January 14, 2013

January 14, 2013 at 9:07 pm (Food) (, , , , )

Well, here we are again!  Hope you all had a great week!

It’s was sort of quiet around here last week.  Back to work full time after two holiday-shortened weeks, back to school for William, and back to the routines.  Holidays are done, decorations are put away, all the goodies are gone (thank goodness, I think I gained 10 pounds!), and I’m trying to get back into the routine of cooking every night.  Last week seemed like the longest week in history, but we all got through it just fine.  William ended the week on a high note, started a three-day-in-a-row field trip to Nature’s Classroom.  You would think he was excited or something…  started Friday, he had all his stuff packed in his string pack on Wednesday night!

Not a whole lot of “new” stuff going on cooking-wise, mostly old standards like coconut curry chicken and bacon and eggs, but I do have ONE new recipe for you!

Creamy Italian Chicken

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 can cream of mushroom soup

2 cans water

2 Tsp Italian seasoning blend

DASH red pepper flakes

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 box Dreamfields pasta of your choice (I used spaghetti this time)

Put the chicken in the crock pot (yes, the crock pot again!), pour over soup and water, mix it a little.  Add in the spices and mix it a little again.  Set on HIGH 3-4 hours or low 7-8 hours, stirring occasionally.

When done, remove chicken from the pot, shred it, then add it back into the sauce.  Mix a little making sort of a shredded chicken sauce for the pasta.  Turn OFF the pot.

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Cook the pasta to package directions.  Drain and add into crock pot, mix well, serve with a little Parmesan cheese or shredded cheese on top!

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I think this is one of those dishes that I’m going to have to experiment with a little.  It wasn’t bad at all, but it “needed something”.  Made good leftovers!

Oh, almost forgot, here’s what I finished making this week…

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P1060154 Only 1/2″ tall!

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P1060156 This one is 1″ tall…

Anyway, that’s about it for this week.  Gonna go play with some beads for a while…

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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

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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

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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 313-319 (week 46)

November 18, 2012 at 10:02 pm (Food, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  It’s been an interesting week…  nothing Earth-shattering, just interesting.

Work has been really busy, which I can only think is NOT a good thing considering what I do, that means the foreclosure business is booming, or maybe things are just moving better through the courts, but whatever is going on, it can’t be a good sign for the economy.

And of course, there was all the post-election stuff going on, the stock market dropping, businesses laying people off, Hostess closing, just kind of a depressing week all the way around.

BUT, William had a really good week at school, things are going very well for him, he’s enjoying his classes, and getting good grades.  Absolutely cannot complain!

Mike had a good week at work, things are picking up, they are finally keeping him almost busy, and he spent all day yesterday working on his guitar.  Took his birthday money and bought some new pick-ups, a new pick guard, and he’s really happy with the results.

I’ve been fairly busy working on jewelry, too, but I need to get better at getting OFF the computer at night and doing things I LIKE instead of wasting so much time on Facebook.  I mostly work on new pieces on my lunch hour at work, but I spent about 3 hours last night making clay beads, which was more fun than I remember, and then a few hours today making jewelry from some of those beads, so I feel like I had an extra special day!  And, I still got the laundry done, cleaned up the kitchen, and did my nails.  GOOD DAY!

So, on to the food….

Monday

Baked BBQ Pork Chops

4 boneless pork chops

About 3 cups BBQ sauce of your choice

1 Tsp garlic powder

Put the pork chops in a roasting pan, sprinkle with garlic powder, pour over BBQ sauce, cover and bake at 350 degrees for at least an hour, or until chops are done through and sauce is bubbly.  Serve!

Ratatouille (this was fun!)

1 smallish yellow squash

1 smallish zucchini

1 Chinese eggplant

2 Tbsp dried onion flakes

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 cup tomato sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp olive oil, divided

1/4 cup Parmesan

Italian seasoning blend

Using a mandolin slicer, slice the squash and eggplant very thin.  Spray a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish with olive oil flavor cooking spray.  Pour the tomato sauce in the bottom of the pan, sprinkle with the onion flakes and garlic powder.  Liberally salt and pepper.  Lay the slices of squash and eggplant on the sauce, alternating each type of veggie, overlapping each, all the way around and in the center. (sort of like in the movie, looks a little like a fan)  Salt and pepper, sprinkle with a few Tbsp Parmesan.  Layer more veggies, salt and pepper, Parmesan.  Repeat until you have about 3 to 4 layers, or you run out of veggies.  Sprinkle with remaining olive oil and any remaining Parmesan, and sprinkle with Italian seasoning blend.  Cover with aluminum foil, cook at 375 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes, or until tomato sauce is bubbling up around the edges of the veggies.  Serve!!

