Checking In With Cook Smarts

December 6, 2013

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Recall back to September when I did a week of meals with the meal planning service + website called Cook Smarts. They were some of the most delicious meals I made all fall! A few of my mom friends are now subscribers, and I plan on purchasing an annual subscription when my trial ends. I checked in with Kitchen Cheerleader Jess to find out what the latest news is and there is some to share!

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The Cook Smarts website has undergone a huge makeover! Not only is it just as functional as ever, but now the site is mobile friendly too. Thumbs up for cooking from the tablet in the kitchen! This was a much-requested feature, so I’m glad to see it’s come to fruition.

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And the easily-scrollable mobile view:

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As the site has grown in popularity there are now a lot more reviews, so browsing recipes and picking meal plans from the archives is even more interesting with tasting and adapting notes from users. And as always, there’s a new meal plan every week so you’ll never get bored of flavor. image

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I love the meal plans because they take all the guesswork out of “what’s for dinner?” however, sometimes {ok most of the time} my weeks are too choppy to do a full week. Thus, I’ve gone to Cook Smarts a handful of times for a stand alone recipe.

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This Butternut Squash Curry was recommended to me by my friend Meg, and it was smashing!

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Jess gave me permission to share the recipe with you all. It’s packed with nutrition and flavor –

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Last but not least, why not give a Cook Smarts gift certificate this holiday season? Jess has made it possible to give a year, 6 months or quarter. For just $21, busy friends and health nuts alike will appreciate the gift of food possibilities.

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And a little gift for you: the code “KERFGIVE” will get you 20% off gift certificates and subscriptions until December 22.

The post is brought to you by Cook Smarts.

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Julie Rosene December 6, 2013 at 10:19 am

Kath you don’t have to post this but I do all my meal planning for free! Lots of websites offer this! I don’t know if there are any extras to this website, but the ones I use offer grocery lists, allow for reviews of recipes, etc. Maybe I’m just cheap!

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2 Jola December 6, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Can you tell me the websites you’re talking about?
Thanks!!

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3 Melanie December 6, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Ditto what Jola said! I’d like to find this website…

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4 KathEats December 6, 2013 at 2:52 pm

I’ve seen other meal planning resources but nome that are as polished and clean food centric as Cook Smarts. That said,
You can always DIY your own meal plans that morph ingredients.

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5 Julie Rosene December 6, 2013 at 3:46 pm

All recipes.com is my favourite. Just go to the menu planning tab.

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6 Megan December 8, 2013 at 12:22 pm

Epicurious.com is another fabulous freebie! It includes Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Self and other recipes publications. You can search by so many criteria (ingredients, dietary restrictions, course, cuisine, quick and easy, main ingredient, healthy…the list goes on and on) and then save to your own recipe box. There are lots of reviews for each recipe and all include a shopping list.

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7 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More December 6, 2013 at 10:44 am

That butternut squash curry sounds so good! I wonder if I can make it vegan! :)

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8 Jess December 6, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Katie, the only thing you need to do to make it vegan is substitute soy sauce for fish sauce. Otherwise, all the other ingredients are already vegan! Enjoy.

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9 Ty December 10, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Katie, I would also check your curry paste as 99% of the ones I’ve seen have fish sauce in them. A great idea if you like curry is to make up some curry paste of your own I was able to find most of the ingredients I needed in Whole Foods. (Of course many Asian Markets carry all the ingredients fresh, and this is a much better option.) You can make up a larger batch, and freeze it for up to 6 months. As for vegan fish sauce I have seen a few recipes although I have not tried them myself, a quick Google search might do the trick.

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10 Christina Strudwick December 6, 2013 at 11:37 am

I LOVE CookSmarts!! and the updates! I cook with my tablet too :)

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11 Elizabeth December 6, 2013 at 11:51 am

I love this site! You need to try the almond encrusted tilapia with coconut oil! Amazing!

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12 Justeen December 6, 2013 at 11:59 am

This curry looks like something I would love! I am going to pick up the ingredients to make it this weekend!

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13 Justeen December 7, 2013 at 11:28 pm

I made the curry for dinner tonight and served it over brown jasmine rice. It was delicious! I subbed frozen green beans and peas for the kale because that’s what I had on hand. Thanks for sharing!

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14 @Simple Green Moms December 6, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Have been debating whether or not to pay for the full subscription but may have to especially with your awesome 20% off! =) thanks for sharing!!!

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15 Tara December 6, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Where are your dishes from? Love the simple white!

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16 KathEats December 6, 2013 at 3:25 pm

They are a boutique kind Karen bought us years ago before white square plates were cool. Now you can find them in most stores and they all seem to be good and just like ours. Great news if we ever need a replacement!

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17 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats December 6, 2013 at 1:54 pm

I love that they have reviews of the recipes as well, I might have to look into this!

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18 Kristin December 6, 2013 at 3:11 pm

What is the dish above the butternut squash curry? It looks so yummy!!

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19 KathEats December 6, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Yup!

