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

P1060031

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

P1060098

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

P1060103

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

P1060102

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.

P1060108

P1060112

P1060110

P1060111

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

P1060113

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

P1060114

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!

Permalink Leave a Comment

The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza day 320-326 (week 47)

November 25, 2012 at 10:29 pm (Food, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you all had a wonderful holiday week!  A little odd for us…

William was off school all week, so he was home, and he was BORED, but he was good.  He read every day, practiced his guitar, did his chores, and stayed out of trouble.

It was a short week for Mike and I, because of the holiday, doctor’s appointments, and a little time off.  I took off Friday so I could go Black Friday shopping, ended up doing more online shopping than in-person shopping, but it was nice to not have to worry about work.  Seems I went a little overboard though, didn’t leave a whole lot of cash until next payday!  Good news is I only have two more people to shop for, and I have at least one idea for one of them, something I can get any time between now and Christmas!  And I have two things to make, gotta get busy, but then I am DONE!!

James decided to start his holiday early, so we haven’t actually seen him since Tuesday, hope he had a good holiday!

We were supposed to go to Mom’s for Thanksgiving dinner, but Mike and William both started coming down with something, and we didn’t want to expose my folks to it, so Wednesday night we made the mad dash through Walmart getting all the stuff we didn’t have on hand to make dinner Thursday!

Anyway, on to the food….

Monday

Pork chops

Simply pan fried with a little butter, nothing fancy.

Steamed veggies, broccoli and peas, the usual.

Rolls, the canned kind.

Mike ended up cooking for me, because I worked a little late to help with a project.

Tuesday

Chicken and Black Bean Homemade Burritos

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup taco seasoning mix

1 quart water

Tortillas

Shredded cheese

Put the chicken, black beans, taco seasoning and water into the crock pot in the morning, let it cook all day on LOW.

Remove chicken from pot, shred.  Remove black beans from pot.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lay out tortillas.  Sprinkle with shredded cheese, spoon in a little shredded chicken and some black beans, roll into burritos, place in a large baking pan.  Repeat until you use up all the chicken and beans, or run out of room in your pan, whichever comes first.  Top with a little more shredded cheese.  Bake about 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Serve with a side of ranch or sour cream or guacamole, whatever you like!  Salsa works well, too.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1 Bag frozen Brussels sprouts (I used frozen this time because I wasn’t sure when I would make these, they were a little softer than fresh, but tasted OK)

4 slices bacon

1/2 C dried cherries

1/4 C chopped or sliced nuts of your choice (I prefer pecans, but I had almonds on hand)

Remove stems from sprouts, and cut into quarters.

Cut bacon into small pieces and cook until crispy.  Remove from pan, but don’t pour off grease.  Add cut sprouts to pan, saute lightly until slightly browned and heated through.  Toss bacon, cherries and nuts into pan, mix well, heat another minute or two.

Pour everything into a baking dish of your choice, bake at 350 degrees 45-55 minutes, or until well browned and very soft.  Serve!

Wednesday

Jet’s Pizza

Thursday

Thanksgiving Dinner

Turkey – rubbed with butter, sprinkled with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning, DO NOT TRUSS or stuff, roast at 350 degrees per package directions – my 10 pound turkey said it needed to cook 2 hours, I didn’t believe it, so I cook it 3, it was dry, but tasty!

Potatoes – 6 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks, boiled about 45 minutes or until very soft.  Drain, add in 1 stick butter, maybe 1/2 C milk, more if you like them creamier, mix with hand blender until smooth and creamy!

Sweet potatoes

1 can yams

1/2 C brown sugar

1/2 stick butter cut into pieces

Pour yams WITH JUICE into a casserole dish.  Sprinkle over brown sugar, place pats of butter around pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until heated through and bubbly.

Rolls

Store bought frozen rolls, sorry!

Gravy

Turkey drippings, gravy packet from the turkey, plus some poultry gravy mix.

Broccoli

Green beans

Peas

Stuffing

Boxed, sorry again, but remember, I didn’t PLAN on cooking at all!!

Cranberry sauce

Friday

Subway

Saturday

Mini Pizzas – frozen, but good!

