Nov 242010

Kitchen Fun With Carol

CarolPolarBearHello everyone and Happy Holidays! I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving this week. I am looking forward to spending time with the family. We were invited to two meals this year and we are hosting one. It’s been fun planning our meal. Our before meal hors d’oeuvres include veggie platter with dipcheese ball and crackers, and chips and salsa. The menu for the meal includes turkey, stuffing (fruit based recipe similar to the one in the Holiday Freezer Cooking ebook), rolls, potatoes, salad, fresh steamed green beans, beer bread and multiple desserts. I am still trying to find some time to make some Pumpkin Butter. YUM!

The holidays are upon us and it is time to start planning! This time of year can be completely crazy – decorations, shopping, parties, school concerts, cookie exchanges, etc. However, freezer cooking can be a tremendous help during the busy season. If you have not had a chance, check out our Holiday Freezer Cooking ebook. The ebook gives you all the recipes you need to freeze an entire meal plus much more. Click here to see a list of the recipes included in this ebook. You can also try out the Sweet Potato Soufflé, the Celebration Salad and the Merry Kiss-Mousse Pie for free!

Still need help planning? Check out our Holiday Menu Planning To Do List below. Download a copy of the Holiday Menu Planning to print off at home!


Holiday Menu Planning

To Do List


 FantasyofLights_021 - Copy
Action Item Date Due


Fourth Week of November
Send out invitations (if not already done) for any parties, potlucks, open houses or gatherings you are planning. Plan your menus for these gatherings and freeze as many recipes as you can!
Plan your hostess gifts for parties that you are attending.
Check your newspaper or community information centers and plan your family activities for the month. Make sure you plan your monthly menu around these activities.
First Week of December
Plan your menu for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Purchase your frozen turkey or place your order for a fresh one.
Plan your baking days. Make sure to plan at least one day to make frosted cookies with the kids! This is fun for everyone.
Start your freezer cooking for the holiday – hors d’oeuvres, side dishes, desserts, etc. Remember to fill out your Recipe Inventory Checklist as you complete your recipes.
Start planning and making gifts from the kitchen.
Second Week of December
Review your holiday menu. Make any freezer safe dishes that have not been made.
Plan your Christmas morning breakfast. (This is a great tradition to start if you have not. My family always asks for their favorite dishes on Christmas morning.)
Third Week of December
Make a list of any perishable items you need for your holiday menu.
Cross check your menu with your Recipe Inventory Checklist. Make any recipe that needs to be made.
Christmas Week
Pick up any last minute groceries.
Defrost any dishes and your turkey, roast, or ham. Remember, for turkey you need to allow 24 hours of defrosting time for every 4 to 5 pounds.

If you need some recipe ideas for the holidays, a great source for recipes is the 30 Day Gourmet web site! Click here to access our recipe database. 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. There are hundreds of recipes to choose from. There are lots of recipes on the web site that would make great last minute gifts. Some of my favorites are White Chocolate Snowmen (from the January 2007 newsletter), Hot Cocoa MixPasta Fagioli Soup MixPeppermint PattiesBrown Sugar Cinnamon Coffee CakeBrownie BitesPretzel Turtles, and Holiday Jar Cookies.

Bonus Recipes

To make the holidays a little less hectic it is great to have some recipes on hand that can be cooked in the slow cooker (a real time saver when you have all that Christmas shopping) or can be tossed together quickly! Here are a couple of my time saving recipes.

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff 
This recipe is a splurge calorie wise but it is wonderful! We love it because it cooks in the slow cooker all day which makes serving dinner so easy after a long day. The sauce is rich and it is easy to put together on assembly day.





Turkey Sausage Pasta Toss

Turkey Sausage Pasta Toss
This is a great recipe to have on hand in the freezer. It is very versatile. You can cook the sauce in the slow cooker and serve it over freshly cooked pasta. Or you can toss it with cooked pasta and reheat it in the oven. The turkey sausage helps cut down on the amount of fat in the recipe.


Closing Comments From Carol

I hope you enjoyed my holiday menu planning to do list. I would love to hear about your tips, suggestions, and favorite holiday recipe.

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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