The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 137

May 18, 2012 at 8:15 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you all had a great week, maybe even a Funky Friday, and are looking forward to a fabulous weekend!

This past week was awesome at work, got my own area, learning more from doing than sitting in any class.  I really feel like I’m fitting in, getting into the swing of things.

William had a pretty good week at school, no major issues, not a ton of homework, rode his bike home two days without incidents, spent the other three with a friend.  Thank goodness his mom only works part time and can handle William!  Gotta remember to pay her next week, I’m a little behind.

James had a good week at work, got cleared to go back to regular duty, feeling all better.  Getting a lot of hours, so he’s getting a decent paycheck.  He’s taking my car for the weekend after he gets home tonight, guess I’ll just have to borrow Mike’s if I need to go anywhere!

Mike is feeling much better today.  Think the worst of that stomach bug is over with.  Feel kind of bad that he had to do the liquid diet thing one day, then the “white” diet the next day, but he’s feeling better, so it was worth it.

So tonight, I started the first cooking for the weekend.  Made a big meal that had plenty of leftovers, which is what I plan on doing all weekend so we can get through until payday on Wednesday!  Here’s the first big recipe:

Chicken Spaghetti

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 cans tomato paste

1 packet chicken Flavor Boost

1 quart water

1 Tsp garlic powder

1 Bay leaf

Mix everything except the chicken in the crock pot until you have something that looks more like tomato juice.  Add the chicken, and cook on LOW 8-10 hours.

When you get home in the evening, put on a pot of spaghetti, and while it’s cooking, remove the chicken from the crock pot, shred it, then put it in a sauce pan with a large jar of spaghetti sauce.  Heat just until heated through, since the chicken is already cooked.  Drain the spaghetti, mix the spaghetti and chicken sauce all in the larger pot, and serve by the bowl!  Top with shredded cheese or Parmesan cheese, it’s up to you!!

Three of us ate very well, and I had almost half of it leftover, two meals in one!

Tomorrow, I start on the homemade breads…

Until then, eat well, love well, live well!!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 131

May 12, 2012 at 11:03 pm (Food) (, , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend.  I know I am!!

Slept in a little today, was planning to head to a free shred event at our bank, get rid of all the crap we keep putting off shredding, decided we might be better off playing catch-up on our own.  We came up with a (maybe) cool idea…  William can earn a penny a piece for shredding for us after school.  We’ll have to wait and see how that works out…

Went grocery shopping, Mike went with me, was a nice little trip.  Used a little of my birthday money, picked up my favorite beading thread and a decorate-it-yourself photo cube for my desk.  Been working on it a little today, need to find my rhinestones to add some bling!  Finished another custom order, well, almost finished.  Have one more piece on order, should be here soon, then I can get this order on it’s way.  Made something for my mom for Mother’s Day.  Did some laundry, cleaned up the kitchen, got help from my guys.  Good day all around!

So for dinner, felt like cooking, but nothing too fancy or complicated.  So here we go:

Bacon Ranchburgers

1 Pound thick sliced bacon

1 pound ground chuck

1 egg, lightly beaten

4 Tbsp ranch dressing mix

Fry bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels, set aside.

Mix burger, egg and ranch dressing mix very well, form into however many patties you need.  I did three tonight, because there were only three of us for dinner.  Fry, turning once, until well done and juices run clear when patty is pressed, or about 15 minutes total.

Put each burger on roll of choice, I used potato rolls tonight, top with cheese of choice, bacon slices, and toppings of choice.

There was so much burger and bacon, there just wasn’t really need for side dishes, so we just had popcorn later while watching a movie.

Hope you enjoy this one, it’s GOOD!  And until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 120

April 30, 2012 at 8:15 pm (Food) (, , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you all are having a Marvelous Monday!

What a day!!!  I learned a whole bunch of new things, on the fly, at the new job, which was very cool.  I’m understanding more each day, feeling more relaxed, fitting in a little better each day.

William had a little bit of a rough day, but he’s feeling better since we had dinner and went to scouts.  He made a tool box tonight at scouts, and he just thinks that’s really cool!

