I cook because initially I wanted to reduce expenses, but now I found a new hobby that I love!
Kitchen Hero Helen found the kitchen to be an intimidating place while growing up, but the need to reduce expenses had her firing up the stove and putting her knife skills to the test. After spending time in the kitchen, learning to face her cooking challenges straight on, and creating winner dinners with her newfound cooking skills, she has grown to become comfortable in the kitchen. And though she first started cooking to cut costs, cooking has now become enjoyable and fun for Helen, and the fruits of her labor are delicious, healthy, and successful! Read more about her Hero in the Kitchen story below.
Names: Helen Vo
City, State: Philadelphia, PA
I cook for: just myself and my boyfriend.
Outside of the kitchen: I work six days a week at my family’s seafood purveyor business.
The one kitchen tool / equipment I cannot live without is: plenty of tupperware in various sizes.
I cook because: initially I wanted to reduce expenses, but now I found a new hobby that I love!
Favorite Cook Smarts meal so far: were the salmon burgers.
How did you learn to cook?
As a child, I’ve always been comfortable on the stove top, making processed meals out of a box. I was never comfortable with any other kitchen tools (especially knives), until Cook Smarts.
Having a stay-at-home mother who cooked for five children, she knew her way around the kitchen very well. Being the youngest, the chores never quite trickled down to me. So growing up the kitchen has been an intimidating place to be. Now I am comfortable in my own kitchen, and now have fantasized of my own dream kitchen.
What’s been your biggest cooking challenge?
Handling knives is still something I am struggling with. I am very careful, which makes me very slow when prepping.
How has your cooking routine changed since starting Cook Smarts’ meal plans?
I’ve become a more conscious grocery shopper. Cook Smarts hasn’t only taught me new recipes and cooking techniques, but also to shop for groceries that I can use multiple days. That’s a great skill to have that will reduce expenses and waste.
“Cook Smarts hasn’t only taught me new recipes and cooking techniques, but also to shop for groceries that I can use multiple days.”
Tell us about your proudest kitchen moment.
I am not a lover of poultry. Specifically, chicken breast. (I credit the fear of salmonella for that.) It’s always too dry and not enough flavor. But I made the best chicken sandwich. Ever.
I used the 6 to 7 months of my Cook Smarts techniques and created a meal of leftover items I had. I combined the Asparagus and Prosciutto Pizza with my experience cooking plenty of chicken breasts through Cook Smarts, and voila: A prosciutto-wrapped chicken sandwich with a side of garlic asparagus. Perfectly cooked and seasoned. It made me feel successful and creative in the kitchen, without spending a penny that day on groceries!
What are your tips for health and success in the kitchen?
Tupperware. Plenty of it! It helps prepping when you actually have time, so when it’s time to cook, you’re all ready to go!
Mmmm, prosciutto-wrapped chicken sandwich. . . Sounds like you have what it takes to be a Cook Smarts meal planner, Helen! We’re so happy to hear that cooking has become something that you love to do, and that you are able to get creative and come up with delicious meals using leftovers. And all the while, saving pennies and reducing food waste! Yay!
To join Helen and cook meals like her favorite Salmon Burgers with Tartar Sauce and Pickles, check out our meal plan service. You can get started for free!