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Chewin' the News from 30 Day Gourmet
Kitchen Fun with Carol
Anatomy of a Marinade
Cooking for Summer
Contest Winner
Bonus Recipes
Closing Comments from Carol
Freezer Cooking News from Nanci
Slagle Family Update
Summer Cooking Marathon
June Recipes
Closing Comments from Nanci

Kitchen Fun with Carol



Hello everyone! I hope everyone is enjoying the new Advantage Cooking Software. If you have never tried the software, you can download a trial version that will work for 30 days. Click here to read more about it.

Advantage Cooking Version 1.x Users
Last month we announced that current Advantage Cooking Software users can upgrade to the new version of the software for free. The upgrade is now available on the 30 Day Gourmet web site. Advantage Cooking 2.0 can be installed without uninstalling Advantage Cooking 1.x. Advantage Cooking 2.0 has several options for an initial recipe set (cookbook). It can start with one of several starter sets, start with a copy of an Advantage Cooking 1.x cookbook, or work directly with the same cookbook as Advantage Cooking 1.x (if using Advantage Cooking 1.5 or higher). Just download, install and run. The first time Advantage Cooking runs, you choose whether to create a new cookbook or use an existing cookbook. Click here to download the upgrade.


Recipe Files for the Big Book of Freezer Cooking
Last month we also announced that current Advantage Cooking Software users can purchase the Big Book of Freezer Cooking for $19.95 and receive the recipes from the book to import into the software for free! We realize that some of you may not have received a zip file containing recipes that can be imported easily into the 30 Day Gourmet Advantage Cooking Software. If you own the software, be sure to take advantage of these files. Here's how to access the files:
  1. Go to www.30daygourmet.com
  2. Click on the Members tab.
  3. Using the info on page 3 in your book, log in.
  4. Scroll down to the yellow box and follow the directions.

Enjoy planning your cooking days!

 



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Anatomy of a Marinade



Since I announced that we are looking for marinade recipes for the Freezer Cook of the Month Contest this summer, I thought it would be great to talk about marinades in general. Did you ever wonder how a a marinade works?

Marinades contain three major components. The first is an acidic ingredient. Marinades actually cause a chemical reaction that breaks down the connective tissue in the meat and tenderizes it (also called denaturing). The chemical reaction is caused by certain enzymes (bromelin, actinidin, papain, etc.) or acids that naturally occur in some foods. Not only do these enzymes or acids break down the meat but they also flavor it at the same time. Some examples of these enzymes or acids are:

  • Citrus juices, such as lemon, lime or orange juice
  • Pineapple
  • Kiwi, papaya, figs and mangoes
  • Yogurt
  • Buttermilk
  • Vinegars (balsamic or apple cider are commonly used)
  • Wines or other alcohol
  • Tomatoes
The second critical ingredient is an oil or fat. Olive oil and canola oil are two typical oils you will see in marinade recipes. The oil helps the marinade adhere to the meat. It also helps the marinade penetrate deeper into the meat. If you are using yogurt as your acidic ingredient, it can also count as a fat if you use a full fat plain yogurt.

The third ingredient is a mix of seasonings to flavor the meat. These are also called aromatics. They include herbs, spices, and vegetables. Typical seasonings combinations used in marinades include:
  • Ginger and soy sauce
  • Ginger, onion, and garlic
  • Parsley, oregano, and pepper
  • Garlic and cumin
  • Rosemary and garlic
  • Hot peppers, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, vinegar, and brown sugar
  • Cayenne and parsley
Some seasonings provide a strong burst of flavor. Strong flavorings include Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, and mustards. You have to be careful when pairing seasonings with the acidic components. Strong flavors can overpower other flavors so watch your flavor combinations!

Good luck creating your new flavor combinations!


