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 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 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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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 292 – 298 (Week 43)

October 28, 2012 at 8:12 pm (Food, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Starting to count down to the end of the year, only 9 weeks to go.  Can you believe it, less than 2 months until Christmas!  And I actually bought my first few presents this weekend.  One for my mom, and a couple for Mike.

It was kind of a slow week.  Work was work, William had a good week at school, Mike had a good week at work, and James is James…  nothing exciting really.  I did finish my second beaded cuff, so that was cool!  Here’s some photos…

And I spent today putting together some more bases for more cuffs.  Don’t know why I was so afraid of this style of beadwork, it’s FUN!!

And I did my nails for Halloween!

It’s kind of a burnt orange color with black tips and black swirly stickers with sparkles!

Anyway, since there really isn’t much gossip, on to the food.  Even that is a little flat this week, I’m having a hard time getting inspired lately, cooking wise anyway.  But, since I got a little raise with my review last week, maybe next pay day I can splurge on some new ingredients and maybe a cook book, get some fresh stuff to share!

Monday

Grilled pork chops

6 boneless skinless pork chops

Everglades original seasoning (the green one)

Preheat your George Foreman grill to MEDIUM.  Sprinkle a little (how much is really up to you, but this stuff is salty!) Everglades seasoning on each side of the chops.  Put 3 at a time onto your grill, and cook until no longer pink inside, and crispy grilled on the outside.  Repeat with the remaining chops, and serve when done!

Steamed veggies, the usual, broccoli and peas.

Tuesday

Alfredo Chicken Pasta

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 jar alfredo sauce

1 box Dream Fields angel hair pasta

Trim any excess skin and fat off the chicken breasts.  Cut into small bite-sized pieces.  Heat a large skillet to medium, add in 2 tbsp vegetable oil, add in chicken.  Cook until no longer pink, add in alfredo sauce.  Reduce heat and simmer on LOW while you cook pasta to package directions.  Drain pasta and put past, chicken and sauce all together in the empty pasta pot, mix well and serve!

Steamed veggies, broccoli, peas and carrots…

Wednesday

Pot Roast

1 2-3 pound sirloin tip roast (or whatever cut you prefer)

1 pkg french onion soup mix

1 quart water

Put the roast in a crock pot, add in soup mix and water, should NOT cover roast.  Set pot to LOW and cook 8-10 hours.

Remove roast, drain broth into a sauce pan, straining out onion pieces if desired.  You should have about 3 cups of broth, maybe 4, depends on how much steam your crock pot releases.  Add in gravy mix per package directions, heat over medium, stirring frequently.  Bring to a boil, cook one minute, remove from heat and serve!

Baked Potatoes

I actually cheated a little on this one, I used the microwave, but they came out OK.  For each 1 pound potato (these are the really big ones!), wash well, rub with a little oil, sprinkle with salt, poke some holes, cook 10 minutes on high, or until done through.

Thursday

Jet’s pizzza

Friday

Sonny’s BBQ

Saturday

Free for all!

I had leftover taco meat mixed with black beans, added some diced tomatoes, and added some shredded cheese.  It was actually really good!

Sunday

Kim’s Chicken Casserole

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed if needed and cut into bite sized pieces

2 packages stove top stuffing mix

12 slices Swiss cheese

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Wash and drain chicken. Lightly butter 13 X 9 X 2 casserole dish

Prepare stuffing: Put all the dry ingredients in the casserole dish.  Heat 3 cups water with 1 stick of butter for 5 minutes in the microwave, pour over dry ingredients and mix well.

Mix chicken with soup.

Lay cheese on top of stuffing, top with chicken and soup.  Bake 1 hour 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

This serves 6 – 8 people

Glazed Carrots

1 C frozen crinkle cut carrots

2 Tbsp butter

1/4 C brown sugar

Cook on high about 5 minutes in the microwave, stir and serve!

Peas

Steamed frozen peas, done in the microwave with a little butter, about 5 minutes on high from frozen on about 1 C peas.

