bminus Ladies, it’s time to steal your man’s DS, or get your pink one out like I did!  Not only is the DS a game system, but now it’s a helpful planning tool for mealtimes. In March, Nintendo partnered with America’s Test Kitchen located just outside of Boston (and home to Cooks Illustrated and Cook’s Country Magazine)  and released a new game called America’s Test Kitchen, Let’s Get Cooking. Having 300 recipes in a small DS cartridge is a space saver for anyone with a small kitchen like myself.  This is great for families as well, as it is filled age appropriate tasks for all your kitchen "helpers"!

The game is filled with all sorts of great features including a big section of definitions, helpful hints and techniques for everything that would be needed in any of the recipes. Unfortunately, it consists of mostly very basic recipes and techniques. I looked for a recipe for Chocolate Ganache and could not find it, yet I consider that to be a basic recipe for many confections. It also has videos of real chefs showing you how to perform basic techniques such as dicing a potato and cleaning a cutting board thoroughly.  I was pleasantly surprised when I opened up the recipes and saw real, excellent quality pictures of the food instead of computerized graphics. There is a wonderful option that allows you to exclude ingredients and seasonings you or a family member may be allergic to, or dislike. When you check the ingredient, it will mark it in the recipes so that when you are flipping through you will see a red X marking recipes you will wish to avoid.

When you first look at your recipe it gives you all the same information as a cookbook, how long it will take to prepare, how many calories it has, how many servings it makes, and it even gives you a place to make notes of your own so you can effectively bookmark favorites. You can select recipes by the pictures or you can search by recipes with certain ingredients, by difficulty and even by calories. Another nice touch to this program is that you can make a grocery list right in the program for the recipe you select. In the notepad feature I am planning on developing a pantry inventory list for staples, so that I can track items used and replenish them easily on shopping trips.

There is a "save" feature so that when you peruse the recipe section, you can basically "bookmark" recipes that you are interested in trying at a future date. All you need to do it enter the "Try It" section and you will find your recipes. You can even plan meals on specific dates using the calendaring feature. This would make budgetary meal planning much easier for a busy family.

Overall, I would choose to purchase this instead of a cookbook as I have space issues in my kitchen. It’s also very organized and has good ideas for special occasions and has full meals suggested for upcoming holidays.  For example, Father’s Day is coming up, so what better way to celebrate Dad than with an appetizer of Tomato and Mozzarella Tart, Grilled Steak, Twice Baked Potatoes, Spinach with Garlic and Lemon?  Then to top the meal off, a yummy perennial summertime favorite, Strawberry Shortcake.

I tried out  a few of the recipes and the directions are clear and are as fast as you set the speed, as well as being quite tasty. I personally recommend the Ranch Potato Salad.  So get your family together or try the recipes for yourself.  I hope to see a new, more advanced version of the program in the future.

About The Author

Marianna Wilson is a Blast correspondent

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