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 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 149

May 30, 2012 at 6:59 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you’re all having a nice SHORT week!  It has certainly been an interesting one.  🙂

Work is still going really well, so well in fact I got a compliment from my boss today, and I really feel like I’m starting to fit in!  I’m still a little leery of trying to fit in socially, since I’ve had such lovely luck (yes, that is sarcasm you smell) in the past with co-workers, but as far as the work part goes, I’m doing really well.  It’s sort of cool that I can do most of my job with my iPod plugged in, since it’s a lot of computer centered work.  Glad I updated it over the weekend!  Even bought myself a new movie for it from iTunes, but I can’t exactly watch it while I’m working. Maybe at lunch though…  hmmm…

James is home tonight, and being nice to William! (wow, is the world going to end tonight or something?!)  They’ve actually been spending more time together, James seems to be developing a little more tolerance for his little brother, and William seems to be getting better at being less annoying to James, so it’s working out well!

William had a good day at school, except he still hasn’t been able to find his lunch box.  Somewhere between lunch on Friday and Tuesday morning when I went to pack lunch, it disappeared.  He doesn’t remember if he brought it home or not!  He was REALLY bummed at first, but since I told him we would get him a new one, he’s feeling a little better.  Not sure if I’ll be able to find one EXACTLY like it, but I’m going to try!  Maybe I’ll let him pick out the design so he doesn’t feel cheated…

Seems like Mike had a good day, too, but he’s plugged in over on the other couch checking out comic books, so I can’t really talk to him right now.  I don’t mind, though, since we’re all rediscovering our love of comics, and I’m glad he’s found something to get a little excited about.  Plus, this is something we can all do together!  He and William have been trading comics back and forth, reading all the ones they bought, so I guess they’re getting a little bonding time in, too.  Mike says maybe we should have been buying William comics all these years to get him to read!  Seems to me we did buy him one a long time ago, and he just wasn’t interested at the time.

Anyway, you don’t come here for the family updates, you’re here for the recipes, so here’s what was on the table tonight:

Sausage and Peppers

1 smoked sausage (like Eckrich or Gwaltney), the long rope style

1/2 green pepper

Cut sausage into rounds, then cut rounds into quarters.  Cut green pepper into roughly 1/2″ pieces.  Put all these little morsels into a large skillet and cook over medium heat until sausage is heated through and browned and peppers are translucent.

Serve over rice or noodles, or as I did tonight with some:

Great Value chicken flavor stuffing (made to package directions with water and butter, takes about 15 minutes including the time it takes to boil the water)

Fresh baby carrots

Fresh cut up cauliflower

Fresh grape tomatoes

Leftover cooked peas

Leftover cooked green beans

Those last two are because I have a couple of picky eaters who wouldn’t eat a fresh piece of cauliflower if it was the last piece of food on Earth!

So that was our relatively healthy meal tonight!  No desserts on tap, we’re out of cake, and I’m ready to just chill out a little tonight.  Maybe tomorrow night I’ll have the urge to bake something…

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 138

May 19, 2012 at 8:44 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend!

I feel like I got a lot done today, but I also had some fun, so it’s a good day in my mind.

5 loads of laundry down, 2 more to go.  Of course, how in the world 4 people can make 8+ loads of laundry in one week is beyond me!  (counting the two loads I did earlier in the week…)  Although, if I really think about it…

Mike wears one set of clothes to work, and changes into something comfy when he gets home.

I wear one set of clothes to work, and change into something comfy when I get home.

William wears uniforms to school, and we make him change into casual clothes when he gets home.

So James is the only one around here who doesn’t wear two sets of clothes every day, but only because he isn’t working every single           day!  If he was, it would be a uniform for work, and casual clothes at home for him, too.

Anyway…  cleaned up the kitchen, Mike helped, was getting way out of hand, think we need to have a family meeting about it.  No one wants to unload the dishwasher after work or school, I don’t want James to get stuck doing it every day, but it needs to get done.  Have to admit, I got a little snippy with Mike “discussing” it while we cleaned.  Think that’s why he helped, but I’m not questioning or complaining!

