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Chewin' the News from 30 Day Gourmet
Kitchen Fun with Carol
Bonus Recipes
Freezer Cook of the Month
Closing Comments from Carol
Freezer Cooking News from Nanci
New Edition Released March, 2008
Freezer Cooking is Everywhere!
Saving Money by Freezer Cooking
Cooking for Teens – Adam & Jenna’s Summer Freezer Foods
Catching Up with the Slagles
Closing Comments

Kitchen Fun with Carol



Summer Cooking Questions
Hello fellow freezer cooks! I hope you are having a wonderful summer. The produce in the garden is coming along and I have already picked four cucumbers. I must have chosen a different variety this year. They are very long and slender like an English cucumber instead of short and fat. I wish I would have saved the plant information when I planted them! The are still good. The tomatoes are coming but they are still green. I have several green peppers that are almost ready to be picked.

I received an email from Karin asking about the method I use to freeze sweet peppers. I freeze both green and red sweet peppers. According to the freezing and canning book that I have, you do not have to blanch the sweet peppers before freezing. Just wash and halve them. Remove the seed and pulp. Slice or dice the peppers and freeze. I flash freeze them to make them easier to remove from the package. If you have older or tough/large peppers, you can blanch them for 2 minutes in steam or boiling water. Then cool, pack, and freeze.


I wish I would have planted zucchini and yellow squash plants this year. They are one of my favorite summer vegetables. I remember growing them when I was a child. One summer to earn money for our summer vacation we set up a stand in the front yard and sold the squash to passing motorists. I also remember loading up our little wagon with stacks of zucchini and selling them door to door throughout the neighborhood with my brother.


I received an email from Mary asking for some ideas on what to do with a large crop of zucchini. Send me some! I would be glad to take them! Seriously, there are several great postings on the message boards with tips and recipes. You will find tips on grating and freezing, zucchini recipes, and information on how to use frozen zucchini in recipes. There are also several newsletter recipes that use fresh or frozen zucchini. Check out the Chicken Kabobs, Zucchini Carrot Muffins, and Chocolate Chip Zucchini Loaf recipes. Do you have a great zucchini recipe to share with everyone? Post them on the message boards and I will share them with everyone in the next newsletter.


Another summer cooking question I received was from Rachael regarding cooking for camping trips.

I really appreciate all I have learned on your website. A topic I would like to see discussed is easy ways to cook when camping with your family. We just got back from a camping trip, and it seemed like we spent most of the time cooking and cleaning. The previous camping trip I made and froze a couple of the recipes, and they seemed to work out well, I just needed a few other suggestions and ideas on making it easier when camping. I had a question- is the precooked food safe in the fridge to thaw for a couple or three days?

Since I have limited freezer space, I thought for a weeklong camp trip I could have three meals in the fridge thawing and three in the freezer in storage, but didn't know if two or three days would be unsafe/ too long a thaw time.

Thanks again,

Rachael

According to the USDA, ground beef and poultry are good for one or two days after they have defrosted. Other meats are good for three to five days. For more information click here to read the USDA fact sheet on how to safely defrost foods. There are several newsletters on the web site that talk about camping and share some favorite recipes. Take a look at the August 2002, July 2005, and July 2007 newsletters. There is also a great page on the web site with lots of camping tips. Click here to read it.

According to the USDA, ground beef and poultry are good for one or two days after they have defrosted. Other meats are good for three to five days. For more information to read the USDA fact sheet on how to safely defrost foods. There are several newsletters on the web site that talk about camping and share some favorite recipes. Take a look at the , , and newsletters. There is also a great page on the web site with lots of camping tips. to read it.


Food Budget

So what food bargains did you run into this month? I found more ground chuck for .99 a pound. I made a batch of hamburger patties. We measure ours so they are exactly a quarter pound. We do this so we can use them in other recipes if we do not use them all during the summer. It is nice to know that I can just grab four patties and know that I have a pound of ground beef for a recipe. I also made Master Meat Mix (from the Freezer Cooking Manual) for meatloaf, Wet Tacos. and Sloppy Joes. I froze the Sloppy Joes in individual servings. I received some emails last month asking how I do this. To freeze sandwich filling, I just put it in the muffin tins and place the tins in the freezer. Once the filling is solid, I fill my sink with an inch or two of hot water. I place the muffin tin in the water for about 10 seconds (without getting any water on the filling). I can then take a fork and pop out the individual servings. I place the servings in a gallon freezer bag and seal, label and freeze. So far I have frozen shredded chicken sandwiches, pulled pork, and the Crock Pot Roast Beef Sandwiches from the Freezer Cooking Manual using this method.

