The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 271 – 277 (Week 40)

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, here we go…

Monday

Mongolian Beef

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

1 Tbsp corn starch

2 cloves minced garlic

1/4 tsp ground ginger

3 Tbsp soy sauce

1 1/2 Tbsp honey or agave nectar or sugar

1 tsp rice wine or dry sherry

2 Tbsp water

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

1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil or canola oil

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

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

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

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

Adapted from a recipe I found on cHow Divine http://www.chowdivine.com

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

Orange Chicken

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

1 Tbsp orange flavoring

1 Tbsp garlic, minced

1 Tsp ground ginger

2 Tbsp honey

1 Tsp corn starch

2 Tbsp vegetable oil plus 1 Tsp sesame oil for frying

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

Vegetable Egg Rolls

1 head cabbage, shredded very fine

12 baby carrots, shredded very fine

2 Tbsp Hoisin sauce

1 Tbsp teriyaki sauce

1 Pkg egg roll wrappers

Oil for frying

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

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

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

Tuesday

SW Egg rolls with cheese

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

Wednesday

Pork Chops Everglades

6 boneless skinless porkchops

Everglades original seasoning (the green kind)

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

Sauteed green beans with garlic

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

1 Tbsp minced garlic

3 Tbsp butter

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

Fruit Salad

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

1 medium Gala apple

1 medium Bartlett pear

1 medium Dragon fruit

About 30 large red grapes

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

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

Cut grapes into quarters.

Toss all this together, and serve!

Thursday

Jet’s Pizza

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

Friday

Bacon Cheeseburgers

1 lb ground beef

1/2 lb bacon (about 8 pieces)

1 egg

Salt and pepper to taste

Sliced cheese of your choice

Burger buns

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

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

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

Saturday

Fried Chicken Nuggets

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

1 cup whole wheat flour

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

1 Tbsp fresh ground black pepper

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

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

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

steamed veggies – broccoli, peas, green beans

Microwave Brownies

4 Tbsp flour

4 Tbsp sugar

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

2 Tbsp oil

2 Tbsp water

Pinch salt

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

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

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

Sunday

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

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

Had fun with this one!

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

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 264 – 270 (Week 39)

September 30, 2012 at 10:16 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!!

Everyone was actually healthy, no one missed any work or school, feels like we should celebrate!!  And it was a pay week, so of course we went a little overboard this weekend, but that’s nothing new.

The only stories for this week revolve around my fun day yesterday, the rest of the week was kind of quiet.  But, it was a pay week, so we did the Friday night out, more on that a little further down.  And then Saturday…

Started the day getting my nails done, getting my toes done (hurt a bit, but SO worth it!), got my hair cut.  William joined me for this part of the trip, he likes to sit in the massage chair while I get my nails done.   Then we made a quick trip into Winn Dixie to see what meats they had on special.  Got two pot roasts, two packs of boneless pork chops and stir fry beef for $32.

Then it was off to Game Stop to get William the current free character for Pokemon, and he put a game on order.

Next, my first trip to the local Oriental Market.  WOW!  I could spend a whole day in there if I didn’t have William sitting the car waiting!!  Maybe next time…  But I did get some cool food for Saturday movie night.  More on that below.  And I think I found the elephant I want for my desk, but I didn’t want to spend the $8 that day…  kind of glad I didn’t get him this week, since I ended up spending almost $400 on groceries at Walmart later!!  Still haven’t figured out how I spent so much, I didn’t feel like I got that much, but I think prices are going up little by little.  Have to pay more attention to the individual items next time, see if I can figure it out…

So, sort of a “me” day, sort of a “me and William” day, sort of a shopping day, all in all, a very GOOD day, even if it was expensive.

Monday

Spaghetti with Beef and Sausage Sauce

1 box Dream Fields angel hair pasta, cooked to package directions

1 pound ground beef

1 pound mild Italian sausage

1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce

Brown and drain ground beef and sausage together, crumbling as fine as you can.  Put the meat back in the pan, add in the sauce, and heat while you cook the pasta.  Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday

Pork Roast Everglades

1/2 pork loin roast, about 2-3 pounds

1 quart water (will NOT cover the roast, that’s OK!!)

1/8 cup original Everglades seasoning (the green one)

Put everything in the crock pot, set on LOW, cook 8-10 hours.

Remove from pot, slice and serve!  We had some steamed veggies along with this, it was YUMMY!!!

