Joelle’s fast-paced life is fueled by her nutritious home-cooked meals
Get to know Joelle in this Q&A and get her “Maryland Crab Cake” Wednesday (5/27) from 5-9PM!
Q: Where did you grow up, and how did you learn to cook?
Joelle: I grew up in Lancaster, PA, about an hour outside of the Philadelphia metro. My parents both worked full time (and still do!) so they never had time for elaborate meals. They fed my three siblings and me a lot of casseroles such as baked ziti, Shepard’s pie, and chicken divan. They also made a lot of comfort classics like pasta, meatloaf, and meatballs. I learned to cook after receiving my first cookbook, Emeril’s There’s a Chef in my Soup!. I spent a lot of summer afternoons in the kitchen making new recipes and experimenting, eager to share with my parents when they got home from work. I was a pescatarian for 15 years which meant that I made a lot of my own vegetarian or seafood meals when my family was eating meat. This allowed me to try a lot of new flavors that not everyone in my family may like.
Q: What are your favorite food memories?
Joelle: My favorite food memory is from my childhood. Every summer for more than 10 years, my grandparents would rent a beach house in Ocean City, New Jersey for all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins. Every night’s dinner had a different theme- pizza, seafood, steaks, pasta, and more. My grandmother would spend all day in the kitchen preparing to serve the 30 of us. My favorites were twice baked potatoes, my grandma’s famous fruit salad, and her pasta salad. As an Italian family, the whole week was centered around the food. The house was chock full of snacks and beverages, breakfasts were massive, and homemade hoagies were served on the beach. My grandfather spent the whole previous year stocking up in preparation. Thinking about that week and the food we ate brings back my favorite memories of the people I love most!
Q: What can you tell us about one of your favorite dishes?
Joelle: Burrito bowls are one of my go-to dinners during a busy week! I love being able to use a crock pot or instant pot to save effort in the kitchen. I work in fundraising and spend a lot of time on the road, am in graduate school, train for marathons, and am involved in the Junior League of Chicago…so time is scarce! I love these burrito bowls because they are filling and nutritious with brown rice, seasoned pulled chicken, and fresh veggies. They give Chipotle a run for their money! They hold up super well in the fridge, so are a meal that I can get a few lunches out of as well. Try it for yourself!