The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza day 313-319 (week 46)

November 18, 2012 at 10:02 pm (Food, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  It’s been an interesting week…  nothing Earth-shattering, just interesting.

Work has been really busy, which I can only think is NOT a good thing considering what I do, that means the foreclosure business is booming, or maybe things are just moving better through the courts, but whatever is going on, it can’t be a good sign for the economy.

And of course, there was all the post-election stuff going on, the stock market dropping, businesses laying people off, Hostess closing, just kind of a depressing week all the way around.

BUT, William had a really good week at school, things are going very well for him, he’s enjoying his classes, and getting good grades.  Absolutely cannot complain!

Mike had a good week at work, things are picking up, they are finally keeping him almost busy, and he spent all day yesterday working on his guitar.  Took his birthday money and bought some new pick-ups, a new pick guard, and he’s really happy with the results.

I’ve been fairly busy working on jewelry, too, but I need to get better at getting OFF the computer at night and doing things I LIKE instead of wasting so much time on Facebook.  I mostly work on new pieces on my lunch hour at work, but I spent about 3 hours last night making clay beads, which was more fun than I remember, and then a few hours today making jewelry from some of those beads, so I feel like I had an extra special day!  And, I still got the laundry done, cleaned up the kitchen, and did my nails.  GOOD DAY!

So, on to the food….

Monday

Baked BBQ Pork Chops

4 boneless pork chops

About 3 cups BBQ sauce of your choice

1 Tsp garlic powder

Put the pork chops in a roasting pan, sprinkle with garlic powder, pour over BBQ sauce, cover and bake at 350 degrees for at least an hour, or until chops are done through and sauce is bubbly.  Serve!

Ratatouille (this was fun!)

1 smallish yellow squash

1 smallish zucchini

1 Chinese eggplant

2 Tbsp dried onion flakes

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 cup tomato sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp olive oil, divided

1/4 cup Parmesan

Italian seasoning blend

Using a mandolin slicer, slice the squash and eggplant very thin.  Spray a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish with olive oil flavor cooking spray.  Pour the tomato sauce in the bottom of the pan, sprinkle with the onion flakes and garlic powder.  Liberally salt and pepper.  Lay the slices of squash and eggplant on the sauce, alternating each type of veggie, overlapping each, all the way around and in the center. (sort of like in the movie, looks a little like a fan)  Salt and pepper, sprinkle with a few Tbsp Parmesan.  Layer more veggies, salt and pepper, Parmesan.  Repeat until you have about 3 to 4 layers, or you run out of veggies.  Sprinkle with remaining olive oil and any remaining Parmesan, and sprinkle with Italian seasoning blend.  Cover with aluminum foil, cook at 375 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes, or until tomato sauce is bubbling up around the edges of the veggies.  Serve!!

Fried Potatoes

2 leftover Perfect Baked Potatoes

Sour cream, about 1/2 cup

Parmesan, about 1/2 cup

2 Tbsp butter

Salt and pepper

Chop potatoes into bite-sized pieces.  Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add potatoes and fry until they start to brown a little.  Skin on or off is entirely up to you!  Once the potatoes are heated through and just a very little browned, remove from heat, stir in sour cream and Parmesan.  Serve!

Chocolate Chip Cake with Chocolate Pudding Pokes

Basic Yellow Cake recipe

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

1/2 c chocolate chips

Allow butter and eggs to sit at room temp for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, grease and flour 9″ x 13″ baking pan.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter on medium for 30 seconds.  Gradually add in sugar, beating on medium, until well combined.  Scrape sides of bowl, beat two minutes more.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in vanilla.  Alternately add flour mixture and milk, beating on low after each addition, just until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake 25-30 minutes for 9″x13″ pan (I actualy had to put this back in for an extra 20 minutes before it was done, so I cooked 50 minutes)

Cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool completely in pan before frosting.

When cooled, poke holes in the cake with the handle of a wooden spoon.

Prepare instant chocolate pudding to package directions, family size package.  Pour over cake, making sure it gets into those holes and leaks down the sides a little.  Allow to cool in the fridge for about 30 minutes before serving.  YUM!

Tuesday

Ranch Fried Chicken, Bacon and Tomato sandwich

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 pkgs ranch dressing mix

2 cups flour, divided

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 pound bacon

1 large tomato, sliced

Cut the bacon into about 1/2″ wide pieces, cook until crispy, remove to paper towel lined plate to drain, set aside.

Trim any excess skin or fat from the chicken, cut into chunks, then pound those to about 1/4″ thickness between two sheets of plastic wrap.

Put 1 cup plain flour in one wide shallow bowl.

Put the eggs, beaten, into another wide shallow bowl.