Cheese Sticks – frozen

Cheese bites – frozen

Sunday

Pot Roast with Potatoes

1 roast of your choice, I went for a tip roast this time, I like them

1/4 cup onion flakes

3 packets beef flavor Flavor Boost

1 quart water

4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces

Put everything in the crock pot, set on low for 6-8 hours, remove and serve!

Steamed veggies

The usual, broccoli and peas with butter

Gravy

Strained the juices from the pot, mixed in some brown gravy mix, YUM!

And of course, I did my nails over the weekend, so here’s this week’s design…

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

Permalink Leave a Comment

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!

Permalink 1 Comment

The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 292 – 298 (Week 43)

October 28, 2012 at 8:12 pm (Food, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Starting to count down to the end of the year, only 9 weeks to go.  Can you believe it, less than 2 months until Christmas!  And I actually bought my first few presents this weekend.  One for my mom, and a couple for Mike.

It was kind of a slow week.  Work was work, William had a good week at school, Mike had a good week at work, and James is James…  nothing exciting really.  I did finish my second beaded cuff, so that was cool!  Here’s some photos…

And I spent today putting together some more bases for more cuffs.  Don’t know why I was so afraid of this style of beadwork, it’s FUN!!

And I did my nails for Halloween!

It’s kind of a burnt orange color with black tips and black swirly stickers with sparkles!

Anyway, since there really isn’t much gossip, on to the food.  Even that is a little flat this week, I’m having a hard time getting inspired lately, cooking wise anyway.  But, since I got a little raise with my review last week, maybe next pay day I can splurge on some new ingredients and maybe a cook book, get some fresh stuff to share!

Monday

Grilled pork chops

6 boneless skinless pork chops

Everglades original seasoning (the green one)

Preheat your George Foreman grill to MEDIUM.  Sprinkle a little (how much is really up to you, but this stuff is salty!) Everglades seasoning on each side of the chops.  Put 3 at a time onto your grill, and cook until no longer pink inside, and crispy grilled on the outside.  Repeat with the remaining chops, and serve when done!

Steamed veggies, the usual, broccoli and peas.

Tuesday

Alfredo Chicken Pasta

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 jar alfredo sauce

1 box Dream Fields angel hair pasta

Trim any excess skin and fat off the chicken breasts.  Cut into small bite-sized pieces.  Heat a large skillet to medium, add in 2 tbsp vegetable oil, add in chicken.  Cook until no longer pink, add in alfredo sauce.  Reduce heat and simmer on LOW while you cook pasta to package directions.  Drain pasta and put past, chicken and sauce all together in the empty pasta pot, mix well and serve!

Steamed veggies, broccoli, peas and carrots…

Wednesday

Pot Roast

1 2-3 pound sirloin tip roast (or whatever cut you prefer)

1 pkg french onion soup mix

1 quart water

Put the roast in a crock pot, add in soup mix and water, should NOT cover roast.  Set pot to LOW and cook 8-10 hours.

Remove roast, drain broth into a sauce pan, straining out onion pieces if desired.  You should have about 3 cups of broth, maybe 4, depends on how much steam your crock pot releases.  Add in gravy mix per package directions, heat over medium, stirring frequently.  Bring to a boil, cook one minute, remove from heat and serve!

Baked Potatoes

I actually cheated a little on this one, I used the microwave, but they came out OK.  For each 1 pound potato (these are the really big ones!), wash well, rub with a little oil, sprinkle with salt, poke some holes, cook 10 minutes on high, or until done through.

Thursday

Jet’s pizzza

Friday

Sonny’s BBQ

Saturday

Free for all!

I had leftover taco meat mixed with black beans, added some diced tomatoes, and added some shredded cheese.  It was actually really good!

Sunday

Kim’s Chicken Casserole

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed if needed and cut into bite sized pieces

2 packages stove top stuffing mix

12 slices Swiss cheese

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Wash and drain chicken. Lightly butter 13 X 9 X 2 casserole dish

Prepare stuffing: Put all the dry ingredients in the casserole dish.  Heat 3 cups water with 1 stick of butter for 5 minutes in the microwave, pour over dry ingredients and mix well.

Mix chicken with soup.

