Oct 012005

Cookin’ at the Keyboard with Shelley

ShelleyI’d have to say that I’m busier than I want to be. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t seem to find enough time this month to complete our regular 4-month cooking plan; so we improvised. Instead of the marathon “stock the freezer with everything” tactic that we’re used to, I scheduled several 4-hour cooking sessions with the girls. We made 8 recipes of Twice-Baked Potatoes (pictured below), cooked 24 pounds of ground beef, fried bacon, assembled several dry mixes, and baked multiple loaves of Pear Bread for snacks. Who knows? Maybe this method of freezer cooking will become our new standard.

A friend of mine is expecting a baby in a week or two. Instead of a typical shower, she asked for help in stocking her freezer with meals. A number of ladies gathered in her kitchen one morning to assemble recipes. I stopped in long enough to cheer them on and deliver several of the packages of the potatoes we made the week before.

Our church has many young families, and when one of those families has a baby, we like to provide a meal. Delivering a complete dinner used to derail my entire day, until I discovered this “new baby” meal. Everything I need for Parmesan Chicken and Twice-Baked Potatoes is in my freezer. I make a green salad, the girls bake some cookies (because the ones in the freezer have been eaten already), and out the door we go! The chicken and potatoes get rave reviews, and they’re not too spicy for nursing mamas. If you’ve had a baby and I’m bringing dinner, you’ll get the same meal every time. It may not be creative, but so far no one is complaining. Try these recipes and you’ll see why!

Parmesan Seasoning Mix

I used to buy this seasoning mix at the grocery store. When McCormick quit packaging it, I wrote the company to tell them that I was desperate. My kids loved their Parmesan chicken! Not only did they send me several sample packets with their apologies, they included the recipe.

ParmesanChickenParmesan Chicken

This is one of my SANE (Some Assembly Needed Eventually) recipes. Grab the chicken breasts, Parmesan seasoning mix, spaghetti sauce, and grated cheese from the freezer. Quick fixin’s for a delicious meal.



PotatoesTwice-Baked Potatoes

I used to save the potato skins and stuff them, but it consumed too much time and freezer space. Now I just bag the potato mixture and freeze it. Bake it in the oven to add a little crunch to this creamy, cheesy side dish (pictured above with the Parmesan Chicken).

Software Suggestions

Here’s a software feature that might be useful for some of you who “team up” to do your freezer cooking. It is possible to save any report as an excel file and email it! A few of the columns and headings may need some adjustment to make it more readable. Here’s the process.

  1. Check the version of the software (go to the Help menu and click “About”.) The version should be 1.5.2. If not, follow the upgrade instructions (scroll to the bottom of the page.)

  2. Preview any report in Advantage Cooking.

  3. Click on the “Save Report” icon at the top of the window.

  4. At the bottom of the pop-up window, locate the “Save as type:” field.

  5. Select “Excel spreadsheet (*.XLS)” from the drop-down selections.

  6. Specify the “File name:” and directory location for the excel file.

  7. Adjust columns and headings in the excel file as desired.

  8. Print and/or attach the file.

Click here to download a free trial version of the software!

Closing Comments from Shelley

Last month I shared the recipe for Glazed Almond Poppyseed Mini-Muffins. Here is a variation, shared by Diane of Grand Prairie, TX.

I made your poppyseed muffins today and they were a hit! I had to do a variation, though, and I thought you might get a kick out of hearing it. I had wanted to try the recipe but would have to wait until I could get sour cream. (Don’t you ever wish for the old days when the milkman would come by every morning and you could leave a note saying you wanted so much sour cream that day, or maybe ice cream or cottage cheese? I am not old enough to remember, just have heard about it!) Today in the frig I found some of those 4 oz yogurt cups. I figured I could bake something with them and remembered your recipe! Hurray! When my daughter (almost 4) and I were making them, I whipped out one of the yogurts to sub for the sour cream. I was expecting vanilla flavor and when I opened it, it was strawberry! The other two were strawberry, too, so I figured, what could I lose, and I tried it. The recipe turned out great, hardly a hint of strawberry; we will be making this recipe again. I wish I had more than 2 mini muffin pans!


If you have comments, suggestions, or stories to tell, click here to email me. It’s fun to hear from other freezer families. Until next month…enjoy this beautiful season!



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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