I cook because I am a total foodie. I am inspired by delicious, flavorful food, and it’s rewarding when you can make it yourself with fresh ingredients.
As a physical therapist, Katie knows all about living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. She further extends her knowledge about health from her career to her personal life, by making home cooked meals that are not only healthy, but also tasty and flavorful. Although Katie has encountered some challenges, her motivation to keep cooking has her learning how to grill and making a variety of dishes she would have never made on her own. Of course, this cooking journey filled with learning and discovering new foods is a healthy and delicious treat on its own! Read Katie’s Hero in the Kitchen story below to find out all the things that she has learned from cooking.
Names: Katie White
City, State: Chicago, IL
I cook for: myself and my boyfriend, Brad, a busy attorney.
Outside of the kitchen: I am a physical therapist specializing in inpatient rehabilitation. Health tends to be a primary theme in my life, both personal and professional. I live a very active, healthy lifestyle, and I love working with patients to improve their own well-being.
The 3 pantry items I cannot live without are:
1. Quinoa – My go-to healthy grain. It’s so versatile, you can incorporate it into any meal.
2. Balsamic Vinegar – I use this plain on salads, to make my own dressings, or to use in a marinade. I go through it like crazy!
3. Oatmeal – We eat it every morning for breakfast. Best with brown sugar and bananas!
I cook because: I am a total foodie. I am inspired by delicious, flavorful food, and it’s rewarding when you can make it yourself with fresh ingredients.
Favorite Cook Smarts meal so far: Fish Tacos with Asian Slaw and Sriracha Mayo – This meal takes me back to living in California, where the fish tacos were always so fresh and tasty.
How did you learn to cook?
I didn’t grow up in a household where much cooking was done, and Brad has been the primary cook in the relationship for the past six years. I learned a lot of basics being his sous-chef. However, Cook Smarts really helped me take the reigns in the kitchen while Brad was busy as a law school student.
What’s been your biggest cooking challenge?
Variety has always been my big cooking challenge. Since I didn’t have a lot of experience in the kitchen, I always defaulted to the same weekly dinner rotation. Cook Smarts helped me step way outside my box and incorporate such a wide variety of meals. Dinner is now something I’m excited about, rather than being mundane.
“Cook Smarts made me realize that creating restaurant-caliber food is actually obtainable.”
What have you learned since starting Cook Smarts’ meal plans?
Cooking isn’t as intimidating as it seems! I never thought that I would be able to make my own fresh ceviche, spicy curry, or perfectly wrapped spring rolls. Cook Smarts made me realize that creating restaurant-caliber food is actually obtainable.
Tell us about the proudest kitchen moment.
I learned to properly use a grill! We never used a grill growing up, because my mom was scared to undercook meat. She instilled this fear in me, which has kind of been a running joke with Brad and me. However, I have been able to successfully grill burgers, steak, and salmon.
What are your tips for health and success in the kitchen?
1. The food scale is my best friend.
2. Meal prep on Sunday if possible. It really helps us to ensure we are eating healthy during the week.
3. Stick to the grocery list. Cook Smarts has helped us save so much money just by sticking to a list.
4. Limit the sweets at home. Brad and I each pick out one sweet treat for the week.
We’re glad that you can get excited about dinner again, Katie. And kudos to you for facing your cooking challenges head on. With all the different meals that you are cooking up, we’re sure that Brad does not regret having you take the reigns in the kitchen! He probably does his share of cooking, too, but judging from all your delicious food photos, we wouldn’t mind if you took the reigns for us, too!
To join Katie and cook meals like her favorite Fish Tacos with Asian Slaw and Sriracha Mayo, check out our meal plan service. You can get started for free!