So, started the cooking marathon in between loads of laundry and dishes, here are the first recipes for the weekend:

Dinner Rolls

7 1/2 ounces (3/4 cup + 3 tbsp) 80-90 degree water

3 cups bread flour (can mix white and wheat or rye)

2 Tbsp dry milk

3 1/2 Tbsp sugar

1 Tsp salt

3 Tbsp butter, cut into 4 pieces

1 packet active dry yeast

Add water to pan of bread machine (2nd best investment ever!).  Add flour, dry milk, sugar and salt to pan.  Tap pan to settle dry ingredients, level with a spatula then push a little into the corners of the pan.  Place butter in corners of pan.  Make a small well in the center of the ingredients, add the yeast.  Lock pan into bread maker.  Set machine for dough, press start.  My machine runs for 1 hour 20 minutes on this cycle, doing most of the kneading and such for me, which is WAY cool!

When the machine is done, turn the dough out onto a floured surface, cover, allow to rest for 15 minutes.

Now, at this point, you can turn this into crescent rolls, cloverleaf rolls, four leaf clover rolls or breadsticks.  I opted for some cloverleaf rolls, and some breadsticks, only because I don’t own two muffin pans of the same size, so I didn’t have enough spots for all of this to be rolls!

So, pull off a small piece of dough, about half the size of a golf ball, roll it into a ball, put it in a greased muffin pan.  Put three dough balls in each muffin spot.  If you have enough muffin spots, you can make 18 rolls.  If not, you can do what I did, and take the rest of the dough, split it into four pieces, roll them into ropes, put them on a greased cookie sheet.  Brush them with melted butter.  If you want, you can sprinkle the breadsticks with garlic, or parmesan, or herbs at this point.  Cover the rolls and breadsticks, let them rise another 45-60 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, serve warm!

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

1 bag frozen meatballs

1 can crushed or chunked pineapple, DO NOT DRAIN (in juice, not sugar or syrup)

2 bottles sweet and sour sauce

1 green pepper, chopped

About 3 cups water

3 Tbsp soy sauce

Mix the water, sweet and sour sauce and soy sauce in a pitcher.  Put the meatballs in a crock pot (best investment for the kitchen ever!).  Add in the pineapple, including the juice and the green pepper.  Cover with the liquid.  Cook on HIGH 3-4 hours.  At this point, you can strain the liquid into a sauce pan, add in a few tablespoons of corn starch, heat over medium high heat until thick.  Add back in the meatballs, green pepper and pineapple, serve over rice!

Now, I also started cooking for tomorrow, here’s what’s cooking:

Potato Soup

4 pounds (more or less) potatoes

1 packet chicken Flavor Boost

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tsp black pepper

1/8 Tsp red pepper

1/8 Tsp chili powder

1 Tbsp kosher salt

1 quart water

Wash and peel potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces, put in the crock pot.  Mix everything else in a pitcher until thoroughly mixed, pour over potatoes.  Cook on HIGH 3-4 hours, or low 7-8 hours.

Add in 1 cup half and half, and 1/2 cup flour mixed with 1/2 cup water (should be a loose paste) and cook another half an hour or until thickened.  Serve with your choice of toppings, such as sour cream, bacon bits, chopped scallions, cheese, etc.

Perfect Baked Potatoes

4 medium russet potatoes, washed and dried

Kosher salt

Olive oil

Pierce potatoes once on each side.  Coat lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with Kosher salt.  Place on baking pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, or until done through and soft when poked.  Remove from pan and serve.

Still trying to figure out what I’m cooking tomorrow, plus I need to make stuff for lunches for William, but that’s tomorrow.  I think I’m done for today, so until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 125

May 6, 2012 at 10:25 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you all had a spectacular weekend!

Well, what can I say…  It’s been an interesting weekend!  The craft show yesterday, and then we tried to do something cool today, but it just didn’t work out, so I cooked and chopped and did laundry and puttered around the house…

We got up early, not too early, but early for a Sunday for us, made a nice breakfast of pancakes, scrambled eggs with cheese, and sausage.  Got everyone ready to go, and out we went.  Up to the movie theater we go, thinking we might be able to get tickets to The Avengers…  YEAH RIGHT!  The show we were trying for, and the next two shows, were sold out, and there was a line!  There’s NEVER a line on Sunday mornings!!  ARGHHHHH!!  So we headed back home, I dropped off the boys, and headed off to Walmart to get groceries for the week.  Not what we had planned, but what needed to be done.  Got a trash can for outside, only been here almost six years, no rush right?  Got a new pair of shoes for work, something comfortable but not sloppy.  (had to throw out a couple pairs of “work” shoes recently, they finally wore out)  And then…

I cut up lettuce, tomatoes, green pepper for salads.  Watermelon and cantaloupe for my fruits this week. (last couple of weeks have been pineapple, papaya and mango plus red grapes, but the last pineapple wasn’t that great, so I’m thinking the season is over.)  I shredded cabbage in my handy little chopper I got for Christmas, I can use that in salads, in recipes, or make some cole slaw.  I sliced up some nice young yellow squash, made a couple of steamer bags for a lunch or dinner.  Then put my pork chops in a marinade to soak for a while before dinner.

