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 327-333 (week 48)

December 2, 2012 at 9:52 pm (Food, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!

It doesn’t seem like last week was Thanksgiving, but it was.  Full work week this week, and a crazy one at that!  Got a little OT, which will help pay for all the Christmas shopping I did, and the little bit I have left to do, so it’s all good!  Everything is wrapped already and under the tree.  William doesn’t believe in Santa any more, so now I get to torture him with wrapped boxes under the tree for weeks!  But we’re doing an Advent calendar this year, for the second year, so he gets a little something every day.  I don’t have an actual Advent calendar, so I’m improvising…  Chinese take out style boxes with numbers on them, got 8 filled so far, gotta get the rest done this weekend when we get paid again.  They’re reusable, so I think this will be our new tradition, but Mike says we need to do this for everyone, not just William, could get expensive!!!  Dollar store, here we come!!

Anyway, on to the food….

Monday

Left overs on the run – we had a school meeting to go to!

Tuesday

Clean out the fridge night!  We still had some Thanksgiving leftovers, lots of veggies, and we made fresh biscuits to go with it all.

Wednesday

Pesto Chicken with Pasta and Veggies

2-3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 C frozen peas

1 C frozen cut green beans

Pesto flavor Philadelphia cooking cream

1 box Dream Fields pasta of your choice

Trim any excess skin or fat from the chicken and cut into small bite sized pieces.  Cook in a couple tablespoons of olive oil until no longer pink.  Add in vegetables, cover and steam 5 minutes.

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Meanwhile, cook the pasta to package directions.

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Add cooking cream to chicken and veggies, you can add a little milk if you need to so it thins out nicely.

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Drain pasta, add in to chicken and veggies.  Mix well and serve.

Nice one dish meal, too bad it’s not one pot, too!!

Thursday

Pork Chops and Eggs

I worked a little late, so Mike started dinner.  He fried up the chops with a little butter and salt.  Then made scrambled eggs with cheese, and some biscuits.  Quick and easy, and tasty!

Friday

Chicken Bacon Ranch Wraps

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 pound bacon

Ranch dressing mix

Prepared ranch dressing

Salsa

Tortillas

Cut bacon into small pieces, fry until crispy, remove to paper towel lined bowl and set aside.  DO NOT pour off grease.

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Trim excess skin and fat from chicken, cut into very small pieces.  Fry in the bacon grease with about 2 Tbsp dry ranch dressing mix.

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Put a little cheese of your choice on a tortilla, add in some chicken and bacon, top with some ranch dressing and salsa, and wrap it up.  Serve!

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YUM!!!

Saturday

Taco Salad

1 head Iceburg lettuce

1 pound ground beef or chuck

2/3 cup water

1/4 cup taco seasoning mix

Salsa

Ranch dressing

Shredded cheese

Crushed tortilla chips

Cook ground beef until no longer pink.  Drain any excess fat, add in water and taco seasoning, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes.

While that’s simmering, chop the lettuce whatever way you like it, I went for almost a fine shredded look.

Put some lettuce in a bowl, top with about 1/3 of the prepared meat, 1/3 cup shredded cheese, 1/4 cup salsa, few Tbsp ranch dressing, and a handful of crushed chips.  Mix well, and serve!

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Sunday

Coconut Curry Chicken

3-4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 cans coconut milk

1 Pkg golden curry mix

Rice

Knorr chicken flavor concentrated stock

Trim chicken of excess skin or fat.  Put into crock pot.  Add in coconut milk and curry spices (the brand I buy comes in a block), set to LOW and cook 8-10 hours or HIGH for 4-5 hours.  Stir occasionally to mix the curry with the coconut milk, makes a very nice sauce.

About 30-45 minutes before the chicken is supposed to be done, make rice in the rice cooker per directions, but add in the Knorr chicken stock to the water before you start the cooker.

While the rice is cooking, you can steam some veggies as a side dish, I did broccoli and peas tonight.

When the chicken is done, remove from pot and shred.  Serve by putting rice on the plate, top with some shredded chicken and some sauce.  Serve with your veggies, YUM!!!

So that’s it for this week.  Couple of repeats I know, but I’ve been a little busy this week.  I’ll try harder next week!!

Until next time, eat well, love well, live well!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza day 306-312 (week 45)

November 11, 2012 at 9:24 pm (Food, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Welcome back friends!  Hope you all had a glorious week!  It was certainly an interesting one for us.

Mike’s birthday was yesterday, Happy Birthday Baby!  Balloons, candy, ice cream cake, pizza, movies.  Nice evening!!

William got his first middle school report card, 7 A’s, 1 B, WAY TO GO William!

Work was work, James was James, no idea what’s going on with him, but he’s a teenager, I don’t think I’m SUPPOSED to know what’s going on any more.

Working on a new bracelet, here’s where I’m at as of today:

And of course, new nail design for the week:

So, kind of a quiet week, but that’s OK!  Oh, almost forgot, my office is putting together a cook book for charity, so I put in about 10 recipes.  Would have done more, but they set a limit…  That’s OK, now I know where to go when I’m ready to do mine in print!!

On to the food…

Monday

Free for all!

We had all that cool stuff left over from all that cooking I did last Sunday, so everyone got what they wanted, and I cleaned out the fridge.  Nice, easy Monday night!

Tuesday

Goulash (formerly “Hot Brown and Lumpy”)

1 pound ground beef

2 cups water

1 cup frozen peas

1 box Dream Fields penne pasta

6 Tbsp brown gravy mix

Prepare pasta to package directions, drain.

While cooking the pasta, brown the ground beef, drain.  Add in the water and gravy mix, bring to a boil.  Add in peas, boil 2 minutes, reduce heat, simmer about 10 minutes, just about the time it takes the pasta to cook.  Add in the drained pasta, mix well.  Salt and pepper to taste, and serve in a bowl!

I made some canned biscuits to go with dinner, it was a nice meal.

Wednesday

Five Guys burgers

Yeah, we had some money left over as we got closer to pay day, so we splurged just a little.

