...because home doesn't happen overnight.

*THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.*

Congrats to Megan! She’s going to use Cook Smarts and her Whole Foods gift card to whip up a vegetarian dish for her family.

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I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m not particularly fond of cooking. My biggest tiff with the whole process is coming up with ideas for meals and organizing grocery lists. But as much as I detest it, meal planning really does make a difference in how well our weeknights go – especially during the school year. Enter Cook Smarts.

weekly meal plan

Cook Smarts takes the guesswork out of meal planning. Their weekly meal plans include four balanced dinners to save time and money and bring you out of the dreaded dinner rut.

paleo option

Steve has been eating paleo most of the time for the last six months so, by default, the rest of us have been, too. Each Cook Smarts recipe can be customized to a gluten-free, paleo or vegetarian version. Needless to say, this is a huge and practical benefit to me and my family. Once customized, you can print / email the meal plans and create grocery lists with the click of a mouse. Done!

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The kids and I are out of town this week and next. Right before we left, I threw together an early Father’s Day meal since we won’t return until the day before the actual holiday. Seeing as how I’m barely functioning a day after making the 16-hour drive with three kids, I’m guessing I won’t be in any condition to entertain when I return home. (In case you’re wondering, the total sleep time for the entire drive for all three kids was…wait for it…50 minutes. And it was broken up at that. Gotta love road trips with kids!) I searched the recipe archives and decided to try the chipotle burger recipe.

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It isn’t a Father’s Day meal without some grilling action! If you need to brush up on your grilling skills, Cook Smarts offers short how-to and prep videos which teach basic cooking skills to boost your cooking confidence.

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I topped the chipotle burgers with homemade guacamole and served them with sweet potato fries, steamed broccoli and our favorite pasta salad from a local gourmet deli. Since we were entertaining extended family members who don’t follow a paleo diet, I didn’t customize this particular recipe.

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The burgers were so good! They had a bit of a smoky bite to them that was tempered by the guac. I will definitely be making these burgers again!

i made this recipe

To keep a running list of the recipes we try, I click the “I made this” button at the bottom of each recipe.

favorited recipe

To denote favorites, I click the button above the dish’s photo. And just like that, everything is organized for me. It really is a smart setup. For a more in-depth guided tour of the site, click here. Who knows? Maybe cooking in the kitchen could eventually become my happy place??

jess at cook smarts

As easy as Cook Smarts makes it to live smarter, happier and simpler in the kitchen (I find cooking isn’t as awful when I have a plan of attack) what really inspires me is the story behind the business. The website was founded by Jess Dang who, after being diagnosed with Hepatitis C at the age of 17, made a promise to herself. If she lived to see 30, she would do something that would help others lead a healthier life because she knew first-hand how much “it sucked to feel unhealthy and helpless.” Jess is now 32 and Cook Smarts is 2. Some people become complete victims and wallow in self-pity whenever problems arise in life. But those who choose to make the most of their situation by helping others are extraordinary and inspiring. That is exactly what Jess is to me and I support her mission whole-heartedly.

Are you ready to try Cook Smarts for yourself? Great! You can sign up for free and receive 3 free meal plans to sample. Subscription plans start as low as $6/month or roughly $0.40 per meal. To help you out, Cook Smarts is giving away $250 in groceries! See entry details below.

PRIZE: $250 gift card to Whole Foods plus a Cook Smarts tote bag

RULES: You must be at least 18 years old to enter and have a shipping address (no P.O. boxes please) within the U.S. to enter. One entry per email address.

TO ENTER: Sign up for a free Cook Smarts account here. Then check out the recipe archives and comment on this post sharing the meal you’d most like to try.

DEADLINE: Enter before Sunday, June 8th at 9:00 p.m. EST. One random winner will be announced Monday, June 9th.

BUT, WAIT!, THERE’S MORE: Use the discount code “HTCOOKS” to receive 30% off your first meal plan payment. Offer expires June 10th, 2014. A subscription to Cook Smarts would make a great graduation or wedding gift this summer.

