into Big Oven and it will give you an idea of what you can make. A basic version is free for iOS, Android, Windows, and Kindle Fire. A paid version expands its capabilities.

The makers of the Pepperplate app say it’s the only app for “serious” cooks. You can collect and store recipes from around the Internet and also input your own. Pepperplate helps schedule meals ahead of time and also makes an ingredient-shopping list. When cooking, you can launch multiple cooking timers at the same time to help manage meal prep. It’s free for iOS, Android, Windows, Kindle Fire, and Nook Color.

Paprika allows users to snag recipes they find online and put them all in one spot for easy reference with the tap of a button. It, too, makes grocery lists to buy the needed ingredients and helps scale recipes to specific serving sizes. Paprika can schedule meals for a week or month also has timers for when food is being prepared. Paprika is $4.99 for iOS, Android, Windows, Kindle Fire, and Nook Color.

Mike is a veteran journalist whose video "PC Mike" reports have been distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations since 1994, making him one of the most experienced tech reporters in the country. His tech stories and videos have appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, the Today Show, The New York Times, USA Today and in numerous national newspapers and magazines. In addition to the PC Mike tech blog, he also publishes the Roadtreking.com RV Travel Blog in which he travels North America in an RV reporting about interesting people and places.