The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza day 299-305 (week 44)

November 4, 2012 at 10:02 pm (Food, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you all had an amazing week, and were inspired by something, anything at all, to do something new or interesting.  I’ve been trying all kinds of new things lately, and it’s been awesome!

For starters, technically, on paper at least, I’m still the scout-master of the cub scout pack William was in last school year.  So, I get things in the mail, like the ID cards for the new scouts this year, so I had to trek out to the scout meeting Monday night, kind of got sucked into a conversation with some of the current scout moms, was there a LITTLE longer than the 5 minutes I had planned on.

Halloween was Tuesday, and that always makes things interesting.  Got home from work, with William, at about 5:30.  Not even close to dark yet, but kids being kids, he was a little anxious to get out there and start collecting candy.  So, quick dinner of a sandwich and chips for him, and off we went to his friend’s house so they could go together.  We get there, his dad had made chili, and since I didn’t actually get to eat, I had some.   Ummm…  I’m not much for spicy food, but I was SO hungry, I ate more than I probably should have, even though my mouth was burning from the first bite.  I didn’t want to be rude, but it really wasn’t my thing!  I think I need to find a chili recipe I like, and play with it until it’s the way I like chili!!  Anyway, we had to wait around a little for a couple other boys to show up, but not long, they were all excited!  And for the first time I can remember, I didn’t take the boys out!!  William’s friend Noah’s dad took them all, they were gone for over an hour, and they came back very happy with their haul!  Then all the adults got to sit around and talk while the boys played video games for about an hour, very nice!  We don’t have many friends outside of work and family, so this was really a nice change for us.

Before I forget, here’s the pumpkin I made for the office:

I did decoupage with construction paper leaves, sprinkled on a little glitter, painted some veins on the leaves, added some cute wire spirals on top and hung paper bats from them.

So, the rest of the week was relatively quiet on the home front.  Mike had a good week at work, including working Saturday at the travelling Vietnam wall, (did I mention he works for the VA?) met some nice folks, made some good contacts for work.

End of the month for me is always a little hectic, but was relatively calm this time around.  My vendors did mostly what they were supposed to do, I found out some new computer tricks for them for using the company website, so it was actually a good week!  While Mike was working Saturday, I spent the day doing little chores around the house, cleaned the cat box, kept laundry going, did dishes, cleaned up the kitchen, got ready for cooking today.  Got blood work done, VOTED, picked up prescriptions, did my nails, too!  But I didn’t try to do it all one right after the other like I usually do, I took little breaks between chores, so I didn’t feel like I had been running all day, felt good to have things done!  Didn’t make the curtains I was supposed to make for my friend, but I got so much cooking done today, I should be able to knock them out tomorrow after work.

Oh, and since I finished that blue cuff bracelet last weekend, I started a new one in golds and browns, looks very classy so far.  I’m really liking it!!  Part of yesterday, though, was sorting out some beads, taking some of the cuff bases I made last weekend and putting together beads with the cuffs in bags, so I’m ready to start the next one as soon as this one is done.  I am SO loving this bead embroidery!  I conquered my fear of it, and it’s AWESOME!

So, I know you’re here for the food, not the gossip, so I guess I should get to it!  Here we go…

Monday

Parmesan Orzo

1/2 box Orzo pasta, cooked to package directions

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 stick butter, melted

Melt butter in the hot pan from the pasta, add back the pasta and the cheese, mix well.  Serve!

Chicken Sausage

1 package chicken sausage, cut into rounds, then the rounds cut into quarters

Pan fry until browned and almost crispy.  Serve over your favorite pasta!

Steamed veggies

No broccoli at the store when I went shopping, so we had peas, green beans and carrots.  Nothing fancy, just cooked in the microwave. Fill a microwave safe dish with veggie of choice, add a little butter, salt and pepper, microwave on HIGH 5 minutes for a small bowl, about 1/2 a bag, or 7 minutes for a large bowl, or a whole bag.  Comes out perfect every time!

Tuesday

I will be totally honest, I forgot to write it down, and whatever it was, it was so BLAH, I don’t remember what it was!

