The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza day 348-365 (week 51 & 52)

December 30, 2012 at 11:51 pm (Food, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!!

Well, we made it through the year, made some new friends along the way, and had some fun!  I’ve really enjoyed trying out new recipes, sharing them with you, and sharing the little ordinary goings-on of our family with you.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the tidbits as well as the food, and found some cool new things to try!!  I know I’ve tried things I never thought I would, and found out I actually LIKE curry!

So here’s our final entry for this blog for this year.  I’ve got a BUNCH of recipes for you, some simple, some not-so-much, but all well worth the effort.  I hope to continue this food blog in 2013, but I don’t think I’m going to focus as much on doing something new every day like this on started out, I think I’m going to try new things every weekend and share those adventures.  Gives me more time to work on my two new blog ideas….

Here are my two new blog ideas for 2013, I’m going to give them a shot and see where they take me.  I’m going to start a new blog doing some product reviews, starting with some of the things I got for Christmas, and then I’m going to have a second blog about jewelry making, share some things I’ve tried, maybe try my hand at doing a tutorial or two on some basic techniques.  Could be fun!  Hope you’ll join me!!

Working names, please let me know what you think!:

Ramblings Meets Reviews!

Nirvana Bay Designs Presents:

So, on to the food….

Chicken Everglades

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (or however many you need to feed your crew)

Everglades original seasoning (green)

Fresh ground pepper

Trim any excess skin or fat from the chicken breasts, cut into small bite sized pieces.  Spray a large skillet with olive oil cooking spray, heat over medium heat, add in chicken.  Sprinkle liberally with Everglades seasoning and pepper, I think I use about 2 Tbsp for 2-3 chicken breasts.  More than that is way too salty, but less is sort of bland!  Cook chicken, stirring frequently, until done through.  Serve with sides of your choice!  I usually go for some steamed veggies and maybe some biscuits.

Pork Chops Everglades

4-5 boneless thick cut pork chops

Everglades original seasoning (green)

Fresh ground pepper

Trim any excess fat from the chops, and cut into small bite sized pieces.  Spray a large skillet with olive oil cooking spray, heat over medium heat, add in pork.  Sprinkle liberally with Everglades seasoning and pepper, I think I use about 2 Tbsp for 4-5 chops.  More than that is way too salty, but less is sort of bland!  Cook pork, stirring frequently, until done through.  Serve with sides of your choice!  I went for some rice this time, and some steamed veggies.

Nachos

1 pound ground beef

2/3 cup water

1/4 cup taco seasoning mix

Tortilla chips

1 cup shredded taco blend cheese

1/2 cup salsa (I use mild)

Chopped black olives (optional)

Chopped green pepper (optional)

Brown ground beef in a large skillet, drain excess fat.  Add in water and taco seasoning, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes.

Arrange tortilla chips on a plate, top with seasoned beef, shredded cheese, and any other toppings you like, everything except the salsa at this point!   Microwave about 1 minute, maybe just a little more or less depending on your microwave, just until cheese melts.  Top with salsa, sour cream, or ranch dressing and serve!

Cheddar Sausage Biscuits

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3 cups Bisquick

1 pound bulk pork sausage (I used mild, and wish I had used medium!)

4 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup milk

1/2 tsp dried Rosemary leaves

1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh parsley or 1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes

BBQ sauce or Ranch dressing or chili sauce, whatever you like for dipping!

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray bottom and sides of jelly roll pan with olive oil cooking spray.

Stir together all ingredients, mix VERY well.  I had to get in there with my hands to get it mixed right.  Shape into 1 inch balls, a cookie scoop works really well for this, wish I had had one when I was doing this!  Place in pan, right up against each other, but don’t squish them together.

Bake 25 minutes or until brown and slightly crispy.  Remove from pan to paper towel lined platter.  Serve warm with dipping sauce.

Makes about 8 dozen balls.

Corn Pudding

1 can creamed corn

1 cup milk

2 tbsp flour

2 tbsp butter, melted

1/4 cup sugar

3 eggs

Dash of salt

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Beat eggs, sugar and flour together.  Add corn, butter, salt and milk.  Pour into buttered (or in my case, butter flavor cooking sprayed) 13″ x 9″ dish.  Bake at 325 degrees approximately 50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

NOTE: if you double this recipe, you will have to cook it about an extra 20-30 minutes for the center to set right.

