The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza day 348-365 (week 51 & 52)

December 30, 2012 at 11:51 pm (Food, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!!

Well, we made it through the year, made some new friends along the way, and had some fun!  I’ve really enjoyed trying out new recipes, sharing them with you, and sharing the little ordinary goings-on of our family with you.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the tidbits as well as the food, and found some cool new things to try!!  I know I’ve tried things I never thought I would, and found out I actually LIKE curry!

So here’s our final entry for this blog for this year.  I’ve got a BUNCH of recipes for you, some simple, some not-so-much, but all well worth the effort.  I hope to continue this food blog in 2013, but I don’t think I’m going to focus as much on doing something new every day like this on started out, I think I’m going to try new things every weekend and share those adventures.  Gives me more time to work on my two new blog ideas….

Here are my two new blog ideas for 2013, I’m going to give them a shot and see where they take me.  I’m going to start a new blog doing some product reviews, starting with some of the things I got for Christmas, and then I’m going to have a second blog about jewelry making, share some things I’ve tried, maybe try my hand at doing a tutorial or two on some basic techniques.  Could be fun!  Hope you’ll join me!!

Working names, please let me know what you think!:

Ramblings Meets Reviews!

Nirvana Bay Designs Presents:

So, on to the food….

Chicken Everglades

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (or however many you need to feed your crew)

Everglades original seasoning (green)

Fresh ground pepper

Trim any excess skin or fat from the chicken breasts, cut into small bite sized pieces.  Spray a large skillet with olive oil cooking spray, heat over medium heat, add in chicken.  Sprinkle liberally with Everglades seasoning and pepper, I think I use about 2 Tbsp for 2-3 chicken breasts.  More than that is way too salty, but less is sort of bland!  Cook chicken, stirring frequently, until done through.  Serve with sides of your choice!  I usually go for some steamed veggies and maybe some biscuits.

Pork Chops Everglades

4-5 boneless thick cut pork chops

Everglades original seasoning (green)

Fresh ground pepper

Trim any excess fat from the chops, and cut into small bite sized pieces.  Spray a large skillet with olive oil cooking spray, heat over medium heat, add in pork.  Sprinkle liberally with Everglades seasoning and pepper, I think I use about 2 Tbsp for 4-5 chops.  More than that is way too salty, but less is sort of bland!  Cook pork, stirring frequently, until done through.  Serve with sides of your choice!  I went for some rice this time, and some steamed veggies.

Nachos

1 pound ground beef

2/3 cup water

1/4 cup taco seasoning mix

Tortilla chips

1 cup shredded taco blend cheese

1/2 cup salsa (I use mild)

Chopped black olives (optional)

Chopped green pepper (optional)

Brown ground beef in a large skillet, drain excess fat.  Add in water and taco seasoning, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes.

Arrange tortilla chips on a plate, top with seasoned beef, shredded cheese, and any other toppings you like, everything except the salsa at this point!   Microwave about 1 minute, maybe just a little more or less depending on your microwave, just until cheese melts.  Top with salsa, sour cream, or ranch dressing and serve!

Cheddar Sausage Biscuits

P1060031

3 cups Bisquick

1 pound bulk pork sausage (I used mild, and wish I had used medium!)

4 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup milk

1/2 tsp dried Rosemary leaves

1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh parsley or 1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes

BBQ sauce or Ranch dressing or chili sauce, whatever you like for dipping!

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray bottom and sides of jelly roll pan with olive oil cooking spray.

Stir together all ingredients, mix VERY well.  I had to get in there with my hands to get it mixed right.  Shape into 1 inch balls, a cookie scoop works really well for this, wish I had had one when I was doing this!  Place in pan, right up against each other, but don’t squish them together.

Bake 25 minutes or until brown and slightly crispy.  Remove from pan to paper towel lined platter.  Serve warm with dipping sauce.

Makes about 8 dozen balls.

