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!

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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!!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 208

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meatloaf with Sausage

1 1/2 pounds ground chuck

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

1 cup quick oats

1 small can tomato paste

1 egg

1/4 cup dried onion flakes

salt and pepper to taste

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

Squeeze or cut the sausage meat out of the casings.

Mix all your ingredients by hand in a large bowl, squish it all around really good, make sure there aren’t any obvious chunks of sausage anywhere, it should be relatively smooth when you’re done.  Form this mixture into a rough loaf shape, and put it in the Perfect Meatloaf Pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for at least 1 and 1/2 hours.  It should be pulled away from the sides of the pan, and crispy on top.

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

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

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

Bacon Ranch Dip

4 strips bacon, cut into pieces and cooked crispy

1 container sour cream

2 Tbsp ranch dressing mix

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

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

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 204-207

July 28, 2012 at 6:47 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , )

Oh, I have been SO slacking off this week!  I am so sorry!!!

And I’m sorry to tell you I really don’t have anything for you today, either!  I just wanted to say HI to everyone and share what’s going on in our little corner of the world.

So, let’s play catch-up…

Wednesday, first day as an actual employee where I work, last full pay check from the temp folks.  Also got my PTO time actually in the system, so I put in for a day off for when Mike has to go get his colonoscopy (oh what fun).  Still have time in my bank, figure I’ll leave it there, maybe plan a long weekend some time.  I think Mike has time banked, too, so maybe we can plan a couple days off together now!

Since I got paid, and it was a LONG day at work (lots of changes, scrambling to figure out what I’m doing, sharing info with folks who took over some of my stuff, getting things from other folks where I took some of their stuff, just craziness!) I sprang for burgers and fries from Five Guys.  I am SOOO glad we don’t eat their very often, it’s entirely too expensive for burgers and fries, but I have to admit, it was really good this time.  Last time, it was sort of blah, but this time, it was good!  I think maybe we have to be away from it for a while before it tastes really good!

Thursday, still a little crazy at work, playing catch up, figuring things out, helping other people figure their new stuff out, getting back into my routine.  By the end of the day, I was re-organized and ready to go.  Got some follow-ups done, worked on some reports, felt like I had actually made some progress.  Of course, I have a nemesis at work, this one girl who just doesn’t like me for whatever reason, is always treating me like I smell bad or something, huffs at me, snubs me, the whole nine yards…  and of course, we traded some properties in this whole re-org, so we had to speak to each other.  I try so hard to be nice, tried to give her some print outs, lists that have helped me, share info, she didn’t want anything to do with it because it wasn’t the way she would do it, her words “oh nevermind, I’ll just get it myself!”  I wanted to slap her SO bad, but I was good!!!  I filed away what I had, figure sooner or later I’ll need it for something.

James got called in to work, so I was without a vehicle, and still tired after work, Mike was working late, so William and I ordered pizza from Jets.  And once again, I will say, if you have a Jets pizza around, try them!!!  I’m not a huge fan of thick crust pizzas, but theirs is awesome!!!  And their bacon cheese bread sticks, yummy!!!

Friday, well, things calmed down a little at work.  Getting a feel for my new vendors, learning their issues, their strengths and weaknesses.  Talked to a bunch of new folks on the phone, they all seemed really nice and eager to work, so that’s a bonus.  Felt like I accomplished a lot, cleaned up some messes, felt good!  Plus, we had the monthly birthday and work anniversary celebration, so there were goodies, always a plus!

Mike and I made chicken nachos, guess I could share that one with you…  it’s really simple, but very tasty!

Chicken Nachos

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/4 cup taco seasoning

1/4 cup dried onion flakes

2 Tbsp garlic powder

Shredded cheese

Salsa

Water

Fill a large pot with water, add in the taco seasoning, garlic powder and onion, add in the chicken.  Heat over medium heat for about 45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.  Remove chicken and shred or cut into small pieces.

Put your favorite tortilla chips on a plate, spread out a little, top with some of the chicken, top with your favorite shredded cheese.  Microwave for 1 and 1/2 minutes, or until cheese is well melted.  Top with your favorite salsa, sour cream, or whatever YOU like on your nachos!

