Vanessa Lachey believes a home cooked meal is an expression of love


Vanessa Lachey believes that food is her love language. With a few easy cooking tips, anyone can create the perfect couple’s night at home.

As a wife, mother and television personality, Vanessa Lachey has a very busy life. Even though she isn’t a trained chef, she has picked up many tips and tricks as host of Top Chef Junior. Beyond those cooking secrets, Lachey has found that the process of cooking can be as enjoyable as the final product. In her world, cooking a meal is a way sharing love.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, many families and couples are looking to celebrate the love-centric holiday. In a recent Bob Evans Farms survey, 48% of people celebrating Valentine’s Day would prefer to spend the evening at home. Additionally, 80% of those people would prefer home cooking to takeout.

When it comes home cooking, especially on Valentine’s Day, that meal doesn’t have to mimic a Michelin Star, celebrity chef dinner. The concept of semi-homemade meals can make the whole experience more enjoyable. Even though prepared food is used as part of a recipe, that food can just amped up and as exciting as any restaurant quality meal.

Many of today’s prepared foods, like Bob Evan’s prepared foods, offer high quality ingredients. More importantly, these foods help to simplify the cooking process for the home chef. For example, why grate potatoes for hash browns when Simply Potatoes Hash Browns are available. That cooking hack allows the home cook to focus on the bigger picture, enjoying the cooking experience.

– Los Angeles, CA – 01/10/2019 – Vanessa Lachey at home in her kitchen

-PICTURED: Vanessa Lachey, -PHOTO by: Michael Simon/,  photo provided by Bob Evans

Ahead of Valentine’s Day celebrations, I had the opportunity to chat with Vanessa Lachey about her upcoming Valentine’s Day plans, some genius cooking tips and a couple of tasty recipes that would be perfect for the holiday or any special occasion. Below are some my thoughts and impressions from that conversation.

As a celebrity, I would have assumed that Vanessa Lachey would have some private chef whipping up a fancy dinner or elegant dinner reservations for Valentine’s Day. She mentioned that Valentine’s Day is usually celebrated at home with her husband and children. From the start of the day to a few quiet moments later in the evening with her husband, Nick Lachey, the day is celebrated as a family.

This idea seems to becoming more popular as people skip the uber expensive dinners at fancy restaurants, Valentine’s Day brings the focus back to the moment, the experience and the time together. Lachey was clear that she finds joy in cooking. While other people might dread heading to the kitchen at the end of the day, Lachey embraces that time. From the prep to the final cleanup, the whole process is part of the overall experience.

As a mom, she looks to get her kids involved with the cooking experience. Finding recipes and tasks that everyone can do together is important. To that point, Vanessa Lachey created an easy breakfast dish that the whole family can make together for Valentine’s Day. According to her, her kids will be cooking this tasty treat for their dad on Valentine’s Day.

Here’s how to make Spinach and Gruyere Cheese Quiche Hash Brown Cups.

– Los Angeles, CA – 01/10/2019 – Vanessa Lachey at home in her kitchen, PHOTO by: Michael Simon/, Spinach and Gruyere Cheese Quiche Hash Brown Cups, photo provided by Bob Evans

"Spinach and Gruyere Cheese Quiche Hash Brown CupsIngredients1 package Simply Shredded Hash Browns2 tablespoons butter, melted1 egg1/8 teaspoons onion powder1/8 teaspoons garlic powder1/8 teaspoons Italian Seasoning1/8 teaspoons salt1/8 teaspoons black pepper½ red bell pepper, diced½ green bell pepper, diced¼ cup onion, diced1 garlic clove, minced1 cup and 2 tablespoons All Whites Liquid Egg Whites1 ½ cup gruyere cheese, shredded½ package spinach – 5 oz.½ cup diced hamDirections1. Preheat oven to 400 F.2. Grease muffin tin and set aside.3. Combine hash browns, melted butter, egg, onion powder, garlic powder, Italian seasonings, salt and pepper in a bowl.4. Line muffin tin with the hash browns, pushing them up along the sides.5. Bake for 25 minutes or until hash browns begin to crisp.6. In a small pan, over low/medium heat, add oil and sauté the onions, peppers, and garlic for 8-10 minutes or until soft.7. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Set aside to cool.8. In a bowl, combine All Whites Liquid Egg Whites, milk, cheese, and ham. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.9. Divide cooled vegetable mixture equally to muffin pan.10. Carefully divide egg mixture equally between muffin pan.11. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until egg is set."

