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.


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


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


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.



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


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.





Add sauce and chicken to pasta, serve topped with a little Parmesan!


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


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 251 – 257 (Week 37)

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

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

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

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

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

So, here’s the short version:

Monday – Leftovers

Tuesday – Leftovers

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

William Burgers

1 pound ground round

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 Tbsp Original Everglades seasoning

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

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

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


Home Made Pizza

Frozen Pizza dough

Jar pizza sauce

Diced ham

Pepperoni slices

Shredded Italian blend cheese

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

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


Chicken Ham Casserole

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

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

1/2 package diced ham

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can chicken gravy

1 Tsp Original Everglades seasoning

2 boxes Great Value chicken flavor stuffing

3 cups hot water

1 stick butter, melted

8 – 10 slices Swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

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

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

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

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Serve!

Makes about 8 servings, and makes great leftovers!!

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

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 170-173

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

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

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

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

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

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

BBQ Meatballs and Sausages

1/2 bag Great Value frozen homestyle meatballs

1 pkg Lil Smokies cocktail sausages

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

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

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

French Onion Dip

1 x 2 cup container sour cream

1 package dry French onion soup mix

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

And we also had root beer floats…

Root Beer Float

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

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

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

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole (updated version!)

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 pkg diced ham

1 pkg sliced Swiss cheese

1 family sized can cream of mushroom soup

1 tbsp milk

2 boxes chicken flavored stuffing mix

3 cups water

1 stick butter

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

Pour stuffing mix into a large bowl.

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

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

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

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

Mix the soup and milk together in a bowl.

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

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

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

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

Grilled Pork Egg Rolls

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

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

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

About 25-30 baby carrots, shredded very fine

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp garlic powder

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

Chop pork chops into roughly 1/2″ slivers.

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

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

Fold up bottom first.

Fold in sides next.

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

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

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

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

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

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

1/4 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup bacon bits, or crispy bacon pieces

4 Tbsp honey

2 Tbsp butter

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

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

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

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 152

June 3, 2012 at 8:14 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend!!

It’s been quiet around here today…

James spent the weekend with the girlfriend, and working, so we haven’t seen him since Friday night, and then only for a few minutes while he loaded up the car.

William has been playing Legos all day, except for the few times he’s come out to show me the “movies” he’s creating by doing stop motion photography with his phone and some Lego creations…  well, his version of stop motion anyway. Don’t think he completely gets that you have to make a TINY adjustment between each photo!  But he’s trying, and it’s adorable!

Mike has been reading comics and helping with laundry and dishes, and of course watching movies.  It is Sunday after all, and SyFy is running all the Alien movies as a teaser to Prometheus as it is coming out next weekend, can’t wait!!!

And I’ve been doing odds and ends…  went grocery shopping, relatively small trip, but we needed a few things.  Had to take my time,  compare prices on things, and dodge all the non-English speaking folks with their food stamps who were out in DROVES today.  Something about that really bothers me…  couldn’t be that when we needed help we couldn’t get any!  We had to depend on friends and family and hope it all worked out.

OK, enough of the soap box rant…  sorry!

Finished up the laundry, did dishes, cleaned up the kitchen, made a nice dinner, and now dessert is in the oven.  I took a couple of familiar recipes and changed them up a little, they turned out really well!  Here are the recipes:

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

2 boxes Great Value chicken flavor stuffing

3 cups water

1 stick butter, cut into pieces

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 large can Great Value cream of mushroom soup

8 slices Great Value Swiss cheese

8-10 slices lunchmeat ham (or one pkg diced ham)

2 Tbsp milk

Heat water 5 minutes in the microwave while you slice up the butter into pats.  Put the pats in a large casserole dish, pour over the hot water, and stir until the butter is completely melted.  Mix in the two boxes of stuffing, mixing well to make sure all the pieces get moist, and all the liquid gets absorbed.  Set aside.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Trim any excess fat or leftover skin from the chicken breasts, including removing that tendon that runs through the breast, and cut the meat into bite sized pieces.  Set aside.

Lay the lunch meat ham (or spread the diced ham) over the stuffing.

Top with the chicken pieces, spreading them out over the whole dish.

Top with the Swiss cheese, overlapping as needed.

Make sure the cheese doesn’t touch the pan, it WILL stick!  Mix the 2 tbsp milk into the cream of mushroom soup, spread over the entire dish, making sure to get this all the way to the edges.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until chicken is cooked through and cheese is melted.  I always cook exactly one hour and it’s perfect.  Serve!

