Feb 282011

A Week In The Kitchen With Carol

Hello everyone! It’s the end of February and Spring is right around the corner. We’re getting ready to switch off the winter menu at our house. That means that it is time for a “Pantry Challenge” to clean out the freezer.

I completed my first freezer Pantry Challenge in March 2010. So what is a “Pantry Challenge”? It is a month long challenge where you are supposed to prepare and eat foods that come from your pantry. Your pantry consists of food that is in your freezer or cupboards. You set goals for the challenge such as setting the maximum number of shopping trips for the month, a certain dollar amount to spend for the month, and list of items that you are allowed to buy during the challenge. This would include any perishable items such as dairy (eggs, cheese, milk, etc.), produce, and breads.

My challenge rules are a little different this time. Our goal is to completely empty the stand alone freezer. Here are my rules for this challenge:

  1. Buy only perishables that I would normally buy each week and anything I need to complete the recipes that I serving for the week.
  2. Try to limit my shopping to once per week.

My family is already into week 2 of the challenge. I’m looking forward to getting the freezer cleaned out and making recipes for the grill. This motivates me to keep going with the challenge. On Sunday of each week, I go “shopping” in my freezer and pull out five or six recipes to serve. I update my grocery list with the serving day ingredients only if I don’t already have them on hand.

Week One Recipes


I made some Breakfast Cookies for the week. It’s a recipe from the Big Book of Freezer Cooking. This is one of our favorite breakfast recipes. The cookies stay moist for several days because of the apples and cranberries. I also add some chocolate chips to half of the batch to make them more “kid friendly”!

Breakfast Cookies

Breakfast Cookies

For dinner I served Parmesan Crusted Tilapia. It’s also a recipe from the Big Book of Freezer Cooking. This is one of my favorite recipes. The spice mix is flavorful and the fish is very moist. I serve it with my recipe for Creamy Garlic Parmesan Rice. This is a nice rice mix to have on hand. I bake it in the oven instead of cooking it on the stovetop.

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia



I made a new version of Chicken Corn Bleu. It’s the standard chicken, ham and Swiss cheese but instead of breading it, you bake it in a creamy mushroom sauce. It was wonderful!


I had an abundance of colored peppers in the fridge. I also had an English Roast that I had pulled out of the freezer. Normally I would make Delicious Pot Roast (from the Members area) but I decided to try using the roast in the Pepper Steak recipe from the Big Book of Freezer Cooking instead. I cooked it all day on low in the slow cooker and served it over plain long grain rice.

Pepper Steak

Pepper Steak


Last month I mentioned that I had tried a new recipe for Mango Orange Ham Glaze. After serving the ham for dinner last month, we chopped up the leftovers and put them in the freezer. I was able to mix the leftover ham into a recipe of Tara’s Macaroni and Cheese (a Members area recipe). It was a great way to clear two things out of the freezer.

Tara's Mac and Cheese

Tara’s Mac and Cheese


For our meal on Thursday, I made up a Turkey Wreath for dinner. I have mentioned this recipe in previous newsletters. The filling freezes very well. You can see a version of the recipe at Food.com. I make a slightly different version. I use the Super-Easy Freezer Crescent Rolls recipe from the Big Book of Freezer Cooking for the crescent rolls in the recipe. It makes a very elegant dinner and heats up nicely for lunch the next day.


Turkey Wreath


I made the Tuscan White Bean Soup and Herbed Garlic Bread recipes from the Big Book of Freezer Cooking. I love having slow cooker meals in the freezer! It makes it so convenient to put the meal in the slow cooker, turn it on low, and go.

Tuscan White Bean Soup

Tuscan White Bean Soup

Week Two Recipes

Here are the recipes that I plan on making this week:


Spinach Lasagna (from the Big Book of Freezer Cooking)

Crock Pot Beef Stew

Cranberry Pork Roast

Turkey and Noodles (from the Members area)

Chicken Lo Mein (from the Big Book of Freezer Cooking)

Bowtie Soup (from the Freezer Lunches To Go ebook)

Closing Comments From Carol

Enjoy the recipes and get ready for Spring!

Post your stories and 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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