The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza day 334-347 (week 49 & 50)

December 16, 2012 at 8:38 pm (Food, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!!

I can’t believe I’m on week 50 already!!  And I’m sorry I got sidetracked last week and didn’t post, but I hope you will forgive me.

I’ve been so busy, working a little OT, getting presents made, shipping out of state presents, finishing up William’s makeshift Advent calendar.  I just ran out of weekend last weekend!  This weekend, I skipped doing my nails so I would have time to catch up here, make a couple of projects I had wanted to try, finish wrapping the presents sitting around here in bags, clean up a little, you know, all those things that get away from you this time of year!

I’m really looking forward to a four day weekend next weekend!!  Going to bake some cookies, get everything together for Christmas dinner, and pick up the last couple of things on my list for the boys, and maybe a couple of stocking stuffers.  Want to try a new roll recipe I found, too, hopefully we’ll have nice fresh sweet yeast rolls to go with Christmas dinner!!

And I’ve been so turned around, I can’t honestly say I can give you a day by day account of what I made, but I do have a couple recipes to share, a new twist on one I’ve made before, and hopefully you will find something you like here!!

So, on to the food….

Garlic Pork with Rice and Peas

4 boneless pork chops

1 cup frozen peas

1 container garlic flavor Philadelphia cooking cream

Rice made in your rice cooker or stovetop

Trim the little bit of fat from the edge of the pork chops, then cut the chops into small bite sized pieces.

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Put about 2 Tbsp olive oil in a frying pan, heat to medium, add in pork and cook until no longer pink.  Add in peas, cover and steam about 5 minutes.  Add in cooking cream, stirring until melted well.  You can add a little milk if needed to thin it out if you want.  Add in the cooked rice, stir until mixed well, and serve!

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Glazed Carrots

1 Cup frozen carrots

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp butter

Put everything in a microwavable dish, cover, microwave 5 minutes, mix and serve!

Coconut Curry Chicken

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 cans coconut milk

1 box Golden curry mix

Put everything in the crock pot, DO NOT add any water, cover and cook on LOW 8-10 hours.  Remove chicken from the pot, shred, stir sauce in pot, add back in chicken, serve over Chicken Flavored Rice.

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Chicken Flavored Rice

I don’t know about your rice cooker, but here’s how mine works…

Fill to “3” line with water, add in 3 scoops rice and 1 packet of chicken flavoring (I used Knorr’s chicken stock this time), set to COOK and serve when it’s done!

Spaghetti and Meatballs

I don’t think I really need to go into this one…  frozen meatballs, boxed spaghetti, jarred sauce….

Pot Roast

1 3-4 pound pot roast

1 box beef stock

1 packet beef Flavor Boost

1 packet French Onion soup mix

Put everything in the crock pot, set to LOW, cook 8-10 hours, it will literally fall apart, and because you didn’t add any plain water, it won’t be all dried out!!

Home Made Beef and Rice Burritos

1 pound ground beef

2 cups water

1/2 cup taco seasoning

2 cups leftover rice

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can enchilada sauce

2 cups shredded cheese

8 tortillas

Put ground beef, water and taco seasoning in the crock pot in the morning.  Set on LOW and cook 8-10 hours.  When you get home from work, chop up the beef in the pot, stir in the rice and beans, and add a little more taco seasoning if you need to.  Mine needed just a couple tablespoons more!

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Put the tortillas one at a time on a plate, sprinkle with a few tablespoons shredded cheese, two large spoonfuls (maybe 1/2 cup??) of the meat, rice and bean mixture, fold in sides and roll into a burrito.

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Place in a wide shallow baking pan.  Repeat with all tortillas, you might have a little filling left, but not much.  Pour enchilada sauce over burritos, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and bake at 350 degrees about 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted.  Serve with a little sour cream, or ranch dressing.

Bacon Cheeseburger Muffins

1 pound bacon

1 pound ground beef

2 cans biscuits

1 cup shredded cheese

Cut bacon into small pieces, cook until crisp, remove to paper towel lined plate.  Set aside.

Cook beef until no longer pink, crumbling as you cook.

Press biscuits as flat as you can get them, keeping them round.  Spray muffin pan with cooking spray, put one biscuit in each muffin cup.  Spoon in little shredded cheese, some bacon, some beef, top with a little more cheese.  Repeat until you run out of muffins and toppings.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, or more if needed, to get a nice golden brown edge on the muffins.  Serve with dipping sauces of your choice!

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So that’s all I can remember that I cooked, hope you found something you enjoyed!!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza day 320-326 (week 47)

November 25, 2012 at 10:29 pm (Food, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you all had a wonderful holiday week!  A little odd for us…

William was off school all week, so he was home, and he was BORED, but he was good.  He read every day, practiced his guitar, did his chores, and stayed out of trouble.