Thursday

Santa Fe Chicken

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of any excess fat or skin, cut into small bite sized pieces

1/2 box Orzo style pasta

1 can Black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup frozen green beans

1 Pkg Sante Fe flavor cooking cream

Cook chicken in a large skillet until no longer pink.  Add in cooking cream, black beans, peas and green beans.  Mix well, simmer on low while you cook your pasta to package directions.  Drain pasta, add in to skillet and mix again.  Serve!

Friday

Cheesecake Factory

Well, we’re big fans of The Big Bang Theory, so we decided that since we couldn’t get in to Red Robin in less than an hour, we would give this place a try.  Well, let me tell you, the food was good, but WAY over priced.  $11.95 for a burger and fries!  Don’t get me wrong, it was good, but not THAT good!  And I LOVE cheesecake, but not for $6.95 a SLICE!  The waiter was slow, even once we got seated, we were there for about an hour and a half, and I was seriously disappointed that he brought us the dessert menu then disappeared for 15 minutes so that we didn’t actually order dessert, we went somewhere else.  I would NOT recommend going unless you have that kind of cash to blow.  I guess we’re more the Five Guys kind of folks, and even that I think is overpriced, but at least I don’t have to wait an hour for it!

Saturday

Frozen pizza, Ice cream cake

Yeah, it was pay week, and I went grocery shopping so we had all kinds of food I could have made, but it seemed like a pizza kind of night, Mike’s birthday and all.  Let him pick the movies, had pizza and bread sticks, then we went and got an ice cream cake and balloons.

Sunday

Crock Pot Enchiladas

4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (approx 1 lb each), trimmed of any leftover skin or fat

1/2 cup taco seasoning mix

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 jar chunky salsa, mild (or your preference)

2 cups shredded cheese, Mexican blend or chedda

Tortilla chips

Cook chicken breasts in water with taco seasoning on the stove, covered, for about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, or until done through and falling apart when you try to take them out.  Shred chicken.

Mix soup, salsa and shredded chicken in a bowl, place about 1/4 of the mixture in the bottom of the crock pot.  Layer shredded chicken mixture, cheese, tortilla chips, until you have 3 to 4 layers.  Finish off with a layer of tortilla chips and cheese. Cover and cook on LOW for 3-4 hours or until bubbly and cheese is melted well.  Serve!

And since I went shopping, including a side trip to the Oriental market and the fruit stand, I made a KILLER fruit salad for this week…

Pineapple

Dragon fruit

Pomegranate

Red grapes

Green grapes

Strawberries

And we’re off tomorrow, for Veteran’s day, so I think I’ll do a little cooking tomorrow with all the cool stuff I got this weekend.  I even got stuff to try my hand at Ratatouille!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza day 299-305 (week 44)

November 4, 2012 at 10:02 pm (Food, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you all had an amazing week, and were inspired by something, anything at all, to do something new or interesting.  I’ve been trying all kinds of new things lately, and it’s been awesome!

For starters, technically, on paper at least, I’m still the scout-master of the cub scout pack William was in last school year.  So, I get things in the mail, like the ID cards for the new scouts this year, so I had to trek out to the scout meeting Monday night, kind of got sucked into a conversation with some of the current scout moms, was there a LITTLE longer than the 5 minutes I had planned on.

Halloween was Tuesday, and that always makes things interesting.  Got home from work, with William, at about 5:30.  Not even close to dark yet, but kids being kids, he was a little anxious to get out there and start collecting candy.  So, quick dinner of a sandwich and chips for him, and off we went to his friend’s house so they could go together.  We get there, his dad had made chili, and since I didn’t actually get to eat, I had some.   Ummm…  I’m not much for spicy food, but I was SO hungry, I ate more than I probably should have, even though my mouth was burning from the first bite.  I didn’t want to be rude, but it really wasn’t my thing!  I think I need to find a chili recipe I like, and play with it until it’s the way I like chili!!  Anyway, we had to wait around a little for a couple other boys to show up, but not long, they were all excited!  And for the first time I can remember, I didn’t take the boys out!!  William’s friend Noah’s dad took them all, they were gone for over an hour, and they came back very happy with their haul!  Then all the adults got to sit around and talk while the boys played video games for about an hour, very nice!  We don’t have many friends outside of work and family, so this was really a nice change for us.

Before I forget, here’s the pumpkin I made for the office:

I did decoupage with construction paper leaves, sprinkled on a little glitter, painted some veins on the leaves, added some cute wire spirals on top and hung paper bats from them.

So, the rest of the week was relatively quiet on the home front.  Mike had a good week at work, including working Saturday at the travelling Vietnam wall, (did I mention he works for the VA?) met some nice folks, made some good contacts for work.

End of the month for me is always a little hectic, but was relatively calm this time around.  My vendors did mostly what they were supposed to do, I found out some new computer tricks for them for using the company website, so it was actually a good week!  While Mike was working Saturday, I spent the day doing little chores around the house, cleaned the cat box, kept laundry going, did dishes, cleaned up the kitchen, got ready for cooking today.  Got blood work done, VOTED, picked up prescriptions, did my nails, too!  But I didn’t try to do it all one right after the other like I usually do, I took little breaks between chores, so I didn’t feel like I had been running all day, felt good to have things done!  Didn’t make the curtains I was supposed to make for my friend, but I got so much cooking done today, I should be able to knock them out tomorrow after work.

Oh, and since I finished that blue cuff bracelet last weekend, I started a new one in golds and browns, looks very classy so far.  I’m really liking it!!  Part of yesterday, though, was sorting out some beads, taking some of the cuff bases I made last weekend and putting together beads with the cuffs in bags, so I’m ready to start the next one as soon as this one is done.  I am SO loving this bead embroidery!  I conquered my fear of it, and it’s AWESOME!

So, I know you’re here for the food, not the gossip, so I guess I should get to it!  Here we go…

Monday

Parmesan Orzo

1/2 box Orzo pasta, cooked to package directions

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 stick butter, melted

Melt butter in the hot pan from the pasta, add back the pasta and the cheese, mix well.  Serve!

Chicken Sausage

1 package chicken sausage, cut into rounds, then the rounds cut into quarters

Pan fry until browned and almost crispy.  Serve over your favorite pasta!

