Kathryn: Enjoying Stress-Free Cooking with Winner Dinners

  • By Jackie Sun
  • April 23, 2014

“Cooking is a necessity in my life, but I also need for it to be low-stress.”

Kathryn: Cook Smarts Hero in the Kitchen via @cooksmarts
Have you ever felt as if cooking added more stress to your day than it should? Kathryn felt the same way when she would make multiple trips to the store each week and overstock on items that would end up in the trash. But she’s now learned how to relax, save money, and enjoy cooking at the same time. Find out how Kathryn managed to overcome the stresses of cooking and read her Heroes in the Kitchen story below:

Name: Kathryn Bellish
Age: 30
City, State: Denver, CO
I cook for: myself and my husband, and for friends as often as possible.
Outside of the kitchen: I work in management consulting in a role that allows me to live and play in beautiful Colorado. We are having an incredible ski season this year!
Being able to cook allows me to: unwind from my day and experience the true joy I find in sharing delicious, healthy meals with my loved ones. I happily cook by myself, but it’s also a great time for my husband and me to catch up while he sits at the counter and pours the wine.
Favorite Cook Smarts meal: Man, that is tough. Probably pan-seared salmon with chimichurri sauce, because it made me realize that chimichurri sauce was missing from my life all this time — it’s a staple in my kitchen now.

How did you learn to cook?

I’m still learning to cook (and always will be), but I first learned to love cooking when I did a college semester with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). I spent so many evenings sitting around a little burner with my cook group, scheming up ways to transform our rationed ingredients into amazing meals. That was ten years ago, but I still remember our favorite dishes, though I’ve never been able to recreate them in quite the same way!

What’s been your biggest cooking challenge in the past?

Until recently, I was a little disorganized when it came to groceries and cooking. I ended up buying too much food, yet somehow not enough of the right things. This resulted in multiple trips to the store throughout the week, but much of what I bought didn’t get completely used and had to be thrown out. It took a lot of work to plan it all out. Cooking is a necessity in my life, but I also need for it to be low-stress.

How has your cooking routine changed recently?

Cook Smarts changed our household a lot over the last few months. The most noticeable thing is that we spend way less. We eat leftovers from dinner every day for lunch, so when I go to the store, all I need to worry about are the items on my Cook Smarts grocery list, a few snacks, and breakfast food. It’s so much more streamlined now. It makes the whole shopping/prepping/cooking process far more relaxing, from start to finish.

“I’ve definitely thought about how Cook Smarts can grow with me and my family over time. I don’t expect to give it up!”

What new skill or dish have you cooked that you’re most proud of?

I think the fact that my dinners are more consistently “winners” makes me proud. I was probably batting .500 before, but focusing on interesting but relatively uncomplicated dishes through Cook Smarts has resulted in a big improvement. Also, the way stir-fry sauces come together and thicken has impressed more than a few friends that we’ve had over.

What advice would you give to moms (and kids) who want to be cooking more family dinners?

I’m not yet a mom, but I’ve definitely thought about how Cook Smarts can grow with me and my family over time. I don’t expect to give it up!!

Thanks for sticking with us, Kathryn! We are always happy to have you. Perhaps one day you can cook for us while we pour the wine?

Kathryn's Favorite Meal via @cooksmarts: Pan-Seared Salmon with Chimichurri Sauce
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