The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 258 – 263 (Week 38)

September 23, 2012 at 10:01 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  What a week….

William was home sick from school two more days, so he’s now missed 6 days in the first month of school!  I sure hope whatever the heck is going around out there stays the heck away from us!!!  He’s on another round of antibiotics, hopefully this will be the end for a while.

Mike is still fighting off the first bug, using his inhaler a lot, sleeping more than not when he’s not at work.  I feel bad for him, but I’m still fighting it, too.  My chest is still a little tight, but the stuffy nose is all gone and the sore throat with it, so I guess I’m getting better.  Out of antibiotics, so I certainly hope so!!

Work is going better, I’m actually helping to train a new person, so maybe all my uncertainties are all in my own head!  That would be business as usual for me, I’m always my own worst enemy.  I’m still learning new things, so that’s good, and keeps things interesting.

And last but not least, it’s been a busy weekend.  We were supposed to go visit my folks, dad’s birthday today, but since William was sick again, and Mike and I weren’t quite over what we had, we didn’t think it would be the smartest thing we’ve ever done to go over there.  But, we did get laundry done, the kitchen is cleaned up, got the yard cleaned up so maybe the HOA will leave us alone for a while, even got James to come home and help for a bit.  And got what I hope is a nice surprise…  the neighbors pulled up with a trailer, so maybe they are moving out!  That would be the highlight of my year!!!  They never cut their grass, the HOA ends up doing it about once every three months, so the weeds are literally 4-5 feet high before they get cut back, so guess what our yard is full of!  Keep your collective fingers crossed…

So, on to the week in food.  It was a very chickeny week around here, but we tend to eat a lot of chicken, so that’s not really unusual.  Maybe you’ll see something you want to try!

Monday

Chicken and Sausage

3 Boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 rope smoked sausage

1 Jar tomato basil spaghetti sauce

1 Tbsp garlic powder

Cut the sausage into chunks, put it in the crock pot.  Put the chicken in whole.  Add the sauce and garlic.  Set on low, and cook 8-10 hours.

During the last hour, prepare some rice in your rice cooker to manufacturer’s directions, adding a little garlic and chicken flavor boost to the water before you add the rice.  Stir it up before you turn on the cooker.

Remove the chicken and sausage from the crock pot, shred the chicken, cut the sausage into smaller chunks, add it back into the sauce to keep it warm.

Put about 1 cup cooked rice in each bowl, top with chicken, sausage and sauce, and serve!  You can add a little shredded cheese if you want.

This was OK, but it needed something, and I couldn’t figure out what…

We had some steamed broccoli on the side…

Microwave Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 Tbsp melted butter

1 Tbsp white sugar

1 Tbsp brown sugar

3 drops vanilla

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup flour

2 Tbsp chocolate chips

Mix the sugars, egg yolk, butter and vanilla together in a small bowl.  Add in the flour and mix until a thick dough has formed.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spray a small ramekin or coffee mug with butter flavor cooking spray, scoop in the prepared dough, microwave 45-60 seconds, and serve!  (Mine cooked for 50 seconds and were perfect)  You can top off with a scoop of ice cream if you like, would be good!!

Bacon Egg and Cheese casserole

12 eggs

1/2 cup Parmesan

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

1/2 cup shredded cheddar

1/2 cup half and half (fat free)

1 pound bacon, cut into small pieces and cooked crisp

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish with butter flavor cooking spray.

Mix all the eggs and cheeses together, add the salt and pepper.  Pour into prepared pan.  Sprinkle in cooked bacon, and make sure it sinks in to the eggs.  Cook for 1 hour, testing at 45 minutes to see if done in the center (poke it with a knife, clean = done!).  If you can get it done in 45, then do, but my oven always takes a full hour.

Sorry I didn’t get a “done” shot!  It looked really good.

Allow to cool about half an hour, cut into 8 pieces, package them into individual servings, and you have breakfast for a few days!  Reheat 1 minute in the microwave, loosely covered, salt and pepper if you want, YUM!!!

Tuesday

Curry Chicken

5 boneless skinless chicken thighs

1/2 package Golden Curry seasoning mix

1 cup water

Salt and pepper to taste

Left over rice

1 cup frozen peas

Trim chicken thighs of any large pieces of skin or fat, but leave the little stuff, it’ll cook off.  Cut into bite sized pieces.  Cook in a large skillet over medium heat just until no longer pink.  Add in water, simmer for 10 minutes.  Add in curry seasoning, stir until mixed well, simmer another 10 minutes.  Add in left over rice and frozen peas, cook another 5 minutes, serve!

I had some left over broccoli from the night before, so I reheated that and topped off the bowls with it, except for William’s.

