Notes from Tammy
Do you need some activities to keep the kids entertained on Thanksgiving? My kids don’t have school on Wednesday, so I will put them to work on some of these ideas. They will really enjoy the change of pace, and it will keep them busy and out of my way as I prepare for company. They can make centerpieces, place cards for the table, a “Gratitude Garland” and lots more! Check out the website for Family Fun Magazine for lots of great ideas! Crafts, recipes, activities and games galore!
“Spoons” is our game of choice for a group… it’s easy, and a riot of fun! We take it seriously at my house… players must remove jewelry from their hands so they will be less likely to injure other players as they fight for spoons. We have actually drawn blood while playing this card game! Watch the competitiveness come out in your family! You can find the directions at the Family Fun website listed above.
This issue of “Chewin’ the News” brings you three sample recipes from our Holiday eBook, as well as ideas of holiday-appropriate recipes. Read more about it below, in the Bonus Recipes section.
Instead of talking about specific recipes for the holidays, let’s talk about planning to feed a larger-than-normal group. If you’re having company for the holidays and don’t know where to start, this is just for you!
My parents are coming for a few days over Thanksgiving. I also invited my neighbors family of four over for Thanksgiving dinner, since they don’t have any family nearby. So I need to plan meals for 8 and 12, instead of my normal 6.
First thing I do is grab a piece of paper and my calendar. Mom and Pops will be here late Wednesday night, or mid-morning Thursday, depending on when Pops gets home from work on Wednesday. So the first meal I could have company for would be breakfast Thursday. Thursday lunch I need to plan for 12, Thursday dinner is for 8, maybe 12, depending how long the neighbors stay. Friday breakfast, lunch and dinner will be for 8. Saturday breakfast will be for 8, and then Mom and Pops are heading for home. That takes care of who I need to feed, now for what to feed them!
My family really enjoys our traditional holiday meal, and no one wants a big breakfast, so cereal is fine for Thursday morning. I will have Party Cheese Ball and fresh veggies and Dip for those who get hungry before the turkey is done. Our Thanksgiving menu will be turkey, bread stuffing, Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes, gravy, Sweet Potato Soufflé, sweet corn, and Best Ever Freezer Crescent Rolls. For dessert, Grammy’s Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese frosting, and Mom’s Pumpkin Pie. (Both recipes can be found in my ebook, Freezer Dessert to Die For!) If anyone is hungry at dinner time, leftovers is the name of the game!
Friday, I’ll have Pepperidge Farm French Toast Casserole ready for breakfast. Then whoever isn’t crazy enough to go shopping early that morning can put it in the oven for them and the kids. (Count my husband Rob and I in on the crazy ones!) Turkey sandwiches and Thanksgiving leftovers will take care of lunch. For dinner, Taco Chili is a family favorite, and I can put it in the slow cooker and forget about it. Saturday, we love homemade waffles for breakfast, so I think I’ll ask mom to bring her waffle iron along, and we can get both of them going to feed everyone quicker. And that takes care of my menu planning. That wasn’t so bad, was it?
I’m not making my turkey ahead of time, but if you want help with that, check out the Holiday eBook. If you’ve never done a turkey before, or haven’t been happy with the results of previous attempts, I highly recommend finding a cookbook by Rick Rodgers where he explains in detail how to cook a turkey. I got his directions from a newspaper article years ago, and have made perfect turkey ever since! Unfortunately, I don’t know the name of the cookbook the directions are from. He is a very popular author at www.amazon.com, and has a book about turkey, and one about Thanksgiving. Those would be the ones I would check first. And I would definitely check my local library to see if they had either one in stock. In my opinion, the price of the book would be more than worth it, just to learn how to make great turkey year after year!
If you need more recipe ideas, be sure to check out the “Recipes” button on our website. Choose the kind of recipe you’re looking for (Side and Salad, Bread and Breakfast, etc.) and scroll through the list to see what sounds good to you. The recipes below are from the Holiday eBook, which is also a great resource to get you cookin’ for company!
I don’t like sweet potatoes, but love this recipe!! What a great side dish! Goes great with ham or turkey.
This salad will add some color to your table! The cranberries make it a perfect compliment to turkey.
This festive chocolate pie will give you a dessert option for those who don’t like the traditional pumpkin desserts.
Website News from Nanci
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!
We will be making a quick trip to Michigan this year to spend the day with my in-laws. It’s been several years since we have gone “home” for Thanksgiving so they have been going out to eat instead. Dad is looking forward to having the big meal “at home” this year, complete with homemade foods and plenty of leftovers. With the help of our Holiday Freezer Cooking ebook and my trusty cooler, I will contribute foods from my freezer. Must have’s are: Sweet Potato Soufflé, Stuffing, Celebration Salad and Pumpkin Pie. Yum! If you don’t have time to freeze foods for Thanksgiving, try it for Christmas! You won’t believe how much it helps your holiday schedule.
It seems like we just released our Co-op Cuisine Ebook and we’ve got another one coming out already. These are both great ebooks! If you don’t have them yet, you need to order one. Each ebook has 25 recipes and the cost is only $6.95 for the download version. Our new Vegetarian Freezer Cooking Ebook would make a great gift for a vegetarian friend. Christmas is just around the corner!
