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|Amber Brooks • 1/23/17|
The Short Version: BigOven, a web-based recipe organizer, simplifies home cooking for singles, couples, and families. Their flavorful collection of more than 350,000 recipes can inspire you to skip the crowded restaurants and make a home-cooked meal for your loved ones. Since it launched in 2003, the BigOven app has been downloaded over 13 million times by hungry cooks looking for convenient, searchable recipes. You can spice up your dates by browsing through your favorite recipes, customizing a shareable grocery list, planning your meals ahead of time, and discovering new tasty treats on BigOven’s website or app.
In my family, when my mom makes beef-potato casserole, it comes with a story on the side. The casserole was the first thing my mom learned to make after she was married. The prep was simple, and the ingredients were cheap, so she made it a lot. My dad likes to close his eyes and smell his plate of casserole as if it transports him back in time. “She’d make a big pan, and we’d finish the whole thing in one sitting,” he always says.
Then my mom, beaming, answers, “Who’d have thought I’d be making it for our kids 40 years later?”
When eating the casserole together, we’re reminded of those two 20-somethings sitting in mismatched chairs on an orange shag carpet and scarfing down what’s basically baked hamburger. The old recipe means a lot to our family today because of what it meant to that young couple then. Even though my mom was a headstrong feminist, she made an effort to learn to cook for my dad, who ate the same casserole over and over again — and never got tired of it.
A good home-cooked meal can bring families and couples together to savor the sweetest moments in life. With the help of BigOven, a handy recipes app and website, cooks of all skill levels can plan and plate flavorful dishes made with love.
If you’ve got a hot date you want to tantalize with a hot meal, you can browse for mouth-watering ideas on BigOven and create a custom grocery list accessible from any desktop or mobile device. You can build a menu and add it to your personalized meal planner, so you remember to pick up what you need in time. Then, you can sauté, fry, or bake your way into someone’s heart.
BigOven was the first recipe app available on iPhone and iPad, and today boasts more than 13 million downloads by Apple and Android users with more than 3.6 million registered users. Both your taste buds and your wallet will thank you for substituting home-cooked meals into your date routine and making a meaningful memory in your own kitchen.
“When somebody cooks a nice meal for you, it’s an expression of love,” said Steve Murch, Founder and CEO of BigOven. “How you feel about a person can come through in your cooking as well as during the meal itself if you just take the time to slow down, put away your devices, and connect over food.”
BigOven is a searchable smorgasbord of good eats. More than 350,000 public recipes (and over 1.5 million personal recipes) have been added to the database over the years. You can search by whatever ingredients you happen to have in your fridge to get started, narrowing recipes by dietary restrictions like gluten-free or vegan.
“For folks who are dating, there’s a lot we can do to make it easier to put a great meal on the table,” Steve said. “If you’re preparing a romantic meal, you can quickly find a recipe based on what you have on hand. We search through thousands of recipes to tell you what you can make.”
The site serves up many ready-made recipe lists (like Editor’s Picks, Light Meals, and Recent Raves) to give you some delicious ideas. If you see something you like, you can save it for later by adding it to your Favorites. Some categories of recipes are part of the Pro Collection, which means only pro members have access to them.
Pro members can customize recipes to their tastes, add private notes, and look up nutritional information for a low monthly or yearly fee.
BigOven is rich with information to give cooks all the tools they need to prepare a flavorful meal. If you’re wondering, “Are these brownies dense?” or “Is this recipe really worth its salt?” you can take a look at what other people are saying about the recipe. Reviews on the sidebar will tell you how other home cooks relished the finished product.
Steve recommends serving up a fun cocktail for your date to enjoy while your meal marinates. “You should definitely do as much prep you can ahead of time, too,” he added. “That way you can focus on the conversation with your date. For me, something simple like a pasta dish or bistro-style cooking is ideal for a first date.”
BigOven stocks a list of romantic recipes for appetizers, dinners, and desserts to tempt you and your date. Because who can resist cheesecake-stuffed strawberries? Whether you tackle the recipes together or surprise someone with an indulgent treat, these recipes can satisfy your cravings.
You can build your own mobile grocery list on BigOven and even share it with others. Members can add individual ingredients as well as entire recipes in a handy checklist organized by aisle (produce, meats, beverages, condiments, etc.) to save time. When you add and remove items on the website, the list automatically syncs with the BigOven app so you can pull it up at the store.
As Steven explained, “You can get on the app and say ‘I’m making lasagna and Caesar salad tonight — what do I need?’ and access your recipes and grocery list all in one place.”
You can share your grocery list with another member, print it out, or send it as a text message or email. Family members can join their household’s BigOven accounts to make collective grocery shopping and meal planning much easier. Because cooking is often a team effort for committed couples, BigOven has easy sharing features to ensure you and your significant other communicate about what to get on the next grocery trip.
According to Steve, “Americans throw away 23% of what we buy at the grocery store,” maybe because they buy the wrong ingredient or get more food than the household can eat. Either way, a little planning and organization can save people from throwing money away on food they won’t eat and making multiple trips to the grocery store.
BigOven assists on-the-go home cooks with meal plans and grocery lists accessible from anywhere. The Use Up Leftovers tool also gives home cooks creative ways to reduce food waste and clear out their cabinets by finding recipes that call for no more than three ingredients.
Steve frequently uses BigOven for planning his own family meals for his wife and two kids. “The app saves me about 15 minutes every trip to the grocery store,” he told us, “because I know exactly where to go to get what I need.”
When I moved into my first apartment, my mom put together a collection of easy family recipes in a booklet for me. I displayed it prominently (and unwisely) above my stove until one day it toppled over onto a burner that was still hot from when I made pasta. Long story short, some of the pages were singed and recipes burnt away, but luckily I had a back up online.
Look, accidents happen, especially in the kitchen, so it makes sense to store your cherished recipes in more than one place. BigOven helps home cooks keep their recipes safe forever in the cloud. You can download recipes to your own private, virtual recipe book from any website, magazine, or cookbook. All you have to do is take a picture of any recipe you want to save, and BigOven can turn it into a digital keepsake. You can even transfer over handwritten recipes this way!
With this innovative and unique tool, you can always access the recipe from your account using a smartphone or computer — no matter what befalls the original hardcopy.
“I started using BigOven 13 years ago,” said Belio, a BigOven user via the App Store. “They have just made it better and better over the years. A few things I love — adding your own recipes and pics, taking an existing recipe and making tweaks for your liking, and saving everything you want, even from other sites!”
As newlyweds, dinnertime for my parents meant sharing stories and appreciating one another in an intimate setting. We carry on the tradition of family meals to this day, and every time my mom pulls a hot panful of beef-potato casserole out of the oven, our hearts soar.
BigOven facilitates such heartwarming moments by helping home cooks prep meals from the grocery aisle to the dinner table. On the app or website, you can collect favorite recipes, plan a calendar of meals, shop for groceries, and discover new food creations. “Our goal is to make the life cycle of the home cook really easy from start to finish,” Steve said. “For daters, it’s a great tool because you definitely learn a lot about a person by dining with them.”
If you want to make a good impression on your date, try putting on an apron and whipping up a tasty treat with BigOven as your cooking assistant. You can satisfy any craving by searching through thousands of recipes for healthy snacks, rich comfort food, and decadent desserts meant to be shared with someone you care about. Who knows? It could become a story you tell your kids in years to come.