Steamed veggies

No broccoli at the store when I went shopping, so we had peas, green beans and carrots.  Nothing fancy, just cooked in the microwave. Fill a microwave safe dish with veggie of choice, add a little butter, salt and pepper, microwave on HIGH 5 minutes for a small bowl, about 1/2 a bag, or 7 minutes for a large bowl, or a whole bag.  Comes out perfect every time!

Tuesday

I will be totally honest, I forgot to write it down, and whatever it was, it was so BLAH, I don’t remember what it was!

Wednesday

Sandwiches and candy!  Hope you all had a HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

Thursday

Chicken Fillet Sandwiches

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 cup flour

1/8 cup Everglades seasoning (orange one this time, could have used a little more!)

3 eggs

Oil for frying

Bread or tortillas, your choice!

Trim any excess skin or fat from chicken, cut into strips about 1/2″ wide, the full thickness of the breast.

Place the pieces between two layers of plastic wrap, and pound them to about 1/4 in thick or less with a meat hammer.

Beat the eggs and put them in a wide shallow dish.

Mix the flour and seasoning in another wide shallow bowl.

Dip the chicken pieces first in the egg, then in the flour.

Fry in a skillet over medium heat, about 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown.

Serve on bread or wrapped in a tortilla, with your favorite sauce and toppings!  YUM!

Steamed Veggies

Once again, green beans, peas and carrots.

Friday

Braised Pork Chops

4 boneless pork chops

1 can diced tomatoes

1 packet Flavor Boost veggie flavor

1 Tsp garlic powder

Preheat a deep pan over medium heat.  Sear pork chops without any added fat until browned on both sides.  The fat on the chops is enough!  Add in tomatoes with all their liquid, flavor packet, garlic, and salt and pepper to your taste.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer about 15 minutes or until chops are done through.  Serve with a little of the tomato sauce and some Parmesan cheese, YUM!!

Biscuits

Sorry, not homemade, canned, but still yummy!

Steamed Veggies

The usual, green beans, peas and carrots, but I glazed the carrots with a little brown sugar this time.

Here’s my plate:

Saturday

Bacon Cheeseburger Roll

Got this idea from a post I saw on Facebook, but theirs was for a taco roll…

1 pound ground beef

2 cans crescent rolls

1 pound bacon

About 1 cup shredded cheese

Corn meal to sprinkle on pizza stone

Cut bacon into bite sized pieces, cook until crispy, set aside.

Cook ground beef until no longer pink, drain, mix in bacon.

While those are cooking, sprinkle a pizza stone with a little cornmeal to keep the roll dough from sticking.  Separate the crescent rolls into triangles.  Lay them on the pizza stone, overlapping towards the center, so that the sort of look like a flower, skinny ends out towards the edges.  Press the overlapping pieces together, and flatten them as much as you can towards the center, fill the hole if you can!

Sprinkle on about 1/3 of the cheese, then spoon in the meat mixture.  You MIGHT have a little leftover, depends on how much you want to pile up the meat.

Fold the outer “petals” of dough into the center, pressing them into the middle.  Top with remaining cheese.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, cover with foil for the first half, remove for the second half.

Microwave Chocolate Chip Cookies (for the boys)

1 egg yolk

1 Tbsp butter, melted

1 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp brown sugar

3 drops vanilla

1/4 cup flour

2 Tbsp chocolate chips

Mix egg yolk, sugars, vanilla and butter together until smooth.  Add in flour, working into a soft dough.  Work in chips.  Microwave on HIGH 50 seconds.  Allow to cook at least 2 minutes before serving!

Apple Cherry Microwave Dessert

1 small apple

1/4 cup dried cherries

1/8 cup brown sugar

1/8 cup oats

1 Tbsp melted butter

Core apple, cut into small slices, place in microwave safe dish.  Add in butter, brown sugar, oats.  Microwave on HIGH 1 minute.  Add in cherries, stir well, microwave on HIGH another 1-3 minutes, depending on your microwave.  Cook until cherries are plump, and apples are soft.  Mine took 1 minute, but some microwaves might take more.  Allow to cool at least 3 minutes!  Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it’s AWESOME!

Sunday

Or should I say COOKING DAY!  Wow, I feel like I accomplished so much today!

Sausage Egg and Cheese Casserole

12 eggs

1 cup half and half

3 Tbsp flour

4 sausage patties

1 cup shredded cheese

Spray a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish with butter flavor cooking spray.

Thaw sausage patties, cut into VERY small pieces.  Put in the prepared dish.

Mix eggs, half and half, flour and shredded cheese together.  Pour over sausage in prepared dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

For us, I let this cool completely, cut it into 8 pieces, and put them in containers for quick breakfasts on the run during the week.

Bread Machine Focaccia

1 Cup warm water

3 cups flour (I did 2 cups white bread flour and 1 cup wheat flour)

1 Tsp salt

1 1/2 Tsp olive oil

2 Tsp dried oregano (or in my case, I didn’t have oregano, so I used Italian seasoning mix)

1 1/2 Tsp bread machine yeast

Put all this in the bread machine, in the order listed, set machine to DOUGH and turn it on.

When done, turn dough out onto a floured surface.

Oil a jelly roll pan, or like I did a pizza pan.  Stretch and press dough into pan, cover and let rise for 40-45 minutes or until doubled.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Poke the dough with your finger tips creating small indentations.

Mix 3 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp minced garlic, sprinkle over dough.  Then spinkle over 1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley.  Bake at 400 degrees 25-30 minutes or until deep golden brown.  Cool completely, cut into wedges and serve.

Potato and Parsnip Gratin

3 large potatoes

4 medium parsnips

Parmesan cheese

1 cup half and half

Salt and pepper to taste

Garlic powder

Wash and peel potatoes.  Slice on a mandolin.  Pour over some salted water to keep from browning.

Wash and peel parsnips and slice on the mandolin.

Spray a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish with butter flavor cooking spray.

Start layering potatoes in the bottom of the dish.  Layer in parsnips. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, Parmesan cheese.  Repeat.  Should have four layers of potatoes and parsnips.  Pour on half and half, press down to work out air bubbles and make sure the cream is saturated into the layers.  Top with a little extra Parmesan.  Cover with tin foil.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, remove foil, bake another 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are soft to a fork.  Serve!

