Aug 172010

Kitchen Fun with Carol

Carol2010Hello everyone! Wow! The summer has just flown by. It’s hard to believe that it is almost September. Everyone is talking about going back to school and the change of the seasons. My boys start their second year of college in just a couple weeks. We are so proud of them!

The change of the season always prompts me to do a cooking session. This summer I decided to stock up on meats as they went on sale all summer long. I stocked up on boneless skinless chicken breast (1.60 a pound), salmon (3.69 a pound), tilapia (2.99 a pound), and pork loin chops (1.49 a pound). I also got an incredible on day deal on ground beef. I always check the meat department when I stop into the grocery store – even if I am going there to purchase something totally different. You never know when you will run into a manager’s sale that is not advertised.

I shared my recipe lists on the 30 Day Gourmet Facebook® fan page as I had each cooking day. I also used the new version of the Advantage Cooking Software for this cooking day. I love the grocery list. It’s great to take the list and go through your pantry to eliminate the items that you already have on hand. This can really save a lot of money on your cooking day. I also like the option of saving the grocery list as an Excel spreadsheet. Once you save it, it is very convenient to edit it before you go shopping.

Here’s the final tally of everything I have made for the next 3 months.


  • Hamburgers (3)
  • Lasagna Rollups (2) from BBOFC
  • Perfect Little Meatballs (2 – enough for 24 meatball sandwiches)
  • Meatloaf (2) from the Members area


HamburgerDay_002Pork and Fish:

  • Parmesan Crusted Tilapia (3) from BBOFC
  • Shrimp Carbonara (1) from BBOFC
  • Strawberry Glazed Pork Chops (2)
  • Sweet Apple Pork Chops (2) from the Slow Cooker Freezer Favorites eBook
  • Sweet and Simple Salmon Marinade (2) from BBOFC
  • Tilapia and Mango Salsa (3) from BBOFC



  • BBQ Chicken Pizza (2) from BBOFC
  • Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Chicken (1)
  • Chicken Cordon Bleu (2) from BBOFC
  • Chicken Florentine Lasagna (2) from BBOFC
  • Chicken and Broccoli Lo Mein (3) from BBOFC
  • Elegant Chicken in Marinade (3) from BBOFC
  • Freezer Quesadillas (1) from BBOFC
  • Garlic Lime Chicken (3)
  • My variation of Italian Chicken (3) from the Members area
  • Oriental Sesame Chicken Strips (3) from BBOFC
  • Parsley Parmesan Chicken (3) from the Members area
  • Quesadilla Salad Marinade (3)
  • Turkey Wreath (3)
  • Turkey and Noodles (2) from the Members area


Soups and Sandwiches:


One of the best features of the software is the Recipe Inventory Worksheet that it creates for you. Just print it off after your cooking day and hang it on your freezer. As you remove recipes from the freezer check off the recipe on the list. Then you know exactly what you have on hand in the freezer. Click here to see a sample of my list from my last cooking session.

My next step in the cooking process is to create my menu. I take the list of recipes from the Recipe Inventory Worksheet and lay out my 4 week rotation. If I only have one or two of a recipe, I pair it up with other recipes to last for three rotations of the menu. Here’s what my fall menu looks like:

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Ravioli Parmesan Crusted Tilapia Sweet Apple or Strawberry Glazed Pork Chops Chicken Cordon Bleu or Broccoli and Cheese Chicken Hamburgers BBQ Chicken Pizza or Chicken Quesadillas Bowtie Soup,Hamburger Soup or BBQ Beef
Turkey and Noodles Salmon Soft Tacos Parsley Parmesan Chicken Lasagna Rollups or Shrimp Carbonara Chicken Cranberry Wreath  Iowa State Fair Guinea Grinders
Tuscan White Bean Soup Tilapia with Mango Salsa  Garlic Lime Chicken Chicken Fingers Chicken and Broccoli Lo Mein Breakfast Egg Casserole Meatball Subs
Italian Chicken Sloppy Joes Grilled Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf Chicken Florentine Lasagna Oriental Sesame Chicken  Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

Want to get even more organized? Use the Advantage Cooking Software to create your base grocery shopping list for each week. Create a cooking day for each week in the menu rotation. From that, create a Grocery Report for “Serving Day Ingredients Only” and PRESTO you have a grocery list for the week. Cross off what you don’t need and add additional items not from the menu. It’s a great way to get organized!

Facebook® Questions

If you have been following us on the 30 Day Gourmet Facebook® fan page, you have seen some of the great questions that have been posted about 30 Day Gourmet, our recipes, and our new book, the Big Book of Freezer Cooking. I thought it would be great to share some of these questions with you.