This was really yummy, but then we’re all getting hooked on curry since we first tried it earlier this year.  I’m going to have to find my own mix of spices to make my own curry!!

Wednesday

Mexican night!!

Can you believe, I told William it was Mexican night, and he actually says YEAH!  So here we go…

Frozen burritos topped with enchilada sauce and cheese, baked per package directions, but with my own little twists.

Quesadilla

Flour tortillas

Ground beef

Taco seasoning

Water

Shredded cheese

Butter flavor cooking spray

Cook ground beef until no longer pink, crumbling as you cook.  Drain off excess fat.  Add in about 3/4 cup water and 1/4 cup taco seasoning, stir well, cook until sauce thickens.  Remove from heat.

Preheat large skillet over medium heat, or just a touch lower.  I use the “4” setting on my stove.  Spray pay with cooking spray.  Put in 1 tortilla, spoon in about 3-4 Tbsp prepared beef, top with shredded cheese, top with another tortilla.  Use enough cheese so that the tortillas will stick together!  Cook about 1 minute per side, be careful when you flip it, it can be messy but after a few tries, you learn the tricks to keep them together.  I use two spatulas!

Remove from pan, cut into triangles with a pizza wheel, and serve with sour cream, ranch dressing, salsa, whatever you like!

Thursday

Left Overs

We had some baked potatoes left over from the week before, I had frozen them after I cooked them, they keep pretty well.  We also had curry, chicken and sausage, and some school sandwiches, so everyone got something they liked.

Friday

McDonald’s – yeah, I know, junk food, but I was in the mood!!

Saturday

Pepperoni Pizza Muffins

Mini Pineapple Pizzas

These sort of go together…

2 cans refrigerated biscuits, flattened

1 jar pizza sauce

1 bag pepperoni

1 cup pineapple tidbits (I mean one of those single serve cups, not a whole cup!)

1 bag shredded Italian blend cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Spray a muffin pan with butter flavor cooking spray.

Sprinkle corn meal on a pizza stone or pizza pan, whichever you have.

Put the flattened biscuits in the muffin cups, my pan holds 12.  Put the rest on your pizza pan or stone.

Mix about 1/2 jar sauce with finely chopped pepperoni.  Spoon mixture into muffin cup biscuits.

Spread about 1/2 tsp sauce on each flattened biscuit on the pizza pan/stone.  Top with 1 slice pepperoni and 4-5 pineapple tidbits.

Top each muffin and each mini pizza with shredded cheese, as much as you can get on there without overflowing!!  (we like lots of cheese)

Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Serve!

Mini Apple Pies

2 cans crescent roll dough

1 can apple pie filling

1/8 cup sugar

2 Tbsp cinnamon

1/2 Tsp vanilla

Butter flavor cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray Texas muffin pan with cooking spray.

Separate dough into 8 sections, two triangles each.  Roll up the dough into a ball, flatten it out really flat, put one circle into each muffin cup.  You will have two triangles left, roll them together, then roll them out into a rectangle, or as close as you can get to a rectangle.  Use a pizza cutter and cut the dough into 6 skinny strips, then cut those in half so you have two shorter skinny strips.  Set aside.

Mix the apple pie filling with the sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.  Spoon into biscuit cups.  Top with crossed dough strips, sprinkle with a little sugar.  Bake about 10-12 minutes.  Allow to cool about 10 minutes, serve with a scoop of ice cream.

Sunday

Chicken and Dumplings…  sort of

OK, so this was not my best experiment.  I bought a package of frozen dumplings, and tried to follow the package directions, but all I got was thicker broth instead of good dumplings.  The dumplings were just lumps of dough in the bottom of the pan, they were NOT good.  So, I ended up with chicken, rice and peas in a nice creamy sauce.  It tasted really good, but I was SO disappointed in the dumplings, I was really looking forward to them!

So here’s what I cooked:

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 packets chicken Flavor Boost

1 Tbsp Everglades original seasoning (the green one, not the red one)

1 1/2 quarts water

1 cup frozen peas

1 pkg frozen dumplings

Put all this in the crock pot, cook on low 6-8 hours.  Remove chicken, shred, set aside.

Pour juices into stove top pot, bring to a boil, add dumplings.  The package says to break them into pieces, but they were frozen together, so I couldn’t!  This is probably the problem….  boil 3 minutes, reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes.  I did that, I still had lumpy doughy things in my pot, but my juices had become a sauce, so that was good.

I removed the dumplings, added in some leftover rice and the frozen peas, added in the shredded chicken, cooked it all over low for about 15 minutes to heat up the peas and rice, and served!  It tasted good, but it wasn’t what I had planned, so I was disappointed.  Oh well, guess I need to learn how to make flat dumplings!  Got a pasta machine on my Christmas list…

And now, some random photos for you…

I did my nails yesterday, I’m not sure I like them, but they’re OK.

