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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, on to the food….

Monday

Baked BBQ Pork Chops

4 boneless pork chops

About 3 cups BBQ sauce of your choice

1 Tsp garlic powder

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

Ratatouille (this was fun!)

1 smallish yellow squash

1 smallish zucchini

1 Chinese eggplant

2 Tbsp dried onion flakes

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 cup tomato sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp olive oil, divided

1/4 cup Parmesan

Italian seasoning blend

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

Fried Potatoes

2 leftover Perfect Baked Potatoes

Sour cream, about 1/2 cup

Parmesan, about 1/2 cup

2 Tbsp butter

Salt and pepper

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

Chocolate Chip Cake with Chocolate Pudding Pokes

Basic Yellow Cake recipe

3/4 c butter

3 eggs

2 1/2 c all purpose flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 3/4 c sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/4 c milk

1/2 c chocolate chips

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

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

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

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

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

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

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

Cool completely in pan before frosting.

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

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

Tuesday

Ranch Fried Chicken, Bacon and Tomato sandwich

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 pkgs ranch dressing mix

2 cups flour, divided

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 pound bacon

1 large tomato, sliced

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

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

Put 1 cup plain flour in one wide shallow bowl.

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

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

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

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

Wednesday

Jet’s Pizza

Thursday

Chicken and Sausage with Tomato Sauce

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 rope Kielbasa

1 Jar spaghetti sauce

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp Italian seasoning blend

1/8 Tsp red pepper flakes

1 Tsp orange Everglades seasoning

1 Jar (that sauce jar!) water

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

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

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

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

Parmesan Orzo

1/2 box Orzo style pasta

1 stick butter

1 c Parmesan

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

Steamed Veggies

Friday

Burritos and Taquitos

Frozen ones, sorry, no recipe this time!

Saturday

Taco Bell

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

Chicken soup

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

4 pkts chicken flavor Flavor boost

2 pkts vegetable flavor Flavor boost

4 quarts water

2 Tbsp green Everglades seasoning

1 Tsp garlic powder

1/2 bag frozen green beans

1/2 bag frozen sliced carrots

1/2 c frozen peas

1/2 box Orzo style pasta

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

Sunday

Breakfast for Dinner

Bacon, cooks crispy

Scrambled eggs with cheese

Crescent Rolls

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

Apple Banana Dessert

1 small apple

1/4 cup dried banana slices

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp butter

1/4 C old fashioned oats

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

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

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 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!!

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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!!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 196

July 17, 2012 at 9:18 pm (Food) (, , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!!  Hope you had a Terrific Tuesday, I sure did!

Work was work, kind of slow today, but once again I volunteered for something just so I wasn’t sitting at my desk trying to hide the fact that I was watching a movie on my iPod!!  But I would rather be busy any day…

The boys actually did stuff together today, and didn’t kill each other!  WOW!  In fact, they went to Walmart together to fill water jugs, and came home to go back into James’ room to play a video game.  Somehow I think maybe my kids were abducted by aliens and these are their replacements…

Seems like Mike had a good day at work, got home late but I think that was the traffic.  He’s relaxing with a comic book or two right now.

Just finished poking around on Facebook, watching Batman Begins, at the part where Bruce figures out where the bats are coming from, the beginning of the Batcave…

Was thinking about shutting off the computer and working on something crafty when I realized I hadn’t written tonight’s entry here, so here I am!

Dinner tonight was unexpected, and unexpectedly good!  You are going to like this, if you try it…

Everglades Chicken with Apples

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 Granny Smith apple

12 baby carrots

5 green onions

Everglades seasoning for chicken (there are actually different kinds, get the fish/chicken kind for this recipe)

Olive oil cooking spray

Remove excess skin and fat from chicken, cut into small bite sized pieces.  Put into cold skillet, spray with olive oil cooking spray, sprinkle with Everglades seasoning until well coated but not drowning in seasoning.  Mix well.

Cook over medium heat until chicken is about half way done.

While that’s heating up, core the apple, cut into 8 wedges, and cut those into thin small slices.  Set aside.  Cut carrots into thin rounds, set aside.  Remove root ends from onions, cut into rounds from the white end up until the dark green section of the onion.  Disgard any remaining that you don’t have another use for. (I use the greens for flavoring in broth and pot roast)

Once the chicken is about half way done, add this fruit and veggie mixture to the pan, saute chicken and veggies until chicken is done, apple is soft and carrots are crisp-tender.  Because of the juices in the apples, you actually end up steaming the chicken towards the end.

