Sent 09.06.2012 | Hello! Are you ready to get smarter in your kitchen? We sure hope so! 
Weekly Meal Plans by Cook Smarts

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Thank you so much for subscribing to this newsletter. Over the last 7 months, I've been hanging out in Bay Area kitchens providing in-home cooking lessons, and I realized that regardless of cooking level, every person I worked with shared one common pain point - finding the time to plan what to cook. I am not the first person to realize the value of meal planning, but I will give it my unique spin. I want to do more than just send you all a plan every week. In the spirit of why I started Cook Smarts, I want to give you all some smarts too as we all could use a bit more guidance in the kitchen. Since this is the kick-off, I do suggest you read the FAQs at the bottom of this newsletter. It'll give you a better sense of what you'll be getting in your inbox every Thursday and how to use it.

More importantly, I want you all to understand that this meal plan is for you and to make your life happier, simpler, and smarter in the kitchen. To help me accomplish this goal, I'll need your help in two ways: 1) Provide me feedback. We want each week's plan to be something you look forward to getting, so help us make it great by clicking on the feedback link every week (located at the right sidebar) to rate this week's plan. It's short and sweet, and I promise to use your input; 2) Share this newsletter. If you like what you see, please do forward to friends, post it to Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and / or talk about it at the office water cooler. The more people on the list, the easier it will be for me to keep this service going (and free!).

I look forward to lots of well-planned meals together.
Thank you,
More about Cook Smarts | More about me


Cook Smarts Weekly Meal Plans | September 10, 2012
Click to download meal plan
(For the non-tech savvy, meal plan will open up as a PDF document in another window, which you can then save to your hard drive)


  • One of the best ways to make your life easier in the kitchen is to do more with your leftovers. This week we teach you how to repurpose the kebabs from Tuesday night's dinner (we chose steak) into a delicious and filling orzo for Wednesday night's dinner. 
Steak kebabs with greek salad
Leftover kebab mediterranean orzo with roasted asparagus
  • When you go through our meal plan, you'll notice that we're really into setting timers. Let technology help you juggle multiple things in the kitchen, and download a timer app onto your smartphone. We use Elapsed on our iPhone to keep track of everything that's happening in our kitchen
  • We start off all our clients with an intro to knife skills. Just because we can't make it to your kitchen doesn't mean you can't see us in action. Check out our Guide to Knife Basics and Safety video here

Tip of the Week

It takes time for flavors to build, so one way to ensure a tasty outcome is to add a pinch of kosher salt every time you add a new ingredient to the cooking process (even if the recipe doesn't say so). For example, if you are make a soup, every time you add a new ingredient to the pot, you should also reach for a pinch of salt as well 


All this can also be found on our website.
  1. What is a meal plan?
    A meal plan is a tool to keep you organized and sane in the kitchen throughout the week. It lays out the meals you'll be cooking, the groceries required, and lastly what you need to do to make it all happen
  2. What do you include in your meal planning newsletter?
    Your meal plan will be delivered to your inbox every week on Thursday via a newsletter. It will include a menu for the week, a grocery list, plus nightly action plans. The menu takes into account shelf life of certain ingredients, so we would never tell you to cook something on Thursday that is likely to already be rotten. The grocery list has room for you to write in breakfast and lunch meals as well as additional groceries needed. Our nightly action plans help you combine 2 to 3 recipes efficiently vs. making you do it yourself after a long day. Most importantly, we sprinkle smarts throughout the meal plan so you end up with a mini-cooking lesson every week. How awesome is that?
  3. How do you come up with the items in your meal plan?
    We make sure our meals check a couple of important boxes. We want them to be practical and doable for the home cook, which means no hard-to-find ingredients and nothing that takes much longer than 30 minutes (if not under). We also look for healthy dishes, keep the meat and dairy moderate, and try to be light on the carbs as well. Lastly, we want to make the dishes fun. We try to have a good rotation of ingredients so you might discover a few new things and learn a few new tricks in the kitchen while you're cooking too
  4. The nightly action plans seem long. Can I really do them?
    The reason they're a bit "wordy" is since we don't know what your cooking level is, we try to offer you more information and instruction, just in case! Plus, we put a lot of tips throughout the instructions, which a lot of standard recipes won't do
  5. Do I need to make everything in the meal plan?
    No, but there are some interdependencies between menu items. When we come up with our meal plan, one of the most important factors we consider is efficiency, which means we might make a big batch of something, and it gets used over several meals. We recommend reading through the plan just to make sure you're not missing anything that is made on a meal that you're not cooking
  6. How many people does your meal plan serve?
    All our dishes are meant to serve 4. If you only have 2 in your home, you can still make the full recipe and have leftovers for lunch . . . that's a lot fewer meals to think about, and a lot of money saved!
  7. Do you have meal plans for certain diet restrictions?
    At the moment, we don't offer meal plans for specific diet restrictions as part of our meal planning newsletter. In our "Smarts" section of each menu item, we offer tips for substitutes when possible. Most of the meals we choose are incredibly versatile to turn vegetarian, gluten-free, lactose-free, or low-carb
  8. Can I get a customized meal plan?
    Yes you can. To do that, contact us at, and we'll tell you how it works. Our customized meal plans start at $25 / weekly meal plan depending on the level of complexity and number of meals desired

Your Photos

We want to feature your delicious meal photos right here! Send them over to, and we'll put it in our next newsletter


Your feedback is incredibly important to us. To give us input on this week's meal plan, head on over to our survey

Suggested Reading

How to prevent food from going bad
How to roast vegetables with lots of flavor
How to organize your kitchen

Suggested Viewing

3 essential pans
ow to store herbs
How to chop an onion

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