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!


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!


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!!


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!!


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!


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!!



Jet’s Pizza

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


Five Guys burgers and fries

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


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.


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!


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!


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!!


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 271 – 277 (Week 40)

October 8, 2012 at 10:25 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you’ve all had a perfectly wonderful week, and a glorious weekend!  Here we are at Monday again, I know, I’m behind, but I think you’ll forgive me…

Last week was interesting.  Work was crazy, end of the month always is, but this one was crazier than the last few.  Half our group is new people, less than 3 months in, and the senior coordinator was out for the week, so I became the go-to person.  I know I am approachable, I try very hard to be that way, but I felt like there were whole days where I didn’t get any of my own work done because I was so busy answering everyone else’s questions!  It’s nice to be needed again, but come on…

Anyway, all the family were relatively healthy for a change, knock on wood!  William didn’t miss any school.  Mike missed one day of work, but I think it was more of a mental health kind of day.  James got called in for extra hours at his job, makes for a nice pay check.  I think I need to plan a day off, just for me…

So I did a little cooking during the week, nothing Earth shattering, but some fun new dishes.  Of course, I pretty much HAD to cook considering I spent almost $500 in groceries last weekend.  But it all came in handy, and I got to try out the new recipes!  YEAH!  Looking forward to trying even more new stuff this weekend, trying to put together a plan for what I want to cook, make sure I have everything I need on hand.  Working on trimming down the shopping list, trimming down the grocery budget, and maybe trimming down the family a little!

Anyway, here we go…


Mongolian Beef

1/2 lb beef tenderloin, thinly sliced against the grain

1 Tbsp corn starch

2 cloves minced garlic

1/4 tsp ground ginger

3 Tbsp soy sauce

1 1/2 Tbsp honey or agave nectar or sugar

1 tsp rice wine or dry sherry

2 Tbsp water

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

1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil or canola oil

Stir together soy sauce, honey, water and wine.  Set aside.

Heat oil in pan over medium heat.  Dredge the beef in corn starch, shake off the excess.  Add the beef to the hot pan and quickly saute until lightly browned.

Add in garlic and ginger, saute for a few seconds.  Add the sauce you set aside earlier.  The sauce should quickly come to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer, stirring constantly.  Continue to cook until the sauce thickens and glazes the beef.

Toss in the green onions at the last minute, mix, and serve!

Adapted from a recipe I found on cHow Divine

Sorry, I didn’t get photos, but then mine didn’t look anywhere near as pretty as hers did!  But it was yummy…

Orange Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess skin and fat (as much as you can without being too anal) and cut into bite sized pieces

1 Tbsp orange flavoring

1 Tbsp garlic, minced

1 Tsp ground ginger

2 Tbsp honey

1 Tsp corn starch

2 Tbsp vegetable oil plus 1 Tsp sesame oil for frying

Put the oils in a large skillet, heat on medium.  Add in chicken, saute until no longer pink.  Add in orange, garlic, ginger, honey and corn starch, mixing well to coat chicken, sauce will thicken quickly.  When chicken is done through, remove from heat and serve!  Really good with fresh steamed rice…

Vegetable Egg Rolls

1 head cabbage, shredded very fine

12 baby carrots, shredded very fine

2 Tbsp Hoisin sauce

1 Tbsp teriyaki sauce

1 Pkg egg roll wrappers

Oil for frying

Mix cabbage, carrots and sauces together.  Spoon about 2 Tbsp of the mixture into an egg roll wrapper, fold up bottom and tuck in filling.  Fold in two side corners, dampen final corner and roll closed.

Fry about 2 minutes per side in hot oil until golden brown.  Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Left over rolls (those supper yummy half whole wheat Virginia light rolls I made last weekend…)


SW Egg rolls with cheese

I had made about 3 dozen of those south west style egg rolls with the taco seasoned beef and black beans inside, we had 17 left after our little munch fest.  Well, I put those in a big deep pan, covered them with shredded cheese and baked them at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.  They crisped up a little on the exposed edges, but sort of tasted like mini burritos with the melted cheese, and made for a nice meal!