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Cooking for Summer



I promised I would share my summer menu with you. This year I am trying something different. Instead of planning out the months in advance, I've had several mini-cooking sessions as I have found meats on sale this summer. Every time I find a sale, I make a couple more recipes and I update my Meal Inventory Worksheet. I just look at what we have in the freezer and plan my meals for the week based on my inventory or something special I want to make based on what's on sale. If you know me, this just does not sound like my style! I usually plan everything out far in advance. Well, so far it has worked out well for our family and our summer schedules. I generally have the on hand items I need to prepare any meal. Here's what I have made so far this summer:

Dinners:
Chicken Quesadillas (from the Big Book of Freezer Cooking)

Hamburgers (pressed and flash frozen)
Iowa State Fair Guinea Grinders
BBQ Chicken Pizza using Flatbread Pizza Crusts (from the Big Book of Freezer Cooking)
Elegant Chicken in Marinade (from the Big Book of Freezer Cooking)
Simply Sweet Salmon Glaze
Tilapia with Mango Salsa (from the Big Book of Freezer Cooking)
Parmesan Crusted Tilapia (from the Big Book of Freezer Cooking)
Marinade for Chicken Quesadilla Salad
Garlic Lime Chicken
April's Chicken Marinade
Tara's Macaroni and Cheese
Lasagna Rollups (from the Big Book of Freezer Cooking)
Meatballs for Spaghetti and Meatballs

Lunches:
Chicken Chowder
Bowtie Soup (from the Freezer Lunches to Go ebook)
Chicken Pockets (from the Freezer Lunches to Go ebook)
Hamburger and Rice Soup
Sloppy Joes

Meatballs for Meatball Subs (using the BBQ Meatballs recipe from the Slow Cooker Freezer Favorites ebook)

What recipes have you made this summer? Share your summer cooking experience with us on the Cooks' Corner message boards or our 30 Day Gourmet fan page on Facebook®.



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Contest Winner



Our Freezer Cook of the Month is Myrna! She posted a recipe on the Cooks' Corner message boards for Tangy Orange Marinade. I served the recipe to my family and everyone liked it! The chicken was so moist and full of flavor. The sesame oil is a nice twist on your traditional marinade. Try it yourself!

Click here to view/print this recipe!

I was unable to reach Myrna before the newsletter went out, so we will have to meet her next month. You too can get in on the winning by posting your funny story, good deed, cooking tip, assembly day story, favorite recipe, etc. on the Cook's Corner Message Board under the appropriate category, or email it to me at carol@30daygourmet.com to be entered in our contest. This summer we are looking for your favorite marinade recipes!
Good luck, everyone!


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Bonus Recipes



I love grilling in the summer! Here are some of the new recipes that I have been serving at my house this summer. Two of the recipes are side dishes that aren't for the freezer. I couldn't resist sharing them with you! It's so nice to be able to make the whole meal on the grill. Enjoy the recipes!





Garlic Lime Chicken
Our family has been testing the high fiber/low fat wraps and tortillas that you find at your local grocery store. Each wrap is only 90 calories but has 9 grams of fiber. That's almost a third of your daily requirements. Our favorite brands are the Flat Out wraps (the Italian seasoned wraps are wonderful), tortillas from the La Tortilla Factory, and the Aldi original or multi-grain wraps. They taste great and they really fill you up. The Garlic Lime Chicken one of my favorite summer wrap recipes. We like to add Lime Rice (from the Big Book of Freezer Cooking), Mango Salsa (from the Big Book of Freezer Cooking), and black beans to the wrap. The flavor combination is incredible! 


Click here to view/print this recipe!

Grilled Garlic Parmesan Asparagus    
I shared this recipe on the 30 Day Gourmet fan page on Facebook®  for Memorial Day weekend. We loved the smokiness of the grilled asparagus and the freshly shredded Parmesan cheese gave it a wonderful flavor. 

Click here to view/print this recipe!
   
Grilled Red Potatoes    
I tried cooking these on the grill in a foil packet. It worked great! The potatoes had lots of flavor and were so convenient to make. While this is not a freezer recipe, it is an excellent accompaniment to some of the great marinade recipes found on the 30 Day Gourmet web site. 

Click here to view/print this recipe!
   
Simply Sweet Salmon Glaze
Salmon is so easy to prepare! If you don't want to cook it on the grill you can bake it the oven. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes depending on the thickness of the salmon. Dinner can be on the table in less than half an hour (depending on your sides)! Try serving this dish with some long grain and wild rice and a fresh green salad. 

