Freezer Cooking News from Nanci
- released our new cookbook, 30 Day Gourmet’s BIG Book of Freezer Cooking
- launched our updated website
- released a new, updated downloadable version of our software
Of course, when I list them as little bullet points it’s hard to see the hours and hours (not to mention $$ and $$) that these 3 changes represent. Thanks for your patience and a HUGE thanks to:
- Carol, who has done a ton of work on each of these tasks.
- Curtis, who has fielded hundreds of emails and phone calls from Carol and me about the new website.
- Gaylen and Shelley, who have worked so hard to update the software and make it the best (and only!) freezer cooking software.
Thanks so much to those of you who have purchased the new products. It really does help “keep the lights on” at 30 Day Gourmet, Inc. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that I have been doing this for 15 years now.
Slagle Family Update
Many of you have been following our family’s ups and downs for most of those 15 years. Wow! 17 years ago when I first began freezer cooking, I had an 8 year old, a 4 year old, a 3 year old, and a 6 month old.
My kids have great memories of watching me doing my “freezer cooking thing” for all of those years. I know I’ve said this before to you “young moms” out there but it’s as true as ever. Cherish the time. It goes by so quickly. I know that there are days when you feel like they will never grow up but they will. One of the joys of talking with them as adults is hearing how much they remember and talk about the food that we ate together. Now – no guilt trips here. We did plenty of fast food drive-thru’s and hot dog/boxed mac & cheese dinners. But it’s great when one of your kids brings a friend home and says “Hey, I was telling Sarah about that chicken and broccoli thing you make and she’s never had that. Can you make that? And that chocolate pie?”
Our kids are 25, 22, 20 and 17 now. Kaytee is in Charlotte, NC working as a security guard. Becky graduated from college in May and is working at a golf course in Ft. Wayne while she hunts for a “real” job. Adam is living at home this summer and lifeguarding at an IndyParks pool. Jenna will be a junior this year. Only a few more years and I will be “cooking for two”. Can’t imagine. Our last “all of us” family pix was taken a year ago on our last “all of us” vacation.
Life changes, doesn’t it? Kids grow up. People we love become ill. Hours on the job are increased or cut back. Neighbors come and go. We move. We stay. We lose weight. We put some of it back on.
I’ve found, though, that through all of these changes I can still make freezer cooking work for me and it always makes life easier. Sometimes I do it mostly because of crazy schedules, sometimes so that I can help others out, and sometimes for health issues. But it always works.
As your life changes, let your freezer cooking change too. It might mean using a different method (for me that meant switching from huge cooking marathons to 4 hour mini-sessions). It might mean using different recipes (I’ve discovered that skinny people can be unhealthy too so I’m putting us all on a “heavy on the fruit, veggies and whole grains” diet very soon). It might mean using different packaging (very few big family meals around here anymore but lots of individually packaged foods that can be pulled out on a moment’s notice). Whatever it means for you, just keep hanging in there.
And now it’s almost July. July spells doom for teachers J. For me, July 4th is the halfway point. I start school on August 11th.
Summer Cooking Marathon
I have started to plan my annual summer cooking day marathon!! J As most of you know, I only cook BIG once or twice a year (summer and Christmas break) and then fill in with mini-sessions every 3-4 weeks. My summer cooking marathon, though, usually involves a few weeks of these steps:
1. eat up what we can that is in the fridge and freezer.
2. do a “pantry” challenge and use what I already have to make freezer foods.
3. plan the week before the 4th of July.
4. buy meats that are on sale right before the 4th (now!) and bag them for marinades.
5. buy meats that are on super sales during the weekend of the 4th.
6. do my Cooking Day Marathon around the 4th but before Jenna’s birthday on the 6th and my anniversary on the 7th.
