Rebecca: Exploring New Flavors
I’d always shied away from Asian cooking because I didn’t have an intuitive sense of how the flavours came together…Now I’m whipping up stir-fries and curries and potstickers on the reg. – Rebecca
Kitchen Hero Rebecca really started getting into cooking when she had kids, but even then, planning for dinner produced constant stress. With some meal planning help, cooking became an activity that Rebecca looked forward to, and her willingness to try new things led her to delicious discoveries. Now you can find this Kitchen Hero and mom cooking up all kinds of Indian and Asian foods, and encouraging her kids to explore new flavors with her. Read more in her Hero in the Kitchen story below.
Name: Rebecca Keenan
City, State: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I cook for: myself, my husband and my three kids, ages 10, 7, and 4.
Outside of the kitchen I: work as a freelance writer and blogger, and watch a lot of t-ball.
My favorite cuisine to cook is: Italian. I can turn anything into a pasta.
Favorite Cook Smarts meal so far: Ooh, that’s a hard one! Recipes like Spaghetti with Beef Ragu are always going to be family favourites, but I love using ingredients from different cuisines in unexpected ways like the Indian Banh Mi with Meatballs.
HOW DID YOU LEARN TO COOK?
It’s been a gradual lifelong process, really. Working in restaurants in my twenties helped me see how the chefs were able to build delicious dishes. Then, once I had kids, I really had to learn to put together meals day in and day out.
WHAT’S BEEN YOUR BIGGEST COOKING CHALLENGE?
Planning! That’s why I love Cook Smarts. Honestly, I would never know what was going to be for dinner until that evening and, even though I could whip up a decent meal, it was a source of constant stress.
HOW HAS YOUR COOKING ROUTINE CHANGED, and what have you learned, SINCE STARTING COOK SMARTS’ MEAL PLANS?
Having the ingredients on hand and the recipes ready to go has completely changed the game. We eat much less take-out and I look forward to cooking dinner rather than dreading the nightly panic. I’ve also learned how to properly prep in advance, if I want a meal made quickly. That’s a skill I can now adapt to any recipe.
“We’ve discovered flavours and ingredients that we love that I never would have tried before.”
tell us about your proudest kitchen moment.
It was probably early on in my Cook Smarts experience. I cooked the Tom Kha Gai Soup and it was absolutely delicious. I’d always shied away from Asian cooking because I didn’t have an intuitive sense of how the flavours came together. Of course, now I’m whipping up stir-fries and curries and potstickers on the reg.
What are your tips for health and success in the kitchen?
I’d encourage people not to be afraid to try new things. Not every dish is going to be your favourite, but remember that it’s only dinner. We’ve discovered flavours and ingredients that we love that I never would have tried before.
And when you’re cooking for kids, try not to restrict yourself to food you know they’ll like either. I feed my kids breakfast, lunch and snacks that I know they’ll eat and then dinner is whatever I want. Even if they only eat plain rice, they’re encouraged to taste the rest. They usually come around and my kids will eat most of the Cook Smarts meals now.
Thanks for all your great tips, Rebecca, especially on raising healthy eaters! We’re always thrilled to hear whenever your kids have tried new foods, and even better, enjoyed the new dishes they’ve tried. And the fact that you’re whipping up meals that you never thought to cook before makes us very, very proud!