I actually let these cool, cut into 8 servings, and put them in containers for later in the week.

Perfect Baked Potatoes

Wash and dry large baking potatoes, however many you want to cook.  Poke holes all the way around the potato.

Coat with a little olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt.  Now, you can put them right on the rack in the oven, or you can put them in a pan.  In the pan takes just a little longer, but I like it better because they are easier to handle as a group rather than one at a time.

Bake at 350 degrees for at least an hour, longer if needed depending on how big your potatoes are.  Mine were so big, I cooked them for an hour and a half, and they could have used a little more time.  They are done when you can cut them open, give them a little squeeze, and they pop open nice and fluffy.

Serve with your favorite toppings!

Potato and Parsnip Chips

So, I had a few slices of potatoes and parsnips leftover from making the gratin, and William has been asking for parsnip chips (hard to believe, but it’s true!), so I made some.

Heat about 1″ deep oil in a small saucepan over medium heat, drop in a handful of EITHER parsnips or potatoes, they do take different amounts of time to cook.  Potatoes take about 3-5 minutes to cook, parsnips take 1-2 minutes to cook.  Remove from heat, sprinkle with a little salt, and serve!

Chicken Fillets

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 cup flour

1/8 cup Everglades seasoning (green this time)

3 eggs

Oil for frying

Bread or tortillas, your choice!

Trim any excess skin or fat from chicken, cut into strips about 1/2″ wide, the full thickness of the breast.

Place the pieces between two layers of plastic wrap, and pound them to about 1/4 in thick or less with a meat hammer.

Beat the eggs and put them in a wide shallow dish.

Mix the flour and seasoning in another wide shallow bowl.

Dip the chicken pieces first in the egg, then in the flour.

Fry in a skillet over medium heat, about 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown.

Serve on bread or wrapped in a tortilla, with your favorite sauce and toppings!  YUM!

Pan Fried Steaks

2 New York strip steaks

2 Tbsp butter

Salt and pepper

Large skillet, over medium heat, melt butter, add steaks, sprinkle with salt and pepper, cook about 7 minutes per side for medium well.  Boy were these good!  Sorry, didn’t get photos, but I was pretty proud of how they came out.  I think it’s probably been 20 years since I’ve done a steak this way!

Steamed Veggies

The usual, green beans, peas, carrots.

So, all in all, a very busy day, but a really good one!  I had FUN!!

And to end the post, here are the nails for this week…

So that’s it for this week!  Hope you all found something inspiring here…

Until next time, eat well, love well, live well!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 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 258 – 263 (Week 38)

September 23, 2012 at 10:01 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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

William was home sick from school two more days, so he’s now missed 6 days in the first month of school!  I sure hope whatever the heck is going around out there stays the heck away from us!!!  He’s on another round of antibiotics, hopefully this will be the end for a while.

Mike is still fighting off the first bug, using his inhaler a lot, sleeping more than not when he’s not at work.  I feel bad for him, but I’m still fighting it, too.  My chest is still a little tight, but the stuffy nose is all gone and the sore throat with it, so I guess I’m getting better.  Out of antibiotics, so I certainly hope so!!

Work is going better, I’m actually helping to train a new person, so maybe all my uncertainties are all in my own head!  That would be business as usual for me, I’m always my own worst enemy.  I’m still learning new things, so that’s good, and keeps things interesting.

And last but not least, it’s been a busy weekend.  We were supposed to go visit my folks, dad’s birthday today, but since William was sick again, and Mike and I weren’t quite over what we had, we didn’t think it would be the smartest thing we’ve ever done to go over there.  But, we did get laundry done, the kitchen is cleaned up, got the yard cleaned up so maybe the HOA will leave us alone for a while, even got James to come home and help for a bit.  And got what I hope is a nice surprise…  the neighbors pulled up with a trailer, so maybe they are moving out!  That would be the highlight of my year!!!  They never cut their grass, the HOA ends up doing it about once every three months, so the weeds are literally 4-5 feet high before they get cut back, so guess what our yard is full of!  Keep your collective fingers crossed…

So, on to the week in food.  It was a very chickeny week around here, but we tend to eat a lot of chicken, so that’s not really unusual.  Maybe you’ll see something you want to try!

Monday

Chicken and Sausage

3 Boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 rope smoked sausage

1 Jar tomato basil spaghetti sauce

1 Tbsp garlic powder

Cut the sausage into chunks, put it in the crock pot.  Put the chicken in whole.  Add the sauce and garlic.  Set on low, and cook 8-10 hours.

During the last hour, prepare some rice in your rice cooker to manufacturer’s directions, adding a little garlic and chicken flavor boost to the water before you add the rice.  Stir it up before you turn on the cooker.

Remove the chicken and sausage from the crock pot, shred the chicken, cut the sausage into smaller chunks, add it back into the sauce to keep it warm.

Put about 1 cup cooked rice in each bowl, top with chicken, sausage and sauce, and serve!  You can add a little shredded cheese if you want.

This was OK, but it needed something, and I couldn’t figure out what…

We had some steamed broccoli on the side…

Microwave Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 Tbsp melted butter

1 Tbsp white sugar

1 Tbsp brown sugar

3 drops vanilla

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup flour

2 Tbsp chocolate chips

Mix the sugars, egg yolk, butter and vanilla together in a small bowl.  Add in the flour and mix until a thick dough has formed.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spray a small ramekin or coffee mug with butter flavor cooking spray, scoop in the prepared dough, microwave 45-60 seconds, and serve!  (Mine cooked for 50 seconds and were perfect)  You can top off with a scoop of ice cream if you like, would be good!!

Bacon Egg and Cheese casserole

12 eggs

1/2 cup Parmesan

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

1/2 cup shredded cheddar

1/2 cup half and half (fat free)

1 pound bacon, cut into small pieces and cooked crisp

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish with butter flavor cooking spray.

Mix all the eggs and cheeses together, add the salt and pepper.  Pour into prepared pan.  Sprinkle in cooked bacon, and make sure it sinks in to the eggs.  Cook for 1 hour, testing at 45 minutes to see if done in the center (poke it with a knife, clean = done!).  If you can get it done in 45, then do, but my oven always takes a full hour.