Lay cheese on top of stuffing, top with chicken and soup.  Bake 1 hour 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

This serves 6 – 8 people

Glazed Carrots

1 C frozen crinkle cut carrots

2 Tbsp butter

1/4 C brown sugar

Cook on high about 5 minutes in the microwave, stir and serve!

Peas

Steamed frozen peas, done in the microwave with a little butter, about 5 minutes on high from frozen on about 1 C peas.

So, not a HUGE food week, but a GOOD food week.  I got a few odds and ends when I went shopping, going to try some quick dinner ideas I’ve seen recently, see if they turn out as good as they look…  I’ll keep you posted!

See you next week!!

Permalink 4 Comments

The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 285 – 291 (Week 42)

October 21, 2012 at 10:18 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

WOW, can you believe, I’ve been at this since January 2nd, 42 weeks now!  I’ve never stuck with any project this long, unless you count marriage as a project, but I have help there.  This one has been almost all mine!

So, this past week, let’s see…

Mike’s “wonderful” co-worker left, so he’s a happy camper.  Taking on her clients, rearranging his schedule to fit them in, I think it’s going to be much cooler for him, he’s been bored for a while.  He already seems happier at home, too, so that makes ME happy!

William had a good week at school.  Short week because it was the end of the grading period, so he got Friday off.  He slept in, and didn’t really do much, says he was bored.  Wish I had known they were going to end up postponing my review until this coming Tuesday, I would have taken the day off to hang out with him!  He hung out with his best buddy for half the day Saturday and Sunday, so I think that made up for the boring Friday.  Back to school tomorrow…

My week was kind of fun!  Organized a Boss’ Day celebration on Tuesday, pulled together 6 groups that all do the same thing, just for different managers, but all under one senior manager.  Have to say, I won’t do it again, too many negative people where I work, but the folks that participated were great!!  Then, on Wednesday, my new friend at work decided the job just wasn’t for her, so she quit.  Kind of sucks, she was fun!  The rest of the gang is pretty cool, so we’ll be OK and all, but I was a little bummed.  And I was the only one she came to say goodbye to, so I hope she finds a way to keep in touch!  Work itself is starting to settle into a routine, I feel more comfortable, actually looking forward to my first review as an employee and not a temp!!

And we won’t even talk about James, he’s never here anymore, kind of feels like a boarder rather than my kid.  Oh well…

Mike and William vacuumed today, that was cool.  I swept and mopped the kitchen floor, my back was killing me!  But the kitchen feels so much nicer now.  Scooped the cat box, changed the paper we keep under it (she misses sometimes, but she’s getting much better since we got the new litter box!).  Finished laundry early, that was nice.  So chores done early, I spent the rest of the day beading!  Check out my first bead embroidered cuff…

Anyway, on to the food!  That’s why we’re all here afterall!  We ate out a couple of times, got a little lazy, but we’ve all committed to eating at home more, so I guess we needed to have this week to make that choice.

Monday

Free for all!

We had all the leftovers from the weekend, the pizza muffins, meatball muffins, pigs in a blanket, rolls, veggies, etc., so we sort of had to have a little bit of everything to clean out all the bags and containers from the fridge!

Of course, I still wanted to make something, and I had picked up a couple of sweet onions on my last shopping trip, so I made…

Onion Straws

2 large sweet onions

1 cup flour

1 Tsp salt

1 Tsp pepper

Cooking oil for frying

Remove outer skin from onions, leaving root side on to keep the onion together.  Using a Mandolin type slicer, slice the onion VERY thin, place on paper towels to remove some of the excess liquid.  Let sit for about 10 minutes.  Separate onions as much as possible, put into a large wide shallow bowl, sprinkle over flour, salt and pepper.  Mix well, trying to separate as much as you can without pulling each onion out individually.  You will end up with these cool little lumps that kind of look like mini bird nests when you fry them.

Heat some cooking oil in a large skillet over medium to medium low heat, I set my stove on about 4.  Pull out some small clumps or individual onion strands, add them a few at a time into the oil, and cook a couple minutes on each side, or until golden brown.  Remove to a plate or bowl lined with paper towels, sprinkle with salt if desired.

Tuesday

Pizza hut – Mike got a special offer in his e-mail, 2 large 3 topping pizzas delivered for $8 each, so we had to…

But I HAD to do something, so I made up my fruit salads for the week.  I had papaya, red and green grapes, and a red pear.