Fried Potatoes

2 leftover Perfect Baked Potatoes

Sour cream, about 1/2 cup

Parmesan, about 1/2 cup

2 Tbsp butter

Salt and pepper

Chop potatoes into bite-sized pieces.  Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add potatoes and fry until they start to brown a little.  Skin on or off is entirely up to you!  Once the potatoes are heated through and just a very little browned, remove from heat, stir in sour cream and Parmesan.  Serve!

Chocolate Chip Cake with Chocolate Pudding Pokes

Basic Yellow Cake recipe

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

1/2 c chocolate chips

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

Meanwhile, grease and flour 9″ x 13″ baking 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.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake 25-30 minutes for 9″x13″ pan (I actualy had to put this back in for an extra 20 minutes before it was done, so I cooked 50 minutes)

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

Cool completely in pan before frosting.

When cooled, poke holes in the cake with the handle of a wooden spoon.

Prepare instant chocolate pudding to package directions, family size package.  Pour over cake, making sure it gets into those holes and leaks down the sides a little.  Allow to cool in the fridge for about 30 minutes before serving.  YUM!

Tuesday

Ranch Fried Chicken, Bacon and Tomato sandwich

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 pkgs ranch dressing mix

2 cups flour, divided

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 pound bacon

1 large tomato, sliced

Cut the bacon into about 1/2″ wide pieces, cook until crispy, remove to paper towel lined plate to drain, set aside.

Trim any excess skin or fat from the chicken, cut into chunks, then pound those to about 1/4″ thickness between two sheets of plastic wrap.

Put 1 cup plain flour in one wide shallow bowl.

Put the eggs, beaten, into another wide shallow bowl.

Mix the other cup of flour, ranch dressing mix, and a little salt and pepper, in a third wide shallow bowl.

Dip each piece of chicken first in the plain flour, then in the egg, then in the seasoned flour.  Fry in shallow oil over medium heat until golden brown and crisp.  Remove to paper towels to drain excess oil while cooking remaining chicken.  I can usually do 3-4 pieces at a time.

Serve on bread, toasted or not is up to you, with bacon, tomato and your choice of sauces.  YUM!

Wednesday

Jet’s Pizza

Thursday

Chicken and Sausage with Tomato Sauce

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 rope Kielbasa

1 Jar spaghetti sauce

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp Italian seasoning blend

1/8 Tsp red pepper flakes

1 Tsp orange Everglades seasoning

1 Jar (that sauce jar!) water

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Cut the sausage into roughly 2″ pieces.  Don’t cut the chicken, in fact, frozen works really well for this.

Put everything in a crock pot, mix a little, cook on LOW 8-10 hours.  Using a slotted spoon, fish out the chicken, which should be falling apart at this point, the sausage and beans, put on a serving platter.

Serve with rice or pasta, your choice, and a little of the sauce from the pot poured over each serving.

Parmesan Orzo

1/2 box Orzo style pasta

1 stick butter

1 c Parmesan

Cook pasta to package directions.  Drain.  Melt butter in the hot pan, add back in pasta, and add Parmesan.  Mix well and serve!

Steamed Veggies

Friday

Burritos and Taquitos

Frozen ones, sorry, no recipe this time!

Saturday

Taco Bell

Yes, we ate out.  I just didn’t feel like cooking after working half the day, then housework, just didn’t have it in me!  But, once I ate dinner, I made…

Chicken soup

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

4 pkts chicken flavor Flavor boost

2 pkts vegetable flavor Flavor boost

4 quarts water

2 Tbsp green Everglades seasoning

1 Tsp garlic powder

1/2 bag frozen green beans

1/2 bag frozen sliced carrots

1/2 c frozen peas

1/2 box Orzo style pasta

In a LARGE stock pot, pour in water, add flavor packets and spices, mix well.  Add in chicken.  Cook over LOW heat about 2 hours.  Increase heat so that water boils, add in pasta, cook about 15-20 minutes, or until pasta is well done.  Reduce heat again, add in veggies, cook another 30 minutes.  Remove from heat, serve, or allow to cool and put into serving size containers.  Freezable!!  This made about a dozen large servings, about the same size as Chunky soup cans, but a lot better for you.