Eat healthy, stay healthy!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking; image of Jess Dang via Cook Smarts

143 Comments

04.June.2014

I’m so intrigued by this! These types of systems often seem too complex to me, but this looks great!

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04.June.2014

This looks very user friendly! I like the balsamic pork chop recipe!

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04.June.2014

I just signed up – the Caramel Chicken Brussels Sprouts Stir Fry looks the best to my pregnant self!

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04.June.2014

As a mom of 2 with # 3 on the way and a cross-country move luming between selling our current house and delivering this babe, I can use all the tools I can get to simplify planning, shopping, and dining!

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04.June.2014

The CHIPOTLE GUACAMOLE BURGERS caught my eye right from the start!

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04.June.2014

What an amazing concept! I am interested in the Chicken with Pineapple Salsa, sounds perfect for this time of year!

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04.June.2014

This service is so helpful. The butternut squash curry looks delicious!

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04.June.2014

Steak Fajitas for sure!! with a heaping side of guac. :)

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04.June.2014

This is just what I need! I am so bad at meal planning… I think that the Mahi Mahi Tacos looks so good and I would love to give this recipe a try!

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04.June.2014

Three Tomato Spaghetti!

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I love that you can make all the recipes vegetarian! The Indian recipes most intrigue me! Yum!

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04.June.2014

At first I was going to say the stovetop mac and cheese….but the apple fennel burgers really spoke to me!

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04.June.2014

I want to try the miso butter salmon!

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04.June.2014

The Panko Crusted Fish Tacos look yummy!

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04.June.2014

You had me at Paleo options…love the concept. I’d love to try the batter less chile rellenos. Thanks for introducing this to me, Dana!

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04.June.2014

Those chipotle guac burgers look great and my husband would love them. And the steak fajitas.

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04.June.2014

What a great prize! I’d love to try the sesame-teriyaki salmon!

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04.June.2014

I love the gluten free option. The apple fennel turkey burgers look amazing.

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04.June.2014

With a baby on the way this is exactly what we need to stop relying on the freezer section at Trader Joe’s! The Maple Dijon Panko crusted Chicken would be a huge hit here. The Pesto spaghetti with shrimp looks awesome too. Thanks!

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04.June.2014

love this already! I would try the pinko chicken nuggets for the kids. My hubby and I eat paleo most of the time and try to get the kids a few meals here and there that are paleo if they don’t complain.

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04.June.2014

I am excited to try the Panko-Crusted Fish Tacos. I think they will be delicious!

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04.June.2014

Dana – Awesome Post! As a male reader of your blog I’d like to see a post by Steve about his Paleo lifestyle choice and workout plan, somthing I’ve been interested in for awhile. Thanks!

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04.June.2014

Mahi Mahi tacos look delicious!

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04.June.2014

Gnocchi with Kale and Sausage sounds sooooo good! This is a great idea!

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04.June.2014

My husband would love those CHIPOTLE GUACAMOLE BURGERS for his father’s day celebration! Will definitely try them!!

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04.June.2014

beef and broccoli stir fry!

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04.June.2014

The chipotle guac burgers look amazing with the pulled pork sandwiches as a close second. Also love the Pine Club pasta salad. Perfect match for the burgers.

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04.June.2014

The MUSHROOM SUNDRIED TOMATO BOLOGNESE looks like a great meal to try out!

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04.June.2014

Steak Fajitas all the way!

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04.June.2014

I usually don’t use meal planners because I’m also paleo and usually they use quite a bit of ingredients I don’t eat, so I really like that you can easily see the paleo/gluten-free substitutions. The Roux Less Andouille Gumbo looks really good.

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04.June.2014

I’m thinking the Three Tomato Spaghetti looks amazing! Thanks for the giveaway!

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04.June.2014

Tilapia en papillote caught my eye, simple looking, but the flavor should be great.

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04.June.2014

The baked coconut shrimp sounds delicious! I hope I win this – love your blog :)

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04.June.2014

The turkey and pico de gallo tacos look delicious! I also can’t wait to try those chipotle burgers!