So, not a HUGE food week, but a GOOD food week.  I got a few odds and ends when I went shopping, going to try some quick dinner ideas I’ve seen recently, see if they turn out as good as they look…  I’ll keep you posted!

See you next week!!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 285 – 291 (Week 42)

October 21, 2012 at 10:18 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

WOW, can you believe, I’ve been at this since January 2nd, 42 weeks now!  I’ve never stuck with any project this long, unless you count marriage as a project, but I have help there.  This one has been almost all mine!

So, this past week, let’s see…

Mike’s “wonderful” co-worker left, so he’s a happy camper.  Taking on her clients, rearranging his schedule to fit them in, I think it’s going to be much cooler for him, he’s been bored for a while.  He already seems happier at home, too, so that makes ME happy!

William had a good week at school.  Short week because it was the end of the grading period, so he got Friday off.  He slept in, and didn’t really do much, says he was bored.  Wish I had known they were going to end up postponing my review until this coming Tuesday, I would have taken the day off to hang out with him!  He hung out with his best buddy for half the day Saturday and Sunday, so I think that made up for the boring Friday.  Back to school tomorrow…

My week was kind of fun!  Organized a Boss’ Day celebration on Tuesday, pulled together 6 groups that all do the same thing, just for different managers, but all under one senior manager.  Have to say, I won’t do it again, too many negative people where I work, but the folks that participated were great!!  Then, on Wednesday, my new friend at work decided the job just wasn’t for her, so she quit.  Kind of sucks, she was fun!  The rest of the gang is pretty cool, so we’ll be OK and all, but I was a little bummed.  And I was the only one she came to say goodbye to, so I hope she finds a way to keep in touch!  Work itself is starting to settle into a routine, I feel more comfortable, actually looking forward to my first review as an employee and not a temp!!

And we won’t even talk about James, he’s never here anymore, kind of feels like a boarder rather than my kid.  Oh well…

Mike and William vacuumed today, that was cool.  I swept and mopped the kitchen floor, my back was killing me!  But the kitchen feels so much nicer now.  Scooped the cat box, changed the paper we keep under it (she misses sometimes, but she’s getting much better since we got the new litter box!).  Finished laundry early, that was nice.  So chores done early, I spent the rest of the day beading!  Check out my first bead embroidered cuff…

Anyway, on to the food!  That’s why we’re all here afterall!  We ate out a couple of times, got a little lazy, but we’ve all committed to eating at home more, so I guess we needed to have this week to make that choice.

Monday

Free for all!

We had all the leftovers from the weekend, the pizza muffins, meatball muffins, pigs in a blanket, rolls, veggies, etc., so we sort of had to have a little bit of everything to clean out all the bags and containers from the fridge!

Of course, I still wanted to make something, and I had picked up a couple of sweet onions on my last shopping trip, so I made…

Onion Straws

2 large sweet onions

1 cup flour

1 Tsp salt

1 Tsp pepper

Cooking oil for frying

Remove outer skin from onions, leaving root side on to keep the onion together.  Using a Mandolin type slicer, slice the onion VERY thin, place on paper towels to remove some of the excess liquid.  Let sit for about 10 minutes.  Separate onions as much as possible, put into a large wide shallow bowl, sprinkle over flour, salt and pepper.  Mix well, trying to separate as much as you can without pulling each onion out individually.  You will end up with these cool little lumps that kind of look like mini bird nests when you fry them.

Heat some cooking oil in a large skillet over medium to medium low heat, I set my stove on about 4.  Pull out some small clumps or individual onion strands, add them a few at a time into the oil, and cook a couple minutes on each side, or until golden brown.  Remove to a plate or bowl lined with paper towels, sprinkle with salt if desired.

Tuesday

Pizza hut – Mike got a special offer in his e-mail, 2 large 3 topping pizzas delivered for $8 each, so we had to…

But I HAD to do something, so I made up my fruit salads for the week.  I had papaya, red and green grapes, and a red pear.

