I love to cook and could make it a big deal every night, but there is immense value in simplicity. – Rachel
Kitchen Hero Rachel went to college choosing homemade coq au vin over packet ramen, and now she’s a pro at throwing together impressive meals like boeuf bourguignon and fettuccine with prosciutto and wine sauce. But just because she’s already a seasoned chef doesn’t mean that she has to cook meals worthy of 3 Michelin stars every night. As much as Rachel loves to cook and can spend hours in the kitchen, she also knows that simple can be just as flavorful and delicious. Read more about her Hero in the Kitchen story below.
City, State: Minneapolis, Minnesota
I cook for: myself and my boyfriend.
Outside of the kitchen I: am a lawyer.
The 3 pantry essentials I could not live without are: good olive oil, Kosher salt and pepper. Boring, but you can make anything taste good with those three ingredients.
I cook because: I love food!
Favorite Cook Smarts meal so far: Vietnamese Vermicelli Salad or Cajun Shrimp and Bell Peppers
HOW DID YOU LEARN TO COOK?
I learned to cook from watching my parents in the kitchen, but the real learning occurred when I got to college and wanted to eat what my parents made at home. I got a few of my parents’ recipes (mmmmm, fettucine with prosciutto and wine sauce!) and dove right in, with some trial and error. My college friends still make fun of me for purple chicken (coq au vin).
WHAT’S BEEN your BIGGEST COOKING CHALLENGE?
My biggest challenge is time and organization. I love to cook and could make it a big deal every night, but there is immense value in simplicity. Cook Smarts is perfect for me because I am constantly trying new meals and techniques and it keeps me from getting bored. I still get my time in the kitchen, but I am way more efficient than I used to be.
HOW HAS YOUR COOKING ROUTINE CHANGED SINCE STARTING COOK SMARTS’ MEAL PLANS?
I used to go to the grocery store 2-3 times a week and was buying stuff I did not need because I did not have a plan. Now I go once a week and everything is in my fridge to make at least four meals. It feels like such a huge relief to have all of the grocery shopping done and it is much easier on the wallet!
“Cook Smarts is perfect for me because I am constantly trying new meals and techniques and it keeps me from getting bored.”
Tell us about your proudest kitchen moment.
My family, after a kitchen remodel was moving from a rental back to our house. I was home on winter break from college and my mom gave me the option of helping move, or cooking dinner and doing laundry. I chose the latter and I pulled Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals out and planned on her Four Season Beef Burgundy. My mom said, “I don’t think so,” and turned to Beef Bourguignon in The New Basics Cookbook. It was my first braise, and had more steps than I was used to, but it was delicious and felt amazing to put that meal in front of my family.
What are your tips for health and success in the kitchen?
Learn how to cook vegetables in a way you can truly enjoy them. Of course boiled Brussels sprouts are disgusting, but they are awesome when roasted with shallots and balsamic vinegar.
Rachel, we’re so happy to hear that our meal plans can keep you inspired in the kitchen, but it also works the other way around – we love growing with our cooking community and Kitchen Heroes like you continuously inspire us as well, so thank you! (And we’ll be sure to keep in mind – no boiled Brussels sprouts!)
To join Rachel and cook meals like her favorite Vietnamese Salad with Chicken & Vermicelli and Cajun Shrimp and Bell Peppers with Red Rice and Beans, check out our meal plan service. You can get started for free!