Served this over some reheated left over rice, YUM!!!

That Everglades seasoning has just enough heat that you get a little kick after a few bites, but not so much that you don’t want to eat the meal.  And just enough flavor that you want to keep coming back for more!  Even William liked the chicken, and that’s saying something.  Now if I could just get him interested in the apples and carrots!  Oh well, maybe next time.

Anyway, good meal, just enough left over that I think I have lunch tomorrow, unless Mike eats it for breakfast, LOL!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 78

March 20, 2012 at 1:03 am (Food) (, , , , , , , )

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

What a day!!  Not much during the day, really, little running around, gas in the car, cashing in the change jar, odds and ends.  Back to school for William, so that was a little bit of a challenge this morning, but not too bad.  First day back after spring break, expected it to be a lot harder than it was, but he’s a good kid, so all was well.  Spent a couple hours job hunting on the internet, found a whole bunch of new listings today, so put in 15 applications.  We’ll see how that works out!  It was also scout banquet night, and Pinewood Derby, awards night, so our usual 1 hour meeting took almost 2 hours, but it was fun.  Have to say, our track is the pits, needs a lot of work, bumpy, uneven, but I guess I shouldn’t complain because it was FREE.  However, I was always taught that if you can’t do something right, don’t do it, and someone invested a lot of time into this thing, wish they had done it better.  Guess I have mixed feelings!  William didn’t even place in the race, but he was OK with that, he had fun anyway, and there was a lot of good food at the pot luck dinner, so he was happy.  He got a BUNCH of awards, already put all his new pins on his uniform, that was cool!  Kind of looking forward to when CUB scouts is all done, going to put all his patches and awards in a shadow box for him, since he can’t take any of it to BOY Scouts.

Anyway, since there was a pot luck, I HAD to make Mom’s baked beans, so here’s the recipe:

Mom’s Baked Beans

1 55oz can B&M baked beans (if you can’t find those, I use Bush’s original baked beans, 2 of the larger cans, get as close as you can)

1 lb ground beef, browned and drained (I used ground round)

1 cup ketchup

1 Tbsp onion (I used dried onion flakes)

3 Tbsp molasses

1/4 cup brown sugar

Salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in crock pot, mix well, cook at least 4 hours on low.  Longer is better!

My kids like to eat these with chips or Frito’s, which is actually pretty good!  And these are great as leftovers!!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 72

March 13, 2012 at 11:26 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  It’s been a really good day, and I’m so happy I can share it with you!!

Busy day, taking care of sick William, shuttling James back and forth to work, and finishing up my first entry for the FiremountainGems seed bead contest for this year.  It turned out really nice, and I’m very happy with it, but I’m also sure it won’t win because every year, it’s a beed embroidery project that wins, not a woven piece like mine, but at least I’m trying!  I keep thinking about trying bead embroidery, I even went so far as to glue the focal beads to a backing, but I’ve never started the bead work.  One of these days…

Anyway, here’s the finished project, entry number 1:

And now for the recipes!

Pork Roast with Potatoes

3-4 pound pork roast

1 Tsp salt

1 Tsp curry powder

1 Tsp paprika

1 Tsp cayenne pepper

2 pounds red potatoes, cut into 1″ pieces

1 diced onion

1 Tsp ginger

1 fresh nectarine, cut into 1″ pieces

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

3 Tbsp soy sauce

3 cans peach nectar

1 can mango nectar

1 can water (or enough to finish covering roast in pot)

Sauce:

1/2 cup cold water

2 Tbsp corn starch

Place potatoes and nectarine pieces in bottom of crock pot.  Place roast on top of potatoes.  Add in onions, spices, soy sauce and vinegar.  Pour in peach and mango nectars, and just enough water to cover roast, or fill crock pot just below rim.  Cook on LOW 7-8 hours.  Remove roast to serving try and allow to rest.  Remove potatoes and nectarines to serving bowl, cover to keep warm.  Set crock pot to HIGH.  Skim any leftover pieces of onions or remnants from the roast from the juices in the pot.  Mix 1/2 cup water with 2 Tbsp corn starch until smooth, and add to juices in crock pot, stirring well.  Cook about 10 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken. (I actually don’t know how long that might take, as mine never did, and I gave up!)  Serve sauce like a gravy.  Slice roast on tray and serve with potatoes and sauce!

We also had a nice dessert, from a recipe I found in the paper last weekend.