Wednesday

Italian Chicken Pasta

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 pkg Italian flavor Philadelphia cooking cream

1 Pkg Dream Fields angel hair pasta

Salt and pepper to taste

Trim any excess skin or fat from the chicken, cut into small bite sized pieces.  Heat a couple tbsp of cooking oil in a skillet over medium heat, add chicken and cook until no longer pink.

Meanwhile, boil the water for the pasta.  This pasta takes literally 6 minutes to cook, so don’t start it too soon!  Once the chicken is cooked, drop your pasta into boiling water and set your timer for 6 minutes.

Add the cooking cream, salt and pepper to the chicken pan, stir it well, the cream will liquify.  Reduce heat to low until pasta is done.

Drain the pasta, and add it to the chicken pan, toss with tongs, and serve!!

We also had some side stuff, like chopped tomatoes, steamed broccoli and steamed peas, so we made this into a make-your-own-bowl kind of night.  Everyone got chicken with sauce and pasta, but then we could each add what we wanted, so I had tomatoes and broccoli in mine, Mike went for just broccoli, William added peas to his, so we all got a good meal!

Thursday

Chicken Bacon Ranch Wraps

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 lb bacon

8 soft taco size tortillas

1 pkg ranch dressing mix

Prepared ranch dressing

Cut bacon into small pieces, cook over medium heat until crispy, remove to paper towel lined plate, and set aside.

Trim excess fat and skin from chicken, and cut into small bite sized pieces.  Saute in a few tbsps of the bacon grease over medium heat until cooked through.  Add in 1 pkg ranch dressing mix, mix well until you have a sort of ranch sauce in the pan, remove from heat to serving bowl.

Spoon about 2 – 3 Tbsp chicken into a tortilla, sprinkle over 1-2 Tbsp crispy bacon pieces, squirt on a little bit of prepared ranch dressing and add some shredded cheese if desired (or some leftover onion straws, that was YUMMY!), roll up and serve!

Friday

Five Guys burgers…

Saturday

Meatball Subs

Remember all those meatballs I made last weekend, (2 lbs worth!), well, we still have a few left, so I put them in the crock pot for about an hour with a jar of spaghetti sauce, cooked them on HIGH, and put them on some steak rolls with shredded cheese…  YUM!  And a nice change from our usual Saturday night over-indulgence.

Then we had microwave chocolate chip cookies with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, OH YEAH!  Wish I had gotten a couple of photos… oh well!

Microwave Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 Tbsp melted butter

1 Tbsp white sugar

1 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Egg yolk

3 drops vanilla

Mix these together in a small bowl.

Add in 1/4 cup flour and mix well.

Add in 2 Tbsp chocolate chips and mix again.

Spray a ramekin or small bowl with butter flavor cooking spray, put your cookie dough into this prepared bowl.  Cook on HIGH 50 seconds.  Top with a scoop of ice cream if desired, or whipped cream, or nothing!  They are great by themselves!!

Sunday

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Yes, we had Sunday breakfast, and it was GOOD!

1 3/4 C flour

2 Tbsp sugar

2 Tsp baking powder

1/4 Tsp salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 2/3 cups milk (I like mine a little thinner, the recipe actually called for 1 1/2)

3 Tbsp vegetable oil

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Mix everything together in a large bowl, mix well!

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, about a 4 on my stove.  Pour about 1/2 cup at a time of your batter into the skillet, cook about 1 minute per side, or until golden brown.  Remove to a serving plate, butter while warm, serve with syrup! (and bacon of course!!)

Grilled pork chops

6 boneless skinless pork chops

Everglades original seasoning (the green one)

Preheat your George Foreman grill to MEDIUM.  Sprinkle a little (how much is really up to you, but this stuff is salty!) Everglades seasoning on each side of the chops.  Put 3 at a time onto your grill, and cook until no longer pink inside, and crispy grilled on the outside.  Repeat with the remaining chops, and serve when done!

Stuffing

I made chicken flavor box-mix stuffing, because that’s what I had, and that’s what Mike wanted tonight.  Made to package directions in the microwave while the chops were cooking, worked out well!

Glazed Carrots

1 C frozen crinkle cut carrots

2 Tbsp butter

1/4 C brown sugar

Cook on high about 5 minutes in the microwave, stir and serve!