Click here to view/print this recipe!








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Closing Comments from Carol



I hope you enjoy the recipes for the grill. Next month I hope to share some more summer marinade recipes with you and maybe some great freezer dessert recipes for those hot summer days.

I'm looking for your best marinade recipes and for your stories of your cooking days. Post your favorite recipes on the Cook's Corner Message Board or email me at carol@30daygourmet.com. Or do you have any other topics that you would like me to cover? Email me at carol@30daygourmet.com. I enjoy hearing from you!

See you in July.

Carol



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Freezer Cooking News from Nanci



Big Changes at 30 Day Gourmet
Whew! What a year it has been for 30 Day Gourmet already. We have:
Of course, when I list them as little bullet points it’s hard to see the hours and hours (not to mention $$ and $$) that these 3 changes represent. Thanks for your patience and a HUGE thanks to:
  • Carol, who has done a ton of work on each of these tasks.
  • Curtis, who has fielded hundreds of emails and phone calls from Carol and me about the new website.
  • Gaylen and Shelley, who have worked so hard to update the software and make it the best (and only!) freezer cooking software.
Thanks so much to those of you who have purchased the new products. It really does help “keep the lights on” at 30 Day Gourmet, Inc. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that I have been doing this for 15 years now.


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Slagle Family Update



 Many of you have been following our family’s ups and downs for most of those 15 years. Wow! 17 years ago when I first began freezer cooking, I had an 8 year old, a 4 year old, a 3 year old, and a 6 month old.

My kids have great memories of watching me doing my “freezer cooking thing” for all of those years. I know I’ve said this before to you “young moms” out there but it’s as true as ever. Cherish the time. It goes by so quickly. I know that there are days when you feel like they will never grow up but they will. One of the joys of talking with them as adults is hearing how much they remember and talk about the food that we ate together. Now – no guilt trips here. We did plenty of fast food drive-thru’s and hot dog/boxed mac & cheese dinners. But it’s great when one of your kids brings a friend home and says “Hey, I was telling Sarah about that chicken and broccoli thing you make and she’s never had that. Can you make that? And that chocolate pie?”
   
     Our kids are 25, 22, 20 and 17 now. Kaytee is in Charlotte, NC working as a security guard. Becky graduated from college in May and is working at a golf course in Ft. Wayne while she hunts for a “real” job. Adam is living at home this summer and lifeguarding at an IndyParks pool. Jenna will be a junior this year. Only a few more years and I will be “cooking for two”. Can’t imagine. Our last “all of us” family pix was taken a year ago on our last “all of us” vacation. 

Life changes, doesn’t it? Kids grow up. People we love become ill. Hours on the job are increased or cut back. Neighbors come and go. We move. We stay. We lose weight. We put some of it back on. 

I’ve found, though, that through all of these changes I can still make freezer cooking work for me and it always makes life easier. Sometimes I do it mostly because of crazy schedules, sometimes so that I can help others out, and sometimes for health issues. But it always works.

As your life changes, let your freezer cooking change too. It might mean using a different method (for me that meant switching from huge cooking marathons to 4 hour mini-sessions). It might mean using different recipes (I’ve discovered that skinny people can be unhealthy too so I’m putting us all on a “heavy on the fruit, veggies and whole grains” diet very soon). It might mean using different packaging (very few big family meals around here anymore but lots of individually packaged foods that can be pulled out on a moment’s notice). Whatever it means for you, just keep hanging in there.

And now it’s almost July. July spells doom for teachers J. For me, July 4th is the halfway point. I start school on August 11th.



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Summer Cooking Marathon



I have started to plan my annual summer cooking day marathon!! J As most of you know, I only cook BIG once or twice a year (summer and Christmas break) and then fill in with mini-sessions every 3-4 weeks. My summer cooking marathon, though, usually involves a few weeks of these steps:

1. eat up what we can that is in the fridge and freezer.
2. do a “pantry” challenge and use what I already have to make freezer foods.
3. plan the week before the 4th of July.
4. buy meats that are on sale right before the 4th (now!) and bag them for marinades.
5. buy meats that are on super sales during the weekend of the 4th.
6. do my Cooking Day Marathon around the 4th but before Jenna’s birthday on the 6th and my anniversary on the 7th.


