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Cooking Matters Michigan

Empowering families with the skills, confidence and knowledge to prepare healthy and affordable meals

Volunteer Spotlight: Gina Fox


Tell me about your family.

I have one son and a husband. We live in Grosse Pointe on the east side.  My husband and I both come from large families.  My son, Michael, is 27 and a first year practicing attorney. He doesn't cook though.  He's like the shoemaker's son who doesn't wear shoes!

How did you get involved with cooking and nutrition?

Growing up, if you ever needed to find my mom, she was in the kitchen.  You'd go in there to ask her a question, and she'd have you peel a potato or something, and then she'd answer your question.  I have my undergraduate degree in home economics and my masters in teaching.  I was a home-ec teacher for many years.  Back in the day, that's what they called it, it's "life management."  Out of six kids in my family, four of us are teachers.  I always felt that's what my mom really wanted- to be a teacher.  So she was always teaching us how to cook.

What do you do in your spare time?

I like to cook.  Because my husband and I come from such big families, we are constantly having gatherings.   I also love decorating.  I'm very hands on and tactile.  I volunteer with the organization humble design that helps furnish and decorate home interiors for moms and kids coming out of shelters or escaping domestic abuse.   Family and home takes up most of my spare time.

How did you hear about Cooking Matters?

I was actually watching TV one day and I saw Jake on FOX channel 2 doing a cooking demo.  I thought to myself, "this is something I can do."  I'm a retired teacher of one year, but once a teacher, always a teacher.

 Do you have a go-to recipe you'd like to share?



1/2 lb. lean ground beef

2 Tbs. Olive oil

1 medium chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1 (19 oz ) can cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained

1 (14 oz) can low sodium chopped tomatoes

2 Tbs. tomato paste

1 large potato cubed

1 quart beef broth

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbs. Italian seasoning

1-2 bay leaf

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 cup Ditalini pasta

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1.  Brown ground beef in a large stock pot. Drain beef and set aside.

2.  Add olive oil to stock pot and sauté, onion, celery and carrots.

3.  To the pot, add reserved ground beef, rinsed beans,tomatoes, tomato paste, cubed potato, beef broth, garlic, Italian seasoning, bay leaf and salt and pepper.

4.  Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat.  Simmer until vegetables are barely tender. Remove bay leaf 5.  Add pasta, and simmer for 30 minutes, correct seasonings and serve with grated cheese and a loaf of crusty Italian bread.

I make this recipe quite often. We are big soup eaters in my house and it feels like the weather is calling for me to make some soon.

This recipe serves 6.  As my grandmother use to say if more people arrive than expected "you can always add more water to the soup".