Oatmeal Scotchies

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1 stick plus 6 tbsp butter, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

3 cups oats (Quick cooking or not, doesn’t really matter, but the consistency of the cookie IS different.  I prefer regular over quick oats)

1 cup butterscotch chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter, add in sugars and mix well.  Add in eggs and vanilla, mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt.  Slowly add to butter mixture, mix well.

Add in oats and chips, you will have to switch to a spoon rather than a mixer at this point, it gets really thick! (at least I do…  my little hand mixer won’t handle it…)

Dropped by tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes.

OR, spread into a buttered (or sprayed) 13″ x 9″ pan, bake 30 – 35 minutes, cool and cut into bars.

Bulgar Breakfast Squares

2 cups cooked Bulgar wheat (1 cup uncooked = 2 cups cooked)

2/3 cup milk (or fat free half and half!)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 Tbsp melted butter

1 Tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup dried bananas

1/2 cup dried blueberries

1/2 cup dried cherries

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

First tip, put the dried fruit in with the Bulgar when you cook it, just add about 1/4 cup extra water, softens them up nicely.

Combine everything, spread into a greased (sprayed) 8″ x 8″ baking pan, cover with tin foil, bake 30 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly before trying to cut, serve warm.

You can also prepare this in advance, cool completely, cut into squares and reheat in a microwave.

Snowballs

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1 cup butter, softened but not melted

1/4 cup sugar

2 cups ground pecans

2 cups sifted flour

1 box confectioners sugar

Heat oven to 300 degrees.

Cream butter.  Add sugar, pecans and flour.  Mix well.  Dough will be VERY stiff.

Shape into tablespoon size balls, again a cookie scoop would have come in very handy here, but I didn’t have one yet.

Place on UNGREASED cookie sheet, bake 45 minutes at 300 degrees.

Remove from oven and immediately roll in confectioners sugar.  Set out to cool on waxed paper over newspaper (to protect your surface!).  Roll again in confectioners sugar when cooled.    Store in a sealed container.

Tollhouse Cookies

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.

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P1060112

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

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Crockpot Chili

2 pounds ground beef, browned and drained

3 cans red kidney beans

1 large can diced tomatoes

1 can tomato sauce

1 diced green pepper

2 Tbsp onion flakes

2 pkgs chili seasoning

Salt and pepper to taste

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday

Parmesan Orzo

1/2 box Orzo pasta, cooked to package directions

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 stick butter, melted

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

Chicken Sausage

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

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

Steamed veggies

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

Tuesday

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

Wednesday

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

Thursday

Chicken Fillet Sandwiches

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 cup flour

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

3 eggs

Oil for frying

Bread or tortillas, your choice!

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

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

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

Mix the flour and seasoning in another wide shallow bowl.

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

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

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

Steamed Veggies

Once again, green beans, peas and carrots.

Friday

Braised Pork Chops

4 boneless pork chops

1 can diced tomatoes

1 packet Flavor Boost veggie flavor

1 Tsp garlic powder

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

Biscuits

Sorry, not homemade, canned, but still yummy!

Steamed Veggies

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

Here’s my plate:

Saturday

Bacon Cheeseburger Roll

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

1 pound ground beef

2 cans crescent rolls

1 pound bacon

About 1 cup shredded cheese

Corn meal to sprinkle on pizza stone

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

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

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

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

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

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

Microwave Chocolate Chip Cookies (for the boys)

1 egg yolk

1 Tbsp butter, melted

1 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp brown sugar

3 drops vanilla

1/4 cup flour

2 Tbsp chocolate chips

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

Apple Cherry Microwave Dessert

1 small apple

1/4 cup dried cherries

1/8 cup brown sugar

1/8 cup oats

1 Tbsp melted butter

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

Sunday

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

Sausage Egg and Cheese Casserole

12 eggs

1 cup half and half

3 Tbsp flour

4 sausage patties

1 cup shredded cheese

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

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

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

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

Bread Machine Focaccia

1 Cup warm water

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

1 Tsp salt

1 1/2 Tsp olive oil

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

1 1/2 Tsp bread machine yeast

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

When done, turn dough out onto a floured surface.

