Notes from Tammy
Hi again, everybody! Hope you all enjoyed the Valentine’s ideas for your family. I want to apologize if you didn’t get your February News… we’ve been having problems with the server that we send the News out from. February’s actually got sent twice! Don’t feel left out if you didn’t get yours… I didn’t either!! If you missed the February News, go to the “Free e-Newsletters” link on the left side of our home page, and click to read previous issues. You definitely won’t want to miss the Oreo Truffles recipe! It’s starting to feel a lot like spring around here, and we are lovin’ it!! The snow has mostly melted, and the crocus are starting
to peak through the dead grass. The bright green leaves and colorful flowers are a very welcome sight about now! Spring is just around the corner, and just in time, I think! My husband coaches our oldest son’s soccer team, and he got a call about getting ready for spring soccer a couple of days ago. It’s about time to start thinking about those spring sports schedules again, huh? Which means snacks and dinners on the go. I’ve got a couple new recipes this month that should help out. My family really enjoyed them, and I’m sure yours will too!
I didn’t plan on having so many bread machine recipes this month, but it kinda worked out that way! If you don’t have a bread machine, you can still use bread machine recipes. You just have to do the “work” yourself!
The dough cycle on my bread machine mixes/kneads the dough for 7 minutes, lets it rise for 5 minutes, kneads for 18 minutes, and then rises for 50 minutes. Then the dough is ready to go. If you’re mixing up dough by hand, or with the help of a heavy-duty mixer, follow these basic steps…. Mix the warm water and yeast, until the yeast is softened. Add the rest of the ingredients, part of the flour and mix well. Add the rest of the flour and mix until evenly combined. Let the dough rest for about 5 minutes. Knead the dough by hand or with the dough hook on your mixer. Grease a bowl, and put the kneaded dough in it. Cover the bowl with greased plastic wrap, or a towel. Let rise until doubled. Punch down, and the dough is ready to make your recipe.
If your kids like the “heat-n-eat” pretzels you buy from the freezer case, they should enjoy these! I had to try a few different recipes to get one that I was happy with. When I told my neighbor I was going to be trying some pretzel recipes, she wanted to know how I was going to make them brown. She said her mom made pretzels when she was a kid, and they really enjoyed them. A couple years ago she and her siblings decided to make them again. They found mom’s recipe, and after reading through it, decided they weren’t going to make pretzels after all! Because mom’s recipe called for them to boil some water, drop 3 crystals of Lye (a chemical? used to make soap, that is strong enough to burn your skin!) in the boiling water, and dip the raw pretzels into the lye-water to turn them brown. They promptly accused mom of trying to poison them!
A couple recipes I was looking at said to brush the raw pretzels with a beaten egg. That didn’t work! They didn’t turn brown, they were too soft, and had an egg flavor too. Not what I was looking for! I found a safer version of the lye-water, and it works like a charm! You dissolve baking soda in hot water, and dunk the raw pretzels into it before baking. It was a bit messy at first, and awkward too, until I got the hang of dunking and draining. But it was worth it! The pretzels had a nice light-brown-all-over color, and a light “crust” too.
The second challenge of making pretzels was shaping them. That was more of a challenge than I thought! If you’ve ever seen the “Auntie Anne’s” pretzel stands in the mall, they make shaping pretzels look SO easy! I was halfway done with my third batch before I finally got it down! I took some pictures, and hopefully, it will be easier for you than it was for me!
To shape the pretzels, after you get the dough rolled out, grab the ends and lift the rope completely off the counter. Touch the middle of the rope to the counter, and lay the ends down from it, in a U shape. Put the bottom of the U closest to you, with the ends out straight in front of you. Cross the ends of the rope over each other, about 3” from each end, to make an X. Grab the ends, and twist them again, so that the end that was on the left side is now on the right, and the end that was on the right is now on the left. If you twist them the wrong way, it will un-do the X you’ve already made. Pick up the ends and the twist, and bring it towards you, touching the ends onto the bottom of the U, about 2” apart. And that’s it… you did it!
Click here to view/print this recipe!
The original recipe for this is from the Friendly Freezer Group. I “tweaked” it a little for the bread machine. It’s great pizza dough for making snack-size or personal-size pizzas. The original recipe said it would make 6, but I could have easily gotten 8 or 9 snack-size pizzas out of it. My 6 were better sized as a meal for me or the kids. You can see from the picture that my pizzas were kinda big for a snack, compared to the 4” rounds they sell in the freezer case! I flash-froze the cooked and cooled pizzas, and then put them in a freezer bag. It was so easy to grab a couple out, throw them in the oven for 10 minutes, and it was time to eat! And, my husband really liked this pizza crust too! (More about that under the Recipe of the Month!)