Corn Pudding

1 can creamed corn

1 cup milk

2 tbsp flour

2 tbsp butter, melted

1/4 cup sugar

3 eggs

Dash of salt

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Beat eggs, sugar and flour together.  Add corn, butter, salt and milk.  Pour into buttered (or in my case, butter flavor cooking sprayed) 13″ x 9″ dish.  Bake at 325 degrees approximately 50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

NOTE: if you double this recipe, you will have to cook it about an extra 20-30 minutes for the center to set right.

Oatmeal Scotchies

P1060098

1 stick plus 6 tbsp butter, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

3 cups oats (Quick cooking or not, doesn’t really matter, but the consistency of the cookie IS different.  I prefer regular over quick oats)

1 cup butterscotch chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter, add in sugars and mix well.  Add in eggs and vanilla, mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt.  Slowly add to butter mixture, mix well.

Add in oats and chips, you will have to switch to a spoon rather than a mixer at this point, it gets really thick! (at least I do…  my little hand mixer won’t handle it…)

Dropped by tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes.

OR, spread into a buttered (or sprayed) 13″ x 9″ pan, bake 30 – 35 minutes, cool and cut into bars.

Bulgar Breakfast Squares

2 cups cooked Bulgar wheat (1 cup uncooked = 2 cups cooked)

2/3 cup milk (or fat free half and half!)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 Tbsp melted butter

1 Tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup dried bananas

1/2 cup dried blueberries

1/2 cup dried cherries

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

First tip, put the dried fruit in with the Bulgar when you cook it, just add about 1/4 cup extra water, softens them up nicely.

Combine everything, spread into a greased (sprayed) 8″ x 8″ baking pan, cover with tin foil, bake 30 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly before trying to cut, serve warm.

You can also prepare this in advance, cool completely, cut into squares and reheat in a microwave.

Snowballs

P1060103

1 cup butter, softened but not melted

1/4 cup sugar

2 cups ground pecans

2 cups sifted flour

1 box confectioners sugar

Heat oven to 300 degrees.

Cream butter.  Add sugar, pecans and flour.  Mix well.  Dough will be VERY stiff.

Shape into tablespoon size balls, again a cookie scoop would have come in very handy here, but I didn’t have one yet.

Place on UNGREASED cookie sheet, bake 45 minutes at 300 degrees.

Remove from oven and immediately roll in confectioners sugar.  Set out to cool on waxed paper over newspaper (to protect your surface!).  Roll again in confectioners sugar when cooled.    Store in a sealed container.

Tollhouse Cookies

P1060102

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 large eggs

1 10 ounce package chocolate chips

1 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

In one bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.

In another bowl, cream butter, add sugars, vanilla and eggs, mix well.

Gradually add in flour mixture.

Gently stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop by rounded tablespoons (cookie scoop!) onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 9 – 11 minutes.

OR, do like I did and spread it all into a greased pizza pan, bake 20 – 25 minutes, cool in pan, cut into wedges with a pizza cutter.

Ham and Cheese Quiche

1 frozen pie crust

3 large eggs

1 cup half and half (fat free, of course)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 cup diced ham

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Place pie crust in glass pie plate.  Prick bottom and sides, bake 10 minutes to set.  Remove from oven and cool.

Sprinkle ham and cheese in cooled crust.  Mix eggs, milk and spices in mixing bowl.  Pour over ham and cheese.  Bake 10 minutes at 425 degrees.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees, bake another 30 – 40 minutes, depending on your oven, or until puffy and lightly browned.  Cool about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Chicken and Pasta

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces

Olive oil cooking spray

1 Tbsp garlic powder

2 Tsp Italian seasoning blend

Salt and pepper to taste

Spaghetti sauce

Dreamfields Penne pasta, cooked to package directions

Grated Parmesan cheese

Spray skillet with cooking spray, heat over medium heat.  Add in chicken and spices, cover, stir frequently to cook through.  Drain off excess liquid.