Wednesday

Italian Chicken Pasta

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 pkg Italian flavor Philadelphia cooking cream

1 Pkg Dream Fields angel hair pasta

Salt and pepper to taste

Trim any excess skin or fat from the chicken, cut into small bite sized pieces.  Heat a couple tbsp of cooking oil in a skillet over medium heat, add chicken and cook until no longer pink.

Meanwhile, boil the water for the pasta.  This pasta takes literally 6 minutes to cook, so don’t start it too soon!  Once the chicken is cooked, drop your pasta into boiling water and set your timer for 6 minutes.

Add the cooking cream, salt and pepper to the chicken pan, stir it well, the cream will liquify.  Reduce heat to low until pasta is done.

Drain the pasta, and add it to the chicken pan, toss with tongs, and serve!!

We also had some side stuff, like chopped tomatoes, steamed broccoli and steamed peas, so we made this into a make-your-own-bowl kind of night.  Everyone got chicken with sauce and pasta, but then we could each add what we wanted, so I had tomatoes and broccoli in mine, Mike went for just broccoli, William added peas to his, so we all got a good meal!

Thursday

Chicken Bacon Ranch Wraps

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 lb bacon

8 soft taco size tortillas

1 pkg ranch dressing mix

Prepared ranch dressing

Cut bacon into small pieces, cook over medium heat until crispy, remove to paper towel lined plate, and set aside.

Trim excess fat and skin from chicken, and cut into small bite sized pieces.  Saute in a few tbsps of the bacon grease over medium heat until cooked through.  Add in 1 pkg ranch dressing mix, mix well until you have a sort of ranch sauce in the pan, remove from heat to serving bowl.

Spoon about 2 – 3 Tbsp chicken into a tortilla, sprinkle over 1-2 Tbsp crispy bacon pieces, squirt on a little bit of prepared ranch dressing and add some shredded cheese if desired (or some leftover onion straws, that was YUMMY!), roll up and serve!

Friday

Five Guys burgers…

Saturday

Meatball Subs

Remember all those meatballs I made last weekend, (2 lbs worth!), well, we still have a few left, so I put them in the crock pot for about an hour with a jar of spaghetti sauce, cooked them on HIGH, and put them on some steak rolls with shredded cheese…  YUM!  And a nice change from our usual Saturday night over-indulgence.

Then we had microwave chocolate chip cookies with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, OH YEAH!  Wish I had gotten a couple of photos… oh well!

Microwave Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 Tbsp melted butter

1 Tbsp white sugar

1 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Egg yolk

3 drops vanilla

Mix these together in a small bowl.

Add in 1/4 cup flour and mix well.

Add in 2 Tbsp chocolate chips and mix again.

Spray a ramekin or small bowl with butter flavor cooking spray, put your cookie dough into this prepared bowl.  Cook on HIGH 50 seconds.  Top with a scoop of ice cream if desired, or whipped cream, or nothing!  They are great by themselves!!

Sunday

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Yes, we had Sunday breakfast, and it was GOOD!

1 3/4 C flour

2 Tbsp sugar

2 Tsp baking powder

1/4 Tsp salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 2/3 cups milk (I like mine a little thinner, the recipe actually called for 1 1/2)

3 Tbsp vegetable oil

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Mix everything together in a large bowl, mix well!

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, about a 4 on my stove.  Pour about 1/2 cup at a time of your batter into the skillet, cook about 1 minute per side, or until golden brown.  Remove to a serving plate, butter while warm, serve with syrup! (and bacon of course!!)

Grilled pork chops

6 boneless skinless pork chops

Everglades original seasoning (the green one)

Preheat your George Foreman grill to MEDIUM.  Sprinkle a little (how much is really up to you, but this stuff is salty!) Everglades seasoning on each side of the chops.  Put 3 at a time onto your grill, and cook until no longer pink inside, and crispy grilled on the outside.  Repeat with the remaining chops, and serve when done!