Peas

Steamed frozen peas, done in the microwave with a little butter, about 5 minutes on high from frozen on about 1 C peas.

Green Beans with Almonds

1 bag frozen cut green beans

4 Tbsp butter cut into pieces

About 3 Tbsp slivered almonds

Put the green beans and butter in a large microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on HIGH 7 minutes.  Add in almonds, let sit while completing the rest of the meal, serve warm!

So that’s it for this week.  I’m off tomorrow, looking forward to having the place mostly to myself, working on my second bead embroidered cuff, started it before I finished the last one, and I’m really excited!  I’ll have some photos later in the week…

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

Permalink Leave a Comment

The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 278 – 284 (Week 41)

October 14, 2012 at 8:26 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again my friends, and welcome back!  Hope you all had an amazing week!  Mine was interesting…

Wish I could say I did a lot of original cooking this past week, but I can’t.  I can, however, say that I did some really good cooking, when I cooked that is.  Had one of those weeks where I had a few nights where I just didn’t have the energy to cook, or to fight with William about trying something new, so I went for cheap-but-tasty take out.  I felt terrible afterwards, not so much physically, but mentally, felt like I let myself and my family down, but some days, you just need to give yourself a break!

Work has been strange.  Got my first permanent employee review coming up, have a couple of co-workers telling my I should get a promotion already (I know I COULD do the job, but I still feel like I have a lot to learn), training a new girl who is doing really well, found out my supervisor is leaving the group and we’re getting a new one.  Not sure how I feel about that last one…  she’s been a thorn in my side some days, but I’ve learned so much from her, I’m going to miss her and not miss her.  I’m sure you’ve all worked with someone like that before, so you know what I mean.

William had an awesome week at school, doing really well on his homework, having a ton of fun with his music classes, thinking about trying out for the soccer team.  Mixed feelings about the soccer…  he’s never really been the outdoorsy type, but then neither was James, and he did marching band and was amazing at it, and I want to encourage William to be more active, maybe this is a good thing?  Need to teach him the right way to put on sunscreen though, that fair skin and red hair, he’ll burn like I do!!

James is James, I never know what he’s doing or when he’s working or how his life is going, he doesn’t talk to me, which really disappoints me.  I feel like maybe I’ve done some things in the past that now he doesn’t want to talk to me, and I had hoped for so much more.  We were best buddies when he was a kid, but I guess I should just be thankful that he talks to his grandparents and I find out what’s going on in his life through them.  It’s still weird…

And I’ve been doing beadwork on my lunch hours at work, so I feel like I’m getting to work and play at the same time.  I finished a bracelet, didn’t take a picture but I will.  I finished the center piece to my first bead embroidery piece, now I just need to finish off the sides and put it on a cuff with some backing.  Bought the backing this weekend, but not ready to sit down with it just yet.  Soon though!  Started another piece, I really like the way it’s going, but I haven’t touched it all weekend.  But boy is it nice to do something I love at lunch time!  It’s so relaxing, and my co-workers are finding out that I do beadwork, and some are already asking about holiday gifts, so maybe I’ll have a little extra cash this Christmas!!

Anyway, you’re here for the food, not the gossip, so let’s get to it!

Monday

Pot Roast

1 beef roast of your choice (I prefer a beef chuck under blade roast, not too much fat, turns out really nice)

1 pkg french onion soup mix

1 quart water

Put all these into a crock pot, stir a little, set on LOW and cook 8-10 hours.  Remove roast to serving platter, allow to rest while you strain about 2-3 cups of the broth into a sauce pan.  Add in brown gravy mix to package directions to make a nice gravy.

The roast should fall apart when you try to cut it, serve it just like that with the gravy!

Broccoli 

1 bag frozen broccoli florets

About 2 Tbsp butter cut into chunks

Put these in a microwave safe bowl with a cover, microwave on HIGH 7 minutes, comes out like fresh steamed broccoli with butter, maybe just a little more tender, but yummy!!

Peas

Microwave Brownies

4 Tbsp flour

4 Tbsp white sugar

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 Tbsp water

Mix all these in a small microwave safe bowl, sprinkle in a couple tablespoons of chocolate chips if you want, or some chopped nuts, or not, it’s up to you!