Sorry I didn’t get a “done” shot!  It looked really good.

Allow to cool about half an hour, cut into 8 pieces, package them into individual servings, and you have breakfast for a few days!  Reheat 1 minute in the microwave, loosely covered, salt and pepper if you want, YUM!!!

Tuesday

Curry Chicken

5 boneless skinless chicken thighs

1/2 package Golden Curry seasoning mix

1 cup water

Salt and pepper to taste

Left over rice

1 cup frozen peas

Trim chicken thighs of any large pieces of skin or fat, but leave the little stuff, it’ll cook off.  Cut into bite sized pieces.  Cook in a large skillet over medium heat just until no longer pink.  Add in water, simmer for 10 minutes.  Add in curry seasoning, stir until mixed well, simmer another 10 minutes.  Add in left over rice and frozen peas, cook another 5 minutes, serve!

I had some left over broccoli from the night before, so I reheated that and topped off the bowls with it, except for William’s.

This was really yummy, but then we’re all getting hooked on curry since we first tried it earlier this year.  I’m going to have to find my own mix of spices to make my own curry!!

Wednesday

Mexican night!!

Can you believe, I told William it was Mexican night, and he actually says YEAH!  So here we go…

Frozen burritos topped with enchilada sauce and cheese, baked per package directions, but with my own little twists.

Quesadilla

Flour tortillas

Ground beef

Taco seasoning

Water

Shredded cheese

Butter flavor cooking spray

Cook ground beef until no longer pink, crumbling as you cook.  Drain off excess fat.  Add in about 3/4 cup water and 1/4 cup taco seasoning, stir well, cook until sauce thickens.  Remove from heat.

Preheat large skillet over medium heat, or just a touch lower.  I use the “4” setting on my stove.  Spray pay with cooking spray.  Put in 1 tortilla, spoon in about 3-4 Tbsp prepared beef, top with shredded cheese, top with another tortilla.  Use enough cheese so that the tortillas will stick together!  Cook about 1 minute per side, be careful when you flip it, it can be messy but after a few tries, you learn the tricks to keep them together.  I use two spatulas!

Remove from pan, cut into triangles with a pizza wheel, and serve with sour cream, ranch dressing, salsa, whatever you like!

Thursday

Left Overs

We had some baked potatoes left over from the week before, I had frozen them after I cooked them, they keep pretty well.  We also had curry, chicken and sausage, and some school sandwiches, so everyone got something they liked.

Friday

McDonald’s – yeah, I know, junk food, but I was in the mood!!

Saturday

Pepperoni Pizza Muffins

Mini Pineapple Pizzas

These sort of go together…

2 cans refrigerated biscuits, flattened

1 jar pizza sauce

1 bag pepperoni

1 cup pineapple tidbits (I mean one of those single serve cups, not a whole cup!)

1 bag shredded Italian blend cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Spray a muffin pan with butter flavor cooking spray.

Sprinkle corn meal on a pizza stone or pizza pan, whichever you have.

Put the flattened biscuits in the muffin cups, my pan holds 12.  Put the rest on your pizza pan or stone.

Mix about 1/2 jar sauce with finely chopped pepperoni.  Spoon mixture into muffin cup biscuits.

Spread about 1/2 tsp sauce on each flattened biscuit on the pizza pan/stone.  Top with 1 slice pepperoni and 4-5 pineapple tidbits.

Top each muffin and each mini pizza with shredded cheese, as much as you can get on there without overflowing!!  (we like lots of cheese)

Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Serve!

Mini Apple Pies

2 cans crescent roll dough

1 can apple pie filling

1/8 cup sugar

2 Tbsp cinnamon

1/2 Tsp vanilla

Butter flavor cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray Texas muffin pan with cooking spray.

Separate dough into 8 sections, two triangles each.  Roll up the dough into a ball, flatten it out really flat, put one circle into each muffin cup.  You will have two triangles left, roll them together, then roll them out into a rectangle, or as close as you can get to a rectangle.  Use a pizza cutter and cut the dough into 6 skinny strips, then cut those in half so you have two shorter skinny strips.  Set aside.

Mix the apple pie filling with the sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.  Spoon into biscuit cups.  Top with crossed dough strips, sprinkle with a little sugar.  Bake about 10-12 minutes.  Allow to cool about 10 minutes, serve with a scoop of ice cream.

Sunday

Chicken and Dumplings…  sort of

OK, so this was not my best experiment.  I bought a package of frozen dumplings, and tried to follow the package directions, but all I got was thicker broth instead of good dumplings.  The dumplings were just lumps of dough in the bottom of the pan, they were NOT good.  So, I ended up with chicken, rice and peas in a nice creamy sauce.  It tasted really good, but I was SO disappointed in the dumplings, I was really looking forward to them!

So here’s what I cooked:

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 packets chicken Flavor Boost

1 Tbsp Everglades original seasoning (the green one, not the red one)

1 1/2 quarts water

1 cup frozen peas

1 pkg frozen dumplings

Put all this in the crock pot, cook on low 6-8 hours.  Remove chicken, shred, set aside.

Pour juices into stove top pot, bring to a boil, add dumplings.  The package says to break them into pieces, but they were frozen together, so I couldn’t!  This is probably the problem….  boil 3 minutes, reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes.  I did that, I still had lumpy doughy things in my pot, but my juices had become a sauce, so that was good.

I removed the dumplings, added in some leftover rice and the frozen peas, added in the shredded chicken, cooked it all over low for about 15 minutes to heat up the peas and rice, and served!  It tasted good, but it wasn’t what I had planned, so I was disappointed.  Oh well, guess I need to learn how to make flat dumplings!  Got a pasta machine on my Christmas list…

And now, some random photos for you…

I did my nails yesterday, I’m not sure I like them, but they’re OK.

Here’s William.

Here’s Duke the girl cat named by a four year old…

So, that’s it for this week.  It’s been a good food week, or at least a good food weekend.

Until next time, eat well, love well, live well!