It was a short week for Mike and I, because of the holiday, doctor’s appointments, and a little time off.  I took off Friday so I could go Black Friday shopping, ended up doing more online shopping than in-person shopping, but it was nice to not have to worry about work.  Seems I went a little overboard though, didn’t leave a whole lot of cash until next payday!  Good news is I only have two more people to shop for, and I have at least one idea for one of them, something I can get any time between now and Christmas!  And I have two things to make, gotta get busy, but then I am DONE!!

James decided to start his holiday early, so we haven’t actually seen him since Tuesday, hope he had a good holiday!

We were supposed to go to Mom’s for Thanksgiving dinner, but Mike and William both started coming down with something, and we didn’t want to expose my folks to it, so Wednesday night we made the mad dash through Walmart getting all the stuff we didn’t have on hand to make dinner Thursday!

Anyway, on to the food….

Monday

Pork chops

Simply pan fried with a little butter, nothing fancy.

Steamed veggies, broccoli and peas, the usual.

Rolls, the canned kind.

Mike ended up cooking for me, because I worked a little late to help with a project.

Tuesday

Chicken and Black Bean Homemade Burritos

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup taco seasoning mix

1 quart water

Tortillas

Shredded cheese

Put the chicken, black beans, taco seasoning and water into the crock pot in the morning, let it cook all day on LOW.

Remove chicken from pot, shred.  Remove black beans from pot.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lay out tortillas.  Sprinkle with shredded cheese, spoon in a little shredded chicken and some black beans, roll into burritos, place in a large baking pan.  Repeat until you use up all the chicken and beans, or run out of room in your pan, whichever comes first.  Top with a little more shredded cheese.  Bake about 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Serve with a side of ranch or sour cream or guacamole, whatever you like!  Salsa works well, too.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1 Bag frozen Brussels sprouts (I used frozen this time because I wasn’t sure when I would make these, they were a little softer than fresh, but tasted OK)

4 slices bacon

1/2 C dried cherries

1/4 C chopped or sliced nuts of your choice (I prefer pecans, but I had almonds on hand)

Remove stems from sprouts, and cut into quarters.

Cut bacon into small pieces and cook until crispy.  Remove from pan, but don’t pour off grease.  Add cut sprouts to pan, saute lightly until slightly browned and heated through.  Toss bacon, cherries and nuts into pan, mix well, heat another minute or two.

Pour everything into a baking dish of your choice, bake at 350 degrees 45-55 minutes, or until well browned and very soft.  Serve!

Wednesday

Jet’s Pizza

Thursday

Thanksgiving Dinner

Turkey – rubbed with butter, sprinkled with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning, DO NOT TRUSS or stuff, roast at 350 degrees per package directions – my 10 pound turkey said it needed to cook 2 hours, I didn’t believe it, so I cook it 3, it was dry, but tasty!

Potatoes – 6 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks, boiled about 45 minutes or until very soft.  Drain, add in 1 stick butter, maybe 1/2 C milk, more if you like them creamier, mix with hand blender until smooth and creamy!

Sweet potatoes

1 can yams

1/2 C brown sugar

1/2 stick butter cut into pieces

Pour yams WITH JUICE into a casserole dish.  Sprinkle over brown sugar, place pats of butter around pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until heated through and bubbly.

Rolls

Store bought frozen rolls, sorry!

Gravy

Turkey drippings, gravy packet from the turkey, plus some poultry gravy mix.

Broccoli

Green beans

Peas

Stuffing

Boxed, sorry again, but remember, I didn’t PLAN on cooking at all!!

Cranberry sauce

Friday

Subway

Saturday

Mini Pizzas – frozen, but good!

Cheese Sticks – frozen

Cheese bites – frozen

Sunday

Pot Roast with Potatoes

1 roast of your choice, I went for a tip roast this time, I like them

1/4 cup onion flakes

3 packets beef flavor Flavor Boost

1 quart water

4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces

Put everything in the crock pot, set on low for 6-8 hours, remove and serve!

Steamed veggies

The usual, broccoli and peas with butter

Gravy

Strained the juices from the pot, mixed in some brown gravy mix, YUM!

And of course, I did my nails over the weekend, so here’s this week’s design…

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza day 313-319 (week 46)

November 18, 2012 at 10:02 pm (Food, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  It’s been an interesting week…  nothing Earth-shattering, just interesting.

Work has been really busy, which I can only think is NOT a good thing considering what I do, that means the foreclosure business is booming, or maybe things are just moving better through the courts, but whatever is going on, it can’t be a good sign for the economy.