Stuffing

I made chicken flavor box-mix stuffing, because that’s what I had, and that’s what Mike wanted tonight.  Made to package directions in the microwave while the chops were cooking, worked out well!

Glazed Carrots

1 C frozen crinkle cut carrots

2 Tbsp butter

1/4 C brown sugar

Cook on high about 5 minutes in the microwave, stir and serve!

Peas

Steamed frozen peas, done in the microwave with a little butter, about 5 minutes on high from frozen on about 1 C peas.

Green Beans with Almonds

1 bag frozen cut green beans

4 Tbsp butter cut into pieces

About 3 Tbsp slivered almonds

Put the green beans and butter in a large microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on HIGH 7 minutes.  Add in almonds, let sit while completing the rest of the meal, serve warm!

So that’s it for this week.  I’m off tomorrow, looking forward to having the place mostly to myself, working on my second bead embroidered cuff, started it before I finished the last one, and I’m really excited!  I’ll have some photos later in the week…

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 278 – 284 (Week 41)

October 14, 2012 at 8:26 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again my friends, and welcome back!  Hope you all had an amazing week!  Mine was interesting…

Wish I could say I did a lot of original cooking this past week, but I can’t.  I can, however, say that I did some really good cooking, when I cooked that is.  Had one of those weeks where I had a few nights where I just didn’t have the energy to cook, or to fight with William about trying something new, so I went for cheap-but-tasty take out.  I felt terrible afterwards, not so much physically, but mentally, felt like I let myself and my family down, but some days, you just need to give yourself a break!

Work has been strange.  Got my first permanent employee review coming up, have a couple of co-workers telling my I should get a promotion already (I know I COULD do the job, but I still feel like I have a lot to learn), training a new girl who is doing really well, found out my supervisor is leaving the group and we’re getting a new one.  Not sure how I feel about that last one…  she’s been a thorn in my side some days, but I’ve learned so much from her, I’m going to miss her and not miss her.  I’m sure you’ve all worked with someone like that before, so you know what I mean.

William had an awesome week at school, doing really well on his homework, having a ton of fun with his music classes, thinking about trying out for the soccer team.  Mixed feelings about the soccer…  he’s never really been the outdoorsy type, but then neither was James, and he did marching band and was amazing at it, and I want to encourage William to be more active, maybe this is a good thing?  Need to teach him the right way to put on sunscreen though, that fair skin and red hair, he’ll burn like I do!!

James is James, I never know what he’s doing or when he’s working or how his life is going, he doesn’t talk to me, which really disappoints me.  I feel like maybe I’ve done some things in the past that now he doesn’t want to talk to me, and I had hoped for so much more.  We were best buddies when he was a kid, but I guess I should just be thankful that he talks to his grandparents and I find out what’s going on in his life through them.  It’s still weird…

And I’ve been doing beadwork on my lunch hours at work, so I feel like I’m getting to work and play at the same time.  I finished a bracelet, didn’t take a picture but I will.  I finished the center piece to my first bead embroidery piece, now I just need to finish off the sides and put it on a cuff with some backing.  Bought the backing this weekend, but not ready to sit down with it just yet.  Soon though!  Started another piece, I really like the way it’s going, but I haven’t touched it all weekend.  But boy is it nice to do something I love at lunch time!  It’s so relaxing, and my co-workers are finding out that I do beadwork, and some are already asking about holiday gifts, so maybe I’ll have a little extra cash this Christmas!!

Anyway, you’re here for the food, not the gossip, so let’s get to it!

Monday

Pot Roast

1 beef roast of your choice (I prefer a beef chuck under blade roast, not too much fat, turns out really nice)

1 pkg french onion soup mix

1 quart water

Put all these into a crock pot, stir a little, set on LOW and cook 8-10 hours.  Remove roast to serving platter, allow to rest while you strain about 2-3 cups of the broth into a sauce pan.  Add in brown gravy mix to package directions to make a nice gravy.

The roast should fall apart when you try to cut it, serve it just like that with the gravy!