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

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

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

Potato and Parsnip Gratin

3 large potatoes

4 medium parsnips

Parmesan cheese

1 cup half and half

Salt and pepper to taste

Garlic powder

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

Wash and peel parsnips and slice on the mandolin.

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

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

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

Perfect Baked Potatoes

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

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

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

Serve with your favorite toppings!

Potato and Parsnip Chips

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

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

Chicken Fillets

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 cup flour

1/8 cup Everglades seasoning (green this time)

3 eggs

Oil for frying

Bread or tortillas, your choice!

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

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

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

Mix the flour and seasoning in another wide shallow bowl.

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

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

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

Pan Fried Steaks

2 New York strip steaks

2 Tbsp butter

Salt and pepper

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

Steamed Veggies

The usual, green beans, peas, carrots.

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

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

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

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 244 – 249 (week 36)

September 8, 2012 at 8:52 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!!  Hope you all had a great week…

Crazy week at work, had to finish up closing out the month of August, but everyone pulled together and pulled it off.

William had a great week at school!  Finished up his antibiotics today, really loving having all these teachers in middle school, loving his guitar classes and learning a song by his favorite band, Green Day, just way too cool!!!

Mike had a pretty good week at work, he’s been taking antibiotics, too, so he’s feeling better.  Still tired, but better.  Busy at work, which is a good thing, it’s kinda rough when he’s not busy!  He gets bored so easily…  sounds like William!

I think James had a good week, got called in to work some extra hours, cut the grass for us (looks nice), off at his girlfriend’s like every other weekend.  Between work and girlfriend, we almost never see him, but he’s been really helping with William, getting him to and from school almost every day so we don’t have to pay for after school care, very cool!

Anyway, on to the food, that is why we’re here, right?  I’ve been keeping notes so I don’t forget what we had each night…  yeah, Fibromyalgia is like that, if I don’t write it down, I really do forget!  So here we go!

Monday

Went to a birthday party for William’s best friend, Noah, so we kind of “ate out”…  Hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans, chips and dip, potato salad, home made cake, YUM!!!

Tuesday

Chicken Pesto Pasta

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

1 box Dream Fields penne pasta

1 container Philadelphia pesto flavor cooking cream

1 cup frozen peas

Cook pasta to package directions, drain.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add chicken, and cook until no longer pink.  Drain any excess fluid.  Add in peas and cook until heated through.  Add cooking cream, heat until cream is well melted, stirring frequently.  Add in pasta and serve!

Wednesday

Frozen taquitos (had a Thirty One party to go to, so dinner had to be quick and easy!)

Thursday

Coconut Curry Chicken

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/2 package Golden Curry spice mix

1 can coconut milk

2 packets Flavor Boost chicken flavor

Rice

Place chicken breasts, coconut milk, 1 packet Flavor boost, curry spices, and 2 cans water in crock pot.  Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours.

About 30 – 45 minutes before ready to serve, add water, 1 packet flavor boost and rice to rice cooker per cooker’s instructions, and cook until cooker says it’s done.

Remove chicken from crock pot, shred.

If desired, cook your choice of veggie to go with this dish.  We usually do broccoli for the grown ups and peas for William, nothing different this time.

Put about 1 cup rice in a bowl, add about 1/2 a shredded chicken breast to the bowl, add in about 1/2 cup of your veggie, top with a little bit of the juice from the crock pot, sort of like a sauce, and serve!  If you wanted, you could even take some of the juices from the crock pot, add a little yogurt and flour and make an actual sauce out of it, might have to try that next time!

Friday 

We ordered pizza from Jet’s, sort of a treat, and boy, was it good!

Saturday

I’ve spent the better part of the day creating yummy yummy stuff today!  Lots of recipes to share!!!

Asian Style Pork Roast

2-3 pound pork loin roast

5 tropical fruit cups in juice

About 3-4 Tbsp soy sauce

2 Tbsp minced garlic

2 Tsp ground ginger

Place the roast in the bottom of the slow cooker.  Add in everything else, stir a little, cook on LOW 6-7 hours.  Remove roast from pot to serving tray.  Pour juice and fruit into a blender and LIQUIFY, use as a sauce for the pork, it’s pretty good!  Slice roast and serve with a side of sauce.