And of course, there was all the post-election stuff going on, the stock market dropping, businesses laying people off, Hostess closing, just kind of a depressing week all the way around.

BUT, William had a really good week at school, things are going very well for him, he’s enjoying his classes, and getting good grades.  Absolutely cannot complain!

Mike had a good week at work, things are picking up, they are finally keeping him almost busy, and he spent all day yesterday working on his guitar.  Took his birthday money and bought some new pick-ups, a new pick guard, and he’s really happy with the results.

I’ve been fairly busy working on jewelry, too, but I need to get better at getting OFF the computer at night and doing things I LIKE instead of wasting so much time on Facebook.  I mostly work on new pieces on my lunch hour at work, but I spent about 3 hours last night making clay beads, which was more fun than I remember, and then a few hours today making jewelry from some of those beads, so I feel like I had an extra special day!  And, I still got the laundry done, cleaned up the kitchen, and did my nails.  GOOD DAY!

So, on to the food….

Monday

Baked BBQ Pork Chops

4 boneless pork chops

About 3 cups BBQ sauce of your choice

1 Tsp garlic powder

Put the pork chops in a roasting pan, sprinkle with garlic powder, pour over BBQ sauce, cover and bake at 350 degrees for at least an hour, or until chops are done through and sauce is bubbly.  Serve!

Ratatouille (this was fun!)

1 smallish yellow squash

1 smallish zucchini

1 Chinese eggplant

2 Tbsp dried onion flakes

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 cup tomato sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp olive oil, divided

1/4 cup Parmesan

Italian seasoning blend

Using a mandolin slicer, slice the squash and eggplant very thin.  Spray a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish with olive oil flavor cooking spray.  Pour the tomato sauce in the bottom of the pan, sprinkle with the onion flakes and garlic powder.  Liberally salt and pepper.  Lay the slices of squash and eggplant on the sauce, alternating each type of veggie, overlapping each, all the way around and in the center. (sort of like in the movie, looks a little like a fan)  Salt and pepper, sprinkle with a few Tbsp Parmesan.  Layer more veggies, salt and pepper, Parmesan.  Repeat until you have about 3 to 4 layers, or you run out of veggies.  Sprinkle with remaining olive oil and any remaining Parmesan, and sprinkle with Italian seasoning blend.  Cover with aluminum foil, cook at 375 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes, or until tomato sauce is bubbling up around the edges of the veggies.  Serve!!

Fried Potatoes

2 leftover Perfect Baked Potatoes

Sour cream, about 1/2 cup

Parmesan, about 1/2 cup

2 Tbsp butter

Salt and pepper

Chop potatoes into bite-sized pieces.  Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add potatoes and fry until they start to brown a little.  Skin on or off is entirely up to you!  Once the potatoes are heated through and just a very little browned, remove from heat, stir in sour cream and Parmesan.  Serve!

Chocolate Chip Cake with Chocolate Pudding Pokes

Basic Yellow Cake recipe

3/4 c butter

3 eggs

2 1/2 c all purpose flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 3/4 c sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/4 c milk

1/2 c chocolate chips

Allow butter and eggs to sit at room temp for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, grease and flour 9″ x 13″ baking pan.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter on medium for 30 seconds.  Gradually add in sugar, beating on medium, until well combined.  Scrape sides of bowl, beat two minutes more.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in vanilla.  Alternately add flour mixture and milk, beating on low after each addition, just until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake 25-30 minutes for 9″x13″ pan (I actualy had to put this back in for an extra 20 minutes before it was done, so I cooked 50 minutes)

Cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool completely in pan before frosting.

When cooled, poke holes in the cake with the handle of a wooden spoon.

Prepare instant chocolate pudding to package directions, family size package.  Pour over cake, making sure it gets into those holes and leaks down the sides a little.  Allow to cool in the fridge for about 30 minutes before serving.  YUM!

Tuesday

Ranch Fried Chicken, Bacon and Tomato sandwich

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 pkgs ranch dressing mix

2 cups flour, divided

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 pound bacon

1 large tomato, sliced

Cut the bacon into about 1/2″ wide pieces, cook until crispy, remove to paper towel lined plate to drain, set aside.

Trim any excess skin or fat from the chicken, cut into chunks, then pound those to about 1/4″ thickness between two sheets of plastic wrap.

Put 1 cup plain flour in one wide shallow bowl.

Put the eggs, beaten, into another wide shallow bowl.

Mix the other cup of flour, ranch dressing mix, and a little salt and pepper, in a third wide shallow bowl.