I also found boneless, skinless chicken breast on sale for 1.66 a pound. I never pass up this sale when I find it. This time I concentrated on using it for lunches. The price per pound is great compared to what lunch meat costs. Chicken is also much better for you than lunch meat. I ended up making chunk chicken seasoned with poultry seasoning for chicken salad sandwiches and sliced chicken using the Montreal Chicken Sandwiches recipe from the Freezer Lunches to Go ebook. How do you bulk cook your chicken? When I first started cooking using 30 Day Gourmet I would cook them on the stove using several pans. This was very time consuming. Then I started baking the chicken in the oven. This is a great way to cook a lot of chicken but not in the heat of the summer. In the summer, I enlist the help of one of my sons or my husband to fire up the grill and cook the chicken for me. It works out well. The chicken cooks quickly and it is something they enjoy doing. Try it sometime!


My other great find this month was apples. Our local grocery store had a one day only produce sale. They offered an pound bag of Fuji apples 5.00. Normally, this is a great price but when I went back to the store the next week after the sale was over they were selling the apples for .99 for a 10 pound bag. What a great deal! I peeled, sliced and cored the apples and froze them in 8 cup packages. I will use these in recipes such as Apple Crisp in the fall when it is cooler.


So what are you doing this summer to stretch your food budget? E-mail your ideas to me at carol@30daygourmet.com and I will share them with everyone in the next newsletter. Have some great recipes to share with everyone? You can post them on the message boards.

 



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Bonus Recipes



Ice Cream Sandwich Dessert
I first tried this recipe at a cookout with our church small group. My friend Elaine made this to share with everyone. I call Elaine "the master of desserts"! She makes the best desserts. This is her recipe and I hope you like it as much as we did.

 

 

Click here to view/print this recipe!

 

 

Lemon Cheesecake Bars
Lemon bars are one of my favorite deserts and they freeze wonderfully. My friend Karen makes the best lemon and lime bars and this recipe reminds me of her. These are an adaptation of the the traditional lemon bar. There is a small cheesecake layer at the top of the bar.

 

 

Click here to view/print this recipe!



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Freezer Cook of the Month



Our Freezer Cook of the Month is Michelle from Waupun, WI. I loved her story and her guts to be able to have 8 children and work at the same time. Doing that with 3 was a hard enough task for me. Way to go Michelle! Read how freezer cooking the 30 Day Gourmet way has helped organize her life.

Let's hear her story:

"My husband and I have 8 children- 4 adopted and 4 home-made. Seven of them are under the age of seven! I teach kindergarten in a job-share and the only way I can keep my sanity (most of the time) is to be very organized. I discovered the wonders of freezer cooking at a preschool mom's group called MOPS. I fell in love with the software from this site and have been trying it for about 6 months. The first time I tried a cooking day, I picked out 25 recipes! I knew that I had too many, but I was so excited that I refused to actually count how many I had. The $400 in groceries I purchased for that day should have been my first clue! So, it took me 3 days to do all the recipes, but my 3 freezers were full. It was so nice to not have to repeat a recipe for a whole month because I had so many. It seems like I have many picky eaters and I didn't think I could get them to eat a meal twice in one month! About 2 months later I noticed how empty my freezers were getting, but I was still a little burned out from the first 3 day saga! So I decided to try rotating different categories of freezer foods and it has worked out so awesome! Once a month I do a cooking day with all side dishes. I make about 25 of them. Then the next month I do all soups and so on. It has worked out fabulous since they last at least 6 months or more in my big freezer. My kids of course love the month I do all snacks and desserts!"

Thanks for sharing this inspirational story with us. 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



Just a reminder, I am looking for zucchini recipes. Post them on the message boards and I will share them with everyone in the next newsletter. I am also looking for any ideas on how to stretch your food budget. For example, I make a list of our favorite recipes, calculate the cost of each recipe and then rank the recipes from lowest to highest cost. Then I create my list of recipes for my cooking day with more of the lower cost recipes and a few of the higher cost ones. This has helped us keep our budget under control even with the rising cost of food.