Broccoli 

1 bag frozen broccoli florets

About 2 Tbsp butter cut into chunks

Put these in a microwave safe bowl with a cover, microwave on HIGH 7 minutes, comes out like fresh steamed broccoli with butter, maybe just a little more tender, but yummy!!

Peas

Microwave Brownies

4 Tbsp flour

4 Tbsp white sugar

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 Tbsp water

Mix all these in a small microwave safe bowl, sprinkle in a couple tablespoons of chocolate chips if you want, or some chopped nuts, or not, it’s up to you!

Microwave on HIGH 1 minute 10 seconds, allow to cool AT LEAST 5 minutes, serve!  You can top this off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you want, we haven’t yet, but it sounds like it would be good!!

Tuesday

Fried Chicken Everglades

3 Boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of excess skin or fat

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/8 cup Everglades seasoning for fish and chicken (the orange one)

1 Tsp fresh ground black pepper

Cut the chicken into nugget sized pieces.

Mix the flour and seasonings in a wide shallow bowl.

Heat about 1/2 cup vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

While that’s heating up, put the chicken into the flour mixture, flipping several times since the first dip coats it, but gets damp again really fast because chicken is damp, so if you dip it again, it gets coated better, and you actually get some of it on the chicken once it’s cooked.

Fry a few pieces at a time, a few minutes on a side, or until done through and crispy brown on the outside.  Remove to paper towel lined serving dish.  Serve when they are all cooked!

Glazed Carrots

Frozen crinkle cut carrots, about 1 cup

1 Tbsp butter

3 Tbsp brown sugar

Put all these into a small microwave safe covered dish, microwave on HIGH 5 minutes, spoon the resulting sauce over the carrots just before serving…  YUM!

Broccoli

1 bag frozen broccoli florets

About 2 Tbsp butter cut into chunks

Put these in a microwave safe bowl with a cover, microwave on HIGH 7 minutes, comes out like fresh steamed broccoli with butter, maybe just a little more tender, but yummy!!

Peas

Wednesday

Jet’s Pizza

If you have one of these in your neighborhood, I HIGHLY recommend it!!

Thursday

Five Guys burgers and fries

Again, if you have one of these in your neighborhood, I HIGHLY recommend it!!

Friday

This was a pat week, so we went out to dinner, after our bi-weekly trip to the comic book store.

Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza

Really good thin crust pizza, not greasy at all, really good Tomato and Mozzarella caprese-style salad.

Saturday

Home Made Meatballs

2 pounds ground beef

1 pound ground Italian sausage

1/2 cup plain bread crumbs

2 Tbsp Italian seasoning

2 eggs

Heat a large skillet over medium to medium-low heat (about a 4 if you have a numbered dial like mine).

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, scoop about 1 Tbsp of this mixture and roll it into a ball, fry until as much as you can get is crispy, they WON’T be done in the middle, but you’re going to put them in the oven for about 15 minutes after they are fried, so they will get done perfectly.

Pizza Muffins

1 can refrigerated biscuits

About 1/4 cup small diced pepperoni

ABout 1/2 cup spaghetti or pizza sauce

Shredded Mozzarella cheese

Spray a muffin pan with butter flavor cooking spray.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Press the biscuits as flat as you can with your fingers.  Put one flattened biscuit into each muffin cup.

Mix the diced pepperoni and the sauce in a small bowl, put about 1 Tbsp in each prepared muffin cup.  Top with about 1/8 cup shredded cheese, bake 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and serve!!

Meatball Muffins

1 can refrigerated biscuits

10 Home Made Meatballs (above)

ABout 1/2 cup spaghetti or pizza sauce

Shredded Mozzarella cheese

Spray a muffin pan with butter flavor cooking spray.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Press the biscuits as flat as you can with your fingers.  Put one flattened biscuit into each muffin cup.

Put about 1 Tbsp sauce in each prepared muffin cup, add in one meatball.  Top with about 1/8 cup shredded cheese, bake 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and serve!!

