Sep 012008

Kitchen Fun with Carol

Back to School

I hope everyone enjoyed their summer. Can you believe that autumn officially began this week? Wow! Summer went by so fast! This is my favorite time of the year. I like watching the leaves change color, the cool crisp mornings and warm afternoons, fresh apple cider and pumpkin donuts. What a great season!

For me, the reality of back to school strikes every morning when I get up to pack lunches for my sons and husband. Packing lunches is a real money saver for my family so I know that it is definitely worth the effort. So, you don’t think you have time to make lunch for everyone? With a little planning I can pack a delicious and nutritious lunch with minimal effort. I have a list of fruits and vegetables that I serve every week including baby carrots, celery sticks, cucumber and green pepper slices, bananas, apples, mandarin oranges, and pineapple chunks. Many of these can be packaged the night before. I keep a “snack box” that has individual servings of snack items that I just grab and place in the lunch box. Here are some of my favorite snack recipes:

Gingersnaps Chocolate Chip Cookies
Granola Bars (from The Freezer Cooking Manual) Snickerdoodles
Peanut Butter Muffins Fruit and Oat Bars
Double Chocolate Muffins Zucchini Carrot Muffins

All that is left is to work on is the main dish. That is where freezer cooking makes my life easier! There are so many great recipes that can be adapted for lunches. Here are some of our favorites:

Of course I also pack turkey or ham sandwiches, bologna, or a good old fashioned PB&J. Leftovers also work well. My husband’s favorite is to take left over chicken fajita filling (meat, rice, etc.) and make a “deluxe” salad.

Bonus Recipes

Stacked Enchiladas

Stacked Enchiladas

Stacked Enchiladas

In preparation for the new slow cooker ebook I thought I would share my recipe with you. I make this in the slow cooker. It is so easy to make and very good. It has quickly become a family favorite.

Contest Winners

Freezer Cook of the Month Winner

Our Freezer Cook of the Month is Cathi from Franklin, PA. She posted a recipe on the Cooks’ Corner Message Boards for Gringo Enchilada Sauce. I used this recipe for the Stacked Enchilada recipe above. My family just raved about the sauce! They said it was wonderful.

 Let’s hear her story:

I purchased the original 30 Day Gourmet book back when I saw Nanci and Tara on the Home and Family show. Was that the early 1990’s??? I cook differently now than I did back when I had children at home. Back then I cooked for the convenience. I had places to be with the kids nearly every night of the week. So I planned a complete menu for 3 months and used one weekend to prepare that menu. I rotated the plans seasonally so we could have grilled dishes in the summer time and soups and stews in the winter. Now that the kids have both graduated from college and out on their own, I cook for cost savings. When the store has a good sale on a particular meat, I plan meals around that meat. So, if chickens are on sale I make all chicken dishes. I usually have a good variety to chose from in the freezer as the sales rotate fairly frequently.

I still cook with my Mom and Sister. Only on a smaller scale. My step-father passed away a couple years ago, so it is just Mom. It’s nice for her to have individual servings to pull out. My Sister has divorced her husband and one of her sons has gone away to college. She also gets individual servings at her house as her other son is in alot of activities and eats at odd hours. My house gets two-serving portions since it is just hubby and I at home now.

In my spare time I enjoy quilting and knitting. 30 Day Gourmet has afforded me the time to spend on my crafts and money to be able to buy more supplies for my crafts.

Thanks for the great posting and recipe.

Closing Comments from Carol

Thanks for all the posts on the message boards for the new ebook. They all look wonderful. We will be making our selection in October and we hope to publish the new ebook in November.

Next month we will be having a guest writer. She will be sharing some of her large gathering recipes for which could be used for tailgating this fall! I know you all will enjoy hearing from our guest.

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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