Click here to view/print this recipe!
Website News from Nanci
Healthy Freezer Cooking: A Guide to Creating Nutritious Meals is finally here! Carol Santee (author of our Freezer Lunches to Go ebook) has written another winner. After her husband was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, Carol entered the daunting world of healthy cooking. She has since mastered assembling and freezing foods that taste great but work well for all types of restricted diets. Want to learn how to reduce fat, sugar, cholesterol, and salt in recipes? Then this is the ebook for you! The book includes tips on how to reduce fat and sugar in a recipe, information on all of the different sugar substitutes available and tips on menu planning. Includes 25 great tasting healthy recipes – 21 recipes with 10g or less of fat per serving! Nutritional analysis included for all recipes.
Order yours now! Just $6.95 for the download version. Nutritional info and files for Advantage Cooking software users included.
Free sampler also available including three recipes for you to try out!
Updated Members Section
Those of you who own a Freezer Cooking Manual or our software are entitled to access the Members section. It has been recently updated and there are lots of recipes there for you to download. Click here to check it out!
Recipe of the Month Contest Winner
This month’s Recipe of the Month winner is Lori McClure, of Mackinaw, IL. Her recipe is a master mix for Pizza Dough. We love pizza at my house. But my hubby would rather have no pizza than eat homemade pizza. So I’m always on the lookout for a “different” recipe that he might like. And I found one here! The mix of flours and cornmeal give it a slightly different texture, which is what makes the crust. You mix up the dry ingredients, measure 3 C. into each zipper baggie, and in the freezer it goes. Then when you want pizza, grab a bag of dry ingredients, add it to water, oil and yeast in your bread machine, press start, and you’ll be ready to go in no time!
The recipe, as Lori posted it, calls for 16 C. bread flour, or a 5 lb. bag. Lori and I had an interesting discussion about this. I asked which she used. Because my bag of bread flour said it should hold approximately 19 C. of flour. But I measured it out, and got just over 17 C. And I measured it just like they said to on the bag… fluff the flour with a spoon, spoon it into a measuring cup, and level off the top, without tapping the cup to settle the flour. Lori measures by scooping her measuring cup into the flour, tapping to get air pockets out, and then leveling off. She gets 16 C. from her bag of flour that way. Lori pointed out that equivalency charts say 1 lb flour = 4 C, which means a 5 lb. bag should have 20 C. of flour in it. So, based on those discrepancies, we went with 16 C. for the recipe.
Let’s meet Lori:
I became introduced to the Freezer Cooking method almost 4 years ago when I attended a one-night class offered at a local junior college. I came home and ordered the 30 Day Gourmet book that night and had my first cooking day right away. I am an at-home-mom of 3 kids ages 11, 8 and 4. My husband works 2nd shift so the afternoons and evenings are left to me for getting the kids to practices, appointments, and all the other nightly routines done…plus still trying to have a good dinner in there somewhere. 30 Day Gourmet has definitely been a life saver in that department!
Click here to view/print the March Recipe of the Month.
Freezer Cook of the Month Contest Winner
Esther Morse, Colorado Springs, CO.
Several years ago, my girlfriend and I decided to form a Girl Scout troop for our daughters, Amanda and Elizabeth. After taking the camp training, we packed up and hauled our troop, of about 8 girls, on a camping trip. While on a short hike, Carol and I noticed wild onions growing; what a great addition to our dinner of goulash! Pick! Pick! Pick! After a couple hundred feet or so… wild daffodils! What a great addition to our base housing gardens! Pick! Pick! Pick!
Upon arriving back at the campsite, Carol laid down because of a severe headache, and I was left in charge! “Okay, Girls, peel those wild onions, slice ‘em up, and let’s get them sauteeing in butter”…mmm mmm mmm!
Carol reappeared just as the goulash was being served up. As she groggily came over to the picnic bench / cooking area, she held up some plants and said, “I thought you were going to put these onions in the goulash?”
Well, I’ve read that daffodils are some of the un-edible flowers… guess we were just lucky!