Here’s William.

Here’s Duke the girl cat named by a four year old…

So, that’s it for this week.  It’s been a good food week, or at least a good food weekend.

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

 

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 97

April 8, 2012 at 1:50 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again my friends, and welcome back!  Hope everyone is having a wonderful Saturday!!

Relatively quiet day today, nothing out of the ordinary.  Took James to the new job, went grocery shopping, put Easter baskets together, after sleeping until 11AM!  Can’t believe I slept that late, but must have needed it.  Of course, last night was shot night, that could have something to do with the late sleeping.  And I can’t believe it’s possible, but I feel like I could sleep already!

It’s movie/family night around here, so we had “snack” foods, as William calls them.  I made Meat Muffins, Taco Meat Muffins, Crab Wraps and Apple Pie Bites.  Here are the recipes for you!

Meat Muffins (a repeat, but a good one!)

1 pound ground beef

about 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can refrigerated biscuits (normal size, not the jumbos!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Brown ground beef in a large skillet, drain.  Add in cream of mushroom soup, mix well.  Remove from heat.

Grease 10 cups of muffin pan, press biscuits as flat as you can with your fingers and put them in the greased muffin cups.  Spoon meat mixture into prepared muffin cups, you might have just a little leftover, but if you fill them over the top you should have just enough.  Top with just a little shredded cheese, it doesn’t need much, about a tablespoon on each.

Bake at 400 degrees for 14-16 minutes.

Remove from muffin pan using a spoon, serve!

Taco Meat Muffins

1 pound ground beef

about 1/4 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese

2/3 cup water

1/4 cup taco seasoning mix

1 can refrigerated biscuits (normal size, not the jumbos!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Brown ground beef in a large skillet, drain.  Add in water and taco seasoning, simmer on low about 10 minutes.

Grease 10 muffin cup in muffin pan, press biscuits as flat as you can with your fingers and put them in the greased muffin cups.  Spoon meat mixture into prepared muffin cups, you might have just a little leftover, but if you fill them over the top you should have just enough.  Top with just a little shredded cheese, about one tablespoon on each.

Bake at 400 degrees for 14-16 minutes.

Remove from muffin pan using a spoon, serve!

Crab Wraps

About 1 cup imitation crab meat

2 Tbsp garlic powder

2 Tbsp butter

1 can refrigerated crescent roll dough

Melt butter in small skillet, add in imitation crab meat and garlic.  Mix well, flaking crab meat as much as possible, and heating through.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Cover cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Unroll crescent dough on covered cookie sheet, careful not to separate triangles.  Seal diagonal perforations, and separate dough into rectangles.  Cut each rectangle in half so that you have almost squares of dough.

Put 1/8th of crab meat mixture onto each square of dough, fold in corners diagonally across filling to form small packets.  Corners might be open slightly, that’s OK.  You can brush with melted butter if you like, it adds a nice color to the finished product.

Bake at 375 for 17-20 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.  Serve warm!

Apple Pie Bites

1 pkg rolled pie crust

1/2 can apple pie filling

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tsp cinnamon

3 Tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, set aside about 2 Tbsp.

Unroll pie crust one at a time, brush with melted butter, sprinkle with half the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Cut with a pizza wheel into 8 pie shaped wedges.  Place a full apple slice with a little of the sauce on the outer edge of each “pie slice”, roll inward towards points.  Place on parchment lined baking sheet.  Repeat with second pie crust.  Brush rolls with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar.  Bake 13-15 minutes or until edges of pie crusts are lightly browned. (mine actually took about 17 minutes total)

Serve warm, with or without ice cream or whipped cream.

 Meat muffins

Crab wraps

I grew up eating crab from the Chesapeake bay, used to LOVE to eat crab, then developed a severe allergy to shellfish around age 16.  Been using imitation crab ever since, but don’t do it very often.  And I think I’ve outgrown my love of crab, because I really didn’t enjoy these at all.  It’s not that they didn’t taste good, they tasted exactly the way I expected them to, I just didn’t like them any more.  Oh well…

I had the apple pie bites with ice cream AND whipped cream, which might be why I’m tired now, but that dessert was SO worth it!

Anyway, hope you enjoy one or all of these dishes, and until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 89

March 30, 2012 at 11:39 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you all had a great Friday, I know I did!

Good news all over the place today!!

My dad is doing really well, up and walking around, eating really well, and the hospital staff are taking great care of him…  now if they would just let him sleep!

James got a new job, goes to orientation next Tuesday, not sure when he starts, but he gave notice to his current job today, which I think made him VERY happy!  Sign spinning isn’t meant to be a full time job, and he’s been doing it for over six months!  Now THAT’S dedication!!