Dip each piece of chicken first in the plain flour, then in the egg, then in the seasoned flour.  Fry in shallow oil over medium heat until golden brown and crisp.  Remove to paper towels to drain excess oil while cooking remaining chicken.  I can usually do 3-4 pieces at a time.

Serve on bread, toasted or not is up to you, with bacon, tomato and your choice of sauces.  YUM!

Wednesday

Jet’s Pizza

Thursday

Chicken and Sausage with Tomato Sauce

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 rope Kielbasa

1 Jar spaghetti sauce

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp Italian seasoning blend

1/8 Tsp red pepper flakes

1 Tsp orange Everglades seasoning

1 Jar (that sauce jar!) water

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Cut the sausage into roughly 2″ pieces.  Don’t cut the chicken, in fact, frozen works really well for this.

Put everything in a crock pot, mix a little, cook on LOW 8-10 hours.  Using a slotted spoon, fish out the chicken, which should be falling apart at this point, the sausage and beans, put on a serving platter.

Serve with rice or pasta, your choice, and a little of the sauce from the pot poured over each serving.

Parmesan Orzo

1/2 box Orzo style pasta

1 stick butter

1 c Parmesan

Cook pasta to package directions.  Drain.  Melt butter in the hot pan, add back in pasta, and add Parmesan.  Mix well and serve!

Steamed Veggies

Friday

Burritos and Taquitos

Frozen ones, sorry, no recipe this time!

Saturday

Taco Bell

Yes, we ate out.  I just didn’t feel like cooking after working half the day, then housework, just didn’t have it in me!  But, once I ate dinner, I made…

Chicken soup

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

4 pkts chicken flavor Flavor boost

2 pkts vegetable flavor Flavor boost

4 quarts water

2 Tbsp green Everglades seasoning

1 Tsp garlic powder

1/2 bag frozen green beans

1/2 bag frozen sliced carrots

1/2 c frozen peas

1/2 box Orzo style pasta

In a LARGE stock pot, pour in water, add flavor packets and spices, mix well.  Add in chicken.  Cook over LOW heat about 2 hours.  Increase heat so that water boils, add in pasta, cook about 15-20 minutes, or until pasta is well done.  Reduce heat again, add in veggies, cook another 30 minutes.  Remove from heat, serve, or allow to cool and put into serving size containers.  Freezable!!  This made about a dozen large servings, about the same size as Chunky soup cans, but a lot better for you.

Sunday

Breakfast for Dinner

Bacon, cooks crispy

Scrambled eggs with cheese

Crescent Rolls

Simple, quick meal that everyone loves.  I added a sliced tomato to my plate, but I’m the only one that likes them…

Apple Banana Dessert

1 small apple

1/4 cup dried banana slices

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp butter

1/4 C old fashioned oats

Core apple, cut into wedges, then slice the wedges into very small slices.  Put into a microwave safe bowl.  Add in the dried banana slices.  Top with the butter and brown sugar.  Microwave 1 minute, mix well, microwave another 4 minutes.  Allow to cool at least 5 minutes before serving!  Top with a little ice cream, YUM!!!

Anyway, that’s it for this week.  Hope you found something you want to try!!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza day 306-312 (week 45)

November 11, 2012 at 9:24 pm (Food, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Welcome back friends!  Hope you all had a glorious week!  It was certainly an interesting one for us.

Mike’s birthday was yesterday, Happy Birthday Baby!  Balloons, candy, ice cream cake, pizza, movies.  Nice evening!!

William got his first middle school report card, 7 A’s, 1 B, WAY TO GO William!

Work was work, James was James, no idea what’s going on with him, but he’s a teenager, I don’t think I’m SUPPOSED to know what’s going on any more.

Working on a new bracelet, here’s where I’m at as of today:

And of course, new nail design for the week:

So, kind of a quiet week, but that’s OK!  Oh, almost forgot, my office is putting together a cook book for charity, so I put in about 10 recipes.  Would have done more, but they set a limit…  That’s OK, now I know where to go when I’m ready to do mine in print!!

On to the food…

Monday

Free for all!

We had all that cool stuff left over from all that cooking I did last Sunday, so everyone got what they wanted, and I cleaned out the fridge.  Nice, easy Monday night!

Tuesday

Goulash (formerly “Hot Brown and Lumpy”)

1 pound ground beef

2 cups water

1 cup frozen peas

1 box Dream Fields penne pasta

6 Tbsp brown gravy mix

Prepare pasta to package directions, drain.

While cooking the pasta, brown the ground beef, drain.  Add in the water and gravy mix, bring to a boil.  Add in peas, boil 2 minutes, reduce heat, simmer about 10 minutes, just about the time it takes the pasta to cook.  Add in the drained pasta, mix well.  Salt and pepper to taste, and serve in a bowl!

