Ellie: Discovering Healthy Dinner Solutions

I cook because I feel better knowing that our meals are healthy, balanced, and free from as much “extra” stuff as possible.

-Ellie
#KitchenHero

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Ellie: Hero in the Kitchen via @CookSmarts We’re sure that pediatrician Ellie has enough to take care of during her workday without having to worry about what’s for dinner when she gets home. Even though she has a busy schedule, Ellie discovered that delicious doesn’t always have to mean elaborate, and healthy can be just as simple and quick to whip up. Join this Kitchen Hero on her cooking journey as she gets out of her dinner rut and finds success in the kitchen. Along the way, she saves money, overcomes her cooking challenges, and enjoys a variety of new, homemade dishes. Read more about it in her Hero in the Kitchen story below.

Names: Ellie Erickson
Ages: 30
City, State: Durham, NC
I cook for: myself and my husband.
Outside of the kitchen: I am a pediatrician.
My favorite cuisine is: Latin American / Mexican.
I cook because: I feel better knowing that our meals are healthy, balanced, and free from as much “extra” stuff as possible. We save money on lunches out by using leftovers, and are also managing to lose a few pounds by cutting back on carb-heavy dinners.
Favorite Cook Smarts meal so far: Mexican Meatballs. I have to stop myself from cooking them every week.

How did you learn to cook?
My parents both worked growing up and evenly split meals at home. We had dinner together as a family every night, and I learned by watching and helping them.

What’s been your biggest cooking challenge?
Getting out of ruts that involve pasta for every meal. My husband works full time and is in graduate school, and I have a full time job as a pediatrician, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for elaborate (or any!) planning.

How has your cooking routine changed since starting Cook Smarts’ meal plans?
Our meals have a lot more variety now instead of going for easy old standards, which were not as healthy. Cook Smarts has given us an easy plan to take care of the daily “what’s for dinner?” conundrum and has streamlined and simplified our grocery shopping.

“Cook Smarts has given us an easy plan to take care of the daily “what’s for dinner?” conundrum and has streamlined and simplified our grocery shopping.”

Tell us about your proudest kitchen moment.
Learning how to make a roux. I burned the first one but carried on knowing that a friend was coming for dinner. The whole meal turned out well and no one was the wiser!

What are your tips for health and success in the kitchen?
Make a plan and stick to it. Having a list made with nutritious options helps me to silence the siren song of “easier” options, especially when I have meals that sound new and interesting.


Ellie, kudos to you and your husband for eating healthier and feeling better about what you guys eat! We know it’s not always easy to eat healthy and balanced when your workdays are so busy. The best part about this, though, is that the Mexican Meatballs are perfect freezer-friendly food, so you can still enjoy them on ultra-busy days!

Ellie's favorite @CookSmarts meal: Slow Cooker Mexican Meatballs

To join Ellie and cook meals like her favorite Slow Cooker Mexican Meatballs, check out our meal plan service. You can get started for free!

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