Vanilla Pudding Cake with Chocolate Pudding Sauce


3/4 c butter

3 eggs

2 1/2 c all purpose flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 3/4 c sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/4 c milk

1 pkg vanilla instant pudding mix

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Allow butter and eggs to sit 30 minutes at room temp.  Grease and lightly flour cake pans or muffin pans.  Suitable for:

9″ rounds (2)

8″ rounds (2)

8″ squares (2)

Cup cakes (18-24)

Mini Cakes (12)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix together flour, salt and baking powder, set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, slowly add in sugar until completely blended.  Add eggs one at a time, blending well between each addition.  Beat in vanilla.

Alternately add in flour mixture and milk, blending well, until everything has been added and well blended.  Add in pudding mix and oil, blend well again.  Pour into prepared pans.

Bake as follows:

8″ rounds, 9″ rounds, 8″ squares      25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean

Cup cakes 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean

Mini cakes 18-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean

Chocolate pudding sauce:

1 large pkg chocolate instant pudding mix

1 1/2 cups milk (or half whatever the package calls for in the directions!)

Mix together, blend very well, pour over cooled cake and serve!  (Sorry, don’t have a photo of this last part for you…)

So that’s it for tonight!  Hope you enjoy one or both of these recipes.  We sure did!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 150 & 151

June 2, 2012 at 9:51 pm (Food) (, , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Sorry I’m behind again…

So it’s been an interesting couple of days around here.  Last night, we decided not to cook at home, and to have some fun!  So we went off to a comic book store, Mike, William and I, James was working…  all three of us got something, so that was cool!  Got to check out one of the stores we couldn’t get into last Monday, it was a really nice store, except for the older comics, they were a PAIN to get to!  So now we’ve been to four local stores, one was really tiny and hard to move around in.  One was laid out really well, their older selection was awesome, but their newer selections were limited.  One was nice, good selection all around for the guys, but nothing I was interested in.  And then this last one, really good new selection and graphic novels everywhere, but the older ones were hard to hunt through.  At least we know where to go for what now!

Today, we went to Kmart, got Mike some new work shirts, looked for a lunch box for William since he lost his favorite, and he’s really bummed about it.  Haven’t been able to find what he wants, since of course he wants one EXACTLY like the one he lost, but we’ll look once the bring out all the school supplies later this summer, you never know.

Then we went to a couple of book stores, Books-A-Million and Barnes and Noble.  Got two more books in the Percy Jackson series, since I finished the first three already!  (Yes, I said ME)  William is still working on the third, but they other two will be waiting when he’s ready!  I wanted to get the second and third Hunger Games books, but they aren’t in paperback yet!  Maybe I’ll splurge next pay day and get them all as digital editions rather than wait for the paperbacks.  Also got a couple of cook book marks!

And in between all this, got some dishes and laundry done, so it was a productive day as well.

So, on to dinner…  it’s supposed to be family movie night, but I think we’re all outgrowing that family event, so William is watching a movie in the game room, and Mike and I are watching Hatfields and McCoys on History channel.  But I still want us to eat together, so I still made something everyone would like.  So we had semi-home made pizza, and mini biscuit pizzas.  Here are the recipes:

Home Made Pizza

1 frozen pizza dough, thawed in the fridge

1 jar pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce of your liking

Shredded Mozzarella cheese

Turkey pepperoni

Chopped ham

Olive oil spray

Spray a round pizza pan with olive oil cooking spray.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Pull or roll pizza dough into a large circle and place it on the pizza pan.  Spread it all the way to the edges, making sure to make a small lip around the edges so you have a nice crust when it’s cooked.  Spread on pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce, as thick as you like, but we like about 5 tbsp on ours.  Put on pepperoni and ham, top with enough cheese that when it’s melted, you won’t know there’s any meat on there!  That’s about 1 to 1 1/2 cups as near as I can figure.

Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until crust is risen around the edges and cheese is melted all the way around the pizza.  Remove from oven, allow to cool about 5 minutes, cut with a pizza wheel or knife into 6-8 wedges and serve!

Mini Biscuit Pizza

1 can regular size biscuits

Pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce

Pineapple tidbits

Chopped ham

Shredded Mozzarella cheese

Olive oil spray

Spray a cookie sheet with the olive oil spray.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Press the biscuits as flat as you can with your fingers or with a rolling pin.  Try to keep them relatively round.  Place on cookie sheet.  Top with about 1/2 tbsp sauce, pineapple, ham and shredded cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until edges are toasted and cheese is melted.  Serve!

So that was our quick and easy but crowd pleasing meal tonight!  And it really did go over well, there’s only three of the mini’s left.