This turned out SUPER tender!

 

Cheesy Bacon Ranch Bread (from http://www.thecountrycook.net)

1 round loaf sourdough bread

2 cups shredded cheese (I used colby jack mixed cheese)

About 1 pound bacon, cut into small pieces and cooked until crisp

1/2 cup butter, melted

About 2-3 Tbsp dry ranch dressing mix

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

Using a sharp bread knife, cut the bread going in both directions but don’t cut all the way through the bottom.

Place your bread on a large piece of aluminum foil (this will make it easier to wrap it up later).

Place shredded cheese in between the slices. Really pack it in there as best you can.

 

Now add in bacon (as little or as much as you like).  We LOVE bacon, so I used a whole pound!  Do your best to get in between the slices.

Now take 1 tbsp. dry ranch dressing mix and add it to the melted butter. You can add more dry mix if you like a stronger ranch taste. Give it all a good stir until combined. Pour or spoon the butter mixture over top of the bread.

Now wrap the whole thing up in aluminum foil and place on baking sheet.

Bake at 350F degrees for 15 minutes. Unwrap from the foil and bake for another 10 minutes (or until the cheese is melted).

And then dig in while warm!

 

Home Made Cinnamon Rolls

Dough                                                                                                                                                Filling

3/4 cup warm milk                                                                                                                        1/3 cup butter, softened

1 large egg                                                                                                                                         1/3 cup sugar

3 cups bread flour                                                                                                                         2 Tsp cinnamon

3 Tbsp sugar                                                                                                                                   1/2 Tsp nutmeg (optional)

1/2 Tsp salt                                                                                                                                     1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

4 Tbsp butter

1 1/2 Tsp bread machine yeast

Add warm milk and egg to bread machine pan.  Add in flour, sugar and salt.  Tap pan to settle, and push a little of the dry ingredients into the corner of the pan.  Place butter in corners of pan.  Make a little well in the center, add in the yeast.

Set the bread machine to DOUGH, put the pan in the machine, and hit start.

On my machine, this is a 1 hour 20 minute cycle.  Yours could be different!

When done, remove dough to a floured surface, kneed about 1 minute, cover, let rise about 15 minutes.

Roll out dough to about 15 inches by 1- inches.

Spread softened butter onto dough, top with sugar and cinnamon mixture (with nutmeg and nuts if you go that route!), roll as tightly as you can starting on a longer edge.  Press edge to seal as best you can.  Using a sharp knife or long piece of dental floss, cut into roughly 1 inch pieces, you should get about 12.  Place each roll into a greased 13″ x 9″ pan, almost touching next roll.  Cover and let rise 30 – 45 minutes.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes.  Cool in pan 10 – 15 minutes.

Top with icing made with 1 cup powdered sugar, 1-2 Tbsp milk and 1/2 tsp vanilla and serve!

I haven’t iced these yet, but we aren’t having them until tomorrow morning.

 

Chocolate Fillers  (from the back of a Log House chocolate chips bag)

3/4 cup butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 Tsp salt

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup quick oats

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter, brown sugar and salt.  Blend in flour and oats until crumbly.  Press about 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of a 13″ x 9″ pan.  Heat condensed milk and chocolate chips in a sauce pan until smooth.  Pour over base in dish, spreading to the edges.  Top with remaining crumbs, press lightly.

Bake 30 – 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Cut into however many pieces you want, I went with about 12 bars.

VERY good!!

Anyway, that’s it for now.  Not sure what I’m making tomorrow, but I had so much fun today, I just might have to cook again tomorrow!!

Oh, and while I was waiting on various machines to do their thing, I made some jewelry…

I finally finished this one, started it months ago but wasn’t sure where I was going with it until I found these cool plastic spike beads, then it all sort of came together!  It’s a pin/pill bottle necklace.

Another one I started a couple weeks ago, did the wire wrapping/beading around the outside edge today.

And made this from start to finish today.  Some cool aluminum chain, lots of little crystals and some cook brass coins, and viola, pretty  earthy bracelet!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 236

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meatloaf with Sausage

2 pounds ground chuck

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

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

1 cup tomato sauce (or spaghetti sauce)

2 eggs

1/2 cup dried onion flakes

salt and pepper to taste

One Perfect Meatloaf Pan!!

