Why did you pick the name Jacked Kitchen? And what’s up with “Jacked”?
I wanted to pick a name that symbolizes my cooking style. I try to use fresh ingredients and make them from scratch when I can. Taking an extra step to buy quality food and put effort into combining ingredients turns practical meals into Jacked meals.
Jacked is also a shout out to my dog, Jack. He’s a fiesty little guy who spends a lot of time in the kitchen while I’m cooking. He is usually camped out on the kitchen rug keeping me company.
Is your name Jack? Who is Jack?
Jack is my dog, my name is Amy. Jack is a rescue that I saved when he was about 9 or 10 months old. Jack follows me around, especially when there is food involved. He usually sits with me in the kitchen while I cook. He anxiously awaits when its time to run to the patio for pictures or when I sit down to eat in hopes I’ll share some with him.
Do you eat all of the food you make?
The pictures I take are of the recipes I make for my actual meals. In fact, I’m usually hurrying to get the shot done while my food is still warm. I find this keeps me honest in making practical meals. A lot of my recipes are portioned for one or two people so I don’t usually have leftovers unless it is a dish that is just easier to make in a large batch. In that case, I share with friends or pack for lunch the next day.
Have you taken cooking classes or gone to culinary school?
I have not taken any cooking classes. Most of what I’ve learned is from growing up watching my dad cook or from playing around with recipes on my own. I enjoy trying new foods and cooking styles so I usually make time to learn new things.
The access to cooking shows on tv, recipes on the internet, and an endless supply of cookbooks has evolved so much over the years that its so much easier to learn how to cook on your own. On a daily basis I’m drooling over my Instagram feed coming up with ideas.
I grew up in a very small Ohio town without many restaurant options. Luckily, growing up my family traveled a lot so I was able to experience different types of food. I now live in Chicago with a vast restaurant scene so I’m never short of places to find recipe inspiration.
What are your recommendations for helping me improve my cooking?
For some cooking is a hassle. Days are long, the refrigerator is empty, and the thought of standing around making food is a chore. For others, the act of cooking may be a fun hobby. I find creating something that I can eat an enjoyable thing to do. For me its fulfilling (and delicious).
To improve your cooking I think it helps to determine where you are on the spectrum of enjoying cooking and tackle what you are good at. If you don’t enjoy cooking, don’t set yourself up for recipes that take hours. There are really good meals that can be made with minimal prep and ingredients.
One of the easiest ways to improve your cooking is prep work. And I don’t mean cutting up your onions and garlic before you start the stove. I mean finding recipes you like and making sure you have the ingredients on hand to make them. I always have a list when I go to the grocery store and on that list are items that actually translate into a complete meal. Coordinate your schedule that you use up produce before it goes bad and have items in stock that can sit on the shelves for a while. Half the battle to making good meals is having the food to make it.
What do you do for work?
Cooking and writing recipes is not my full time job. I drag myself out of bed every day to head out into the working world. I work at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics which is a member driven organization consisting primarily of registered dietitian nutritionists and dietetic technicians (of which I am not. I hold a degree in Marketing). The Academy’s mission is to shape the public’s food choices and positively impact health and wellness worldwide. I do most of my cooking and photography in the evenings or the weekends. Jacked Kitchen is a hobby of mine.
What type of camera do you use?
Some of the pictures are actually taken with my iPhone (with the help of some editing). Most of the pictures are taken with a Nikon D3300.
My photography disclaimer is that I’m not a big fan of the photography aspect of food blogging. I enjoy cooking and eating more than taking pictures, but I realize that to share how good the food tastes I have to be able to take at least decent pictures.
Did you draw the images of Jack throughout the site?
All of the pictures, content and design on JackedKitchen are done my me EXCEPT for the logo artwork and adorable drawings my friend, Jacqueline Hilmes, made of Jack. She is a very talented artist and did a fantastic job capturing his essence. And, yes, Jack has one brown eye and one blue eye.
Can I use your photos and recipes?
You may use my recipes, but please link back to Jacked Kitchen if you are publishing the recipe.
Please do not use my pictures without permission as those are copyrighted to Jacked Kitchen. If you do want to use them please ask (chances are I will give you permission).
Have a question? Send me an email.
My name is Amy, and I’m Jacked Kitchen. Jacked Kitchen is a place for me to share recipes and inspiration with you to cook healthy, delicious food. I hope you enjoy exploring my posts and find something to make your recipes more jacked. Send me a note, and come back soon!