Monday, May 10, 2010

Manicotti Freezer Meals & 30 Meals in One Day Giveaway

**This giveaway is now closed! Thanks to all who entered!**

If you saw my recent Guest Post: Freezer Cooking Recipes from my friend Lindsay, freezer cooking is something I am starting to explore. The cookbook and software program that she used, 30 Meals in One Day, really interested me, so I went out and found the cookbook. I spent some time going through the cookbook...OK, actually my whole Friday night. It was sooo relaxing...don't judge.

After reading the cookbook, and writing a whole notebook page of "ideas," I thought more people would want to give this system a try. I contacted 30 Meals in One Day, and they graciously offered a giveaway for the fine readers of my blog.

First, I wanted to give their cookbook "Dinner is Ready" the 'ol college try. So I picked a recipe for "Cheese Manicotti" as a way to stock my freezer. My husband loves Manicotti, although I don't make it often because it can be a pain to fill all those noodles! By doing all the work in advance, having two ready-to-go meals in the freezer would be great.
*do I shop at Walmart, or what? sheesh!*

Cheese Manicotti
recipe courtesy 30 Meals in One Day

1 (8-ounce) package manicotti
1 1/2 cups Ricotta cheese
2 cups cottage cheese
1/2 cup softened cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded fresh Parmensan cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 cups spaghetti sauce

Do not cook the manicotti. Combine Ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, Mozzarella cheese, dried parsley flakes, salt and pepper. Mix well. Cover bottom of a greased foil baking pan with spaghetti sauce.

Place filling into a quart freezer bag. (I didn't think it would all fit into a quart size bag, but it did!) Zip closed. Snip off corner. Squeeze filling into each uncooked manicotti.

Arrange on spaghetti sauce in pan. Pour spaghetti sauce over all. Cover with extra heavy foil. Label and freeze. 8 servings. (mine made 2 pans)

To serve: Thaw. Bake covered for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover, top with more Mozzarella cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese melts.

The verdict?
I scheduled my son's Sunday afternoon "quiet time" for prepping this meal and I was able to complete the dinners and all the cleanup in 50 minutes. I know that sounds like a long time, but that was from the second I walked into the kitchen, to after the cleanup. I thought that was amazing!

When the Manicotti came up on the meal plan during the week, I thawed it in the frig for 24 hours, then baked it up that night. My husband was very pleased, because he very rarely gets Manicotti! It was easy cleanup in the foil pan, and nice not to have to think so hard about dinner that night.

Now that I've come full circle on the freezer meals, here are my thoughts on the Dinner is Ready cookbook:

There are some great tips like moving your garbage can out where it is easily accessible, and getting out ALL your materials/food items before you start cooking (which I was totally kicking myself for not getting out all my spices.) The cookbook has a wide variety of chicken, beef, pork, and vegetarian recipes. The freezer meals I had found before were primarily ground beef and cooked diced chicken, so whole chicken breast meals, diced beef, and ribs was nice to see. I also loved the idea of the kitchen table as the cooling/packaging area, as I've never thought of "claiming" that space as the kitchen's during a big project.

Some things I struggled with were the large amount of recipes with "cream of something" soup, and since I use my kitchen scale alot, I converted a lot of the measurements into ounces. I could just pour in the right amount of sauce - one less dirty measuring cup, plus I could buy a BIG container and easily spilt it up. This was easily fixed before starting cooking by just adding the ounces next to the measurements.

Freezer cooking is definitely a skill that is perfected with practice, and I know that my one trial run will be greatly improved. This whole process has inspired me to make double recipes of whatever I'm making and stashing in the freezer for another night. I'm hoping I can keep it up, and am planning on our low-key weekends to plan my Sunday afternoon to make a couple meals. I love it!

The folks at 30 Meals in One Day are willing to give you a huge step towards doing freezer cooking by offering the cookbook "Dinner is Ready" and the software combo as a giveaway!

The Dinner is Ready Cookbook is a beautiful 240 page 6" x 9" softcover cookbook contains clear instructions plus more than 150 freezer-worthy recipes. No strange recipes. No strange ingredients. All simple, freezable and delicious. Easy to read, large print format. One recipe to a page.