Pork Chops Everglades

6 boneless skinless porkchops

Everglades original seasoning (the green kind)

Heat a large skillet over medium, add in the chops.  Sprinkle over Everglades seasoning instead of salt and pepper, make sure you sprinkle both sides (when you turn them).  I have no idea how much we used, but it sort of looked like we had used it in place of salt and pepper, so liberally sprinkled, but not coated with seasoning.  Saute until done through and browned on the outside.

Sauteed green beans with garlic

About 1/2 lb fresh green beans, ends removed, cut into 1″ pieces

1 Tbsp minced garlic

3 Tbsp butter

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat, add in garlic, mix a little, add in green beans and saute about 10 minutes or until beans are bright green and crisp tender.  Serve!

Fruit Salad

This was a fun fruit salad for me, because William helped me cut up everything!

1 medium Gala apple

1 medium Bartlett pear

1 medium Dragon fruit

About 30 large red grapes

Cut the apple and the pear into 8th wedges, remove seed cores, slice into thin bite sized pieces.

Cut dragon fruit in half.  Spoon white seeded core out of pink skin, making sure to remove all the skin pieces, it’s not edible.  Cut white fruit into small bite sized pieces.

Cut grapes into quarters.

Toss all this together, and serve!


Jet’s Pizza

Yeah, we had take out…  we needed a night off!


Bacon Cheeseburgers

1 lb ground beef

1/2 lb bacon (about 8 pieces)

1 egg

Salt and pepper to taste

Sliced cheese of your choice

Burger buns

Mix ground beef, egg, salt and pepper together, mix VERY well, until beef is really smooth rather than crumbly.  Form into 4 patties.  Fry in a large pan over medium heat, flipping as needed to keep from burning.  Cook until medium well, or however YOU like your burgers.  We like ours ever so slightly pink at the very center and slightly crispy on the outside.

Cook the bacon crispy, break each piece in half, give each burger four half strips of bacon, cheese and toppings of your choice, serve on fresh burger buns, YUM!

Tots – yeah, frozen tots, cooked to package directions, whichever way you like to cook them.  I prefer them fried, but that’s not very healthy, so I usually bake them…  boring, but OK.


Fried Chicken Nuggets

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into small tenders or large nuggets, your choice

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup Everglades seasoning (the orange version this time)

1 Tbsp fresh ground black pepper

Heat 3-4 Tbsp vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Mix the flour and seasonings together in a large shallow bowl.  Add the chicken a few pieces at a time to this mix, let it sit for a minute or two on each side.  Shake off any excess and add to hot pan.  Cook about 4-5 minutes per side, or until done through.  Remove to paper towel lined serving dish.  Cook in batches until all chicken is done.  Serve!

Chicken gravy – made from a mix, yes I cheated a little, but it wasn’t thickening the way I wanted, so I added some of the flour mixture from coating the chicken, made it really tasty!

steamed veggies – broccoli, peas, green beans

Microwave Brownies

4 Tbsp flour

4 Tbsp sugar

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

2 Tbsp oil

2 Tbsp water

Pinch salt

Mix everything together in a coffee mug or shallow bowl.  You can add in a few chocolate chips or some nuts if you want, just don’t go overboard on the chocolate chips, it doesn’t cook as well.  We’ve been adding about 2 Tbsp chocolate chips and about a dozen nuts.  I like pecans, Mike likes almonds, they both work well!

Microwave 1 minute plus 10-15 seconds, allow to cook 5 minutes before serving.

Really good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!


We went to Mom’s to celebrate Dad’s birthday, a couple weeks late, but at least we didn’t take all those colds and infections over there with us!  Burgers, baked beans, potato salad, chips…  LOVE picnic food!!

Oh, and I did my nails Saturday, between loads of laundry, tell me what you think!

Had fun with this one!

Anyway, that’s it for last week…  Already working on this week, probably not a lot new, but some good stuff nonetheless…

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 229-235

August 25, 2012 at 10:13 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you’ve all had a wonderful, positive week!  It’s certainly been interesting around here…

Last Sunday we went to my parent’s house, so no, I did not cook. We went swimming and caught up on what’s going on.  Mom made burgers, the boys helped cook them on the grill.  She also made her amazing potato salad, baked beans, deviled eggs, and Tres Leche cake.  I have recipes for some of those things, maybe I’ll even share one day, but not today!  We picked up James’ car and brought it home.  Somehow, I can’t believe I’m saying those words, my child is not supposed to be old enough to have his own car, I’m not that old!

