Mango Sorbet
 Skip Navigation LinksHome > Archives > 2005 > Monthly Newsletter
Chewin' the News from 30 Day Gourmet
Kitchen Fun with Carol
Bonus Recipes
Recipe of the Month Contest Winner
Freezer Cook of the Month Contest Winner
Closing Comments from Carol
Freezer Cooking News from Nanci
Consultant News
Closing Comments from Nanci
Cookin' at the Keyboard with Shelley
Software Suggestions
Closing Comments from Shelley

Kitchen Fun with Carol

Hi everybody! It's back to school time at our house. My twin boys are starting high school this year so we have been getting them prepared for the big day and the added responsibilities that high school brings. My daughter is back home from her summer job for a few weeks. She is preparing to leave for The Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) to study nursing. It's been great having her back home for a couple of weeks! It's fun to watch the interaction between her and her brothers. And it is interesting with three teenagers in the house that eat constantly all day long! Not only do I have to plan for lunch and dinner but I also have to have lots of snacks and breakfast foods on hand to full up my hungry teenagers.

Our current favorite breakfast food is Breakfast McBiscuits. I made my first batch a couple weeks ago using English muffins, turkey sausage and eggs. I keep cheese on hand so the kids can add it themselves later if they want it. For my first batch I used Tammy's suggestion from the message boards to cook the eggs. Click here to read her posting. She bakes the eggs in a jelly roll pan and then cuts them into squares for the sandwiches. This is so simple and easy. When I made my second batch (a double batch this time!) I tried cooking the eggs in a microwavable muffin pan that had 9 muffin cups. This was fast, easy and they came out round just like McDonald's. I bought my turkey sausage in one pound chubs. I split each chub into 8 portions, used my hamburger press to form the patties, and cooked the patties on my large electric griddle. They assembled very quickly using this method. To avoid the problem of a soggy sandwich, I do not freeze them fully assembled. I place the unopened muffin, sausage and egg in a sandwich bag and then I place multiple bags inside a gallon freezer bag. When you are ready to eat them, grab a sandwich and microwave it 15 seconds so that the muffin can be opened. Toast the muffin in the toaster and microwave the egg and sausage on a plate until they are hot. If you want to add cheese, add it during the last 15 seconds of microwaving.

We have lots of other recipes that we serve for breakfast. Another new favorite is Tara's Favorite Muffins with chocolate chips. I make the mini muffin version of this recipe. They are wonderful! We also make waffles using the Master Baking Mix, Breakfast Burritos, Peanut Butter Muffins, Granola Bars, and French Toast Sticks from the Freezer Cooking for Daycare Providers and Busy Parents ebook sampler.

For lunches, I always go with a seasonal rotating menu. Variety helps keep everyone happy. For example, when serving a sandwich sometimes I serve them on pita pockets instead of bread and with fresh spinach instead of lettuce. This makes it different and fun. Here's a sample of a menu that I use. We repeat it 3 times and then adjust the menu for the next season.







Week 1

Turkey and Noodles

Sausage and Rice

Taco Pockets

Turkey Sandwich

Tuna Salad Sandwich

Week 2

Hamburger Soup

Chicken Salad Sandwich

Ham Sandwich

Montreal Chicken Sandwich

Pork BBQ

Week 3

Chicken Pockets 

Turkey Sandwich

Meatball Sandwich

Pasta with Ham

*Shredded Roast Beef Sandwich

Week 4

Bowtie Soup 

Ham Sandwich 

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Turkey and Cheese Pockets

Peanut Butter and Jelly


* I use the Beef and Noodles recipe from the Healthy Freezer Cooking ebook or you could use the Crock-Pot Beef Sandwiches from The Freezer Cooking Manual.

Some of our other favorite recipes for lunch include Pizza Pockets, Hamburger Mulligan and Pepperoni Sticks from the Freezer Lunches to Go ebook, French Toast Sticks from the Freezer Cooking for Daycare Providers and Busy Parents ebook sampler, Mac and Cheese (homemade or boxed), and Meatloaf Sandwich (I cook mine before I freeze it!). I also occasionally pack hotdogs or and left over soups or chili.

One of our favorite recipes for lunches are homemade pockets. There are so many different combinations of ingredients that you can use to make the filling. We usually pick four different types to make for each menu rotation. That gives us one meal of pockets per week. Never made pockets before? Here are some tips to get you started.


