This mom took the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?” and made the answer simpler for families everywhere with an app that features easy & quick recipes at your fingertips. Ali Hedin created Weeknight Society out of both passion and necessity. And we’re forever grateful! While you wait for it to download on your device, read on for how and why she developed our newest life saver.
First things first, tell us more about Weeknight Society and the purpose of it!
Weeknight Society is a custom app aimed to help busy families prepare delicious, manageable and healthy weeknight dinners. Every Saturday, weekly menus are uploaded to the app, complete with an aggregate grocery list that allows you to check off items as you shop. Each recipe calls for seasonal ingredients found at a local farmer’s market or grocer and the recipes take 35 minutes or less from prep to plate!
We always find ourselves saying ‘Why didn’t we think of that!’ How did you come up with such a necessary idea?
You have no idea how many times I heard other moms struggle over what to cook for dinner. It wasn’t until we were at my son’s baseball game that ended at 7:30pm (at which point our kids were starving and it was almost time for them to go to bed) that it dawned on me that I could create an easy, weeknight cooking solution. I have always loved cooking and the challenge of coming up with dinner that cooks quickly is fun for me. I started sending recipes out to my girlfriends with ingredient lists and soon it had grown into something bigger – moving all my recipes to an app just made sense.
Creating an app sounds a bit daunting! What does the process look like?
It’s actually more daunting than I knew when I started down this path! I got lucky when I found out my friend’s mother was a developer and a cook! Her ability to write code and develop the app made the complicated tech side of things seem easy. The rest of the app process involved things I knew how to do – cook, photograph, & style the food. Every week my photographer and I get together and shoot step-by-step shots of each recipe I’ve developed. When it’s not a shoot day, my family is part of the testing process.
Every dinner we eat is an experiment to see if it will work for the app – Will it cook fast enough? Is it delicious? Will everyone eat some part of it? Every single recipe on the app was developed in my kitchen for my family. The most daunting part of the app now is making sure that every recipe I write is one that I love and am proud of.
You’re obviously an avid cook! What are some of your go-to weekly recipes?
We eat exactly what you see on the app! My children love when things are on a skewer, so we eat quite a few of the kabob recipes.
How do you get your kids interested in cooking with you? Do you have any kid-proof dinners you swear by?
My kids love cooking with me. They love being in the kitchen and being involved. I think it’s important to not “downgrade” our palettes by serving our children “kid-friendly meals” like chicken nuggets. I’ve found if I can have them help in the kitchen and get them excited about real, healthy meals, they will usually eat what they have made. These Bangkok Noodles are one of my children’s favorites. They love the fresh fruit, vegetables, and the seasoned noodles. Because this recipe cooks in almost no time at all, it fits into their attention span.
Ingredients, Serves 4
1 lb soba noodles
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1 mango, sliced
4-6 cloves of garlic, smashed
1⁄4 cup oyster sauce
1⁄4 cup soy sauce
2 tbs honey
1 lime, juiced
1 tsp sriracha
1⁄2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1⁄4 cup peanuts, chopped
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook noodles.
2. Heat a large skillet and brown garlic.
3. Add oyster sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, sriracha, and honey. Whisk and cook until bubbly.
4. Stir in onions to coat with the sauce. Remove from the heat.
5. Toss in cooked noodles and cover with sauce.
6. Add bell peppers, onion, carrots, fresh basil, and peanuts. Toss and serve hot or cold.
Where do you go from here? What are your hopes for Weeknight Society?
Yikes! Good question. There are a million things I want to do with Weeknight Society. I’d love to also open a deli-style restaurant in Seattle, where customers can purchase fully-prepared dinners, local ingredients, or fresh vegetables. I can’t wait to see where it takes me.
Coffee order: Green Tea
Favorite weekend activity: Wandering the farmers market or working in my garden. We try to spend most of our weekends at our beach house that’s in a wonderful small town. Usually we end up at baseball or soccer games instead.
I always go the the Farmer’s Market for: The latest thing in season. In the spring, I live for strawberries and rhubarb and by mid-summer I’m drooling over corn. In Seattle, we have very distinct seasons and the produce follows suit.
I can’t live without: Yoga pants, rain boots, and a sturdy Dutch oven.
Don’t forget to purchase the app here!