The work week was relatively calm, except that we’re loosing some team members to other teams, loosing one team member who’s just leaving the company, getting some new team members, and reorganizing coverage areas again, but not so much that it will be completely crazy, and I’m comfortable enough now that I think I can handle it.  I’m just glad that the boss thinks I can handle it, too, means I am doing OK even though sometimes I still have doubts.

Mike is still feeling pretty rough, but he saw a new specialist this week that we think is on the right track, more tests, but he has some good ideas and isn’t just blowing smoke, and not immediately blaming all Mike’s health issues on his weight like so many others, including me sometimes.  I know, I have no room to talk, but I just think we would both feel so much better if we lost some weight.  Of course, I’m not helping, doing all this cooking all the time, but I’ve got it in the back of my head all the time that I need to find healthier ways to make the foods we like rather than just trying to redo our whole diet.  We’ll get there!

William started school this week, new school, new kids, new teachers, new schedule, first week of Middle School.  Again, I’m not old enough for my younger child to be in MIDDLE school!!  But he absolutely loves it!  His homeroom/math teacher seems fun.  Didn’t get to meet the PE coach, but William seems to like him, too.  Language arts/Social studies teacher seems really nice, and she seems to understand my thoughts on teaching to more than just the FCAT, I like a teacher that thinks I’m right LOL!  The music teacher is just too cool, and William has two classes with him, regular music, and guitar class.  William and Mike went out last weekend and rented William a guitar, think it might be a rent-to-own type of thing, not entirely sure, but he really seems to be enjoying the class.  Didn’t get to meet the science teacher yet either, but William likes her, so she must be OK.  He can usually smell bullshit faster than we can, and he’s really happy so far, so I think this might be one of our better moves, this Charter school.  And, of course, I’m going to get to put some of my fundraising experience to work for them and be involved without being in charge, so I’M happy, too!!

And James is, well, James.  Working, playing video games, out for the weekend as usual.  I’m a little frustrated with him right now, his “rent” is chores, and they aren’t getting done unless we bug him, and I just feel like he’s 19, I shouldn’t HAVE to remind him any more, but I do.  I think we’re going to sit down one night soon and have a chat.  Need to talk about what we’re going to do when it’s time for new phones at Christmas, what we’re going to do about chores and rent and school, just all those fun little subjects we all love talking about so much…  NOT!  Hopefully it will be a grown-up discussion instead of the usual talking-to-a-wall discussion…

Anyway, you aren’t here for the gossip, you’re here for the food!  I decided to take it a little easy on myself this week, I kept track of what I made each night, but I didn’t pressure myself to WRITE each night, and I actually feel better about this little project than I have since I went back to work.  I was putting a lot of pressure on myself, and getting on my own case when I didn’t write every night, but I’m realizing that that’s just not fair to me.  I have to have time to unwind, relax, be part of the family, and quit trying to be Super-Mom.  So I think I’m going to stick to writing on weekends, maybe a night or two during the week if it’s not too much pressure, but not every night, it’s just too much with the job and the kids right now.

So, here we go…


Pot Roast and Potatoes

1 rump roast, approx 2-3 pounds

1 packet beef Flavor Boost

4 Tbsp dried onion flakes

1 Tsp garlic powder

4 potatoes, washed and cut into bite sized pieces


Put the roast, the cut up potatoes, Flavor Boost, onion flakes, garlic and potatoes into the crock pot.  Add enough water just to cover everything in the pot.  Stir it up a little, set to LOW, and cook 8-10 hours, stirring a couple of times throughout the day if you can.  It’s OK if you can’t, but it’s better if you can, or if you can find someone like my son to do it for you!

Remove roast and potatoes from the pot, put on serving platter, allow to rest while you strain out about 4 cups of the broth, put it in a sauce pan, add in brown gravy mix per package directions (packets usually call for one packet for each cup of liquid, the large container of mix calls for 3 Tbsp per cup of liquid), stir well with a whisk, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thickened.  Serve with the roast and potatoes for a good old fashioned family meal!  We also had some steam broccoli and peas with our meal, just to round things out.  A salad also works very well.