I made some canned biscuits to go with dinner, it was a nice meal.

Wednesday

Five Guys burgers

Yeah, we had some money left over as we got closer to pay day, so we splurged just a little.

Thursday

Santa Fe Chicken

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of any excess fat or skin, cut into small bite sized pieces

1/2 box Orzo style pasta

1 can Black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup frozen green beans

1 Pkg Sante Fe flavor cooking cream

Cook chicken in a large skillet until no longer pink.  Add in cooking cream, black beans, peas and green beans.  Mix well, simmer on low while you cook your pasta to package directions.  Drain pasta, add in to skillet and mix again.  Serve!

Friday

Cheesecake Factory

Well, we’re big fans of The Big Bang Theory, so we decided that since we couldn’t get in to Red Robin in less than an hour, we would give this place a try.  Well, let me tell you, the food was good, but WAY over priced.  $11.95 for a burger and fries!  Don’t get me wrong, it was good, but not THAT good!  And I LOVE cheesecake, but not for $6.95 a SLICE!  The waiter was slow, even once we got seated, we were there for about an hour and a half, and I was seriously disappointed that he brought us the dessert menu then disappeared for 15 minutes so that we didn’t actually order dessert, we went somewhere else.  I would NOT recommend going unless you have that kind of cash to blow.  I guess we’re more the Five Guys kind of folks, and even that I think is overpriced, but at least I don’t have to wait an hour for it!

Saturday

Frozen pizza, Ice cream cake

Yeah, it was pay week, and I went grocery shopping so we had all kinds of food I could have made, but it seemed like a pizza kind of night, Mike’s birthday and all.  Let him pick the movies, had pizza and bread sticks, then we went and got an ice cream cake and balloons.

Sunday

Crock Pot Enchiladas

4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (approx 1 lb each), trimmed of any leftover skin or fat

1/2 cup taco seasoning mix

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 jar chunky salsa, mild (or your preference)

2 cups shredded cheese, Mexican blend or chedda

Tortilla chips

Cook chicken breasts in water with taco seasoning on the stove, covered, for about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, or until done through and falling apart when you try to take them out.  Shred chicken.

Mix soup, salsa and shredded chicken in a bowl, place about 1/4 of the mixture in the bottom of the crock pot.  Layer shredded chicken mixture, cheese, tortilla chips, until you have 3 to 4 layers.  Finish off with a layer of tortilla chips and cheese. Cover and cook on LOW for 3-4 hours or until bubbly and cheese is melted well.  Serve!

And since I went shopping, including a side trip to the Oriental market and the fruit stand, I made a KILLER fruit salad for this week…

Pineapple

Dragon fruit

Pomegranate

Red grapes

Green grapes

Strawberries

And we’re off tomorrow, for Veteran’s day, so I think I’ll do a little cooking tomorrow with all the cool stuff I got this weekend.  I even got stuff to try my hand at Ratatouille!

So until next time, eat well, love well, live well!!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 264 – 270 (Week 39)

September 30, 2012 at 10:16 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!!

Everyone was actually healthy, no one missed any work or school, feels like we should celebrate!!  And it was a pay week, so of course we went a little overboard this weekend, but that’s nothing new.

The only stories for this week revolve around my fun day yesterday, the rest of the week was kind of quiet.  But, it was a pay week, so we did the Friday night out, more on that a little further down.  And then Saturday…

Started the day getting my nails done, getting my toes done (hurt a bit, but SO worth it!), got my hair cut.  William joined me for this part of the trip, he likes to sit in the massage chair while I get my nails done.   Then we made a quick trip into Winn Dixie to see what meats they had on special.  Got two pot roasts, two packs of boneless pork chops and stir fry beef for $32.

Then it was off to Game Stop to get William the current free character for Pokemon, and he put a game on order.

Next, my first trip to the local Oriental Market.  WOW!  I could spend a whole day in there if I didn’t have William sitting the car waiting!!  Maybe next time…  But I did get some cool food for Saturday movie night.  More on that below.  And I think I found the elephant I want for my desk, but I didn’t want to spend the $8 that day…  kind of glad I didn’t get him this week, since I ended up spending almost $400 on groceries at Walmart later!!  Still haven’t figured out how I spent so much, I didn’t feel like I got that much, but I think prices are going up little by little.  Have to pay more attention to the individual items next time, see if I can figure it out…

So, sort of a “me” day, sort of a “me and William” day, sort of a shopping day, all in all, a very GOOD day, even if it was expensive.