Sunday

Breakfast for Dinner

Bacon, cooks crispy

Scrambled eggs with cheese

Crescent Rolls

Simple, quick meal that everyone loves.  I added a sliced tomato to my plate, but I’m the only one that likes them…

Apple Banana Dessert

1 small apple

1/4 cup dried banana slices

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp butter

1/4 C old fashioned oats

Core apple, cut into wedges, then slice the wedges into very small slices.  Put into a microwave safe bowl.  Add in the dried banana slices.  Top with the butter and brown sugar.  Microwave 1 minute, mix well, microwave another 4 minutes.  Allow to cool at least 5 minutes before serving!  Top with a little ice cream, YUM!!!

Anyway, that’s it for this week.  Hope you found something you want to try!!

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 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…

Monday

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

Water

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.

Tuesday

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!

Wednesday

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.

Thursday

Leftovers

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!

Friday

Spasagna

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

So, courtesy of http://www.thecountrycook.net 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!

Saturday

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 224

August 14, 2012 at 7:54 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , )

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

I’m in a mood tonight, so this will be a short post I’m afraid.  Just not into it tonight, but I wanted to try to keep up with this better than I have been of late.

Tonight’s dinner was SUPER easy, but yummy, so I can share…

2 pounds ground beef chuck

1/2 large jar great value spaghetti sauce

1 box Dreamfields penne pasta

1 Tbsp Italian seasoning mix

1 Tsp garlic powder

Brown ground beef, drain if needed, add in spices and garlic, then add in sauce, simmer while you cook the pasta to package directions.  Drain the pasta.  Put about 1 cup pasta and 1 cup sauce in a bowl, top with Parmesan cheese, and serve.

The meat sauce is more like a ragu than spaghetti sauce, because it’s more meat than sauce, so it needs the extra spices.  A little salt and pepper helps, too.

Really tasty!!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 204-207

July 28, 2012 at 6:47 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , )

Oh, I have been SO slacking off this week!  I am so sorry!!!

And I’m sorry to tell you I really don’t have anything for you today, either!  I just wanted to say HI to everyone and share what’s going on in our little corner of the world.

So, let’s play catch-up…

Wednesday, first day as an actual employee where I work, last full pay check from the temp folks.  Also got my PTO time actually in the system, so I put in for a day off for when Mike has to go get his colonoscopy (oh what fun).  Still have time in my bank, figure I’ll leave it there, maybe plan a long weekend some time.  I think Mike has time banked, too, so maybe we can plan a couple days off together now!

Since I got paid, and it was a LONG day at work (lots of changes, scrambling to figure out what I’m doing, sharing info with folks who took over some of my stuff, getting things from other folks where I took some of their stuff, just craziness!) I sprang for burgers and fries from Five Guys.  I am SOOO glad we don’t eat their very often, it’s entirely too expensive for burgers and fries, but I have to admit, it was really good this time.  Last time, it was sort of blah, but this time, it was good!  I think maybe we have to be away from it for a while before it tastes really good!

Thursday, still a little crazy at work, playing catch up, figuring things out, helping other people figure their new stuff out, getting back into my routine.  By the end of the day, I was re-organized and ready to go.  Got some follow-ups done, worked on some reports, felt like I had actually made some progress.  Of course, I have a nemesis at work, this one girl who just doesn’t like me for whatever reason, is always treating me like I smell bad or something, huffs at me, snubs me, the whole nine yards…  and of course, we traded some properties in this whole re-org, so we had to speak to each other.  I try so hard to be nice, tried to give her some print outs, lists that have helped me, share info, she didn’t want anything to do with it because it wasn’t the way she would do it, her words “oh nevermind, I’ll just get it myself!”  I wanted to slap her SO bad, but I was good!!!  I filed away what I had, figure sooner or later I’ll need it for something.