While this recipe is quite flavorful, the concept is incredibly approachable for all cooking levels. Lachey believes that using good prepared foods is a great cooking hack. By keeping things simple, everyone can feel a sense of accomplishment in the kitchen.

Although she does love the process, she does want someone to affirm her cooking efforts. She mentioned that she waits for her husband to comment on the tasty meal that she has placed on the table. Each meal comes with a sense of pride and more importantly and expression of care for whom she shares the meal.

At the same time, she encourages everyone to find their own voice in the kitchen. While her recipe for Garlic Mashed Potato Bake is a delightful choice to pair with a hearty grilled steak, it is her take on a delicious meal for her and her husband. Still, it isn’t the only option. Those Bob Evans Mashed Potatoes can be transformed in many ways. Everyone can find a way to “zhuzh” it up.

Here is Vanessa Lachey’s recipe for Garlic Mashed Potato Bake.

– Los Angeles, CA – 01/10/2019 – Vanessa Lachey at home in her kitchen

-PICTURED: Vanessa Lachey, -PHOTO by: Michael Simon/, photo provided by Bob Evans,

"Garlic and Herb Mashed Potato Bake1 package Bob Evans Original Mashed Potatoes1/3 cup Garlic Herb Cheese SpreadTopping:½ cup Panko breadcrumbs¼ cup Parmesan Cheese2 tablespoon Butter, melted1 tablespoon Parsley, chopped1. Preheat oven to 375 F.2. Remove board overwrap from Bob Evans Original Mashed Potatoes and peel back corner of film.3. Microwave on HIGH power for 3 minutes.4. Carefully pour mashed potatoes into mixing bowl. Add Garlic Herb Cheese Spread and stir until combined.5. Pour potato mixture into a greased 8×8 baking dish. Set aside.6. In a separate mixing bowl, blend together ingredients for the topping.7. Sprinkle topping mixture on top of potatoes.8. Bake uncovered for 25 -30 or until panko is lightly browned."

While her recipe is delicious, there are several other ways to re-imagine those mashed potatoes. For example, those mashed potatoes can be fried in the pan for a potato cake. Or, a favorite cheese can add a depth of flavor to balance a hearty steak. The options are many.

Even though Lachey isn’t a professionally trained chef, she has gained tremendous cooking knowledge as host of Top Chef Junior. She mentioned that those younger contestants often have a more refined palate than the judges. It seems that younger cooks season their food less. They do not feel the need to have extra salt on a dish. Maybe this reason is why your kids don’t like certain foods.

Still, these young chefs have inspired her own cooking adventures. The young chefs, especially on that cooking show, are more willing to experiment with flavors and combinations. While adults might shy away from unlikely combinations, the young chefs aren’t as jaded.

Personally, as a fan of the show, I enjoy watching Lachey because she appears so inviting. That same charisma came through over the phone. As part of this interview, I listened to her talk about food, her approach to cooking and her enjoyment of cooking as a family. It is inspiring as a wife and mother myself. Even if the food isn’t ultimate chef-worthy perfection, that time in the kitchen creates a valuable memory because of the experience, itself.

While Vanessa Lachey plans her Valentine’s Day celebration at home (with two bottles of wine because she and her husband have different preferences), I start to ponder my own plans. This year it is time to skip that overpriced, dinner reservation and put the focus back on a real expression of love, a home cooked meal, that we all make together.

I would like to thank Vanessa Lachey for taking the time to speak with me and for Bob Evans for arranging the call.

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How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day this year? Will your home cooked meal be the ultimate love expression?