Gourmet Q&A from Tammy
Q. What kind of freezer labels should I use? Ones I’ve tried don’t come off all the way and make a mess on my dishes and plastic containers. Any ideas? Leslie
A. Well, Leslie, help is on the way! You can buy freezer labels from our on-line store. They’re 2”x3”, with room to write the recipe name, the date and instructions for serving day. They stick to plastic or glass containers, as well as freezer bags. I’ve never had one come off in my freezer. But, when it’s time to take the label off, it comes off easily, in one piece. They come 50 to a roll, for $4. They’re very easy to keep at hand and use. Glad you asked about this, Leslie… it reminds me that I need to order some more! Click here to order yours.
Cookin’ at the Keyboard with Shelley
I’ve received a request for the Advantage Cooking software to print recipes in “column” format, similar to the Freezer Cooking Manual. It is helpful to have ingredient amounts calculated and easily accessible when cooking multiple quantities of a recipe, and it is possible to use the software to generate the same information for any recipe entered. Here’s the process.
Unless I’m trying a meal for the first time, I always cook multiple quantities of a recipe. Depending on the nature of the recipe, I will assemble the ingredients in one of two ways.
The first method is used when the recipe ingredients are difficult to divide into individual meals. Marinades are the best example. Instead of combining six times the quantity of one recipe in a bowl and then trying to separate the “layers” when I’m done, I’ll use six different bowls and assemble one recipe, six times. In this case, I don’t need to multiply the recipe ingredients while I’m cooking; the original recipe has all the information I need. The critical step is to make sure I buy the correct amount of each ingredient! When planning for my Cooking Day, I must be sure to enter a quantity of “6” for this particular “Cooking Day Recipe” before generating a Grocery Report.
A good example of the second method of assembly would be meatballs. I don’t want six different bowls; I want one bowl with six times the recipe. To print a recipe with the ingredients already calculated, use the “Scale” option in the Recipe Manager. Select the desired recipe and click the “Scale” button. When the scaling window appears, enter the desired multiplication factor (“6” in this case), check the “Copy Recipe” option, and click “Scale”. A new recipe will be added using the same recipe name, followed by the quantity. All the ingredients are automatically multiplied by the scale factor! Print this new recipe and use it, instead of the single version, when assembling the recipe. Please note: when planning for the cooking day, be careful when selecting the “Cooking Day Recipes.” If you select the single version recipe, enter a quantity of “6”. If you select the scaled version of the recipe, enter a quantity of “1”. Either method will calculate the correct amount of ingredients on the Grocery Report. (An easy mistake would be to select the scaled version of the recipe, enter a quantity of six, and come home ready to make 36 recipes of meatballs. Oops!)
You will notice that scaling a recipe can result in some unusual amounts and measures of ingredients. Use the “Change Measure” button at the bottom of the window to quickly convert to equal, but more easily used, measures (e.g. 12 tablespoons = ¾ cup).
If you haven’t tried our Advantage Cooking software, click here for a 30 day free trial or to order your own copy.
30 Day Gourmet in the News
Lots of our consultants and “regular” cooks are being featured in their local newspapers as word about their “unusual” cooking plan spreads. Please let us know if you are one of them! Here’s what we have coming up.
St Louis Post-Dispatch Food Section – March 3rd
30 Day Gourmet Angie Copple is one of those brave gourmets who cooks with her husband. 🙂 She also cooks with her two brothers and their wives. Wow! That’s a kitchen full! When a local Food Editor heard about “that cooking thing they do” she came out (with a photographer) to see it for herself. The result was a large front page article featuring the cooking couples.
Working Mother Magazine – May issue
An article about Dinnertime Shortcuts is slated to run in their May issue featuring 30 Day Gourmet. Watch for it!
The church gossip and self-appointed arbiter of the church’s morals kept
sticking her nose into other people’s business. Several church members were
unappreciative of her activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.
She made a mistake, however, when she accused George, a new member, of
being drunk after she saw his pickup truck parked in front of the towns only
bar one afternoon. She commented to George and others that everyone seeing it
there would know what he was doing.
George, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just walked
away. He didn’t explain, defend, or deny; he said nothing. Later that evening,
George quietly parked his pickup in front of her house… and left it there all night.
Thanks for all your support of what we do here at 30 Day Gourmet! Without you all, I wouldn’t have a job I love, and get to work from home too! Please let me know if there’s anything we can do to help you with your freezer cooking. Besides coming to your house and doing it for you!! Click here to send me an email with any questions, ideas, suggestions or problems. I enjoy hearing from you all!
Have a great month, and we’ll be talking again soon!