  1. For the bread you can use purchased or homemade bread dough, store bought crescent rolls, or any other homemade breading. We make our own dough to save money. The Super Easy Best Ever Crescent Rolls recipe or the Crescent Roll recipe from the Freezer Lunches to Go ebook are great for pockets.

  2. Pick filling combinations that your family likes. Each pocket uses about 1/4 cup of filling so for each batch of twelve you will need 3 cups. Here are some ideas to try:

    • Turkey, ham and cheese
    • Chicken, broccoli and cheddar
    • Miniature meatballs, mozzarella and spaghetti sauce
    • BBQ beef
    • Beef or Chicken, Mexican cheese, peppers and onion
    • Shredded beef or chicken with cheddar cheese
    • Chicken, peppers, broccoli and Alfredo sauce
    • Philly steak, cheese, onions and peppers
  3. If your filling has a sauce, do not get the sauce on the edges and do not overstuff the pockets. If you do, the pockets may not seal and their contents will ooze out during cooking. There's nothing sadder than a pocket that has lost it's filling!

  4. Make sure you cool the pockets completely before freezing. Warm pockets generate ice crystals in the freezer. That makes the pockets wet when you defrost them. If this happens, warm them up in the oven instead of the microwave to dry them out.


Pockets are a fun way to serve lunch! Be creative and create your own combination of flavors. For some more helpful information on packing lunches, read Do's and Don'ts of Packed Lunches and my ebook Freezer Lunches To Go. Good luck this school year and enjoy this month's bonus recipes!

Return to Table of Contents

Bonus Recipes

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pockets

We love pockets so I am always trying to create new flavor combinations to pack for lunch. This recipe was inspired by one of our favorite dinners, Chicken Cordon Bleu. For us, it's one of those special occasion meals that I only serve once in a while because of the prep work involved in assembling the meal. It has a great combination of chicken, ham, cheese and a wonderful sauce. This pocket recipe reminds of the flavors without all the work!

Click here to view/print this recipe!

Double Chocolate Muffins

Whenever we go grocery shopping we pass right through the bakery section of the store and you know how tempting that can be. Our local store has a two sided cart that contains lots of different muffins and they all look great! My kids are always asking to purchase some of the chocolate chocolate chip muffins. I decided to create a recipe of my own to use instead. These are light, fluffy and smell so good coming out of the oven. I have these available for breakfast and for the kids to eat after school. You'll be surprised how quickly a dozen will vanish!

Click here to view/print this recipe!

Return to Table of Contents

Recipe of the Month Contest Winner

Recipe of the Month... Chicken Taco Rice

Our winner this month is Rachel from Gloucester, VA, with her recipe for Chicken Taco Rice. This rice is very versatile and can be used in many ways. It's great plain with cheese melted on top. It can be used as a filling for Chicken Burritos. You can also use it to make Taco Salad or Nachos. Freeze it in individual servings for after school snacks.

Let's meet Rachel:

I am a stay-at-home-mom to one preschooler. I am committed to making healthy meals, but I hate the actual cooking, so I enjoy being able to get all the cooking done for the month and have it over with! My husband, who is self-employed, appreciates the financial savings that come with such well-planned meals. The Freezer Cooking Manual is quite a gem, being the only freezer cookbook I could find that included instructions for creating my own cooking plan using the foods we already eat. My interests include whole foods cooking and nutrition, scrapbooking, reading, working on my website, and research. (I'm an information junkie!)

Click here to view/print the September Recipe of the Month.


You too can get in on the winning! Just post your favorite freeze-able recipe on the message boards. Congratulations, Rachel!


Return to Table of Contents

Freezer Cook of the Month Contest Winner

Our winner this month is Diane with her story about how she helps others cooking the 30 Day Gourmet way.

Diane says:

I purchased your manual several years ago after seeing you on Home and Family (I have your video, too. Love it.). I'd just like to thank you for all your hard work. This system has saved me so much stress. I cook all summer and put about 120 entrees in my freezer, so only have to "supplement cook" during the school year when things are crazy (I have two active teenagers and our family is very involved in both the Christian school where I work and they attend, and our church where I co-lead our "Heartbeat" ministry - meals for women in "crisis"). This past year especially my freezer meals were a lifesaver since I began making meals for my shut-in mother and father-in-law after they became incapacitated. I was so thankful to have "real food" that they would eat and have it ready to bring to them after a long day at school. Your manual, worksheets and system are the best out there. I always have something to bring to our "Heartbeat" new moms, patients in recovery, etc. I can't thank you enough to helping me in this ministry I really feel God has called me to. God bless you, and all your helpers.


