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

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

Hello again friends, and welcome back!!

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

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

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

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

So, on to the food….

Garlic Pork with Rice and Peas

4 boneless pork chops

1 cup frozen peas

1 container garlic flavor Philadelphia cooking cream

Rice made in your rice cooker or stovetop

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


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



Glazed Carrots

1 Cup frozen carrots

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp butter

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

Coconut Curry Chicken

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 cans coconut milk

1 box Golden curry mix

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




Chicken Flavored Rice

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

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

Spaghetti and Meatballs

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

Pot Roast

1 3-4 pound pot roast

1 box beef stock

1 packet beef Flavor Boost

1 packet French Onion soup mix

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

Home Made Beef and Rice Burritos

1 pound ground beef

2 cups water

1/2 cup taco seasoning

2 cups leftover rice

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can enchilada sauce

2 cups shredded cheese

8 tortillas

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

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

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



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

Bacon Cheeseburger Muffins

1 pound bacon

1 pound ground beef

2 cans biscuits

1 cup shredded cheese

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

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

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



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

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 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 175

June 26, 2012 at 8:07 pm (Food) (, , , , , )

OK, so now I’m back to the right day of the week!  Happy Tuesday!!  Welcome back friends!!

So, Tropical Storm Debby has just about blown herself out, at least here.  No more rain today, but it’s still really cloudy, and really windy.  Some roads are still closed, but mostly just the Skyway Bridge, and due to winds, not flooding.  Still quite a bit of standing water around, but we SO needed a good rain!  Just wish it hadn’t been all at once!  I heard this morning that my folks were really getting pounded, but I haven’t talked to them yet to see how bad it was.  Just tried to call, hope they’re just doing something or went somewhere, they didn’t answer…

Mike came home early from work, mostly because he could, but also because he’s got to “work” a baseball game after hours later in the week, and he has to use the time this week, and also because there’s a wind advisory on one of the bridges he has to drive across!

I had a good day at work, got a lot done, and broke through a little bit of a wall I felt was there with one of my co-workers.

So, I was looking forward to making dinner tonight, planning on a little experiment, and it came out really well!  I took the little bit I learned using packaged sauce products and a couple of recipes I read, and combined them into something that was actually pretty yummy.  So here we go:

Coconut Curry Chicken (my way)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/2 pkg golden curry seasoning, medium hot (found it at Walmart, it’s literally a brick of seasoning, but it’s easy to cut up)

1 small container plain Greek yogurt

1 can unsweetened coconut milk

1/2 cup diced carrots

1/2 cup each any other crunchy veggies you like in your curry, like green peppers, fresh peas, fresh green beans

Remove any excess skin or fat from the chicken, and cut into small bite sized pieces.  Sautee in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add in veggies and cook about 2 minutes.  Add in coconut milk and simmer 8-10 minutes or until veggies are crisp tender.  Add in the Greek yogurt and seasoning, cook stirring constantly until seasoning is completely dissolved and sauce has thickened, about 5-7 minutes total.  Serve over rice or noodles.  I serve it over chicken flavored Jasmine rice, and I think it turned out really well.  It really wasn’t spicy at all, but it had really good flavor.  And, I have leftovers for both Mike and I for lunch tomorrow!  YEAH!


Here’s the chicken, carrots and the curry sauce all nice and cooked.

This is my rice cooker that I rave about!  I love this little thing!  It was actually Mike’s before we got married, but if it ever dies, we have GOT to get another one.  It’s SOOO handy!

Doesn’t that look good?!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 116

April 26, 2012 at 8:45 pm (Food) (, , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you all are having a great day!

The week is starting to wind down a little, getting close to Friday, and I’m starting to “feel” this whole back to work thing.  Got a little slap on the hand for being literally 2 minutes late to work, so now I think William may go to a friends’ house in the morning so I’m not stressing about getting him there too early when there are no teachers around, and then he can get there on time and I won’t have to worry!!  Plus, I can hit the road a few minutes earlier and not have to worry about being late.  Apparently, that’s the one thing they really stress out about at this place, being late, so I gotta figure it out.

So, William had a really good day at school, and a good time after school, played outside, spent time with friends.  We worked on his paper together, got it finished, and he’s really happy with how it turned out, so I’m happy.  He told me what to type, I cleaned it up, we both win!

James is home tonight, and playing video games, of course.  I’m sure he’s wishing his car was on the road already, he’s getting tired of riding his bike to work, or bumming rides from friends.  Soon, I hope!  Maybe next week his schedule will be better so he can use my car in the evenings.