So – I’m on steps 2-4 right now. Using what I had, I recently made:
1. Cheese-Filled Shells (from BIG Book of Freezer Cooking)
2. Parmesan Crusted Tilapia (from BIG Book of Freezer Cooking)
3. Chicken Alfredo (from newsletter)
4. Creamy Ranch Potatoes (from newsletter)
5. Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls (from newsletter)
6. Oreo Truffles (from BIG Book of Freezer Cooking)
Then I checked my ads ending 6/30 and purchased:
1. boneless pork loin for $1.88 (Bourbon Mustard Pork Tenderloin)
2. boneless, skinless chicken breast for $1.79 (Lemonade Chicken and Elegant Chicken in Marinade)
3. chuck roast for $2.48 (Cranberry Chuck Roast)
These meats are in the fridge. I will buy more tomorrow and then do my Cooking Marathon on Friday/Saturday. Watch next month’s newsletter for my recipe list and marathon tips. I will try to post pictures through the day on the 30 Day Gourmet Facebook® Fan page also.
Here are some great recipes to help you enjoy these summer months to the fullest.
Chicken Bacon Salad
Where did we get the idea that you can’t freeze Chicken Salad? I think it’s because of the mayonnaise but really the mayo freezes and thaws fine. It might be a tad runny when it thaws but you can always cut down on the amount of mayo a bit and then add some right before serving. I like crunchy things in my Chicken Salad hence the addition of bacon, grapes and almonds. yum!
I was looking for a red, white and blue dessert and came across this pie. It’s rich and dense and super filling but fruity. I chose to use a regular pie crust but it could also be made with a graham cracker crust. If you go with a graham cracker crust, though, I think it would probably fill two pies. Bob gave it a big “thumbs up”! (He knows that I’m taking most of his refined sugar away next week.)
Have you noticed that slushies and smoothies are everywhere? For years, Burger King, Dairy Queen and the gas stations were the only places that you could get a slushy but now Taco Bell and McDonald’s have jumped onto the slushy/smoothie bandwagon. If you watch the Taco Bell advertisement for the slushies, they even say at the end “contains no real fruit juice”. Bummer, eh?
Why not try to make your own slushies at home?
Here’s a little comparison:
|Taco Bell Mango Strawberry Frutista Freeze||20 oz.||280 calories||70 g carbs/sugar|
|Taco Bell Mountain Dew||20 oz.||280 calories||73 g carbs/sugar|
|Dairy Queen Mr. Misty (slushy)||20 oz.||290 calories||74 g carbs/sugar|
|McDonald’s new Fruit Smoothies||22 oz.||330 calories||77 g carbs/sugar|
|30 Day Gourmet Straw/Watermelon Slushies||12 oz.||88 calories||19 g carbs/sugar|
Interesting, huh? Not to say that we should all quit slurping down our favorite fast food slushy. Just know that there are tons of recipes out there for ones made at home with “real” fruit and (obviously) they all freeze great! Here’s a link to some great recipes and tips at allrecipes.com.
By the way, I only used half of my watermelon for the slushies. I made watermelon balls from the other half and will then put them back into the hollowed out melon for serving (don’t freeze this).
Closing Comments from Nanci
That’s it for June. I need to get back to planning my Summer Cooking Marathon and working in the 30 Day Gourmet office. If you haven’t purchased one of our new books yet . . . . well, you really should! The recipes are pretty amazing and with the layflat binding and a photo of each. . . It’s just a great book for freezer cooks! Here’s a reminder of our products:
- 30 Day Gourmet’s BIG Book of Freezer Cooking $19.95
- Advantage Cooking Software $34.95 download
- Holiday Freezer Cooking $6.95 download
- Freezer Cooking on a Budget $6.95 download
- Freezer Lunches to Go $6.95 download
- Freezer Desserts to Die For! $6.95 download
- Freezer Cooking for Daycare Providers & Busy Parents $6.95 download
- Healthy Freezer Cooking $6.95 download
- Vegetarian Freezer Cooking $6.95 download
- Co-op Cuisine $6.95 download
- Souper Freezer Soups $6.95 download
- Slow Cooker Freezer Favorites $6.95 download
Keep sending us your recipes, suggestions and comments. We love hearing from you!
PS – Did I mention that I went skydiving last month? If you want to see a pix of that, check out our 30 Day Gourmet Facebook® Fan page.