 

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 237 – 243 (week 35)

September 2, 2012 at 8:19 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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

William was sick all week so he didn’t go to school at all.  On the one hand, he really wanted to go because he really likes the new school, but there was no way he would have made it through even one day.  He slept a LOT, started on one antibiotic but got switched to a stronger one when he was getting worse instead of better.

We almost had a hurricane, Isaac sort of skirted the coast, schools were cancelled on Monday just in case.  We certainly got a lot of rain, got some wind, but nothing major.  Kind of glad it missed us, but I feel bad for the folks who got the worst of it.

The RNC was in town so traffic was a nightmare, but my mom also came to stay with us for a few days since she was volunteering there, and I love it when she’s here!

Work was nuts, they rearranged again, and I’m trying to figure out what the person I took over from was doing, trying to hunt down notes and e-mails, still feel like I’m behind, but not so far behind that I’ll never catch up.

And Mike had a colonoscopy, so he spent almost three days on a liquid diet, which is always fun (NOT!).  Everything came out just fine, but it was a struggle.  And we get to do it again in a year, oh joy.  Of course, I’m due for one next year, too, so that ought to be interesting.

And James, well, he’s James.  Was supposed to cut the grass two weeks ago, finally cut part of the yard last week, ran out of gas and is waiting for me to go get some.  So much for being independent with that new car of his!  Not like it’s going to cost him $40 or something, we only have a one gallon gas can!  He worked a couple of days, still not getting as many hours as he would like, but he’s getting more than he was a month ago, so I guess he’s doing OK.  Don’t see much of him, between my work, his work, and him spending time with his girlfriend, but I guess he’s got to grow up sometime.

Anyway, I’m still sticking to posting at least once a week, so I’ll have a bunch of stuff for you all at once, rather than just one or two things every day.  I know it’s easier on me, not sure how you guys feel about it.  Would love some feedback!!

Monday

Left over night!!

We had left over meatloaf, mashed potatoes, broccoli, peas, Spasagna, corn muffins, spinach hummus and chips, and chocolate cake with home made chocolate butter cream frosting.  Everyone got something they liked, and we cleaned out some of the containers from the fridge!

Tuesday

Chicken Bacon Alfredo Pasta

5 boneless skinless chicken thighs

1 pound bacon

1 jar Alfredo sauce

1 box Dream Fields penne pasta

Cut the bacon into about 1″ pieces, fry until crisp, remove from pan to dish lined with paper towels.

Trim as much excess skin and fat as you can from the chicken, and cut it into bite sized pieces.  Fry in the bacon grease until done through.  Remove from pan.

Meanwhile, cook pasta per package directions, drain, do not rinse.  Put back in pot.  Add in chicken and alfredo sauce, heat over low about 5 minutes or just until sauce is warm.  Sprinkle over bacon pieces and serve!

Wednesday

Spaghetti with Smoked Sausage

1 rope chicken smoked sausage

1 package Dream Fields angel hair pasta

1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce

Cut sausage into rings and then into quarters.  Cook in a skillet over medium heat until cooked through and some pieces are slightly caramelized.  Add in sauce and heat over LOW while you cook the pasta to package directions.  Serve about 1 cup cooked pasta with about 1/2 cup sauce with sausage, sprinkle over Parmesan cheese if you want and serve!

Thursday

Chicken Noodle Soup with Biscuits

William was still feeling rough, and Mike was prepping for his test, so I took the easy road…  Canned chicken noodle soup and canned biscuits!!

Friday

Pay day, and our usual routine is to go out to eat then hit the comic shop.  Well, since Mike had his test and William was still out of school sick, when we got home from the hospital, Mike took a nap, and William and I ran errands.  Dropped of checks at a couple of places, including the rent, then we went to the comic shop early.  And instead of our usual Sonny’s or Jimmy John’s, we actually we to a restaurant, The Oaks, where William had a bacon cheeseburger (imagine that!) and Mike and I both had Grouper Reubens, kind of their specialty, and OH so yummy!  Onion straws on the side, didn’t stand a chance!

Saturday

More left overs, believe it or not, we still have some meatloaf left, some of the minis, plus a couple corn muffins, and I went grocery shopping so we had whatever we wanted as sides.  Just sort of a free-for-all!  But then I made dessert…

Fruit Pizza

1 Sugar cookie roll dough

1 box cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup sugar

2 Tsp vanilla

Fruit of your choice, sliced very thin (I used kiwi and peaches this time)

Spray a pizza pan with butter flavor cooking spray.  Spread cookie dough into pan all the way to the edge.  I pushed and pulled, but I think maybe cutting it into slices, putting them in the pan and THEN spreading them to fill the gaps might have been easier.  I’ll have to try that next time.  Bake at 350 degrees about 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and allow to cool almost completely.

Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a small bowl, spread over cooled cookie.

Top with fruit slices in an appealing pattern, whatever you like.  Slice into eight pieces like a pizza and serve!

Sunday

Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

1 bag frozen tater tots

1 pound ground beef

1 pound bacon

1 bag shredded cheddar cheese, or whatever kind of cheese you like, 2 cup size

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spread frozen tots in a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish.

Cut bacon into about 1″ pieces, cook over medium heat in a skillet until crispy.  Remove from pan, spread over tots.

Cook ground beef in the bacon grease, crumbling as much as possible, cook until no longer pink.  Remove from pan and spread over tots.

Top the whole thing with the 2 cups of shredded cheese, season with salt and pepper if desired, and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and serve!

You could serve this with the usual burger toppings if you wanted, ketchup, mustard, relish, onions, pickles, ranch, mayo, whatever your family likes, you could even put them out in little dishes and everyone could just get what they wanted on their serving!

So that’s our week in food!  Oh, and I also did my nails tonight, wanna see?

Yup, that’s my chubby thumb, but isn’t this color pretty?!  And I love the new stickers I got this week!!

Anyway, that’s it.  Until next time, eat well, love well, live well!!  And have a safe holiday tomorrow!!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 236

August 26, 2012 at 8:13 pm (Food) (, , , , , , )

Hello again, and welcome back friends!  Happy Sunday!!!

So, MOM’s here!  YEAH!  I like when my momma comes to visit, it’s cool!  Have to say, though, I didn’t quite make it through all the cleaning I had planned, but she understands.  She’s going to be working at the RNC this week, and we’re a whole lot cheaper than a hotel, plus we’re relatively close to where she needs to be.