Pigs in a Blanket

1 can Crescent roll dough

1 Bag beef Little Smokies

Spray a cookie sheet with butter flavor cooking spray.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut each triangle of dough into three smaller triangles, I usually cut off the tip, then cut the remaining piece at an angle, so I end up with three pieces that sort of look alike.  Roll one sausage in each triangle of dough, rolling from the wider end to the narrow end, rolling them sort of like a crescent roll.  Bake about 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.  Serve with your favorite dipping sauce(s).

Chips and Dip

Virginia Light Rolls

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

3 Tbsp honey

2 large eggs

6 Tbsp butter cut into small pieces

3 1/4 cups white bread flour

1 cup 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.  Because you cook the whole pan at one time, it really doesn’t matter if you make big rolls or little rolls, I found this out this weekend.  I made slightly smaller rolls this time, so I got about 30 rolls out of my batch, just as high as the bigger rolls, but a better side dish size.

Cover, let rise for 45 minutes.

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

Just so you know, I made these two weeks ago with twice as much whole wheat flour, and while they tasted amazing, they were really dense and heavy.  This version is much lighter, they rose better, and everyone liked them much better!

Sunday

Grilled Everglades Pork Chops

Super simple…

4 thin cut boneless pork chops

Everglades seasoning (green)

Heat your George Foreman grill to medium, put the chops on, sprinkle with seasoning, close the cover.  Cook 3-4 minutes, flip, sprinkle some more seasoning, close.  Cook another 2-3 minutes or until done.  Serve!

Chicken Pesto Pasta with Bacon

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

8 slices bacon

1 box Dreamfields penne pasta, cooked to package directions

1 container Pesto cooking cream

Trim any excess skin or fat from the chicken, cut into bite sized pieces, sprinkle with a little olive oil, saute in a skillet over medium heat.

At the same time, cut bacon into small pieces, cook until crispy, drain on paper towel.

Add cooking cream to cooked chicken, stir in cooked pasta.  Cook until sauce is melted.

Scoop about 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups pasta and chicken into a bowl, top with bacon, and veggies of your choice, serve!

I put some of the broccoli and bacon on mine, plus I added some chopped cherry tomatoes, SO good!

Broccoli

1 bag frozen broccoli florets

About 2 Tbsp butter cut into chunks

Put these in a microwave safe bowl with a cover, microwave on HIGH 7 minutes, comes out like fresh steamed broccoli with butter, maybe just a little more tender, but yummy!!

Peas

Glazed Carrots

Frozen crinkle cut carrots, about 1 cup

1 Tbsp butter

3 Tbsp brown sugar

Put all these into a small microwave safe covered dish, microwave on HIGH 5 minutes, spoon the resulting sauce over the carrots just before serving…  YUM!

So that’s it for this week, hope you found something you liked!!

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 225 – 228

August 18, 2012 at 10:49 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Yeah, yeah, I’m behind again, but you already knew that, right??  Miss me??  LOL!

What a week!  Work was crazy, but I finally feel like I’m getting a handle on it, but not quite like I’m “one of the gang” yet.  Still feel a little like an outsider.  Loosing another person in a couple weeks, probably getting another new one, too.  It’s like a revolving door!

Got William all set for school, ran into someone I know from a past job, that was kind of cool.

Treated myself to a day out this morning.  Went and got blo0d work done, got my hair trimmed, got my nails and my toes done, went grocery shopping.  What a shopping trip!  Getting ready for back to school lunches, spent over $400 on groceries, but should more than last us two weeks!!

Anyway, it’s movie night, so I’m trying to write this between movies.  We just watched The Hunger Games, and now we’re getting ready to watch Wrath of the Titans.  This could be a very disjointed entry…

Let’s see, Wednesday, we ordered pizza from Jet’s, pepperoni pizza, bacon breadsticks, very good this time!

Thursday was open house at William’s school, we had McDonald’s for dinner.

Friday we went to Five Guys, bacon cheeseburgers, fries, YUM! (and we determined that we are eating out entirely too much!)