Microwave on HIGH 1 minute 10 seconds, allow to cool AT LEAST 5 minutes, serve!  You can top this off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you want, we haven’t yet, but it sounds like it would be good!!

Tuesday

Fried Chicken Everglades

3 Boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of excess skin or fat

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/8 cup Everglades seasoning for fish and chicken (the orange one)

1 Tsp fresh ground black pepper

Cut the chicken into nugget sized pieces.

Mix the flour and seasonings in a wide shallow bowl.

Heat about 1/2 cup vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

While that’s heating up, put the chicken into the flour mixture, flipping several times since the first dip coats it, but gets damp again really fast because chicken is damp, so if you dip it again, it gets coated better, and you actually get some of it on the chicken once it’s cooked.

Fry a few pieces at a time, a few minutes on a side, or until done through and crispy brown on the outside.  Remove to paper towel lined serving dish.  Serve when they are all cooked!

Glazed Carrots

Frozen crinkle cut carrots, about 1 cup

1 Tbsp butter

3 Tbsp brown sugar

Put all these into a small microwave safe covered dish, microwave on HIGH 5 minutes, spoon the resulting sauce over the carrots just before serving…  YUM!

Broccoli

1 bag frozen broccoli florets

About 2 Tbsp butter cut into chunks

Put these in a microwave safe bowl with a cover, microwave on HIGH 7 minutes, comes out like fresh steamed broccoli with butter, maybe just a little more tender, but yummy!!

Peas

Wednesday

Jet’s Pizza

If you have one of these in your neighborhood, I HIGHLY recommend it!!

Thursday

Five Guys burgers and fries

Again, if you have one of these in your neighborhood, I HIGHLY recommend it!!

Friday

This was a pat week, so we went out to dinner, after our bi-weekly trip to the comic book store.

Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza

Really good thin crust pizza, not greasy at all, really good Tomato and Mozzarella caprese-style salad.

Saturday

Home Made Meatballs

2 pounds ground beef

1 pound ground Italian sausage

1/2 cup plain bread crumbs

2 Tbsp Italian seasoning

2 eggs

Heat a large skillet over medium to medium-low heat (about a 4 if you have a numbered dial like mine).

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, scoop about 1 Tbsp of this mixture and roll it into a ball, fry until as much as you can get is crispy, they WON’T be done in the middle, but you’re going to put them in the oven for about 15 minutes after they are fried, so they will get done perfectly.

Pizza Muffins

1 can refrigerated biscuits

About 1/4 cup small diced pepperoni

ABout 1/2 cup spaghetti or pizza sauce

Shredded Mozzarella cheese

Spray a muffin pan with butter flavor cooking spray.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Press the biscuits as flat as you can with your fingers.  Put one flattened biscuit into each muffin cup.

Mix the diced pepperoni and the sauce in a small bowl, put about 1 Tbsp in each prepared muffin cup.  Top with about 1/8 cup shredded cheese, bake 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and serve!!

Meatball Muffins

1 can refrigerated biscuits

10 Home Made Meatballs (above)

ABout 1/2 cup spaghetti or pizza sauce

Shredded Mozzarella cheese

Spray a muffin pan with butter flavor cooking spray.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Press the biscuits as flat as you can with your fingers.  Put one flattened biscuit into each muffin cup.

Put about 1 Tbsp sauce in each prepared muffin cup, add in one meatball.  Top with about 1/8 cup shredded cheese, bake 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and serve!!

Pigs in a Blanket

1 can Crescent roll dough

1 Bag beef Little Smokies

Spray a cookie sheet with butter flavor cooking spray.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut each triangle of dough into three smaller triangles, I usually cut off the tip, then cut the remaining piece at an angle, so I end up with three pieces that sort of look alike.  Roll one sausage in each triangle of dough, rolling from the wider end to the narrow end, rolling them sort of like a crescent roll.  Bake about 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.  Serve with your favorite dipping sauce(s).