James is off to work, in my car again, still getting used to that.  Hopefully he’ll be able to get his car on the road in the next month or so. I know he’s saving up to get his tooth fixed, too, so I guess it’s all about priorities.

Anyway, we had a quick and easy dinner again this week.  Here was the entire menu:

Bacon, crispy

Eggs, scrambled with cheese

Wheat toast with butter

How’s that for a cool dinner!  It would have been McDonald’s again, but I didn’t have a car!  Probably a good thing, we don’t need it.

So, that’s it for Monday.  Until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 109

April 19, 2012 at 10:43 pm (Food) (, , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  I can’t think of a good word to go with Thursday, so I’ll just say hope you are having a great day!

So, the thought of going back to work is sinking in, getting a little nervous, but a little excited, too.  I start Monday, 8AM, and I still have to make concrete plans for William for before and after school.  He’s 11 now, and I think he’s grown up enough to stay home by himself for a couple of hours, but there’s that little part of me that says NO WAY!  James will most likely be home, so it may not be an issue, but there are just some things up in the air still.

I’ve got plenty of “work clothes”, and most of them still fit, so at least I don’t need to go shopping!  Thank goodness since there is no money for that.  Of course, my wonderful mother offered to get me clothes if I needed them, but I think I’m set for now.  And since I make jewelry, I’ve got something to go with every outfit in my stash!!

Speaking of jewelry, I tried something new today, kind of enjoying it now that I’ve sort of figured it out.  I started a bead embroidery piece today, here’s some photos:

This is the point where my shoulder started hurting from bending over the table so long, so I took a break!  I’ll do some more tomorrow…

And I sort of cheated on dinner…  I bought precooked chicken, potatoes, canned corn, canned gravy and here’s what we ended up with:

Chicken Bowls

1 cooked chicken strip, cut into bite sized pieces

1/2 cup prepared mashed potatoes

1/4 cup prepared chicken gravy

1/2 cup cooked corn

1 slice cheddar cheese, or cheese of your choice, OR 1/4 cup shredded cheese of choice

Layer ingredients in bowl as follows:

Potatoes

Cheese

Chicken

Corn

Gravy

Even though everything is supposed to be warm when you start this, you need to microwave the bowl for about 45 seconds just to make sure the cheese melts well.  Then it’s up to you whether or not you mix it all up!  I do, but I know people who insist on leaving it layered when they eat it.  This is our version of a KFC chicken bowl.  Feel free to mix it up, different veggies, different gravy, different cheese, make it your own!

I also picked up some cookies from the Walmart bakery, so I’m off to nibble now.

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 93

April 4, 2012 at 1:02 pm (Food) (, , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Seems like I say that every day…  oh wait, I do!  Need to come up with a new greeting…

Anyway, Tuesday was sort of normal, or as normal as things get around here anyway.  Shuttling kids as usual.  Mike at work as usual.  Me hunting for Easter eggs on a website all day, NOT as usual, but killed a WHOLE day, which still bugs me a bit.  Power went out for about an hour last night, set me off schedule a little, completely forgot to write in here until after I went to bed, so decided I could catch up in the morning instead of getting back up!  So here I am, rested, ready for a new day, catching up…

Dinner was a quick and easy meal, since I had NOTHING thawed out, but sometimes that’s when we get the most creative or inspired.  Not this time, though, went for a tried and trusted recipe with lots of potential for variations, QUICHE!  Here’s the recipe I used this time:

Quick Quiche

2 refrigerated pie crusts

8 eggs

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup water

1 cup shredded cheese

1 cup chopped lunch meat ham

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Unroll pie crusts into glass pie plates, making sure to get them centered.  Any overhang on the edges should be turned inward and used to thicken the edges of your pie shell.  Pinch around the edges to make a decorative edge on your pie crust.  Use a fork to poke small holes all over the bottom and sides of the pie crust.  Bake for 10 minutes and remove.  Cool slightly before filling.

While those are baking, beat eggs, water and cream together in a large bowl.