Thanks Diane! Less stress is a wonderful thing! We're glad that you are able to help others in their time of need.

So, how do you make 30 Day Gourmet work for you? How do you use it to help you deal with a challenge in your life? How do you use it to help others? Do you have a funny cooking story to share? Email me at to be entered in our contest. Congratulations, Diane!!

Return to Table of Contents

Closing Comments from Carol

I hope you enjoy the recipes and the lunch planning tips! I've got a pocket sandwich assembly day to plan. Before I go, there was a posting on the message boards that I would like to mention.

Gina asks:

Do very many of you actually send warm things in a thermos to school? It would allow a lot of variety. I just worried about it spoiling. Please advise.

Well, Gina, I am in my fifth year of packing lunches and I have been sending warmed foods the entire time. Not once have we had a problem with spoilage. The key is to make sure the Thermos is hot and the food that goes into it is hot as well. This means you need to pre-warm the Thermos by putting hot water in it 5 to 10 minutes before you put the hot food into it. For more information on packing a safe lunch, click here to visit the Partnership for Food Safety Education website.

Next month we'll focus on Autumn recipes such as soup, slow cooker, and bread recipes. I'm looking for your favorite recipes so post them on our message board, the Cook's Corner. I look forward to hearing what you have to share!

Email me at with any questions, ideas, suggestions or problems. I enjoy hearing from you!

Have a great month!


Return to Table of Contents

Freezer Cooking News from Nanci

Hurricane Relief
It's been quite a month hasn't it? One day we are lamenting about the end of summer, the start of school, the refrigerator that needs to be cleaned out, the kids who don't pick up their clothes, the car that needs repairs (again!) and then WHAM! something like Katrina happens and none of those "problems" seem like much anymore.

To those of you who have been directly affected by the hurricane our hearts go out to you. Please e-mail me and tell me your stories or post them on the "Hurricane Katrina" category on our message boards. We have a large community of cooks here who would love to help you.

I won't list websites or tell you where to give your money. Most of us have plenty of opportunities to help. We have a monetary collection at our church on Sunday and a "goods" drive going on at school. I challenged my classes yesterday to bring 500 items for babies and their moms. When they bring the 500 items, I will have them all over to my home and cook them dinner. That's 95 kids! Good thing I know how to cook in bulk, eh?

I did find a website that has a good database of volunteer opportunities for people in lots of different cities who would like to help victims of Katrina.
If you know of places where our cooks could serve, please e-mail and let me know or post your information on our message boards under the new topic category "Hurricane Katrina Information".


School Lunches Update
After my last newsletter, many of you ordered a lunches ebook for yourself. Please let us know how it's going for you. Each of our ebooks has a corresponding area on our message boards where you can e-mail the author, ask questions and share tips and stories. Click here to go to our message boards and then click on the "Freezer Lunches To Go" area of the message boards.

Cooperative Cooking
Here's my next venture. I've never tried Coop Cooking but ever since Jan Limiero, our Coop Cuisine ebook author, told me about this I've been intrigued. It's a great option for people who would rather cook alone and swap recipes than cook in the same kitchen with another person. Right now my schedule is so crazy that the best time I can find to cook may be on a Friday night from 8 pm till 2 am. Another person who might benefit from this is the cook who doesn't have enough cooking knowledge or experience to make 10 different recipes but she could make her killer chili or her famous chicken divan and just make 10 of them. Check out What other say about Coop Cooking (click on the Coop Cuisine category)

I put out the word to the teachers and staff at the school where I teach limiting the group to ten.

Meet my group and the recipes that we chose to make:

  • Stacy, one of our Guidance Counselors making Vanilla Coke Pork Ribs

  • Debbie, our treasurer making Taco Meat

  • Jason, our freshman Bible teacher making Pot Roast

  • Lisa, our head librarian making Poppyseed Chicken & Pork Roast Slices

  • Theresa, our art teacher making Sweet Carrot Nut Bread

  • Danni, our computer teacher making Turkey Cranberry Meatloaf

  • Jamie, our yearbook and newspaper teacher making Teriyaki Chicken

  • ME making Spaghetti Pie and Cheeseburger Quiche*

*We had two drop out so Lisa and I are going to make 2 recipes and then take two at the swap.


