Nov 012005

Kitchen Fun with Carol

carol2007Happy Thanksgiving everyone! The rush is on as we approach the holiday season. I don’t know about you but this time of the year seems to go by so fast. The thing I treasure the most each holiday  is spending time with family and friends. I think the older you get the more you realize just what is really important in life. Planning and cooking ahead can give you what you need to get out of the kitchen and spend that precious time with your family and  friends.

If this is your first time hosting a large gathering I recommend the Holiday Freezer Cookbook. It has lots of tips on how to plan your gathering, special worksheets just for the special occasion, and lots of wonderful recipes for you to try. Some of my favorites are the vegetable and side dish recipes. That’s the hard part – trying to figure out what to serve with the turkey or ham.

Everything about this holiday season revolves around our family traditions. A lot of the traditions revolve around what food is served; especially those special recipes that have been passed on from generation to generation. Remember Grandma’s special cranberry salad and Dad’s famous stuffing mix? They remind us of the time spent with our loved ones.

Every family has their own traditions. One of ours is having breakfast together Thanksgiving or Christmas morning. For my husband, it’s not the holidays unless he has his mom’s Breakfast Egg Casserole or Brown Sugar Cinnamon Coffee Cake (recipe below). For the kids, they love having pancakes with different add-ins such as chocolate chips, sausage, bananas, or cinnamon. They also love homemade Cinnamon Rolls (using the Super Easy Best Ever Crescent Roll recipe). My sister-in-law sometime makes French Toast Casserole or Baked Oatmeal. There’s something about just hanging out in the kitchen eating breakfast together. It’s so casual and comfortable.

The main meal is my favorite. I love the Baked Corn CasseroleVeggie Medley, Mom’s cranberry salad and pecan pie. My daughter’s favorite is the Crispy Cheesy Potatoes or Scalloped Potatoes (Ham and Potato Casserole without the ham). I also like baking fresh breads or pies to present as a hostess gift. My Dad and father-in-law especially like homemade Banana Bread. It’s great to see the smiles on their faces when we walk in the door carrying a fresh loaf.

This issue of “Chewin’ the News” brings you two recipes that are great for family gatherings. Read more about them below in the bonus recipes section.


Bonus Recipes

SAM_2115Brown Sugar Cinnamon Coffee Cake

This recipe is a family tradition for us. We make this coffee cake to have on hand the day after Thanksgiving or Christmas morning. It’s great to come home after a long morning shopping for gifts and have coffee cake ready. I also take it to small group meetings and to brunch for our church women’s group.




hostessgiftI love giving gifts from the kitchen. This recipe also makes a great gift that you can give as a mix. If you are staying with someone over the holidays this year, this makes a wonderful thank you gift. Or if you are looking for a fun and easy teacher appreciation gift that you and your kids can make together, this is a winner! It is very easy to make and we have included the instruction card for you to print to give along with the mix.

Click here to view/print the gift instructions!

Recipe of the Month Contest Winner

October Recipe of the Month Update

PotatoStuffedMeatloafI heard from Corie after sending out the newsletter. She recognized the October winning recipe, Potato Stuffed Meatloaf, as her own and sent us an update! Let’s hear from Corie:

“I am a stay at home Mom of 2 girls, ages 3 and almost 2 (one month away, wow that went fast). I realized I needed some help in the kitchen after I had my second daughter and became a stay at home Mom. It was difficult to work in the kitchen with one in my arms and one at my feet. I found 30 Day Gourmet on-line after reading about freezer cooking in the Family Fun Magazine. I haven’t yet attempted 30 days of meals but have had success with smaller sessions that cover about 2 weeks worth of meals. Also, a friend of mine just opened Dinners Galore, a meal assembly facility in town, and between my own sessions at home and 1 session a month there I seem to be making out pretty well. Plus eating a wider variety of yummy food. It’s so much easier just shopping weekly for snacks and side dishes than it was before trying to get everything for the entrees too.”

Click here to view/print the October Recipe of the Month!

Freezer Cook of the Month Contest Winner

How many of you can remember your first full cooking day? I sure can! What a sense of accomplishment to have a freezer full of food and know that you no longer had to wonder what’s for dinner when coming home from a long day at work. Our winner this month is Shannon from Eagan, MN, who has a great story about her first real 30 day cooking session.

Shannon says:

I finally feel like I’ve done it for real this time!

I’ve been nervous about cooking up too much because of our small apartment freezer. Granted, 30 dinners for 2 people takes up less than for a family of 4. However, with a busy afternoon and evening today I’ve filled up the freezer. And yes, I’m officially a freezer-cooking dork…I keep peeking back in there to admire the piles of vacuum-sealed entrees! I still need to do a batch of make-ahead mashed potatoes, but then I’m DONE!

I’ve been doing small sessions on and off for a few years. But, I’ve been off my usual mini-sessions for a couple of months and have noticed a significant increase in our grocery and dining out bills! After a busy day at work when neither of us wants to cook, we keep going out or ordering in. That never happens when I’ve stocked the freezer. It’s much less hassle to just throw something in the oven when all the work is done already! We’re still experimenting with one new recipe each session. (We tried the chicken stuffed shells tonight…YUM!…even the skeptical spouse was happy!) We are definitely 30DayGourmet-adicts for life.

My one desire is to get another freezer when we buy our own place. Yes, I can fit 30 entrees in the little freezer, but I’d love to get a little more variety…be able to carry over dinners from the previous session. Or be able to really stock up when there’s a great sale.

Anyway, just posting to say thanks again guys for the great book, website, and the great advice here! I ordered the software yesterday and I’m really looking forward to incorporating that into my next session!

Congratulations Shannon on your first real 30 day session! It’s a big step and well worth the effort.

Closing Comments from Carol

I hope you enjoy the family gathering recipes! Next month we’ll focus on desserts for the holiday.

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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