And here we are, it’s Saturday.  Time to catch up on chores that get ignored all week now that I’m working, time to relax a little between loads of laundry, time to hang with the family…

So of course, Mike was up and out before I even got out of bed, he had a CT scan this morning, part of his annual follow-up with Moffitt. So far, all the blood work and such is coming back good, so he’s feeling a little more comfortable with the whole “survivor” idea, and the fact that he IS one!

I got William up around 9, we had breakfast together, then I went and got my toes done.  Got back just a few minutes before Mike did, and we all had lunch together, or at least in the same room.  Went grocery shopping, ran into Candy and David, that was cool.  William has been bugging her today asking if he can go over, or Noah can come over here.  She finally invited him over for the night, they are having home made pizza, I’m sort of jealous!  Mike and I then went back to Walmart, filled water jugs, picked up William’s prescription, got salad makings for dinner.  We are both sort of in the mood for a light meal, so here’s what we’re having:

Grilled Chicken Salad

Fresh salad greens of your choice (I got both an iceburg blend and a field green mix)

Grilled chicken (yes, we got premade)

Crispy bacon pieces

Ranch dressing, or your favorite

Shredded cheese

Put it all together and you’ve got an easy fresh dinner!

So, that’s really it for now.  Maybe I’ll cook up something interesting tomorrow, thinking meatloaf..

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 200-202

July 23, 2012 at 9:27 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  I guess I’m proving, to myself more than anyone, that I’m just not up to doing this every single day and working and keeping up with the house and doing crafty things…  so I’m just going to post as much as I can, and that will have to be OK!  I’m OK with it…  hope you can be, too!

Anyway, let’s see, last thing I posted was Friday night, and we went out!  LOL!  What’s happened since then…

Saturday was grocery shopping, short list, but I came home with I think 8 Walmart shopping bags full of stuff.  Lots of fresh fruit, meats, bread, some frozen veggies…  fridge is full, freezer is almost full, cupboard is well stocked but not overflowing.  Washed four out of five loads of laundry, cleaned up the kitchen.  Went to Bealls Outlet, FINALLY found a purse I liked for a price I wanted to pay!  Also got two tops and a pairs of jean capris for work, a cup for my desk, and a pair of earrings I plan on copying.

I know it was movie night, but we didn’t do snack type foods for a change, we had Mexican!  Frozen burritos, but cooked my way.  Frozen taquitos, just cooked to package directions, nothing special.  And home made quesadillas!  So here’s how you do it…

Semi-Home Made Burritos

1 pkg frozen burritos of your choice (we like both the beef and bean, and the chicken and rice varieties)

1 small can enchilada sauce

1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Arrange burritos in a large pan with at least a little bit of a lip, you can’t do this on a completely flat pan, it makes a mess!

I believe the package directions say to cook 25 minutes.  I cook them for 22 minutes, then take them out.  Pour enchilada sauce over partially cooked burritos, making sure to get them covered well, take your time!  Spread shredded cheese over all burritos.  Put them back in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is well melted and sauce is hot.  Serve!

I like to serve this with a little bit of sour cream, or if you don’t have that, they are really good with a little ranch dressing on the side, too.

Home Made Beef Quesadilla

1 pound ground beef chuck

2/3 cup water

1/4 cup taco seasoning

About 3 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese

1 pkg soft taco sized flour tortillas

Butter flavor cooking spray

Brown and drain ground chuck.  Put back into skillet.  Add in water and taco seasoning, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes or until sauce is thickened.

Preheat another large skillet, at least large enough to easily fit a tortilla.  Spray with butter flavor cooking spray.

Put in a tortilla, spread about 1/4 cup shredded cheese, about 1/4 cup meat, another 1/4 cup shredded cheese, top with another tortilla.  Spray top with cooking spray.  Cook about 2-3 minutes or until tortilla is browned and a little crispy, carefully flip and cook the other side.  Cheese will be very melty and yummy!!  Remove to serving platter, cut into 6-8 wedges with a pizza wheel.  Repeat until out of tortillas and meat, you might have some cheese left over.  Serve with sour cream, ranch dressing, enchilada sauce or salsa!