Wednesday

Chicken Bacon Ranch Wraps

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 pound bacon

Dry Ranch dressing mix

Flour tortillas

Cook the bacon crispy, set aside.

Clean any excess skin or fat from the chicken, cut into very small pieces, cook over medium heat just until no longer pink.  Sprinkle with about 2-3 Tbsp dry ranch dressing mix, mix well and cook about 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat.

Spoon a couple large spoonfuls of chicken into a tortilla, add in 2 slices bacon, cheese if you want it, and a little bit of prepared ranch dressing, wrap and serve!

Bacon Grilled Cheese

William’s idea…

Basically, we saved a few slices of cooked bacon from the wraps, and put them inside a grilled cheese sandwich, and it was AWESOME!

Thursday

James brought us Wendy’s for dinner

Friday

Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, Yogurtology, comic book store

Gotta say, the pizza was REALLY good, the yogurt was over priced and just not that good.  The store was cool, and William enjoyed it, but it was just GOOD, not GREAT, and for $20, it should have been AMAZING!!!

Saturday

Steamed buns with chicken (purchased at the Oriental market – OK, not great)

Steamed dumplings with chicken (same as above)

Fried dumplings with chicken (same as above – would have been better deep fried rather than pan fried)

Quick cheesecake (I bought a graham cracker crust, and a container of Philly pre-made cheesecake filling, and put them together)

Sunday

Southwest Egg Rolls

Egg Roll wrappers

2 pounds Ground beef

2 cans Black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup Taco seasoning

1 1/2 cups Water

Brown and drain ground beef, add in water, taco seasoning and beans, mix well, cook until sauce thickens, remove from heat, allow to cool at least 1 hour.

Put an egg roll wrapper on a plate, spoon in about 2-3 Tbsp filing.

Fold up bottom, tighten up the filling inside, fold in the sides roll forward, dampen the last open tip of the wrapper and finish rolling.  Repeat with remaining filling and wrappers.

When done, fry in oil over medium heat, about 1-2 minutes per side or until golden brown.  Serve with your favorite salsa.

Vegetarian Egg Rolls

Egg Roll Wrappers

1 head cabbage, shredded extra fine

12 baby carrots, shredded extra fine

3 Tbsp Hoisin sauce

2 Tbsp Teriyaki sauce

Mix the cabbage, carrots and sauces.

Lay an egg roll wrapper on a plate, spoon in about 2 Tbsp filling.

Fold up bottom and tighten up the filling a little.

Fold in the sides, and roll ONCE.

Dampen the last tip with water and finish rolling.

Continue filling wrappers until you run out of filling or wrappers.

When done, fry in oil heated over medium heat, about 1-2 minutes per side or until golden brown.

Remove from oil to paper towels, serve with your favorite sauce, I prefer Duck sauce since the Hoisin is a little spicy.

Southwest Wonton Bites

Wonton wrappers

Leftover filling from the SW egg rolls above

Put the wonton on a plate, put in about 1 tsp filling, dampen two edges of the wrapper.

Fold over into a triangle.

Dampen the two furthest corners and fold in towards each other.

Repeat until you run out of wrappers or filling!

Fry in oil over medium heat, almost exactly 1 minute per side, just a few seconds more maybe, or until golden brown.

Serve with salsa!

Mongolian Beef

About 1 pound stir fry beef

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp ground ginger

3 Tbsp soy sauce

1 1/2 Tbsp honey

1 Tsp rice wine

2 Tbsp water

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

2 Tbsp oil for frying

Put oil in frying pan, heat over medium heat.  Add in beef, cook just until no longer pink.  Mix the rest of the ingredients (except the onion) in a cup, pour over beef, add 1 Tbsp corn starch or flour to thicken, cook about 8-10 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened.  Add in onions and serve!

Orange Chicken

4 – 5 boneless skinless chicken thighs

2 Tsp orange extract

2 Tbsp honey

1/2 Tsp ground ginger

1 Tsp minced garlic

1 Tbsp flour or corn starch

Trim chicken thighs of any large pieces of skin or fat, cut into very small pieces.  Cook over medium heat with just a touch of oil, cook until no longer pink.  Add in remaining ingredients, stir well, cook just until sauce thickens.  Serve!

Virginia light rolls (sort of!)

This is a recipe I got from my mom, but I have no idea where she got it, and I changed it!

1 Cup + 1 Tbsp milk, warmed about 1 min in microwave

3 Tbsp honey

2 large eggs

6 Tbsp butter cut into small pieces

2 1/4 cups white bread flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 Tsp salt

2 Tsp yeast

4 Tbsp melted butter for brushing

Put milk, honey, eggs and butter into the bread machine pan.