Pear Tart

1 stick butter, room temp (softened)

2 Tbsp lemon juice, divided

2 medium pears, cored and cut into 1/2″ slices/wedges

1 cup flour, all purpose

1 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Butter or spray with cooking spray a 9″ spring form pan.  Sprinkle half the lemon juice over the pear slices and refrigerate until ready to use.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, cream butter and 1 cup sugar on medium speed, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in eggs one at a time, then beat in vanilla.  Beat in flour mixture on low speed just until batter comes together.  Spread in bottom of pan.  Cover pan with plastic wrap (not touching batter) and chill for at least 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Arrange pears in tight concentric circles on top of dough.  Sprinkle with remaining lemon juice.

Mix together 2 Tbsp sugar and cinnamon, sprinkle over pears.  Bake for 45-55 minutes (mine needed the full 55) or until edges are golden brown and center is set.

Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes.  Remove spring sides, run a knife under the tart, and remove to a serving plate to cool.  Serve with or without ice cream, whipped cream, or other topping of your choice.  We had ours plain, and it was awesome!

Hope you enjoy these!!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 46

February 17, 2012 at 12:16 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Thanks for joining me again…

Tonight, well, let’s just say dinner was OK, but William made himself a sandwich…

So, here’s what I cooked:

BBQ Pork 

2-3 pound pork roast

2 quarts water

1/2 cup dried onion flakes

1 Tbsp minced garlic

2 Tbsp kosher salt

1/4 cup butter

1 Tbsp paprika

1 Tbsp chili powder

1 1/2 Tsp crushed red pepper

1 cup cider vinegar

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce

1 cup tomato paste

1/4 cup molasses

Place everything in a crock pot, cook on LOW 8 hours.  Remove roast from pot, slice and shred.  Strain juice from pot into stock pot, add in:

1 Tbsp chili powder

1 1/2 Tsp crushed red pepper

1 cup cider vinegar

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce

1 cup tomato paste

1/4 cup molasses

Bring to a boil and cook 15-20 minutes or until thickened.  Mix several cups of this BBQ sauce with the shredded pork and serve on buns.  Keep remaining sauce for use as BBQ sauce for regular use, if you like it!

Cole Slaw

1/2 head shredded cabbage (I used my cool little chopper I got for Christmas, it’s AWESOME!)

5-6 carrots, peeled and shredded

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup vinegar (I used red wine vinegar this time)

1/4 cup sugar

Mix mayo, vinegar and sugar in a small bowl, mix into cabbage and carrots, mix WELL.  Serve!

The BBQ didn’t taste like I expected BBQ to taste, but it wasn’t bad.  I guess I should maybe stick with bottled sauce, or maybe start experimenting with BBQ recipes…  hmmmm….

Sorry, no photos tonight, just wasn’t feeling it!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 41

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

Hello again, and welcome back!

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

Egg Rolls

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

Filling:

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

Cabbage, shredded VERY fine, 2 cups

Carrots, shredded VERY fine, 1/2 cup

1/2 tsp ground ginger

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1/4 cup finely diced green onion

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

Home Made Croutons

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

Fried Rice

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

3-4 Tbsp oil

1 egg, beaten

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

Finely diced green onion, about 1/4 cup

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1 Pkg fried rice seasoning

2 Tbsp soy sauce

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

Fruit Wontons

Wonton wrappers

Blueberry pie filling

Apple pie filling

Cherry pie filling

1 egg, beaten

Oil for frying

Powdered sugar

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

Place wonton wrappers on a flat surface.

Place 1 tsp pie filling in center of wrapper.

Brush two sides of wrapper with beaten egg.

Fold over diagonally and seal together edges, forming triangles.

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

YUMMY!!!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 30

February 1, 2012 at 1:24 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

WOW!  Sort of a milestone for me, 30 days straight!  WOO HOO!

Welcome back!  Hope you’re still enjoying my ramblings and recipes.  Hey, that’s a good book title, “Ramblings and Recipes”!  I’ll have to remember that…

Tonight, we went sort of old school, and I have to say, I will NEVER buy another “pot roast” from Walmart or Sam’s!  I don’t think I’ve ever had a tougher piece of meat in my life.  I even had trouble cutting it with a steak knife, and that after 4 hours in the crock pot, which usually turns any piece of meat into wonderful tender yummyness.  Not this time!

ANYWAY, here was the menu:

Pot Roast (go ahead and splurge on a decent piece of meat, Winn Dixie usually has good stuff, and they put it on sale every few weeks!)