You can also substitute chicken for the ground beef for a lighter and slightly healthier dish, but the taco sauce made with the water and seasoning isn’t quite the same with chicken as with beef.  It still tastes really good, though!!  I like to put a little salsa inside the quesadilla when I use chicken, just makes it moister.

So, Sunday, no cooking going on.  Went to my mom’s for the day, spent the day swimming with my boys, eating mom’s picnic food (hot dogs, potato salad, deviled eggs, chips, baked beans, white cake with chocolate icing…  YUMMY!!!), mom bought me some tops and some new sandals, and then she and I clipped, sorted and tallied coupons that her group sends to a military base in Italy for the military wives to use at the commissary!  I just thinks that’s so cool!!  She said that we ended up with almost $4000 worth of coupons in that batch.

And last but not least, today…  Monday was a little crazy at work, two people called in sick, and silly me, I volunteered to cover for one of them!  Between my inbox, his inbox, my reports, his reports, I didn’t quite finish everything I was supposed to do today, but I think I did OK!  It was the busiest day I’ve ever had since I started this job, first time I even came close to feeling overwhelmed.

James and I made Cottage Pie, and then I made pineapple angle food cupcakes.  So here are the recipes…

Cottage Pie

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

2 Tbsp dried onion flakes

1 Tsp garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups water

6 Tbsp gravy mix

3 pounds potatoes

1 cup shredded cheese of your choice

Wash and peel potatoes, cut into chunks, boil until soft.  Drain, put back in pot.  Add in 1 stick butter and about 1/2 cup milk, mash with a hand mixer, adding in additional milk if needed, about 2 Tbsp at a time, until smooth and creamy.

Brown and drain ground beef, put back into skillet.  Add in garlic, onion, salt and pepper.  Add in water and gravy mix.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently if not constantly, about 10 minutes.

Heat oven to broil.

Layer meat mixture in bottom of casserole dish.  Cover with potatoes, smoothing over the top.  Top with shredded cheese.  Put dish on a cookie sheet to keep from messing up your oven in case it boils over.  Heat about 5-8 minutes under the broiler, just until cheese is melted and slightly browned.  Serve!

Pineapple Angel Cakes

1 box angel food cake mix

1 can UNDRAINED crushed pineapple

Mix these together very well, using hand mixer.  Prepare muffin cups with butter flavor cooking spray.  This makes AT LEAST 24 normal sized cupcakes.  I actually ended up with 12 regular sized and 12 jumbo!!

Cook the normal sized ones 15 minutes at 350 degrees.  Cook the jumbos 20 minutes at 350 degrees.  When cooled, you can serve plain or top with whipped cream, strawberries, blueberries, it’s up to you!  They are REALLY good plain!!

So, that’s it for today.  Warehouse 13 season premier is on, so I gotta go now.

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 129

May 10, 2012 at 9:09 pm (Food) (, , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you’re all have a Thrilling Thursday!

It’s been a GREAT day around here!  Got to sleep in, Mike took William to school, and I woke up to find flowers and a cute singing card waiting for me!  Then I went to the bead store for about an hour, got all the supplies I needed for a custom order, plus a couple little things for myself.  Came home, then Mike and I went to Walmart, had some lunch at McD’s (yeah I know, not real romantic or anything, but we just couldn’t decide what we wanted, but we were hungry!), got a new coffee pot, a couple of movies, and a couple of beads for my bracelet.  Picked up William from school, made sure James was doing OK, then off we went to see The Avengers!  WOW!  It was AWESOME!!  Definitely one we need to get on DVD when it’s out.  Then home for a nice dinner, and Publix chocolate cake.  Absolutely a great day!!

So here’s what was on the table tonight:

Chicken and Sausage

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

5 sweet Italian sausage links

1 1/2 quarts water

2 cans tomato paste

1 package Italian dressing mix

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tsp black pepper

1 Tbsp kosher salt

3 Tbsp dried onion flakes

1 1/2 cups white rice

Place chicken and sausage in the crock pot. (yes, my favorite cooking tool)

Mix water, tomato paste, onion flakes and all seasonings together in a pitcher, and pour over meats.  Cook on LOW 8-9 hours.

Remove meats from pot, put about 3-4 cups liquid in a large sauce pan.  Add in rice, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes or until rice is done.

