Sarah: Experiencing New Flavors in the Kitchen

  • By Jackie Sun
  • September 24, 2014

I feel a sense of accomplishment when I can put a meal together.


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Sarah: Hero in the Kitchen via @CookSmarts
Louisiana is home to many delicious dishes, as well as amazing home cooks, like Sarah and her family. As scrumptious as these Southern meals are, Sarah wanted to try dishes from other cuisines. So like the Kitchen Hero that she is, she delved into the world of experimenting with new flavors in the kitchen, improving on her cooking skills, and expanding her palate by trying things she thought she wouldn’t like. With an open mind, Sarah has discovered new favorite dishes and got her husband to eat more veggies! Read her Hero in the Kitchen story below.

Name: Sarah Simmons
Age: 32
City, State: Tucson, AZ
I cook for: myself & my husband.
I cook because: I like to cook. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I can put a meal together. I strive to eat balanced with a lot of veggies. Cooking at home helps me meet that goal better than eating out.
Outside of the kitchen I: am an environmental engineer.
Favorite Cook Smarts meal: Grilled rack of lamb w/ sun-dried tomato pesto. I’ve never cooked lamb myself and wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, and it was so yummy!

How did you learn to cook?
I learned from my mom. I’m originally from Louisiana and the women of my family are good cooks. As I got older though, I wanted to learn how to cook differently from my origins. I like to try out recipes from different types of cuisines.

How has your cooking routine changed since starting Cook Smarts’ meal plans?
I used to try to prep and cook meals on Sundays that I could heat up during the week. Good in theory, but it was stressing me out on Sundays. I also missed the fresh dinners during the week and the variety.

With Cook Smarts, I still have Sunday prep but it is less and I get the fresh dinners during the week. I also get awesome lunches, which means less prep for that. So it’s a win-win deal for me.

What have you learned since starting Cook Smarts’ meal plans?
Cook Smarts has helped me improve some cooking gaps, specifically efficiently and effectively chopping. Cook Smarts has also allowed me to try different cuisines that I don’t normally cook from and have been pleasantly surprised. I’ll think, “I’m not sure I’m going to like this,” and I always like it. So it’s helped me expand my palate too and get more veggies in my husband. He’s anti-veggie.

“The more I cook, the more comfortable I am in the kitchen, whipping things up from scratch.”

Tell us about your proudest kitchen moment.
Learning how to cook risotto from scratch made me feel like such a chef! The more I cook, the more comfortable I am in the kitchen, whipping things up from scratch, and knowing how things are supposed to cook and what they should look like helps.

What are your tips for health and success in the kitchen?
I like being in the kitchen, but when I’m not really feeling it, I put on some music and / or drink a glass of wine while I’m prepping or cooking. I also clean up as I’m cooking, so my kitchen doesn’t look like a bomb went off when I’m done. This happens…most of the time. When it doesn’t happen, that’s what the husband is for. 😉

We like how you think, Sarah! It’s always best to find ways to make cooking stress-free. That way, you’ll be able to enjoy your meals. And with all of the new dishes you are trying, those meals will surely be taking your taste buds on a trip around the world!

Sarah's favorite @CookSmarts meal: Grilled Rack of Lamb with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

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