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04.June.2014

Love this idea! We are palo, and this would be perfect.

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04.June.2014

Such a great giveaway! I would love to try the vegetarian summer chili (with two beans, red pepper, and squash).

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04.June.2014

would love to try the MOROCCAN SPICED CHICKEN AND CARROTS:)

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04.June.2014

This is such a wonderful idea! I’d love to try the Portobello Pesto Pizzas – we’re going through a portobello mushroom phase in this house :)

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04.June.2014

mmmmm I’m loving the CLASSIC TACOS idea!

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04.June.2014

I agree with Melanie – Moroccan spiced chicken!

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04.June.2014

What a great site! All of the pizzas look amazing.

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04.June.2014

What a great idea!! Pesto Spaghetti with Shrimp and Turkish Meatballs look good.

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04.June.2014

I love this site! I am very intrigued by the apple fennel turkey burgers

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04.June.2014

The fish tacos will be made this week! :)

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04.June.2014

I love this idea and would pretty much be excited to cool anything on the site! Meal planning and laundry are my two nemesis chores!

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04.June.2014

I’m looking forward to trying the Salmon with Coconut Aminos Butter.

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04.June.2014

I love the idea of meal planning but it is SO hard to execute week after week with busy schedules! A program like this would be so helpful! I’m interested in trying the Sesame Soy Salmon recipie – YUM!

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04.June.2014

Stovetop mac n’ cheese for me!

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04.June.2014

I would love the recipe for the Potato and Leek soup!

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04.June.2014

I would love to try the pulled pork! I’ve never made it and I’ve been wanting to!

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04.June.2014

Either the Pesto Spaghetti With Shrimp or the Lentil and Sausage Stuffed Tomatoes

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04.June.2014

i think i’m gonna do this! And, I’m going ot make the chicken thai basil this weekend!!!

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04.June.2014

ooh the butternut squash curry looks divine!

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04.June.2014

I just signed up and am excited to try the chicken stir fry. Yum!

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04.June.2014

I’d love to try the Chicken with Pineapple Salsa. Looks yummy!

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04.June.2014

There’s a spaghetti recipe that looks incredible!

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04.June.2014

I like the steak fajitas!!!

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04.June.2014

chipotle burgers you made look fab

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04.June.2014

This is great, I love that you can make it paleo or gluten-free, this makes coming up with dinner ideas so much easier! Would love to try the balsamic pork chops.

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04.June.2014

Cajun fried rice

This is such perfect timing. I have so much trouble coming up with meals. I am so excited about this idea.

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04.June.2014

I’d love to try out the Avgolemono Soup! It sounds so delicious and Spring-like.

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04.June.2014

Amazing! I am always trying to eat Paleo/Gluten Free/Healthy but sometimes fall off the train because I have two jobs, a husband, two dogs and a house to take care of…..which all ends up coming before cooking. I love the set-up of this site and am definitely trying the salmon with coconut aminos butter this weekend….it’s got me drooling.

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04.June.2014

This is intriguing, I think I could get used to something like this for my menu planning. I like that it has the various dietary modifications – it seems like pretty healthy food. The Panko-breaded Chicken “Nuggets” with butternut squash and sweet potato soup looks amazing!

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04.June.2014

The panko breaded chicken “nuggets” look tasty!

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04.June.2014

Mustard roasted fish! I’m gluten free so this looks awesome!

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04.June.2014

The panko crusted chicken nuggets look delish!

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04.June.2014

The Maple Dijon Panko Crusted Chicken looks delicious! Thanks for sharing.

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04.June.2014

The portobello pesto pizzas sound amazing!

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04.June.2014

The chicken Thai basil stir fry looks yummy!

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04.June.2014

Green Curried Broccoli Fried Rice!

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04.June.2014

This is just what my husband and I need. We can never decide what to make for dinner.

Looking through the site got my wheels turning. I’d love to try the Baked Pesto Risotto!

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04.June.2014

Yum! What a fun giveaway and what a great website.
Pureed tomato soup: already made my list and am looking forward to making it tomorrow!