Wednesday

Sandwiches and candy!  Hope you all had a HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

Thursday

Chicken Fillet Sandwiches

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 cup flour

1/8 cup Everglades seasoning (orange one this time, could have used a little more!)

3 eggs

Oil for frying

Bread or tortillas, your choice!

Trim any excess skin or fat from chicken, cut into strips about 1/2″ wide, the full thickness of the breast.

Place the pieces between two layers of plastic wrap, and pound them to about 1/4 in thick or less with a meat hammer.

Beat the eggs and put them in a wide shallow dish.

Mix the flour and seasoning in another wide shallow bowl.

Dip the chicken pieces first in the egg, then in the flour.

Fry in a skillet over medium heat, about 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown.

Serve on bread or wrapped in a tortilla, with your favorite sauce and toppings!  YUM!

Steamed Veggies

Once again, green beans, peas and carrots.

Friday

Braised Pork Chops

4 boneless pork chops

1 can diced tomatoes

1 packet Flavor Boost veggie flavor

1 Tsp garlic powder

Preheat a deep pan over medium heat.  Sear pork chops without any added fat until browned on both sides.  The fat on the chops is enough!  Add in tomatoes with all their liquid, flavor packet, garlic, and salt and pepper to your taste.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer about 15 minutes or until chops are done through.  Serve with a little of the tomato sauce and some Parmesan cheese, YUM!!

Biscuits

Sorry, not homemade, canned, but still yummy!

Steamed Veggies

The usual, green beans, peas and carrots, but I glazed the carrots with a little brown sugar this time.

Here’s my plate:

Saturday

Bacon Cheeseburger Roll

Got this idea from a post I saw on Facebook, but theirs was for a taco roll…

1 pound ground beef

2 cans crescent rolls

1 pound bacon

About 1 cup shredded cheese

Corn meal to sprinkle on pizza stone

Cut bacon into bite sized pieces, cook until crispy, set aside.

Cook ground beef until no longer pink, drain, mix in bacon.

While those are cooking, sprinkle a pizza stone with a little cornmeal to keep the roll dough from sticking.  Separate the crescent rolls into triangles.  Lay them on the pizza stone, overlapping towards the center, so that the sort of look like a flower, skinny ends out towards the edges.  Press the overlapping pieces together, and flatten them as much as you can towards the center, fill the hole if you can!

Sprinkle on about 1/3 of the cheese, then spoon in the meat mixture.  You MIGHT have a little leftover, depends on how much you want to pile up the meat.

Fold the outer “petals” of dough into the center, pressing them into the middle.  Top with remaining cheese.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, cover with foil for the first half, remove for the second half.

Microwave Chocolate Chip Cookies (for the boys)

1 egg yolk

1 Tbsp butter, melted

1 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp brown sugar

3 drops vanilla

1/4 cup flour

2 Tbsp chocolate chips

Mix egg yolk, sugars, vanilla and butter together until smooth.  Add in flour, working into a soft dough.  Work in chips.  Microwave on HIGH 50 seconds.  Allow to cook at least 2 minutes before serving!

Apple Cherry Microwave Dessert

1 small apple

1/4 cup dried cherries

1/8 cup brown sugar

1/8 cup oats

1 Tbsp melted butter

Core apple, cut into small slices, place in microwave safe dish.  Add in butter, brown sugar, oats.  Microwave on HIGH 1 minute.  Add in cherries, stir well, microwave on HIGH another 1-3 minutes, depending on your microwave.  Cook until cherries are plump, and apples are soft.  Mine took 1 minute, but some microwaves might take more.  Allow to cool at least 3 minutes!  Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it’s AWESOME!

Sunday

Or should I say COOKING DAY!  Wow, I feel like I accomplished so much today!

Sausage Egg and Cheese Casserole

12 eggs

1 cup half and half

3 Tbsp flour

4 sausage patties

1 cup shredded cheese

Spray a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish with butter flavor cooking spray.

Thaw sausage patties, cut into VERY small pieces.  Put in the prepared dish.

Mix eggs, half and half, flour and shredded cheese together.  Pour over sausage in prepared dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

For us, I let this cool completely, cut it into 8 pieces, and put them in containers for quick breakfasts on the run during the week.

