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

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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

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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

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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.

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

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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!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza day 320-326 (week 47)

November 25, 2012 at 10:29 pm (Food, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you all had a wonderful holiday week!  A little odd for us…

William was off school all week, so he was home, and he was BORED, but he was good.  He read every day, practiced his guitar, did his chores, and stayed out of trouble.

It was a short week for Mike and I, because of the holiday, doctor’s appointments, and a little time off.  I took off Friday so I could go Black Friday shopping, ended up doing more online shopping than in-person shopping, but it was nice to not have to worry about work.  Seems I went a little overboard though, didn’t leave a whole lot of cash until next payday!  Good news is I only have two more people to shop for, and I have at least one idea for one of them, something I can get any time between now and Christmas!  And I have two things to make, gotta get busy, but then I am DONE!!

James decided to start his holiday early, so we haven’t actually seen him since Tuesday, hope he had a good holiday!

We were supposed to go to Mom’s for Thanksgiving dinner, but Mike and William both started coming down with something, and we didn’t want to expose my folks to it, so Wednesday night we made the mad dash through Walmart getting all the stuff we didn’t have on hand to make dinner Thursday!

Anyway, on to the food….

Monday

Pork chops

Simply pan fried with a little butter, nothing fancy.

Steamed veggies, broccoli and peas, the usual.

Rolls, the canned kind.

Mike ended up cooking for me, because I worked a little late to help with a project.

Tuesday

Chicken and Black Bean Homemade Burritos

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup taco seasoning mix

1 quart water

Tortillas

Shredded cheese

Put the chicken, black beans, taco seasoning and water into the crock pot in the morning, let it cook all day on LOW.

Remove chicken from pot, shred.  Remove black beans from pot.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lay out tortillas.  Sprinkle with shredded cheese, spoon in a little shredded chicken and some black beans, roll into burritos, place in a large baking pan.  Repeat until you use up all the chicken and beans, or run out of room in your pan, whichever comes first.  Top with a little more shredded cheese.  Bake about 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Serve with a side of ranch or sour cream or guacamole, whatever you like!  Salsa works well, too.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1 Bag frozen Brussels sprouts (I used frozen this time because I wasn’t sure when I would make these, they were a little softer than fresh, but tasted OK)

4 slices bacon

1/2 C dried cherries

1/4 C chopped or sliced nuts of your choice (I prefer pecans, but I had almonds on hand)

Remove stems from sprouts, and cut into quarters.

Cut bacon into small pieces and cook until crispy.  Remove from pan, but don’t pour off grease.  Add cut sprouts to pan, saute lightly until slightly browned and heated through.  Toss bacon, cherries and nuts into pan, mix well, heat another minute or two.

Pour everything into a baking dish of your choice, bake at 350 degrees 45-55 minutes, or until well browned and very soft.  Serve!

Wednesday

Jet’s Pizza

Thursday

Thanksgiving Dinner

Turkey – rubbed with butter, sprinkled with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning, DO NOT TRUSS or stuff, roast at 350 degrees per package directions – my 10 pound turkey said it needed to cook 2 hours, I didn’t believe it, so I cook it 3, it was dry, but tasty!

Potatoes – 6 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks, boiled about 45 minutes or until very soft.  Drain, add in 1 stick butter, maybe 1/2 C milk, more if you like them creamier, mix with hand blender until smooth and creamy!

Sweet potatoes

1 can yams

1/2 C brown sugar

1/2 stick butter cut into pieces

Pour yams WITH JUICE into a casserole dish.  Sprinkle over brown sugar, place pats of butter around pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until heated through and bubbly.

Rolls

Store bought frozen rolls, sorry!

Gravy

Turkey drippings, gravy packet from the turkey, plus some poultry gravy mix.

Broccoli

Green beans

Peas

Stuffing

Boxed, sorry again, but remember, I didn’t PLAN on cooking at all!!

Cranberry sauce

Friday

Subway

Saturday

Mini Pizzas – frozen, but good!

Cheese Sticks – frozen

Cheese bites – frozen

Sunday

Pot Roast with Potatoes

1 roast of your choice, I went for a tip roast this time, I like them

1/4 cup onion flakes

3 packets beef flavor Flavor Boost

1 quart water

4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces

Put everything in the crock pot, set on low for 6-8 hours, remove and serve!

Steamed veggies

The usual, broccoli and peas with butter

Gravy

Strained the juices from the pot, mixed in some brown gravy mix, YUM!

And of course, I did my nails over the weekend, so here’s this week’s design…

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza day 299-305 (week 44)

November 4, 2012 at 10:02 pm (Food, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you all had an amazing week, and were inspired by something, anything at all, to do something new or interesting.  I’ve been trying all kinds of new things lately, and it’s been awesome!

For starters, technically, on paper at least, I’m still the scout-master of the cub scout pack William was in last school year.  So, I get things in the mail, like the ID cards for the new scouts this year, so I had to trek out to the scout meeting Monday night, kind of got sucked into a conversation with some of the current scout moms, was there a LITTLE longer than the 5 minutes I had planned on.

Halloween was Tuesday, and that always makes things interesting.  Got home from work, with William, at about 5:30.  Not even close to dark yet, but kids being kids, he was a little anxious to get out there and start collecting candy.  So, quick dinner of a sandwich and chips for him, and off we went to his friend’s house so they could go together.  We get there, his dad had made chili, and since I didn’t actually get to eat, I had some.   Ummm…  I’m not much for spicy food, but I was SO hungry, I ate more than I probably should have, even though my mouth was burning from the first bite.  I didn’t want to be rude, but it really wasn’t my thing!  I think I need to find a chili recipe I like, and play with it until it’s the way I like chili!!  Anyway, we had to wait around a little for a couple other boys to show up, but not long, they were all excited!  And for the first time I can remember, I didn’t take the boys out!!  William’s friend Noah’s dad took them all, they were gone for over an hour, and they came back very happy with their haul!  Then all the adults got to sit around and talk while the boys played video games for about an hour, very nice!  We don’t have many friends outside of work and family, so this was really a nice change for us.

Before I forget, here’s the pumpkin I made for the office:

I did decoupage with construction paper leaves, sprinkled on a little glitter, painted some veins on the leaves, added some cute wire spirals on top and hung paper bats from them.

So, the rest of the week was relatively quiet on the home front.  Mike had a good week at work, including working Saturday at the travelling Vietnam wall, (did I mention he works for the VA?) met some nice folks, made some good contacts for work.

End of the month for me is always a little hectic, but was relatively calm this time around.  My vendors did mostly what they were supposed to do, I found out some new computer tricks for them for using the company website, so it was actually a good week!  While Mike was working Saturday, I spent the day doing little chores around the house, cleaned the cat box, kept laundry going, did dishes, cleaned up the kitchen, got ready for cooking today.  Got blood work done, VOTED, picked up prescriptions, did my nails, too!  But I didn’t try to do it all one right after the other like I usually do, I took little breaks between chores, so I didn’t feel like I had been running all day, felt good to have things done!  Didn’t make the curtains I was supposed to make for my friend, but I got so much cooking done today, I should be able to knock them out tomorrow after work.

Oh, and since I finished that blue cuff bracelet last weekend, I started a new one in golds and browns, looks very classy so far.  I’m really liking it!!  Part of yesterday, though, was sorting out some beads, taking some of the cuff bases I made last weekend and putting together beads with the cuffs in bags, so I’m ready to start the next one as soon as this one is done.  I am SO loving this bead embroidery!  I conquered my fear of it, and it’s AWESOME!

So, I know you’re here for the food, not the gossip, so I guess I should get to it!  Here we go…

Monday

Parmesan Orzo

1/2 box Orzo pasta, cooked to package directions

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 stick butter, melted

Melt butter in the hot pan from the pasta, add back the pasta and the cheese, mix well.  Serve!

Chicken Sausage

1 package chicken sausage, cut into rounds, then the rounds cut into quarters

Pan fry until browned and almost crispy.  Serve over your favorite pasta!

Steamed veggies

No broccoli at the store when I went shopping, so we had peas, green beans and carrots.  Nothing fancy, just cooked in the microwave. Fill a microwave safe dish with veggie of choice, add a little butter, salt and pepper, microwave on HIGH 5 minutes for a small bowl, about 1/2 a bag, or 7 minutes for a large bowl, or a whole bag.  Comes out perfect every time!

Tuesday

I will be totally honest, I forgot to write it down, and whatever it was, it was so BLAH, I don’t remember what it was!

Wednesday

Sandwiches and candy!  Hope you all had a HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

Thursday

Chicken Fillet Sandwiches

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 cup flour

1/8 cup Everglades seasoning (orange one this time, could have used a little more!)

3 eggs

Oil for frying

Bread or tortillas, your choice!

Trim any excess skin or fat from chicken, cut into strips about 1/2″ wide, the full thickness of the breast.

Place the pieces between two layers of plastic wrap, and pound them to about 1/4 in thick or less with a meat hammer.

Beat the eggs and put them in a wide shallow dish.

Mix the flour and seasoning in another wide shallow bowl.

Dip the chicken pieces first in the egg, then in the flour.

Fry in a skillet over medium heat, about 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown.

Serve on bread or wrapped in a tortilla, with your favorite sauce and toppings!  YUM!

Steamed Veggies

Once again, green beans, peas and carrots.

Friday

Braised Pork Chops

4 boneless pork chops

1 can diced tomatoes

1 packet Flavor Boost veggie flavor

1 Tsp garlic powder

Preheat a deep pan over medium heat.  Sear pork chops without any added fat until browned on both sides.  The fat on the chops is enough!  Add in tomatoes with all their liquid, flavor packet, garlic, and salt and pepper to your taste.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer about 15 minutes or until chops are done through.  Serve with a little of the tomato sauce and some Parmesan cheese, YUM!!

Biscuits

Sorry, not homemade, canned, but still yummy!

Steamed Veggies

The usual, green beans, peas and carrots, but I glazed the carrots with a little brown sugar this time.

Here’s my plate:

Saturday

Bacon Cheeseburger Roll

Got this idea from a post I saw on Facebook, but theirs was for a taco roll…

1 pound ground beef

2 cans crescent rolls

1 pound bacon

About 1 cup shredded cheese

Corn meal to sprinkle on pizza stone

Cut bacon into bite sized pieces, cook until crispy, set aside.

Cook ground beef until no longer pink, drain, mix in bacon.

While those are cooking, sprinkle a pizza stone with a little cornmeal to keep the roll dough from sticking.  Separate the crescent rolls into triangles.  Lay them on the pizza stone, overlapping towards the center, so that the sort of look like a flower, skinny ends out towards the edges.  Press the overlapping pieces together, and flatten them as much as you can towards the center, fill the hole if you can!

Sprinkle on about 1/3 of the cheese, then spoon in the meat mixture.  You MIGHT have a little leftover, depends on how much you want to pile up the meat.

Fold the outer “petals” of dough into the center, pressing them into the middle.  Top with remaining cheese.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, cover with foil for the first half, remove for the second half.

Microwave Chocolate Chip Cookies (for the boys)

1 egg yolk

1 Tbsp butter, melted

1 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp brown sugar

3 drops vanilla

1/4 cup flour

2 Tbsp chocolate chips

Mix egg yolk, sugars, vanilla and butter together until smooth.  Add in flour, working into a soft dough.  Work in chips.  Microwave on HIGH 50 seconds.  Allow to cook at least 2 minutes before serving!

Apple Cherry Microwave Dessert

1 small apple

1/4 cup dried cherries

1/8 cup brown sugar

1/8 cup oats

1 Tbsp melted butter

Core apple, cut into small slices, place in microwave safe dish.  Add in butter, brown sugar, oats.  Microwave on HIGH 1 minute.  Add in cherries, stir well, microwave on HIGH another 1-3 minutes, depending on your microwave.  Cook until cherries are plump, and apples are soft.  Mine took 1 minute, but some microwaves might take more.  Allow to cool at least 3 minutes!  Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it’s AWESOME!

Sunday

Or should I say COOKING DAY!  Wow, I feel like I accomplished so much today!

Sausage Egg and Cheese Casserole

12 eggs

1 cup half and half

3 Tbsp flour

4 sausage patties

1 cup shredded cheese

Spray a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish with butter flavor cooking spray.

Thaw sausage patties, cut into VERY small pieces.  Put in the prepared dish.

Mix eggs, half and half, flour and shredded cheese together.  Pour over sausage in prepared dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

For us, I let this cool completely, cut it into 8 pieces, and put them in containers for quick breakfasts on the run during the week.

Bread Machine Focaccia

1 Cup warm water

3 cups flour (I did 2 cups white bread flour and 1 cup wheat flour)

1 Tsp salt

1 1/2 Tsp olive oil

2 Tsp dried oregano (or in my case, I didn’t have oregano, so I used Italian seasoning mix)

1 1/2 Tsp bread machine yeast

Put all this in the bread machine, in the order listed, set machine to DOUGH and turn it on.

When done, turn dough out onto a floured surface.

Oil a jelly roll pan, or like I did a pizza pan.  Stretch and press dough into pan, cover and let rise for 40-45 minutes or until doubled.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Poke the dough with your finger tips creating small indentations.

Mix 3 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp minced garlic, sprinkle over dough.  Then spinkle over 1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley.  Bake at 400 degrees 25-30 minutes or until deep golden brown.  Cool completely, cut into wedges and serve.

Potato and Parsnip Gratin

3 large potatoes

4 medium parsnips

Parmesan cheese

1 cup half and half

Salt and pepper to taste

Garlic powder

Wash and peel potatoes.  Slice on a mandolin.  Pour over some salted water to keep from browning.

Wash and peel parsnips and slice on the mandolin.

Spray a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish with butter flavor cooking spray.

Start layering potatoes in the bottom of the dish.  Layer in parsnips. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, Parmesan cheese.  Repeat.  Should have four layers of potatoes and parsnips.  Pour on half and half, press down to work out air bubbles and make sure the cream is saturated into the layers.  Top with a little extra Parmesan.  Cover with tin foil.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, remove foil, bake another 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are soft to a fork.  Serve!

I actually let these cool, cut into 8 servings, and put them in containers for later in the week.

Perfect Baked Potatoes

Wash and dry large baking potatoes, however many you want to cook.  Poke holes all the way around the potato.

Coat with a little olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt.  Now, you can put them right on the rack in the oven, or you can put them in a pan.  In the pan takes just a little longer, but I like it better because they are easier to handle as a group rather than one at a time.

Bake at 350 degrees for at least an hour, longer if needed depending on how big your potatoes are.  Mine were so big, I cooked them for an hour and a half, and they could have used a little more time.  They are done when you can cut them open, give them a little squeeze, and they pop open nice and fluffy.

Serve with your favorite toppings!

Potato and Parsnip Chips

So, I had a few slices of potatoes and parsnips leftover from making the gratin, and William has been asking for parsnip chips (hard to believe, but it’s true!), so I made some.

Heat about 1″ deep oil in a small saucepan over medium heat, drop in a handful of EITHER parsnips or potatoes, they do take different amounts of time to cook.  Potatoes take about 3-5 minutes to cook, parsnips take 1-2 minutes to cook.  Remove from heat, sprinkle with a little salt, and serve!

Chicken Fillets

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 cup flour

1/8 cup Everglades seasoning (green this time)

3 eggs

Oil for frying

Bread or tortillas, your choice!

Trim any excess skin or fat from chicken, cut into strips about 1/2″ wide, the full thickness of the breast.

Place the pieces between two layers of plastic wrap, and pound them to about 1/4 in thick or less with a meat hammer.

Beat the eggs and put them in a wide shallow dish.

Mix the flour and seasoning in another wide shallow bowl.

Dip the chicken pieces first in the egg, then in the flour.

Fry in a skillet over medium heat, about 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown.

Serve on bread or wrapped in a tortilla, with your favorite sauce and toppings!  YUM!

Pan Fried Steaks

2 New York strip steaks

2 Tbsp butter

Salt and pepper

Large skillet, over medium heat, melt butter, add steaks, sprinkle with salt and pepper, cook about 7 minutes per side for medium well.  Boy were these good!  Sorry, didn’t get photos, but I was pretty proud of how they came out.  I think it’s probably been 20 years since I’ve done a steak this way!

Steamed Veggies

The usual, green beans, peas, carrots.

So, all in all, a very busy day, but a really good one!  I had FUN!!

And to end the post, here are the nails for this week…

So that’s it for this week!  Hope you all found something inspiring here…

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 25

January 27, 2012 at 1:38 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello friends!  Welcome back!

Let me start by saying, I’m an idiot!  All the time I had today to cook, and not a SINGLE picture!  Too busy stressing out over websites, Facebook pages, Webelos camping trips, making jewelry, and every other little thing that caught my attention today, that I completely forgot!!!

So, tonight’s meal was interesting, and pretty tasty for the most part.  I have leftovers, so it wasn’t a COMPLETE hit with the family, and I had to make William something else to eat, but it wasn’t bad…

Cherry and Rice Stuffed Pork Roast

1 x 3 lb pork loin roast, butterfly cut and pounded to about 1/4″ thickness

1/3 cup rice (wild rice if you’ve got it)

1 1/4 cups water

1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried cherries (or cranberries)

6 ounces (approx 1/2 roll) bulk sausage

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 cup cold water

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

2 Tbsp flour

Butterfly roast, pound to 1/4″ thickness between two sheets of plastic wrap, set aside.

In small saucepan, boil 1 1/2 cups water, add 1/3 cup rice, dried rosemary and salt, bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer 40-45 minutes or until rice is tender.  Add in chopped cherries or cranberries, set aside.

In skillet, cook sausage with onion, crumble, drain if needed.  Remove from heat. Add in dried thyme and pepper.  Add in cooked rice mixture.

Spread this rice and sausage mixture over your pounded out roast, then roll (starting on a short side) and tie up the roast.  You’ll end up with slices that sort of look like a pinwheel when this is all done.

Place rolled roast in a roasting pan, sprinkle with salt, pepper and more thyme if desired, cover, cook at 325 degrees 2 hours or until thermometer in roast reads 155 degrees minimum. (mine read 180 when it was done, and it was just about perfect)

When done cooking, remove from pan, cover with foil, and allow to stand about 15 minutes while you make gravy with the juices.  Add 1 cup cold water to the pan and whisk to bring up any bits from the bottom of the pan.  Transfer these drippings to a sauce pan, stir in 1/3 cup water mixed with 2 tbsp flour, bring to a boil, stir and cook until thickened.

Slice roast, serve with gravy.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts (yeah, you read that right…  the dreaded Brussels Sprout!)

1 lb fresh Brussels Sprouts

4 slices bacon

1/3 cup coarsely chopped dried cherries (or cranberries)

1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)

Cut bacon into 1/4-1/2″ strips, cook until crisp, DO NOT DRAIN!

Remove ends and loose outer leaves from sprouts.  Cut into quarters.  Toss into pan with bacon, including the fat!  Once the sprouts have gotten brighter green, couple of minutes in the pan, add in the cherries and nuts, then transfer everything to an oven safe dish, cover and bake about 1 hour at 325 degrees, or until sprouts are very tender.  I think maybe I could have done mine maybe 45 minutes and they might have been better, they were a little softer than I wanted, but considering I HATED Brussels Sprouts before trying this recipe, they came out really good!

I made some more of the green beans from last night, sauteed fresh green beans cooked in butter and minced garlic, cooked in a frying pan until crisp-tender only, and a fresh salad to go with the roast and the sprouts.  Made for a very nice meal!

So, busy day, topped off with a good meal, not too shabby!

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

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