P1060108

P1060112

P1060110

P1060111

Add sauce and chicken to pasta, serve topped with a little Parmesan!

P1060113

Crockpot Chili

2 pounds ground beef, browned and drained

3 cans red kidney beans

1 large can diced tomatoes

1 can tomato sauce

1 diced green pepper

2 Tbsp onion flakes

2 pkgs chili seasoning

Salt and pepper to taste

P1060114

Top with a little shredded cheese, sour cream, whatever YOU like on your chili!!

So I think that’s enough for now…

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

Advertisements

Permalink Leave a Comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday

Chicken and Sausage

3 Boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 rope smoked sausage

1 Jar tomato basil spaghetti sauce

1 Tbsp garlic powder

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

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

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

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

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

We had some steamed broccoli on the side…

Microwave Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 Tbsp melted butter

1 Tbsp white sugar

1 Tbsp brown sugar

3 drops vanilla

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup flour

2 Tbsp chocolate chips

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

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

Bacon Egg and Cheese casserole

12 eggs

1/2 cup Parmesan

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

1/2 cup shredded cheddar

1/2 cup half and half (fat free)

1 pound bacon, cut into small pieces and cooked crisp

Salt and pepper to taste

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

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

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

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

Tuesday

Curry Chicken

5 boneless skinless chicken thighs

1/2 package Golden Curry seasoning mix

1 cup water

Salt and pepper to taste

Left over rice

1 cup frozen peas

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

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

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

Wednesday

Mexican night!!

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

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

Quesadilla

Flour tortillas

Ground beef

Taco seasoning

Water

Shredded cheese

Butter flavor cooking spray

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

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

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

Thursday

Left Overs

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

Friday

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

Saturday

Pepperoni Pizza Muffins

Mini Pineapple Pizzas

These sort of go together…

2 cans refrigerated biscuits, flattened

1 jar pizza sauce

1 bag pepperoni

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

1 bag shredded Italian blend cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Spray a muffin pan with butter flavor cooking spray.

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

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

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

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

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

Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Serve!

Mini Apple Pies

2 cans crescent roll dough

1 can apple pie filling

1/8 cup sugar

2 Tbsp cinnamon

1/2 Tsp vanilla

Butter flavor cooking spray

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

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

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

Sunday

Chicken and Dumplings…  sort of

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

So here’s what I cooked:

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 packets chicken Flavor Boost

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

1 1/2 quarts water

1 cup frozen peas

1 pkg frozen dumplings

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

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

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

And now, some random photos for you…

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

Here’s William.

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

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

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

 

Permalink 2 Comments

The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 244 – 249 (week 36)

September 8, 2012 at 8:52 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!!  Hope you all had a great week…

Crazy week at work, had to finish up closing out the month of August, but everyone pulled together and pulled it off.

William had a great week at school!  Finished up his antibiotics today, really loving having all these teachers in middle school, loving his guitar classes and learning a song by his favorite band, Green Day, just way too cool!!!

Mike had a pretty good week at work, he’s been taking antibiotics, too, so he’s feeling better.  Still tired, but better.  Busy at work, which is a good thing, it’s kinda rough when he’s not busy!  He gets bored so easily…  sounds like William!

I think James had a good week, got called in to work some extra hours, cut the grass for us (looks nice), off at his girlfriend’s like every other weekend.  Between work and girlfriend, we almost never see him, but he’s been really helping with William, getting him to and from school almost every day so we don’t have to pay for after school care, very cool!

Anyway, on to the food, that is why we’re here, right?  I’ve been keeping notes so I don’t forget what we had each night…  yeah, Fibromyalgia is like that, if I don’t write it down, I really do forget!  So here we go!

Monday

Went to a birthday party for William’s best friend, Noah, so we kind of “ate out”…  Hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans, chips and dip, potato salad, home made cake, YUM!!!