William has a little bit of a sore throat, so I guess it’s a good thing that school has been cancelled tomorrow due to the impending tropical storm, Isaac.  He’ll get to rest and relax a little, maybe feel better by the time he gets to go back, hopefully Tuesday.  Can’t believe it, but he actually got disappointed that he won’t be going to school tomorrow!  I’m so glad he likes his new school that much.

I’m off to the doctor tomorrow afternoon, unless we get hit really hard by Isaac, kind of hoping we do, don’t really want to go, can’t afford it!  I don’t mind this doctor at all, she listens to me, and talks with me not at me, but I just can’t afford it!  Should have planned that a little better…  Still getting used to getting paid every OTHER week again.

Anyway, on to the food!  Had a really good sit down family dinner tonight.  The ultimate in comfort food, MEATLOAF!  Here’s the recipe:

Meatloaf with Sausage

2 pounds ground chuck

1 package of 5 sausages, Great Value brand, mild Italian flavor (1 pound)

2 cups uncooked oats (I prefer traditional oats, some folks prefer quick oats)

1 cup tomato sauce (or spaghetti sauce)

2 eggs

1/2 cup dried onion flakes

salt and pepper to taste

One Perfect Meatloaf Pan!!

Squeeze or cut the sausage meat out of the casings.

Mix all your ingredients by hand in a large bowl, squish it all around really good, make sure there aren’t any obvious chunks of sausage anywhere, it should be relatively smooth when you’re done.  Form this mixture into a rough loaf shape, and put it in the Perfect Meatloaf Pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for at least 1 hour 15 minutes.  It should be pulled away from the sides of the pan, and crispy on top.

I actually had more than I needed for this pan, so I made mini-meatloaves in a muffin pan, too!  Got a whole dozen out of this batch, so we have leftovers!  YEAH!

We had fresh made real mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli and peas along with the meatloaf, so it was my ultimate Sunday dinner.  YUM!

So that’s it for now.  Maybe more tomorrow, but don’t be surprised if you don’t see me again until next weekend!  Not going to pressure myself anymore!

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

 

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 229-235

August 25, 2012 at 10:13 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you’ve all had a wonderful, positive week!  It’s certainly been interesting around here…

Last Sunday we went to my parent’s house, so no, I did not cook. We went swimming and caught up on what’s going on.  Mom made burgers, the boys helped cook them on the grill.  She also made her amazing potato salad, baked beans, deviled eggs, and Tres Leche cake.  I have recipes for some of those things, maybe I’ll even share one day, but not today!  We picked up James’ car and brought it home.  Somehow, I can’t believe I’m saying those words, my child is not supposed to be old enough to have his own car, I’m not that old!

The work week was relatively calm, except that we’re loosing some team members to other teams, loosing one team member who’s just leaving the company, getting some new team members, and reorganizing coverage areas again, but not so much that it will be completely crazy, and I’m comfortable enough now that I think I can handle it.  I’m just glad that the boss thinks I can handle it, too, means I am doing OK even though sometimes I still have doubts.

Mike is still feeling pretty rough, but he saw a new specialist this week that we think is on the right track, more tests, but he has some good ideas and isn’t just blowing smoke, and not immediately blaming all Mike’s health issues on his weight like so many others, including me sometimes.  I know, I have no room to talk, but I just think we would both feel so much better if we lost some weight.  Of course, I’m not helping, doing all this cooking all the time, but I’ve got it in the back of my head all the time that I need to find healthier ways to make the foods we like rather than just trying to redo our whole diet.  We’ll get there!

William started school this week, new school, new kids, new teachers, new schedule, first week of Middle School.  Again, I’m not old enough for my younger child to be in MIDDLE school!!  But he absolutely loves it!  His homeroom/math teacher seems fun.  Didn’t get to meet the PE coach, but William seems to like him, too.  Language arts/Social studies teacher seems really nice, and she seems to understand my thoughts on teaching to more than just the FCAT, I like a teacher that thinks I’m right LOL!  The music teacher is just too cool, and William has two classes with him, regular music, and guitar class.  William and Mike went out last weekend and rented William a guitar, think it might be a rent-to-own type of thing, not entirely sure, but he really seems to be enjoying the class.  Didn’t get to meet the science teacher yet either, but William likes her, so she must be OK.  He can usually smell bullshit faster than we can, and he’s really happy so far, so I think this might be one of our better moves, this Charter school.  And, of course, I’m going to get to put some of my fundraising experience to work for them and be involved without being in charge, so I’M happy, too!!

And James is, well, James.  Working, playing video games, out for the weekend as usual.  I’m a little frustrated with him right now, his “rent” is chores, and they aren’t getting done unless we bug him, and I just feel like he’s 19, I shouldn’t HAVE to remind him any more, but I do.  I think we’re going to sit down one night soon and have a chat.  Need to talk about what we’re going to do when it’s time for new phones at Christmas, what we’re going to do about chores and rent and school, just all those fun little subjects we all love talking about so much…  NOT!  Hopefully it will be a grown-up discussion instead of the usual talking-to-a-wall discussion…

Anyway, you aren’t here for the gossip, you’re here for the food!  I decided to take it a little easy on myself this week, I kept track of what I made each night, but I didn’t pressure myself to WRITE each night, and I actually feel better about this little project than I have since I went back to work.  I was putting a lot of pressure on myself, and getting on my own case when I didn’t write every night, but I’m realizing that that’s just not fair to me.  I have to have time to unwind, relax, be part of the family, and quit trying to be Super-Mom.  So I think I’m going to stick to writing on weekends, maybe a night or two during the week if it’s not too much pressure, but not every night, it’s just too much with the job and the kids right now.

So, here we go…

Monday

Pot Roast and Potatoes

1 rump roast, approx 2-3 pounds

1 packet beef Flavor Boost

4 Tbsp dried onion flakes

1 Tsp garlic powder

4 potatoes, washed and cut into bite sized pieces

Water

Put the roast, the cut up potatoes, Flavor Boost, onion flakes, garlic and potatoes into the crock pot.  Add enough water just to cover everything in the pot.  Stir it up a little, set to LOW, and cook 8-10 hours, stirring a couple of times throughout the day if you can.  It’s OK if you can’t, but it’s better if you can, or if you can find someone like my son to do it for you!