Next, I made mini meatloaves for later in the week, had everything thawed out, had to cook it, figured it will be a quick dinner later this week, or lunches for someone.  Here’s the recipe in case you missed it the last time:

Mini meatloaves

1 cup ketchup

4 tbsp packed brown sugar

1 tsp ground mustard

2 eggs, beaten

4 tsp Worchestershire sauce

3 cups bread crumbs, cracker crumbs, corn flake crumbs (basically whatever type of filler you like)

3 tsp onion powder or flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp garlic powder

3 pounds lean ground beef, or mixed beef and sausage (mix 2:1 beef and sausage)

In large bowl, combine ketchup, brown sugar and mustard. Remove 1/2 cup to be used on top of cooked loaves. Add eggs, Worchestershire, cereal/bread crumbs, seasonings.  Mix well, let set for 5 mins.  Add meat(s) and mix very well.

Press mixture into 18-24 muffin cups and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  Drizzle/top with remaining sauce mixture reserved earlier. Bake 10 minutes longer, or until meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.

Leftover loaves are freezeable!  Thaw frozen loaves and reheat at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Can also be microwaved for 1 minute each.

And here’s what I did for dinner:

Marinated Pork Chops with Fruit

6-8 boneless pork chops

Good Seasons Italian dressing (make with olive oil and apple cider vinegar)

1 Granny Smith apple

1 D’Anjou pear

10-12 baby carrots

2 Tbsp butter

Mix up some Good Seasons Italian dressing (using olive oil and apple cider vinegar) per the package directions.  Place 6-8 boneless pork chops in a 9 x 13 baking dish, pour the entire bottle of dressing over the chops, pick up each chop to make sure some of the dressing gets underneath as well, and put the dish in the fridge for a few hours at least.  Mine set for about 4 hours all together.

Core and 8th both the apple and the pear.  Slice each 8th into small slices.  Slice the baby carrots into rounds.

In one pan, cook the apple, pear, carrots in butter until soft but not mush.

In another pan, cook the pork chops until done through.

Place the chops on a serving platter, top with the fruit mixture, serve!

I kept some of the apples, pears and carrots out of the pan and served them on top of the salad, keeping those flavors going in different dishes.  It actually worked really well!

I also had some baked potatoes around, since I cooked a whole bag of them last weekend and froze most of them so I would have them around.  The recipe for these is REALLY simple, but makes GREAT baked potatoes!

Perfect Baked Potato (I actually found this recipe on the web)

1 bag (5 lbs) baking potatoes (Russets work really well)

Olive oil

Kosher salt

Wash the potatoes well, and remove any eyes.  Dry them!!  Rub the potatoes with olive oil, pierce once on each side (total four sets of fork holes) then sprinkle liberally with Kosher salt.

Now this next part is up to you, but I prefer pans…

Bake either directly on the oven rack, or in a pan.  The only drawback to the pans is you have to cook a few minutes longer.  And if you do like I did and cook a whole bag at one time, it takes a LOT longer! (almost 2 hours total, but SO worth it!)

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour on the rack, or 1 hour 15 minutes in a pan.  Turn once about half way through to ensure even cooking and no hard spots in the skin.

When done (you can tell by poking with a fork, when it’s easy to poke it’s done) serve!  Cut it open, top it with your favorite combination of toppings, or keep it simple with butter and salt.

You can freeze them after they are cooked, and reheat in the microwave using the baked potato setting (about 7 minutes) from frozen, or thaw and reheat about 3 minutes in the microwave.

Anyway, it was a cooking kind of day, and somehow I missed making William’s lunch sandwiches, so I guess I know what I’m doing in the morning!  Had enough today…

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 107

April 18, 2012 at 12:10 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!!  Hope you are having a terrific Tuesday!  I know I am!!!  🙂

Started my day getting William a good breakfast so he would be ready for FCAT’s.  Two whole weeks of testing, reading, science, math, I feel bad for the kids!!

