Mar 122010

Kitchen Fun With Carol

Hello everyone! I hope everyone enjoyed seeing the sampler of our new book, 30 Day Gourmet’s Big Book of Freezer Cooking. Nanci and I approved the book and it is in the process of being printed. It should be available mid-April. We are excited and can’t wait to share it with you! If you haven’t had a chance, click here to check out the sampler.

Pre-order 30 Day Gourmet’s Big Book of Freezer Cooking at the 30 Day Gourmet Store before 5/1/2010 and get free shipping!

Volume pricing available:
1 for $19.95
2-9 copies are $16.95 each
10 or more are $14.95 each.

Order your copy today!

New Website Preview



In the meantime, Nanci and I have been working with our webmaster, Curtis Dicken, on a new web design. We think you will like the new design. There are so many enhancements that we have made. Some of the new features of the website include:

Navigation – We’ve made navigation around our website easier and more intuitive. The latest Cooks’ Corner posting are displayed on the home page so you can see the latest news from our cooking community.

Searching – Whether you are looking for recipes, tips or anything else related to freezer cooking our new search engine will make finding information a breeze.

Cooks’ Corner Message Boards – Manage your profile, search for topics, post topics and comments – we’ve made it all better. We’ve even added an RSS feed for the message boards so you can monitor board activity from your browser or home page.

Design – We’ve spent countless hours improving our design to make it more visually interesting and intuitive.

Images – There are now hundreds of recipe images so that you can actually see the finished recipes.

Recipes – All recipes on the website have nutritional information and links to the matching rcp file.

Newsletters – Now are searchable and easier to find.

Store – Our online store has been upgraded to provide a much better shopping experience.

Members Only – An expanded Members Only section provides over 300 recipes just for book and software owners.

Pantry Challenge

Freezer_01Are you up for a challenge? I saw a news story recently that talked about doing a “pantry challenge” to reduce the amount of money that you spend on groceries. 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. They 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.

You have to be creative in this challenge! If you are not getting your meals from the freezer, you have to be able to cook and create different recipes from what you have in your pantry. This challenge lets me use one of my favorite features in the Advantage Cooking Software. You can go to the Ingredients tab and choose an ingredient, such as “Chicken Breast, boneless”. Then click on the Recipes tab under the list of ingredients. It will show you all the recipes on file that use chicken breast. It’s amazing!

This is the perfect challenge for freezer cooks! I want to clear out my freezer of all the foods we would not normally eat in the summer. I know, we were supposed to eat it during the winter months… But you know how that goes. Sometimes you are just left with food in the freezer at the end of your cooking cycle. Maybe a recipe made more servings than you anticipated or maybe the entree just got buried at the back of your freezer! Either way, this challenge is a good way to clean out your freezer. My family is going to take this challenge for the month of April. At the beginning of May we’ll schedule a cooking day to restock. GFS normally has a great graduation/Memorial Day stock up sale in May that I love to take advantage of – especially the chicken and steak burgers. Yum! They also have large bags of frozen fruit that we like to serve for lunches or for a light dessert. I’m looking forward to cooking on the grill on a regular basis. Aren’t you?!

My challenge rules:

  1. Buy only dairy, produce, breads, and lunchmeats.
  2. Try to cut at least 50% off my grocery bill. The money will be set aside to pay for my May cooking day. Any extra can be used to pay off debt or give to charity.
  3. Try to limit my shopping to once per week.

Another take on this challenge is to base your freezer cooking day solely on what you have in your pantry and your freezer. Nanci wrote about this in the April 2006 newsletter. This is a great option if you have lots of meat left in the freezer from stocking up on sale days. Or you can concentrate on sides and desserts like Nanci did. Either way, the pantry challenge will save you money.

Follow me on the 30 Day Gourmet fan page on Facebook®. I’ll post weekly shopping and menu updates for everyone. Feel free to join me in the challenge. I would love to hear from you!

Contest Winner

Our Freezer Cook of the Month  is Jolene.  Jolene had a great posting on the message boards about her last cooking day. She has a great tip for filling quart sized bags.

Well I’ve went and bought a boat load of meat to replenish my empty freezer. And I’m doing it a little at a time, making sure my meat don’t spoil waiting on me. Anyway, I usually do one batch of a recipe and divide it up 2-3 times depending on what it is since it’s DH, 4 year old DD and my pregnant self to cook for. This is what I got done yesterday…

2 bags of marinated chicken in freezer
3 pounds of ground beef browned in fridge (not sure what to do with it yet)
3 bags of zippy spaghetti sauce in freezer
4 bags of master cube mix in freezer
1 1/2 baked chicken pieces in fridge (had the other half chicken for supper)

I’ve still got 6 pounds of ground chuck, 15 pounds of skinless boneless chicken breasts and 3 whole chickens in the fridge. Debating between a few recipes yet.

I discovered a new trick (for me at least) to filling quart sized freezer bags, I’m sure it would work on gallons too. I took a quart jar, and a funnel used for canning and filled the quart jar up with sauce and then dumped it in the bag. It worked so well! I always make a mess and spend a lot of time cleaning the bags when I’m done filling them. This time I knew just how much was in there too, 1 quart exactly. I also did this with the master cube mix and the funnel is wide enough the meat falls right in the jar. Yeah, I’m proud of myself and thought I’d share.

What a great start and a great tip! This is another example of how you can adapt the 30 Day Gourmet cooking methods to fit your life style! Jolene will be receiving a free copy of our new book, 30 Day Gourmet’s Big Book of Freezer Cooking. Congratulations, Jolene!

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 Cook’s Corner Message Board under the appropriate category, or click her to email it to me.

Bonus Recipes

SpicyFish_001Spicy Baked Fish

I am always looking for good fish recipes. We try to eat fish at least once a week. The great thing about fish is that it cooks so quickly. If your fish is defrosted, you can have dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes (depending on the sides you make). I like tilapia for this recipe. It has a nice light flavor. You could use cod or Pollock as well.


YellowRice_001Yellow Rice

Rice is one of our favorite side dishes. There are so many things that you can do to it! We have been trying different flavored rice at our house. Yellow rice is a great side dish to have on hand. You can freeze it fully cooked or as a “mix” to be prepared on serving day.


Closing Comments From Carol

I hope you enjoy the recipes and the preview of the new website. Next month I hope to show you the updated version of the Advantage Cooking Software.

We’re looking for your recipes and for your stories of your cooking days.

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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