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 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 208

July 29, 2012 at 8:18 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back to my little world!  Hope you all had a wonderful weekend, and are ready for all the fun that Monday brings! (yeah, I know, a little sarcasm goes a long way…)

So, laundry is done, kitchen is MOSTLY cleaned up, I’m showered, I’ve packed some snacks for work, although I just realized I forgot to get bottle water, hmmm…  cars are cleaned out, kids helped!  And Mike and I went to the movies this morning!  So, all in all, it’s been a really good day!  Great way to end the weekend.

AND, for a change, Mike helped ME figure out a problem with my meds!  Usually it’s the other way around, but I didn’t recognize my symptoms as “fatigue”, I was thinking I was depressed.  So I stopped my pain pills last night, and today I feel better than I have in months!  Going to call my doctor today and see if I can get something with different side effects that will do the same job without messing up something else!  I’ve been through so many over the years, and they’ve all messed with me in one way or another, I’m almost ready to say I’ll just deal with the pain, but then when things get really bad I just can’t deal with the pain, so I guess I need to call…

Anyway, good day for cooking, and getting things ready for later in the week since Mike won’t be home Tuesday through Friday, and I’ll have no transportation on the night James is working, so I have to be prepared!!  Dinner was AWESOME, and there are left overs, so that’s one lunch taken care of already.  Now I need to think about the rest of the week.  Thinking I might make some bread one night, that’s easy enough to do, and I’m dying to try a fish in the crock pot recipe I found, so now that I have a little more energy, maybe I can actually do these things this week!

Here’s tonight’s entry for you, it was a HUGE hit:

Meatloaf with Sausage

1 1/2 pounds ground chuck

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

1 cup quick oats

1 small can tomato paste

1 egg

1/4 cup dried onion flakes

salt and pepper to taste

One Perfect Meatloaf Pan!! (got it for my birthday, and am ashamed to admit, this is the first time I’m using it, but I am now HOOKED!)

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 and 1/2 hours.  It should be pulled away from the sides of the pan, and crispy on top.

This was all that was left after we all dug in.  Told you it was a hit!

Along with this, we had steamed broccoli, steamed peas, mashed potatoes and gravy, and fresh cut fruit.

Oh, and I forgot to share my new dip recipe last night, so here’s a little bonus for you:

Bacon Ranch Dip

4 strips bacon, cut into pieces and cooked crispy

1 container sour cream

2 Tbsp ranch dressing mix

Mix everything together in a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to sit in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.

Serve with chips or veggies or whatever you usually dip! YUM!!!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 104

April 14, 2012 at 11:21 pm (Food) (, , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!!  Hope you all are having a stunning Saturday!!

It’s been a little weird around here today…

I slept in a little, since I didn’t HAVE to get up to take anyone anywhere, but Mike was heading out to the doctor this morning and shocked me awake with the news that our “new” TV died.  It was free, from a friend, so I’m not complaining, but dang it was nice having a huge TV instead of what we can actually afford to buy!  I’m going to miss it…  I can’t read the cable program guide on the smaller TV, so I have to get someone else to read it to me, or get up off my big lazy butt and get close enough to read it!!  LOL!

So I got up, played on my computer for a little bit, asked William if we could borrow his TV until we can figure out a way to get a new one, and he agreed without TOO much whining.  He’s not happy about using the 15″ (I think!) TV again, but you know what, he’ll live!  We got things all moved around, including bringing his XBox into the living room so he can still play games with Mike, which is actually kind of cool.

I got a whopper of a headache, sort of snuck up on me, but I still managed to fold the last load of laundry, made a few new sets of jewelry (sold one already, to my mother of course, my best customer!), I’ll share some pics here in just a bit, took a nap thinking that might help with the headache (not), cleaned up the kitchen, made a nice dinner.

Here’s the jewelry:

And here’s the recipe for dinner:

Sausage Pasta

1 pkg egg noodles, cooked to package directions

1 pkg mild Italian sausage

1 small jar pasta sauce of choice

Shredded mozzarella cheese

Great Value garlic bread, cooked to package directions

Boil sausages about 10 minutes, or until ALMOST done.  Remove from water, and slice into rounds.  Cook in a large skillet until done through, and well browned (I like mine more crispy, but that’s just my taste!).  Reduce heat to low, add in pasta sauce and simmer while pasta is cooking.  Drain pasta, serve in a bowl topped with sausage and sauce, plus a little shredded cheese on top.  We also had garlic bread on the side!

Wishing for something ooey-gooey for dessert, but not up to making anything, so maybe I can talk Mike into making a run to the store…  Hmmmm…  I’ll let you know how that goes!

Anyway, hope you all have a great weekend, and until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 59

March 1, 2012 at 1:00 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , )

Hello again!  Welcome back!!!  Happy to have you along on this adventure…

Busy day today!  Started a new piece of jewelry for a contest, not really happy with how it’s turning out, but I have some ideas on how to proceed, so I’ll be busy for the next few days.  Worked on another blanket for our camping stash, since I finished William’s a couple days ago, now I’m working on one for myself.  His is all blues, mine is literally a scrap blanket with every color I could find.  I’ll have to post some pics at some point…

Anyway, dinner was one of those “cooks forever but really easy” meals!  Put a roast and some sausages in the crock pot this morning, then did about 15 minutes of cooking right before serving, and had a really good meal!  Here’s what we had…

Italian Roast

1 2-3 pound eye round roast

4 Italian sausages

1 carton beef broth

2 can tomato paste

2 Tbsp Italian seasoning, dried

2 Tbsp garlic powder

Put everything in a crock pot, stir until the tomato paste is no longer a lump, cook on LOW 7-8 hours.  Serve about 1/2 cup of the juices from the pot in a small dish along with the meats, to use as a dipping sauce.

Along with this, I had 3 strips of bacon, chopped fine and cooked crisp, with a couple cups of frozen green beans cooked in a large skillet until everything was nice and hot.

And garlic bread, from Walmart, cooked per package directions.  This comes from their bakery department, in case you’re looking for it, and it’s really good!  You get 16 slices in a package, and I usually cook half and freeze half for another day, just thaw it out before cooking it.

Sorry, no photos tonight.  Maybe tomorrow when I figure out what to do with the leftovers from tonight!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 49

February 20, 2012 at 12:24 am (Food) (, , , , , )

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

Sunday night is definitely family time around here, even though we’re one short every Sunday, so I try to cook a nice meal for Sunday dinner.

Tonight I had chicken and Italian sausage to work with, so here’s what we had:

Tomato Basil Chicken and Sausage

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of any excess fat or skin, cut into 1/2″ pieces

4 Italian sausages, I prefer MILD, skins removed and crumbled

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1 cup frozen green beans, thawed, cut into 1″ pieces

1 container Philadelphia cooking cream, Tomato Basil flavor

1/4 cup milk

1 box pasta of your choice, cooked to package directions, drained

In large skillet, cook sausage and chicken until done through, add in thawed veggies, cooking cream and milk.  Mix WELL, and cook just until all ingredients are heated through, 3-5 minutes tops.  Mix all this into the cooked and drained pasta, and serve!

I think I liked the pesto flavor cooking cream better, but this was good, too.

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

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