Then, I went off to an interview with a temp agency, took a typing test (think I came in around 50 WPM, which is actually good for me, I’m NOT a typist!), data entry (no idea what I scored, but her words were “I can see you’ve done data entry before!”), and talked about a job with a company that manages foreclosed homes, doing things like arranging cleaning, arranging yard work, arranging maintenance, etc.  Thought it went well, she said she was sending this company my test results and resume, she would let me know…  well, about an hour later I get a call, can I come for an interview tomorrow morning!  So I guess I look good on paper, now I just have to impress them in person!  I just need someone to let me in the door, and let me show what I can do, and I know I can do any job I put my mind to!  And this one actually sounds interesting to me!  I am SOOO ready for something different.

So, since I spent about an hour yesterday chopping up fruits and veggies, I knew I had to make something good for dinner.  BUT, since it’s officially William’s birthday today, and he got cash, he wanted to go shopping first.  So off to Game Stop we went, after picking James up from work (so after 5), hit rush hour traffic, hit every light we possibly could, at least there wasn’t a line at the store!  He picked a game, ended up being the wrong game, but we can take it back tomorrow, and this time he knows what he wants!

Anyway, got home after 6, no idea what I was making, but I knew I had partially thawed hamburger to work with, so:

Hot Brown and Lumpy (yeah, I’m looking for a better name!)

1 pound hamburger

1 pound noodles of choice, cooked to package directions (I had leftover egg noodles from a couple nights ago)

2 cups water

6 Tbsp brown gravy mix

Brown hamburger, crumbling very well while it’s cooking, drain any excess fat.  Return to pan, add water and gravy mix, simmer about 10 minutes or until thickened.  Add in cooked noodles, mixing well, simmer just until everything is heated through.

We had broccoli, cauliflower and carrots mixed together as one side dish, peas as a second, fresh salad (lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, carrots, green pepper, tomato) and fresh fruit salad (pineapple, papaya, grapes).  Everything tasted awesome!!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 80

March 22, 2012 at 12:06 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , )

Hello again my friends, and welcome back!  Happy to have you here!

Well, it was an interesting day…  the usual running around, getting William to and from school, getting James to and from work, but between the to and the from, I took a three hour nap!  I NEVER take naps, unless I’m sick, but I was just absolutely exhausted.  Guess pulling weeds yesterday took more out of me than I thought.  I woke up sore all over, then the whole nap thing, but I’m much better now.

Anyway, I went for a quick and easy dinner, just because I forgot to take anything out of the freezer last night.  So here’s what we had:

Garden Quiche

1 refrigerated pie crust

3 eggs

1 cup half and half

1/2 cup shredded cheese

Veggies of your choice – tonight I used about 10 cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters, about 1/4 cup chopped green and orange peppers mixed

Meat of your choice – tonight I used cooked crumbled sausage, about 1/2 pound precooked weight.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Put pie crust into GLASS pie plate, prick bottom of crust with a fork and cook 10 minutes unfilled.  Remove from oven and cool while you mix your filling.

Mix eggs, half and half, shredded cheese in a medium bowl.  Place veggies and meat 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 40-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve!

Meat Quiche

1 refrigerated pie crust

3 eggs

1 cup half and half

1/2 cup shredded cheese

1/2 pound sausage, cooked and crumbled

1/4 pound lunch meat ham, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Put pie crust into GLASS pie plate, prick bottom of crust with a fork and cook 10 minutes unfilled.  Remove from oven and cool while you mix your filling.

Mix eggs, half and half, shredded cheese in a medium bowl.  Place meats 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 40-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve!

Sausage Omelette

5 eggs

1/2 cup half and half

1/2 cup shredded cheese

1/2 pound sausage, cooked and crumbled

Preheat large skillet over medium heat.  Spray pan with butter flavor cooking spray.  Mix eggs and half and half in a medium bowl, pour into pan, and allow to cook almost completely before adding cheese and sausage.  When egg mixture is browned on the bottom and almost down through, sprinkle with cooked sausage and cheese, and using two spatulas, fold in half.  Cook about 2-3 minutes, turn over and cook another 2-3 minutes, or until eggs are done through.  Serve!  (We actually cut this into 4 pieces so everyone got some, and with the other food, it was more than enough!)

We also had a nice fresh salad!