So – I’m on steps 2-4 right now. Using what I had, I recently made:

1. Cheese-Filled Shells (from BIG Book of Freezer Cooking)
2. Parmesan Crusted Tilapia (from BIG Book of Freezer Cooking)
3. Chicken Alfredo (from newsletter)
4. Creamy Ranch Potatoes (from newsletter)
5. Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls (from newsletter)
6. Oreo Truffles (from BIG Book of Freezer Cooking)


Then I checked my ads ending 6/30 and purchased:

1. boneless pork loin for $1.88 (Bourbon Mustard Pork Tenderloin)
2. boneless, skinless chicken breast for $1.79 (Lemonade Chicken and Elegant Chicken in Marinade)
3. chuck roast for $2.48 (Cranberry Chuck Roast)

These meats are in the fridge. I will buy more tomorrow and then do my Cooking Marathon on Friday/Saturday. Watch next month’s newsletter for my recipe list and marathon tips. I will try to post pictures through the day on the 30 Day Gourmet Facebook® Fan page also.



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June Recipes



Here are some great recipes to help you enjoy these summer months to the fullest.

Chicken Bacon Salad
Where did we get the idea that you can’t freeze Chicken Salad? I think it’s because of the mayonnaise but really the mayo freezes and thaws fine. It might be a tad runny when it thaws but you can always cut down on the amount of mayo a bit and then add some right before serving. I like crunchy things in my Chicken Salad hence the addition of bacon, grapes and almonds. yum!


Click here to view/print this recipe!
Patriotic Pie
I was looking for a red, white and blue dessert and came across this pie. It’s rich and dense and super filling but fruity. I chose to use a regular pie crust but it could also be made with a graham cracker crust. If you go with a graham cracker crust, though, I think it would probably fill two pies. Bob gave it a big “thumbs up”! (He knows that I’m taking most of his refined sugar away next week.)


Click here to view/print this recipe!
Strawberry-Watermelon Slushies
Have you noticed that slushies and smoothies are everywhere? For years, Burger King, Dairy Queen and the gas stations were the only places that you could get a slushy but now Taco Bell and McDonald’s have jumped onto the slushy/smoothie bandwagon. If you watch the Taco Bell advertisement for the slushies, they even say at the end “contains no real fruit juice”. Bummer, eh?


Why not try to make your own slushies at home? Click here to view/print this recipe!

Here’s a little comparison:

Taco Bell Mango Strawberry Frutista Freeze 20 oz. 280 calories 70 g carbs/sugar
Taco Bell Mountain Dew
20 oz. 280 calories 73 g carbs/sugar
Dairy Queen Mr. Misty (slushy) 20 oz. 290 calories
74 g carbs/sugar
McDonald’s new Fruit Smoothies 22 oz. 330 calories
77 g carbs/sugar
30 Day Gourmet Straw/Watermelon Slushies 12 oz. 88 calories 19 g carbs/sugar













Interesting, huh? Not to say that we should all quit slurping down our favorite fast food slushy. Just know that there are tons of recipes out there for ones made at home with “real” fruit and (obviously) they all freeze great! Here’s a link to some great recipes and tips at allrecipes.com.

By the way, I only used half of my watermelon for the slushies. I made watermelon balls from the other half and will then put them back into the hollowed out melon for serving (don’t freeze this).


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Closing Comments from Nanci



That’s it for June. I need to get back to planning my Summer Cooking Marathon and working in the 30 Day Gourmet office. If you haven’t purchased one of our new books yet . . . . well, you really should! The recipes are pretty amazing and with the layflat binding and a photo of each. . . It’s just a great book for freezer cooks! Here’s a reminder of our products:

Keep sending us your recipes, suggestions and comments. We love hearing from you!

Nanci

office@30daygourmet.com



PS – Did I mention that I went skydiving last month? If you want to see a pix of that, check out our 30 Day Gourmet Facebook® Fan page.



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