Once pie shells are partially baked and cooled, wrap tin foil over edges to keep from burning.  Place half the ham and cheese in each pie shell, pour half of egg mixture over ham and cheese, spreading around with a spoon if needed to make sure the ham and cheese are all covered. (you can also add some veggies if you like at this point, just make sure the egg covers everything!)  Place on cookie sheet and put in oven.  Cook 30 minutes, then remove foil and cook another 10 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Serve with salad, soup, or just by itself!

My kids like this one because it’s all their favorite stuff, but I like that it’s so versatile.

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 82 83 and 84

March 25, 2012 at 11:21 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!

I know, I know, I was incognito for a couple of days, but it was SO worth it!  Had a really cool weekend with my scouts, went to an event instead of planning badge related things for them all day, and they all really enjoyed themselves.  If you are in the Tampa Bay area this time of year next year, check out Planes, Trains and Automobiles at the Plant City Airport.  It’s a nice day out, very family friendly, food isn’t completely unreasonably priced (hot dogs for $2, icees the same for small ones, sodas for $1…  definitely cheaper than the fair!), and kids between 6 and 17 get a free airplane ride if you don’t mind waiting a while.  Plus, if you have a Boy Scout (not a Cub Scout, sorry), they can do activities to earn a merit badge.  Classic car show, with prizes.  Model airplane show, R/C mostly, from tiny little 6″ planes to 5′ long, or more!  And model trains!  Here are just a few photos….

So, on this little weekend adventure, I still managed to at least HELP cook some things, and William and I cooked for ourselves Friday night and Sunday morning, then he helped me make dinner tonight, so I’ve got a couple of outdoors things for you, and two oven dishes as well.  Here they are in order…

Friday night:

Chicken Sausage over an open flame, literally Johnsonville chicken sausages, cooked in William’s mess kit on my Sterno stove.  Sliced up and served warm, with fruit snacks and chips on the side, plus Cranberry-Pomegranate juice, which William has now decided is his favorite!  We also did standard S’mores over the campfire, but I think everyone already knows this ooey-gooey marshmallow, chocolate and graham cracker treat!

Saturday:

Breakfast – egg, cheese and potato burritos, made from Scramblers ready made packets that we cooked in boiling water on a camp stove instead of in the microwave.  Could have been hotter, but it’s just so hard to tell when you’re cooking this way!  William and I packed sandwiches, cheese sticks and fruit snacks for our lunch at the event, rather than buying a bunch of food, but we did get fresh squeezed lemonade and Rita’s Italian Ice, and of course a big bag of kettle corn to bring home.  Dinner was a group meal for all the scouts, spaghetti with meat sauce, garlic bread and green beans.  Each parent brought something to contribute, I brought the pasta, and cooked it on a camp stove, never done that before, so I guess that counts!  Also helped make the garlic bread on a griddle on the camp stove, that was interesting.  Then, the coolest new treat on the block, sort of like S’mores, but better!  Toasted marshmallow sandwiched between two candy chip (M&M) cookies!  YUM!!!  Thanks Ms. Lisa for that idea!!!

Sunday:

Breakfast, also using William’s mess kit and my Sterno stove, we had ham, egg and cheese scrambled together, almost an omelette, but better, the last of the cranberry-pomegranate juice, and some powdered donuts.  Not the healthiest breakfast, but it helped us get through packing up all that wet dirty camping gear without hurting each other, so it was all good!

Came home, unloaded and unpacked stuff, laid out the tents, tarps and chairs to dry (it rained overnight, a LOT), got some laundry going, and sort of snacked instead of having a real lunch.  BUT, William and I made dinner, his way:

Pigs in a Blanket

About half a package Little Smokies (maybe a little more than half)

1 can crescent roll dough

Unroll dough onto a flat surface, separate triangles, cut each triangle into three smaller triangles, roughly the same shape as the original.  Roll one Little Smoky in each triangle and place on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 11-13 minutes (my oven took 12) or until golden brown on the edges.  Serve with dipping sauce of your choice!  We like ranch, BBQ, ketchup or salsa.