Monday

Spaghetti with Beef and Sausage Sauce

1 box Dream Fields angel hair pasta, cooked to package directions

1 pound ground beef

1 pound mild Italian sausage

1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce

Brown and drain ground beef and sausage together, crumbling as fine as you can.  Put the meat back in the pan, add in the sauce, and heat while you cook the pasta.  Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday

Pork Roast Everglades

1/2 pork loin roast, about 2-3 pounds

1 quart water (will NOT cover the roast, that’s OK!!)

1/8 cup original Everglades seasoning (the green one)

Put everything in the crock pot, set on LOW, cook 8-10 hours.

Remove from pot, slice and serve!  We had some steamed veggies along with this, it was YUMMY!!!

Wednesday

Chicken Bacon Ranch Wraps

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 pound bacon

Dry Ranch dressing mix

Flour tortillas

Cook the bacon crispy, set aside.

Clean any excess skin or fat from the chicken, cut into very small pieces, cook over medium heat just until no longer pink.  Sprinkle with about 2-3 Tbsp dry ranch dressing mix, mix well and cook about 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat.

Spoon a couple large spoonfuls of chicken into a tortilla, add in 2 slices bacon, cheese if you want it, and a little bit of prepared ranch dressing, wrap and serve!

Bacon Grilled Cheese

William’s idea…

Basically, we saved a few slices of cooked bacon from the wraps, and put them inside a grilled cheese sandwich, and it was AWESOME!

Thursday

James brought us Wendy’s for dinner

Friday

Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, Yogurtology, comic book store

Gotta say, the pizza was REALLY good, the yogurt was over priced and just not that good.  The store was cool, and William enjoyed it, but it was just GOOD, not GREAT, and for $20, it should have been AMAZING!!!

Saturday

Steamed buns with chicken (purchased at the Oriental market – OK, not great)

Steamed dumplings with chicken (same as above)

Fried dumplings with chicken (same as above – would have been better deep fried rather than pan fried)

Quick cheesecake (I bought a graham cracker crust, and a container of Philly pre-made cheesecake filling, and put them together)

Sunday

Southwest Egg Rolls

Egg Roll wrappers

2 pounds Ground beef

2 cans Black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup Taco seasoning

1 1/2 cups Water

Brown and drain ground beef, add in water, taco seasoning and beans, mix well, cook until sauce thickens, remove from heat, allow to cool at least 1 hour.

Put an egg roll wrapper on a plate, spoon in about 2-3 Tbsp filing.

Fold up bottom, tighten up the filling inside, fold in the sides roll forward, dampen the last open tip of the wrapper and finish rolling.  Repeat with remaining filling and wrappers.

When done, fry in oil over medium heat, about 1-2 minutes per side or until golden brown.  Serve with your favorite salsa.

Vegetarian Egg Rolls

Egg Roll Wrappers

1 head cabbage, shredded extra fine

12 baby carrots, shredded extra fine

3 Tbsp Hoisin sauce

2 Tbsp Teriyaki sauce

Mix the cabbage, carrots and sauces.

Lay an egg roll wrapper on a plate, spoon in about 2 Tbsp filling.

Fold up bottom and tighten up the filling a little.

Fold in the sides, and roll ONCE.

Dampen the last tip with water and finish rolling.

Continue filling wrappers until you run out of filling or wrappers.

When done, fry in oil heated over medium heat, about 1-2 minutes per side or until golden brown.

Remove from oil to paper towels, serve with your favorite sauce, I prefer Duck sauce since the Hoisin is a little spicy.

Southwest Wonton Bites

Wonton wrappers

Leftover filling from the SW egg rolls above

Put the wonton on a plate, put in about 1 tsp filling, dampen two edges of the wrapper.

Fold over into a triangle.

Dampen the two furthest corners and fold in towards each other.

Repeat until you run out of wrappers or filling!

Fry in oil over medium heat, almost exactly 1 minute per side, just a few seconds more maybe, or until golden brown.

Serve with salsa!

Mongolian Beef

About 1 pound stir fry beef

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp ground ginger

3 Tbsp soy sauce

1 1/2 Tbsp honey

1 Tsp rice wine

2 Tbsp water

3 green onions, green part only, cut into 1″ strips

2 Tbsp oil for frying

Put oil in frying pan, heat over medium heat.  Add in beef, cook just until no longer pink.  Mix the rest of the ingredients (except the onion) in a cup, pour over beef, add 1 Tbsp corn starch or flour to thicken, cook about 8-10 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened.  Add in onions and serve!