Mix the other cup of flour, ranch dressing mix, and a little salt and pepper, in a third wide shallow bowl.

Dip each piece of chicken first in the plain flour, then in the egg, then in the seasoned flour.  Fry in shallow oil over medium heat until golden brown and crisp.  Remove to paper towels to drain excess oil while cooking remaining chicken.  I can usually do 3-4 pieces at a time.

Serve on bread, toasted or not is up to you, with bacon, tomato and your choice of sauces.  YUM!

Wednesday

Jet’s Pizza

Thursday

Chicken and Sausage with Tomato Sauce

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 rope Kielbasa

1 Jar spaghetti sauce

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp Italian seasoning blend

1/8 Tsp red pepper flakes

1 Tsp orange Everglades seasoning

1 Jar (that sauce jar!) water

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Cut the sausage into roughly 2″ pieces.  Don’t cut the chicken, in fact, frozen works really well for this.

Put everything in a crock pot, mix a little, cook on LOW 8-10 hours.  Using a slotted spoon, fish out the chicken, which should be falling apart at this point, the sausage and beans, put on a serving platter.

Serve with rice or pasta, your choice, and a little of the sauce from the pot poured over each serving.

Parmesan Orzo

1/2 box Orzo style pasta

1 stick butter

1 c Parmesan

Cook pasta to package directions.  Drain.  Melt butter in the hot pan, add back in pasta, and add Parmesan.  Mix well and serve!

Steamed Veggies

Friday

Burritos and Taquitos

Frozen ones, sorry, no recipe this time!

Saturday

Taco Bell

Yes, we ate out.  I just didn’t feel like cooking after working half the day, then housework, just didn’t have it in me!  But, once I ate dinner, I made…

Chicken soup

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

4 pkts chicken flavor Flavor boost

2 pkts vegetable flavor Flavor boost

4 quarts water

2 Tbsp green Everglades seasoning

1 Tsp garlic powder

1/2 bag frozen green beans

1/2 bag frozen sliced carrots

1/2 c frozen peas

1/2 box Orzo style pasta

In a LARGE stock pot, pour in water, add flavor packets and spices, mix well.  Add in chicken.  Cook over LOW heat about 2 hours.  Increase heat so that water boils, add in pasta, cook about 15-20 minutes, or until pasta is well done.  Reduce heat again, add in veggies, cook another 30 minutes.  Remove from heat, serve, or allow to cool and put into serving size containers.  Freezable!!  This made about a dozen large servings, about the same size as Chunky soup cans, but a lot better for you.

Sunday

Breakfast for Dinner

Bacon, cooks crispy

Scrambled eggs with cheese

Crescent Rolls

Simple, quick meal that everyone loves.  I added a sliced tomato to my plate, but I’m the only one that likes them…

Apple Banana Dessert

1 small apple

1/4 cup dried banana slices

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp butter

1/4 C old fashioned oats

Core apple, cut into wedges, then slice the wedges into very small slices.  Put into a microwave safe bowl.  Add in the dried banana slices.  Top with the butter and brown sugar.  Microwave 1 minute, mix well, microwave another 4 minutes.  Allow to cool at least 5 minutes before serving!  Top with a little ice cream, YUM!!!

Anyway, that’s it for this week.  Hope you found something you want to try!!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 224

August 14, 2012 at 7:54 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back.  Hope you are all having a great week!

I’m in a mood tonight, so this will be a short post I’m afraid.  Just not into it tonight, but I wanted to try to keep up with this better than I have been of late.

Tonight’s dinner was SUPER easy, but yummy, so I can share…

2 pounds ground beef chuck

1/2 large jar great value spaghetti sauce

1 box Dreamfields penne pasta

1 Tbsp Italian seasoning mix

1 Tsp garlic powder

Brown ground beef, drain if needed, add in spices and garlic, then add in sauce, simmer while you cook the pasta to package directions.  Drain the pasta.  Put about 1 cup pasta and 1 cup sauce in a bowl, top with Parmesan cheese, and serve.

The meat sauce is more like a ragu than spaghetti sauce, because it’s more meat than sauce, so it needs the extra spices.  A little salt and pepper helps, too.

Really tasty!!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 195

July 16, 2012 at 8:11 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , )

Hello again dear friends, and welcome back!  Hope your week is starting out well…

So, they finally put a number to the offer of that full time job…  not what I was HOPING for, but kind of what I EXPECTED.  Not much more than I’m making as a temp, but not bad, and it’s a paycheck at a job that I’m really liking, so I guess I’m OK with it.  It’s definitely better than what I did before, which was BEYOND stressful, and I ended up working literally 7 days a week, including holidays, the last six months at my old job, with no overtime because I was salaried.  I don’t think anyone could pay me enough to go back to that!!!

