May 292010

Kitchen Fun with Carol

Hello everyone! The new website is up and running. I hope you have all had a chance to take a look around. We have had lots of great feedback. Thanks for bearing with us as we work out the “kinks” in the new system. And if you are having any problems with the new website, feel free to contact us through the new Contact Us page. Just tell us your name and email address, pick the subject area for the email, and tell us what you need. An email will be sent to the person responsible for the subject area.

We are pleased to announce that a new version of the best freezer cooking software available is almost ready! I’ve been testing the software for several weeks and it looks great! It should be released by 06/01/2010.

Here are the specifics –

  • Current Advantage Cooking Software users can upgrade to the new version of the software for free. This upgrade does not include any recipes, only the new version of the software.
  • 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!
  • If you do not own the Advantage Cooking Software, you can purchase it for $34.95. The new version is fully downloadable so there are no shipping charges!

Now let’s hear about some of the enhancements that will be available in the new version of the Advantage Cooking Software.

Advantage Cooking 2.0!

by Shelley Miller

In order to make the software compatible with Vista and Windows 7, it was necessary to make three significant changes. Two of these changes, unfortunately, are barely visible. First, a new help file had to be created and, second, a new installation directory structure had to be implemented. Boring, I know, but incredibly necessary.

Now for the part you can see: The display windows have been upgraded to a fresh Vista-style appearance. The best part of this change is that three new features have been added: find, sort, and filter.

Find: In order to find a recipe or an ingredient in the old version, we used a locator box at the top of the window. In this new version, the locator box is gone and an incremental search can be performed on any column in the upper window. Just start typing and the next recipe, or ingredient, or whatever, with that unique set of letters will be located and displayed.

Sort: The old version of the software automatically sorted the recipes and ingredients alphabetically, and that was that. Nothing to change. Now you can sort any column in the upper window. Sort by category, sort by serving size, sort by preparation time – it’s so convenient!

Filter: In the old version, we could filter one column: recipe category – that’s it. Now you can filter any column. The filter button  appears in the heading of each column and is used to select only those records with a specific value in that column. The filter button will produce a drop down list for selection.

In the example below, the Category column in the Recipes tab has been filtered to include only Beef Entrees. Notice the grey bar at the bottom of the window which specifies the filter that is currently in effect.

Data Filters


There are two buttons in the grey filter bar:

Toggle button will toggle the filter off and on. It will remember the filters that have been used since Advantage Cooking was last opened.

Red X button will turn off the filter and remove the grey filter bar from the window.

Importing Multiple Recipes / Confirm New Ingredients

While we were making changes, we added two new features: 1) import multiple recipes at a time, and 2) approve new ingredients to be added when importing.

When the import button from the Recipes tab is selected, the following window will appear. Locate the recipe files by specifying the folder where they are saved. Advantage will import a single .rcp file, multiple .rcp files, or a .zip file with multiple .rcp files included. In the example below, seven files are selected for import.

import pictures


Advantage will ask you to confirm the recipes to be added. This is Step 1: Select Recipe to Import shown in the window below. Each recipe will be marked as either a Duplicate, meaning it already exists in your recipe file, or as selected for import. The check boxes in the Import column can be toggled on and off. The list of recipes can be sorted by any of the four columns.

Import step 1


After selecting the desired recipes for import, click next button


Advantage will ask you to confirm the ingredients to be added. This is Step 2: Check Ingredients shown in the window below. Any ingredient that does not already exist in the ingredient file will be listed. Advantage will make a best guess, which appears in the “Substitute Ingredient” column. For each ingredient listed in the left column, there are two options: 1) toggle the check box to add as a new ingredient, or 2) select a substitute ingredient from the current list in your Advantage ingredient file.

import step 2a

Comparing the window above with the window below, notice that 8 new ingredients will be added, and 5 ingredients will be substituted with other ingredient names which already exist in the ingredient file.

import step 2b


It is possible to return to the previous screen and change the recipes selected. Either select the Recipes tab, or click previous button

After all the ingredients have been confirmed, click next button and Advantage will import the recipes, adding new ingredients where necessary.

As recipes are imported, they will appear in the window below, marked as Complete.

import step 3



Click OK button

to leave the Import process.

The ability to select multiple recipes will make importing e-books so easy! And with the ability to change and confirm new ingredients, your ingredient list will be free of stray and strange entries. Now you have total control in deciding which recipes and which ingredients actually make it into your database.

Here it is – Advantage Cooking 2.0 – we hope you like it!

Contest Winners

We are starting up our Freezer Cook of the Month contest. To enter the contest, post your: crazy cooking story, favorite freezer cooking tip, assembly day story (success or disaster!), good deed cooking story, etc. on the Cooks’ Corner Message Boards.

Or, submit your favorite freezer friendly recipe to be considered for the Freezer Cook of the Month contest. Just post it under the appropriate category on the Cooks’ Corner Message Boards. Be sure to include all ingredients quantities for one recipe, assembly instructions, freezing directions, and serving directions! All recipes posted under the recipe categories will be considered for the contest.

Good luck, everyone!

Bonus Recipes

There was a posting on the message boards asking for recipes that use sage. I love sage but I hardly ever use it in any recipe with the exception of stuffing. So I am sharing some new recipes with you that use sage. I hope you enjoy them.

ChickenCornChowderChicken and Corn Chowder

The recipe uses a concept that I have seen in a few freezer recipes. The soup is prepared as a concentrate and then diluted on serving day. This practice can save considerable freezer space on serving day. If you are freezing lunch portion, make the soup with the the full amount of the liquid so you can just “pack and go”.



TurkeyBurgersSavory Turkey Burgers

I love the flavor of these turkey burgers! They are moist and have just the right amount of “kick” to keep them interesting. To reduce your carbohydrate intake, you can bake and serve these on Portobello mushroom caps instead of using hamburger bus. Yum!


Closing Comments from Carol

Pantry Challenge Update:
I finished my pantry challenge in April. Thanks for following my progress! It was amazing to save money and empty the freezer. I was able to save over $150 on my monthly grocery bill. I used the savings to purchase groceries for my summer cooking session. I’ll share my summer menu with you next month. I was also able to clear out a lot of my old canned goods. The lessons I learned from the experience:

  1. Always label your food when you put it in the freezer. One marinade can look like another. This helps avoid those “mystery meals”.
  2. It is good to keep your meal inventory list up to date.

I hope you enjoy the recipes and the preview of the software. Next month I hope to share some wonderful summer marinade recipes with you.

We’re looking for your 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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