Squeeze or cut the sausage meat out of the casings.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 194

July 15, 2012 at 7:25 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!!  Happy Sunday!!!  Hope you’ve all had a relaxing or productive or exciting or whatever you really wanted it to be weekend!!

Relatively quiet around here today.  Dishes, laundry, vacuuming, pitching stuff that should have been pitched a month ago, you know, all those little things you do on the weekends!  Chores, in other words.

Last load of laundry is drying now, but I think it’s time to clean out the pipes again, it’s taking way too long to dry each load again.  Either that or it’s time to get the thing serviced, which after 8 years, yeah, it might be time.  Can’t say I really have any complaints about the machine, it’s a work horse, just like the washer.  Super duty, super capacity, LOVE my machines!!  Only thing I could wish for is putting them up on a stand or shelf of some kind, but then I wouldn’t be able to reach inside the washer! LOL!!

Kitchen is almost completely cleaned up after all the stuff I did today, only a couple of popcorn bowls left over from last night, and the pan from the bread machine.  Everything else is either cleaned and put away, or in the dishwasher now getting washed.  Had a nice family dinner for a change, James was even home which is unusual, and everyone except William liked what we had, but what’s new, right?  So on to the recipes!!

This is sort of a new twist on the Chicken Cordon Bleu casserole from a few weeks ago.  I started thinking, why does it always have to be the same, what could I change, how could I play with this, but still end up with something just about everyone will like?  So here’s what I came up with….

Santa Fe Chicken Casserole

2 boxes Great Value chicken flavor stuffing

3 cups water

1 stick butter

3 – 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 cup shredded Mexican blend Great Value shredded cheese

5 – 6 strips cooked bacon, crumbled

1 small container Philadelphia cooking cream, Santa Fe flavor blend

Pour the dry stuffing into a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish.  Heat the water and butter in a large measuring cup or bowl in the microwave for about 5 minutes, or until steaming hot but not boiling.  Pour over the dry stuffing and stir until all the dry is wet.

Trim excess skin and fat from chicken breasts, and cut into small bite sized pieces.  Combine chicken, crumbled bacon and cooking cream in a large mixing bowl until chicken is completely coated.

Sprinkle shredded cheese over stuffing.  Spread chicken mixture over the top of the cheese, spreading as close to the sides of the dish as you can without touching if possible.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Serve!

Honey Oat Bread (1 1/2 pound loaf)

7 1/2 ounces water, 80-90 degrees (a little warm)

3 Tbsp honey

1 cup wheat flour

1 cup bread flour

1 cup old fashioned oats

1 1/2 Tbsp dry milk

1 1/4 Tsp salt

1 1/2 Tbsp butter, cut into quarters

1 1/2 tsp bread machine/fast rise yeast

Put water and honey into bread machine pan

Add in dry ingredients except yeast.  Tap pan to settle, then level with a spatula and push a little into the corners of the pan.  Put the butter in the corners.

Make a small well in the center of the ingredients, add in the yeast.  Lock pan into bread machine.

Program for dough.  I don’t know about your machine, but mine runs a 1 hour 20 minute cycle for dough.

Turn out into a lightly greased loaf pan, cover and let rise 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, maybe 35 tops.  You’ll get a nice crusty loaf of really dense moist bread that is great with butter!  Allow it to cool about 30 minutes before cutting and it will cut much nicer, won’t fall apart so easily.

Blueberry Dump Cake (or whatever fruit pie filling YOU like)

1 can blueberry pie filling

1 pkg yellow or white cake mix

1 stick butter, softened and cut into pieces

1/2 cup chopped nuts of your choice (I think the type of nut depends on the type of fruit, I picked almonds this time)

Rub your crock pot with some of the butter.  Pour in the pie filling.  Mix the rest of the butter with the cake mix until crumbly, sprinkle/spread on top of fruit.  Sprinkle with nuts.

Cook on LOW 2-3 hours or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.

Allow to cool a bit before serving.  Service with ice cream or whipped cream!