Anyway, that’s it for tonight, gonna watch TV with Mike for a while.  Until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 124

May 5, 2012 at 11:24 pm (Food) (, , , )

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

Well, I did the art show, it was really small, but everyone was really nice, and it was a pleasant day, not anywhere near as hot as it could have been, and we had shade.  James was a huge help, even ran for lunch since the food vendor didn’t show up.  I only sold one thing, made a whole $2, but I had a good time, so it was worth it.  Gotta get back into the swing of things somehow!  I thought I had something scheduled literally once a month all year, but some things fell through, so now I’m back to looking for shows.  I think I might have found another one for later in the year, gotta decide by Thursday…

Anyway, seems things were quiet around the house today.  Mike caught something from a client, so he’s feeling a little under the weather.  Seems to just be a head cold, keep your fingers crossed that’s all it is!  William spent the day goofing off, playing video games, and asking to go to a friend’s house.  Guess he was bored…

So I made a quick pizza for dinner, yeah I know, pizza two nights in a row, but that’s what we did.  At least this one was mostly home made.  Here’s what I did:

Semi-Home Made Pizza

1 frozen pizza dough, thawed

Roughly 6 Tbsp sauce

About 1/2 cup shredded cheese

About 10 slices lunchmeat ham

Corn meal

Liberally sprinkle a pizza stone with corn meal.  Place the thawed pizza dough on the stone, press with fingers to spread it out a bit.  Turn over, making sure to get corn meal under the dough.  Roll with a rolling pin until size and thickness desired.  I made what looked about like a large take-out pizza, went to the edges of my pizza stone.  Spread with sauce, top with ham slices arranged around the crust, and cover with cheese.  Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and lightly browned, and crust is crispy around the edges.

This was OK, not great, but it was certainly easy!  I think I need to make sure I keep pizza toppings in the house, and the right kind of cheeses.  I had Mexican blend in the fridge, but I wanted mozzarella and Parmesan.

With I had a photo for you, but it’s all gone already.  Sorry!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 118

April 28, 2012 at 9:35 pm (Food) (, , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope your weekend is starting out well.  It’s been kind of quiet around here…

Took all the guys to get hair cuts, probably should have gotten one myself, but not sure what I want to do with mine yet.  Got my toes done instead, that was NICE!  Hopefully once the paychecks start, I can do that every couple of weeks, maybe get my nails done, too.  Other than that, did laundry, watched movies, and made pizza, that’s about it for today.

So here’s the pizza recipe, it’s kind of a cheat, but it was pretty good.


2 store bought pizza crusts (I found an off brand that had two in the package at Walmart)

1 jar pizza sauce

1 package mozzarella cheese, 4 cup size (you’ll only use about half)

1 package pepperoni

1 package diced ham

1 package sausage crumbles, pre-cooked (Hormel brand)

Remove pizza crusts from package, place on pizza pan or cookie sheet.  Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Brush crusts with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and garlic powder, especially close to the edges.  Spread half a jar of the pizza sauce on each crust (less if you like, that’s really up to you!).  Top with pepperoni, ham and sausage (or topping of YOUR choice, again, this is your pizza, put what you like on it!).  Cover with about 1 cup shredded cheese, making sure to get it over all the sauce, close to the edges, but not hanging over the sides.  Cook at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes, cut into 6-8 slices, serve!

I think my next project will be figuring out how to make home made crusts in the bread machine and freeze them.  Then I’ll have to work on my sauce, and get back into canning so we always have it around.

Anyway, it’s movie night, so I’m going to get off here now.  Until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 93

April 4, 2012 at 1:02 pm (Food) (, , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Seems like I say that every day…  oh wait, I do!  Need to come up with a new greeting…

Anyway, Tuesday was sort of normal, or as normal as things get around here anyway.  Shuttling kids as usual.  Mike at work as usual.  Me hunting for Easter eggs on a website all day, NOT as usual, but killed a WHOLE day, which still bugs me a bit.  Power went out for about an hour last night, set me off schedule a little, completely forgot to write in here until after I went to bed, so decided I could catch up in the morning instead of getting back up!  So here I am, rested, ready for a new day, catching up…

Dinner was a quick and easy meal, since I had NOTHING thawed out, but sometimes that’s when we get the most creative or inspired.  Not this time, though, went for a tried and trusted recipe with lots of potential for variations, QUICHE!  Here’s the recipe I used this time:

Quick Quiche

2 refrigerated pie crusts

8 eggs

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup water

1 cup shredded cheese

1 cup chopped lunch meat ham

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Unroll pie crusts into glass pie plates, making sure to get them centered.  Any overhang on the edges should be turned inward and used to thicken the edges of your pie shell.  Pinch around the edges to make a decorative edge on your pie crust.  Use a fork to poke small holes all over the bottom and sides of the pie crust.  Bake for 10 minutes and remove.  Cool slightly before filling.

