The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 251 – 257 (Week 37)

September 16, 2012 at 8:05 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!!  What a week….

Whatever William had two weeks ago, with which he ended up missing an entire week of school…

Whatever Mike has been fighting for the past two weeks, and with which he missed several days of work…

Now I’ve got it!  Sore throat, stuffy nose, blowing my nose every few minutes until it’s too sore to touch, coughing half the night, headaches, watery eyes, low grade fevers…  been on antibiotics since Wednesday night, taking DayQuil to get through the weekend and chores, slept a LOT the last two days.  And since all this started last Sunday, needless to say I really didn’t do a lot of cooking this week, but I had so many leftovers from all that cooking last weekend, so it wasn’t so bad.

So, here’s the short version:

Monday – Leftovers

Tuesday – Leftovers

Wednesday – Mike and William cooked, we had grilled pork chops, grilled chicken, and grilled cheeseburgers.  William actually made the cheeseburgers, and they were REALLY good!

William Burgers

1 pound ground round

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 Tbsp Original Everglades seasoning

He squished all this together really well, and turned it into 3 nicely sized burgers, which we threw on the George Foreman grill, and they tasted AWESOME!

Thursday – we took our last $30 before pay day and ordered Jet’s pizza, bacon bread sticks, and antipasto salad.

Friday – Since it was pay day, we did our usual, we went to the comic book store, picked up our “pick list” (yes, even I have one on the list now!), and went out to dinner, but since Mike and I were still feeling under the weather, we got Taco Bell and took it home.  I know, not the king of fast food choices, but we don’t have it often, and we only have it without James, and since he was gone for the weekend…  yeah, I’m justifying that choice, I know!


Home Made Pizza

Frozen Pizza dough

Jar pizza sauce

Diced ham

Pepperoni slices

Shredded Italian blend cheese

Thaw the dough (this takes a LOT longer than I thought!).  Roll out onto a greased or corn meal sprinkled pan or pizza stone, top with sauce and toppings, cook at 450 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until dough is browned at the edges and cheese is melted and lightly browned.  Slice into 6-8 pieces and serve!

I only had to do the dough rolling part, William did all the toppings, Mike helped with the second pizza, too, and I only had to pull them out of the oven when they were done.  Came out really well!!


Chicken Ham Casserole

I keep playing with this one, I think it might end up as one of those “pick one from each column” type of recipes when I finish it!  Here’s tonight’s version:

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces

1/2 package diced ham

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can chicken gravy

1 Tsp Original Everglades seasoning

2 boxes Great Value chicken flavor stuffing

3 cups hot water

1 stick butter, melted

8 – 10 slices Swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour both boxes of stuffing mix into a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish.  Add in hot water and melted butter, stir until all the dry stuff is wet, let sit about 5 minutes.

Top with sliced Swiss cheese, overlapping as needed, but use it all.

Mix together chicken, ham, soup, gravy and seasoning, mix well, spread over the cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Serve!

Makes about 8 servings, and makes great leftovers!!

So that’s it for this week.  Hopefully the coming week will be much better.  Everyone is starting to feel a little better, and I have a fridge and freezer full of food to cook with!

Until next time, 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 109

April 19, 2012 at 10:43 pm (Food) (, , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  I can’t think of a good word to go with Thursday, so I’ll just say hope you are having a great day!

So, the thought of going back to work is sinking in, getting a little nervous, but a little excited, too.  I start Monday, 8AM, and I still have to make concrete plans for William for before and after school.  He’s 11 now, and I think he’s grown up enough to stay home by himself for a couple of hours, but there’s that little part of me that says NO WAY!  James will most likely be home, so it may not be an issue, but there are just some things up in the air still.

I’ve got plenty of “work clothes”, and most of them still fit, so at least I don’t need to go shopping!  Thank goodness since there is no money for that.  Of course, my wonderful mother offered to get me clothes if I needed them, but I think I’m set for now.  And since I make jewelry, I’ve got something to go with every outfit in my stash!!

Speaking of jewelry, I tried something new today, kind of enjoying it now that I’ve sort of figured it out.  I started a bead embroidery piece today, here’s some photos:

This is the point where my shoulder started hurting from bending over the table so long, so I took a break!  I’ll do some more tomorrow…

And I sort of cheated on dinner…  I bought precooked chicken, potatoes, canned corn, canned gravy and here’s what we ended up with:

Chicken Bowls

1 cooked chicken strip, cut into bite sized pieces

1/2 cup prepared mashed potatoes

1/4 cup prepared chicken gravy

1/2 cup cooked corn

1 slice cheddar cheese, or cheese of your choice, OR 1/4 cup shredded cheese of choice

Layer ingredients in bowl as follows:






Even though everything is supposed to be warm when you start this, you need to microwave the bowl for about 45 seconds just to make sure the cheese melts well.  Then it’s up to you whether or not you mix it all up!  I do, but I know people who insist on leaving it layered when they eat it.  This is our version of a KFC chicken bowl.  Feel free to mix it up, different veggies, different gravy, different cheese, make it your own!

