Cooking is one of my family’s favorite activities. We like to spend evenings trying new recipes, cuisines and techniques.

We also like to play video games. That’s why we were pleased to discover America’s Test Kitchen: Let’s Get Cooking (List: $19.99), a game for the Nintendo DS that combined two of our favorite activities.

The game contains 300 recipes and allows each family member to participate in the preparation. to get started, each family member created a profile. We typed in our names, recorded them on the mic, and indicated whether or not we were allowed to work with knives and heat.

The game has various ways to search for recipes: by name, by calories, by ingredients, by preparation time, etc. You can exclude ingredients that you don’t like or are allergic to and create shopping lists based on the meals you decide to cook.

After reviewing the recipes, we decided on the following menu: Shrimp Cocktail, Mexican Rice, Sesame-Crusted Tuna Steaks.

Hands on Test

Every step of each recipe was explained clearly and concisely, both via onscreen text and the voice of a chef. The instructions also included photographs of what each step should look like. My kids and I took turns completing our steps as they popped up on the screen.

I liked that the recipes were simple to prepare and easily understood. Here is an example of one of the recipes we made:

Sesame-Crusted Tuna Steaks
(4- Servings, 500 calories, 25 minutes)

Here is a photo that I took of our completed meal of Sesame-Crusted Tuna and Mexican Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 Large Orange
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Small Jalapeno pepper
  • 1/2 Small Red Onion
  • 4 Teaspoons Fresh Lime Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Minced Fresh Cilantro
  • Salt
  • 3 Tuna Steaks (8 ounces each), 1 inch think
  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 3/4 Sesame Seeds

Directions

SALSA

  1. Chop orange into half inch pieces.
  2. Slice the avocado into half inch pieces
  3. Dice the jalapeno pepper
  4. Mince onion into 1/8-inch pieces
  5. Measure out 2 tablespoons of minced onion and store the rest
  6. Combine the orange, avocado, jalepeno, red onion, lime juice, and 2 tablespoons of cilantro in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and refrigerate.

TUNA STEAKS

  1. Pat fish dry with paper towels, then rub thoroughly with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Spread 3/4 cup sesame seeds in a shallow dish. Press both sides of each steaks into the sesame seeds to coat.
  3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking
  4. Gently lay the tuna in the pan and cook until the seeds are golden brown (about 1-1/2 to 2 minutes)
  5. Carefully flip the fish and cook until just golden brown on the second side (1-1/2 – 3 minutes depending on your desired doneness)
  6. Serve with salsa

Taste Test

Shrimp Cocktail: The shrimp was perfectly cooked and had a nice pink color. The cocktail sauce was tangy and tasted better than bottled versions.

I took also took a photo of the Shrimp Cocktail. It tasted as good as it looks.

Mexican Rice: The rice didn’t turn out was well as I hoped. It ended up being a little dry and lacked real flavor.

Tuna Steaks: I really enjoyed the tuna. It was juicy and flavorful. The crunchy sesame seeds provided a nice texture and the fish paired well with the sweet, spicy salsa.

Final Impressions

Things I liked about the game:

  • Allows whole family to cook together
  • Includes helpful tips such as how to cook perfect pasta, skimming fat from sauces, and thickening with flour.
  • Tips include photos and text. When I needed a utensil, I showed my kids the picture and they were able to locate it easily.
  • The game also contains short instructional videos of various cooking techniques.

Things that I didn’t like about the game:

  • The game is a little too busy. The developers could have made some of the interfaces simpler and more intuitive.
  • The profile avatars are cheesy
  • The music that plays throughout the game becomes quiet annoying after a few minutes
  • Although the game has voice control to move to the next step of the recipe, it doesn’t always pick up your voice over the kitchen noise.

Overall, my family was pleased with the meal and look forward to cooking with America’s Test Kitchen: Let’s Get Cooking again.

Stay Strong,

Disclosure: I received a copy of America’s Test Kitchen: Let’s Get Cooking, a Nintendo DS XL, and all of the ingredients necessary to prepare the meal.