Anyway, as you can see I have some mixed feelings about the whole job thing.  I’ll get over it…

So William is REALLY getting bored being at home, actually called me today just to say “whatcha doin’?”  Too funny!!!  I think we’ve worked out how we’re getting his summer reading, finally.  Gotta get on that or he’s never going to get it done!  Hopefully he will enjoy them enough to finish them without fighting the whole time.  The really hard part if going to be getting him to do the assignment, he HATES homework!  But we’ve told him, with this new school, he’s actually going to have to work a little to get good grades, and he’s so freaking smart, he should be getting straight A’s with a minimum of effort, just like his big brother.

Speaking of James, he’s BALD!!!  His girlfriend was using the clippers on him, and slipped, so they had to cut it all off, and OMG!  He looks so weird without hair, but he’s OK with it, so I guess we have to be.  He’s going to get his crown on Wednesday, hopefully that will be the end of the dental work for a while.  Although, he does need to get his wisdom teeth out, too.  Of course, if they keep cutting his hours at work, he won’t be doing much of anything…

Anyway, on to the night’s recipe.  It was SOOO easy, and SOOO tasty!  Good for a nice family dinner, but quick.

Baked Pasta

1 box of your favorite pasta (I used Cellentani tonight)

1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce (Great Value original)

1 pound ground beef

Garlic powder

Salt

Pepper

Italian seasoning blend

Shredded Mozzarella cheese

Cook pasta to package directions.  Meanwhile, brown and drain ground beef.  Turn off burner under beef, add in sauce and spices to your taste.  Allow to warm on that burner until the pasta is ready.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix pasta and beef/sauce mixture in pot.  Put about half into a casserole dish.  Top with about 1 cup of shredded cheese.  Add  remaining pasta and sauce/beef, then top with another cup of shredded cheese.  Put the whole thing in the oven for 30 minutes, or until cheese is nicely melted.  Serve!!

We also had some left over bread (honey oat wheat) with butter along with this great pasta dish.  And afterwards, I had the last of the blueberry dump cake from last night, which was VERY rich, but so much better cold than it was warm last night.  It was a bit loose, more like soup when it was warm, but once it was cooled and set, it was really good!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 90

April 1, 2012 at 12:39 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

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

Kind of a laid back day today…  dad went home from the hospital, doing well, mom is there to take excellent care of him.  James is at his girlfriend’s, as usual.  William is at a sleepover at a friend’s house.  So Mike and I have the place all to ourselves, and the best we can come up with is watching TV and eating a nice dinner…  when did we get so old and boring?!

Anyway, here’s what we had:

Braised Pork Shoulder Steak

2 pork shoulder steaks, about 2 pounds total

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp Italian seasoning

1 Tbsp Thyme

1 Tsp salt

1 Tsp pepper

4-5 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 carton chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place about 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet.  Heat over medium high heat.

Mix remaining spices, olive oil and vinegar to form a thick pasty sauce.  Coat one side of steaks with mixture using basting brush.  Place coated side down in skillet, sear for 2-3 minutes.  While searing, brush more of the sauce mixture on the second side of the steaks.  Turn steaks, and sear another 2-3 minutes, or just until browned.

Put any remaining sauce mixture into oven safe covered dish, and add in broth.  Place both steaks in this mixture, cover pan, place in preheated oven and cook 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Remove meat from liquid to serving dish, and serve with:

Italian Parmesan Herb Pasta

1 pound angel hair pasta, cooked to package directions

1 Tbsp thyme

2 Tbsp melted butter

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Toss all ingredients together in large serving bowl, serve warm!

The steak was an absolute first for me, had to go look online to see how to cook it!  And it came out VERY good, so we’ll have to do this again some time.

Sorry there are no photos, but I completely forgot!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 60

March 2, 2012 at 1:43 am (Food) (, , , , , , )

Hello again, and welcome back!  Hard to believe it’s been 60 days already…

Tonight, I had some leftover stuff from a couple of meals, and my fridge is almost empty since pay day is tomorrow, so I experimented a little…  it was OK, and JUST OK.  Here’s what we had…

Broth, which was made from beef broth, tomato paste, Italian seasoning and garlic powder, leftover from last night’s roast

Rice, leftover from something a couple of days ago

Beef, leftover from last night’s roast, cut into small pieces

I put all these together in a pan and simmered about 30 minutes, just long enough for the rice to absorb some of the broth and thicken it up a little, so it was sort of like a stew.

I served this in a bowl like a stew, with a side of peas.

Easy, cleaned out the fridge, and we had a decent meal.

