Aug 272013

A Week in the Kitchen with Carol

It’s hard to believe that another month has passed! It’s almost September and I decided to do my cooking for the fall this week. I had one cooking day already and I am planning on having another one later this week or early next week.

I found some great deals on chicken ($1.66 a pound), hamburger ($1.99 a pound), cheese ($1.66 per 8 ounce package), berries ($1 per pint for blue berries), and mushrooms ($1.00 for 8 oz. package of portabellas and .69 for 8 oz. package of white). This alone is a great reason to plan a cooking day!

Here’s how my cooking day went. Remember – this system is flexible so you can tailor it to meet your needs! My cooking day was quick and I used ingredients that I had on hand. Sometimes I’ll plan using the software but sometimes I just work off a handwritten list. How you choose to cook is totally up to you! The more you cook, the more comfortable you will become with the system.

The night before my official cooking day I decided to tackle the hamburger. I cooked 5 pounds of hamburger. I froze 4 pounds of the cooked hamburger in individual containers for Taco Salad. I made Mushroom, Beef and Brown Rice Soup. It’s my husband’s favorite soup. I also decided to brown a pound of turkey sausage and added it to two recipes of Spinach Lasagna (from the Big Book of Freezer Cooking). I also loaded the slow cooker up with the ingredients for my first batch of Shredded Chicken Sandwiches after the soup was done.

The next morning I shredded the chicken and then loaded up the slow cooker with my second batch of Shredded Chicken Sandwiches. Then I decided to tackle the recipes for the baked goods. I made two recipes of Banana Bread (from the Freezer Lunches to Go ebook), two Fruit and Oat Bars (with a homemade blueberry filling), and Breakfast Cookies (from the Big Book of Freezer Cooking). I also made some other breakfast recipes – Slow Cooker Oatmeal and Multi-Grain Waffles.


Next I worked on the chicken recipes. I started with marinade recipes first. I made two recipes of Mango Chicken Marinade, two Marinade for Grilled Chicken Salad, and three Smokey Chicken Marinade. Here’s everything I finished by noon.



I spent the afternoon finishing my two remaining recipes – two recipes of Grown Up Mac and Cheese and three recipes of Slow Cooker Chicken Chili.



Wow! Not too bad for a day’s work!

What are your cooking plans for this fall? I’ll probably have another quick cooking day next week. Pork loins and ground beef are on sale. I would also like to make some Muesli, Zucchini Carrot Muffins, and Pumpkin Bread. I also found a recipe for Pumpkin Waffles that I want to test. Yum!

Bonus Recipes



When I made the Fruit and Oat Bars, I decided to make my own filling instead of using fruit preserves. Blueberries have been on sale and we have been freezing some every week in one cup portions. Here’s a quick recipe that you can use to make fruit filling. I have made it using blueberries and cranberries, blueberries and black berries, and just blueberries. All the combinations have been wonderful.

Homemade Fruit Filling

1/4 C. water
2 T. sugar
1/2 t. lemon zest
2 t. lemon juice
1 T. corn starch
2 C. berries

Combine the water, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and corn starch in a medium sauce pan. Add the berries. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until thickened and bubbly – about 2 minutes. Cool.

MangoMarinadeMango Chicken Marinade

Here is the final version of one of the test recipes that I published on Facebook. I have tested it using fresh pureed mangoes and with mango nectar. Both options taste great!

We use this chicken as a topping for our Berry Chicken Salad. I use a mix of different lettuces (the artisan mix works nice), sliced almonds, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and asiago cheese. I top it with a Pomegranate Vinaigrette.




SlowCookerOatmealMixSlow Cooker Oatmeal Mix

This is a great recipe to have on hand in your pantry! We can’t wait to eat it this winter.

Feel free to change this recipe. You might need to increase the amount of brown sugar if your family prefers your oatmeal a little sweeter. Sometimes we add 2 T. chopped pecans to the mix. It gives it a nice nutty flavor.


Closing Comments from Carol

Enjoy the recipes!

Do you have any recipes that you would like to share? I’d love to try and share them with everyone. 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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