While those are baking, beat eggs, water and cream together in a large bowl.

Once pie shells are partially baked and cooled, wrap tin foil over edges to keep from burning.  Place half the ham and cheese in each pie shell, pour half of egg mixture over ham and cheese, spreading around with a spoon if needed to make sure the ham and cheese are all covered. (you can also add some veggies if you like at this point, just make sure the egg covers everything!)  Place on cookie sheet and put in oven.  Cook 30 minutes, then remove foil and cook another 10 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Serve with salad, soup, or just by itself!

My kids like this one because it’s all their favorite stuff, but I like that it’s so versatile.

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 82 83 and 84

March 25, 2012 at 11:21 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!

I know, I know, I was incognito for a couple of days, but it was SO worth it!  Had a really cool weekend with my scouts, went to an event instead of planning badge related things for them all day, and they all really enjoyed themselves.  If you are in the Tampa Bay area this time of year next year, check out Planes, Trains and Automobiles at the Plant City Airport.  It’s a nice day out, very family friendly, food isn’t completely unreasonably priced (hot dogs for $2, icees the same for small ones, sodas for $1…  definitely cheaper than the fair!), and kids between 6 and 17 get a free airplane ride if you don’t mind waiting a while.  Plus, if you have a Boy Scout (not a Cub Scout, sorry), they can do activities to earn a merit badge.  Classic car show, with prizes.  Model airplane show, R/C mostly, from tiny little 6″ planes to 5′ long, or more!  And model trains!  Here are just a few photos….

So, on this little weekend adventure, I still managed to at least HELP cook some things, and William and I cooked for ourselves Friday night and Sunday morning, then he helped me make dinner tonight, so I’ve got a couple of outdoors things for you, and two oven dishes as well.  Here they are in order…

Friday night:

Chicken Sausage over an open flame, literally Johnsonville chicken sausages, cooked in William’s mess kit on my Sterno stove.  Sliced up and served warm, with fruit snacks and chips on the side, plus Cranberry-Pomegranate juice, which William has now decided is his favorite!  We also did standard S’mores over the campfire, but I think everyone already knows this ooey-gooey marshmallow, chocolate and graham cracker treat!


Breakfast – egg, cheese and potato burritos, made from Scramblers ready made packets that we cooked in boiling water on a camp stove instead of in the microwave.  Could have been hotter, but it’s just so hard to tell when you’re cooking this way!  William and I packed sandwiches, cheese sticks and fruit snacks for our lunch at the event, rather than buying a bunch of food, but we did get fresh squeezed lemonade and Rita’s Italian Ice, and of course a big bag of kettle corn to bring home.  Dinner was a group meal for all the scouts, spaghetti with meat sauce, garlic bread and green beans.  Each parent brought something to contribute, I brought the pasta, and cooked it on a camp stove, never done that before, so I guess that counts!  Also helped make the garlic bread on a griddle on the camp stove, that was interesting.  Then, the coolest new treat on the block, sort of like S’mores, but better!  Toasted marshmallow sandwiched between two candy chip (M&M) cookies!  YUM!!!  Thanks Ms. Lisa for that idea!!!


Breakfast, also using William’s mess kit and my Sterno stove, we had ham, egg and cheese scrambled together, almost an omelette, but better, the last of the cranberry-pomegranate juice, and some powdered donuts.  Not the healthiest breakfast, but it helped us get through packing up all that wet dirty camping gear without hurting each other, so it was all good!

Came home, unloaded and unpacked stuff, laid out the tents, tarps and chairs to dry (it rained overnight, a LOT), got some laundry going, and sort of snacked instead of having a real lunch.  BUT, William and I made dinner, his way:

Pigs in a Blanket

About half a package Little Smokies (maybe a little more than half)

1 can crescent roll dough

Unroll dough onto a flat surface, separate triangles, cut each triangle into three smaller triangles, roughly the same shape as the original.  Roll one Little Smoky in each triangle and place on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 11-13 minutes (my oven took 12) or until golden brown on the edges.  Serve with dipping sauce of your choice!  We like ranch, BBQ, ketchup or salsa.

Ham and Cheese Crescents

1 can crescent roll dough

4 slices cheddar cheese

8 slices lunchmeat ham

Unroll crescent roll dough, separate into triangles.  Cut slices of cheese diagonally, and place on crescent rolls so that they roughly align with the shape of the rolls.  Arrange ham slices so that they will fit into rolls when rolled, and then roll up just like you would if making regular crescents.  Bake at 375 degrees 11-13 minutes or until golden brown (my oven actually took 15 minutes for this one).  Serve warm!

So, that was our busy weekend!  Hope you had a great one, too!  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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