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MEAL PLANS THAT WILL SAVE YOU IN THE KITCHEN

Feb 24, 2014   |   Eat
Momtributor : Agnes Hsu
2
3652
 
 
 
As busy parents, we all strive to provide our families healthy, simple and delicious meals. A consistent conversation across many parents I know is centered around meal time - what are our sources for simple, kid-friendly recipes, good dinner options, and recipe tips. Personally, I find myself battling the question "what's for dinner tonight" more often than I'd like.

Enter Cook Smarts to the rescue. I first learned about Cook Smarts through a friend who introduced me to the founder, Jess Dang. A veteran cook and your "personal kitchen cheerleader," Jess' mission is to "help every home cook live happier, healthier and smarter in the kitchen." 

Cook Smarts creates weekly meal plans and education cooking content to help you towards providing healthy and and simple meals to prepare. 


Each week you receive:

- 4 easy dinners

- Ability to customize for paleo, gluten-free or vegetarian diets

- One click grocery lists


- Access to past week's meal plans and recipes







Once you become a member, you can browse their past archives of recipes and choose from countless options.  Each recipe includes quick video cooking techniques embedded right in the recipe to help you out. You can save your "favorites" so you can easily view all the dishes you like in one easy place. 

For every week's menu, tips are included on how to incorporate many of the ingredients in one meal into another for the same week. For example, Monday's vinagraitte may be used for the burgers or sandwiches on another day in the same week. This simplifies meal planning and grocery shopping. 

Prep tips and ideas for leftovers are also included. There's no waste and a recommended use for almost every dish or ingredient. 






I was given a subscription to try out and was immensely impressed with the variety and simple, delicious recipes available for both kids and adults.

For example, I used Cook Smarts for a dinner party I was hosting for another family so I knew the dishes had to be kid-friendly. Browsing through the recipe archives, I settled on the following: 





This delicious Coconut Curry Shrimp Rice was bursting with flavor and texture from the crunch of peanuts and zest from the lime. The light sweetness from the coconut milk was a great kid-friendly option along with the peas and carrots. Prep was easy and made in one pan, my favorite way to cook!







Roasted Butternut Squash Salad accompanied our meal. The adults loved the salad greens of course, and the roasted butternut squash and apples were a hit with the kids. This salad was hearty and featured a delicious honey, balsamic vinagraitte that was so easy to make. 






For our entree, we made this Maple Dijon Panko Crusted Salmon. This was a crowd favorite - the crust baked up perfectly and had a sweet and savory kick from the maple and mustard. Our guests raved about this dish and it was a simple matter of whipping up the crust in one bowl and baking in the oven.









I've had a chance to use Cook Smarts for several weekday dinner options for the kids and it's been a lifesaver to know there's a source I can quickly go to that's reliable. For example, I made this quick Hummus and Roasted Butternut Squash Pizza which only required a few ingredients and was so tasty my daughter finished it and promptly asked "mommy, can we have this pizza again tomorrow night?"  

Although I've made pizzas countless times, I've never thought to add hummus before and it gave the pizza such an interesting and tasty flavor. That's what I like about Cook Smarts, simple meals with unique ideas you may have not thought of before.









Here's another quick weekday night dinner I made that the whole family enjoyed - Rotisserie Chicken Pot Pie. This recipe included sweet potatoes which I thought was a unique and healthy variation from traditional white potatoes. I served them up in mini jars to to make them fun to eat and packaged some leftovers for another family who raved about the meal. 

If you're looking to add variety to your family's dinners and want simple, healthy ideas and tips, or would like to simplify the meal planning process, I would highly encourage checking out Cook Smarts.

Signing up for an account is free and you immediately get access to 3 free meal plans. Ongoing monthly plans start as low as $6/month and you have the option of annual, quarterly or monthly plans. You can also check out their blog for lots of free recipe ideas and tips. 

Follow Cook Smarts on Facebook
 or on Twitter and Pinterest


{Disclosure} I was provided a 3 month meal subscription to try out. No other compensation was provided. All opinions expressed are my own. 

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