Remove roast and potatoes from the pot, put on serving platter, allow to rest while you strain out about 4 cups of the broth, put it in a sauce pan, add in brown gravy mix per package directions (packets usually call for one packet for each cup of liquid, the large container of mix calls for 3 Tbsp per cup of liquid), stir well with a whisk, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thickened.  Serve with the roast and potatoes for a good old fashioned family meal!  We also had some steam broccoli and peas with our meal, just to round things out.  A salad also works very well.

Tuesday

Curry Chicken and Rice

Another crock pot meal…

5-6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, thawed or frozen, doesn’t really matter

1 packet chicken Flavor Boost

1/2 box Golden Curry mix, medium heat variety

1 can coconut milk, shaken well

Put all these into the crock pot.  Add just enough water to cover the chicken, I think I might have added 3 cups all together.  Set to LOW and cook 8-10 hours.

When I got home from work, I made a small pot of rice in the rice cooker (water to the “2” mark, two scoops of rice), added 2 packets of chicken flavor Flavor Boost, served the chicken with this rice, and some steamed veggies on the side, it was AWESOME!  Even William went back for seconds on both the rice and chicken.  There was barely enough left for my lunch the next day!

Wednesday

Turkey Sausage with Parmesan Orzo

This is a super easy meal, and William helped me cook it.

Cut up the turkey smoked sausage into bite sized pieces, saute with no added butter or anything, the liquid in the sausage helps it steam/simmer very nicely, just don’t leave it alone, it might burn just a bit.  Voice of experience here!

Along with this, we made Orzo pasta to package directions, drained, added butter and Parmesan cheese, mixed it all up, kind of tastes like mac-n-cheese but better.  Goes great with the sausage, makes for a hearty meal, but not too heavy.

Thursday

Leftovers

We had leftover potatoes and gravy, leftover egg rolls, some leftover veggies, I don’t even remember what all else we had, but we had quite a bit on the table!

Friday

Spasagna

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

So, courtesy of http://www.thecountrycook.net here’s Spasagna…

1 (26 oz) jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce

1 (16 oz) jar of Alfredo or Garlic Alfredo sauce (I didn’t have the garlic kind, so I added a little garlic to the recipe)

1 Lb spaghetti noodles (I used Dreamfields angel hair)

1 lb ground beef

2 cups shredded mozzarella

1/2 cup milk (2% or higher)

1 Tsp dried oregano

1 Tsp dried parsley (I didn’t have the individual spices, so I added 2 Tsp of mixed Italian seasoning)

Cook noodles to package directions, drain very well.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray 9 x 13 baking dish with olive oil nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, combine Alfredo sauce, mozzarella, milk and spices.  Stir well. Add in noodles and stir/toss to coat completely.  Put this mixture into the prepared baking dish.  Cover with aluminum foil, and bake about 30 minutes.

While the noodles are baking, start cooking the ground beef in a large skillet or medium saucepan.  Brown and crumble beef until cooked through.  Drain well, and add back into pan.  Add spaghetti sauce, and leave on LOW heat, cover if you can, and let it simmer until the noodles are ready.

Allow the noodles to sit about 10 minutes before trying to top or cut into servings.  Top with the meat and spaghetti sauce mixture.  (I wasn’t sure what a serving should be, so I just cut the pan into 8 pieces.)  Top with Parmesan cheese if desired and serve!

Saturday

Pork Wontons

4 boneless pork chops, fried and cut into small pieces (about 1/2″ pieces)

Wonton wrappers

Oil for frying

Your favorite sauce for dipping

Place one piece of pork into the center of a wonton wrapper, wet two edges of the wonton wrapper and fold over to make a triangle.  Then dampen two corners and fold in towards each other to make a little hat packet looking shape.  Fry in hot oil about 2-3 minutes per side, remove from oil to paper towel lined serving tray.  Continue with pork and wontons until you run out of one or both.  Somehow, we had just enough of each!

And we had sweet and sour sauce, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, my home made plum-peach sauce from last weekend, lots of sauces to pick from!  Needless to say, they are all gone…

Spinach Hummus

I found this recipe on the internet, but I had to tweak it a bit to make it work in my blender.  One of these days I’ll get an actual food processor…

2 cans chick peas, one drained, one not drained

1/2 cup Tahini, well stirred

4 Tbsp garlic, minced (I buy my garlic pre-minced in a squeeze bottle, so it’s WAY easy!)

Juice of one lemon, or more if you prefer

2 Tsp salt

1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed

4 Tbsp olive oil

Put chick peas in blender, with the juice from one can, blend until smooth.  Gradually add in Tahini, spices and spinach, blending very well after each addition.  You can add a little more oil if needed to thin it out and make it blend better.  I have to admit, I still have a couple of whole chick peas because I wasn’t overly patient with this, but it still tasted really good, and I’m not a huge fan of hummus!

Corn Muffins

This recipe is from the package of Dixie Lily corn meal…

1 cup flour

1/4 cup sugar

4 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 cup corn meal

1 egg

1 cup milk

1/4 cup melted shortening (butter!) or oil

Grease muffin cups or use paper liners, heat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Beat egg in a separate bowl, add milk and shortening and mix well.  Stir in dry ingredients and mix well.  Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full, bake 25-20 minutes or until golden brown and set.  Serve warm with butter, honey, grape jelly, whatever YOU like on corn bread!

Chocolate Cake with Home Made Chocolate Frosting

I used a chocolate fudge cake box mix, Duncan Hines I think.  Didn’t do the cake from scratch, just followed the box directions.  But then I didn’t want to use store bought frosting, so went hunting for a recipe…  Here’s what I found!

4 cups powdered sugar

1 cup butter, melted

2 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp milk

6 tbsp cocoa powder

Blend everything very well in a large bowl, spread onto cooled cake, top with sprinkles if you want and serve!

So now it’s movie night, gonna go eat the cake and watch a movie.  So until next time, eat well, love well, live well!!!

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