103 meal kit recipe cards

From Zero To Hero: The Year I Learned To Cook

It’s almost been a year now. Mid-February, last year, I took a chance and ordered a meal kit from Hello Fresh. Six weeks after that, I wrote the first post of MANY to come about my meal kit journey. That post, titled Did I Ever Mention I Am Not A Good Cook? told a little of the story of my life.  At that point, you found out that “I lived off of Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon PopTarts, McDonalds, and the occasional can of Pork and Beans or Stuffed Crabs to round out my food repertoire.”

How Often Did I Use To Cook?

If I had to guess, I’d say I have “cooked” maybe FIFTY (50) real meals in the previous 40 or so years prior to that post…like the kind of meal that requires chopping veggies, making sauces, and using actual pots and pans on a stove or in an oven. And of those 50 meals (plus or minus a few), the actual number of recipes is closer to FIVE (5). Like…I could only cook a handful of things.

In the span of one year, THAT ALL CHANGED.


That’s the number of  REAL meals I’ve cooked, with fresh ingredients, in the last year. Here are some photos of the recipe cards. Check it out, y’all!

I’ve blogged about most of them; about 85% or so. The blogging was fun, but not nearly as great as the actual experience.

I can cook now! I mean, really! I can cook fan-freaking-tastic meals now. Sure, I still rely on recipe cards a LOT, but so what?

  • I chop vegetables.
  • I make sauces.
  • I cook and make incredibly delicious and beautiful meals!

I mean, WOW.

Support Matters

Gail loves eating the interesting, often completely unfamiliar flavors that ends up on her plate now. She has definitely been a champ through the last year. She was willing to let me try new things, without any complaints. If I cooked it, she ate it! Luckily, she loved most of the meals. There were very very few that we didn’t at least like quite a bit.

Life Changing, Emotionally

There’s much less time in each week for me to find an excuse to eat bad food. I feel great that I am producing delicious, gorgeous, and healthy meals for us now.

You have no idea how much confidence I’ve gained in the kitchen since this journey began. I’m so grateful for the various meal kit companies for helping me change our lives in this way.

For far too many years, I’ve been a major loser in the kitchen – a ZERO.

No longer. I’ve gone from ZERO to HERO in one year.


Thanks for letting me share the journey with you over the last year. Your support matters too.

If you think you can’t cook, who knows…maybe that’s not true. Maybe you just need a little help, like I did.

A Few Of Our Favorites

In case you missed any, these are a few of our favorite meals that I’ve cooked in the last year.

My Life Changing Meal

Grilled Cheese and Veggie Jumble (no, not a sandwich)

Spicy Veracruz Shrimp with Brown Rice

Freaky Fried Rice – Or Freekeh To Be Exact

One Pan Chili

Fresh Scallops Over Truffled Mushroom Risotto with Brown Butter Herb Sauce

Thai Lemongrass Chicken Legs with Jasmine Rice and Snow Peas

One-Pan Mushroom Ravioli Gratin with Crispy Parmesan Crust

Tuscan Spiced Shrimp and Orzo with Roasted Tomatoes

Shrimp and Basil Oil Zucchini Ribbons Over Jasmine Rice

Hot Honey Barbecue Chicken Legs with Charred Poblano, Corn, and Sweet Potato Salad

And if your wondering which meal kit service we like best, you’ll want to see this comparison: Blue Apron vs. Home Chef vs. Hello Fresh

If you decide to try Hello Fresh, you can get $40 off your first order by using the coupon code DONNACAV or just click the button below to automatically apply the coupon code. You can freely choose to skip or cancel future deliveries, so there is no lock-in. If you don't like it, no worries. Just skip or cancel.

Disclosure: If you use my coupon code, I also receive credit on my meal kit. We both benefit!

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