-H

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04.June.2014

I think the apple-turkey burgers sound delicious, and I love a good side salad with strawberries in it.

(And that drive sounds challenging. I can’t even imagine how much of a meltdown Mabrey was having by the end of it.)

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04.June.2014

Cook Smarts looks great, and I would love to try the Turkish pizza with feta!

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04.June.2014

WOW these all look so great… I think I would try the shrimp and two peas green curry stir fry.

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04.June.2014

My youngest is a terrible traveler. Sixteen hours sounds nightmarish!

Baked pesto risotto!

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04.June.2014

I can’t decide on just one recipe! The one I think my family would like the best is the sesame teriyaki salmon. I’m excited to try some of these burger recipes too. Anything to get out of the rut of plain meat.

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04.June.2014

apple fennel turkey burgers, yum!

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04.June.2014

I want to try the Cajun fried rice. My family loves fries rice but it’s hard to find a good tasty recipe.

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04.June.2014

Wow, this is so awesome, I’m loving this! After reading her story, now I remember hearing about this, I’m so happy I came across it again. I would love to try the Roasted Butternut Squash and Hummus Pizza, sounds pretty good and different then what I’m used to eating!

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04.June.2014

What an amazing idea. I too hate to cook because of my family’s restrictions. They are vegetarian and the Pesto Spaghetti w/ Shrimp (or edamame and asparagus) sounds amazing!
Thanks so much for introducing us to this amazing service.

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04.June.2014

I wanted to try to fish tacos because you can’t get a good fish taco here in Virginia.

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04.June.2014

Everything looks delish! Need to try the Mahi Mahi tacos!

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04.June.2014

Good for Steve for dropping the grains! I have been on that path (in my haphazard way) for two years and I’ve lost 12 pounds. That’s .5 pounds a month – still, that’s not the thing, it’s that all of my hand swelling went away. It works perfectly now and as I’m moving around the bedroom cramming spackle into little tiny crevices I am aware of how nice that is. I still don’t cook much, once or twice a week tops. Go Dayna.

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04.June.2014

Those chipotle burgers look good!

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04.June.2014

Yum- The pulled pork sandwiches look delicious. What an interesting concept. Thanks for the giveaway!

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04.June.2014

Stovetop Mac N Cheese FTW!

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Pesto Spaghetti w/ Shrimp please and thank you!

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04.June.2014

I’d like to try the Portobello Pesto Pizzas!

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04.June.2014

The Indian spiced roasted vegetables sound sound so good – and so simple to make!

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04.June.2014

In the meal #3, I would love to try the Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry.

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04.June.2014

Mahi Mahi tacos sound awesome!

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04.June.2014

I’d like the three tomato spaghetti.

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04.June.2014

The Indian Spiced roasted veggies sounds yummy!
https://mealplans.cooksmarts.com/days/10

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04.June.2014

I’d like to try their steak fajitas.

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04.June.2014

I’ve seen cook smarts on a lot of bloggers websites and have wanted to try it for awhile. i love anything with fish in the summer— like their fish tacos!

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04.June.2014

This is so cool! I’m going to try the Panko Crusted Fish Tacos!

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04.June.2014

Dana, ok, this is way off topic (but I do love this idea of a meal plan!)…anyway, wondering the color of your grout for the travertine in the “everything” room? I know I’ve seen it listed before, but I just did an archive scan, and I can’t find it! Thinking it is like a soft grey??

Thank you!

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04.June.2014

The maple dijon panko chicken looks delish!

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05.June.2014

Maple Dijon pinko crusted salmon, Paleo style…sounds delish!

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05.June.2014

I just signed up and am looking to try the Orange Beef Stir fry. I can never get it right on my own!

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05.June.2014

The Panko Crusted Fish Tacos look good!

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05.June.2014

Those apple fennel turkey burgers sound delicious to me. I loved the ability to check out paleo and gluten free options. What a great concept!

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05.June.2014

I would love to try the fish tacos

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05.June.2014

The batterless chile rellenos and portobello pesto pizzas caught my eye. I need this in my life.