Tuesday

Chicken Pesto Pasta

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

1 box Dream Fields penne pasta

1 container Philadelphia pesto flavor cooking cream

1 cup frozen peas

Cook pasta to package directions, drain.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add chicken, and cook until no longer pink.  Drain any excess fluid.  Add in peas and cook until heated through.  Add cooking cream, heat until cream is well melted, stirring frequently.  Add in pasta and serve!

Wednesday

Frozen taquitos (had a Thirty One party to go to, so dinner had to be quick and easy!)

Thursday

Coconut Curry Chicken

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/2 package Golden Curry spice mix

1 can coconut milk

2 packets Flavor Boost chicken flavor

Rice

Place chicken breasts, coconut milk, 1 packet Flavor boost, curry spices, and 2 cans water in crock pot.  Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours.

About 30 – 45 minutes before ready to serve, add water, 1 packet flavor boost and rice to rice cooker per cooker’s instructions, and cook until cooker says it’s done.

Remove chicken from crock pot, shred.

If desired, cook your choice of veggie to go with this dish.  We usually do broccoli for the grown ups and peas for William, nothing different this time.

Put about 1 cup rice in a bowl, add about 1/2 a shredded chicken breast to the bowl, add in about 1/2 cup of your veggie, top with a little bit of the juice from the crock pot, sort of like a sauce, and serve!  If you wanted, you could even take some of the juices from the crock pot, add a little yogurt and flour and make an actual sauce out of it, might have to try that next time!

Friday 

We ordered pizza from Jet’s, sort of a treat, and boy, was it good!

Saturday

I’ve spent the better part of the day creating yummy yummy stuff today!  Lots of recipes to share!!!

Asian Style Pork Roast

2-3 pound pork loin roast

5 tropical fruit cups in juice

About 3-4 Tbsp soy sauce

2 Tbsp minced garlic

2 Tsp ground ginger

Place the roast in the bottom of the slow cooker.  Add in everything else, stir a little, cook on LOW 6-7 hours.  Remove roast from pot to serving tray.  Pour juice and fruit into a blender and LIQUIFY, use as a sauce for the pork, it’s pretty good!  Slice roast and serve with a side of sauce.

This turned out SUPER tender!

 

Cheesy Bacon Ranch Bread (from http://www.thecountrycook.net)

1 round loaf sourdough bread

2 cups shredded cheese (I used colby jack mixed cheese)

About 1 pound bacon, cut into small pieces and cooked until crisp

1/2 cup butter, melted

About 2-3 Tbsp dry ranch dressing mix

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

Using a sharp bread knife, cut the bread going in both directions but don’t cut all the way through the bottom.

Place your bread on a large piece of aluminum foil (this will make it easier to wrap it up later).

Place shredded cheese in between the slices. Really pack it in there as best you can.

 

Now add in bacon (as little or as much as you like).  We LOVE bacon, so I used a whole pound!  Do your best to get in between the slices.

Now take 1 tbsp. dry ranch dressing mix and add it to the melted butter. You can add more dry mix if you like a stronger ranch taste. Give it all a good stir until combined. Pour or spoon the butter mixture over top of the bread.

Now wrap the whole thing up in aluminum foil and place on baking sheet.

Bake at 350F degrees for 15 minutes. Unwrap from the foil and bake for another 10 minutes (or until the cheese is melted).

And then dig in while warm!

 

Home Made Cinnamon Rolls

Dough                                                                                                                                                Filling

3/4 cup warm milk                                                                                                                        1/3 cup butter, softened

1 large egg                                                                                                                                         1/3 cup sugar

3 cups bread flour                                                                                                                         2 Tsp cinnamon

3 Tbsp sugar                                                                                                                                   1/2 Tsp nutmeg (optional)

1/2 Tsp salt                                                                                                                                     1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

4 Tbsp butter

1 1/2 Tsp bread machine yeast

Add warm milk and egg to bread machine pan.  Add in flour, sugar and salt.  Tap pan to settle, and push a little of the dry ingredients into the corner of the pan.  Place butter in corners of pan.  Make a little well in the center, add in the yeast.

