I can’t believe it was September since I last wrote a newsletter. A lot has happened in the Slagle household since then. As usual, freezer cooking helped us through! Hopefully, you’re finding the same to be true. I’ll recap our family info, then share info about my last cooking day and wrap up with some mail from our freezer cooks.
Slagle Family Highlights
Jenna – Many of you have followed the story of my 15 year old daughter’s heart problems for the last few years. She was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse with regurgitation in September of ’07 and was hospitalized for several days. Since then, we have taken her to local cardiologists at Riley Hospital for Children here in Indy as well as a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic. As a family, we had decided that Jenna really needed surgery to have her valve repaired but doctors were reluctant since it’s a fairly tricky procedure and unusual for kids her age. Last month we found a surgeon at Mt. Sinai Medical Clinic in NYC who agreed to do Jenna’s surgery. So on April 5th, Bob & Jenna and I drove to NYC. Jenna had very successful surgery on April 7th and was released on the 10th. She’s been doing great ever since!
Kaytee – Our oldest graduated from Indiana University last Saturday with a BA degree in Criminal Justice. She plans to move to Los Angeles in August where she is in the process of applying to the LAPD. We’re so proud of her!
Adam – Our little boy is all grown up and will be graduating from high school in just a few weeks. He’s such a great kid and I’m going to miss him so much when he heads off to Purdue University in a few months to study Engineering. He plans to live in a house with a few friends from high school and has already hinted that dinners in the freezer would be most helpful.
Here’s a pix of Adam receiving the Science Department Award last week at school.
Becky – That leaves Becky (far left), our 21 year old daughter who just completed her 3rd year at Huntington University. She will be heading off in a few weeks to a 7 month internship near Washington DC. We won’t see her again until Christmas!
How Freezer Cooking Keeps Me Sane
Life is busy, isn’t it? Whether you’re dealing with an exhausting job, young children, older children, parents to care for, or all of the above – people have to be fed and food has to be cooked. Those of us who have been freezer cooking for years will be the first to tell you that we aren’t perfect. We don’t have 30 meals in the freezer AT ALL TIMES. We don’t cook every recipe correctly and we still make trips to the McDonald’s drive-thru.
But even if you just spend a few hours every month or two and put an extra 5 or 10 meals in the freezer for those really crazy days or for the company that’s coming, it is SO worth it.
Here’s the list of meals that I made with my friend, Lisa, over spring break. I wanted food in the freezer when we came back from Jenna’s surgery so that my mother-in-law (who was coming to help) could pull something out easily and get it ready quickly. A lot of these are casseroles which seem to be going out of style (according to the Food Network?) but I chose them on purpose for the quick assembly and easy serving instructions. We made about 23 entrees and I actually still have a few in the freezer.
Here’s my recipe list:
Auld Lang Syne Chicken (3) – This is from the Co-op Cuisine ebook and has been a real hit. I love the taste of chicken, mayo and almonds. The crunchy topping is great too!
Swiss Steak (2) – I haven’t made this in ages. I forgot how much I liked it. It’s from the Freezer Cooking Manual. Love the peppers, onions and celery. Yum!
Italian Chicken (2) – This is a favorite recipe of mine and was a Recipe of the Month winner way back in 2002. The Italian salad dressing and cream cheese give it some great flavor.
Beef Teriyaki (2) – Stir fry is a “quick and easy” recipe at my house. Even if I haven’t remembered to take the bag of beef in marinade out of the freezer, I can thaw it quickly, add the vegetables and then cook some rice. By the time the rice is cooked (the 20 minute kind), the rest is done and we are ready to eat! This recipe is from Carol’s Healthy Freezer Cooking ebook.
Poppyseed Chicken (3) – We just had this last night. It’s another keeper from the Co-op Cuisine ebook! It has a lot of the same ingredients are the Auld Lang Syne Chicken does except that it’s made with wide egg noodles instead of rice. My family ate it all up!
Master Meat Mix (meatloaf) (2) – This is a recipe from the Freezer Cooking Manual. I hadn’t made it in a few years but since my kids love mashed potatoes so much I thought this might taste good to them again. I was right! You can always make meatballs with the mixture.
Cheesy Beef Casserole (3) – This recipe from the Co-op Cuisine ebook went together quickly. Lisa and I used disposable foil pans to make the assembly line go faster and to cut down on the cleanup for my mom-in-law later. My family liked this a lot. Lisa’s family wanted it a bit spicier so she “jazzed it up”.
Elegant Chicken in Marinade (3) – I think I make some of this every time I do a cooking day. There’s just SO much that you can do with marinated chicken. Of course, it tastes great grilled. It’s also good for stir fry, for sandwiches and baked in the oven. I usually buy my Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar and soy sauce in bulk at Gorton’s Food Service (sorry – they are primarily a Midwest chain).
Chipped Beef Chicken (3) – This is another tasty chicken casserole from the Co-op Cuisine ebook. It takes quite awhile to bake so plan for that. The chipped beef and bacon add some yummy flavor.
Here are a few pictures from our day:
What Our Cooks Are Saying
Your Cherokee Chicken recipe is also delicious with a (sliced) pork loin in place of the chicken. My last “Cooking Day” – which was actually a day and and half – we (my husband and I) place 53 meals in the freezer. That is so exciting!!!!!
I would love to order the lunch e-book. My husband has been taking lunch to work every day to economize but lately it has always been leftovers and he gets sick of the same thing. I thought the lunch book would be perfect.
The book has been such a wonderful thing for me and all the recipes I have found on the website. It has been truly life-changing it that doesn’t sound too dramatic. I have had much more time to help my kids with their homework and both of my older children had improved report cards. My daughter is playing baseball this year which she has always wanted to do but I never seemed to have time or be organized enough to get her into it.
I love the website as well. It is like the manual is alive and just keeps on giving. Even for someone who doesn’t want to cook for a whole month there are so many great ideas for snacks or things to take to parties, etc. I just wanted to let you know that you have such a satisfied customer here.
I would recommend the books and this type of cooking to anyone in a heartbeat! Thanks for the book and the great website!!
Closing Comments from Nanci
We’re still working on the new website. Have patience! It will be great!
Enjoy the rest of your May. I will be grading 90 thesis papers, graduating a son, hosting a double grad open house, moving a daughter and taking one last “6 of us” vacation in the next few weeks. What fun!
Here’s to happy times around your dinner tables this summer! I fear that “real” cooking is becoming a lost art. Let’s do our part to keep it alive. Do me a favor and click here to email me your stories about how you are teaching your children (regardless of their ages) how to cook and tell me what benefits you are both reaping from it. I’d like to talk about that in my next newsletter.