Following Jan's ebook makes it easy to start a group. I asked everyone to read the ebook so that they understood the concept and knew what to expect. For our first cooking session, I also asked that cooks choose a recipe from the ebook. Having "tried and true" recipes that are already multiplied out to "1-5-10-15-20-other" makes it so much easier (trust me on this:)).

Click here to download a free 7 page sampler of Coop Cuisine including these three free recipes: Ham Steaks, Wild Rice Quiche and Carolyn's Chocolate Chip Cookies. You can also use this link to see a complete index and recipe list from the ebook.

To order your Coop Cuisine ebook ($6.95 to download immediately, $8.95 + s&h for a CD) click here. Ebooks include a zip file for quick transfer of recipes for software users.

Our Freezer Cooking Manual and online newsletters also have lots of great recipes that work well for Coop Cooking. It's best to choose recipes that don't have very many ingredients and can be assembled quickly. If they don't have to bake and can be packaged in a freezer bag, that's a big plus! Here are some suggestions:

From the Freezer Cooking Manual:


From the online newsletters:

Return to Table of Contents

Consultant News

We have several new consultants who have joined us recently. Please welcome:

Liz Nelson from Mazomanie, Wisconsin
Kristi Seiler from Pocahontas, Iowa
Loretta Hanson from Aurora, Oregon

These 30 Day Gourmet consultants now have active website. Visit them soon!

Lori Viets from Cowgill, Missouri
Aimee Wright from Buhl, Idaho
Anne-Marie Pfliger from Phoenix, Arizona

Debbie Rhoades from Concord, New Hampshire

Return to Table of Contents

Closing Comments from Nanci

Enjoy the last days of summer. Fall is my favorite season! Next month (believe it or not) I'm going to encourage you to start on your holiday freezer cooking!
Again, our thoughts and prayers go out to all of you affected by Hurricane Katrina.


Return to Table of Contents

Cookin' at the Keyboard with Shelley

September means back to school...even for me! This month marks the beginning of our ninth year of home schooling. Sarah, in black, is a junior; Lauren, on the left, is a freshman. The twins, Aundra and Anicia, are in the fourth grade and Megan, our 5-year-old, is proud to be a first grader!

Our weekly schedule is full to overflowing. My main focus this year is history, so the dining room table is covered with books, binders, timelines, and coloring pages. I'm also teaching the older girls "how to teach." The twins take math from Sarah, and Lauren gives them their spelling lesson. Considering that the high school girls are out of the house part of every day for piano lessons or classes at the academy, my first priority has become scheduling (school doesn't work if the teacher isn't home!).

Every morning we meet around the breakfast table to review the schedule for the day. It's much easier to get the girls up and moving if they know that a hot breakfast is waiting for them downstairs. I serve a variety of things, but eggs and muffins bring the biggest smiles. I don't have room in my freezer for dozens of muffins and baked goods every month, so I've created another option. I make my own "baking mixes" to manage both my time and my freezer space.

I use the "cooking day/serving day" strategy discussed below in Software Suggestions. For any baked item (muffins, breads, etc) I combine all the dry ingredients for that recipe and seal in a food saver or freezer bag. After labeling, I toss them in the freezer (if there's room), or I store them in a cool, dry place. Be sure to date the package.

When I'm fixing breakfast, it's easy to grab the milk, eggs, oil, and a custom homemade baking mix. I always double (at least) every recipe so that I have enough leftover to put in the freezer for another day. It's a deep satisfaction to know that my daughters will have memories of waking up to the aroma of fresh baked muffins, at least once in awhile.

In honor of back-to-school, here are two of our favorite after-school snack recipes. Best wishes to your family for a fun and productive school year!


Chocolate Chip Zucchini Loaf

When the zucchini is literally overflowing the garden, we wash, grate, and freeze it. The original recipe didn't call for chocolate chips, but they turn this snack into a real treat. If you replace half the white flour with whole wheat the kids will never know.


Click here to view/print/import this recipe!



Glazed Almond Poppy Seed Mini-Muffins

This is a special reward for a good day of school. Since these muffins aren't high on my "healthy snack" list, I use the mini-muffin pan. I recommend glazing them after they've thawed, not before freezing. Add some hot tea and "dress up" clothes and you've made a memory!