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05.June.2014

I would try making the Paneer Tomato Curry or the Tofu Mushroom Scramble. I have never tried cooking paneer or tofu and would love the challenge!

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05.June.2014

So glad you blogged on this, looks easy to use and would make meal planning a whole lot easier! The protobello pesto pizzas look really yummy.

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05.June.2014

This is a great idea. I signed up and the Tofu Mushroom Scramble and the Indian-Spiced Roasted Vegetables look delicious.

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05.June.2014

Panko-Breaded Chicken “Nuggets” with butternut squash and sweet potato soup sounds so delicious! Would love to try this recipe! I signed up as firstrosegrrl@yahoo.com

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05.June.2014

Love this! I would go for the MAPLE DIJON PANKO CRUSTED CHICKEN. =)

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05.June.2014

The Chipotle Guac burger is on my agenda for dinner tonight!

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05.June.2014

the mahi mahi taco’s sound DELIC!!!

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05.June.2014

Id like to try the steak fajitas. I think my family would enjoy them.

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05.June.2014

steak fajitas!!!! yum.

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Such an awesome idea!

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05.June.2014

awesome webiste! i had never even heard of it! and i AM going to make the Chicken Thai Basil Stir Fry!!

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05.June.2014

The Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry sounds so yummy! I’d like to try it first!

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05.June.2014

The panko crusted fish tacos look delicious!

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05.June.2014

Oooh! I love this idea. I want to try the Apple-Fennel Turkey Burgers! As a person who cooks for one [sometimes two with the BF] new recipies for a couple meals would be awesome!

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05.June.2014

The butternut squash curry looks delicious! We’re vegetarian in my house, so it’s awesome that you can customize for that option!

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05.June.2014

Shrimp and grits looks yummy!

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06.June.2014

Very helpful when you do not have a lot of time. For some reason the rotisserie chicken enchiladas are calling me!

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06.June.2014

I think the Chicken Thai Basil stir fry sounds really good!

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06.June.2014

The Sesame-Teriyaki Salmon looks amazing!

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06.June.2014

The potato leek soup and the pesto spaghetti look amazing!

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06.June.2014

I think the panko crusted fish tacos look good.

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[…] you have time, head over to House*Tweaking. Dana is doing a Smart Giveaway. Ends Sunday, so hurry on over. Oh and she also has some Chipotle Burgers for […]

06.June.2014

I want to try the caramel brussel sprouts stir fry!

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06.June.2014

I signed up and I’d love to try the chicken thai basil stir fry. We also just moved into a new place after living with my in-laws, so we’re starting a pantry and staples from scratch and could really use the Whole Foods gift card!!

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06.June.2014

Can’t wait to try the Miso Butter Salmon paleo-fied. Yum!

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Three Tomato Spaghetti sounds simple and fresh!

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07.June.2014

Mmm. I’d definitely start with the Panko crusted fish tacos!

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07.June.2014

The avocado chimmichrurri grilled cheese looks amazing!

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07.June.2014

I’d like to make one teeny tiny suggestion that might help you when you cook. Please for the love of all things safe, get a chef’s knife that fits your hand and learn to use it. It makes prep easier, faster and safer.

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replied on June 8th, 2014

Good to know!

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07.June.2014

I would love to try the Panko Crusted Fish Tacos. Thank you for the chance to win!

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07.June.2014

I’m going to try the Butternut Squash Curry — tomorrow!

I love that I can see reviews from people who have already made the recipe. Also, as my family is making the transition to a Paleo lifestyle, I LOVE that you can upgrade to Paleo. Awesome.

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08.June.2014

Rotisserie Chicken Curry sounds delicious! Love this site, thanks for sharing!!!

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08.June.2014

The turkey tacos sound good!

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The steak fajitas sound delicious!

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08.June.2014

I would like to try the Pesto Spaghetti with Shrimp recipe.

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09.June.2014

[…] – Click here to see who won last week’s Cook Smarts […]

09.June.2014

[…] – Click here to see who won last week’s Cook Smarts […]




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