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20 Rachel December 7, 2013 at 8:57 am

I think she was asking about the dish above the butternut squash curry…am curious what it is called too!

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21 KathEats December 7, 2013 at 12:58 pm

Or sorry I read that as “was!”

It was a slow cooker chicken stew over polenta. A great dish!

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22 Kristin December 8, 2013 at 1:05 am

Yes, thank you! I want to try these dishes!

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23 Fancy December 6, 2013 at 3:31 pm

I joined Cook Smarts the day I read your post on it and the first week I LOVED it! I learned how to make a simple delicious homemade sauce, an amazing eggplant dish, and pizza! I loved these recipes because the ingredients were so simple and basic, nothing fancy. Sadly, there has never been a week with ingredients and tastes as simple as that first one was, and nothing that I have wanted to cook since. I will not be renewing my subscription. It’s a great idea for a website, but I wish it would stick to just the basics like homemade sauce and pizza :(

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24 KathEats December 6, 2013 at 3:56 pm

I’m sure jess will appreciate the feedback

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25 Jess January 6, 2014 at 12:12 am

Fancy, Thanks so much for the feedback! I’ll definitely take it into consideration for future menus.

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26 Shel@PeachyPalate December 6, 2013 at 3:37 pm

That would really make for an awesome gift! Love the simplicity of the curry…butternut and curry = heaven! Some mushrooms in there would make it mighty!

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27 Melissa December 6, 2013 at 4:32 pm

This looks like such an awesome service!

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28 Emily December 6, 2013 at 4:51 pm

the curry sounds delish! just wondering, do you have any suggestions for replacements for the fish sauce?

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29 Becky December 7, 2013 at 9:28 am

You could use a light soy sauce. I’ve seen miso & worcestershire sauce mentioned as a substitute as well.

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30 Maria December 6, 2013 at 8:53 pm

I’ve been on this website a few times. This would definitely make a good gift for someone :-)

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31 Grace December 6, 2013 at 9:55 pm

I subscribed to Cook Smarts after your original post and it has changed my life, I swear!! I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old, and work full time outside the home, as does my husband. To not have to meal plan or make a grocery list has been HUGE for us. I think we’ve made nearly every meal in the 2+ months we’ve been a members. I love that the ingredient lists are generally simple (the most exotic and expensive thing I’ve purchased is miso at $7 a bag). I also really really love the video instruction. My husband is an accomplished home cook but I am not. Cook Smarts has allowed me to contribute dinner a couple times a week, which I think he appreciates. Perhaps our success is due to the fact that we don’t care if a recipe sounds good to us or not. We just make it. And 99.9% of the meals have been really, really good. We’ve incorporated more fish and veggies into our weekly diet. And I love that one meal is generally vegetarian. Anyway, I’ll stop gushing but I’m super super happy with this service. Thanks for introducing it to your readers, Kath.

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32 Lisa @bitesforbabies December 7, 2013 at 8:21 am

That’s awesome Grace! If I service encourages someone to get into the kitchen (and enjoy cooking) then they’ve done their job well ;-)

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33 Dara December 7, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Me too Grace! I can’t say enough good things about it!

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34 Jess January 6, 2014 at 12:13 am

Thanks Grace! We’re so glad you’re loving the service and feeling more confident in the kitchen!

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35 Sabrina @ Living, Learning, Eating December 7, 2013 at 11:51 am

That sounds like a fun idea – I prefer not to plan meals (it feels stifling to me, since so much else in my life with school and work and everything has to be organized and orderly, it’s nice to be able to just eat whatever I feel like whenever I want). I can definitely see the merits of this, however, especially for those in charge of food for multiple people!

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36 Dara December 7, 2013 at 4:58 pm

I also joined just after your first post and I love it!! I started out making all 4 meals each week, but found that 2-3 per week is better for our family. My kids almost always love everything I’ve made from there, even after I get an “ew” when they ask what is for dinner. The grocery list is amazing and makes shopping so much easier, quicker and more efficient. Thanks for the recommendation and thanks to Jess for such a great service!!

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37 Kristin December 8, 2013 at 1:10 am

Are you able to make simple changes to the recipes? I was thinking the curry recipe would be good with quinoa (instead of rice) and maybe miso broth (instead of chicken). We have picky eaters at home so I’m curious if it’s easy to get simple substitute suggestions with Cook Smarts?

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38 KathEats December 8, 2013 at 8:59 am

You can make whatever changes you want so long as you note them on the grocery list. There are some suggestions on the sidebars too

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39 Keri December 8, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Yay! Thanks for the tip. Hadn’t heart of Cook Smarts, and it’s Sunday night, so I am meal planning for the week. Might have to make sure the Butternut Squash recipe is on our menu this week–sounds perfect of a cold night :)

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40 Anna @ Fitness à la Anna December 9, 2013 at 12:01 pm

This looks like such a great service, especially now that it is smart-phone accessible! Thanks for sharing the curry recipe, looks delish :)

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