Orange Chicken

4 – 5 boneless skinless chicken thighs

2 Tsp orange extract

2 Tbsp honey

1/2 Tsp ground ginger

1 Tsp minced garlic

1 Tbsp flour or corn starch

Trim chicken thighs of any large pieces of skin or fat, cut into very small pieces.  Cook over medium heat with just a touch of oil, cook until no longer pink.  Add in remaining ingredients, stir well, cook just until sauce thickens.  Serve!

Virginia light rolls (sort of!)

This is a recipe I got from my mom, but I have no idea where she got it, and I changed it!

1 Cup + 1 Tbsp milk, warmed about 1 min in microwave

3 Tbsp honey

2 large eggs

6 Tbsp butter cut into small pieces

2 1/4 cups white bread flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 Tsp salt

2 Tsp yeast

4 Tbsp melted butter for brushing

Put milk, honey, eggs and butter into the bread machine pan.

Add in the flours.  Make a small well in the center, add salt and yeast.

Set the machine for DOUGH, hit start and go do something else for an hour!

Turn the dough out onto a floured towel, knead with a little whole wheat flour for just a couple minutes.

Line a 13″ x 9″ baking pan with parchment paper.  Pull globs of dough off the pile, roll into balls and put into pan.  You should get 15 balls, pan should end up 3 across and 5 rows.

Cover, let rise for 45 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Bake 25-28 minutes, brushing with melted butter at the 15 minute mark.

Serve with butter and honey!!

Bacon Egg and Cheese Casserole

12 eggs

1 Cup half and half (fat free)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese

1 pound bacon

2 Tbsp flour

Cut the bacon into small pieces, cook until crispy, drain.

Mix the eggs, half and half, cheeses and flour, pour about 2/3 into a greased 13″ x 9″ dish.  Sprinkle about 2/3 of the bacon into the eggs, push it down into the eggs.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve!

Bacon Egg Cheese and Spinach Casserole

Take the rest of the egg mixture and bacon, pour into a greased casserole dish (or in my case a souffle dish), add in about 1 cup frozen spinach thawed.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve!

And that’s it!  I cooked all day, and my feet hurt, but it was ALL so good!!

So until next time, eat well, love well, live well!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 209

July 30, 2012 at 7:34 pm (Food) (, , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope your week started out on a high note…

Work was completely crazy!  Walked in to 44 e-mails (I usually average about 15), 150 or so photo files to review (I usually average about 50), 44 new issues (on a heavy day I might get 20), and of course end of the month vendor craziness, two break-ins, phone calls (I never get phone calls)…  for the first time since I started this job I didn’t actually finish everything!!  I have a plan for tomorrow, but who knows how that will work out…

The boys did some chores today, without complaining at all, that was AWESOME!  And I was feeling so much better when I got home (that med change I mentioned yesterday is really working out) that I cleaned the bathroom and threw out some old stuff that’s just been taking up room in my vanity!

Mike is busy packing for his training trip…  sneaky bugger gets to go to Orlando for four days, stay in a nice hotel, and eat out every meal!  I’m jealous!!

Anyway, we sort of had a free-for-all dinner tonight.  There was some left over meatloaf, so Mike and James made meatloaf nachos.  Sounded sort of gross to me, but they said it was OK.  I made black bean nachos for myself, and William settled on a hot pocket of all things.  So no actual recipes for you, but I have to say, my nachos were pretty good!  Here’s what I did…

Black Bean Nachos

Flour tortilla strips

Shredded Colby Jack cheese

Black beans

Black olives

Spread out the tortillas on a plate, top with about 1/3 of a can of drained and rinsed black beans, about 1/2 can of chopped black olives, and about 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.  Microwave for 1 and 1/2 minutes, serve!  YUM!!!

So that’s about it for tonight.  Gonna go feed my virtual fish, check on my virtual farm, and then I think I might paint myself a mini birdhouse to put on my desk.

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 186

July 7, 2012 at 10:35 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!!  Hope you’re all having a nice weekend.  I know mine started out well!

It’s been a really busy day for me.  Started off by running out and getting McD’s for breakfast.  Then, dropping off a take-home test at the local medical lab.  Unfortunately, there is only one office of our lab that’s open on Saturdays, so I had to drive out to BFE (Valrico) at 10 AM.  Then I went and got my toes done, LOVE sitting in that massage chair!!  When that was done, I slipped next door to the hair salon and got all my hair chopped off!!  Been debating about doing it for a year, finally decided it was time.  Turns out, though, my hair isn’t as curly as it used to be, so it doesn’t look like the photo, but it should be REALLY easy to deal with in the mornings!  And it’s already a lot cooler.  I’ll have to get one of the guys to take a photo so I can post it and show off…  after I’ve had a chance to play with it a little!  It was too funny though, the stylist asked me if I wanted to color my hair to cover the white ones, I told her no way, I earned every one!!

