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Chewin' the News from 30 Day Gourmet
Kitchen Fun with Carol
Freezer Cook of the Month Contest Winner
Bonus Recipes
Closing Comments from Carol
Freezer Cooking News from Nanci
How Freezer Cooking Keeps Me Sane
What Our Cooks Are Saying
Closing Comments from Nanci

Kitchen Fun with Carol



Hello fellow freezer cooks! Wow - it is hard to believe that it is May. I hope everyone had a great Mother's Day weekend. We had brunch with my side of the family. My husband, Tod, made chocolate chip and banana pancakes (using the Master Baking Mix recipe from the Members Only section of the website) with our niece and nephew. We also had different kinds of muffins, fruit salad, Breakfast Egg Casserole with ham and broccoli, French Toast Casserole (from the Members Only section), scrambled eggs and bacon. It was fun! Later that day we also hosted dinner for my husband's side of the family. We served grilled chicken tossed with grilled vegetables and penne pasta, Garlic Toast, grilled corn, strawberries and ice cream. It was a busy but wonderful day.

How many of you have planted a garden this summer? There has been a lot of publicity on summer gardening since the white house garden was planted this spring. We enjoy gardening. It really gives us more flexibility in our summer food budget if we can just pick our own produce instead of buying it at the store. And there is something special about eating what you have grown. And personally I think it tastes better! We planted our garden last weekend. We have tomatoes, several varieties of peppers, zucchini and cucumbers. Once August is here I will be very busy canning and freezing my harvest.

A few months ago I wrote about how our family is trying to cook meals that are more heart friendly. In the spirit of this, I have done some testing with the new Smart Balance 50/50 Butter Blends. They come in stick form and you can use them in the place of butter or margarine in a recipe. They are great for sautéing vegetables, making Garlic Toast, buttered pasta, etc. The original kind states that it is good in baking so I tested it with a couple of recipes. I tried it with No-Bake Cookies (from the Members Only section). They had a slightly different taste and they took longer to set up but they were still very good. I also tested the product with Chocolate Chip Cookies. The texture was a little different but the cookies still tasted great! All in all I would say it is a good product and you should try it if you are trying to be heart healthy.

I am looking for potluck and grilling recipes to share with everyone. Post your favorite recipes on the Cook's Corner Message Board or email me at carol@30daygourmet.com.



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Freezer Cook of the Month Contest Winner



Freezer Cook of the Month Winner

Our Freezer Cook of the Month is Shelia from Benton, KY. I hope you are as encouraged as I was to see how you can not only use the 30 Day Gourmet system to change your life but the lives of others.

Let's hear Shelia's story:

I would like to share with you a story about the "30 Day Cooking", but please allow me to share some background with you first. In 2006, at the age of 37, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. We had two 3 year olds and a 12 year old. As you can imagine, our lives were thrown upside down.

Over the last 2 years, I have had 15 rounds of chemo and 14 surgical procedures, including a double mastectomy and all the lymph nodes removed from my left arm. During this time, our family and friends have been wonderful and supportive. When it became obvious recently that there were going to be some long-term physical limitations as a result of all of this, we began to make some major life-style changes. Aside from physical restrictions, I am easily exhausted and things that were once routine, now take tremendous energy.

One day, my best friend, Karen, who lives 8 hours away, called and said "I'm coming down. I have found something that is going to make a huge difference in your life!"

She explained the concept of "Freezer Cooking" and told me she was coming down to stock my freezer. Since my family was surviving mainly on Peanut Butter & Jelly, frozen pizza and fast food, they were pretty excited about the possibility. Karen drove down for the weekend armed with your "Freezer Cooking Manual", downloaded charts and recipes. She planned meals, did the shopping and did all the prep work. Then she and my 14 year old, Katie, spent an entire day cooking. Together they made between about 60 meals for our freezer. This has had a tremendous impact on our lives! There really are no words to express the difference this has made for us. We are eating healthy meals again and I am not exhausted by the process.

Karen also organized things so that I can continue the system with a few friends who live nearby. When our supply of meals run low, we will have another "cook day". I will organize things and oversee the process and my friends and daughter will do the cooking for the families.

Thanks to our wonderful friends, and your system, we have one fewer things to worry about.