Add in the flours.  Make a small well in the center, add salt and yeast.

Set the machine for DOUGH, hit start and go do something else for an hour!

Turn the dough out onto a floured towel, knead with a little whole wheat flour for just a couple minutes.

Line a 13″ x 9″ baking pan with parchment paper.  Pull globs of dough off the pile, roll into balls and put into pan.  You should get 15 balls, pan should end up 3 across and 5 rows.

Cover, let rise for 45 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Bake 25-28 minutes, brushing with melted butter at the 15 minute mark.

Serve with butter and honey!!

Bacon Egg and Cheese Casserole

12 eggs

1 Cup half and half (fat free)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese

1 pound bacon

2 Tbsp flour

Cut the bacon into small pieces, cook until crispy, drain.

Mix the eggs, half and half, cheeses and flour, pour about 2/3 into a greased 13″ x 9″ dish.  Sprinkle about 2/3 of the bacon into the eggs, push it down into the eggs.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve!

Bacon Egg Cheese and Spinach Casserole

Take the rest of the egg mixture and bacon, pour into a greased casserole dish (or in my case a souffle dish), add in about 1 cup frozen spinach thawed.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve!

And that’s it!  I cooked all day, and my feet hurt, but it was ALL so good!!

So until next time, eat well, love well, live well!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 225 – 228

August 18, 2012 at 10:49 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Yeah, yeah, I’m behind again, but you already knew that, right??  Miss me??  LOL!

What a week!  Work was crazy, but I finally feel like I’m getting a handle on it, but not quite like I’m “one of the gang” yet.  Still feel a little like an outsider.  Loosing another person in a couple weeks, probably getting another new one, too.  It’s like a revolving door!

Got William all set for school, ran into someone I know from a past job, that was kind of cool.

Treated myself to a day out this morning.  Went and got blo0d work done, got my hair trimmed, got my nails and my toes done, went grocery shopping.  What a shopping trip!  Getting ready for back to school lunches, spent over $400 on groceries, but should more than last us two weeks!!

Anyway, it’s movie night, so I’m trying to write this between movies.  We just watched The Hunger Games, and now we’re getting ready to watch Wrath of the Titans.  This could be a very disjointed entry…

Let’s see, Wednesday, we ordered pizza from Jet’s, pepperoni pizza, bacon breadsticks, very good this time!

Thursday was open house at William’s school, we had McDonald’s for dinner.

Friday we went to Five Guys, bacon cheeseburgers, fries, YUM! (and we determined that we are eating out entirely too much!)

And tonight, I made…

Teriyaki Egg Rolls

Egg roll wrappers

1 small head cabbage, shredded

About 6-8 baby carrots, shredded

about 4 Tbsp teriyaki sauce

Diced cooked pork chops

Mix the cabbage, carrots, pork and sauce in a bowl.  Spread about 2 Tbsp of mixture on an egg roll wrapper, fold over bottom, fold in sides, roll towards final tip, dampen tip slightly to seal.  Repeat until you run out of wrappers or filling or both!  Fry in hot oil over medium heat about 3-4 minutes per side.  Serve with your favorite sauce, like sweet and sour, duck sauce or soy sauce.  YUM!

Egg Rolls

Egg roll wrappers

1 small head cabbage, shredded

About 6-8 baby carrots, shredded

about 4 Tbsp soy sauce

Diced cooked pork chops

Mix the cabbage, carrots, pork and sauce in a bowl.  Spread about 2 Tbsp of mixture on an egg roll wrapper, fold over bottom, fold in sides, roll towards final tip, dampen tip slightly to seal.  Repeat until you run out of wrappers or filling or both!  Fry in hot oil over medium heat about 3-4 minutes per side.  Serve with your favorite sauce, like sweet and sour, duck sauce or soy sauce.  YUM!

Egg Roll Bites

Leftover filling from egg rolls

Wonton wrappers

Put about 1 Tsp filling in the middle of a wonton wrapper, dampen two sides, fold over to make a triangle and seal, pinch together two corners so you get sort of a tortellini looking thing, dampen corners so they stick, deep fry until golden brown, serve!

