Family Eats Challenge Jim and Janet, Houston Update 2

by Laura on January 17, 2010

in Family Eats Challenge: Janet and Jim

Two weeks ago, we introduced you to Janet and Jim, our first Family Eats Challenge family. When we last left them, we suggested that they plan meals for the week before they went grocery shopping. Because leftovers are not popular in their household, we felt that if they paid closer attention to preparing the appropriate amount of food for two, then they would not have to deal with leftovers as frequently. We suggested that they pay attention to the recipe’s portion sizes, and purchase only that amount of meat, poultry and other ingredients.

This week, we introduced Janet and Jim to Chef Miki of Melissa’s/World Variety Produce, who will help guide our Challenge Family in meeting their goals.

As we learned from our previous visit with the two, Jim is a picky eater, while Janet is a bit more adventurous. Through her questioning, Chef Miki was able to find out a bit more about what it is Jim likes and doesn’t like about certain foods. Turns out, it is the texture of many of these foods. Generally, Jim does not like foods that have competing textures – which is probably why he does not like casseroles or pot pies. Additionally, other than shrimp, he is not a fan of seafood. He tends towards savory foods and enjoys eating Italian, Mexican and Asian.

As for Janet, she explained that she is willing to try just about anything. The only cuisine she is not fond of is Asian food, but feels that perhaps the reason is that it leaves her unsatisfied.

Because she loves to cook, Janet is ready to get down to business in the kitchen, and start preparing new meals that both she and Jim can enjoy.

Following is an update from Janet:

This challenge sounded so exciting that we couldn’t wait to get started. We did go to the grocery store together this last week and decided on healthy meals for the week together. This was after I made a list and also decided on less meat as recommended. I also was more aware of amounts of food I prepared. Not cooking for 4 but now cooking for 2 I kept reminding myself. I think it went well.

After our conference call with Chef Miki, it was obvious she understood Jim’s likes and dislikes with food. Color, texture, aroma…she got it. Jim and I are looking forward to investigating the Melissa’s website for recipes. We are sure that the site will give us some new ideas to get out of our food rut and it will also provide some new recipes that we are ready to try. What I am personally excited about is that we are now planning meals and shopping for food together. Typically, that was my job. By including Jim in the process, he has become interested in the different types of foods that are available and how they are prepared. He is enjoying the challenge because he is ready to try new foods, new flavors and new recipes.

On another note, but still related to the Family Eats Challenge, I have decided that this year I will purchase the tools I need to actually do a better job at cooking and baking. I have always just “made do” with a focus on other things in raising a family.

This has become a focus for me from purchasing a free-standing double oven I have researched for the lake house to blenders, slow cookers to great measuring cups. I’ve never had any of this stuff. I do want to purchase a slow cooker right now and I am shopping for one of those. I love the tools section of the Family Eats website and find it helpful. Just wanted you to know I am on the move to make my kitchen more comfortable, and stocked with tools of the trade. I’ll keep you posted.

This week’s challenge:

Before we ended the call, Chef Miki asked Jim and Janet to peruse the produce section at and come up with a list of fruits and vegetables that they either like, or would be interested in trying. She also asked them to choose five recipes from the site that are appealing to them. Chef Miki suggested that they choose recipes that they would definitely eat, and others that seemed like possibilities, but with minor changes. Once Chef Miki has this information, she will begin to find recipes for Janet and Jim to experience.

Here is a bit more about Chef Miki:

Chef Miki Hackney has enjoyed food and the social interaction it prompts ever since a small child helping with large family parties and making goodies from her Easy Bake Oven.  Following a business career, Chef Miki began her culinary career as a prep chef in Southern California restaurants and venues while studying her formal culinary education at California School of Culinary Arts-Le Cordon Bleu. 

As a Corporate Chef for Melissa’s/World Variety Produce over the last 6 years, Miki manages and contributes recipes to Melissa’s website, and contributes to the myriad of projects and promotions.

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