Curry Chicken and Rice

Another crock pot meal…

5-6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, thawed or frozen, doesn’t really matter

1 packet chicken Flavor Boost

1/2 box Golden Curry mix, medium heat variety

1 can coconut milk, shaken well

Put all these into the crock pot.  Add just enough water to cover the chicken, I think I might have added 3 cups all together.  Set to LOW and cook 8-10 hours.

When I got home from work, I made a small pot of rice in the rice cooker (water to the “2” mark, two scoops of rice), added 2 packets of chicken flavor Flavor Boost, served the chicken with this rice, and some steamed veggies on the side, it was AWESOME!  Even William went back for seconds on both the rice and chicken.  There was barely enough left for my lunch the next day!


Turkey Sausage with Parmesan Orzo

This is a super easy meal, and William helped me cook it.

Cut up the turkey smoked sausage into bite sized pieces, saute with no added butter or anything, the liquid in the sausage helps it steam/simmer very nicely, just don’t leave it alone, it might burn just a bit.  Voice of experience here!

Along with this, we made Orzo pasta to package directions, drained, added butter and Parmesan cheese, mixed it all up, kind of tastes like mac-n-cheese but better.  Goes great with the sausage, makes for a hearty meal, but not too heavy.



We had leftover potatoes and gravy, leftover egg rolls, some leftover veggies, I don’t even remember what all else we had, but we had quite a bit on the table!



I found this on another blog, it sounded yummy, and OH WOW, it was AWESOME!

So, courtesy of here’s Spasagna…

1 (26 oz) jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce

1 (16 oz) jar of Alfredo or Garlic Alfredo sauce (I didn’t have the garlic kind, so I added a little garlic to the recipe)

1 Lb spaghetti noodles (I used Dreamfields angel hair)

1 lb ground beef

2 cups shredded mozzarella

1/2 cup milk (2% or higher)

1 Tsp dried oregano

1 Tsp dried parsley (I didn’t have the individual spices, so I added 2 Tsp of mixed Italian seasoning)

Cook noodles to package directions, drain very well.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray 9 x 13 baking dish with olive oil nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, combine Alfredo sauce, mozzarella, milk and spices.  Stir well. Add in noodles and stir/toss to coat completely.  Put this mixture into the prepared baking dish.  Cover with aluminum foil, and bake about 30 minutes.

While the noodles are baking, start cooking the ground beef in a large skillet or medium saucepan.  Brown and crumble beef until cooked through.  Drain well, and add back into pan.  Add spaghetti sauce, and leave on LOW heat, cover if you can, and let it simmer until the noodles are ready.

Allow the noodles to sit about 10 minutes before trying to top or cut into servings.  Top with the meat and spaghetti sauce mixture.  (I wasn’t sure what a serving should be, so I just cut the pan into 8 pieces.)  Top with Parmesan cheese if desired and serve!


Pork Wontons

4 boneless pork chops, fried and cut into small pieces (about 1/2″ pieces)

Wonton wrappers

Oil for frying

Your favorite sauce for dipping

Place one piece of pork into the center of a wonton wrapper, wet two edges of the wonton wrapper and fold over to make a triangle.  Then dampen two corners and fold in towards each other to make a little hat packet looking shape.  Fry in hot oil about 2-3 minutes per side, remove from oil to paper towel lined serving tray.  Continue with pork and wontons until you run out of one or both.  Somehow, we had just enough of each!

And we had sweet and sour sauce, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, my home made plum-peach sauce from last weekend, lots of sauces to pick from!  Needless to say, they are all gone…

Spinach Hummus

I found this recipe on the internet, but I had to tweak it a bit to make it work in my blender.  One of these days I’ll get an actual food processor…

2 cans chick peas, one drained, one not drained

1/2 cup Tahini, well stirred

4 Tbsp garlic, minced (I buy my garlic pre-minced in a squeeze bottle, so it’s WAY easy!)

Juice of one lemon, or more if you prefer

2 Tsp salt

1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed

4 Tbsp olive oil

Put chick peas in blender, with the juice from one can, blend until smooth.  Gradually add in Tahini, spices and spinach, blending very well after each addition.  You can add a little more oil if needed to thin it out and make it blend better.  I have to admit, I still have a couple of whole chick peas because I wasn’t overly patient with this, but it still tasted really good, and I’m not a huge fan of hummus!