Chips and Dip

Virginia Light Rolls

1 Cup + 1 Tbsp milk, warmed about 1 min in microwave

3 Tbsp honey

2 large eggs

6 Tbsp butter cut into small pieces

3 1/4 cups white bread flour

1 cup 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.  Because you cook the whole pan at one time, it really doesn’t matter if you make big rolls or little rolls, I found this out this weekend.  I made slightly smaller rolls this time, so I got about 30 rolls out of my batch, just as high as the bigger rolls, but a better side dish size.

Cover, let rise for 45 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Bake 25-28 minutes, brushing with melted butter at the 15 minute mark.

Just so you know, I made these two weeks ago with twice as much whole wheat flour, and while they tasted amazing, they were really dense and heavy.  This version is much lighter, they rose better, and everyone liked them much better!

Sunday

Grilled Everglades Pork Chops

Super simple…

4 thin cut boneless pork chops

Everglades seasoning (green)

Heat your George Foreman grill to medium, put the chops on, sprinkle with seasoning, close the cover.  Cook 3-4 minutes, flip, sprinkle some more seasoning, close.  Cook another 2-3 minutes or until done.  Serve!

Chicken Pesto Pasta with Bacon

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

8 slices bacon

1 box Dreamfields penne pasta, cooked to package directions

1 container Pesto cooking cream

Trim any excess skin or fat from the chicken, cut into bite sized pieces, sprinkle with a little olive oil, saute in a skillet over medium heat.

At the same time, cut bacon into small pieces, cook until crispy, drain on paper towel.

Add cooking cream to cooked chicken, stir in cooked pasta.  Cook until sauce is melted.

Scoop about 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups pasta and chicken into a bowl, top with bacon, and veggies of your choice, serve!

I put some of the broccoli and bacon on mine, plus I added some chopped cherry tomatoes, SO good!

Broccoli

1 bag frozen broccoli florets

About 2 Tbsp butter cut into chunks

Put these in a microwave safe bowl with a cover, microwave on HIGH 7 minutes, comes out like fresh steamed broccoli with butter, maybe just a little more tender, but yummy!!

Peas

Glazed Carrots

Frozen crinkle cut carrots, about 1 cup

1 Tbsp butter

3 Tbsp brown sugar

Put all these into a small microwave safe covered dish, microwave on HIGH 5 minutes, spoon the resulting sauce over the carrots just before serving…  YUM!

So that’s it for this week, hope you found something you liked!!

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

Permalink Leave a Comment

The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 250

September 9, 2012 at 8:51 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you’ve all had a Wonderful Weekend!!

It’s been a busy weekend around here, but it felt so good to have cool stuff to do instead of just chores!  If you read yesterday’s entry, you know I cooked a LOT, well I continued cooking today.  Plus I finished up the laundry, scooped the cat box, emptied the trash, and made some jewelry.  YEAH!

I started off the day by making the frosting for the cinnamon rolls I made yesterday, very easy!

Cinnamon Roll Frosting

1 cup powdered sugar

2 Tbsp milk

1/2 Tsp vanilla

Mix well, spread on the cinnamon rolls and serve!

Then, I got some laundry going, and sat down to play with my beads!!

So here’s the bracelet I did today, lots of aluminum chain, lots of PURPLE, very cool!

And some blue elephant earrings…

And I started another pill/needle bottle necklace…

And now for the food!!

Perfect Baked Potatoes

Large russet potatoes, washed and dried

Sea salt

Olive oil (you can use vegetable oil if you want)

Pierce potatoes once on each side.  Coat lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with Kosher salt.  Place on baking pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, or until done through and soft when poked.  Remove from pan and serve.  Top with your choice of toppings, tonight we did just butter, salt and pepper, but they are also good with sour cream, shredded cheese, broccoli, chili, really whatever YOU want to put on them!  I actually cooked a whole bag of potatoes so we’ll have some laying around ready to top.  PLUS, they freeze well, so you don’t have to worry about them going bad!

Pot Roast

About a 4-5 pound roast, use your favorite cut, I prefer the tip roast

2 packets Flavor Boost, beef flavor

About 1/4 cup dried onion flakes

Water

Place roast in crock pot, add in beef Flavor Boost and onion flakes, salt and pepper if you want, and just enough water to almost cover the roast.  Cook on LOW 8-10 hours or HIGH 4-5 hours.  Remove to serving platter and allow to rest while you use some of the juices to make gravy.