Ham and Cheese Crescents

1 can crescent roll dough

4 slices cheddar cheese

8 slices lunchmeat ham

Unroll crescent roll dough, separate into triangles.  Cut slices of cheese diagonally, and place on crescent rolls so that they roughly align with the shape of the rolls.  Arrange ham slices so that they will fit into rolls when rolled, and then roll up just like you would if making regular crescents.  Bake at 375 degrees 11-13 minutes or until golden brown (my oven actually took 15 minutes for this one).  Serve warm!

So, that was our busy weekend!  Hope you had a great one, too!  Until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 80

March 22, 2012 at 12:06 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , )

Hello again my friends, and welcome back!  Happy to have you here!

Well, it was an interesting day…  the usual running around, getting William to and from school, getting James to and from work, but between the to and the from, I took a three hour nap!  I NEVER take naps, unless I’m sick, but I was just absolutely exhausted.  Guess pulling weeds yesterday took more out of me than I thought.  I woke up sore all over, then the whole nap thing, but I’m much better now.

Anyway, I went for a quick and easy dinner, just because I forgot to take anything out of the freezer last night.  So here’s what we had:

Garden Quiche

1 refrigerated pie crust

3 eggs

1 cup half and half

1/2 cup shredded cheese

Veggies of your choice – tonight I used about 10 cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters, about 1/4 cup chopped green and orange peppers mixed

Meat of your choice – tonight I used cooked crumbled sausage, about 1/2 pound precooked weight.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Put pie crust into GLASS pie plate, prick bottom of crust with a fork and cook 10 minutes unfilled.  Remove from oven and cool while you mix your filling.

Mix eggs, half and half, shredded cheese in a medium bowl.  Place veggies and meat in the bottom of your pie crust, cover with egg mixture.  Cook at 425 degrees 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook 40-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve!

Meat Quiche

1 refrigerated pie crust

3 eggs

1 cup half and half

1/2 cup shredded cheese

1/2 pound sausage, cooked and crumbled

1/4 pound lunch meat ham, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Put pie crust into GLASS pie plate, prick bottom of crust with a fork and cook 10 minutes unfilled.  Remove from oven and cool while you mix your filling.

Mix eggs, half and half, shredded cheese in a medium bowl.  Place meats in the bottom of your pie crust, cover with egg mixture.  Cook at 425 degrees 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook 40-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve!

Sausage Omelette

5 eggs

1/2 cup half and half

1/2 cup shredded cheese

1/2 pound sausage, cooked and crumbled

Preheat large skillet over medium heat.  Spray pan with butter flavor cooking spray.  Mix eggs and half and half in a medium bowl, pour into pan, and allow to cook almost completely before adding cheese and sausage.  When egg mixture is browned on the bottom and almost down through, sprinkle with cooked sausage and cheese, and using two spatulas, fold in half.  Cook about 2-3 minutes, turn over and cook another 2-3 minutes, or until eggs are done through.  Serve!  (We actually cut this into 4 pieces so everyone got some, and with the other food, it was more than enough!)

We also had a nice fresh salad!

Sorry, no photos tonight, I forgot!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 75

March 17, 2012 at 3:01 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again, and welcome back!!  So glad you could join me on this little adventure!  🙂

So, here we are again, Friday night, burger night to appease my youngest, but it’s getting BORING!  I’m getting tired of trying to come up with “new” things to do with burgers, so I switched it up just a little…  TURKEY burgers!  And, much as I hate to admit it, they were good.  I expected dry, boring, tasteless lumps, but they actually had flavor, and it was a good flavor.  I picked Jennie-O brand because I had a coupon (gotta love those coupons!), and because it’s a name I know and trust.  Their deli turkey is really good, and reasonably priced compared to all the other brands out there, plus their turkey roasts are really good, actual turkey not turkey flavored jello, or whatever those other folks use.

Anyway, I did turkey burgers on the George Foreman grill, made bacon to go on top, and set out all the fixin’s like three different kinds of cheese, ketchup, mustard, mayo, relish.  Had some leftover cole slaw from Thursday’s failed BBQ experiment, fresh steamed broccoli, Great Value chips.  All in all, a decent meal!