 

Next month I hope to share some grilling and seafood recipes. 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!

 


          Carol

 



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Freezer Cooking News from Nanci



Here it is summer again. Where do the months go? I have been out of school for almost 4 weeks now. In case you didn’t know, the teachers look forward to summer just as much as the students doJ My goal this summer is to organize-organize-organize. Organize my classroom to save time during the school year. Organize my home so that it is a refuge and not a source of stress. Organize my freezer so that my teens want to eat at home and so that mom doesn’t have to be here in order for a meal to be eaten! Organize my 30 Day Gourmet office to serve you more efficiently.

Take a few minutes to sit back and relax. I’ll catch you up on our family (some of you have been with me for 10 years now), encourage you to save money by freezer cooking in these tough economic times, tell you about all the new freezer cooking talk out there and share some recipes just for “kids” (mine are 15, 18, 20, and 23).



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New Edition Released March, 2008



Some of you may have noticed that 30 Day Gourmet released a new edition of the manual recently. What’s different you ask? I basically changed the cover a bit, updated some recipes, deleted 2 recipes and added 2 new ones. Carol and I decided to take out the “Italian Chicken” and “Chicken Spaghetti” and put in the “Santa Fe Chicken” and “Honey Glazed Chicken” for some new flavors. Each page has a new 2008 copyright and my bio is updated on the cover. That’s about it. Should you buy a new book? Probably no need to. I know that’s a bad marketing move but that’s just the truth. Tell your friends, though, and give them for gifts. Click here to orderJ



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Freezer Cooking is Everywhere!



Have you noticed that more people are talking about freezer cooking than ever before? 10 years ago there were only a couple of books on the market and when we told people that we made 60 entrees in one day they gave us that “are ya kiddin’ me?” look. Not anymore.

 

  • Amazon.com now has a whole host of freezer cookbooks. Very few of them contain information to teach a new freezer cook the steps to being successful at the process but many are filled with great recipes for the freezer. Some of the recipes are multiplied out in some fashion. Others aren’t. I suggest trying one entrée to see if your family likes it before you make 3 or 6 of them. Our multiplication charts will help if you convert the recipes you find to work for 1-6 entrees. Remember, the time saving comes in making multiples. It doesn’t take 3 times as long to make 3 meatloaves as it does to make one.

 

  • Meal Preparation storefronts (Dream Dinners, Super Suppers, My Girlfriend’s Kitchen, etc.)  have popped up in the last few years and made cooks more familiar with the concept of freezer cooking. From what I am hearing and reading, though, many of them have not been able to weather the tough economic times. We’ve been getting e-mails from cooks who have tried these storefronts and then realized that they could make their own for a lot less money and jumped onto the internet looking for recipes. Of course, you have to do the shopping and the cleaning up afterward! Several of the meat dishes average about $4 per serving. I can generally make entrees for about half that amount. If you like the camaraderie aspect, just invite a few friends to form a cooking club with you. It’s not that hard to divide the work and divide the food.

 

  • What does 30 Day Gourmet offer that is unique?

    • Our cookbook is a manual. It teaches you how to freezer cook and it provides the tools that are necessary for you to do it any way you wish. Our worksheets (available free online with a book purchase) help you do all of the calculating. We also give you instruction in how to incorporate your own recipes into the system.

    • Our recipes are always multiplied out in the same way. We have saved you a bunch of time and headaches by doing this work for you. It helps you make multiples in an efficient way. Our recipes also are based on 6 servings per entrée. It’s hard to plan your cooking when some recipes have 4 servings and some have 12.

    • 30 Day Gourmet gives you great help along with tons more recipes on our website. Our message boards offer help, stories, recipes and the expert advice of hundreds of seasoned freezer cooks.

    • The 30 Day Gourmet yahoo group is now #3 in the “Cooking and Recipes” groups with over 11,600 members.

     

How can you help?