Click here to view/print/import this recipe!

Return to Table of Contents

Software Suggestions

"Cooking Day" vs. "Serving Day"

When freezing meals, I have several goals in mind. Primarily, I want to save time, save money, conserve freezer space, serve delicious food, and make it painless to put a meal on the table (I don't ask for much, do I?) All five of these goals can be accomplished by cooking only part of a recipe.

"Homemade Chili" is a prime example. After frying the ground beef and onion, I stir in all six of the seasonings and freeze in a food saver bag. Time is saved because I prepare multiple quantities of the recipe while the time-consuming task of chopping onion, frying meat, hunting for seasonings, and washing the pans and utensils need to be done only once. Money is saved because the canned tomatoes and kidney beans aren't purchased until I serve the meal, or until they're on sale at the store. Freezer space is conserved because I'm storing only the meat, not the tomatoes and beans. My chili is delicious because I've cooked the portion of the recipe that, in my opinion, freezes the best. Finally, it's easy to put the meal on the table; the cooked ground beef thaws quickly and the cans of tomatoes and beans are simple to add.

Believe it or not, it gets even better! Advantage Cooking actually helps me keep track of what I call a S.A.N.E recipe (Some Assembly Needed Eventually). For any ingredient in a recipe, set the "use on" field to indicate whether this particular ingredient is a "cooking day" or "serving day" item. Serving day ingredients are marked with an asterisk* on the printed recipe. I like to use the Move Ingredient buttons to position the "cooking day" ingredients at the top of the recipe and the "serving day" ingredients below.

In addition, three options are available for the Grocery Report. For any group of recipes selected, the grocery list can include:

  1. all ingredients,

  2. "cooking day" ingredients only, or

  3. "serving day" ingredients only.


I use the first option if I want to grocery shop once and make sure that every ingredient will be in the house when I need it. When money is a consideration, I buy the "cooking day" ingredients only, in order to cut down on cost.

To make sure you have all the serving day ingredients on hand, you have two options. Either use the "serving day" option for the grocery report, or print the Recipe Inventory Report. It's the most convenient because it lists the serving day ingredients for every recipe selected for a cooking day. Print a report and see how easy it is to use!


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

Return to Table of Contents

Closing Comments from Shelley

I manage my kitchen in different ways, based on the season of the year and the season of life. No matter which "season" you find yourself in, I hope I've given you some ideas on how to make your kitchen more efficient, for the benefit of your health and your family. Cook on!



Return to Table of Contents

Chewin' the News is an exclusive publication of 30 Day Gourmet, Inc.
Reproduction of the content without the expressed written consent of 30 Day Gourmet, Inc. is prohibited.
All rights reserved.


Join Us!
Take advantage of all of the great community benefits:

   Sign up for our FREE newsletters! Free Newsletters
   Participate in our Cooks' Corner Message Boards! Message Boards

Our exclusive eBook Freezer Cooking series
Co-op Cuisine
Co-op Cuisine
Co-op Cuisine introduces a new twist in bulk cooking.
Freezer Cooking for Daycare Providers and Busy Parents
Freezer Cooking for Daycare Providers and Busy Parents
These recipes are not only great for daycare providers but moms, too.
Freezer Cooking on a Budget
Freezer Cooking on a Budget
Learn how to cut your food budget up to $200.00 each month.
Freezer Desserts to Die For!
Freezer Desserts to Die For!
Stock your freezer with delicious desserts - cookies, candies, cakes and salads.
Freezer Lunches to Go
Freezer Lunches to Go
Learn how to safely pack a balanced lunch for your children, spouse or yourself.
Healthy Freezer Cooking
Healthy Freezer Cooking
Learn how to serve a healthy, well-balanced meal without sacrificing taste.
Holiday Freezer Cooking
Holiday Freezer Cooking
Delicious classic Holiday recipes for your freezer.
Slow Cooker Freezer Favorites
Slow Cooker Freezer Favorites
Nothing is easier than using a slow cooker to save time, money, and hassle!
Souper Freezer Soups
Souper Freezer Soups
This book will have you whipping up flavorful soups in no time.
Vegetarian Freezer Cooking
Vegetarian Freezer Cooking
This is your complete guide to getting started with vegetarian freezer cooking.
Get Yours Today!