Jan 012009

Kitchen Fun with Carol

Winter2009_03Happy New Year everyone and welcome winter! Winter has hit here with a vengeance. It has been cold for months and we have had a ton of snow this winter. The weather seems to put everyone into hibernation mode in our neighborhood. It usually puts me in a reflective mood. I tend to spend time evaluating what I did last year and how I want to approach things differently this year.

I always set up budget goals for the year. This year it seems even more important with the state of the economy. Every place I can save money in the budget is money that can put towards paying off debt or saving for our emergency fund.

My cooking is no exception. I look at the family recipes. If the cost of a certain ingredient has gone up considerably over the last year, I will only use it in moderation. Take cheese, for example. Over the last year the price of an 8 ounce bag of shredded cheese has gone from $2 (not on sale) to $3 or more. Taking this fact into consideration I will go through my recipes and find the ones that use a large quantity of cheese and replace it with a recipe that is less expensive to make. Or I can wait until cheese goes on sale to make those recipes.

I also plan to use the On-Hand Inventory List (from The Freezer Cooking Manual) more this year for my cooking days. This helps save money in several ways. First, I will only purchase the items that I need for my cooking day. No need to buy an ingredient if it is already in the pantry. I also use the list as an inspiration for recipes to make. If I have 10 boxes of spaghetti on hand I could make Chicken Tetrazzini, Meatballs for Spaghetti and Meatballs (Master Meat Mix), or Chicken Patties for Chicken Parmesan.

I am also going to make sure my price book is up to date. Like most people I tend to let things “slide” through the holidays. Now I need to update my book and make sure I can spot a good sale. Do you need help getting started with your price book? Click here to take a look at the different methods I have used in the February 2007 newsletter to build mine. This time I will be using the quick comparison (Method 2).

Give it a try! It’s a great way to keep track of prices for the items you buy on a regular basis.

Contest Winners

Freezer Cook of the Month Winner

Our Freezer Cook of the Month  is Rhea from Bakersfield, CA. She posted a story about how she uses left over buttermilk after making her homemade fried chicken.  I tried several of the recipes. Here are two of my favorites.

ButtermilkRolls_03Buttermilk Rolls

I enjoy making fresh rolls for my family. These rolls have a wonderful texture and they do not dry out like other rolls can. This recipe was written for the bread machine but you could make it by hand or with the use of a mixer with a bread hook. Give this recipe a try. I’m sure you will enjoy it.



OrangeWalnutMuffins_01Walnut Orange Muffins

I will definitely be adding this recipe to my 30 Day Gourmet recipe binder. It reminds me of some muffins that I sometimes purchase at the local bakery. They are moist and delicious. If you do not like walnuts, you can use pecans instead.


Bonus Recipes

Anyone out there a chocoholic? Here are some of my favorite chocolate cookie/dessert recipes on the 30 Day Gourmet web site. Some of these recipes are also great to make for school valentines parties. They are a hit with older kids as well.



Here are some new recipes that I have recently added to my list of favorites. I hope you enjoy them too.

ChristmasBaking_001Deb’s Reese’s® Peanut Butter Cookies

This is a recipe I got from my friend Deb at her Christmas cookie exchange. They are so good. Every time that I have made the recipe, the cookies have disappeared. Trust me they are great cookies.



CrispySMores_02Crispy S’Mores Bars

The first time I made these bars my teenage sons ate half a pan before I realized it. They are very chocolaty and are a great “fix” for that chocolate craving. You can use any chocolate flavored cereal for the bars such as Cocoa Krispies® or Cocoa Pebbles®.


Closing Comments from Carol

I hope you enjoy all the baking recipes. I love to bake in the winter. It warms my kitchen and makes the house feel homey.

Do you have any recipes that you would like to share? I’d love to try and share them with everyone. You can post your recipes on the 30 Day Gourmet Facebook® fan page or click here to send me an email. Or do you have any other topics that you would like me to cover? Click here to send me an email. I enjoy hearing from you!

Best wishes to you and your family this New Year!


Carol Santee

Carol is the co-author of the Big Book of Freezer Cooking and the author of 30 Day Gourmet’s Slow Cooker Freezer Favorites, Freezer Lunches To Go and Healthy Freezer Cooking eBooks. She is a computer information specialist and works for a computer software company.

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