January: Cookin’ Up 5 Star Meals

I cook because, well. . .my husband is the breadwinner, and I’m the one that turns the bread into a 5 star meal!

-January
#KitchenHero

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January: Hero in the Kitchen via @CookSmartsA lot of moms probably dream about the day when their kids willingly devour brussels sprouts, ask for seconds of Thai curry noodle soup, and request a side of veggie-packed salad for dinner. But for now, these moms will just have to have the “Well! More for me!” mentality as their kids turn their noses up at another tasty, homemade meal. That doesn’t mean that the mothers stop trying, though! Take Kitchen Hero January, for example. She still cooks up a variety of new dishes for her daughter to try, and we’re sure that someday, her daughter will enjoy these amazing new foods. In the meantime, January is able to discover new dishes and experience the joys of cooking for her and her family without relying on packaged foods. Read her Hero in the Kitchen story below.

Names: January
Ages: 38
City, State: League City, Texas
I cook for: my husband and daughter (well, mostly my husband… still trying to get my daughter to try new things).
Outside of the kitchen: I go to school, substitute teach, garden and do miscellaneous crafting.
I discovered Cook Smarts through: researching meal planning site.
I cook because: well. . .my husband is the breadwinner, and I’m the one that turns the bread into a 5 star meal! (Thanks to Cook Smarts.)
Favorite Cook Smarts meal so far: So hard to pick! I really like the Three-Tomato Spaghetti (my daughter will eat it), was totally stoked about making pho, and we both liked a couple of the fish dinners. . .

How did you learn to cook?
I learned most of the basics from my grandma, but she is a very bland cook. She’s also not very adventurous in the kitchen. As an adult, I learned some baking from my mom. Most of what I have learned has been from either watching shows or surfing the web.

What’s been your biggest cooking challenge?
Knowing what tastes good together, and properly cooking meats.

What have you learned since starting Cook Smarts’ meal plans?
I have learned so much since I’ve started Cook Smarts. Since I’ve started, we eat better, and I know what we are going to eat. Before that I would, literally, call my husband on the way home and ask him what he wanted, and I didn’t know what to make. Now I plan the meal out for the week and put it on a dry erase board on the fridge.

“Since I’ve started Cook Smarts, we eat better, and I know what we are going to eat…Not to mention, we’ve tried new produce, sauces and spices!”

I spend less on needless things and HARDLY ever buy boxed / precooked food anymore, and eat a lot more fresh produce. Not to mention, we’ve tried new produce, sauces and spices!

The very first thing I learned was how to dice an onion. . .so simple, but I didn’t know the best way until Cook Smarts! I’ve also learned how cook chicken breast and pork chops that aren’t dry.

Tell us about your proudest kitchen moment.
I have, honestly, had so many. I recently had my first dinner guest with a Cook Smarts meal, and I plated a ‘fancy’ (yet easy) dinner.

What are your tips for health and success in the kitchen?
For success. . .always follow the recipe as is first, then tweak it. Once you get more comfortable, and don’t give up, then start experimenting!

For health. . .sometimes you can get by with a little less salt or oil (at least I can). Don’t discount the vegetarian dishes (about 1 a week); sometimes it’s a pleasant surprise!


January, it’s awesome that you still try to get your daughter to try new foods. It’s so easy to give up and give in to the boxed mac ‘n cheese! It’s not always easy to cook for other people, but we’re happy to hear that you’re learning a lot in the process. Hooray to trying new things, creating 5 star meals, and becoming a pro in the kitchen!

January's favorite @CookSmarts meal: Three-Tomato Spaghetti

To join January and cook meals like her favorite Three-Tomato Spaghetti, check out our meal plan service. You can get started for free!

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