While the rice is cooking, shred the chicken and slice the sausage.  When the rice is done, mix in the chicken and sausage, and serve!

I know I’ve done something similar before, but this blend of sausage type and seasonings worked MUCH better, it really was a lot better.  I’m actually looking forward to the leftovers tomorrow.

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 125

May 6, 2012 at 10:25 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you all had a spectacular weekend!

Well, what can I say…  It’s been an interesting weekend!  The craft show yesterday, and then we tried to do something cool today, but it just didn’t work out, so I cooked and chopped and did laundry and puttered around the house…

We got up early, not too early, but early for a Sunday for us, made a nice breakfast of pancakes, scrambled eggs with cheese, and sausage.  Got everyone ready to go, and out we went.  Up to the movie theater we go, thinking we might be able to get tickets to The Avengers…  YEAH RIGHT!  The show we were trying for, and the next two shows, were sold out, and there was a line!  There’s NEVER a line on Sunday mornings!!  ARGHHHHH!!  So we headed back home, I dropped off the boys, and headed off to Walmart to get groceries for the week.  Not what we had planned, but what needed to be done.  Got a trash can for outside, only been here almost six years, no rush right?  Got a new pair of shoes for work, something comfortable but not sloppy.  (had to throw out a couple pairs of “work” shoes recently, they finally wore out)  And then…

I cut up lettuce, tomatoes, green pepper for salads.  Watermelon and cantaloupe for my fruits this week. (last couple of weeks have been pineapple, papaya and mango plus red grapes, but the last pineapple wasn’t that great, so I’m thinking the season is over.)  I shredded cabbage in my handy little chopper I got for Christmas, I can use that in salads, in recipes, or make some cole slaw.  I sliced up some nice young yellow squash, made a couple of steamer bags for a lunch or dinner.  Then put my pork chops in a marinade to soak for a while before dinner.

Next, I made mini meatloaves for later in the week, had everything thawed out, had to cook it, figured it will be a quick dinner later this week, or lunches for someone.  Here’s the recipe in case you missed it the last time:

Mini meatloaves

1 cup ketchup

4 tbsp packed brown sugar

1 tsp ground mustard

2 eggs, beaten

4 tsp Worchestershire sauce

3 cups bread crumbs, cracker crumbs, corn flake crumbs (basically whatever type of filler you like)

3 tsp onion powder or flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp garlic powder

3 pounds lean ground beef, or mixed beef and sausage (mix 2:1 beef and sausage)

In large bowl, combine ketchup, brown sugar and mustard. Remove 1/2 cup to be used on top of cooked loaves. Add eggs, Worchestershire, cereal/bread crumbs, seasonings.  Mix well, let set for 5 mins.  Add meat(s) and mix very well.

Press mixture into 18-24 muffin cups and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  Drizzle/top with remaining sauce mixture reserved earlier. Bake 10 minutes longer, or until meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.

Leftover loaves are freezeable!  Thaw frozen loaves and reheat at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Can also be microwaved for 1 minute each.

And here’s what I did for dinner:

Marinated Pork Chops with Fruit

6-8 boneless pork chops

Good Seasons Italian dressing (make with olive oil and apple cider vinegar)

1 Granny Smith apple

1 D’Anjou pear

10-12 baby carrots

2 Tbsp butter

Mix up some Good Seasons Italian dressing (using olive oil and apple cider vinegar) per the package directions.  Place 6-8 boneless pork chops in a 9 x 13 baking dish, pour the entire bottle of dressing over the chops, pick up each chop to make sure some of the dressing gets underneath as well, and put the dish in the fridge for a few hours at least.  Mine set for about 4 hours all together.

Core and 8th both the apple and the pear.  Slice each 8th into small slices.  Slice the baby carrots into rounds.

In one pan, cook the apple, pear, carrots in butter until soft but not mush.

In another pan, cook the pork chops until done through.

Place the chops on a serving platter, top with the fruit mixture, serve!

I kept some of the apples, pears and carrots out of the pan and served them on top of the salad, keeping those flavors going in different dishes.  It actually worked really well!

I also had some baked potatoes around, since I cooked a whole bag of them last weekend and froze most of them so I would have them around.  The recipe for these is REALLY simple, but makes GREAT baked potatoes!