And tonight, I made…

Teriyaki Egg Rolls

Egg roll wrappers

1 small head cabbage, shredded

About 6-8 baby carrots, shredded

about 4 Tbsp teriyaki sauce

Diced cooked pork chops

Mix the cabbage, carrots, pork and sauce in a bowl.  Spread about 2 Tbsp of mixture on an egg roll wrapper, fold over bottom, fold in sides, roll towards final tip, dampen tip slightly to seal.  Repeat until you run out of wrappers or filling or both!  Fry in hot oil over medium heat about 3-4 minutes per side.  Serve with your favorite sauce, like sweet and sour, duck sauce or soy sauce.  YUM!

Egg Rolls

Egg roll wrappers

1 small head cabbage, shredded

About 6-8 baby carrots, shredded

about 4 Tbsp soy sauce

Diced cooked pork chops

Mix the cabbage, carrots, pork and sauce in a bowl.  Spread about 2 Tbsp of mixture on an egg roll wrapper, fold over bottom, fold in sides, roll towards final tip, dampen tip slightly to seal.  Repeat until you run out of wrappers or filling or both!  Fry in hot oil over medium heat about 3-4 minutes per side.  Serve with your favorite sauce, like sweet and sour, duck sauce or soy sauce.  YUM!

Egg Roll Bites

Leftover filling from egg rolls

Wonton wrappers

Put about 1 Tsp filling in the middle of a wonton wrapper, dampen two sides, fold over to make a triangle and seal, pinch together two corners so you get sort of a tortellini looking thing, dampen corners so they stick, deep fry until golden brown, serve!

Oh, and I made a cook new sauce to go with the egg rolls…

Home Made Peach Plum Sauce

4 plums, pitted and pureed

2 peaches, pitted and pureed

2 Tbsp vinegar

1 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp dried onion flakes

1 Tsp crushed dried red pepper flakes (or if you don’t have that, a pinch of cayenne pepper)

1 clove garlic, minced (about 1/2 Tsp)

1/2 Tsp ground ginger

Mix everything in a sauce pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool before serving.

So, that’s about it for tonight.  Thinking pot roast for Monday, going to Mom’s tomorrow to get James’ car, having burgers again, but home made this time!

So until Monday probably, eat well, love well, live well!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 196

July 17, 2012 at 9:18 pm (Food) (, , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!!  Hope you had a Terrific Tuesday, I sure did!

Work was work, kind of slow today, but once again I volunteered for something just so I wasn’t sitting at my desk trying to hide the fact that I was watching a movie on my iPod!!  But I would rather be busy any day…

The boys actually did stuff together today, and didn’t kill each other!  WOW!  In fact, they went to Walmart together to fill water jugs, and came home to go back into James’ room to play a video game.  Somehow I think maybe my kids were abducted by aliens and these are their replacements…

Seems like Mike had a good day at work, got home late but I think that was the traffic.  He’s relaxing with a comic book or two right now.

Just finished poking around on Facebook, watching Batman Begins, at the part where Bruce figures out where the bats are coming from, the beginning of the Batcave…

Was thinking about shutting off the computer and working on something crafty when I realized I hadn’t written tonight’s entry here, so here I am!

Dinner tonight was unexpected, and unexpectedly good!  You are going to like this, if you try it…

Everglades Chicken with Apples

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 Granny Smith apple

12 baby carrots

5 green onions

Everglades seasoning for chicken (there are actually different kinds, get the fish/chicken kind for this recipe)

Olive oil cooking spray

Remove excess skin and fat from chicken, cut into small bite sized pieces.  Put into cold skillet, spray with olive oil cooking spray, sprinkle with Everglades seasoning until well coated but not drowning in seasoning.  Mix well.

Cook over medium heat until chicken is about half way done.