James got called in to work, so I was without a vehicle, and still tired after work, Mike was working late, so William and I ordered pizza from Jets.  And once again, I will say, if you have a Jets pizza around, try them!!!  I’m not a huge fan of thick crust pizzas, but theirs is awesome!!!  And their bacon cheese bread sticks, yummy!!!

Friday, well, things calmed down a little at work.  Getting a feel for my new vendors, learning their issues, their strengths and weaknesses.  Talked to a bunch of new folks on the phone, they all seemed really nice and eager to work, so that’s a bonus.  Felt like I accomplished a lot, cleaned up some messes, felt good!  Plus, we had the monthly birthday and work anniversary celebration, so there were goodies, always a plus!

Mike and I made chicken nachos, guess I could share that one with you…  it’s really simple, but very tasty!

Chicken Nachos

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/4 cup taco seasoning

1/4 cup dried onion flakes

2 Tbsp garlic powder

Shredded cheese

Salsa

Water

Fill a large pot with water, add in the taco seasoning, garlic powder and onion, add in the chicken.  Heat over medium heat for about 45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.  Remove chicken and shred or cut into small pieces.

Put your favorite tortilla chips on a plate, spread out a little, top with some of the chicken, top with your favorite shredded cheese.  Microwave for 1 and 1/2 minutes, or until cheese is well melted.  Top with your favorite salsa, sour cream, or whatever YOU like on your nachos!

And here we are, it’s Saturday.  Time to catch up on chores that get ignored all week now that I’m working, time to relax a little between loads of laundry, time to hang with the family…

So of course, Mike was up and out before I even got out of bed, he had a CT scan this morning, part of his annual follow-up with Moffitt. So far, all the blood work and such is coming back good, so he’s feeling a little more comfortable with the whole “survivor” idea, and the fact that he IS one!

I got William up around 9, we had breakfast together, then I went and got my toes done.  Got back just a few minutes before Mike did, and we all had lunch together, or at least in the same room.  Went grocery shopping, ran into Candy and David, that was cool.  William has been bugging her today asking if he can go over, or Noah can come over here.  She finally invited him over for the night, they are having home made pizza, I’m sort of jealous!  Mike and I then went back to Walmart, filled water jugs, picked up William’s prescription, got salad makings for dinner.  We are both sort of in the mood for a light meal, so here’s what we’re having:

Grilled Chicken Salad

Fresh salad greens of your choice (I got both an iceburg blend and a field green mix)

Grilled chicken (yes, we got premade)

Crispy bacon pieces

Ranch dressing, or your favorite

Shredded cheese

Put it all together and you’ve got an easy fresh dinner!

So, that’s really it for now.  Maybe I’ll cook up something interesting tomorrow, thinking meatloaf..

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 200-202

July 23, 2012 at 9:27 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  I guess I’m proving, to myself more than anyone, that I’m just not up to doing this every single day and working and keeping up with the house and doing crafty things…  so I’m just going to post as much as I can, and that will have to be OK!  I’m OK with it…  hope you can be, too!

Anyway, let’s see, last thing I posted was Friday night, and we went out!  LOL!  What’s happened since then…

Saturday was grocery shopping, short list, but I came home with I think 8 Walmart shopping bags full of stuff.  Lots of fresh fruit, meats, bread, some frozen veggies…  fridge is full, freezer is almost full, cupboard is well stocked but not overflowing.  Washed four out of five loads of laundry, cleaned up the kitchen.  Went to Bealls Outlet, FINALLY found a purse I liked for a price I wanted to pay!  Also got two tops and a pairs of jean capris for work, a cup for my desk, and a pair of earrings I plan on copying.

I know it was movie night, but we didn’t do snack type foods for a change, we had Mexican!  Frozen burritos, but cooked my way.  Frozen taquitos, just cooked to package directions, nothing special.  And home made quesadillas!  So here’s how you do it…

Semi-Home Made Burritos

1 pkg frozen burritos of your choice (we like both the beef and bean, and the chicken and rice varieties)

1 small can enchilada sauce

1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Arrange burritos in a large pan with at least a little bit of a lip, you can’t do this on a completely flat pan, it makes a mess!