I use a packaged gravy mix, 3 cups juice with 9 Tbsp gravy mix, bring to a boil and simmer 1 minute, turns out just about perfect every time!

Garlic Butter Crescents

Crescent roll dough

1/2 stick butter

About 4 Tbsp garlic powder

Unroll dough.

Melt the butter in a cup, add in the garlic powder and mix well.

Brush the garlic butter onto the unrolled dough.

Roll them up from the short side to the tip, and brush again with garlic butter.

Bake per package directions, serve!

And of course we had some veggies, broccoli and peas, kind of our usual.

Then I made a breakfast casserole for during the week.  Sorry, I didn’t take any pictures.  But it smells awesome!

Breakfast Casserole

12 eggs

1/2 cup half and half

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup shredded cheese

1 chicken smoked sausage rope

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

Beat the eggs, add in the cream.  Pour into prepared dish.  Sprinkle in the cheese.

Chop the sausage into small pieces, cook in a medium skillet until lightly caramelized.  Add into eggs and cheese, make sure it sinks into the eggs.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 – 55 minutes, depending on your oven, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and top is lightly browned.

I let this cool for about 30 minutes, then cut it into 8 servings and put them in individual containers so everyone can just grab, heat and eat in the morning!

So I think that’s it.  I feel like I’m forgetting something, but I don’t know what.

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

Permalink 1 Comment

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!!!

Permalink Leave a Comment

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

Cake:

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!!

Permalink 1 Comment

The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 146

May 27, 2012 at 8:04 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you’re all having a nice LONG weekend!  We’re certainly making the most of it…

Laundry is almost done, kitchen is almost completely clean, and we’ve been having a good time!  Went to the movies today, saw Men In Black III, and I have to say, I think it may have been the best of the three!  Good story, really good actors, some great twists, people actually clapped when it was over.

Grass hasn’t been cut, but Mike, William and I went for a walk together.  Weeds haven’t been pulled, but we all went to a comic book store together.  Haven’t vacuumed yet, but Mike and William have been playing video games together, having “guy time”, which they don’t do anywhere near often enough!  Sometimes, you just have to put off the work in order to do family things.

Anyway, dinner was relatively easy tonight, Mike cooked hot dogs and brats on the grill, and we had chips to go with that.  But then, after dinner, I made mini-cakes from scratch!  Here’s the recipe I used, and some photos:

Yellow Cake

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

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

Meanwhile, grease and flour baking pans…

2 x 9″ or 8″ round pans

OR

2 x 8″ square pans

OR

1 x 9″x13″

OR

Muffin/cupcake pans (that’s what I used tonight, Texas muffin pan and Mini-bundt 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.  Spread batter into prepared pans.

Bake 20-25 minutes for 9″ pans.

Bake 30-35 minutes for 8″ pans.

Bake 25-30 minutes for 9″x13″ pan.

Bake 18-20 minutes for jumbo cupcakes (like I did!).

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

Cool in pans 10 minutes.  Except for 9″x13″ pan, remove from pans, cool on wire rack completely before frosting.  9″x13″ pan, cool completely in pan.

 

Dark Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting

3/4 c butter, softened

6-7 cups powdered sugar, or more if you want stiffer frosting

1/3 c milk

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

In a very large mixing bowl, beat butter on medium until smooth.  Gradually add in 2 cups powdered sugar, beating well.  Slowly beat in milk and vanilla.  Gradually beat in cocoa powder and remaining sugar, about a cup at a time.  You can beat in more sugar or more milk as needed, but in small amounts, until you reach the consistency you want.  The above was absolutely perfect in my opinion!

This frosts 2 8″ or 9″ rounds, tops and sides, or 12 oversized cupcakes, with some leftover.  Cut recipe in half for a 9″x13″ pan cake.

 

Both recipes originally came from the “Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, 15th Edition”.  Want to make sure I give them credit!!  I think I might learn to enjoy baking from scratch…  this was fun!  And I have to say, not as good as the Tres Leche cake recipe I got from Emeril, but not bad at all.  VERY rich though!  Think I need to work on some lighter frosting recipes for this bunch.  And I need to find a way to moisten up the cake batter, it was REALLY dry.  I’m thinking pudding and fruit maybe…

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

Permalink Leave a Comment

Next page »