While that’s heating up, core the apple, cut into 8 wedges, and cut those into thin small slices.  Set aside.  Cut carrots into thin rounds, set aside.  Remove root ends from onions, cut into rounds from the white end up until the dark green section of the onion.  Disgard any remaining that you don’t have another use for. (I use the greens for flavoring in broth and pot roast)

Once the chicken is about half way done, add this fruit and veggie mixture to the pan, saute chicken and veggies until chicken is done, apple is soft and carrots are crisp-tender.  Because of the juices in the apples, you actually end up steaming the chicken towards the end.

Served this over some reheated left over rice, YUM!!!

That Everglades seasoning has just enough heat that you get a little kick after a few bites, but not so much that you don’t want to eat the meal.  And just enough flavor that you want to keep coming back for more!  Even William liked the chicken, and that’s saying something.  Now if I could just get him interested in the apples and carrots!  Oh well, maybe next time.

Anyway, good meal, just enough left over that I think I have lunch tomorrow, unless Mike eats it for breakfast, LOL!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 187

July 8, 2012 at 7:24 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend!

Mine has been productive, if not overly exciting.  Made a bunch of stuff yesterday, which you’ve already read about if you’re a regular visitor, and cooked some more today, plus got laundry done and the kitchen cleaned up and the grocery shopping done, among other things!

Nothing interesting to report around here today, no big goings-on, just working on a clutch purse for myself, I’ll post a picture when it’s done.  William has a friend over today, same friend he went to Disney with.  Think his parents are out on a date night, so he’s here with us for the evening.  The boys had pizza for dinner, not home made, just Hot N Ready.  They enjoy it, not entirely sure why, but they’re kids!

Mike and I, on the other hand, had roast beef, potatoes, carrots and home made bread!  Here are the recipes for you:

Pot Roast

1 rump roast (this really does seem to be the best cut for my crock pot!) about 2-3 pounds

4 medium potatoes, washed and cut into bite sized pieces

10-12 large baby-cut carrots, washed

3 green onions, green part only, cut into large sections

2 packets beef Flavor Boost

1 – 1 1/2 quarts water

Put potatoes and carrots in the crock pot, top with the roast then the onions.  Mix the Flavor Boost packets into the water, and pour over the meat and veggies.  Cook on LOW 6-7 hours, or HIGH 3-4 hours.  Remove the onion pieces, unless you’re really into onions. We’re not, they are just for flavor for us.  Remove the roast to a serving tray and the potatoes and carrots to a serving bowl.  Scoop out 3 cups of the liquid and transfer to a sauce pan.  Mix in 9 Tbsp brown gravy mix, stirring very well, and heat over medium high until thick and bubbly.  Slice the meat, and serve!!

Honey Oat Bread (1 1/2 pound loaf)

7 1/2 ounces water, 80-90 degrees (a little warm)

3 Tbsp honey

1 cup wheat flour

1 cup bread flour

1 cup old fashioned oats

1 1/2 Tbsp dry milk

1 1/4 Tsp salt

1 1/2 Tbsp butter, cut into quarters

1 1/2 tsp bread machine/fast rise yeast

1) Put water and honey into bread machine pan

2) Add in dry ingredients except yeast.  Tap pan to settle, then level with a spatula and push a little into the corners of the pan.  Put the butter in the corners.

3) Make a small well in the center of the ingredients, add in the yeast.  Lock pan into bread machine.

4) Program for basic/specialty bread and whatever crust color you prefer.  I usually go for medium, unless I’m making bread that I know is really dense, which I would set for dark so I get a crustier bread.  Start machine and leave it alone until it’s done!

Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to cool another 10 minutes before slicing.  Use a bread knife, or you will have a crumby mess!

Serve warm with lots of butter!!

This is a slightly sweet, dense bread, with a nice crust.  It’s going to make a really good breakfast toast tomorrow morning, and it isn’t so sweet that it wasn’t good with dinner, in fact it was really good dipped in gravy.

So that’s it for tonight.  I was thinking about making fruit wontons, but my feet and hips are still sore from being on them so long yesterday making all those egg rolls, so maybe tomorrow night, we’ll see.  Maybe I can talk James into helping, if he’s not working.

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

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