And, to end the night on a very positive note, I made coffee cakes (yes, plural) for dessert.  I had to hunt around for a recipe for Bisquick coffee cake, seems it’s NOT on the box any more (BOO!), but I got one, plus I improvised a little, so here we go:

Bisquick Coffee Cake

Dough

2 Cups Bisquick mix

2/3 cup milk or water

1 egg

2 Tbsp sugar

Topping

1/3 Cup Bisquick

1/3 Cup packed brown sugar

1/4 Tsp cinnamon

2 Tbsp butter, melted

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Grease 8″ or 9″ square baking pan.  You can do this in a round if you want, but sometimes it comes out overdone around the edges.  Square really does work better!

Mix together dough ingredients, spread into prepared pan.

Mix together topping ingredients with a fork.  If you want it a little drier, add a little more brown sugar and Bisquick.  I like it moist rather than crumbly.  Drop small pieces of topping all over cake, press into cake, or drag a knife through topping and dough to mix in a little.  Either way works well!

Bake 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Mine was EXACTLY 25 minutes.

Oh, and in my second cake, I mixed a diced nectarine into the dough.  I was going to do apple, but we were out, so I used what I had!  It turned out really well!!  Here are some other ideas for possible mix-ins:

Diced apples

Pineapple tidbits

Diced peaches

Chopped nuts, pecans or walnuts would work well

Sorry, no pictures today, I forgot!  Saturday is movie night, munchies night, so I’ll make sure to take lots of pics…

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 61

March 3, 2012 at 11:43 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , )

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

Well, Friday night is burger night, until I can convince William otherwise, so here’s what I did:

Ground round mixed with about 1/4 cup of Worchestershire sauce and about 1/2 a cup of plain bread crumbs, plus salt and pepper, cooked on the electric griddle.  Served on toast with choice of cheese and toppings.  Plus a side of both potato fries and sweet potato fries.

Simple, relatively quick, and easy.

I know, burgers are getting a little boring, working on that…

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 55

February 26, 2012 at 12:52 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!

Feeling much better tonight, so I cooked!!!  And it was fun, tasty, and popular!!  WOO HOO!  Everyone got something they liked, which is always a challenge around here…  So here’s the menu:

Taco Muffins

1 Pkg canned biscuits (I used Great Value, of course), 10 biscuits per can

1 pound ground chuck

2/3 cup cold water

1/4 cup taco seasoning

1/4 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese (again, I used Great Value brand)

Butter flavor cooking spray

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray 10 muffin cups with cooking spray.  Flatten the biscuit dough with your fingers, make it as flat as you can, and place it in a muffin cup.  It should cover most of the way up the sides of the cup.

Brown the ground chuck, drain excess fat, add in water and taco seasonings.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes or until sauce is thickened.  Spoon meat mixture into biscuit lined cups, should use up as much of the meat mixture as possible without overflowing cups, might have a few tablespoons left over.  Top with shredded cheese, using all the cheese across all the muffins.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and biscuit cup is browned.  Serve!

Sausage Sandwiches

1 roll crescent dough

1/2 pound Italian sausage, skins removed

2 slices Provolone cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line baking pan with parchment paper.  Unroll crescent dough on lined pan.  Break into four rectangles, pinching diagonal seams together.

Brown sausage, separating into small (less than bite sized) pieces, make sure it’s cooked through.

Split cheese slices in half, place one half slice on one end of each dough rectangle.  Top with a couple spoonfuls of cooked sausage.  Fold over dough into shorter rectangles, seal edges by pressing with a fork all the way around.  (You can also add a couple spoonfuls of spaghetti sauce if you want, but I didn’t this time.)

Bake at 400 degrees 15-18 minutes. Serve with dipping sauce!

Apple Pie Bites

1 pkg rolled pie crust

1/2 can apple pie filling

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tsp cinnamon

3 Tbsp melted butter

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

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

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

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

Hope you all enjoyed one or all of these recipes!  We certainly did!!  🙂

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

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