We are Blessed.

Shelia

It is great to hear how freezer cooking can really make a difference in your life!

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 carol@30daygourmet.com or post your story on the Cook's Corner Message Board to be entered in our contest.



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Bonus Recipes



Flatbread Pizza
I have been experimenting with grill pizzas for a long time. I have come to the conclusion it is all about the crust. I started experimenting with flatbread dough. Since flatbreads cook so fast it is the perfect recipe for making pizza on the grill. Simply grill one side of the dough to get it to "set". Pull it off, flip it over, put your toppings on the cooked side, and return it to the grill to cook the other side. This would be fun for a large gathering since they cook so fast. You could set up a topping bar and let everyone choose their own toppings for their personal flat bread pizza. What fun!

 

Click here to view/print this recipe!

 

 

Peanut Oat Bars

These are so good! I was looking for new recipes for potlucks and family gatherings and I found this recipe. It is so easy to make and it takes great.

 

Click here to view/print this recipe!



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Closing Comments from Carol



Next month I hope to share my graduation and summer menus with you. I would also like to share some of your favorite summer recipes or favorite summer dinner plan. If you have a recipe or dinner plan that you would like to share with everyone, post it on the Cook's Corner Message Board or email me at carol@30daygourmet.com. I look forward to hearing from everyone.

Have a happy Memorial Day, everyone. And for those of you in the military or with family members in the military, thank you for your service.

Carol



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Freezer Cooking News from Nanci



I can’t believe it was September since I last wrote a newsletter. A lot has happened in the Slagle household since then. As usual, freezer cooking helped us through! Hopefully, you’re finding the same to be true. I’ll recap our family info, then share info about my last cooking day and wrap up with some mail from our freezer cooks.


Slagle Family Highlights


Jenna - Many of you have followed the story of my 15 year old daughter’s heart problems for the last few years. She was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse with regurgitation in September of ’07 and was hospitalized for several days. Since then, we have taken her to local cardiologists at Riley Hospital for Children here in Indy as well as a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic. As a family, we had decided that Jenna really needed surgery to have her valve repaired but doctors were reluctant since it’s a fairly tricky procedure and unusual for kids her age. Last month we found a surgeon at Mt. Sinai Medical Clinic in NYC who agreed to do Jenna’s surgery. So on April 5th, Bob & Jenna and I drove to NYC. Jenna had very successful surgery on April 7th and was released on the 10th. She’s been doing great ever since!


Kaytee – Our oldest graduated from Indiana University last Saturday with a BA degree in Criminal Justice. She plans to move to Los Angeles in August where she is in the process of applying to the LAPD. We’re so proud of her!


Adam – Our little boy is all grown up and will be graduating from high school in just a few weeks. He’s such a great kid and I’m going to miss him so much when he heads off to Purdue University in a few months to study Engineering. He plans to live in a house with a few friends from high school and has already hinted that dinners in the freezer would be most helpful.

Here’s a pix of Adam receiving the Science Department Award last week at school.



Becky – That leaves Becky (far left), our 21 year old daughter who just completed her 3rd year at Huntington University. She will be heading off in a few weeks to a 7 month internship near Washington DC. We won’t see her again until Christmas!



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How Freezer Cooking Keeps Me Sane



Life is busy, isn’t it? Whether you’re dealing with an exhausting job, young children, older children, parents to care for, or all of the above - people have to be fed and food has to be cooked. Those of us who have been freezer cooking for years will be the first to tell you that we aren’t perfect. We don’t have 30 meals in the freezer AT ALL TIMES. We don’t cook every recipe correctly and we still make trips to the McDonald’s drive-thru.

But even if you just spend a few hours every month or two and put an extra 5 or 10 meals in the freezer for those really crazy days or for the company that’s coming, it is SO worth it.

Here’s the list of meals that I made with my friend, Lisa, over spring break. I wanted food in the freezer when we came back from Jenna’s surgery so that my mother-in-law (who was coming to help) could pull something out easily and get it ready quickly. A lot of these are casseroles which seem to be going out of style (according to the Food Network?) but I chose them on purpose for the quick assembly and easy serving instructions. We made about 23 entrees and I actually still have a few in the freezer.