Sorry, no pictures.  Maybe tomorrow…

Until then, 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 41

February 12, 2012 at 12:32 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again, and welcome back!

Tonight, we used some leftovers from the past few nights to create some new and delicious dishes, and added a few new things just because we could.  I say “we”, because not everything was my idea, but I did all the cooking!  So, here we go!

Egg Rolls

Egg roll wrappers (found in the fresh food section at Walmart, you know, where the salad stuff is!)

Filling:

Roasted pork cut into very small pieces, about 2 cups (left over from Asian pork roast a couple nights ago)

Cabbage, shredded VERY fine, 2 cups

Carrots, shredded VERY fine, 1/2 cup

1/2 tsp ground ginger

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1/4 cup finely diced green onion

Mix together all the filing ingredients, place about 2 tbsp onto egg roll wrapper diagonally, fold over first corner, fold in two side corners, moisten final corner and fold over to seal.  Fry in hot oil, about 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crispy.  Remove from oil, place on paper towels to drain, serve.

Home Made Croutons

I had two leftover french bread loaves, they’ve been in the fridge for two weeks, and they were heading for the trash, when I said wait a minute, I saw someone on Food Network make home made croutons with stale bread, so I’m going to give it a try!  So, I cut up both loaves into small cubes, about 1/2″ across, placed them in a pan, sprinkled them with olive oil and spices, then cooked them.  30 minutes at 350 degrees, stirring half way through cooking.  They came out really well!

Fried Rice

About 2 cups cooked rice (also left over from the night we had Asian pork roast)

3-4 Tbsp oil

1 egg, beaten

Finely diced or shredded veggies of your choice (I had cabbage and carrots left over from the egg rolls above), about 1 cup

Finely diced green onion, about 1/4 cup

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1 Pkg fried rice seasoning

2 Tbsp soy sauce

Place oil in large pan, a wok if you have one!  Heat over medium heat, add rice and cook 2-3 minutes or just until hot.  Push rice to one side of pan, pour in egg and cook/scramble.  Mix into rice.  Add shredded/diced veggies, cook 1-2 minutes.  Add in seasoning and soy sauce, cook another 1-2 minutes.  Add in peas, cook another 1-2 minutes, or until everything is nice and hot.  (I also threw in some broccoli I had left in the fridge, and covered the pan the last few minutes just to steam it a little, it was just barely warmed and bright green, VERY crunchy!)  Serve!

Fruit Wontons

Wonton wrappers

Blueberry pie filling

Apple pie filling

Cherry pie filling

1 egg, beaten

Oil for frying

Powdered sugar

Cinnamon sugar (mixed about 1/3 cinnamon to 2/3 sugar)

Place wonton wrappers on a flat surface.

Place 1 tsp pie filling in center of wrapper.

Brush two sides of wrapper with beaten egg.

Fold over diagonally and seal together edges, forming triangles.

Fry 1 minute per side in hot oil.  Sprinkle blueberry or cherry with powdered sugar.  Sprinkle apple with cinnamon sugar.  Serve!  (these are really good warm or cooled, but not good the next day, so don’t make a ton unless you’re having a party!)

YUMMY!!!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 4

January 5, 2012 at 11:20 pm (Food) (, , , , )

1/5/12

Welcome back friends!

So, plain old boring spaghetti and meatballs was, as usual, a hit, because it was familiar to one and all.  And I’m starting to rethink the idea of something “completely new” every day of the year!  It’s gonna be harder than I thought!!  But, that’s not stopping me just yet…  ask me again in a month I might say different, but for now, I’m still having fun!  Get to go shopping for next week’s meals tomorrow, trying to pick some recipes ahead of time so I have a plan instead of scratching my head every morning.  And my younger son wants to help, so this could get interesting…

On the menu tonight, oven fried grouper fillets, green beans with almonds, salad.  Smells good in here, and I haven’t even started actually cooking yet!

Recipe: 1 1/2 lbs fish fillets (I used grouper), 2 eggs beaten with 1 Tblsp water or milk, 1 Cup bread crumbs (I used Italian seasoned) plus 1 Tsp dry Italian seasoning, 1/2 Tsp salt and 1/4 Tsp fresh ground pepper, non-stick cooking spray and a topping made of 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup ranch dressing, 1 Tsp dry Italian seasoning.  1 foiled lined baking pan, foil coated with oil or cooking spray.

Rinse fish fillets and pat dry.  Dip fillets in egg, then in crumb mixture.  Place coated fillets in prepared pan.  Spray coated fillets with cooking spray.  Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.  Serve!

I’ll report back on whether or not it was a success tomorrow.  See ya’ll then!

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