3-4 pound pot roast with SOME marbling, but not TOO MUCH fat

1 medium onion, chopped into roughly 8 wedges (or you can cheat like I did and add about a cup of dried onion flakes!)

1 Tbsp rosemary leaves (I put my in a tea ball so I wouldn’t have to fish them all out again before making gravy)

Place roast in crock pot, add onion and tea ball with rosemary leaves inside, cover with water or beef broth (I prefer broth, but I didn’t have any tonight…  😦

Cook on LOW 8 hours, or until extremely tender and falling apart.

Remove from pot, and let rest while you use the juices from the pot to make gravy.  Then slice and serve!

Gravy

Strain juices from crock pot (above!), mix with “brown gravy” mix using measurements from the package. (yeah, I know, it’s cheating!) Bring to a boil, simmer 1 minute or until nice and thick.  Serve!

Cheese Toast (James made this tonight)

Slice fresh bread loaf, French or Italian breads work well.  Slice enough so everyone gets two slices.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Spray ONE SIDE ONLY with butter flavor cooking spray.  Cook, sprayed side up, at 400 degrees for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven, turn bread over, sprinkle with shredded cheese of your choice (ours tonight was a blend of mozzarella, cheddar and provolone), cook another 5 minutes at 400 degrees, or until cheese is fully melted and edges of bread are toasty.  Serve.

We also had canned (GASP!) veggies, just because I have a pantry full of them to get rid of, and I ate the last of the leftover Brussels Sprouts from a couple of nights ago, which I have to say taste even better having sat in the fridge mixing it up for a couple of days, they were AWESOME, some plain cooked egg noodles (really good with gravy over them) plus we had a nice fresh salad.

So, to wrap it up, HORRIBLE roast, GREAT bread, AWESOME Brussels Sprouts (who ever thought those words would ever go together in the same sentence, right?!) and OK everything else.  Definitely a filling meal, and everyone got SOMETHING they liked.

Tomorrow, curried chicken and home made Mac N Cheese, James style.

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 27

January 29, 2012 at 8:50 pm (Food, Personal) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Saturday, January 28th, 2012…

I made oatmeal for 10 people on a camp stove this morning, without any measuring cups or anything, and it came out really well!  We had fresh sliced bananas and cinnamon and sugar to put on top, that was actually really good!

We also had boil-in-bag omelets, if you’ve never done this when camping, you have GOT to try it!  Tag a quart sized plastic freezer ziploc bag (the heavy ones, and the regular press to seal, not the zipper type), put in two eggs (take them out of the shells, please!), and whatever you would put in your omelet.  We had ham, chopped into small pieces (lunchmeat ham works really well for this), shredded cheddar cheese, onion, green pepper, really whatever you have and feel like chopping up while camping.  Add a couple of tablespoons of whatever you want to add to your omelet, (for example, mine was 2 eggs, 3 tbsp cheese, 2 tbsp ham) close the bag.  Pinch the egg yolks inside the bag, then shake vigorously to mix everything and scramble the eggs.  Drop the bag into a pot of boiling water, cook roughly 6-8 minutes, or until the eggs are done.  You might need to cook a few minutes, mix again, and cook a few more minutes to get them done all the way through.  Pour out of bag onto plate, and eat!  You can cook as many bag omelets as you can fit in your pan at the same time, just make sure they are all actually in the water!  And best of all, no pans to clean!  You just have to dump out the water when you’re done!!

Our boys made trail mix before their hike…  two scoops of honey nut cheerios (about 1 cup), roughly 1/4 cup M&M’s, individual box of raisins, 1 scoop of pretzels (about 1/2 cup, maybe a little less) and roughly 1/2 cup mini marshmallows, all mixed together in a quart sized plastic bag, ready to take on your hike.  Good for car trips, too!  And you can customize this any way you like!  If you prefer banana nut cheerios, or Chex cereal instead, you decide what your family likes!!

Lunch was grilled cheese with ham sandwiches, and tomato soup.  Really easy, and a big hit with the boys.  They went through almost two whole loaves of bread!!  Of course, we had taken them on a 2.5 mile hike before lunch, so they were ready.

And dinner was burgers, tomato slices, onion slices, broccoli with cheese sauce, chips, cookies, and smores around the camp fire again.  I can’t say I cooked anything, but I helped serve, and I MADE every one of our boys have at least ONE BITE of broccoli with cheese before they could have cookies or smores, and they all did really well.

So, nothing fancy or difficult, but maybe a couple of things you’ve never made while camping that you might want to try!

Until tomorrow!!

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