This post is sponsored by Cook Smarts.
You all know my love for Cook Smarts, but did you know I have gotten lots of my friends hooked too? We are all putting delicious meals on our family tables each night and saving time in the kitchen. We even have a Voxer group where we discuss the recipes with comments like:
“I just made the fish – it was amazing! I would recommend parmesan cheese on top!”
“Did you guys make the chicken yet? I’m wondering if I can cook it at nap time and reheat or if it will be better fresh?”
One day we were chatting about how much Cook Smarts has changed how we cook, and I had the idea to invite them to share their feedback in a blog post. I asked Sarah G., Alice, and Sarah S. if they would share, and their answers are below.
How has Cook Smarts changed how you meal plan?
Sarah G: Cook Smarts has REVOLUTIONIZED how I meal plan. I used to dread having to decide what to make for the week. I would search the internet for “good” gluten-free recipes and/or make the same 5 dishes over and over. But Cook Smarts takes the work out! Now I have tried and true gluten-free recipes at my fingertips every week.
Alice: For the first time I actually meal plan as opposed to just having a bunch of random things in the house that I threw together day of. I have half a dozen recipes that I would rotate through but this has allowed me to broaden my horizons and make awesome healthy meals that are constantly changing and different each week. I also find that I’m able to reuse ingredients and there is much less waste in my kitchen. I’m not throwing away rotten vegetables!
Sarah S: Cook Smarts has made me a lot more organized, and my life less hectic in regards to meal planning. I used to get overwhelmed with meal planning and grocery shopping. I would then overspend on groceries because I could never properly orchestrate meal plans for my family. I love that I can customize my meals for the week and a grocery list is then emailed to me. This not only saves me time but my husband is very happy with my grocery budget these days :).
What is your favorite part of the service?
Sarah G: I love the feeling that I have a “partner” in the kitchen with me. Jess’ personality shows through her videos and her recipe summaries and the service is absolutely making me a better cook. I ENJOY cooking now! I even wear an apron. And I love love love how I always have fresh herbs, lemons, and limes in my kitchen now. (And know how to use them… what??)
Alice: The Sunday prep day is a lifesaver! I also love the ability to customize each individual meal to my needs. I am 90% vegetarian but I do occasionally eat seafood, so it’s nice to be able to have both of those options.
Sarah S: I love that I can customize our meal plan to best fit our family and then a grocery list is emailed to me. I feel like I save time and money while further enhancing my culinary skills.
Do you do a Sunday prep day or do you make the recipes on the spot? Do you find the recipes and grocery list to be user friendly?
Sarah G: I don’t do a one day prep but if I were a working mom I would absolutely benefit from this! I usually have my afternoons free so I tend to prep in late afternoon. And it works for me. I don’t use the grocery list because I just find it more convenient to scan the ingredients on the actual recipe and just write down what I don’t already have.
Alice: I do the Sunday prep day and it has changed how I am able to spend my week parenting. I used to spend nap times stressed out trying to get everything done: laundry, dishes, dinner, cleaning etc. Depending how my two children under the age of three nap, there’s never enough time and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Now being able to prep for the weeks meals on Sunday has given me the ability to feel ahead of the game with my parenting and my household chores. Now it’s not the end of the world if my kids are not sleeping at the same time because I have flexibility that I didn’t before. I find the recipes to be user-friendly, and I often prep even more than the make-ahead list recommends so I have nearly everything for the whole week prepped.
Sarah S: I’m a recipe on the spot girl : ). I usually do my prep for my nightly meals during nap time. I find the recipes and grocery list super easy. I can generally complete a Cook Smarts entree in about 30-40 minutes.
Does your toddler like the meals?
Sarah G: No! But this isn’t saying anything negative about Cook Smarts, trust me.
Alice: For the most part, yes. Although she has been so picky lately, she isn’t the most reliable critic.
Sarah S: My two-year old has become a picky eater but she will nosh down on a lot of the Cook Smarts meals. She loves the Turkish Meatballs, Pulled BBQ Chicken Tacos, and Sweet Potato Soup.
What has been your favorite meal so far?
Sarah G: Oh my… I have to choose ONE? I’d have to say the Mustard Roasted Haddock, but there are lots of close seconds.
Alice: I loved everything that had to do with the Spinach Artichoke Pesto. That was amazing!
Sarah S: We love love healthy Mexican food so I would have to say the Pulled BBQ Chicken Tacos and Fish Tacos.
Would you recommend Cook Smarts to other moms and why?
Sarah G: I recommend Cook Smarts all the time! To the point of harassment. It’s just really changed my life, and it kills me to see moms in the same old “I hate cooking/don’t know what to make” rut. Cooking dinner is a hard thing to do day after day if you don’t ENJOY it and Cook Smarts makes it enjoyable. And I love tasting every single creation. It’s fun!
Alice: I already have and will continue to do so. The meals are healthy, fresh, creative, fun, and easy. My husband loves them and the ability to have cooking be enjoyable coupled with the ability to spend more time with my kids and not taking forever to prep every meal every day is wonderful.
Sarah S: I DO recommend Cook Smarts to moms because its an easy way to make healthy meals for your family while staying on a budget.
Nutrition Facts News!
In other news, Jess has added a much-requested feature to the site: NUTRITION FACTS! I know many of you will be so happy.
The design is awesome – it has drop-down menus so you can see a breakdown of what ingredients are contributing to different nutrients. So helpful for recipe customization. And speaking of nutrition, yours truly wrote up a Nutrition FAQ for the Cook Smarts site recently that explains a bit more about how to use a nutrition facts label.
Nutrition facts will be available for all meals in 2014 and future meals in all upcoming plans. The default view is hidden, so if you could care less how many grams of protein are in your dinner, you don’t have to know : )
Giveaway + Coupon
Cook Smarts designed this awesome tote bag featuring their guide to cooking 100 different vegetables. This would be perfect for taking to the farmer’s market all summer long!
You can enter one of three ways (or all three for more entries!): Tweet (1 entry), by email (1 entry) or by signing up for a free Cook Smarts account and leaving a comment on this post with the meal you’d most like to make (worth 5 entries!). Giveaway will run through the weekend and end at midnight on Sunday.
And finally, Jess loves to have me share the love in coupon form. If you’ve put off giving Cook Smarts a try, KERFSPRING14 is good for $13 off annual subscription (= $59). Coupon expires Tuesday, May 6.
This post is sponsored by Cook Smarts.
Links are referral links so only click if you so choose. Many thanks!