Mike is home from work, looking a little worse for wear tonight, but again, it’s getting close to the end of the week.  And it’s been a LONG week for him.  Good thing the weekend is coming!!

So, tonight we had a nice dinner.  Nothing overly fancy, but here’s a recipe for you:

Crock Pot Curried Chicken

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 carton chicken broth

1 can coconut milk

2 Tbsp curry paste

Put everything in the crock pot, cook on LOW at least 8 hours.  Remove from pot, shred and serve!

I also made some rice in the rice cooker to go with this, boiled some frozen peas and frozen broccoli.

Like I said, not fancy, but tasty!!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 31

February 2, 2012 at 1:31 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , )

Hello friends, and welcome back!

Tonight’s meal was a big hit, and I had LOTS of help!  It was so cool having my older son, James, in the kitchen, being creative, and having fun!

So, here are our recipes for the evening…

Coconut Curry Chicken

2-3 pounds boneless skinless chicken pieces, trimmed of extra skin and fat (there is always some, isn’t there?), cut into bite sized pieces

2 Tbsp butter

1 can coconut milk

3 heaping tbsp MILD curry paste (probably more like 6 Tbsp when it’s all said and done)

Melt butter in large skillet, add chicken pieces, cook on medium until cooked through.  Drain excess liquid.  Add in coconut milk and curry paste, mix well.  Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes or until slightly thickened and creamy.  Serve!

James’ Mac N Cheese

1 pound noodles of your choice (we chose egg noodles tonight)

1 pound shredded cheese of your choice (we had a mix of mozzarella, provolone and cheddar)

3/4 cup milk

1 stick butter

2 Tbsp flour

2 Tbsp brown gravy mix

1 cup bread crumbs (if using seasoned crumbs, just use bread crumbs, don’t add any spices)

Salt and pepper to taste (OMIT if using seasoned bread crumbs)

Cook noodles, drain, place in casserole dish.

Melt butter in large pan (we used the one from the noodles when they were done), add milk, gravy mix and flour, stir with whisk until smooth.  GRADUALLY add cheese, stirring, until smooth and creamy.  Mix into noodles.  Spread evenly in dish, top with bread crumbs.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until bread crumbs are browned slightly.  Serve!

And we had leftover veggies with all this, just so we could say we had veggies, but they weren’t anything special.  You know, those canned (YUCK!) veggies…

Everyone liked everything, even picky William, so it was a really good night!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 8

January 10, 2012 at 1:47 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Welcome back!!

All I can say about mini meatloaves and twice baked potatoes is THEY’RE GONE!  They were a HUGE hit!

On the menu tonight, curried chicken over jasmine rice, and chocolate pudding with fresh whipped cream for dessert.  I’m sorry to say there won’t be any photos of the curry, it’s already gone!

Curried Chicken with Veggies

Jasmine rice, cooked in rice cooker, to package directions (I made about 8 servings)

1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 sweet red pepper, cut into small strips

2 green onions, cut into slices

2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into slices

1 can coconut milk, unsweetended and unthickened

1 Tbsp red curry paste (I used mild, and I think it was TOO mild!)

1/8 tsp red pepper (I used cayenne)

1 Tsp white sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

Cook rice to package directions, keep warm.

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in skillet, add chicken, cook and stir until cooked through, remove chicken from pan.

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in skillet, saute carrots 3 minutes, add red pepper strips and onions, saute an additional 2 minutes, remove from pan.

Add coconut milk, curry paste, sugar, sugar and red pepper to pan, heat to boiling, simmer 2-3 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Add chicken and vegetables, simmer 3-5 minutes or until heated through.  Serve over cooked rice.  (I also served warm naan bread wedges.)

Chocolate pudding

1 12 oz bag semi sweet chocolate chips

1/3 cup confectioners sugar

1/4 cup butter

1 cup milk

In medium saucepan, heat milk and butter to boiling.  While heating liquids, place chocolate chips and confectioners sugar in blender, chop or grate setting until very finely chopped.  Add boiling liquid, blend until smooth.  Pour into custard cups, 4-6 depending on how full you fill them.  Chill at least 30 minutes.

Fresh whipped cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 Tbsp sugar

1/2 Tsp vanilla

Place all ingredients in food processor, use whipping attachment and setting, process until fluffy.  Chill until ready to use.


Until tomorrow, good eating!

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