Perfect Baked Potato (I actually found this recipe on the web)

1 bag (5 lbs) baking potatoes (Russets work really well)

Olive oil

Kosher salt

Wash the potatoes well, and remove any eyes.  Dry them!!  Rub the potatoes with olive oil, pierce once on each side (total four sets of fork holes) then sprinkle liberally with Kosher salt.

Now this next part is up to you, but I prefer pans…

Bake either directly on the oven rack, or in a pan.  The only drawback to the pans is you have to cook a few minutes longer.  And if you do like I did and cook a whole bag at one time, it takes a LOT longer! (almost 2 hours total, but SO worth it!)

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour on the rack, or 1 hour 15 minutes in a pan.  Turn once about half way through to ensure even cooking and no hard spots in the skin.

When done (you can tell by poking with a fork, when it’s easy to poke it’s done) serve!  Cut it open, top it with your favorite combination of toppings, or keep it simple with butter and salt.

You can freeze them after they are cooked, and reheat in the microwave using the baked potato setting (about 7 minutes) from frozen, or thaw and reheat about 3 minutes in the microwave.

Anyway, it was a cooking kind of day, and somehow I missed making William’s lunch sandwiches, so I guess I know what I’m doing in the morning!  Had enough today…

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 94

April 4, 2012 at 10:23 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Boy, that really is getting old, isn’t it?  Gotta come up with a new opening line!!  Anybody got any suggestions???

Well, it’s Wednesday.  Time to start laundry for the week, cleaned up the kitchen just so I could mess it up again, made a good meal, shuttled kids around, James started his new job today, but he’s still working the old one until next Friday (the 13th, hmmmm), so he ought to be good and tired when I go get him later.  Hopefully they’ll give him enough hours that he can get his car on the road (finally!) and get his tooth fixed (since we can’t afford to do it for him any more…).  Back to a normal routine day for me, at least.

So here’s what we had tonight:

Super Chicken (the kids named it that!)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 quarts water

2 packets chicken Flavor Boost (Swanson)

1 can cream of chicken soup

2 Tbsp garlic powder

2 Tbsp dried onion flakes

Put everything in the crock pot, mix it up a little, and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours.  I start with frozen chicken, if you start with thawed, it probably doesn’t have to cook as long.  Also, I stir it about once an hour to make sure everything gets mixed up enough so that it’s not all chunky or weird when it’s done.

After cooking, turn off crock pot, remove chicken to serving platter.  Strain some of the juices into a sauce pan, about 2 cups, and mix in poultry gravy mix per package directions, about 2 packages if you use packets, or follow the directions on the bottle if you buy the big container like I do!  I think I added about 1/4 cup, maybe a little more.  Cook over medium heat until thickened.  Serve!

We also had Stove Top stuffing and canned peas with dinner, so it was all pretty good!  Here’s some pics for you…

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 87

March 28, 2012 at 11:31 pm (Food) (, , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  So glad you could join me again!!

It was a very good day around here, very productive, and a really good meal on top!  Did some laundry, did some dishes and cleaned up the kitchen, finished up two necklaces I had been working on, shuttled the kids around, took James to a job interview that went very well, all in all a very good day!

 (that second one is a butterfly, but it’s hard to tell from just one angle)

So here was the menu tonight:

Cube Steak

1-2 pounds cube steaks (roughly one steak per person unless they are really big)

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

1 can chunky potato with cheese and bacon soup

1/4 cup dried onion flakes

1 Tbsp garlic powder (or more if you like)

Salt and pepper to taste

Spread 1 can cream of mushroom soup in the bottom of a crock pot.  Place thawed (or almost thawed, as in my case) cube steaks on top.  Sprinkle with onion flakes and spices.  Cover with 1 can cream of mushroom and 1 can potato with cheese and bacon soup.  Cook on LOW at least 7 hours, longer if you like.  With this meat, the longer the better!  Remove meat and potatoes to serving tray and serve hot!

We had a nice fresh salad with this, and fresh fruit salad as well.  Pineapples, strawberries and mangoes to be exact!!  Very good meal, in my opinion!  Even William liked it, and he’s my biggest challenge.

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

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