Jessica: Paleo Planner Extraordinaire

“First thing Thursday morning, I enjoy meal planning for the upcoming week with a cup of coffee in hand.”

  • By Brittany Yamamoto-Taylor
  • May 21, 2019

Jessica is 37 years old and lives in Durham, NC, with her husband and daughter. We last featured Jessica’s Kitchen Hero story in 2014 and are excited to check in with her again! After being a part of our Cook Smarts community for so many years, she has gotten her family cooking routine down pat. Besides losing an impressive 30 lbs, find out what Jessica loves about our Paleo meals and raising her daughter to be an adventurous eater!

Jessica, you’ve been a part of our cooking community for so long! We’re truly happy to have such a supportive Kitchen Hero. How long have you been a member of Cook Smarts’ meal plan service and how did you hear about us?

5 years ago, I heard about Cook Smarts from a popular local blogger acquaintance of mine, Kath at Kath Eats Real Food.

We know that you often eat according to the Paleo diet. Tell us about your experience with our Paleo recipe versions and what you love about them.

My husband and I both love the healthy way we feel when eating Paleo; my daughter loves most of the meals too. I’ve found that the Cook Smarts Paleo recipes consistently use fresh ingredients, are nutritious, and offer a wonderful variety of flavors.

When we last talked with you, we were so happy to know our weekly meal plans helped you make time to cook, even with a little toddler running around. Now that your daughter is 7 years old, how does Cook Smarts help your family life?

Now that my daughter is 7, I still love the ease of meal planning by receiving new weekly recipes and customizable grocery lists. The meal plan has gotten even better now that there’s a large archive full of recipes that I’ve favorited. I believe that my daughter becoming an adventurous eater is in a big way thanks to the variety of the recipes we eat weekly through Cook Smarts.

“The recipes offered at Cook Smarts are truly amazing; we have so many favorites over the last 5 years!”

Now let’s give our readers a peek into your cooking routine. What is your daily / weekly cooking routine like? How do you tackle shopping, prep, and leftovers?

First thing Thursday morning, I enjoy meal planning for the upcoming week with a cup of coffee in hand. I compile my grocery list and add in sale items from our neighborhood grocery store. Friday, after work, my husband does the grocery shopping on his way home.

On Saturday morning, I prep and chop all the vegetables that I can so that they’re ready to go (often onions, bell peppers, carrots, and sweet potatoes) – this usually takes about 20-30 minutes.

During the week, when cooking the meal, I find it time saving to prep any sauces or dressings while the proteins and veggies are sautéing. I also cook a double portion of each meal so that we’ll have dinner and lunch for my husband and I the next day.

If there was one tip you could give to any parent who wants to make nutritious meals for their family despite their hectic schedule, what would it be?

My suggestion would be to cook during the time of day that you’re most relaxed and energized, and use a method that works for you. I know some people like to batch cook on the weekends or freeze meals in advance. I actually cook our dinner in the mornings before we go to work or school! This has worked wonderfully for me the last two years. It takes me less than 30 minutes to cook and I’m already in the kitchen anyway helping to prepare breakfast, emptying the dishwasher or packing up pre-made lunches. I love having our meal ready to go and able to be heated at whatever time needed in our busy afternoons / evenings.

And finally, what are your top 3 favorite Cook Smarts meals?

The recipes offered at Cook Smarts are truly amazing; we have so many favorites over the last 5 years! Here’s some of our favorite Paleo and Original meals:

Paleo: Salmon, Bacon, Avocado, & Tomato Stackers; Sopa Azteca with Chicken; Cobb Salad with Pulled Pork; Italian Sausage and Chard Soup

Original: Fattoush Salad; Paneer Tomato and Spinach Curry; Cassoulet; Skillet Enchiladas with Ground Beef; Curried Turkey Pot Pie

Jessica, thank you so much for letting us visit you again and giving us a peek into your daily life in the kitchen! We are so glad that our meal planning service continues to help get nutritious meals on your table and expand your daughter’s food experiences. We look forward to seeing more of your great dinner photos in our Facebook community!

To join Jessica and cook meals like her favorite Sopa Azteca with Chicken and Skillet Enchiladas with Ground Beef, check out our meal plan service. You can get started for free!


Jessica: Paleo Planner Extraordinaire | Cook Smarts Kitchen Hero


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