The Allrecipes.com DinnerSpinner app (free) lets you quickly find recipes and easily build grocery lists. If you like games of chance or dislike the first step in preparing any meal -- finding a recipe -- you'll enjoy the DinnerSpinner. And for more targeted searches, you can use the app's new bar code scanner, which arrived with an update earlier this week.
The main screen of the app is the DinnerSpinner, which features three spinnable rows of meal attributes: Dish Type, Ingredients, Ready In. You can manually swipe through each row and make your selection, or you can simply tap the Spin Categories button on the DinnerSpinner and await the results. You can also make a selection of one or two rows and spinner the other(s). For example, if you are looking for a side dish, you can select it from the Dish Type row and hit the spin button to let the app make the other selections.
The number of ingredients is limited, but you can use the "Add custom ingredient" button to find recipes based on a specific ingredient. You can either search for a custom ingredient or use the bar code scanner to add an ingredient for an item that caught your eye in the grocery store or something taking up space in your in your pantry.
You can also access the bar code scanner from the Search and List screens. You can search by keyword or use the bar code scanner to search for recipes based on a food item in front of you. Conveniently, the app keeps track of your scan history, which is available from the Search screen. Also from the Search screen are eight dietary filters, which help refine your searches.
When you find a recipe, tap the button in the upper-right corner to add it to your favorites list, add its ingredients to your shopping list, or share it via e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter. The shopping list is organized by aisle, but there are too many aisles for my taste, which needlessly clutters the list. You can also manually add items to your shopping list by keyword or the bar code scanner. If you have created a shopping list from more than one recipe that has grown too long and complicated, you can hit the Edit button in the upper-right corner and select one or more recipes to delete their ingredients from your list. If that's too drastic, just scroll up to the top of the list and you can tap on one of your recipes, which highlights its ingredients.
The paid version of the app costs $2.99 and provides multiple shopping lists, more powerful search tools, and the ability to rate recipes. Allrecipes.com DinnerSpinner is also available for Android phones.
For more food-related apps, check out these 12 apps for finding or making great food.