Bread Machine Focaccia

1 Cup warm water

3 cups flour (I did 2 cups white bread flour and 1 cup wheat flour)

1 Tsp salt

1 1/2 Tsp olive oil

2 Tsp dried oregano (or in my case, I didn’t have oregano, so I used Italian seasoning mix)

1 1/2 Tsp bread machine yeast

Put all this in the bread machine, in the order listed, set machine to DOUGH and turn it on.

When done, turn dough out onto a floured surface.

Oil a jelly roll pan, or like I did a pizza pan.  Stretch and press dough into pan, cover and let rise for 40-45 minutes or until doubled.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Poke the dough with your finger tips creating small indentations.

Mix 3 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp minced garlic, sprinkle over dough.  Then spinkle over 1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley.  Bake at 400 degrees 25-30 minutes or until deep golden brown.  Cool completely, cut into wedges and serve.

Potato and Parsnip Gratin

3 large potatoes

4 medium parsnips

Parmesan cheese

1 cup half and half

Salt and pepper to taste

Garlic powder

Wash and peel potatoes.  Slice on a mandolin.  Pour over some salted water to keep from browning.

Wash and peel parsnips and slice on the mandolin.

Spray a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish with butter flavor cooking spray.

Start layering potatoes in the bottom of the dish.  Layer in parsnips. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, Parmesan cheese.  Repeat.  Should have four layers of potatoes and parsnips.  Pour on half and half, press down to work out air bubbles and make sure the cream is saturated into the layers.  Top with a little extra Parmesan.  Cover with tin foil.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, remove foil, bake another 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are soft to a fork.  Serve!

I actually let these cool, cut into 8 servings, and put them in containers for later in the week.

Perfect Baked Potatoes

Wash and dry large baking potatoes, however many you want to cook.  Poke holes all the way around the potato.

Coat with a little olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt.  Now, you can put them right on the rack in the oven, or you can put them in a pan.  In the pan takes just a little longer, but I like it better because they are easier to handle as a group rather than one at a time.

Bake at 350 degrees for at least an hour, longer if needed depending on how big your potatoes are.  Mine were so big, I cooked them for an hour and a half, and they could have used a little more time.  They are done when you can cut them open, give them a little squeeze, and they pop open nice and fluffy.

Serve with your favorite toppings!

Potato and Parsnip Chips

So, I had a few slices of potatoes and parsnips leftover from making the gratin, and William has been asking for parsnip chips (hard to believe, but it’s true!), so I made some.

Heat about 1″ deep oil in a small saucepan over medium heat, drop in a handful of EITHER parsnips or potatoes, they do take different amounts of time to cook.  Potatoes take about 3-5 minutes to cook, parsnips take 1-2 minutes to cook.  Remove from heat, sprinkle with a little salt, and serve!

Chicken Fillets

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 cup flour

1/8 cup Everglades seasoning (green this time)

3 eggs

Oil for frying

Bread or tortillas, your choice!

Trim any excess skin or fat from chicken, cut into strips about 1/2″ wide, the full thickness of the breast.

Place the pieces between two layers of plastic wrap, and pound them to about 1/4 in thick or less with a meat hammer.

Beat the eggs and put them in a wide shallow dish.

Mix the flour and seasoning in another wide shallow bowl.

Dip the chicken pieces first in the egg, then in the flour.

Fry in a skillet over medium heat, about 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown.

Serve on bread or wrapped in a tortilla, with your favorite sauce and toppings!  YUM!

Pan Fried Steaks

2 New York strip steaks

2 Tbsp butter

Salt and pepper

Large skillet, over medium heat, melt butter, add steaks, sprinkle with salt and pepper, cook about 7 minutes per side for medium well.  Boy were these good!  Sorry, didn’t get photos, but I was pretty proud of how they came out.  I think it’s probably been 20 years since I’ve done a steak this way!

Steamed Veggies

The usual, green beans, peas, carrots.

So, all in all, a very busy day, but a really good one!  I had FUN!!

And to end the post, here are the nails for this week…

So that’s it for this week!  Hope you all found something inspiring here…

Until next time, eat well, love well, live well!

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