Oh, and I made a cook new sauce to go with the egg rolls…

Home Made Peach Plum Sauce

4 plums, pitted and pureed

2 peaches, pitted and pureed

2 Tbsp vinegar

1 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp dried onion flakes

1 Tsp crushed dried red pepper flakes (or if you don’t have that, a pinch of cayenne pepper)

1 clove garlic, minced (about 1/2 Tsp)

1/2 Tsp ground ginger

Mix everything in a sauce pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool before serving.

So, that’s about it for tonight.  Thinking pot roast for Monday, going to Mom’s tomorrow to get James’ car, having burgers again, but home made this time!

So until Monday probably, eat well, love well, live well!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 218 – 219

August 9, 2012 at 9:36 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!

I know, I know, behind again.  What can I say, I’ve been watching the Olympics and doing some crafts, so I’ve sort of let this slide.  Good news is, I actually cooked the past two nights, so I have something for you, if now new then at least tasty!

Work is beyond busy, but I’m getting there!  Getting things done, hitting my stride, feeling like I might actually know what I’m doing, FINALLY!

Mike is rocking his job, and coming home more excited than I’ve seen him in a long time, and I’m so glad!!

James is getting a few more hours, and we’re making plans to get his car in the next couple of weeks.

And poor little William is bored to tears at home by himself, but he’s being stubborn about spending time with his friends, so I can’t help him right now.  I do need to get all his pants hemmed for school, guess I know what I’m doing this weekend!

So here are a couple of recipes for you, hope you enjoy them!

Quiche 

Great Value deep dish pie shells, package of 2, thawed, poke them up the sides and around the bottom so they don’t puff up when you bake them, baked for 10 minutes at 425 degrees

10 eggs

2 cups milk, divided in half (I actually mixed 1 1/2 cups milk and 1/2 cup half-n-half this time)

10 slices bacon, cut into small pieces, cooked until crisp, drained on paper towels

6 slices Swiss cheese

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup frozen spinach, cooked in the microwave about 2 minutes

Mix the eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl, set aside.

After the pie shells have cooled a bit, spread the Swiss cheese in the bottom of one, fanned out around the inside and slightly up the sides, so it will give you cheese in every slice.  Top with the partially cooked spinach, then half the cooked bacon.

In the second, spread the cheddar cheese, top with the remaining bacon.

Pour roughly half the egg mixture into each pie crust, and bake 10 minutes at 425 degrees, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 35-40 minutes more.

Serve!!

Pork Chops with Apples and Peas

5 boneless pork chops

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tsp ground ginger

1 cup frozen peas

1 Granny Smith apple, diced

Cook apples and peas in a large skillet over medium heat until apples are soft and peas are heated through.  Remove from pan and set aside. Put pork chops into a skillet , pour over soy sauce, sprinkle over ginger.  Cook until pork chops are browned and cooked through, turning as needed to avoid over browning.  Add back peas and apples and reheat through.

Serve!

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

 

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 186

July 7, 2012 at 10:35 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!!  Hope you’re all having a nice weekend.  I know mine started out well!

It’s been a really busy day for me.  Started off by running out and getting McD’s for breakfast.  Then, dropping off a take-home test at the local medical lab.  Unfortunately, there is only one office of our lab that’s open on Saturdays, so I had to drive out to BFE (Valrico) at 10 AM.  Then I went and got my toes done, LOVE sitting in that massage chair!!  When that was done, I slipped next door to the hair salon and got all my hair chopped off!!  Been debating about doing it for a year, finally decided it was time.  Turns out, though, my hair isn’t as curly as it used to be, so it doesn’t look like the photo, but it should be REALLY easy to deal with in the mornings!  And it’s already a lot cooler.  I’ll have to get one of the guys to take a photo so I can post it and show off…  after I’ve had a chance to play with it a little!  It was too funny though, the stylist asked me if I wanted to color my hair to cover the white ones, I told her no way, I earned every one!!

Then it was off to Walmart, two page grocery list, we were out of almost everything, which is why I had to run out to get breakfast this morning.  Had a major sugar crash, had to shuffle my way to McD’s to eat some lunch, guess I shouldn’t have waited so long between meals, or pushed so hard!  After sitting for about 20 minutes and eating something, I finished up my trip.  Mike and William both needed new shorts.  Meats, veggies, pasta, shampoo, make-up, new toothbrush since mine literally fell apart last week, dairy, vitamins, new grass seed spreader since our old one fell apart last month, etc… it was quite the list!  Plus I had about $15 worth of coupons, not my best total ever, but not my worst either!  I about had a heart attack when I saw the total bill, but at least we had the money, so it won’t be an issue!  And, I won’t have to shop like that again for quite a while.