Q: I have the older “manual” that I bought about 10 yrs ago or so, does the new book have new recipes, or is it the same basic stuff. I have a few of the ebooks, so wondering if it’s worth the $.

A: The new book is totally different from the old book. Here are some of the changes that were made in the Big Book of Freezer Cooking:

  • The book uses concealed ring binding so it lies flat and is easier to use.
  • The cooking and assembly processes have been updated. We’ve added all new color photos of this process.
  • The Tally Sheet has been completely redone to make it easier to copy and use at home.
  • The book contains over 150 recipes – more than twice as many than were included in the Freezer Cooking Manual.
  • The majority of the recipes are new and have never been published in a prior version of our manual or on our website.
  • Every recipe includes a color photograph of the final product.
  • We also include nutritional analysis for every recipe.

 Thighs and drumsticks are on sale for .99 a pound. I need help with some recipes to use for these. Cooking is something that doesn’t “click” with me, so I don’t know if I could use these instead of breasts in recipes. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

A: When I buy thighs and drumsticks on sale, I usually end up cooking them in bulk in the crock pot. When they are done, I pull the meat off the bone and use it in any recipe that calls for cooked chicken such as Chicken Tetrazzini, Chicken/Turkey Patties, Chicken Noodle Soup, Chicken and Noodles, Chicken Quesadillas, etc. I just put 1/2 to 1 C. of water to the crock pot and sprinkle some seasonings on top – maybe garlic powder and either poultry seasoning or Italian Seasoning. I cook them with the skins on. Cook them until they are tender and the meat is falling off the bone (3 or 4 hours on high). Once they are done, take them out and remove the meat from the bone. I strain, defat and save the stock that is left in the bottom of the crock pot. This is great for soup.

Keep asking questions! We love helping everyone!

Contest Winner

I know from experience that packing lunches and having homemade snacks on hand for after school can save you a lot of money. For the August Freezer Cook of the Month contest, we asked you to post your favorite lunch recipes, snack recipes, or back to school cooking day stories on the 30 Day Gourmet Facebook® fan page The contest winner will receive a free copy of 30 Day Gourmet’s Big Book of Freezer Cooking!

And our Freezer Cook of the Month Contest winner for August is Lou! She had a great posting on the 30 Day Gourmet Facebook® fan page about her back to school cooking day. Let’s hear from Lou:

I just finished a back to school session making: Ham/turkey w/ cheese, peanut butter and choc spread sandwiches (cut out with a fun sandwich cutter), half a huge loaf of whole wheat bread for each flavor. I have also done 2 dozen bread roll sandwiches (freezer sandwiches from the web site for DH), 1 batch of whole wheat granola bars w/ choc chips and nuts double cut so the kids don’t just eat that at lunch. I also made a double batch of zucchini bread and baked it in my mini loaf tray pans. It made 13 loaves which I then sliced into mini slices; they then went 3 to a snack size bag and in the freezer – 76 slices in total! The fruit dip has been made and portioned into dip containers and frozen and 4 rolls of different cookie dough will be taken out the freezer today and made into mini cookies. Also 8 bags of macaroni and cheese either to be put into a thermos or for a quick after school dinner.

I find mini ‘tasters’ of sweet stuff for lunch are best, that way they can have variety without filling up on dessert.

Great ideas! Thanks for sharing, Lou.

For some more helpful information on packing lunches, read the September 2004 newsletter, the September 2005 newsletter, the September 2008 newsletter, the Do’s and Don’ts of Packed Lunches and my ebook Freezer Lunches To Go. Good luck this school year!

You too can get in on the winning by posting your funny story, good deed, cooking tip, assembly day story, favorite recipe, etc. on the 30 Day Gourmet Facebook® fan pageor click here to email it to me. Next month we are looking for your favorite back to school recipes!

Good luck, everyone!

Bonus Recipes

Perfect Little Meatballs

Perfect Little Meatballs

Perfect Little Meatballs

Just like the recipe title says, these are the perfect little meatballs! I love how they stay together even after reheating on serving day. It’s a very versatile recipe. I especially like to use them for meatball sandwiches. They are great for packing for lunch. Send them in a warmed thermos with some spaghetti sauce. Include a hotdog bun or a pita pocket and some shredded mozzarella cheese and you have a wonderful lunch!



Strawberry Glazed Pork Chops

Strawberry Glazed Pork Chops

This recipe makes the moistest pork chops you have ever tasted! I grilled the pork chops and they came out beautiful. The flavor is subtle and sweet. You can also bake them in the oven.



Closing Comments from Carol

I hope you enjoyed my fall cooking session. I would love to hear about yours.

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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