Then it was off to Walmart, two page grocery list, we were out of almost everything, which is why I had to run out to get breakfast this morning.  Had a major sugar crash, had to shuffle my way to McD’s to eat some lunch, guess I shouldn’t have waited so long between meals, or pushed so hard!  After sitting for about 20 minutes and eating something, I finished up my trip.  Mike and William both needed new shorts.  Meats, veggies, pasta, shampoo, make-up, new toothbrush since mine literally fell apart last week, dairy, vitamins, new grass seed spreader since our old one fell apart last month, etc… it was quite the list!  Plus I had about $15 worth of coupons, not my best total ever, but not my worst either!  I about had a heart attack when I saw the total bill, but at least we had the money, so it won’t be an issue!  And, I won’t have to shop like that again for quite a while.

Anyway, seems the boys read comics all day, started the laundry, not sure what else they did.  They were stuck here without a vehicle, so I guess there wasn’t a whole lot they could do!

So, on to the food.  I was a busy girl after I finally got home…  three hours at Walmart wore me out, but I had a Coke and a snack, and I was back!  Here we go!!

Southwest Egg Rolls

1 pkg egg roll wrappers

1 pound ground beef

2/3 cup water

1/4 cup taco seasoning

1 green pepper, finely chopped

3 green onions, finely chopped

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder

1 Tbsp taco seasoning

1/2 cup shredded cheese

Small dish of water for dipping (I’ll explain in a minute)

Brown ground beef, drain excess grease, return to pan.  Add in 2/3 cup water and 1/4 cup taco seasoning, mix well, simmer until thickened.  Allow to cool about 10 minutes.

Mix meat, peppers, onions, beans, spices in a large bowl.  You can sautee the peppers and onions if you choose, I prefer them a little crunchy.

Spoon about 2 Tbsp of this mixture onto an egg roll wrapper on the diagonal.  Fold over the bottom corner and tuck in the filling.  Fold in the two side corners. Lightly dampen the top tip with water, and roll the filled roll over this corner, sealing with the water.  Repeat until you run out of wrappers and or filling.  Somehow, I managed to get exactly enough of each, and had no leftovers!

Heat about 1/2″ of vegetable oil in a wide skillet over medium heat.  Fry the rolls, about 5 or 6 at a time, in the hot oil until golden brown, turning once.  I think they cooked about 2-3 minutes per side at the beginning, and more like 1 1/2 – 2 minutes towards the end.

Remove from oil to paper towel lined tray.  Serve with ranch dipping sauce, salsa, guacamole, whatever YOU like with your Mexican food!

Asian Egg Rolls

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 pkg egg roll wrappers

1/2 head cabbage, shredded really fine

10-12 baby carrots, shredded really fine

About 2 Tbsp soy sauce

1/2 Tsp ground ginger

Remove excess skin and fat from chicken, chop into very small pieces, cook until nicely browned in a skillet, no added fat or oil.

Allow to cool a little, while you mix the cabbage, carrots, ginger and soy sauce together in a large bowl.  Add in warm chicken, mix well.  Spoon about 2 Tbsp of this mixture onto an egg roll wrapper on the diagonal.  Fold over the bottom corner and tuck in the filling.  Fold in the two side corners. Lightly dampen the top tip with water, and roll the filled roll over this corner, sealing with the water.  Repeat until you run out of wrappers and or filling.  I had about 1/2 cup of filling left over this time.

Heat about 1/2″ of vegetable oil in a wide skillet over medium heat.  Fry the rolls, about 5 or 6 at a time, in the hot oil until golden brown, turning once.  I think they cooked about 2-3 minutes per side at the beginning, and more like 1 1/2 – 2 minutes towards the end.

Remove from oil to paper towel lined tray. Serve with soy sauce, sweet and sour sauce, duck sauce (my personal favorite), or whatever sauce you like with your Chinese food!

Taco Bites

1/2 pkg wonton wrappers

About 1 cup prepared taco beef (I actually made a little extra when making the beef for the above Southwest Egg Rolls, worked out well!)

Lay out a few wonton wrappers, spoon about 1/2 tsp filling onto each one, dampen two sides, fold over into a triangle and seal with your finger tips.  Repeat until you run out of filling and wrappers.

Fry in vegetable oil over medium heat about 1 minute per side, or until golden brown and crispy.  Remove from oil to paper towel lined tray to drain.  Serve!

Not a bad meal if I do say so myself!  And lots of leftovers for tomorrow.  YEAH!

And I have some nice fresh fruit for dessert, cantaloupe, honey dew and pineapple, YUM!

So, until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!

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