I believe the package directions say to cook 25 minutes.  I cook them for 22 minutes, then take them out.  Pour enchilada sauce over partially cooked burritos, making sure to get them covered well, take your time!  Spread shredded cheese over all burritos.  Put them back in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is well melted and sauce is hot.  Serve!

I like to serve this with a little bit of sour cream, or if you don’t have that, they are really good with a little ranch dressing on the side, too.

Home Made Beef Quesadilla

1 pound ground beef chuck

2/3 cup water

1/4 cup taco seasoning

About 3 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese

1 pkg soft taco sized flour tortillas

Butter flavor cooking spray

Brown and drain ground chuck.  Put back into skillet.  Add in water and taco seasoning, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes or until sauce is thickened.

Preheat another large skillet, at least large enough to easily fit a tortilla.  Spray with butter flavor cooking spray.

Put in a tortilla, spread about 1/4 cup shredded cheese, about 1/4 cup meat, another 1/4 cup shredded cheese, top with another tortilla.  Spray top with cooking spray.  Cook about 2-3 minutes or until tortilla is browned and a little crispy, carefully flip and cook the other side.  Cheese will be very melty and yummy!!  Remove to serving platter, cut into 6-8 wedges with a pizza wheel.  Repeat until out of tortillas and meat, you might have some cheese left over.  Serve with sour cream, ranch dressing, enchilada sauce or salsa!

You can also substitute chicken for the ground beef for a lighter and slightly healthier dish, but the taco sauce made with the water and seasoning isn’t quite the same with chicken as with beef.  It still tastes really good, though!!  I like to put a little salsa inside the quesadilla when I use chicken, just makes it moister.

So, Sunday, no cooking going on.  Went to my mom’s for the day, spent the day swimming with my boys, eating mom’s picnic food (hot dogs, potato salad, deviled eggs, chips, baked beans, white cake with chocolate icing…  YUMMY!!!), mom bought me some tops and some new sandals, and then she and I clipped, sorted and tallied coupons that her group sends to a military base in Italy for the military wives to use at the commissary!  I just thinks that’s so cool!!  She said that we ended up with almost $4000 worth of coupons in that batch.

And last but not least, today…  Monday was a little crazy at work, two people called in sick, and silly me, I volunteered to cover for one of them!  Between my inbox, his inbox, my reports, his reports, I didn’t quite finish everything I was supposed to do today, but I think I did OK!  It was the busiest day I’ve ever had since I started this job, first time I even came close to feeling overwhelmed.

James and I made Cottage Pie, and then I made pineapple angle food cupcakes.  So here are the recipes…

Cottage Pie

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

2 Tbsp dried onion flakes

1 Tsp garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups water

6 Tbsp gravy mix

3 pounds potatoes

1 cup shredded cheese of your choice

Wash and peel potatoes, cut into chunks, boil until soft.  Drain, put back in pot.  Add in 1 stick butter and about 1/2 cup milk, mash with a hand mixer, adding in additional milk if needed, about 2 Tbsp at a time, until smooth and creamy.

Brown and drain ground beef, put back into skillet.  Add in garlic, onion, salt and pepper.  Add in water and gravy mix.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently if not constantly, about 10 minutes.

Heat oven to broil.

Layer meat mixture in bottom of casserole dish.  Cover with potatoes, smoothing over the top.  Top with shredded cheese.  Put dish on a cookie sheet to keep from messing up your oven in case it boils over.  Heat about 5-8 minutes under the broiler, just until cheese is melted and slightly browned.  Serve!

Pineapple Angel Cakes

1 box angel food cake mix

1 can UNDRAINED crushed pineapple

Mix these together very well, using hand mixer.  Prepare muffin cups with butter flavor cooking spray.  This makes AT LEAST 24 normal sized cupcakes.  I actually ended up with 12 regular sized and 12 jumbo!!

Cook the normal sized ones 15 minutes at 350 degrees.  Cook the jumbos 20 minutes at 350 degrees.  When cooled, you can serve plain or top with whipped cream, strawberries, blueberries, it’s up to you!  They are REALLY good plain!!

So, that’s it for today.  Warehouse 13 season premier is on, so I gotta go now.