Set the bread machine to DOUGH, put the pan in the machine, and hit start.

On my machine, this is a 1 hour 20 minute cycle.  Yours could be different!

When done, remove dough to a floured surface, kneed about 1 minute, cover, let rise about 15 minutes.

Roll out dough to about 15 inches by 1- inches.

Spread softened butter onto dough, top with sugar and cinnamon mixture (with nutmeg and nuts if you go that route!), roll as tightly as you can starting on a longer edge.  Press edge to seal as best you can.  Using a sharp knife or long piece of dental floss, cut into roughly 1 inch pieces, you should get about 12.  Place each roll into a greased 13″ x 9″ pan, almost touching next roll.  Cover and let rise 30 – 45 minutes.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes.  Cool in pan 10 – 15 minutes.

Top with icing made with 1 cup powdered sugar, 1-2 Tbsp milk and 1/2 tsp vanilla and serve!

I haven’t iced these yet, but we aren’t having them until tomorrow morning.

 

Chocolate Fillers  (from the back of a Log House chocolate chips bag)

3/4 cup butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 Tsp salt

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup quick oats

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter, brown sugar and salt.  Blend in flour and oats until crumbly.  Press about 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of a 13″ x 9″ pan.  Heat condensed milk and chocolate chips in a sauce pan until smooth.  Pour over base in dish, spreading to the edges.  Top with remaining crumbs, press lightly.

Bake 30 – 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Cut into however many pieces you want, I went with about 12 bars.

VERY good!!

Anyway, that’s it for now.  Not sure what I’m making tomorrow, but I had so much fun today, I just might have to cook again tomorrow!!

Oh, and while I was waiting on various machines to do their thing, I made some jewelry…

I finally finished this one, started it months ago but wasn’t sure where I was going with it until I found these cool plastic spike beads, then it all sort of came together!  It’s a pin/pill bottle necklace.

Another one I started a couple weeks ago, did the wire wrapping/beading around the outside edge today.

And made this from start to finish today.  Some cool aluminum chain, lots of little crystals and some cook brass coins, and viola, pretty  earthy bracelet!

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

Permalink 2 Comments

The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 210

July 31, 2012 at 9:16 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!

Gonna tell you right up front, this is going to be a really short post!  I’m watching the USA women’s gymnastics team winning their gold medal (yeah, I know they won, now I want to see it!), so I won’t be typing very long!!

Busy, busy, busy at work, stressed out when I got home, but now I’m nice and relaxed!

Boys did some chores for me, Mike is off to Orlando for the week, the cat has been in my face since I walked in the door, which on one hand makes me nuts, and on the other hand, I know I’m loved!!  🙂

Anyway, quick and easy dinner tonight.  It doesn’t have a “name”, but everyone liked it!

Rice made in the rice cooker…

Kielbasa cut into tiny wedges…

Frozen peas…

Fry the Kielbasa in a large skillet about 8-10 minutes or until almost done.  Add in the peas, and continue to cook another 8-10 minutes, or until the peas are hot crisp tender.

Put about 1 cup rice in a bowl, top with about 1/3 of the sausage and peas, serve!  Mix it up a little in the bowl, YUM!

AND, I had leftover rice, made rice pudding in the crock pot.  Not very “puddingy”, but tasty…

Rice Pudding

5 cups cooked rice

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 can evaporated milk

1 Tsp vanilla extract

1 Tsp cinnamon

2 eggs, beaten

2 Tbsp butter

Put everything in the crock pot, mix VERY well, heat on LOW about 2 hours or until rice has absorbed all the liquid, serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top! YUMMM!!!

So, that’s it, gonna go watch Olympics, until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!!