I also picked up some cookies from the Walmart bakery, so I’m off to nibble now.

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 94

April 4, 2012 at 10:23 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Boy, that really is getting old, isn’t it?  Gotta come up with a new opening line!!  Anybody got any suggestions???

Well, it’s Wednesday.  Time to start laundry for the week, cleaned up the kitchen just so I could mess it up again, made a good meal, shuttled kids around, James started his new job today, but he’s still working the old one until next Friday (the 13th, hmmmm), so he ought to be good and tired when I go get him later.  Hopefully they’ll give him enough hours that he can get his car on the road (finally!) and get his tooth fixed (since we can’t afford to do it for him any more…).  Back to a normal routine day for me, at least.

So here’s what we had tonight:

Super Chicken (the kids named it that!)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 quarts water

2 packets chicken Flavor Boost (Swanson)

1 can cream of chicken soup

2 Tbsp garlic powder

2 Tbsp dried onion flakes

Put everything in the crock pot, mix it up a little, and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours.  I start with frozen chicken, if you start with thawed, it probably doesn’t have to cook as long.  Also, I stir it about once an hour to make sure everything gets mixed up enough so that it’s not all chunky or weird when it’s done.

After cooking, turn off crock pot, remove chicken to serving platter.  Strain some of the juices into a sauce pan, about 2 cups, and mix in poultry gravy mix per package directions, about 2 packages if you use packets, or follow the directions on the bottle if you buy the big container like I do!  I think I added about 1/4 cup, maybe a little more.  Cook over medium heat until thickened.  Serve!

We also had Stove Top stuffing and canned peas with dinner, so it was all pretty good!  Here’s some pics for you…

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 30

February 1, 2012 at 1:24 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

WOW!  Sort of a milestone for me, 30 days straight!  WOO HOO!

Welcome back!  Hope you’re still enjoying my ramblings and recipes.  Hey, that’s a good book title, “Ramblings and Recipes”!  I’ll have to remember that…

Tonight, we went sort of old school, and I have to say, I will NEVER buy another “pot roast” from Walmart or Sam’s!  I don’t think I’ve ever had a tougher piece of meat in my life.  I even had trouble cutting it with a steak knife, and that after 4 hours in the crock pot, which usually turns any piece of meat into wonderful tender yummyness.  Not this time!

ANYWAY, here was the menu:

Pot Roast (go ahead and splurge on a decent piece of meat, Winn Dixie usually has good stuff, and they put it on sale every few weeks!)

3-4 pound pot roast with SOME marbling, but not TOO MUCH fat

1 medium onion, chopped into roughly 8 wedges (or you can cheat like I did and add about a cup of dried onion flakes!)

1 Tbsp rosemary leaves (I put my in a tea ball so I wouldn’t have to fish them all out again before making gravy)

Place roast in crock pot, add onion and tea ball with rosemary leaves inside, cover with water or beef broth (I prefer broth, but I didn’t have any tonight…  😦

Cook on LOW 8 hours, or until extremely tender and falling apart.

Remove from pot, and let rest while you use the juices from the pot to make gravy.  Then slice and serve!


Strain juices from crock pot (above!), mix with “brown gravy” mix using measurements from the package. (yeah, I know, it’s cheating!) Bring to a boil, simmer 1 minute or until nice and thick.  Serve!

Cheese Toast (James made this tonight)

Slice fresh bread loaf, French or Italian breads work well.  Slice enough so everyone gets two slices.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Spray ONE SIDE ONLY with butter flavor cooking spray.  Cook, sprayed side up, at 400 degrees for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven, turn bread over, sprinkle with shredded cheese of your choice (ours tonight was a blend of mozzarella, cheddar and provolone), cook another 5 minutes at 400 degrees, or until cheese is fully melted and edges of bread are toasty.  Serve.

We also had canned (GASP!) veggies, just because I have a pantry full of them to get rid of, and I ate the last of the leftover Brussels Sprouts from a couple of nights ago, which I have to say taste even better having sat in the fridge mixing it up for a couple of days, they were AWESOME, some plain cooked egg noodles (really good with gravy over them) plus we had a nice fresh salad.

So, to wrap it up, HORRIBLE roast, GREAT bread, AWESOME Brussels Sprouts (who ever thought those words would ever go together in the same sentence, right?!) and OK everything else.  Definitely a filling meal, and everyone got SOMETHING they liked.

Tomorrow, curried chicken and home made Mac N Cheese, James style.

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

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