November 2005 "Chewin' the News" - Week 1
November 2005 - Family Gathering Recipes, Freezer Contest Winners, and More!
by Carol Santee
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KITCHEN FUN WITH CAROL
Brown Sugar Cinnamon Coffee Cake
Recipe of the Month Contest
Freezer Cook of the Month
CLOSING COMMENTS FROM CAROL
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! The rush is on as we approach the holiday season. I don't know about you but this time of the year seems to go by so fast. The thing I treasure the most each holiday is spending time with family and friends. I think the older you get the more you realize just what is really important in life. Planning and cooking ahead can give you what you need to get out of the kitchen and spend that precious time with your family and friends.
If this is your first time hosting a large gathering I recommend the Holiday Freezer Cookbook. It has lots of tips on how to plan your gathering, special worksheets just for the special occasion, and lots of wonderful recipes for you to try. Some of my favorites are the vegetable and side dish recipes. That's the hard part - trying to figure out what to serve with the turkey or ham.
Everything about this holiday season revolves around our family traditions. A lot of the traditions revolve around what food is served; especially those special recipes that have been passed on from generation to generation. Remember Grandma's special cranberry salad and Dad's famous stuffing mix? They remind us of the time spent with our loved ones.
Every family has their own traditions. One of ours is having breakfast together Thanksgiving or Christmas morning. For my husband, it's not the holidays unless he has his mom's Breakfast Egg Casserole or Brown Sugar Cinnamon Coffee Cake (recipe below). For the kids, they love having pancakes with different add-ins such as chocolate chips, sausage, bananas, or cinnamon. They also love homemade Cinnamon Rolls (using the Super Easy Best Ever Crescent Roll recipe). My sister-in-law sometime makes French Toast Casserole or Baked Oatmeal. There's something about just hanging out in the kitchen eating breakfast together. It's so casual and comfortable.
The main meal is my favorite. I love the Baked Corn Casserole, Veggie Medley, Mom's cranberry salad and pecan pie. My daughter's favorite is the Crispy Cheesy Potatoes or Scalloped Potatoes (Ham and Potato Casserole without the ham). I also like baking fresh breads or pies to present as a hostess gift. My Dad and father-in-law especially like homemade Banana Bread. It's great to see the smiles on their faces when we walk in the door carrying a fresh loaf.
This issue of "Chewin' the News" brings you two recipes that are great for family gatherings. Read more about them below in the bonus recipes section.
This recipe is a family tradition for us. We make this coffee cake to have on hand the day after Thanksgiving or Christmas morning. It's great to come home after a long morning shopping for gifts and have coffee cake ready. I also take it to small group meetings and to brunch for our church women's group.
Click here to view/print this recipe!
I love giving gifts from the kitchen. This recipe also makes a great gift that you can give as a mix. If you are staying with someone over the holidays this year, this makes a wonderful thank you gift. Or if you are looking for a fun and easy teacher appreciation gift that you and your kids can make together, this is a winner! It is very easy to make and we have included the instruction card for you to print to give along with the mix. Enjoy!
Click here to view/print the gift instructions!
These are great when you are having company over or you are watching the big game. Since everything is together in kit form, just defrost the kit and you have some fun appetizers that are fast and easy to make. These go over real well with teenagers. I made a plate up today when my boys had some friends over and they disappeared in no time.
Click here to view/print this recipe!
October Recipe of the Month Update
I heard from Corie after sending out the newsletter. She recognized the October winning recipe, Potato Stuffed Meatloaf, as her own and sent us an update! Let's hear from Corie:
"I am a stay at home Mom of 2 girls, ages 3 and almost 2 (one month away, wow that went fast). I realized I needed some help in the kitchen after I had my second daughter and became a stay at home Mom. It was difficult to work in the kitchen with one in my arms and one at my feet. I found 30 Day Gourmet on-line after reading about freezer cooking in the Family Fun Magazine. I haven't yet attempted 30 days of meals but have had success with smaller sessions that cover about 2 weeks worth of meals. Also, a friend of mine just opened Dinners Galore, a meal assembly facility in town, and between my own sessions at home and 1 session a month there I seem to be making out pretty well. Plus eating a wider variety of yummy food. It's so much easier just shopping weekly for snacks and side dishes than it was before trying to get everything for the entrees too."