Anyway, seems the boys read comics all day, started the laundry, not sure what else they did.  They were stuck here without a vehicle, so I guess there wasn’t a whole lot they could do!

So, on to the food.  I was a busy girl after I finally got home…  three hours at Walmart wore me out, but I had a Coke and a snack, and I was back!  Here we go!!

Southwest Egg Rolls

1 pkg egg roll wrappers

1 pound ground beef

2/3 cup water

1/4 cup taco seasoning

1 green pepper, finely chopped

3 green onions, finely chopped

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder

1 Tbsp taco seasoning

1/2 cup shredded cheese

Small dish of water for dipping (I’ll explain in a minute)

Brown ground beef, drain excess grease, return to pan.  Add in 2/3 cup water and 1/4 cup taco seasoning, mix well, simmer until thickened.  Allow to cool about 10 minutes.

Mix meat, peppers, onions, beans, spices in a large bowl.  You can sautee the peppers and onions if you choose, I prefer them a little crunchy.

Spoon about 2 Tbsp of this mixture onto an egg roll wrapper on the diagonal.  Fold over the bottom corner and tuck in the filling.  Fold in the two side corners. Lightly dampen the top tip with water, and roll the filled roll over this corner, sealing with the water.  Repeat until you run out of wrappers and or filling.  Somehow, I managed to get exactly enough of each, and had no leftovers!

Heat about 1/2″ of vegetable oil in a wide skillet over medium heat.  Fry the rolls, about 5 or 6 at a time, in the hot oil until golden brown, turning once.  I think they cooked about 2-3 minutes per side at the beginning, and more like 1 1/2 – 2 minutes towards the end.

Remove from oil to paper towel lined tray.  Serve with ranch dipping sauce, salsa, guacamole, whatever YOU like with your Mexican food!

Asian Egg Rolls

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 pkg egg roll wrappers

1/2 head cabbage, shredded really fine

10-12 baby carrots, shredded really fine

About 2 Tbsp soy sauce

1/2 Tsp ground ginger

Remove excess skin and fat from chicken, chop into very small pieces, cook until nicely browned in a skillet, no added fat or oil.

Allow to cool a little, while you mix the cabbage, carrots, ginger and soy sauce together in a large bowl.  Add in warm chicken, mix well.  Spoon about 2 Tbsp of this mixture onto an egg roll wrapper on the diagonal.  Fold over the bottom corner and tuck in the filling.  Fold in the two side corners. Lightly dampen the top tip with water, and roll the filled roll over this corner, sealing with the water.  Repeat until you run out of wrappers and or filling.  I had about 1/2 cup of filling left over this time.

Heat about 1/2″ of vegetable oil in a wide skillet over medium heat.  Fry the rolls, about 5 or 6 at a time, in the hot oil until golden brown, turning once.  I think they cooked about 2-3 minutes per side at the beginning, and more like 1 1/2 – 2 minutes towards the end.

Remove from oil to paper towel lined tray. Serve with soy sauce, sweet and sour sauce, duck sauce (my personal favorite), or whatever sauce you like with your Chinese food!

Taco Bites

1/2 pkg wonton wrappers

About 1 cup prepared taco beef (I actually made a little extra when making the beef for the above Southwest Egg Rolls, worked out well!)

Lay out a few wonton wrappers, spoon about 1/2 tsp filling onto each one, dampen two sides, fold over into a triangle and seal with your finger tips.  Repeat until you run out of filling and wrappers.

Fry in vegetable oil over medium heat about 1 minute per side, or until golden brown and crispy.  Remove from oil to paper towel lined tray to drain.  Serve!

Not a bad meal if I do say so myself!  And lots of leftovers for tomorrow.  YEAH!

And I have some nice fresh fruit for dessert, cantaloupe, honey dew and pineapple, YUM!

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

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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 170-173

June 24, 2012 at 9:28 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Wow, I took quite a break this time.  So sorry to my friends out there!!  I feel like I let you guys down!  I certainly didn’t mean to take that much time off, it just got away from me.

So, let’s see…  my last post was Wednesday, what’s happened since then?

Thursday, nothing special, the usual, Mike’s late night, James worked, William and I ordered pizza for the second time this week.  I know, I’m being SO lazy!

