Aug 012006

Notes from Tammy

tammydisneyHi everybody! Hope you all are having a great summer! Mine has been busy, but good so far. Can’t believe school starts this month!

I didn’t plan to take a couple months off from doing my newsletters, but I’ve been so busy, it just worked out that way! My husband got an unexpected bonus from work in Feb, and we decided to take the family to Disney. I was a travel agent for 10+ years, and I never spent so much time planning a trip!!!

Besides planning our air, car and hotel, I planned every day. It had been about 12 years since my last visit to Disney, and I knew there was a LOT to see! I wanted to make sure we saw everything the kids, ages 8, 11 and 13, wanted to see. But we needed to have an easy pace, because my 79 year old mother-in-law was coming along for her first trip to Disney. I found “The Unofficial Guide to Disney” to be an invaluable resource. I used their touring plans and cheat sheets, which were almost priceless for us!

We spent 10 days in Orlando in early June. It was HOT and Tropical Storm Alberto rained on us a day or two, but we had an awesome time! Grandma kept up with us, and didn’t take any days off, coz she didn’t want to miss anything. We were there for Star Wars Weekends at MGM Studios, which my kids just LOVED!! They are Star Wars fans (my daughter’s puppy is Ani, after Anakin) and couldn’t wait to get their pictures taken with the Star Wars characters. The kids loved EPCOT most of all. Grandma is rather gullible, and the Disney characters were all very real to her. She stood in line with the kids to get their autograph and her picture taken with them. The characters treated Grandma extra-special so she enjoyed it even more. One of the kids said “Boy, the characters really like our Grandma!” It was so very neat to see everybody enjoy the different parts of the parks. We made lots of great memories, and I have tons of digital pictures to prove it!

I’ve gotten out of the habit of cooking for a month at a time for a variety of reasons. I decided this month that they really weren’t very good reasons, and I missed the convenience of having lots of meals in the freezer. I’ve gotten in a rut serving the same meals too. So I decided on Tuesday to cook on Friday. I had to work all my planning and shopping around dentist appointments, middle school orientation and defrosting my large upright freezer. But the important thing was I was doing it! Grandma helped me put recipes together on Fri and we got most of them done. I still have some recipes to do yet this week. Got one in the slow cooker for dinner tonite, with the rest to go in the freezer.

It is such a wonderful feeling to know my meals are in the freezer for the next month, my menus are planned and I don’t have to worry about it! No more last minute trips to Wal-Mart coz there’s nothing for dinner. Or spending extra money eating out coz it’s easier. Why did I ever think my reasons for not putting a month of meals away at a time was a good idea? The calm and peace I’m feeling about my meals is something I’d forgotten about. Don’t think I’ll be forgetting that anytime in the future!

Tammy’s Bonus Recipe

We have a new favorite recipe at our house.  It’s Spaghetti Casserole, and I got it from my aunt when we went to AL to visit.  The sauce has some chili sauce and Worcestershire sauce in it, so it has a little zing to it that ‘regular’ spaghetti doesn’t have.

Click here to view/print this recipe!


It also has Cream of Mushroom soup in it, so I’m sure to make it when my kids aren’t around.  Even though they’ve been enjoying it, if they knew it had mushroom soup in it, they would stop eating it.  Go figure!  My son asked me one night as he examined a forkful, “Does this have mushrooms in it?”  Everyone at the table froze, waiting for my answer.  I said “No. Why?”  He said “Oh, I saw something brown that looked suspiciously like a mushroom.”  I said “Must have been some meat or spices.”  Technically, it’s not mushrooms, it’s mushroom soup.  Why make my job as chef harder than it is?

It’s a versatile recipe too.  You can make and freeze the sauce, using fresh pasta on serving day.  You can freeze the pasta and sauce together, layering it with cheese on serving day.  Or if you have room in your freezer, layer the casserole in a 9×13  pan and freeze the whole thing.

One recipe makes two 9×13 dishes.  I was going to scale the recipe down so it made one, but the recipe as is uses whole cans of ingredients.  Half the recipe would leave you with half cans of soup and chili sauce leftover.  Not good!  I hope your family enjoys this tasty recipe as much as my family does!

Final Thoughts

Well, that’s it from me this month.  Time to finish gearing up for school!  My kids start next week. I don’t know that I’m ready to get back into spelling words, homework and teacher meetings yet.  But guess I don’t have too much say about that!  Ready or not, here it comes!

Feel free to email me with any questions, ideas, suggestions or problems. I enjoy hearing from you all!


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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