Spread the word about 30 Day Gourmet to your friends! Talk about us in your blogs and on message boards where you participate. Write nice reviews on Amazon and other book sites. It helps our Amazon sales to have recent reviews. Even though you may own an older edition, please post your reviews under the new edition. Thanks so much!

 

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



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Saving Money by Freezer Cooking



Did you know that?

  • most families spend about $500 a month on groceries (eaten at home)

  • Americans now spend more money eating out than eating at home

If you’re like us, there are no extra piles of money sitting around. We’re doing everything we can to reduce costs. The kids are carpooling whenever possible. We are checking out the bargain movie theaters again. We will cram 5 of us, two tents and a cooking stove into a Toyota Camry next week to drive to Michigan and “mooch” off relatives for vacation. Times are tough.

We can all save SO much money on our food budget by freezer cooking. Here are a few simple ways:

  1. Plan Ahead. Sit down with the grocery ads when you plan a cooking day. We’ve been saying this for 10 years now but it’s still so true. The difference between boneless, skinless chicken breast at $3.59/lb and $1.88/lb is huge when you are buying 30 pounds of it! (A $51.00 savings!)
  2. Replicate your family’s favorite snacks and fast foods. Many freezer cooking families still swing through the drive through several times a week because the kids want “kid food”. Sometimes they don’t like our freezer cooking because we concentrate on main meals that seem too “grown up” for them. Doesn’t it kill you to pay $3 for a breakfast biscuit or a chewy pretzel or a little box of chicken nuggets?
  3. Save eating out for those foods that don’t freeze well or the ones that seem to cost just as much to make at home. We save eating out for the Chinese buffet (Adam), Arby’s pecan salad (me), Applebee’s riblets (Becky), and Red Lobster’s lobster dinner (Bob).



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Cooking for Teens – Adam & Jenna’s Summer Freezer Foods



My son, Adam, is 18 and will be a senior this year. He’s an easy-going kid. 6’3” and skinny as a rail. I sat down with him, Jenna and my huge 3 ring binder of freezer cooking recipes today and came up with these favorites. They said that if we had these in the house for lunch and snacks, they would be happy kids and would not ask to borrow the car and run to McDonald’s (saving food money AND gas money).

 

 



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Catching Up with the Slagles



Many apologies for not sending out an update on Jenna (my 14 year old daughter with the heart problem). We did take her to the Cleveland Clinic back in November. They confirmed that her heart condition is unusual and will require surgery at some point but they were quite reluctant to do it yet because they had never seen such overwhelming fatigue tied to this condition. They asked us to return to Indy and see several specialists to rule out other causes of her fatigue. So we did. Rheumatologist. Sleep Clinic. Adolescent Pediatrician. Psychologist. Pediatric Heart Clinic at Riley Hospital . The doctors determined that she wasn’t sleeping well and put her on some medication which has helped her fatigue some. Her heart has worsened since November and she has been wearing a monitor for the last 30 days to capture the various “episodes” that she has (racing, pounding, skipped beats, etc.) We will consult with the doctors at Riley again next month. Mitral valve repair or replacement surgery in someone so young is something that they want to put off as long as possible. Jenna would rather have the surgery and get on with her life. She doesn’t like being winded constantly and having her friends see her heart visibly beating hard through her clothesJ Once we get the report from the monitor, I will send everything to the Cleveland Clinic and get their opinion. Thanks so much for your concerns. And thanks for the extra orders around Christmas time. It helped to pay for our one-day fees of $1500 (after insurance!). I’ll try to update you again before another 6 months goes by!

 

The rest of the family is doing well. Kaytee will finish college this next year at IU and still plans to become a cop for the LAPD. Becky will be a junior at Huntington University and leaves in a few weeks for a missions trip to China . Adam will graduate from high school next year and most likely attend Purdue University to major in engineering. Jenna will come to the school where I teach this year as a freshman (so that I can keep an eye on her!). My husband is working like crazy and asking me how long until he can retire (14 years!).



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Closing Comments



Enjoy your summer! I promise to do another newsletter soon. My next one will cover info about:

  • dieting and freezer cooking (specifically the Weight Watchers plan)

  • Midwest flooding and reminders about power outages

 

Thanks for hanging in there with us. Please send us your stories, questions and comments. We love to hear what’s going on in your lives.

         Nanci

        office@30daygourmet.com



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