Friday, Mike stayed home, couldn’t sleep Thursday night, so he and William hung out for the day.  They went to the comic book shop, got boxes for their growing collections.  Went to Cold Stone Creamery, I was HIGHLY upset with them!  I had been practically begging to go last weekend, and we talked ourselves out of it.  BUMS!!!  We had Taco Bell for dinner, talk about lazy!  But, in my own defense, it was pouring down rain, and all the meat in the house was frozen, so we had to eat something, and I didn’t want pizza for a third time!  Picture if you will, me in the car at the drive through, with an umbrella sticking out of the window so I can actually place my order.  Wish someone had been brave enough to stand out in the rain long enough to take THAT photo!

So let’s see, Saturday is always movie night, unless the boys decide to play video games instead.  We actually watched four movies I think, had munchie type foods, which I will share in a minute.  Mike figured out how to hook his computer up to the new monster TV, so we can do Netflix, or things we’ve bought from iTunes, or whatever else he’s got on his computer.  It’s actually pretty cool.  Plus, we made a little trip to Walmart, picked up things for our munchfest, and picked up a combo pack movie of both Sherlock Holmes films, so that’s where we started our evening.  I had forgotten how good the first one was, and the second was just as good, if not better.  William fell asleep during the last movie around 1AM.  I think we turned in around 1:30, heard James come in from work, but was too lazy to get up, get dressed and say “hi”.  So, recipes:

BBQ Meatballs and Sausages

1/2 bag Great Value frozen homestyle meatballs

1 pkg Lil Smokies cocktail sausages

1/2 LARGE jug Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce

Put all this into a crock pot, cook on LOW 8 hours or HIGH 4 hours.  Serve about 6 meatballs and 6 sausages in a bowl, or put out toothpicks and let everyone help themselves, depends on your setting.  These are really good for a party, at which the toothpick idea is best.

We also had frozen Taquitos, Pizza Rolls, chips and dip…  OOO, I can give you that recipe, too!

French Onion Dip

1 x 2 cup container sour cream

1 package dry French onion soup mix

Mix the soup mix into the sour cream, put it in the fridge for about an hour before serving.  Serve with rippled chips!

And we also had root beer floats…

Root Beer Float

Put one large scoop vanilla ice cream into a large mug or glass, pour over root beer carefully, it will foam up a LOT (the foam actually tastes kind of good), you can scoop off the foam so you can fill up the root beer.  Top with whipped cream and serve!

And of course, I had my usual fresh fruit cup later in the evening.  I still have cantaloupe, honey dew and grapes in the fridge, and today I picked up a pineapple, going to see if I can get James to cut it up for me tomorrow.

So that was it for yesterday!  Today, I cooked, and cleaned, and cooked some more!  Got lots to share!!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole (updated version!)

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 pkg diced ham

1 pkg sliced Swiss cheese

1 family sized can cream of mushroom soup

1 tbsp milk

2 boxes chicken flavored stuffing mix

3 cups water

1 stick butter

Clean chicken of any leftover skin or fat, cut into small bite sized pieces.  Mix in diced ham, and set aside.

Pour stuffing mix into a large bowl.

Put water and butter in a microwave safe measuring cup, heat on high 4-5 minutes or until hot and butter is completely melted.

Pour over stuffing and mix very well, making sure all liquid is absorbed.  Spoon into pans of choice.  Usually, I do this as one dish in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish, but tonight I was feeling a little adventurous, so I used four small individual casserole dishes and one 8″ x 12″ glass casserole.  I put about 2 heaping spoonfuls of stuffing in the bottom of each small dish and spread it out, then put the rest in the larger dish and spread it out.

I ppread about 2 heaping spoonfuls of chicken and ham over each small dish, and the rest over the large dish.

I got to get extra cheesy tonight since I needed to cover everything with cheese, so each small dish got two slices overlapping, and the large dish got the usual 8 slices overlapping.

Mix the soup and milk together in a bowl.

I spread two heaping tablespoons over the small dishes, and the rest over the large dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  If using these small dishes, might I suggest that you let them sit about 15 minutes before serving, they are VERY hot!

The extra cheese and the diced ham made this SO much better than the original recipe!  Next time, I’m thinking I need to kick it up just a little more and maybe add some bacon and use ranch dressing somehow instead of the soup.  This just has SO much potential!

After dinner, I worked on making some things for lunches and such for this week, so here are a couple more recipes for you:

Grilled Pork Egg Rolls

3 grilled pork chops (I did mine on my George Foreman grill, since it’s POURING down rain!)

