Jul 012007

Kitchen Fun with Carol

carol2007Hello everyone! It is the middle of July and summer is in full swing at our house. It is hard to believe that there is only a little over four weeks until school starts. Time flies by so quickly!

We have been doing a lot of cooking on the grill. Our grill is getting older and things are starting to go wrong. The igniter went out. I am terrible when it comes to lighting the grill manually. Actually I am scared to death of it! There really is no good spot to light it underneath so you have to light it with a lighter or with matches. One night I just gave up and my husband came home to find the pile of matches that I had used in my attempt to light the grill. It certainly was comical. Little did I know that all it took to fix it was a new AA battery. Who would ever think that a grill uses a battery!

I then discovered that my vegetable grilling tray rusted out over the winter. What a disappointment that was! I just happened to have two cast iron skillets on hand that we used to take on camping trips when the kids were smaller. I pulled those out of storage and tried them on the grill. They work great! Our favorite use for the skillet is Grill Fries using the Grill Fries Seasoning Mix. I think these have become my kids favorite side dish. When ever I tell them that we are having fries for dinner they always ask if they are the seasoned fries. It makes you feel good when a recipe is a hit with the family.

Another thing I use on the grill is a cookie try. This works great for cooking regular French fries or tator tots. My sister-in-law has been experimenting with cooking pizzas on the grill. Most recipes will just recommend that you place the crust directly on the grill. Sometimes the dough can sag and get caught on the grill. You could use a regular pizza pan on the grill but I am going to try to use a pizza stone. Just place it on the grill as you preheat it and cook the pizza as you would do with an oven. I will give it a try and let you know how it works.

Kandy submitted a question about using leftover marinade to baste the meat while you are grilling. You can do this as long as you stop basting at within the last five minutes of cooking. This gives the marinade the chance to heat up and cook all the juices from the meat. Here are some great grilling safety tips from zy-sauce.com/Facts2.htm:

WarningC0A3 Safety Warning!

  • To prevent bacterial growth, always marinate your seafood or meat in the
    refrigerator and never at room temperature.

  • When cooking meat or fish, any leftover marinade should be discarded and not used as a sauce for your grilled meal. Meat and fish contain raw meat juices which may contain harmful bacteria.

  • When basting your grilled or baked dish with marinade which has made contact with raw meat or fish, stop basting with the marinade the last 5 minutes of cooking. This final amount of time is important for the raw meat juices in the marinade to thoroughly cook.

  • Never put cooked meat or seafood in the same pan or dish that held it when it was raw. Raw meat or seafood juices can contaminate cooked food with harmful bacteria. Use a different dish or wash the dish with hot soapy water before placing the cooked meat back in the dish.

Bonus Recipes

Fajita Marinade

We came up with this recipe while attempting to duplicate the taste of the fajitas that you get in Tex-Mex restaurants such as Chili’s or Don Pablos. I love it when they bring the fajitas out to you on sizzling cast iron platter. It always smells wonderful. You can either grill the chicken or cook it in a skillet. You could also try this marinade with steak or shrimp.

Julie’s Easy Freezer Cheesecake

This recipe is from my good friend Julie. This is an easy cheesecake to make that is perfect for the freezer. The first time we had this cheesecake was a couple of years ago at my daughter’s graduation party. Julie made three of these for the party. What a great friend! These are great with cherries or strawberries on top.

Freezer Cook of the Month

Our winner this month is Eryn. Eryn talks about how the 30 Day Gourmet manual inspired her to start freezer cooking. This inspiration lead her to cook with a group of people from her church every month with the help of the Advantage Cooking Software.

Let’s hear from Eryn:

I just read your newsletter and I was hit with the sudden desire to write and tell you how much 30 Day Gourmet has meant to me lately.

I have done several bouts of OAMC, but never got into a routine. We have 4 children under the age of 6, (and number 5 on the way), we own a small business, and we are very active in our church. I love to cook, but I hate throwing stuff in a pot and calling it dinner. (My family isn’t very fond of that either!) I knew that for the sake of money, and the sake of my sanity I had to discipline myself and just start doing it…but I still wouldn’t do it. Then…

I found your book, (used, on the internet) so I purchased it on a whim. Then I checked out your website. Hmmm… the wheels started turning. Behold, I came across the free 30 day trial for the advantage cooking software… Ding. Ding Ding Ding I swear my husband saw smoke billowing out of my head. So I downloaded the FREE trial. I mean really, who can say no to free?

That was all it took. I still will not discipline myself to do it. So, I enlisted ladies at my church. I decided that I would do it if other people were counting on me. So now, at the beginning of the month I put out “menus” of about 6 recipes to choose from. Each person can pick up to 2 of each recipe. And they MUST have their choices into me 1 1/2 weeks before the scheduled cooking date. I do the shopping, and deliver some ingredients to some ladies to do prep work, and do some myself. Then on the set day, we gather to read our bibles, pray, and cook, cook, cook! No one really gets a whole months worth of food, but we have a lovely day that is so well organized thanks to the Advantage cooking software.

Everyone has loved the recipes, and now we are looking forward to having to divide the groups because there is so much interest!

I just had to say thank you. I never would have gotten myself going, and now not only am I completely blessed by having meals that I can serve my family, (and enjoy because no one is complaining) but other women that I love and care about are being blessed as well.

Oh, and we have decided to make extra meals to keep for our meal ministry (we typically do a weeks worth of dinners when a baby is born, someone has surgery etc.) So now we will be able to help out even more when those hard times in life come up.
Thank you so much,

Thanks for the sharing this great story with us!

So, how do you make 30 Day Gourmet work for you? How do you use it to help you deal with a challenge in your life? How do you use it to help others? Do you have a funny cooking story to share? Click here to send me an email!

Closing Comments from Carol

I received an email from Pat asking for suggestions on how to handling feeding your family while at sporting events.

My biggest challenge is dealing with sports events. I think you covered this a while ago (and it is possible I could find it if I scoured the archives) but my son was still a couch potato and it never occurred to me that I’d be the mother of a three-season jock. I’m looking for portable meals that you can eat in the stands. Come fall (and winter and spring) we tend to race from work to a game (and this year, it will be both JV and Varsity football) and I just can’t face hamburgers and hot dogs with relish as the only “green” food.

I know what Pat means. It can be hard when you have practice every day and games every week. Do you have any creative suggestions for Pat? Or can you share with us how your family handles this situation? Click here to send me an email and I will share your comments with everyone next month.

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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