Nov 012008

Cookin’ at the Keyboard with Shelley

My Frozen Pantry

It’s been six months since I’ve published a newsletter. How embarrassing! What could I possibly have done in that amount of time that’s so important? Well, let’s see…

I attended two graduations and three recitals, painted the kitchen and bathroom cupboards for a friend, attended three conferences, including a youth conference, a home school conference, and a debate conference, made a flower-girl dress for our daughter, Megan, attended two out-of-state weddings, vacationed with friends on Puget Sound, spent a week at Suzuki camp with our little violinist, packed for a camping trip, unpacked from the camping trip, saw a stage performance of the “Phantom of the Opera” (my birthday present), painted two bedrooms, welcomed my father-in-law for a visit, spread 42 yards of bark in our yard, water-skied several times (I can still slalom!), spent a week in San Diego visiting family and seeing the sights, hosted nine social events at our house, saw “Swan Lake” on stage (absolutely beautiful!), and planned the school year for four of our daughters who continue to home school.

Ok, I feel a little better, but it’s really no excuse to wimp out on a subject that is the reason that I could do all that, and still maintain the household, stay up for late night chats with our teenagers, and have dinner on the table.

One of the keys to using my freezer effectively is to stock it like a frozen pantry. From one week to the next, I may or may not have a casserole that I can pull, thaw, and heat for dinner. But I absolutely can not survive without these basic staples in my freezer:

  • Cooked, deboned chicken, for soups and quick casseroles
  • Chicken stock, for a rich homemade flavor
  • Cooked ground beef, for tacos, chili, Sloppy Joe Buns, etc.
  • Beef stock, for vegetable soup
  • Crumbled bacon, for quiche, potatoes, and salad
  • Shredded beef, for french dips and enchiladas
  • Marinades, for the barbecue any time of the year!
  • Spaghetti sauce, for the Italian in me
  • Fried sausage, for spaghetti sauce and No-Cook Lasagna
  • Grated cheese, cheddar, jack, and mozzarella
  • Glazed Pecans, to decorate a salad or sweet potato casserole
  • Twice-Baked Potatoes, for a quick side dish

You’ll need to customize your Frozen Pantry to fit the needs of the recipes you like to prepare for your family. When my freezer is stocked with the basics, then it’s easy to quickly select a list of recipes in Advantage Cooking and shop from the grocery report (eliminating all those items already prepared and stocked in my freezer). I not only have a menu plan for the week, but I also have the means to make it happen, with a minimal amount of effort!

Before we talk more about software, here are a few of our favorite pumpkin recipes for celebrating the Thanksgiving season. Enjoy!

Bonus Recipes

Spiced Pumpkin Bars

Your kitchen already has a recipe like this, doesn’t it? But this one is typed in and ready to go, complete with the cream cheese frosting! Freeze the bars, but wait to add the frosting and garnish for that “just made” look. Import my recipe and adjust to your preferences.

Deep Dish Pumpkin Pie

As a rule, I don’t like pumpkin pie, unless it’s smothered in whipped cream to cover the taste and texture. But when one of our twin daughters declared that pumpkin pie was her favorite, I set about finding a recipe that I would want to eat, even without the whipped cream. I hope you love it as much as we do!

PumpkinCheesecakePumpkin Cheesecake

I’ve featured this recipe before. No need to go hunting if you didn’t get it the first time around. If you’re looking for something different to serve for dessert, this cheesecake adds an elegant flair to the traditional flavors of the holiday.

Software Suggestions

Fast and Furious: Adding Recipes

I love it when people discover how versatile the software is. You don’t have to be freezer cooking at the moment in order to make it useful. So, if you’re putting your Thanksgiving menu together (even at the last minute), let the software make your grocery list for you! I have a fast and furious method for entering new recipes that will have you braving the lines at the grocery store in no time.

Read Fast and Furious now…

Gift Ideas

The Advantage Cooking software package makes a great gift. Use your software to create your own recipe book that will add a warm homespun touch. For my closest friends, I’ve also included a “promise” to enter a dozen of their favorite recipes to get them started. It’s a double blessing because I usually have permission to add their recipes to my database, too! Here’s how to purchase (scroll to the bottom of the webpage).

Holiday Freezer e-book

Now is a good time to check out the Holiday Freezer Cooking ebook. All the recipes have a corresponding .rcp file which will automatically import into your Advantage Cooking database. If you purchased an ebook before you bought the software, just email Nanci with your name, phone number, and approximate date of your purchase. Once your purchase is confirmed you will receive the zip file containing the recipes ready for import. Any questions? Click here to contact us.

Download a trial version of the software! It’s free!

Closing Comments

In the April newsletter, my daughter, Lauren, and I made reference to “ground beef thawing on the counter.” We had one reader email to remind me that food must be thawed in the refrigerator. Of course, I know better. Unfortunately, I don’t always comply. I sincerely apologize for the bad example and thank her for kindly bringing it to my attention. We have since mended our ways, and thaw only in the fridge!

Looking back, may you be thankful;

Looking ahead, may you be hopeful;

Looking upward, may you find strength;

Looking inward, may you find peace.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!


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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