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 195

July 16, 2012 at 8:11 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , )

Hello again dear friends, and welcome back!  Hope your week is starting out well…

So, they finally put a number to the offer of that full time job…  not what I was HOPING for, but kind of what I EXPECTED.  Not much more than I’m making as a temp, but not bad, and it’s a paycheck at a job that I’m really liking, so I guess I’m OK with it.  It’s definitely better than what I did before, which was BEYOND stressful, and I ended up working literally 7 days a week, including holidays, the last six months at my old job, with no overtime because I was salaried.  I don’t think anyone could pay me enough to go back to that!!!

Anyway, as you can see I have some mixed feelings about the whole job thing.  I’ll get over it…

So William is REALLY getting bored being at home, actually called me today just to say “whatcha doin’?”  Too funny!!!  I think we’ve worked out how we’re getting his summer reading, finally.  Gotta get on that or he’s never going to get it done!  Hopefully he will enjoy them enough to finish them without fighting the whole time.  The really hard part if going to be getting him to do the assignment, he HATES homework!  But we’ve told him, with this new school, he’s actually going to have to work a little to get good grades, and he’s so freaking smart, he should be getting straight A’s with a minimum of effort, just like his big brother.

Speaking of James, he’s BALD!!!  His girlfriend was using the clippers on him, and slipped, so they had to cut it all off, and OMG!  He looks so weird without hair, but he’s OK with it, so I guess we have to be.  He’s going to get his crown on Wednesday, hopefully that will be the end of the dental work for a while.  Although, he does need to get his wisdom teeth out, too.  Of course, if they keep cutting his hours at work, he won’t be doing much of anything…

Anyway, on to the night’s recipe.  It was SOOO easy, and SOOO tasty!  Good for a nice family dinner, but quick.

Baked Pasta

1 box of your favorite pasta (I used Cellentani tonight)

1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce (Great Value original)

1 pound ground beef

Garlic powder

Salt

Pepper

Italian seasoning blend

Shredded Mozzarella cheese

Cook pasta to package directions.  Meanwhile, brown and drain ground beef.  Turn off burner under beef, add in sauce and spices to your taste.  Allow to warm on that burner until the pasta is ready.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix pasta and beef/sauce mixture in pot.  Put about half into a casserole dish.  Top with about 1 cup of shredded cheese.  Add  remaining pasta and sauce/beef, then top with another cup of shredded cheese.  Put the whole thing in the oven for 30 minutes, or until cheese is nicely melted.  Serve!!

We also had some left over bread (honey oat wheat) with butter along with this great pasta dish.  And afterwards, I had the last of the blueberry dump cake from last night, which was VERY rich, but so much better cold than it was warm last night.  It was a bit loose, more like soup when it was warm, but once it was cooled and set, it was really good!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 178 & 179

June 30, 2012 at 11:15 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Sorry I’m slacking off again, but this whole working and writing and being a mom and being crafty thing is just getting to be a little too much I guess.  I just can’t keep up with everything every day!

So, first things first, news of the family!  I had a really good week at work, then I decided to have a little “me” time today.

I had to go get some blood work done for my doctor’s appointment on Monday, so I made an appointment for that for this morning, got up a little early (around 8) for a Saturday.  Got there, they couldn’t do one of my tests, it can only be done on a weekday, which sucks because now I’ll have to wait until I have a day off to get that one done.  Oh well, got the rest, hopefully they won’t take too long to get the results to the doctors.  Bought myself breakfast at McD’s when that was done.

Then, I thought I would drop all my used sharps at the hospital office that collects those.  Turns out they only take them Monday through Friday between 8 AM and 5 PM.  So, now that I’m working, I guess that’s completely out of the question, unless I happen to have a day off.  Supposedly, Humira has a program where you can mail them in, but I have to call next week and see if that’s something I can use.

Then, I still have pocket money left from last week, plus what I got this week…  see, Mike and I decided we each needed some “mad” money, something that wasn’t tied to bills or allowances or gas money, something we could just spend on ourselves.  Neither of us is actually very good at that any more, so it’s taking some getting used to.  Seems he’s getting better at it than I am!  He goes to the comic shop almost every week now, William goes with him usually.  I, on the other hand, usually end up giving some of mine to William as his allowance, or buying food for the family with mine.  Not this time!