I found this one on someone else’s blog, she’s cooking something in the crock pot every day of the year, so she’s got LOTS of cool recipes to share.  Even found some for fish that I think I might try!

Anyway, that’s it for tonight.  Gonna go shower and relax for the rest of the evening.  Maybe do my nails while it rains…

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 187

July 8, 2012 at 7:24 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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

Mine has been productive, if not overly exciting.  Made a bunch of stuff yesterday, which you’ve already read about if you’re a regular visitor, and cooked some more today, plus got laundry done and the kitchen cleaned up and the grocery shopping done, among other things!

Nothing interesting to report around here today, no big goings-on, just working on a clutch purse for myself, I’ll post a picture when it’s done.  William has a friend over today, same friend he went to Disney with.  Think his parents are out on a date night, so he’s here with us for the evening.  The boys had pizza for dinner, not home made, just Hot N Ready.  They enjoy it, not entirely sure why, but they’re kids!

Mike and I, on the other hand, had roast beef, potatoes, carrots and home made bread!  Here are the recipes for you:

Pot Roast

1 rump roast (this really does seem to be the best cut for my crock pot!) about 2-3 pounds

4 medium potatoes, washed and cut into bite sized pieces

10-12 large baby-cut carrots, washed

3 green onions, green part only, cut into large sections

2 packets beef Flavor Boost

1 – 1 1/2 quarts water

Put potatoes and carrots in the crock pot, top with the roast then the onions.  Mix the Flavor Boost packets into the water, and pour over the meat and veggies.  Cook on LOW 6-7 hours, or HIGH 3-4 hours.  Remove the onion pieces, unless you’re really into onions. We’re not, they are just for flavor for us.  Remove the roast to a serving tray and the potatoes and carrots to a serving bowl.  Scoop out 3 cups of the liquid and transfer to a sauce pan.  Mix in 9 Tbsp brown gravy mix, stirring very well, and heat over medium high until thick and bubbly.  Slice the meat, and serve!!

Honey Oat Bread (1 1/2 pound loaf)

7 1/2 ounces water, 80-90 degrees (a little warm)

3 Tbsp honey

1 cup wheat flour

1 cup bread flour

1 cup old fashioned oats

1 1/2 Tbsp dry milk

1 1/4 Tsp salt

1 1/2 Tbsp butter, cut into quarters

1 1/2 tsp bread machine/fast rise yeast

1) Put water and honey into bread machine pan

2) Add in dry ingredients except yeast.  Tap pan to settle, then level with a spatula and push a little into the corners of the pan.  Put the butter in the corners.

3) Make a small well in the center of the ingredients, add in the yeast.  Lock pan into bread machine.

4) Program for basic/specialty bread and whatever crust color you prefer.  I usually go for medium, unless I’m making bread that I know is really dense, which I would set for dark so I get a crustier bread.  Start machine and leave it alone until it’s done!

Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to cool another 10 minutes before slicing.  Use a bread knife, or you will have a crumby mess!

Serve warm with lots of butter!!

This is a slightly sweet, dense bread, with a nice crust.  It’s going to make a really good breakfast toast tomorrow morning, and it isn’t so sweet that it wasn’t good with dinner, in fact it was really good dipped in gravy.

So that’s it for tonight.  I was thinking about making fruit wontons, but my feet and hips are still sore from being on them so long yesterday making all those egg rolls, so maybe tomorrow night, we’ll see.  Maybe I can talk James into helping, if he’s not working.

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 159

June 10, 2012 at 8:42 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Happy Sunday!  Hope you’ve all had a great weekend, full of fun and family and good food!!  Welcome back!  🙂

Sunday’s around here are usually pretty quiet, and today was no exception.  Thought about going to a movie, slept in until 10:30 instead.  Finished up laundry, cleaned up the kitchen, did a little cooking, read the comics and clipped coupons.  Mike played video games with William for a little while.  William wanted to go visit a friend, but the family is out of town.  Nothing spectacular, nothing exciting, but a nice day around the house.

