Zucchini Carrot Muffins
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Chewin' the News from 30 Day Gourmet
Freezer Cooking News from Nanci
Closing Comments
Kitchen Fun with Carol
Bonus Recipes
Contest Winners
Closing Comments from Carol

Freezer Cooking News from Nanci

Was your summer as great as mine was? I hope so. Remember all of that organizing that I wanted to do? Well, guess what? I actually did most of it! I organized my classroom and teaching files at school and I’m already reaping the rewards of that with less work in my briefcase going home with me at the end of the day. I did quite a bit of organizing at home too. Closets, pictures, college loans, and my freezer too!

I know that I promised information this month about freezer cooking while dieting but I’m going to put that off until next month. We are making some changes to the website that will really help those of you who want to choose recipes that are low fat, low calorie, or low carb to find them quickly. Hopefully, I can tell you all about it next month.

Back to School Cooking Day

The main idea of a “back to school” cooking day is to do it before school starts. Since I didn’t get that done, we started the year by eating out or eating Mac ‘n Cheese almost every day. Yuk! After almost two weeks of “winging it”, I planned a cooking day on Labor Day. I know, appropriate. Breaking my own “Don’t shop and cook in the same day” rule, I did the whole thing in one big day and ended with over 25 entrees in the freezer (plus cooked beef & chicken for 12 more). I even have a few desserts too. Wow – does that feel great! Those of you who are 30 Day Gourmeters understand exactly what I mean.

Here’s my recipe list:

Shredded Roast Beef (2) – I followed the suggestion on the recipe and frozen individual servings in muffin tins. I also packaged 6 servings in one of those pink storage containers for my colleague who had a baby girl yesterday.

Lazy Day Lasagna (3) – I made two 9x13 dishes for days when we’re all here to eat. I made four 8x8 dishes for those other days. One of the smaller ones will also go to my “new mom” friend.

Freezer Quesadillas (2)

Oriental Sesame Chicken Strips (3)

Chicken Noodle Soup (7 individual servings) I packaged these for the kids to take to school since they have access to a microwave.

Pork in Marinade (4)

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia (3) – from Carol’s newsletter last month

Country Chicken Pot Pie (4) – my son loves these. When given the choice today to go out to eat after church or come home and cook pot pie, he chose the pot pie. How ‘bout that?

Cooked ground beef (8 bags of 3 C. (1 lb.) each)

Cooked shredded chicken (3 bags of 3C. each)

Cooked chicken slices in broth (2)

Chicken Parmesan with basil (1) – I got this one from the message boards under the poultry section. Thanks, Rebekah!

Tropical Island Salad (1)

Fireman Dan’s Chocolate Cream Pie (2)

People often ask me what happens during an actual cooking day. I think they want to know just how I get the job done because when you hear “25 or 30 entrees in one day” it can seem incredibly overwhelming. So this time I kept track of my day. I hope this helps you realize that you can do this! It’s really not that hard at all.

10-11 am Get out the grocery store ads and plan cooking day using worksheets from Freezer Cooking Manual
11-1 pm Walmart ($170) – Kroger ($50) Aldi was closed because of Labor Day. I probably could have saved another $20-$30 overall by shopping there but my fault for not checking.
1-1:30 pm Kids unload groceries while I get the kitchen prepped. I’m fortunate to have a big kitchen so I have a “groceries” area, a freezer containers/bags area, an equipment area and a prep area (I cover this counter with newspaper for easy clean up). FYI – I don’t leave meat out for long. The pix was just to show groceries for 25-30 entrees.

Groceries for 25-30 entrees.

Counter covered with newspaper for easy cleanup.

1:30-1:45 pm

2 whole chickens & 12 chicken breasts in the large stock pot

Shredded Roast Beef recipe into the slow cooker

5 pounds of ground beef into the skillet

1:45-2:45 pm

Assemble Pork in Marinade recipe & freeze

Assemble Parmesan Crusted Tilapia recipe & freeze

Ground beef drained and cooled; another 5 pounds into skillet

Browning 5 pounds of ground beef and cooking chicken.

2:45-3:15 pm

Assemble Lazy Day Lasagna recipe & freeze (use cooked ground beef)

Hint: put the cheese filling into a ziptop bag, clip a corner and squeeze it out evenly onto the uncooked noodles. It’s much easier than trying to spread the filling.

Remove chicken to cool (keep broth to use later)

Use a zip top bag with the tip cut off to easily add filling to lasagna.

Five fully assembled lasagnas ready for the freezer.

3:15-3:30 Diet Mt. Dew break (this pays off later, believe me)

Shred cooked chicken; pick whole chickens

Start Chicken Noodle Soup in large skillet (use leftover broth)

4:30-6:00 pm

Assemble Freezer Quesadillas (use shredded chicken)

Assemble Oriental Chicken Strips

Assemble Chicken Parmesan with basil

6:00-6:15 pm Put Chicken Noodle Soup into containers & freeze
6:15-6:30 pm Assemble & freeze Chocolate Cream Pies
6:30-6:45 pm Make filling for Chicken Pot Pies in large skillet (user leftover broth)

6:45-7:00 pm

Bag shredded chicken (3 C. each bag) and freeze

Bag chicken pieces and broth (4 C. each container) and freeze

Bag cooked ground beef (3 C. each bag) and freeze

7:00-7:30 pm

Make 2 Chicken Pot Pies and freeze

Bag filling for 2 Chicken Pot Pies and freeze with bought crust

Make Tropical Island Salad and freeze

7:30-8:00 pm

Put slow cooker of beef on porch (covered loosely) to cool

Clean kitchen and collapse

It was a great day overall. I didn’t just put 25+ entrees in my freezer. I also:

  • saved our family a BUNCH of money. I spent about $220 for 25 entrees (4-6 servings per entrée) plus 8 pounds of ground beef and 4 pounds of chicken. That price also includes 7 servings of soup and 3 large desserts.

  • shared food with a friend

  • showed my kids what the lost art of cooking from scratch looks like

  • did something with my brain that doesn’t involve American literature, Etymology or Drama. Cooking is actually relaxing for me. I have a theory about that but I’ll save it for another newsletter.

I hope you enjoyed seeing the process.

We’re all about helping you succeed in your own freezer cooking. Our website has tons of info and recipes available to you for free. If you like what you see, consider purchasing our books and/or software.

Here's a quick list of our items. Free shipping on orders over $50. Gift wrap only $1:

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Closing Comments

Watch for big changes to our website. We’re making it better to help you be a great freezer cook! Spread the word. Tell your friends about us and forward them this newsletter so that they can join us.



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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.

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Bonus Recipes

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.

Click here to view/print this recipe!


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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.

Click here to view/print this recipe!

Thanks for the great posting and recipe. To enter our contests, please post your stories on our message boards or e-mail them to me at carol@30daygourmet.com.

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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 other topics that you would like to cover? Do you have any nagging questions that need to be answered? Email me at carol@30daygourmet.com. I enjoy hearing from you!


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