So today I went to the bead store, spent a whopping $6.01 on myself!  If I had known she was going to give me an extra 25% off, I would have picked up more!  But by the time I had spent an hour there sifting through the “cheap” bins, I was ready to leave anyway, nothing else really caught my eye.  Haven’t actually made anything with the beads yet, but there’s still tomorrow.  I did make myself a pair of earrings, but not with the new beads.  I’ll have to take a photo for you I guess…

Then, I gave myself a real manicure, something I haven’t done in literally years.  Cut, filed, clipped cuticles, polished, even decorated.  Felt good, but now my nails feel weird because I haven’t done this in so long.  Reorganized my nail supplies, too, put them in a cool case I had emptied of craft stuff recently, so that worked out well.  I did mess up a line or two, so I’ll have to do a touch-up, but that’s for another day I think.

So, William spent the afternoon with a friend, Mike napped a few hours away, James is at work, and I’m here writing between loads of laundry.  So on to the cooking!

Thursday night, after I made dinner, I baked, thought I would share that with you.

Bisquick Coffee Cake Muffins

Dough

2 Cups Bisquick mix

2/3 cup milk or water

1 egg

2 Tbsp sugar

Topping

1/3 Cup Bisquick

1/3 Cup packed brown sugar

1/4 Tsp cinnamon

2 Tbsp butter, melted

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Grease muffin pan, I used the Texas sized muffin pan this time.

Mix together dough ingredients, spread into prepared pan.

Mix together topping ingredients with a fork.  If you want it a little drier, add a little more brown sugar and Bisquick.  I like it moist rather than crumbly.  Drop small pieces of topping all over cake, press into cake, or drag a knife through topping and dough to mix in a little.  For this, I wish now I had knifed them in rather than just patting them on top.  The crumblies all fell off every time we ate a muffin!

Bake 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Mine was EXACTLY 20 minutes.

Allow to cool about 5 minutes, then remove from pan and serve warm, or put into zipper bags and refrigerate.

Friday night, I meant to cook, but forgot to thaw anything.  So I went to the store to get odds and ends to get through until pay day, figured I would remember to pick up something for dinner, I was hungry after all, but no, I completely forgot until I was on my way home from Walmart.  So, I pulled in to McD’s and got two 20 pieces McNuggets and two large fries, which Mike, William and I split.  Not a very healthy meal, I know, but we ate, and I was a lot less grumpy after we ate.

And on to tonight…

Bacon Spinach Quiche

1 refrigerated pie crust

5 eggs

1/2 cup half and half

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Salt & pepper to taste

4 slices Swiss cheese

1/2 pound bacon cut into small pieces and cooked until crisp

1 cup fresh spinach, cooked in bacon grease just until wilted

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix eggs, half and half, and spices in a medium bowl.  Place cheese, bacon and spinach in the bottom of your pie crust, cover with egg mixture.  Cook at 425 degrees 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook 30-35 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve!

Bacon Quiche

1 refrigerated pie crust

5 eggs

1/2 cup half and half

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Salt & pepper to taste

4 slices cheddar cheese

1/2 pound bacon cut into small pieces and cooked until crisp

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix eggs, half and half, and spices in a medium bowl.  Place cheese and bacon in the bottom of your pie crust, cover with egg mixture.  Cook at 425 degrees 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook 30-35 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve!

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

1 box tri-color rotini, cooked to package directions

About 1 cup ranch dressing

About 1/4 cup bacon bits, either real or imitation, that’s up to you

About 1/4 cup Heinz 57 sauce

Cook, rinse and cool your pasta.  Mix ranch dressing, Heinz sauce and bacon bits together, mix into pasta.  Serve!

Garlic Butter Popcorn

Pop about 1/3 cup kernels in vegetable oil, allow to cool slightly.

Melt about 1/2 stick of butter, mix in about 1/2 tsp garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste.  Allow to cool slightly.  Drizzle over popcorn, mix very well, serve!

I have to say, we weren’t crazy about this.  It was OK, but it just wasn’t really “us”.  It was a little greasy, and the garlic was overwhelming, even though I didn’t put in that much.  I think I want to try an herb mixture next time, just not sure which herbs I want to try!

So, that’s it for tonight.  I think it’s time to watch a movie and then head to bed.  Got another busy day tomorrow!

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

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