9 egg rolls wrappers (because that’s all I had left, I really could have used a whole package, which I think is 20)

About 1/4 head of cabbage, shredded very fine (I used the electric chopper)

About 25-30 baby carrots, shredded very fine

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Soy sauce to taste (I just sprinkled until it looked and tasted right to me, maybe 3 tbsp?)

Chop pork chops into roughly 1/2″ slivers.

Mix the shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, chopped pork and spices in a large bowl.  Allow to set in the fridge for about an hour if you have the time, let all the flavors combine before stuffing your egg rolls.

Place one wrapper on a plate, fill with about 2 tbsp filling, NOT heaping!

Fold up bottom first.

Fold in sides next.

Dampen point with water, and roll.  Set aside until ready to fry.

Put vegetable oil in a large skillet, and heat over medium heat.  Cook about 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crispy.

Serve with duck sauce, soy sauce or sweet and sour sauce, that’s completely up to you!  These are great reheated, best if refried, but can be heated in the oven.  I don’t recommend reheating in the microwave, but you can if you want.

And last but not least, I made my newest favorite dish…

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1 carton Brussels sprouts (I find them in my produce section, I think the carton is about a pound)

1/4 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup bacon bits, or crispy bacon pieces

4 Tbsp honey

2 Tbsp butter

Remove ends and loose leaves from sprouts.  Cut small sprouts in half, medium sprouts in quarters, and large sprouts into 8 wedges.  Set aside.

Melt butter in a medium skillet.  Add chopped sprouts, cook until lightly browned and sizzling.  Add in nuts, bacon bits and honey, mix well, cook about 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat and put in oven safe dish with cover.  Cook at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Serve hot!

So, that’s it for today!  Finally got through it all.  Hopefully I won’t have any more big breaks and get back to being regular with my postings.

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 160

June 11, 2012 at 7:43 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Happy Monday everyone!!  Hope your week has started off well, I know mine has!

William is out of school, and already bored, but Mike gave him some things to do today, which helped a little.  He had to unload the dishwasher, get the mail, and read for an hour.  I know, that killed maybe an hour and a half of his day, but he handled it really well.  James was home with him, but he worked late last night, so he didn’t even get out of bed until noon!  Glad we’re not paying him to babysit, that wouldn’t work out for anyone!!  William does have a summer reading list from his new school, but it’s only two books, that won’t last long, although he does have to write a report on one of them, that could be a challenge!  Of course, we don’t have the books yet, but next week I hope!

Good days at work for both Mike and I, nothing earth-shattering going on, just normal work stuff.  Sorry, not a lot of excitement…

So on to the recipe of the day!  Tonight, I had some thawed chicken and some fresh veggies and a little leftover rice, so:

Oriental Chicken with Veggies

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

4 Tbsp soy sauce (because that’s all I had left, could have used a little more)

2 Tsp ground ginger

1 Tbsp minced garlic

1 cup fresh or frozen peas (NOT canned!)

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup chopped green peppers

2 cups leftover cooked rice

Trim any excess skin or fat or tendons from the chicken breasts, and cut into bite sized pieces.  Put in large skillet with soy sauce, garlic and ginger.  Cook over medium heat until cooked through.  Add in veggies, and cook about 5 minutes, or until veggies are hot but not mushy.

Reheat rice in the microwave for about 3 minutes.  Divide into four servings, top with 1/4 of the chicken and veggie mixture, pour over a little of the sauce from the pan, and serve!

That’s it for today!  Sorry, not feeling as talkative, got things to do, so I’m off!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 159

June 10, 2012 at 8:42 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Happy Sunday!  Hope you’ve all had a great weekend, full of fun and family and good food!!  Welcome back!  🙂

Sunday’s around here are usually pretty quiet, and today was no exception.  Thought about going to a movie, slept in until 10:30 instead.  Finished up laundry, cleaned up the kitchen, did a little cooking, read the comics and clipped coupons.  Mike played video games with William for a little while.  William wanted to go visit a friend, but the family is out of town.  Nothing spectacular, nothing exciting, but a nice day around the house.

So here are a couple of recipes for you:

Home Made Granola

5 cups oats (I prefer old fashioned, but you can use quick if you want)

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp allspice

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

3/4 cup sugar free maple syrup sweetened with Splenda

3/4 cup honey

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla

Mix all dry ingredients in a BIG bowl.  Set aside.  Mix all wet ingredients in a medium bowl, mixing until it looks sort of creamy instead of like syrup.  I used a whisk for just a minute or two.  Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, mix VERY well.  It gets really hard after a minute or so, take a break, then mix some more.  It’s worth it!