The Dinner is Ready Software will save you from no more hand writing recipes, shopping lists, menus or labels. This program is easy to learn, easy to use and will save you buckets of time! It allows you to print menus, freezer labels, and shopping lists. System Requirements Microsoft Windows 98/2000/XP/Vista (XP/Vista Recommended), 256 MB RAM, 50 MB free hard disk space

But that's not all! (insert "The Price is Right" voice here!) You can use promo code CAROUSEL on their website, and get free shipping (for U.S. orders only) on your order.  If you order products from 30 Meals in One Day and then win the giveaway, it would be your choice to either receive the cookbook/software set, or get a refund of the value of the prize against your order!

Entry #1  Post a comment below telling me you'd like to win this giveaway and also if you have any freezer cooking tips you'd like to share.

Creatively Domestic

Entry #2 "Like" Creatively Domestic on Facebook, and leave a separate comment. Make sure sure you leave an additional, separate comment so I can make sure your extra entry gets counted.

This contest will end on May 14, 2010 at 10 pm, and the winner will be announced on Saturday May 15th.

**BlogHer Ads Giveaway disclosure: The Cookbook and CD are accompanied by an editorial review, and the value is less than $40, with myself not receiving additional compensation (I already had the cookbook in my possession) for this review/giveaway. I contacted 30 Meals in One Day because I was excited about their product and have no other relationship with them.**

Easy Cooking | Simple Cooking


  1. WOW, What a great giveaway. Add me to your list. I'm linking too !

  2. thanks rita, i'd love to be added for the giveaway. you've made a great site here, i'm impressed! we'll see you friday, and i think katie's gonna come too! God Bless,

  3. I would love to win! My freezer tip, if you want to freeze cheese make sure to shred it first, otherwise when it thaws it often crumbles when trying to cut/shred it.

  4. Follow you on facebook

  5. Oh wow, I would LOVE this!

  6. Would love to win! My tip is to get together with a group and make four or five meals and share!

  7. like on facebook

  8. I would love to win this because I always end up ordering out because it's too late for me to plan dinner. Because of that, we don't eat very well. This would change the way we eat.

    Thanks for the chance to win!

  9. I'd love to win this because I love serving my family home cooked meals, but can never find the time. When I do, I have to cook in bulk and pre portion chunks to freeze and eat later!

    six_one_nine_girlie86 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  10. Creatively Domestic FB fan Jenna Marie-Wood

    six_one_nine_girlie86 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  11. We dont like commercial frozen meals,the quality just isnt there,this would be the perfect alternative.The comvenience of frozen meals with the confidence of home made taste!

  12. I would love to be entered in your give-away! I am just starting out in the "planning your meals department"! Living on and Island in SouthEast Alaska, Owning a taxi company, and having a family of four to feed good meals to every night has been hard. :)

  13. Hey lady, love your blog!!! So I've had this upright freezer for several years because it's going to "save us money"...I'm pretty sure containing a few frozen pizzas and the one shelf of produce-overage from last year's garden doesn't cut it! So excited to make and freeze our week-day meals!

  14. I'd like to win because I would like to start freezing larger meals but get overwhelmed with all the ingredients
    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  15. Like/fan on fb (michelle b)

    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  16. My sister first told me about freezer cooking when I was a teen, so I completley ignored it. But I remember the concept, and I've wanted to try it ever since I became a mommy and now have no time!

  17. I would like to win this giveaway so I can have more home cooked meals available for my family! With 3 boys sometimes our schedule gets crazy and we end up getting fast food because I don't have time to cook. I think this book would help me better manage my time

  18. I "Like" Creatively Domestic on Facebook!

  19. I want to win!!

  20. I'd love to win this getaway! We are a busy family and this sounds like it would help us sooo much!

  21. This is so perfect for me because I hate having to prepare meals in the afternoon. I have a full sized freezer out in the garage too so I have room for a bunch of prepared foods!


  22. I also liked you on Facebook. (


  23. I would love to get into freezer cooking, but not sure how to start! I think this would be really helpful!