Smartphone and tablet apps are a great way to find new recipes and get tips on your favorite dishes, like how to make your pancakes thick and fluffy.
Smartphone and tablet apps are a great way to find new recipes and get tips on your favorite dishes, like how to make your pancakes thick and fluffy. (Associated Press/Matthew Mead)
Fluffy pancakes

What you need:

3/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1 cup flour

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

2 tablespoons butter

Directions: Combine milk and vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside to sour for five minutes. In large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk egg and butter into soured milk mixture. Combine all ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone. Heat large skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Pour batter onto the skillet and cook.

Source: allrecipes.com, http://bit.ly/3KLt4C

S orting through recipes in cookbooks or online can be daunting. There are millions of recipes out there, but finding the right one for your needs can be tricky.

Instead of spending hours tracking down the perfect dish, check out these free apps to organize and narrow it down.

Whole Foods Market Recipes

Whether or not you shop at Whole Foods, this app provides individualized functionality that's hard to beat.

It's loaded with recipes of all types that are searchable by categories like budget and no cook, and dietary restrictions such as dairy free and vegan

The functions are ideal for those with food allergies, healthy eaters or days when you've got something specific in mind.

The "on hand" section allows you to input ingredients you have at home to find recipes that don't require a grocery run.

http://bit.ly/WUBM93

Foodgawker

Can't decide what's for dinner? This app's mouth-watering pictures will practically make the decision for you.

Each image is attached to a recipe -- think Pinterest -- from various blogs and websites providing a variety of interesting dishes to chose from, and you can save favorites for later.

The "popular" page is a great way to find something new to try, but if you're looking for something specific, the categories will help you narrow your options.

http://bit.ly/WMt4Xv

Fooducate

This app promotes healthy eating and losing weight, but the best functionality is hidden inside the food scanner.

Scan food items at home or in the store and the app will produce a grade based on the nutrition facts and ingredients.

A "things to know" list will provide bullet points of the products pros and cons, telling you if it contains artificial products and what they are.

The best part is that if your food gets a poor grade you can click the "alternatives" button for some healthier, less-processed options.

http://bit.ly/VYa4b2

Kitchen Helper

Dinner is seconds from going in the oven and you realize you're missing a key ingredient.

It's bound to happen. So instead of knocking on your neighbor's door for a cup of sugar, download Kitchen Helper to find an easy fix -- input the ingredient you're missing and it will suggest substitutions and conversions.

This app is also helpful if you're looking for healthier replacements or need to nix something for dietary reasons.

http://bit.ly/VMzfg1

Allrecipes Video Cookbook

For those just learning to cook or experimenting with new recipes this video app is tops.

It's one thing to read instructions, but watching a video that leads you through the entire process can give you even more insight about a dish. Plus, sometimes recipes leave out details that a novice cook may not already know.

Watching someone else make the recipe can also improve your basic skills like chopping, kneading or folding, which can cause problems with the final product.

http://bit.ly/TEZcfg