Corn Muffins

This recipe is from the package of Dixie Lily corn meal…

1 cup flour

1/4 cup sugar

4 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 cup corn meal

1 egg

1 cup milk

1/4 cup melted shortening (butter!) or oil

Grease muffin cups or use paper liners, heat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Beat egg in a separate bowl, add milk and shortening and mix well.  Stir in dry ingredients and mix well.  Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full, bake 25-20 minutes or until golden brown and set.  Serve warm with butter, honey, grape jelly, whatever YOU like on corn bread!

Chocolate Cake with Home Made Chocolate Frosting

I used a chocolate fudge cake box mix, Duncan Hines I think.  Didn’t do the cake from scratch, just followed the box directions.  But then I didn’t want to use store bought frosting, so went hunting for a recipe…  Here’s what I found!

4 cups powdered sugar

1 cup butter, melted

2 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp milk

6 tbsp cocoa powder

Blend everything very well in a large bowl, spread onto cooled cake, top with sprinkles if you want and serve!

So now it’s movie night, gonna go eat the cake and watch a movie.  So until next time, eat well, love well, live well!!!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 146

May 27, 2012 at 8:04 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you’re all having a nice LONG weekend!  We’re certainly making the most of it…

Laundry is almost done, kitchen is almost completely clean, and we’ve been having a good time!  Went to the movies today, saw Men In Black III, and I have to say, I think it may have been the best of the three!  Good story, really good actors, some great twists, people actually clapped when it was over.

Grass hasn’t been cut, but Mike, William and I went for a walk together.  Weeds haven’t been pulled, but we all went to a comic book store together.  Haven’t vacuumed yet, but Mike and William have been playing video games together, having “guy time”, which they don’t do anywhere near often enough!  Sometimes, you just have to put off the work in order to do family things.

Anyway, dinner was relatively easy tonight, Mike cooked hot dogs and brats on the grill, and we had chips to go with that.  But then, after dinner, I made mini-cakes from scratch!  Here’s the recipe I used, and some photos:

Yellow Cake

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

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

Meanwhile, grease and flour baking pans…

2 x 9″ or 8″ round pans


2 x 8″ square pans


1 x 9″x13″


Muffin/cupcake pans (that’s what I used tonight, Texas muffin pan and Mini-bundt 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.  Spread batter into prepared pans.

Bake 20-25 minutes for 9″ pans.

Bake 30-35 minutes for 8″ pans.

Bake 25-30 minutes for 9″x13″ pan.

Bake 18-20 minutes for jumbo cupcakes (like I did!).

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

Cool in pans 10 minutes.  Except for 9″x13″ pan, remove from pans, cool on wire rack completely before frosting.  9″x13″ pan, cool completely in pan.


Dark Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting

3/4 c butter, softened

6-7 cups powdered sugar, or more if you want stiffer frosting

1/3 c milk

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

In a very large mixing bowl, beat butter on medium until smooth.  Gradually add in 2 cups powdered sugar, beating well.  Slowly beat in milk and vanilla.  Gradually beat in cocoa powder and remaining sugar, about a cup at a time.  You can beat in more sugar or more milk as needed, but in small amounts, until you reach the consistency you want.  The above was absolutely perfect in my opinion!

This frosts 2 8″ or 9″ rounds, tops and sides, or 12 oversized cupcakes, with some leftover.  Cut recipe in half for a 9″x13″ pan cake.


Both recipes originally came from the “Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, 15th Edition”.  Want to make sure I give them credit!!  I think I might learn to enjoy baking from scratch…  this was fun!  And I have to say, not as good as the Tres Leche cake recipe I got from Emeril, but not bad at all.  VERY rich though!  Think I need to work on some lighter frosting recipes for this bunch.  And I need to find a way to moisten up the cake batter, it was REALLY dry.  I’m thinking pudding and fruit maybe…

Anyway, that’s it for today!  Until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!

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