Sally Humeniuk, the passionate cook behind the fresh, unique, and mostly healthy dishes on Good Dinner Mom shared with us some of her main sources of inspiration, favorite recipes and ingredients, all yet another clear example of her love for cooking. Let’s see more!

1. What got you into Cooking?

I grew up in a family of great cooks so I was pretty much surrounded by homemade meals all the time.

Then, as I started to cook for my own family, I found that playing with recipes felt more like art to me than like work, so it became something I was passionate to do for others.

2. What determined you to start Good Dinner Mom?

Cooking good food was kind of my “thing” for a long time. In fact, the reason my site is called Good Dinner Mom is because when my daughter was little, every night she’d end a meal by saying “Good dinner, Mom”.

Then when one of my best friends encouraged me to start a blog, it pretty much became a logical step to take. Starting Good Dinner Mom became a way to share my favorite recipes, to help experienced cooks, or someone just starting to experiment in the kitchen.

3. What inspires you to keep going, even when the Food’s not Done, the kitchen’s on Fire (Oh god, No!)?

My inspiration to keep going even after a failed recipe or kitchen disaster (and there have been plenty – though no kitchen fires, yet) – is the knowledge that I’m doing what I love for the people I love.

Cooking for these awesome humans and even for our dog, Oscar is what gives me the most joy and excitement to explore and keep trying in the kitchen.

Besides, a failed recipe is a valuable learning experience!… even if it doesn’t seem like it in the moment.

4. What’s your Favorite Recipe?

My Aunt Pat’s famous “Cream Puff” recipe is one of my very favorites because my aunt Pat has made it for years for family parties, and the recipe’s origin has such a great backstory.

Plus, the cream puffs look fancy and most people think they’d be hard to make but in fact, they’re quite easy.

I’ve had so many comments from people saying that the cream puffs were the hit at a party or event. In my own family, we insist that Pat’s Cream Puffs make an appearance and nobody can eat just one.

5. Want to share your Comfort Food or Guilty Pleasure too?

My favorite comfort food has to be my Grandma Phyllis’ “Macaroni and Cheese”. I always think of her when I make it, and there are wonderful, funny memories surrounding the recipe.

My Guilty Pleasure is hot fudge on really good vanilla ice cream (check out this recipe if you want to make some yourself). But the hot fudge has to be the thick, rich kind that gets even better when heated. If it’s in my fridge, it doesn’t last long.

6. Your biggest Culinary Pride: what dish are you most Proud of?

The dish I’m most proud of has to be my “Chicken with Basil Tomato Cream Sauce”. And not because it was the most difficult recipe or even the BEST recipe I ever made. But this recipe gets the most amazing comments from people who’ve tried it.

One follower said she “felt like a rock star in the kitchen” and another told me that her husband said, “it’s the best thing you’ve ever made“. Yet another said, “This tasted like something from a restaurant and can be made right at home.

Hearing these accolades from total strangers that take the time to say one of my recipes was successful for them – it doesn’t get any better than that, and it’s what keeps me doing what I’m doing.

7. Do you have a Favorite Ingredient? 

Sea salt, because salt added in just the right amount to savory and sweet recipes will elevate a dish from boring to fabulous!

Lemons would be a close second because the perfect squeeze of fresh lemon juice or grated lemon zest into a recipe that might seem flat or too sweet does the same to freshen and brighten a recipe.

8. A kitchen Tool that you couldn’t do without?

Definitely a good, non-stick skillet because nothing is more discouraging than when you’re trying a new recipe and all the ingredients are sticking to the bottom of the pan. A well-seasoned cast iron pan is the best non-stick anything, by the way.

9. Beware! Sharp Objects Ahead: do you Use and Have a Favorite Knife or just any will do?

I have three favorite knives in my kitchen because the perfect knife is crucial while prepping a recipe or cutting bread or meat before serving.

So there’s my bread knife for hot bread, my 8″ chef knife is perfect for cutting vegetables or smashing and mincing garlic (so much better than a garlic press). And my serrated knife makes quick work of smooth-skinned vegetables like tomatoes and peppers.

10. What’s the Best Cooking Tip you ever got?

It’s kind of a 3-part tip but has become the secret for success and enjoyment for me when tackling ANY recipe:

Read through the recipe, prep all your ingredients at the beginning, and start with a clutter-free workspace!

11. Chef Admiration: who Inspires you the most?

I’m continually inspired by these chefs and bakers who’ve unwittingly become mentors to me and are great examples of how to do it right while doing right by others – Husbands That Cook, Pinch and SwirlKevin is CookingDisplaced Housewife, and Mel’s Kitchen.

12. The Fun Part: what’s the Strangest Thing you’ve eaten?

This isn’t strange in the way of being strange/gross, but I recently tried “Coconut Bacon” and it was strange because it seriously tasted just like bacon! Okay, bacon that was cooked in coconut oil, but it was strangely fabulous! 

13. One Last Question: what would you advise someone that is just now Learning how to Cook?

I would tell them to think of a food that they love to eat and then start looking up recipes for that food that have very clear instructions.

Follow the Best Cooking Tip I mentioned before and just start cooking!

lemons and lemon slices on cutter
Source: Pixabay

I don’t think you even need to start with the most basic recipes because sometimes, diving into a challenge from the start will hold your interest longer.

My youngest son is just learning to cook and I’m amazed that he keeps picking very difficult recipes to tackle. But he has a blast trying the techniques and even if the recipe isn’t a success, it was fun.

And don’t give up. Just the act of trying is so impressive to me so I’m rooting for you to succeed!

headshot of sally humeniuk
Want more mouth-watering recipes? Then be sure to follow Sally's Good Dinner Momand keep up to date with her recipes on Yummly, FoodGawker, or even on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter.