The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 180 & 181

July 2, 2012 at 8:15 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  I guess I’m stuck in an every-other-day kind of rut now.

Happy Monday!  Hope you all had a good beginning to the week.  Going to be a short week for many of us, but the holiday is in the middle of the week, so it’s sort of weird.

Had a doctor’s appointment today, also sort of weird.  Sat there for over an hour before I got to see the PA, I usually see her not the doctor and I’m OK with that part, but I hate the waiting!  And it’s SO cold in that office, I always feel like a popsicle when I leave.  Had more bloodwork while I was there, too, joy.

End of the month at work, cleaning up all the leftovers from June, actually got a lot done!  Felt good to be so productive!

Mike had a quiet day, most of his clients didn’t show, so he did a lot of catch up stuff, too.

I kept the boys busy today, got them to cut the grass, edge, sweep up the mess, scoop the cat box and unload the dishwasher.  James is now at work, got called in, likes the extra hours.  William is packing…  lucky little bugger is going to Disney with his friend and his mother for two days!  He doesn’t leave until Wednesday, but he’s already running around picking up things he might need and putting them in a bag.  Think he’s a little excited???  I was just a little evil when I told him…  I said, I have bad news, no drive-in, no sleep-over Tuesday night, no cookout Wednesday.  His face fell, you would have thought he lost a pet!  Then I told him WHY, and that he was going to Disney, if he was a cartoon he would have been bouncing off the walls and his eyes would have popped out of his head!

So, anyway, on to the cooking.  Can’t say I’ve done anything overly complicated, but I’ll give you what I got!

Sunday night, we had spaghetti with marinara sauce and meatballs, and bread sticks.  Pasta from a box, sauce from a jar, frozen meatballs, and bread sticks from Pilsbury!  Absolutely nothing from scratch, not that I couldn’t, I just didn’t.

Tonight, we had home made popcorn chicken, baked potatoes, and leftover home made egg rolls.  Guess I could share a couple of those recipes with you…

Egg Rolls (vegetarian this time)

Egg roll wrappers

1 small head of cabbage

1 small bag of baby carrots

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tsp ground ginger

Remove the stem from the cabbage, and chop it into small chunks.  Put the chunks into an electric chopper or food processor, chop until very fine.  Repeat as needed until whole head is shredded.  Repeat with carrots.  Mix cabbage, carrots, soy sauce and ginger in a mixing bowl until well blended.

Put a wrapper on a plate in diamond shape, spoon about 2 Tbsp filling across center, fold up bottom corner and snug in filling, fold in two side corners tucking in tightly, dampen final point with water, and roll filled center over moistened tip, sealing well.  Repeat with all wrappers and filling until you run out of something.  I ran out of wrappers before I ran out of filling, but that’s OK!

Heat some vegetable oil in a skillet, about 1/2″ deep, over medium heat.  Fry each egg roll about 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown.  Remove to paper towel lined platter, serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce!

Popcorn Chicken

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

About 1 cup flour

About 1/2 cup Everglades seasoning

Trim any excess skin or fat from the chicken, cut into bite sized pieces.

Mix flour and seasoning in a plastic container large enough that you can add in the chopped chicken, cover, and shake well to coat all pieces!

Heat vegetable oil about 1/2″ deep in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add in chicken pieces, not too many at a time, and not too close.  Cook about 2-3 minutes per side, turning at least once, or cook until chicken is cooked through and light golden brown.  Serve with dipping sauce of your choice, or just plain!

I think I’ve shared the perfect baked potato recipe a few too many times, so I’m not going there this time around.  But you know they’re good if you’ve tried making them!

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


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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 117

April 27, 2012 at 9:49 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you’ve all had a Fabulous Friday!

Things are looking up at work, learning more each day, actually helping other people get caught up on their work while I learn new things.  I think things are going to work out!  Let’s just hope they feel the same way about me…

William had a really good day at school, and a good afternoon after school hanging with his friends.

James had a kind of rough day at work, but at least he didn’t have to work all night tonight, so we all had dinner together.

And it’s Friday, so we can all relax a little tonight, not worry about getting to bed early or getting up early tomorrow!!

So, tonight I tried my hand at fried chicken, and I have to say, it didn’t turn out so well.  Here’s the recipe, and all the issues I had, maybe someone out there can give me some helpful hints:

Fried Chicken

8-10 chicken thighs, rinsed

2 cups Bisquick

1 can beer of choice

2 Tbsp Everglades seasoning

1 Tsp Kosher salt

2 eggs

1 cup plain flour

Oil for frying

Heat oil in large skillet to medium heat.

Mix Bisquick, beer, eggs, salt and Everglades seasoning in a wide shallow bowl, making a dipping batter for the chicken.

Put the plain flour in a separate wide shallow bowl.

Coat the chicken pieces in the plain flour, then dip in the batter before placing in hot oil in a large skillet.  Cook 10-15 minutes per side, or until a deep golden brown and done through.

This is where I ran into trouble!  The chicken was more like brown brown, not golden brown, and was still pink inside.  I was cooking over medium heat so it wouldn’t cook too fast, not sure if it was too hot or too cool.  I ended up putting the partially cooked chicken on baking sheets and putting them in the oven for another half an hour at 350 degrees just to get them done through.  At that point, it wasn’t crispy at all, it was mushy, but it was done through.  It had good flavor, but there was no crispy skin at all!!  I was REALLY disappointed, as I was really looking forward to some good fried chicken.

I made a simple pasta salad to go with this mess:

Italian Pasta Salad

1 pound pasta of choice

1 cup mayonnaise

1 Packet Italian dressing mix

Cook pasta per package directions.  Drain and rinse well.  When cooled, mix in mayo and dressing mix, stirring very well, allow to sit at least 30 minutes before serving.

And then since I was so disappointed with the chicken, I decided we needed a treat, so I went and got ice cream, chocolate syrup, butterscotch topping, marshmallow fluff, and we had ice cream sundaes!!

Anyway, now I’m ready to just chill out for a while, so until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!


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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 92

April 3, 2012 at 12:39 am (Food) (, , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  So glad you could join me again on this journey…

Monday…  what can I say!  Busy day, but then Monday always is around here.  Cleaning up from whatever we did over the weekend, not much in this case, but still had a messy kitchen to deal with.  Worked on a new necklace a little, but I’m running out of beading line, and money, so I think I’ll have to take a break, at least until next weekend anyway.  Argued with a bead supplier over a back-order, they just don’t get it!  I don’t understand why when I order 100 of something, and they have 10 packs in stock, but not the 100 pack, why won’t they just send me 10 of the 10 packs!  It’s still 100 either way, but they make more money on the 10 packs…  guess I get to make a side trip to the local bead store for a suitable replacement part tomorrow.  Gotta get going on a custom order!!  Then, of course, it’s scout night, that went well.  The boys are working on a sportsman badge, so they played marbles and ping-pong tonight, that was interesting.  And, to top it all off, I applied for 12 new job postings, and heard back on three from a couple weeks ago, more “thanks but no thanks”, but at least they are getting back to me instead of just ignoring me!  Maybe my mother is right and I should be the one getting the cooking degree, maybe then I could find a job!

Anyway, here are the two recipes for tonight, both very easy and very tasty:

Fried Fish Bites (yeah, this is a repeat, I know)

1 cup flour

1 cup Panko bread crumbs

1/4 cup Everglades seasoning

4 eggs

3 Tilapia filets, cut into bite sized pieces

In one wide shallow bowl, mix flour, bread crumbs and seasoning, set aside.

In one wide shallow bowl, beat eggs, set aside.

Put cut fish pieces into eggs, coat well.  Remove a few pieces at a time and place in flour mixture, coat well.  Once coated, fry in oil heated over medium heat, cooking about 2-3 minutes per side until light brown and crispy.  Remove to paper towel lined serving tray, and serve warm.

Home Made French Fries

4 large russet potatoes, washed, eyes removed, UNPEELED

Cut potatoes into thin french fry slices. Fry in hot oil approx 8-10 minutes, or until deep golden brown.  Remove from oil to paper towel lined serving tray, salt, serve warm!  I think I need to work on this one a little more, these weren’t very crispy, but they did taste good!

Hope you enjoy these as much as we did!  They are ALL gone!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 68

March 9, 2012 at 11:31 pm (Food) (, , , )

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

Another busy day, working on a new necklace for a contest, got the pendant finished.  WOO HOO!

  Now I just have to make a chain for it…  and I started another one, but in red.

Had the usual driving the kids around stuff, ran to the bank for change for a craft show tomorrow.  Hope this one doesn’t get cancelled!  Could really use some income.  Did some dishes, made dinner.  Here’s what we had:

Double Battered Chicken

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts

3-4 cups Biquick, separated into three bowls

1/2 can beer of your choice

1/4 cup Everglades seasoning

Oil for frying

In your three bowls, here’s what you should have:

1) Plain Bisquick

2) Bisquick mixed with beer

3) Bisquick mixed with Everglades seasoning

Trim the chicken breasts, and cut into small tenders.  I got about 6 tenders from each breast.  Dip each tender first in the plain Biquick, then in the beer batter, then in the seasoned Bisquick.  Drop into oil heated over MEDIUM heat.  Cook about 4-5 minutes per side, or until coating is deep golden brown and chicken is done through.  Remove to platter covered with paper towels to drain excess oil.  Serve!

 (sorry the picture is fuzzy…  I almost forgot to take the pic!)

We had these with a fresh salad.  They were a little salty, but I think that’s the Everglades seasoning mix.  And the boys said they thought there was too much batter on the chicken, which surprised me.  I kind of liked it!  Maybe next time I’ll skip the second flouring and just put the seasoning in the beer batter…

Anyway, good dinner!  So, until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 66

March 7, 2012 at 11:49 pm (Food) (, , , , , , )

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

Busy day today…  finally finished my blanket for the next camp-out, it’s pretty!  It’s one huge granny square, but it’s all scrap yarn from about a hundred other projects, plus about three full skeins of yarn, so it’s like a big rainbow, but square.  Don’t know if I mentioned it, but I finished William’s last week, also one huge granny square, but his is all shades of blue.  He’s already been using it on the couch in the mornings between breakfast and time to get ready for school, so I guess he likes it!

Started a little shawl from the last of the regular weight yarn I have stashed around here, figure that way I’ll have something other than a huge blanket to wrap around me if I get chilly while camping.  Although, here in Florida, that won’t be an issue for too many more weeks.  But we keep talking about camping as a family, so in theory, we’ll be doing this year round eventually, so I’ll need it again next year.

Went over to a friend’s house and went swimming for a while, tried out the new bathing suit, worked out well.  Got myself a tank top with a built in shelf bra and a tankini bottom on sale last fall, so for less than $15 I have a nice new bathing suit for this year.  Water was a little chilly at first, but I got used to it, and we all had fun.

Anyway, you’re not here for the family stories, so here’s the recipe of the night:

Fish Nuggets

3 frozen Tilapia fillets, thawed in cold water

1 cup Panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup Everglades seasoning

Oil for frying

Rinse fish fillets, don’t pat them dry for this recipe.  Cut them into bite sized pieces.

Mix bread crumbs, flour and seasoning in a wide shallow bowl.  Put in about 5 to 6 fish bites at a time, toss them around in the bread crumbs, pressing them down lightly to make sure they get well coated.  You can also moisten the pieces of fish before putting them in the crumb mixture if you need to, just to make sure they all get some of those yummy Panko bread crumbs on them!  I know some of mine dried out a little before I could get them into the bread crumbs, just from sitting on the cutting board.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet.  Put about half the fish bites in the pan at a time, cooking about 2-3 minutes per side or until a nice golden brown.  When done, remove to a serving platter covered with paper towels to soak up some of the excess oil.  Serve!

We had ours with some of the leftover beef flavored rice from a couple of nights ago, peas and broccoli.  All in all, a nice meal!  Even William liked the fish, so much that he had seconds!  That’s an achievement around here…

So, now I’m thinking dessert might be in order, but not sure what I want…

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 29

January 31, 2012 at 2:35 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello my friends, and welcome back!

Well, tonight was a mixed bag for us…  some successful things, some not so much.  I’m going to give you all the recipes in case you want to give anything a try, and I’ll tell you which were hits or misses for us.  Knowing that everyone has different tastes, you might like something that we didn’t!  And, of course, there is always that SLIM chance that I did something wrong! LOL!

Fried Polenta (this one was not such a hit around here…)

2 3/4 cups water

1 cup corn meal

1 cup cold water

1 tsp salt

Place 2 3/4 cups water in medium sauce pan, bring to a boil over medium heat.  Mix 1 cup corn meal, 1 cup cold water and 1 tsp salt in measuring cup or small bowl, then add to boiling water.  Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat, stir and simmer 10-15 minutes or until thick and creamy.

Pour hot mixture into a clean loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap and cool in the refrigerator AT LEAST 4 hours.  Cut into 12 even slices (or more, in this case thinner is better!), and fry in hot oil AT LEAST 15 minutes, turning once.

You can serve this with several different kinds of toppings.  My husband likes sauteed mushrooms cooked in butter and garlic, so that’s what I did this time.  This didn’t turn out as crunchy as I expected or wanted, but it was OK.

Fried Chicken (yet another take on this dish, I know, it’s getting old, but what the heck!  This was HUGELY popular!)

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into tenders

1 cup flour

1 cup Panko bread crumbs

3 Tbsp Everglades seasoning mix

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup oil for frying (and you will need to add more as you cook batches of chicken, the pan will get dry)

Place buttermilk in a wide shallow bowl and set aside.

Mix flour, bread crumbs and Everglades seasoning in another wide shallow bowl and set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Dip each piece of chicken in buttermilk, then in the flour mixture, add to the hot pan.  Cook 3-5 minutes per side, or until deep golden brown on all sides, and check a couple of the bigger pieces to make sure the chicken is cooked through.

Remove chicken from pan when done, drain on paper towels.

Burst Tomatoes (I love this one, everyone else, not so much)

2 cups grape tomatoes

1 Tbsp firmly packed brown sugar

Pierce skin of all tomatoes, place in microwave safe dish.  Sprinkle brown sugar over tomatoes.  Cover dish (either the cover that goes with the dish, or plastic wrap if you don’t have a cover), microwave on high 3 minutes or until tomatoes pop.  Stir and serve!

Wilted Spinach (everyone except William liked this one)

Place 2 Tbsp butter and one 9 ounce package of fresh spinach in the hot pan after you’ve finished frying your chicken.  Stir and toss lightly until spinach is very tender.   Serve warm.

Roasted Butternut Squash

Cut butternut squash in half, remove seeds.  Place cut side down in baking dish, sprinkle brown sugar in the bottom of the dish.  Roast at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until tender.  Scoop out cooked squash and serve.

I’m sure I did something wrong with this last one, it took TWO HOURS to cook!  And, when I scooped out the squash, the only part that tasted good was the part coated in brown sugar.  The rest was sort of bitter…

Anyway, that was dinner tonight.  James helped with some prep work.  William whined that he didn’t want another home cooked meal, then loved the chicken.  Mike doesn’t like tomatoes, but loves mushrooms, so he was happy.  Couple hits, couple misses, but we all ate well!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 23

January 25, 2012 at 12:45 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , )

Hello friends, and welcome back!  So glad you’ve joined me again for my nightly food ramblings.  I have to say, tonight’s dinner was a HUGE success, so much so that almost all the food is GONE, and even William didn’t have anything bad to say about anything on the table!  And the best part, I didn’t have a recipe, this one was all mine!!  🙂

So, here’s what I cooked up, you have got to give this a try and let me know if your family liked it as much as mine did!

Denise’s Fried Chicken

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, approx 2 lbs, trimmed of any leftover skin (they always have a little, don’t they?), and pounded to approx 1/4-1/2″ thick (yes, I finally bought a meat tenderizer/hammer, so my rolling pin is safe once again LOL!)

1/2 a box Progresso Panko bread crumbs (I had a coupon)

1/4 cup Everglades seasoning (I’ve been looking for new ways to use this)

1 tsp fresh ground pepper

I added a pinch of salt, and it really didn’t need it with the salt in the Everglades seasoning, so I would advise against adding any extra salt, but that’s really up to you!

2 eggs lightly beaten

1/2 cup flour

Oil for frying


Place flour in a wide shallow bowl, set aside.

Beat eggs in another wide shallow bowl, set aside.

Combine bread crumbs, Everglades seasoning and pepper in another wide shallow bowl, set aside.

Once you’ve pounded out the chicken, cut it into roughly equal portions, mine were about 3″ by about 2″.  Coat each piece in flour, then in egg, then roll it in the breadcrumb mixture.  Fry in oil approx 5 mins per side, or until no longer pink inside.  Serve with or without gravy (I did gravy, just seemed like the thing to do tonight…)

Sauteed Green Beans

1 lb fresh string beans, washed and ends trimmed, cut in half if desired (James did this part for me)

1 Tbsp minced garlic (I keep a bottle of minced garlic on hand because I’m just not any good at mincing!)

2 Tbsp butter

Heat butter in frying pan, add in garlic, stir.  Add in green beans and cook, stirring every few minutes, until tender crisp.  Serve warm.

We also had a nice fresh salad, Welch style, with all the cool stuff in separate containers so everyone could make their salad their way.  James cut everything up for me, which was VERY cool!  I love having help in the kitchen, especially when they know what they’re doing!

All in all, a very good evening, and a very good meal!

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

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