Permalink Leave a Comment

The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 159

June 10, 2012 at 8:42 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Happy Sunday!  Hope you’ve all had a great weekend, full of fun and family and good food!!  Welcome back!  🙂

Sunday’s around here are usually pretty quiet, and today was no exception.  Thought about going to a movie, slept in until 10:30 instead.  Finished up laundry, cleaned up the kitchen, did a little cooking, read the comics and clipped coupons.  Mike played video games with William for a little while.  William wanted to go visit a friend, but the family is out of town.  Nothing spectacular, nothing exciting, but a nice day around the house.

So here are a couple of recipes for you:

Home Made Granola

5 cups oats (I prefer old fashioned, but you can use quick if you want)

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp allspice

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

3/4 cup sugar free maple syrup sweetened with Splenda

3/4 cup honey

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla

Mix all dry ingredients in a BIG bowl.  Set aside.  Mix all wet ingredients in a medium bowl, mixing until it looks sort of creamy instead of like syrup.  I used a whisk for just a minute or two.  Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, mix VERY well.  It gets really hard after a minute or so, take a break, then mix some more.  It’s worth it!

Pour into a baking pan with sides, like a broiler pan or a cake pan, making sure the granola is not more than 1/2″ deep, break up large pieces as much as you can, spread it out.  Dark pans cook faster, try not to use them unless you have to.  I used to keep foil pans around just for this, but storing them got out of hand.  Split the batch over a couple of pans if you have to just to make sure it’s not too deep or squished to tightly in the pans, it won’t cook right.  It needs to be loose and not too deep in the pans.

Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour total, stirring every 15 minutes, breaking up bigger pieces, and making sure the batch isn’t getting too dark too quickly.  If you do have to use dark pans, cook about 10 minutes less.

Remove from oven and cool.  At this point, you can add raisins or chocolate chips before packing it up, or you can leave it plain.  You can serve in a cup, in a bag, or in a bowl with milk for breakfast.  You can use this granola to top off yogurt or ice cream.  It makes enough so you can do whatever you want with it!

Store in sealed containers up to two weeks.  Does not need to be refrigerated.

Oriental Seasoned Rice

Rice cooker (imperative!)

Rice

Water

Chicken flavor Flavor Boost, 1 packet

2 Tbsp Soy sauce

1 Tsp ground ginger

Fill bowl of rice cooker to the “4” mark.  Add in the chicken flavoring, the soy sauce and the ginger, mix well.  Using the scoop that came with your cooker, measure in 4 scoops of rice.  Turn on the cooker, when it’s done, serve!

We had this tonight with grilled pork chops, steamed broccoli with butter and steamed peas with butter.

So that’s it for tonight!  Gonna go relax with the family for a while…

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

 

Permalink Leave a Comment

The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 97

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

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

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

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

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

1 pound ground beef

about 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 can cream of mushroom soup

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

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

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

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

Bake at 400 degrees for 14-16 minutes.

Remove from muffin pan using a spoon, serve!

Taco Meat Muffins

1 pound ground beef

about 1/4 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese

2/3 cup water

1/4 cup taco seasoning mix

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

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

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

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

Bake at 400 degrees for 14-16 minutes.

Remove from muffin pan using a spoon, serve!

Crab Wraps

About 1 cup imitation crab meat

2 Tbsp garlic powder

2 Tbsp butter

1 can refrigerated crescent roll dough

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

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

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

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

Apple Pie Bites

1 pkg rolled pie crust

1/2 can apple pie filling

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tsp cinnamon

3 Tbsp melted butter

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

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

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

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

 Meat muffins

Crab wraps

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

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

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

Permalink 2 Comments

The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 89

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

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

Good news all over the place today!!

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

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

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

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

Egg Salad

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

2 Tbsp mayonnaise

1 Tsp yellow mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

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

 

Apple Pie Bites

1 pkg rolled pie crust

1/2 can apple pie filling

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tsp cinnamon

3 Tbsp melted butter

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

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

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

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

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

Permalink Leave a Comment

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!!

