Jun 222010

Kitchen Fun with Carol

Carol2010Hello everyone! I hope everyone is enjoying the new Advantage Cooking Software. If you have never tried the software, you can download a trial version that will work for 30 days. Click here to read more about it.

Advantage Cooking Version 1.x Users
Last month we announced that current Advantage Cooking Software users can upgrade to the new version of the software for free. The upgrade is now available on the 30 Day Gourmet web site. Advantage Cooking 2.0 can be installed without uninstalling Advantage Cooking 1.x. Advantage Cooking 2.0 has several options for an initial recipe set (cookbook). It can start with one of several starter sets, start with a copy of an Advantage Cooking 1.x cookbook, or work directly with the same cookbook as Advantage Cooking 1.x (if using Advantage Cooking 1.5 or higher). Just download, install and run. The first time Advantage Cooking runs, you choose whether to create a new cookbook or use an existing cookbook. Click here to download the upgrade.

Recipe Files for the Big Book of Freezer Cooking 
Last month we also announced that current Advantage Cooking Software users can purchase the Big Book of Freezer Cooking for $19.95 and receive the recipes from the book to import into the software for free! We realize that some of you may not have received a zip file containing recipes that can be imported easily into the 30 Day Gourmet Advantage Cooking Software. If you own the software, be sure to take advantage of these files. Here’s how to access the files:

  1. Go to www.30daygourmet.com
  2. Click on the Members tab.
  3. Using the info on page 3 in your book, log in.
  4. Scroll down to the yellow box and follow the directions.

Enjoy planning your cooking days!

Anatomy of a Marinade

Since I announced that we are looking for marinade recipes for the Freezer Cook of the Month Contest this summer, I thought it would be great to talk about marinades in general. Did you ever wonder how a a marinade works?

Marinades contain three major components. The first is an acidic ingredient. Marinades actually cause a chemical reaction that breaks down the connective tissue in the meat and tenderizes it (also called denaturing). The chemical reaction is caused by certain enzymes (bromelin, actinidin, papain, etc.) or acids that naturally occur in some foods. Not only do these enzymes or acids break down the meat but they also flavor it at the same time. Some examples of these enzymes or acids are:

  • Citrus juices, such as lemon, lime or orange juice
  • Pineapple
  • Kiwi, papaya, figs and mangoes
  • Yogurt
  • Buttermilk
  • Vinegars (balsamic or apple cider are commonly used)
  • Wines or other alcohol
  • Tomatoes

The second critical ingredient is an oil or fat. Olive oil and canola oil are two typical oils you will see in marinade recipes. The oil helps the marinade adhere to the meat. It also helps the marinade penetrate deeper into the meat. If you are using yogurt as your acidic ingredient, it can also count as a fat if you use a full fat plain yogurt.

The third ingredient is a mix of seasonings to flavor the meat. These are also called aromatics. They include herbs, spices, and vegetables. Typical seasonings combinations used in marinades include:

  • Ginger and soy sauce
  • Ginger, onion, and garlic
  • Parsley, oregano, and pepper
  • Garlic and cumin
  • Rosemary and garlic
  • Hot peppers, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, vinegar, and brown sugar
  • Cayenne and parsley

Some seasonings provide a strong burst of flavor. Strong flavorings include Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, and mustards. You have to be careful when pairing seasonings with the acidic components. Strong flavors can overpower other flavors so watch your flavor combinations!

Good luck creating your new flavor combinations!

Cooking for Summer

LasagnaRollupsI promised I would share my summer menu with you. This year I am trying something different. Instead of planning out the months in advance, I’ve had several mini-cooking sessions as I have found meats on sale this summer. Every time I find a sale, I make a couple more recipes and I update my Meal Inventory Worksheet. I just look at what we have in the freezer and plan my meals for the week based on my inventory or something special I want to make based on what’s on sale. If you know me, this just does not sound like my style! I usually plan everything out far in advance. Well, so far it has worked out well for our family and our summer schedules. I generally have the on hand items I need to prepare any meal. Here’s what I have made so far this summer:

Chicken Quesadillas (from the Big Book of Freezer Cooking)

Hamburgers (pressed and flash frozen)
Iowa State Fair Guinea Grinders
BBQ Chicken Pizza using Flatbread Pizza Crusts (from the Big Book of Freezer Cooking)
Elegant Chicken in Marinade (from the Big Book of Freezer Cooking)
Simply Sweet Salmon Glaze
Tilapia with Mango Salsa (from the Big Book of Freezer Cooking)
Parmesan Crusted Tilapia (from the Big Book of Freezer Cooking)
Marinade for Chicken Quesadilla Salad
Garlic Lime Chicken
April’s Chicken Marinade
Tara’s Macaroni and Cheese
Lasagna Rollups (from the Big Book of Freezer Cooking)
Meatballs for Spaghetti and Meatballs

Chicken Chowder
Bowtie Soup (from the Freezer Lunches to Go ebook)
Chicken Pockets (from the Freezer Lunches to Go ebook)
Hamburger and Rice Soup
Sloppy Joes

Meatballs for Meatball Subs (using the BBQ Meatballs recipe from the Slow Cooker Freezer Favorites ebook)

What recipes have you made this summer? Share your summer cooking experience with us on our 30 Day Gourmet fan page on Facebook®.

Contest Winner

TangyOrangeMarinadeOur Freezer Cook of the Month is Myrna! She posted a recipe on the Cooks’ Corner message boards for Tangy Orange Marinade. I served the recipe to my family and everyone liked it! The chicken was so moist and full of flavor. The sesame oil is a nice twist on your traditional marinade. Try it yourself!

Click here to view/print this recipe!

I was unable to reach Myrna before the newsletter went out, so we will have to meet her next month. You too can get in on the winning by posting your funny story, good deed, cooking tip, assembly day story, favorite recipe, etc. on the 30 Day Gourmet Facebook® fan page or click here to send me an email to be entered in our contest. This summer we are looking for your favorite marinade recipes!
Good luck, everyone!

Bonus Recipes

I love grilling in the summer! Here are some of the new recipes that I have been serving at my house this summer. Two of the recipes are side dishes that aren’t for the freezer. I couldn’t resist sharing them with you! It’s so nice to be able to make the whole meal on the grill. Enjoy the recipes!

Garlic Lime Chicken

Garlic Lime Chicken

Garlic Lime Chicken

Our family has been testing the high fiber/low fat wraps and tortillas that you find at your local grocery store. Each wrap is only 90 calories but has 9 grams of fiber. That’s almost a third of your daily requirements. Our favorite brands are the Flat Out wraps (the Italian seasoned wraps are wonderful), tortillas from the La Tortilla Factory, and the Aldi original or multi-grain wraps. They taste great and they really fill you up. The Garlic Lime Chicken one of my favorite summer wrap recipes. We like to add Lime Rice (from the Big Book of Freezer Cooking), Mango Salsa (from the Big Book of Freezer Cooking), and black beans to the wrap. The flavor combination is incredible!


Grilled Garlic Parmesan Asparagus

I shared this recipe on the 30 Day Gourmet fan page on Facebook®  for Memorial Day weekend. We loved the smokiness of the grilled asparagus and the freshly shredded Parmesan cheese gave it a wonderful flavor.




Grilled Red Potatoes

I tried cooking these on the grill in a foil packet. It worked great! The potatoes had lots of flavor and were so convenient to make. While this is not a freezer recipe, it is an excellent accompaniment to some of the great marinade recipes found on the 30 Day Gourmet web site.



SalmonGlazeSimply Sweet Salmon Glaze

Salmon is so easy to prepare! If you don’t want to cook it on the grill you can bake it the oven. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes depending on the thickness of the salmon. Dinner can be on the table in less than half an hour (depending on your sides)! Try serving this dish with some long grain and wild rice and a fresh green salad.


Closing Comments from Carol

I hope you enjoy the recipes for the grill. Next month I hope to share some more summer marinade recipes with you and maybe some great freezer dessert recipes for those hot summer days.

I’m looking for your best marinade recipes and for your stories of your cooking days.

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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