Pour into a baking pan with sides, like a broiler pan or a cake pan, making sure the granola is not more than 1/2″ deep, break up large pieces as much as you can, spread it out.  Dark pans cook faster, try not to use them unless you have to.  I used to keep foil pans around just for this, but storing them got out of hand.  Split the batch over a couple of pans if you have to just to make sure it’s not too deep or squished to tightly in the pans, it won’t cook right.  It needs to be loose and not too deep in the pans.

Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour total, stirring every 15 minutes, breaking up bigger pieces, and making sure the batch isn’t getting too dark too quickly.  If you do have to use dark pans, cook about 10 minutes less.

Remove from oven and cool.  At this point, you can add raisins or chocolate chips before packing it up, or you can leave it plain.  You can serve in a cup, in a bag, or in a bowl with milk for breakfast.  You can use this granola to top off yogurt or ice cream.  It makes enough so you can do whatever you want with it!

Store in sealed containers up to two weeks.  Does not need to be refrigerated.

Oriental Seasoned Rice

Rice cooker (imperative!)

Rice

Water

Chicken flavor Flavor Boost, 1 packet

2 Tbsp Soy sauce

1 Tsp ground ginger

Fill bowl of rice cooker to the “4” mark.  Add in the chicken flavoring, the soy sauce and the ginger, mix well.  Using the scoop that came with your cooker, measure in 4 scoops of rice.  Turn on the cooker, when it’s done, serve!

We had this tonight with grilled pork chops, steamed broccoli with butter and steamed peas with butter.

So that’s it for tonight!  Gonna go relax with the family for a while…

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

 

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 156-158

June 9, 2012 at 7:50 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Yeah, I’ve been sort of out of touch the past couple of days, got WAY behind on posting!  I’m sorry!!!

So, welcome back, hope you’re having a great weekend, and experimenting in the kitchen.  I tried a couple of new things tonight, some success, some not so much, but fun trying!

Been a normal Saturday around here.  Cleaning up the kitchen.  Getting laundry done.  Grocery shopping.  Spent way too much time on the computer today, off and on, reading mail, getting caught up with a friend I haven’t talked to in about 8 years but suddenly found on LinkedIn, and of course did a little cooking.  So here are the recipes of the day:

Crock Pot Chili

2 large cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 large can diced tomatoes

1 pound ground beef

1 Tbsp garlic powder

2 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tsp salt

1 Tsp pepper

1 Tsp cumin

2 Tbsp taco seasoning blend

2 Tbsp dried onion flakes

Brown ground beef, do not drain.  Put everything in the crock pot, mix well, cook on LOW at least 5 hours, longer is always better in the crock pot.  Serve hot topped with shredded cheese!

Home Made Sort-of Hummus

2 cans chick peas, one drained

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tsp salt

1 Tsp pepper

Put chick peas and juice from ONE CAN in a blender, use liquify setting to turn them into mush, make sure to get all the chunks.  Add in the yogurt and spices and blend again until everything is smooth.  Serve with chips or pitas.

So after we all tried this “as is”, I started experimenting, because this was a little bland.  All I can say is…  too much garlic!  Oh well, it was cheap enough to make, I can make more tomorrow if I want.

Home Made Egg Rolls

1/2 head cabbage, shredded very fine

1 cup baby carrots, shredded very fine

1 Tsp ground ginger

1 Tsp minced garlic

1/2 cup diced leftover meat (I used ham tonight)

1/4 cup soy sauce

Egg roll wrappers

Mix everything except the wrappers in a medium bowl.  Place 1 heaping tablespoon on the center of an egg roll wrapper.  Fold in two opposite corners, fold over a third corner and tuck around filling, use a little water to dampen the last corner, roll wrapped filling over onto dampened corner and seal.  Place sealed edge down in hot oil over about medium heat, cook about 1-2 minutes, turn over and cook other side.  Cook until golden brown and crispy.  Serve!

Yogurt Pie

1 cup yogurt of choice (I like Yoplait original, just about any flavor)

1 container cool whip (medium container, not the tiny one and not the pig tub)

1 deep dish pie crust, cooked to package directions for empty pie shell

Mix yogurt and whipped topping with mixer, spoon into prepared pie crust, heaping up in center, will be VERY full!  Refrigerate at least two hours before serving.  Cut into pie shaped wedges and serve!  You can also add fresh fruit on top before serving if desired.

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

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