Permalink Leave a Comment

The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 72

March 13, 2012 at 11:26 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  It’s been a really good day, and I’m so happy I can share it with you!!

Busy day, taking care of sick William, shuttling James back and forth to work, and finishing up my first entry for the FiremountainGems seed bead contest for this year.  It turned out really nice, and I’m very happy with it, but I’m also sure it won’t win because every year, it’s a beed embroidery project that wins, not a woven piece like mine, but at least I’m trying!  I keep thinking about trying bead embroidery, I even went so far as to glue the focal beads to a backing, but I’ve never started the bead work.  One of these days…

Anyway, here’s the finished project, entry number 1:

And now for the recipes!

Pork Roast with Potatoes

3-4 pound pork roast

1 Tsp salt

1 Tsp curry powder

1 Tsp paprika

1 Tsp cayenne pepper

2 pounds red potatoes, cut into 1″ pieces

1 diced onion

1 Tsp ginger

1 fresh nectarine, cut into 1″ pieces

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

3 Tbsp soy sauce

3 cans peach nectar

1 can mango nectar

1 can water (or enough to finish covering roast in pot)

Sauce:

1/2 cup cold water

2 Tbsp corn starch

Place potatoes and nectarine pieces in bottom of crock pot.  Place roast on top of potatoes.  Add in onions, spices, soy sauce and vinegar.  Pour in peach and mango nectars, and just enough water to cover roast, or fill crock pot just below rim.  Cook on LOW 7-8 hours.  Remove roast to serving try and allow to rest.  Remove potatoes and nectarines to serving bowl, cover to keep warm.  Set crock pot to HIGH.  Skim any leftover pieces of onions or remnants from the roast from the juices in the pot.  Mix 1/2 cup water with 2 Tbsp corn starch until smooth, and add to juices in crock pot, stirring well.  Cook about 10 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken. (I actually don’t know how long that might take, as mine never did, and I gave up!)  Serve sauce like a gravy.  Slice roast on tray and serve with potatoes and sauce!

We also had a nice dessert, from a recipe I found in the paper last weekend.

Pear Tart

1 stick butter, room temp (softened)

2 Tbsp lemon juice, divided

2 medium pears, cored and cut into 1/2″ slices/wedges

1 cup flour, all purpose

1 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Butter or spray with cooking spray a 9″ spring form pan.  Sprinkle half the lemon juice over the pear slices and refrigerate until ready to use.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, cream butter and 1 cup sugar on medium speed, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in eggs one at a time, then beat in vanilla.  Beat in flour mixture on low speed just until batter comes together.  Spread in bottom of pan.  Cover pan with plastic wrap (not touching batter) and chill for at least 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Arrange pears in tight concentric circles on top of dough.  Sprinkle with remaining lemon juice.

Mix together 2 Tbsp sugar and cinnamon, sprinkle over pears.  Bake for 45-55 minutes (mine needed the full 55) or until edges are golden brown and center is set.

Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes.  Remove spring sides, run a knife under the tart, and remove to a serving plate to cool.  Serve with or without ice cream, whipped cream, or other topping of your choice.  We had ours plain, and it was awesome!

Hope you enjoy these!!

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

Permalink 1 Comment

The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 67

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

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

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

Quiche Two Ways

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

10 eggs

2 cups milk, divided in half

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

2 Tbsp flour

3 slices swiss cheese

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper

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

10 grape tomatoes, cut into quarters

2 large mixing bowls

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

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

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

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

And for dessert, we’re having:

Apple Pie Bites

1/2 Cup sugar

2 Tsp cinnamon

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

3 Tbsp melted butter

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

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

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

Repeat with the second pie crust.

 Unrolled crust

 Brushed with butter

 Sprinkled with cinnamon

 Apples placed

 Finished!

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

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

Hope you enjoy these as much as we do!!

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

Permalink 2 Comments

Next page »