So here are a couple of recipes for you:

Home Made Granola

5 cups oats (I prefer old fashioned, but you can use quick if you want)

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp allspice

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

3/4 cup sugar free maple syrup sweetened with Splenda

3/4 cup honey

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla

Mix all dry ingredients in a BIG bowl.  Set aside.  Mix all wet ingredients in a medium bowl, mixing until it looks sort of creamy instead of like syrup.  I used a whisk for just a minute or two.  Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, mix VERY well.  It gets really hard after a minute or so, take a break, then mix some more.  It’s worth it!

Pour into a baking pan with sides, like a broiler pan or a cake pan, making sure the granola is not more than 1/2″ deep, break up large pieces as much as you can, spread it out.  Dark pans cook faster, try not to use them unless you have to.  I used to keep foil pans around just for this, but storing them got out of hand.  Split the batch over a couple of pans if you have to just to make sure it’s not too deep or squished to tightly in the pans, it won’t cook right.  It needs to be loose and not too deep in the pans.

Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour total, stirring every 15 minutes, breaking up bigger pieces, and making sure the batch isn’t getting too dark too quickly.  If you do have to use dark pans, cook about 10 minutes less.

Remove from oven and cool.  At this point, you can add raisins or chocolate chips before packing it up, or you can leave it plain.  You can serve in a cup, in a bag, or in a bowl with milk for breakfast.  You can use this granola to top off yogurt or ice cream.  It makes enough so you can do whatever you want with it!

Store in sealed containers up to two weeks.  Does not need to be refrigerated.

Oriental Seasoned Rice

Rice cooker (imperative!)

Rice

Water

Chicken flavor Flavor Boost, 1 packet

2 Tbsp Soy sauce

1 Tsp ground ginger

Fill bowl of rice cooker to the “4” mark.  Add in the chicken flavoring, the soy sauce and the ginger, mix well.  Using the scoop that came with your cooker, measure in 4 scoops of rice.  Turn on the cooker, when it’s done, serve!

We had this tonight with grilled pork chops, steamed broccoli with butter and steamed peas with butter.

So that’s it for tonight!  Gonna go relax with the family for a while…

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

 

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 77

March 18, 2012 at 11:21 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Happy Sunday to you as well.  Hope you all had a nice, restful, productive, whatever you wanted it to be day!  I know I did!

Finally finished the book I got for Christmas, and just started reading a couple of days ago…  11/22/63 by Stephen King.  All I can say is, he did it again!  Love Stephen King, always have, always will.  Except for Tommyknockers….  but that’s not why I’m here today!  I’ll critique books another time.

Today, I read, and relaxed.  Laundry was finished yesterday, so didn’t have to worry about that.  Had to go grocery shopping, but it was a “small” trip for me, so it didn’t take long, and I didn’t have many coupons.  My wonderful guys helped put everything away.  Of course, I had to go grocery shopping because we were out of things, like dishwasher soap, so I had to run the dishwasher a couple of times to catch up, but the kitchen was nice and clean, until I made dinner!  And it’s James’ night to unload the dishwasher, but he’s not here, and I already did it twice today, not doing it again, so I guess I’ll clean up dinner mess later!

Anyway, enough rambling for one day.  On to the recipes!!

Mom’s Meatloaf (makes 2)

2 pounds ground round

1 pound ground sausage

2 cups uncooked oats

2 cans tomato paste (NOT sauce)

2 eggs

Salt and pepper to taste

Line two loaf pans with tin foil.  Mix all ingredients together VERY WELL, getting in there with your hands and really mixing it up good.  Put half of the meat mixture in each pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes.

I served this with:

Smashed Potatoes

10-12 small red potatoes

2 Tbsp butter

About 1/4 cup milk (when you start mixing this up, you’ll need to add a little at a time until you get the consistency you want)

Salt and pepper to taste

Garlic powder to taste (optional!)

Rinse potatoes well.  Cut into roughly 1″ pieces.  For me, this meant cutting most of them into quarters.  They were pretty small potatoes!  Cook in lightly salted water for approx 1 hour over medium heat.

Drain potatoes, then put them back in the pan.  Add in the butter, cut into pats, and stir until butter in melted.  Mash potatoes with a hand masher, adding in a little milk at a time, until you get the consistency you want.  I left mine a little chunky, but I thought that went well with the skins still in there.  Add in salt and pepper to taste, and garlic powder if using.

I also made plain brown gravy, but I cheated, it was a Tone’s mix, so it was really easy.

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

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