Cookin’ at the Keyboard with Shelley
Time Will Tell
…and time has told on me. I guess I’ve been busy, or distracted, or something. I can’t think of a good reason, but it’s been months since I’ve sent a newsletter your way. In the closing comments of my last edition, I promised that we would hear from my second-oldest daughter, Lauren.
If you ever wonder if it’s all worth it, if your family really appreciates the effort you make, and if your children will ever acknowledge everything you’ve invested in them, I think you’ll be encouraged by what Lauren has to share. Be patient and persistent, because time will tell.
From a Child’s Point of View
by Lauren Miller
My mom started freezer cooking 10 years ago when I was about six years old. In the same way that I didn’t understand exactly why we needed to freezer cook, I didn’t understand what it actually was. My six-year-old ignorance was barring my ability to see the reason my mom was grating such a huge amount of cheese.
The first time I was able to take advantage of freezer cooking was when I was 8 years old. My mom taught me how to make Sloppy Joe Buns, an accomplishment I was quite proud of at the time because my older sister didn’t know how. No raw hamburger, no knives, no frying pan…just the frozen package of ground beef, the seasonings, and the rolls – and I could make lunch. Now, please don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to imply that life’s problems can be solved with a frozen package of ground beef. Many recipes we make take more overhead than just cooked hamburger.
Over the years, as I’ve become more experienced I’ve been able to take advantage of the results of freezer cooking to a greater degree. Since my Sloppy Joe Bun days, I’ve been making meals on a regular schedule. I’ve been able to ask, “So Mom, what do I make for dinner?” She might reply, “You can make lasagna – the Italian sausage and ground beef are thawing on the counter, the ricotta cheese is in the fridge, and the noodles are in the bottom drawer.” Yeah, wow? That’s what I thought.
Now, most people shrink away from the thought of freezer cooking, and I would as well, except for the fact that my parents produced a software program called Advantage Cooking. You enter your own recipe ingredients and instructions…and ding!…it makes your grocery list, and generates all the different reports you’ll need to make your cooking day run smoothly. It’s so easy you can have your kids do it, which is something my mom took advantage of…hence, I’m speaking from experience! 🙂
Looking back on the impact that freezer cooking has had on me as a child and my continually increasing appreciation for it as I grow up, I’ve realized that freezer cooking has been one of my mom’s many gifts to me. As I analyze the possible outcomes of these past 10 years, I cringe to think what life would have been like if she had not started freezer cooking. Those many days of cooking with my mom have been great instructional times for me, as well as an opportunity to work alongside her and my older sister on something beneficial for the whole family. I will be forever grateful for the gift that she has brought to our family through freezer cooking, and I look forward to the days when it will be my responsibility to provide that gift to my family.
This is the recipe that Lauren talked about. They’re the perfect freezer meal: easy to make, easy to serve. They even have a SANE option (Some Assembly Needed Eventually) for your cooking day.
I love to eat these in the car. Pull the individually wrapped buns out of the oven and place in a paper bag. Pass them around the van when it’s time to eat. They’re an easy, inexpensive, healthier-than-fast-food, hot meal.
The ingredient file can easily become cluttered with entries that represent the same food item. For example, “Ground Beef” may already exist in your ingredient list. When a new recipe is imported (whether from the newsletter, website, or a friend), a redundant ingredient, such as “Hamburger”, could be automatically added to your list. This is a great feature of the software, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. But it is also a little inconvenient when it comes to reading the Grocery Report. I don’t want to see both “Ground Beef” and “Hamburger” on my shopping list.
To eliminate the clutter in the ingredient file, as well as on the Grocery Report, use the Merge option. It’s a powerful feature, and fun to use, especially if you’re an organizational addict like me.
For an explanation of how to use the “merge” feature, read my article: Merge Right
Download a trial version of the software! It’s free!
Closing Comments from Shelley
Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and what mother wouldn’t want some help in the kitchen? The Advantage Cooking software package would make a great gift. Or consider one of the e-books! All of the recipes in any of the e-books can be easily imported into the software.
Until next time…