Recipe of the Month Contest Winner
Recipe of the Month… Favorite Chili
Our winner this month is Laurie from —- with her recipe for Favorite Chili. My family likes chili, but I’ve always made it the easy way, by following the directions on the back of an envelope of chili spice mix. This recipe is a little different, including the addition of Velveeta cheese, so I decided to give it a try.
It was unanimous that this recipe was much better than my usual chili. I froze some, to make sure it froze ok. When I served it the next week, Gabe wanted to know if it was the “new” chili recipe, or the kind I always make. Coz the “new” recipe was better than the other, and he hoped it was the “new” one. We eat chili in a bowl, as well as on top of French fries, for Chili Cheese Fries. (That was the only way I could get my kids to eat chili when they were younger!) We had chili that someone else made, and Gabe made a point of telling me my “new” chili recipe was better. So it’s definitely “Favorite Chili” at my house!
It’s easy to make, goes together quickly in the slow cooker, has great flavor, and freezes well too! What more could you ask for? Freeze it in single servings for lunch, or in a large family-size container for dinner.
Click here to view/print the November Recipe of the Month.
Our winner this month is Megan, with a new cooking method for us. She posted on the message boards about cooking a whole chicken in the slow cooker, and everyone who tried it just raved about the results. So I had to try it too! I was more than pleased with the way it turned out! Especially considering my whole chicken had been in my freezer for 2 years, still wrapped how I bought it from the store. I cooked it for 6 hours on High, starting with a frozen chicken. It was falling off the bone, and was moist and tender. My husband said next time I should make some foil “pockets” of stuffing to put in the crock around the chicken, and baste the stuffing with the juices from the chicken. Good idea!! We had the fresh chicken for dinner, and then I de-boned the rest and put it in the freezer to use for future meals.
So, how do you make 30 Day Gourmet work for you? How do you use it to help you deal with a challenge in your life? How do you use it to help others? Do you have a funny story that happened on your cooking day?
Gourmet Q&A from Tammy
Q. I was unable to retrieve the bonus recipes from Brandel Falk in the October email digest. The links given didn’t work. Did anyone else have this problem? Would it be possible to have them sent again? Thanks for 30 Day Gourmet!
Sincerely, Nancy M.
A. Hi Nancy! Thanks for letting me know you had a problem. For some reason when you get your emails from Yahoo in digest form, the links don’t always work. Your options are to change your Yahoo groups to come individually, instead of in digest form. Or, at the top of our News, under the logo and my name, there is a line that says “To read this Newsletter online, click here.” If you click that link, it will take you to the Newsletter on our web site, and all the links will work there. Or, if that link doesn’t work, go to our web site at www.30daygourmet.com and click on the link on the left side that says “Free eNewsletters”… click “Current Issue” to read it now. That should take care of the problem for you!
Cookin’ at the Keyboard with Shelley
One of my defense tactics for the holiday season is to restock the freezer. Scanning the list of recipes in my Advantage Cooking database last month, I found myself growing bored, and then impatient. Apparently my freezer cooking habit had become routine, and the available recipe selection was all too familiar.
Fortunately, my problem was easily solved. I hopped on the internet and effortlessly imported several recipes from the 30 Day Gourmet website. Several other recipes that friends had shared with me were sitting in an email folder, also waiting to be imported. It wasn’t long until my cooking plan was revitalized and I was anxious to get started.
The hard part came when I printed the Grocery Report. The newly imported recipes contained ingredients that weren’t defined (or were entered differently) in my database. This produced some humorous or, depending on my mood, irritating results (like the report telling me to buy 192 teaspoons of tomato sauce). If your database has been similarly impacted by imports, here are a few suggestions to help you “clean up” your grocery report.
- After the report is displayed on the screen, reduce the Print Preview window and tile it next to the main Advantage window. This will allow you to page through the report in one window while changing the ingredient information in the other window. Note: any changes made will not be reflected in the Grocery Report window until a new report is generated.
- Anytime an ingredient shows up in a base measure like teaspoons, it means that there is no packaging defined for that ingredient. Advantage needs to be told how to buy the ingredient in the grocery store. For milk, packaging could be “Gallon”. Sugar packaging could be “Bag (10 pound)” or “Bag (25 pound)”. Packaging for spaghetti sauce could be “Cup” or “Jar (30 ounce)”. Locate the Ingredient and add a Packaging entry in the lower window.
- If an ingredient is listed twice on the Grocery Report it is because the ingredient has both a weight and a volume measure, which cannot be combined into one measure. Change one of the measures, or add a conversion (see the manual or the help file – I’ll talk more about this next month).
- If an ingredient is listed under multiple names (e.g. “egg”, “eggs”, “egg/s”), use the Ingredient Merge button to combine the references into a single ingredient.
- If the Total Needed for any ingredient on the Grocery Report looks suspicious, there are two checks to make: 1) compare the ingredient total on the Grocery Report to the amount on the Ingredient Report, checking the amount per recipe and the recipe quantity, and 2) check the conversions of any related ingredient converted to this ingredient.
Now that your grocery list is both accurate and streamlined, be sure to detour through the kitchen on your way to the store. Eliminate the items on the list that are already in your pantry, or adjust the quantity to be purchased. Happy shopping!
I hope you’ve enjoyed another edition of our Newsletter. We enjoy putting it together for you! My ebook, Freezer Desserts to Die For will be featured in the December issue. Look for a new recipe or two as well! Click here to send me an email with any questions, ideas, suggestions or problems. I enjoy hearing from those of you who take time to drop me a note. Happy Fall!