Nadeen: Cooking to Perfection

I like to know what is in the food I am eating, and making it myself gives me that certainty. – Nadeen

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Cooking comes easily for Kitchen Hero Nadeen, who can throw together a last-minute meal in no time with her pantry essentials. But that doesn’t mean that she is free from cooking challenges, especially when they are health-related. Despite these obstacles, Nadeen is able to figure out her recipe for cooking perfection – home cooked meals filled with joy, good memories, and whenever possible, shared with loved ones! Read more in her Hero in the Kitchen story below.

Name: Nadeen Sakowski
City, State: Wake Forest, NC
I cook for: myself.
Outside of the kitchen I: work in software to pay the bills and do agility with my two Border Collies (photo above) because I am an insane person.
If I could have any superpower, it would be: Just one? That means I would have to give up some of my current superpowers. I guess I will have to give up my ability to read minds since that gets me into more trouble than I care to admit.
I cook because: I love to cook. Though it isn’t much fun cooking for one.
Favorite Cook Smarts meal so far: That is a hard question. Since I am a rule breaker by nature I am picking two: 1) Slow cooker anything but especially Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili and 2) Tom Kha Gai Soup.


Being a reader and a budding cook, I bought a cookbook and then a few more and, well, ended up with a pretty hefty collection. I actually read them and I am pretty good at looking at a recipe and telling if it is going to work or not, though the first time I make it, I try to give the author the benefit of the doubt and follow the recipe. However, I have moved quite a bit and in my last move, I gave up over 100 cookbooks. I did keep a few of my favorites, including some signed editions by my favorite cooks.


I was a vegetarian for over 15 years but had to give it up last year. Switching to eating some meats was hard for me. To make matters more challenging, I am being treated for colon cancer right now. A recent surgery has made most of my favorite vegetables off limits. For someone who loves almost every vegetable, this has been more painful than I care to admit. Add to that a loss of appetite, and I find myself looking for interesting dishes to make in the hopes I will eat them.

“[Cook Smarts] got me out of a rut of making the same dishes over and over again.”


A friend who gave me a gift certificate introduced me to Cook Smarts. It got me out of a rut of making the same dishes over and over again.

tell us about your proudest kitchen moment.

I used to host what I called an Orphan Thanksgiving for everyone I knew, and some folks I didn’t know, who had nowhere else to go. Those were my proudest moments because they were Thanksgivings filled with joy, friendship, good food, surprising moments and NO DRAMA. That is my idea of a perfect kitchen.

What are your tips for health and success in the kitchen?

Plan ahead and use real food. I have never been one to use processed foods, and I do take-out dinners about once a year. I always have certain basic pantry staples on hand, and I can turn out a good dinner even for surprise guests in short order. I like to know what is in the food I am eating, and making it myself gives me that certainty.

Wow, take-out dinner only once a year! That sure is impressive, Nadeen! But even more impressive is how you make your home cooked meals work for you. It’s such a bummer to not be able to eat your favorite veggies, but the food photos you have shared with us of your homemade meals is proof that you are constantly churning out awesome meals from your kitchen. Thanks for letting us be a part of your cooking journey!

To join Nadeen and cook meals like her favorite Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili and Tom Kha Gai Soup, check out our meal plan service. You can get started for free!


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