Click here to view/print the October Recipe of the Month!
November Recipe of the Month... Mexican Egg Rolls
Our winner this month is Lynn from Effingham, SC, with her recipe for Mexican Egg Rolls. This is a super fun recipe. Instead of using egg roll wrappers we used wonton wrappers. These made great appetizer sized egg rolls. When I make regular egg rolls I usually freeze the filling and then I thaw the filling and fry the egg rolls the day that I serve them. When testing this recipe I froze the fried egg rolls and then reheated them in the oven. They came out great!
Let's hear from Lynn:
"I would probably go crazy without 30 Day Gourmet in my life. I thought I had died and gone to heaven a few years ago when I came across www.30daygourmet.com. You saved my life and I became sane again. Gone are the days where I'm standing in front of my freezer at 6:00 in the evening, wondering what I'm going to thaw out and cook for supper. Now my family is full and I'm out of the kitchen always by 7:00 at the latest.
I have a 22 year old son who is on his own now. He stops by at least once a week to see what he can pull out of my freezer and put into his own. My 20 year old son is at home. He is in college and has two jobs. As well as a social life that leaves me dizzy. But he knows he can come home anytime, even when the kitchen is closed, to find a fast meal for one to heat in the microwave. My daughter, 12, loves having snacks fast at hand. I have a countertop convection oven that she can easily use to have cookies or homemade hot pockets in no time.
I have a full time job as a customer service rep for an insurance company. My husband is a train engineer. Since I'm no longer in the kitchen all night. I now have time to enjoy being with my family in the evenings. We enjoy putting puzzles together and I love to crochet.
Thanking you 30 Day Gourmet,
Click here to view/print the November Recipe of the Month.
You too can get in on the winning! Just post your favorite freeze-able recipe on the message boards.
Freezer Cook of the Month Winner
How many of you can remember your first full cooking day? I sure can! What a sense of accomplishment to have a freezer full of food and know that you no longer had to wonder what's for dinner when coming home from a long day at work. Our winner this month is Shannon from Eagan, MN, who has a great story about her first real 30 day cooking session.
Shannon says:"I finally feel like I've done it for real this time!
I've been nervous about cooking up too much because of our small apartment freezer. Granted, 30 dinners for 2 people takes up less than for a family of 4. However, with a busy afternoon and evening today I've filled up the freezer. And yes, I'm officially a freezer-cooking dork...I keep peeking back in there to admire the piles of vacuum-sealed entrees! I still need to do a batch of make-ahead mashed potatoes, but then I'm DONE!
I've been doing small sessions on and off for a few years. But, I've been off my usual mini-sessions for a couple of months and have noticed a significant increase in our grocery and dining out bills! After a busy day at work when neither of us wants to cook, we keep going out or ordering in. That never happens when I've stocked the freezer. It's much less hassle to just throw something in the oven when all the work is done already! We're still experimenting with one new recipe each session. (We tried the chicken stuffed shells tonight...YUM!...even the skeptical spouse was happy!) We are definitely 30DayGourmet addicts for life.
My one desire is to get another freezer when we buy our own place. Yes, I can fit 30 entrees in the little freezer, but I'd love to get a little more variety...be able to carry over dinners from the previous session. Or be able to really stock up when there's a great sale.
Anyway, just posting to say thanks again guys for the great book, website, and the great advice here! I ordered the software yesterday and I'm really looking forward to incorporating that into my next session!
Congratulations Shannon on your first real 30 day session! It's a big step and well worth the effort.
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@... to be entered in our contest.
I hope you enjoy the family gathering recipes! Next month we'll focus on desserts for the holiday. 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 carol@... with any questions, ideas, suggestions or problems. I enjoy hearing from you!
Have a great month!
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