Sorry, no photos tonight, I forgot!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 73

March 15, 2012 at 1:08 am (Food) (, , , , , , )

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

Another busy, busy day around here.  Finished another pendant, shuttled James back and forth to and from work, picked up William’s friend so they could play video games together for a while, and made a really nice dinner.  Here’s the pendant:

And here’s the recipe for dinner:

Garlic Chicken and Veggies

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces, tossed with salt

1/2 green pepper, cleaned and cut into small strips

1/2 yellow or orange pepper, cleaned and cut into small strips

2 cups broccoli florets, cut into small pieces (about quarters)

1 container Savory Garlic Philadelphia cooking cream

1 pound egg noodles, cooked to package directions

Olive oil cooking spray

Spray a large skillet or large sauce pan with olive oil cooking spray.  Heat pan over medium heat.  Cook chicken until no longer pink.  Add in veggies and cook 4-5 minutes or just until crisp tender.  Stir in cooking cream and cook another 2-3 minutes.  You can thin the sauce with milk or half and half if needed, I usually do.

Toss together with noodles and serve!

Everyone except William liked this one.  I had to pull some of the chicken out before I mixed everything up, and give him just noodles with this chicken and some peas, because he won’t eat any of the veggies in this dish.  But he likes the sauce!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 36

February 7, 2012 at 2:45 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello friends, and welcome back!

Tonight, being Monday and that means scout night, for now, was sort of a quick and easy kind of night.  I cold-water thawed three Tilapia fillets, and William helped me coat them in a mixture of one cup flour with 3 Tbsp Old Bay, then I put them on the George Foreman grill for about 5 minutes.  They were absolutely perfect, and had just enough flavor to cover up that slightly fishy taste I don’t much care for.  (you would never know I grew up on the Chesapeake Bay, as much as I don’t really like seafood!)  We had a nice fresh salad, Welch style of course, with some really cool extras.  Here’s a list of everything that went into MY salad, at least!

Iceberg lettuce

Fresh spinach

Green cabbage, cut into thin slices

Grape tomatoes

Green pepper

Cucumber slices

Carrot slices

Strawberries

Celery slices

Not everyone around here likes all those things, but I do!!

Not sure yet what I’m going to cook tomorrow, but I have TONS of meat in the freezer just waiting for a new recipe, so I need to pour through those cook books in the morning!!

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

 

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 27

January 29, 2012 at 8:50 pm (Food, Personal) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Saturday, January 28th, 2012…

I made oatmeal for 10 people on a camp stove this morning, without any measuring cups or anything, and it came out really well!  We had fresh sliced bananas and cinnamon and sugar to put on top, that was actually really good!

We also had boil-in-bag omelets, if you’ve never done this when camping, you have GOT to try it!  Tag a quart sized plastic freezer ziploc bag (the heavy ones, and the regular press to seal, not the zipper type), put in two eggs (take them out of the shells, please!), and whatever you would put in your omelet.  We had ham, chopped into small pieces (lunchmeat ham works really well for this), shredded cheddar cheese, onion, green pepper, really whatever you have and feel like chopping up while camping.  Add a couple of tablespoons of whatever you want to add to your omelet, (for example, mine was 2 eggs, 3 tbsp cheese, 2 tbsp ham) close the bag.  Pinch the egg yolks inside the bag, then shake vigorously to mix everything and scramble the eggs.  Drop the bag into a pot of boiling water, cook roughly 6-8 minutes, or until the eggs are done.  You might need to cook a few minutes, mix again, and cook a few more minutes to get them done all the way through.  Pour out of bag onto plate, and eat!  You can cook as many bag omelets as you can fit in your pan at the same time, just make sure they are all actually in the water!  And best of all, no pans to clean!  You just have to dump out the water when you’re done!!

Our boys made trail mix before their hike…  two scoops of honey nut cheerios (about 1 cup), roughly 1/4 cup M&M’s, individual box of raisins, 1 scoop of pretzels (about 1/2 cup, maybe a little less) and roughly 1/2 cup mini marshmallows, all mixed together in a quart sized plastic bag, ready to take on your hike.  Good for car trips, too!  And you can customize this any way you like!  If you prefer banana nut cheerios, or Chex cereal instead, you decide what your family likes!!

Lunch was grilled cheese with ham sandwiches, and tomato soup.  Really easy, and a big hit with the boys.  They went through almost two whole loaves of bread!!  Of course, we had taken them on a 2.5 mile hike before lunch, so they were ready.

And dinner was burgers, tomato slices, onion slices, broccoli with cheese sauce, chips, cookies, and smores around the camp fire again.  I can’t say I cooked anything, but I helped serve, and I MADE every one of our boys have at least ONE BITE of broccoli with cheese before they could have cookies or smores, and they all did really well.

So, nothing fancy or difficult, but maybe a couple of things you’ve never made while camping that you might want to try!

Until tomorrow!!

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