Kitchen Fun with Carol
Hello everyone! Welcome summertime! I love it when the seasons change. Summer is wonderful. It is great to be able to get out and go to the community pool. Ours was completely renovated this spring. We are excited to see the end results of the changes. I also like to get out the double swing for those summer evenings, work in the yard, plant flowers pots for the deck, plant my favorite vegetables in the garden, and watch all the trees and plants leaf out for the season. It is amazing how fast everything changes right before your eyes.
It is also the end of the school year. WE are counting down the days until school is out for the summer. (No more packing lunches for Mom!) My boys are getting ready for final exams. Do you remember what that was like? We are also anxiously awaiting the results of their state proficiency tests. For each section of the test that they pass, they do not have to take the corresponding final exam. What a great incentive!
Summer also means that I get to switch menus. Hurray! Do any of you use seasonal menus? Sometimes by the end of the third month I am seriously ready to move on to the next rotation. I look for excuses to move on to the next menu. I am ready for some new recipes. I especially anticipate the switch to the summer menu since grilling is one of my favorite ways to cook. It is fun to cook dinner completely on the grill and eat it outside as a family. It is something I really enjoy. Here are some of my favorite summertime recipes:
- Hamburgers (Plain, BBQ, Spicy, Mushroom and Onion)
- Brats or Italian Sausage
- Teriyaki Pork Chops
- Ocean City Pork Chops
- Pineapple Pork Chops (our name for Easy Meats in Marinade)
- April’s Chicken Marinade
- Blackened Chicken Rub
- Chicken Kabobs
- Elegant Chicken in Marinade
- Grilled Chicken Parmesan
- Oriental Sesame Chicken Strips
- Christi’s Chicken Marinade
- Grill Fries Seasoning Mix
- Freezer Cole Slaw
- Frozen Fruit Salad
- Fruit Slush
- Yogurt Fruit Salad
One of the things I promised to talk about was my weekly grocery shopping. I use the Advantage cooking software in my planning for weekly shopping. I have a couple of tips to share with you on the process.
For my cooking day, I put together all the recipes that I am going to use for the quarter and then I adjust the number of recipes I am going to make to generate my cooking day shopping list. I also double check the recipes to make sure how the ingredients are listed for either cooking day or serving day is how I make the meal. Everyone cooks differently. If you are a cook who is short on time, you make cook the recipe on cooking day and just reheat it on serving day. If you have time to cook on you serving days you may only partially assembly the meal ahead of time. I perfect example of this technique is the recipe for Parsley Parmesan Chicken. This recipe can be totally baked on cooking day. Or you could just place the chicken in the dressing and freeze it and make the coating on serving day. That is what is so great about this system. It is flexible and can be tailored to your needs.
Once I make sure everything is correct, I take the recipes that I am using for each week of the month and I create a cooking day for each week. I then use this cooking day to generate my grocery store report for serving day ingredients. This gives me a complete list of what I need to complete the meals such as buns for sandwiches or sliced green onions to serve on top of soup.
One thing that is missing from this list is the produce and staple items I buy on a weekly basis to serve as side dishes to meals. This includes items such as apples and bananas to pack for lunch, breads, milk, and broccoli and cauliflower to serve for dinner. To resolve this issue, I created a recipe for these weekly staples. The ingredients are the items that I buy every week and the quantity that I purchase. All of the ingredients are marked as being used on serving day. I add this recipe to each of the weekly menus. When I print out the shopping report, everything I need for the week is on the list. It is great!
Chicken Garlic Alfredo Pizza
This is one of the recipes that uses the Reduced Fat Garlic Alfredo Sauce published in the April 2007 newsletter. White pizzas have always been a favorite of mine. This is a great way to enjoy a different take on pizza. In the past I have also had a white chicken pizza that had chopped broccoli on it. It would be good as well. You can make this pizza with either store bought or homemade crusts.
Freezer Cook of the Month Contest Winner
Our winner this month is DeDe. DeDe talks about how she found her cooking partner and what a difference this and freezer cooking has made in her life.
Let’s hear from DeDe:
I LOVE freezer cooking!!! I am now 35 years old & have ADHD. I was blessed to have 3 wonderful children in 18 months who are each just over one year apart. Let me explain: We adopted our son at 10 1/2 months from Cambodia. Three months later our first daughter was born (making them 13 1/2 months apart) and 14 1/2 months later our surprise-but-much-needed daughter was born.
I’ve never been good at planning meals before 5 pm (even before kids). But in comes 30 Day Gourmet. I’m not sure how I discovered your book, but it was the first one on freezer cooking that I came across. I liked your concept of teaming up with someone. I tried it with a couple of friends to no avail – too different in taste. I tried a couple of times on my own to no avail, however I did freeze meals that I would purposely make too much of.
November of 2004, I received an email from someone stating that they found my name and email on your website list. WOW! Are we a match ever?! She has 2 kids (one adopted, also) who are close in age to mine. She home-schools and I do, too. We have similar enough tastes, and we work together great in the kitchen.
Anyway, we’ve been cooking together and being friends now for over 2 years thanks to you guys. It has saved my sanity and the health of my family (we don’t eat so much processed/packaged stuff). I also want to put in that I own and use regularly the Advantage software. We have a planning day at my house in front of my computer then I print out all the reports. We cook so well together now that we pretty much know who’s buying what and who’s prepping what.
Now, on to my current situation. My husband’s been unemployed for a while and we tried to move into my in-laws garage. That didn’t work. We are now back in our house but only until we sell it – meaning, we’ve not moved everything in. My deep freezer is 45 minutes away. However, I still cook with my friend, and each week, I go down to my in-law’s house and go “shopping” in my freezer. If my husband goes instead of me, I just tell him to “pick up” a few meals for us. It still works for me. In a time of my life that has been extremely stressful, at least I can still have good, healthy meals for my family.
I just want to thank all of you over there at 30 Day Gourmet. You really have changed my life.
Thanks for the sharing this great story with us!
So, how do you make 30 Day Gourmet work for you? How do you use it to help you deal with a challenge in your life? How do you use it to help others? Do you have a funny cooking story to share? Click here to send me an email!
Closing Comments from Carol
I am looking for some suggestions from you for snacks that handle the heat well. Do you have any suggestions on what to take to the pool or snacks that travel well in the car? 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!
Have fun in your kitchen!