William says he had a GREAT day at school, which he doesn’t say often, so I’m always happy to hear.  They had some sort of celebration, all the kids got cotton candy, so I’m sure they had fun.

And as for me, I did laundry, nibbled here and there, went to go see my dad in the hospital, did the usual kid shuttling around, and did NOT actually cook today, unless you count the eggs I hard boiled to make egg salad for lunch.  I SO cheated for dinner, got ready made Walmart pizzas that you just have to stick in the oven.  They are really good, honest, but definitely NOT home made.  Going to make those apple pie bites here in a bit, but those aren’t new, so I can’t count them!!  But I’ll give you the recipe again anyway, just in case you missed it before…

Egg Salad

4 hard boiled eggs (I put mine in a pan of COLD water, put it over MEDIUM heat, and set the timer for 30 minutes, they come out perfect)

2 Tbsp mayonnaise

1 Tsp yellow mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Mash peeled hard boiled eggs using a potato masher, this gets the absolute best consistency for the egg salad, or at least I think so. Nice, small pieces of egg, no large chunks, and the yolk gets really creamy when you add in the rest of the ingredients.  Add in the mayo, mustard, salt and pepper and mix well.  Serve over lettuce leaves, on plain bread, on toast, however you like!

 

Apple Pie Bites

1 pkg rolled pie crust

1/2 can apple pie filling

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tsp cinnamon

3 Tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, set aside about 2 Tbsp.

Unroll pie crust one at a time, brush with melted butter, sprinkle with half the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Cut with a pizza wheel into 8 pie shaped wedges.  Place a full apple slice with a little of the sauce on the outer edge of each “pie slice”, roll inward towards points.  Place on parchment lined baking sheet.  Repeat with second pie crust.  Brush rolls with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar.  Bake 13-15 minutes or until edges of pie crusts are lightly browned. (mine actually took about 17 minutes total)

Serve warm, with or without ice cream or whipped cream. (we got BOTH for tonight!!)

Hope you enjoyed these, until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 67

March 9, 2012 at 1:26 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again, and welcome back!  So glad you could join me again…

Another busy day.  Working on a new necklace for a contest, maybe, getting laundry together and started so I don’t end up doing it ALL on the weekend, and maybe have a weekend.  Quick shopping trip to pick up a few odds and ends.  Doing the usual running around, taking kids here and there.  But still plenty of time to make a really good meal!  So here’s what we had tonight:

Quiche Two Ways

Great Value pie shells, package of 2, thawed, baked for 10 minutes at 450 degrees (I would recommend deep dish shells, wish I had those tonight!)

10 eggs

2 cups milk, divided in half

10 slices bacon, cut into small pieces, cooked until crisp, drained on paper towels

2 Tbsp flour

3 slices swiss cheese

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper

Handful of fresh spinach, cooked about 3-4 minutes in the fat from the bacon (basically deep fried)

10 grape tomatoes, cut into quarters

2 large mixing bowls

First bowl, mix 5 eggs, 1 Tbsp flour, 1 cup milk, salt and pepper to your taste.  Pour into one of the pre-baked pie shells.  Add the sliced swiss cheese and half the bacon.

Second bowl, mix 5 eggs, 1 Tbsp flour, 1 cup milk, shredded cheddar cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.   Add the other half of the bacon, the spinach and the tomatoes.

Bake both at 325 degrees for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve!

We had a nice fresh salad with this, so it was a nice dinner.

And for dessert, we’re having:

Apple Pie Bites

1/2 Cup sugar

2 Tsp cinnamon

1 pkg refrigerated pie crusts (Great Value of course!)

3 Tbsp melted butter

1/2 can Great Value apple pie filling (I used the no sugar added kind)

Mix the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.  (I am making these so often now, I’m just keeping a mixture of sugar and cinnamon in a shaker!)

Unroll the pie crust onto a baking pan covered with parchment paper.  Brush with melted butter.  Sprinkle with just less than half the sugar mixture.  Cut into 8 wedges with a pizza cutter.  Place one or two apple slices from the canned pie filling at the outer edge of each wedge.  Roll in toward the center of the pie crust.

Repeat with the second pie crust.

 Unrolled crust

 Brushed with butter

 Sprinkled with cinnamon

 Apples placed

 Finished!

Brush the outside of the rolls with melted butter, and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture.

Bake at 425 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until edges are golden brown.  Allow to cool about 15-20 minutes before serving.  Serve alone, or with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, whatever YOU like with your apple pie! (thinking about trying a little cheddar cheese one of these days…)

Hope you enjoy these as much as we do!!

Until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!!

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