Jun 012009

Kitchen Fun with Carol

SJMDWelcome summer! The weather has definitely changed and summer is in full swing at our house. My twin boys, Josh and Steven, graduated from high school and we hosted the graduation party right after the ceremony. It is so hard to believe that my little boys are not little anymore. Time flies by so quickly! If you have little ones, enjoy this time them. They will be grown up before you know it.

Planning a graduation party is a little like planning a reunion or large family get together. There are so many things that you can do ahead of time. We used a lot of tried and true recipes from the 30 Day Gourmet website. First we spoke with the boys and came up with list of foods that they would like to serve at their party. We had hosted a party four years ago when their sister graduated. We discussed what they liked and disliked when we had her party and then picked recipes based on their input.

Once we had a list of the foods we were going to serve, we also did some time and money comparison shopping. For example, it is better to make five pounds of meatballs with ground chuck at 1.79 a pound or is it better to buy them premade at 6.00 a five pound bag? Is it better to buy a 2 pound tub of premade potato or pasta salad at 7.00 or make it yourself? Is it better to buy a large tray (half sheet) of frosted brownies for 12.99 or make your own? After a lot of comparisons we ended up buying some items, such as the meatballs, to save either time or money but we ended up making our own for most of the recipes. To save even more money we cooked a turkey that we had purchased for .39 a pound and used the meat to make several dishes. Several members of our family also brought dishes to help out with the party. What a lifesaver!

AmandaCookingMy daughter came home from Seattle the day before the party to help us with a mini cooking day to finish up those recipes that we did not freeze (we ran out of room in the freezer!). It was great spending time in the kitchen cooking with her. It brings back memories of past cooking days. We had so much fun cooking together!

The party was a hit! We had a great time with our friends and family. There were several great comments about the food and how everyone enjoyed the recipes. Of course we told everyone about 30 Day Gourmet and how we were able to put together such a great spread. Here are the recipes that we served at the party.




  • Hamburgers (time saver)
  • Chicken Nuggets (time saver)
  • BBQ Meatballs (money saver)
  • Swedish Meatballs (money saver)
  • Pasta Salad (time saver)


Brought by Family

  • Fruit Salad
  • Cocktail Wieners in BBQ Sauce
  • Baked Beans
  • Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Freezer Cook of the Month Contest Winner

Tropical Island BreadOur Freezer Cook of the Month is Cooks’ Corner member Laurie S. I tested her recipe for Tropical Island Bread during my last cooking session. It is great! My husband loved the recipe. It is a nice break from traditional Banana Bread.

I was unable to reach the author of this recipe, so we’ll have to meet them next month. Cooks’ Corner member Laurie S, if you read this, please click here to send me an email to claim your prize.


Click here to view/print this recipe!


It is great to hear how freezer cooking can really make a difference in your life!

Bonus Recipes

ShortcakesBerry Shortcakes

My son has been making these for years. It it nice to have the shortcakes in the freezer so you can quickly serve them for dessert during berry season. We love them with strawberries and blueberries for a patriotic flair. You can use any fruit that you like. We have even used bananas in the past for those who do not like berries. Enjoy!



GrilledChopsSimple Summer Marinade

Cooking on the grill is an everyday occurrence at our house in the summertime. I am always looking for marinade recipes and new things to cook on the grill. If you look in my freezer in the summer you will find it filled with marinated meats. We recently tried this recipe and it was great! We used pork loin chops when we tested it but chicken would work as well.

Closing Comments from Carol

I hope you enjoy the recipes and your summer. It is great to get outside and spend time with family and friends. I am still looking for summertime recipes to share 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!

Have fun in your kitchen!


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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