Here’s my recipe list:

Auld Lang Syne Chicken (3)This is from the Co-op Cuisine ebook and has been a real hit. I love the taste of chicken, mayo and almonds. The crunchy topping is great too!

Swiss Steak (2) – I haven’t made this in ages. I forgot how much I liked it. It’s from the Freezer Cooking Manual. Love the peppers, onions and celery. Yum!

Italian Chicken (2) – This is a favorite recipe of mine and was a Recipe of the Month winner way back in 2002. The Italian salad dressing and cream cheese give it some great flavor.

Beef Teriyaki (2) – Stir fry is a “quick and easy” recipe at my house. Even if I haven’t remembered to take the bag of beef in marinade out of the freezer, I can thaw it quickly, add the vegetables and then cook some rice. By the time the rice is cooked (the 20 minute kind), the rest is done and we are ready to eat! This recipe is from Carol’s Healthy Freezer Cooking ebook.

Poppyseed Chicken (3) – We just had this last night. It’s another keeper from the Co-op Cuisine ebook! It has a lot of the same ingredients are the Auld Lang Syne Chicken does except that it’s made with wide egg noodles instead of rice. My family ate it all up!

Master Meat Mix (meatloaf) (2) – This is a recipe from the Freezer Cooking Manual. I hadn’t made it in a few years but since my kids love mashed potatoes so much I thought this might taste good to them again. I was right! You can always make meatballs with the mixture.

Cheesy Beef Casserole (3) – This recipe from the Co-op Cuisine ebook went together quickly. Lisa and I used disposable foil pans to make the assembly line go faster and to cut down on the cleanup for my mom-in-law later. My family liked this a lot. Lisa’s family wanted it a bit spicier so she “jazzed it up”.

Debbie’s Chicken in Marinade (3) – I think I make some of this every time I do a cooking day. There’s just SO much that you can do with marinated chicken. Of course, it tastes great grilled. It’s also good for stir fry, for sandwiches and baked in the oven. I usually buy my Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar and soy sauce in bulk at Gorton’s Food Service (sorry – they are primarily a Midwest chain).

Chipped Beef Chicken (3) – This is another tasty chicken casserole from the Co-op Cuisine ebook. It takes quite awhile to bake so plan for that. The chipped beef and bacon add some yummy flavor.

Here are a few pictures from our day:



Lisa putting together the Cheesy Beef Casserole while

talking to her son on the phone.


Here are my 23 entrees. Lisa has an enclosed back

porch that worked great for cooling our foods.



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What Our Cooks Are Saying



Your Cherokee Chicken recipe is also delicious with a (sliced) pork loin in place of the chicken. My last "Cooking Day" - which was actually a day and and half - we (my husband and I) place 53 meals in the freezer. That is so exciting!!!!!

Thanks, Amy

I would love to order the lunch e-book. My husband has been taking lunch to work every day to economize but lately it has always been leftovers and he gets sick of the same thing. I thought the lunch book would be perfect.

The book has been such a wonderful thing for me and all the recipes I have found on the website. It has been truly life-changing it that doesn't sound too dramatic. I have had much more time to help my kids with their homework and both of my older children had improved report cards. My daughter is playing baseball this year which she has always wanted to do but I never seemed to have time or be organized enough to get her into it.

I love the website as well. It is like the manual is alive and just keeps on giving. Even for someone who doesn't want to cook for a whole month there are so many great ideas for snacks or things to take to parties, etc. I just wanted to let you know that you have such a satisfied customer here.

I would recommend the books and this type of cooking to anyone in a heartbeat! Thanks for the book and the great website!!

Jenn



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Closing Comments from Nanci



We’re still working on the new website. Have patience! It will be great!
Enjoy the rest of your May. I will be grading 90 thesis papers, graduating a son, hosting a double grad open house, moving a daughter and taking one last “6 of us” vacation in the next few weeks. What fun!


Here’s to happy times around your dinner tables this summer! I fear that “real” cooking is becoming a lost art. Let’s do our part to keep it alive. Do me a favor and email me your stories about how you are teaching your children (regardless of their ages) how to cook and tell me what benefits you are both reaping from it. I’d like to talk about that in my next newsletter.

Nanci



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