January 14, 2013

January 14, 2013 at 9:07 pm (Food) (, , , , )

Well, here we are again!  Hope you all had a great week!

It’s was sort of quiet around here last week.  Back to work full time after two holiday-shortened weeks, back to school for William, and back to the routines.  Holidays are done, decorations are put away, all the goodies are gone (thank goodness, I think I gained 10 pounds!), and I’m trying to get back into the routine of cooking every night.  Last week seemed like the longest week in history, but we all got through it just fine.  William ended the week on a high note, started a three-day-in-a-row field trip to Nature’s Classroom.  You would think he was excited or something…  started Friday, he had all his stuff packed in his string pack on Wednesday night!

Not a whole lot of “new” stuff going on cooking-wise, mostly old standards like coconut curry chicken and bacon and eggs, but I do have ONE new recipe for you!

Creamy Italian Chicken

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 can cream of mushroom soup

2 cans water

2 Tsp Italian seasoning blend

DASH red pepper flakes

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 box Dreamfields pasta of your choice (I used spaghetti this time)

Put the chicken in the crock pot (yes, the crock pot again!), pour over soup and water, mix it a little.  Add in the spices and mix it a little again.  Set on HIGH 3-4 hours or low 7-8 hours, stirring occasionally.

When done, remove chicken from the pot, shred it, then add it back into the sauce.  Mix a little making sort of a shredded chicken sauce for the pasta.  Turn OFF the pot.

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Cook the pasta to package directions.  Drain and add into crock pot, mix well, serve with a little Parmesan cheese or shredded cheese on top!

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I think this is one of those dishes that I’m going to have to experiment with a little.  It wasn’t bad at all, but it “needed something”.  Made good leftovers!

Oh, almost forgot, here’s what I finished making this week…

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P1060154 Only 1/2″ tall!

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P1060156 This one is 1″ tall…

Anyway, that’s about it for this week.  Gonna go play with some beads for a while…

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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 264 – 270 (Week 39)

September 30, 2012 at 10:16 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!!

Everyone was actually healthy, no one missed any work or school, feels like we should celebrate!!  And it was a pay week, so of course we went a little overboard this weekend, but that’s nothing new.

The only stories for this week revolve around my fun day yesterday, the rest of the week was kind of quiet.  But, it was a pay week, so we did the Friday night out, more on that a little further down.  And then Saturday…

Started the day getting my nails done, getting my toes done (hurt a bit, but SO worth it!), got my hair cut.  William joined me for this part of the trip, he likes to sit in the massage chair while I get my nails done.   Then we made a quick trip into Winn Dixie to see what meats they had on special.  Got two pot roasts, two packs of boneless pork chops and stir fry beef for $32.

Then it was off to Game Stop to get William the current free character for Pokemon, and he put a game on order.

Next, my first trip to the local Oriental Market.  WOW!  I could spend a whole day in there if I didn’t have William sitting the car waiting!!  Maybe next time…  But I did get some cool food for Saturday movie night.  More on that below.  And I think I found the elephant I want for my desk, but I didn’t want to spend the $8 that day…  kind of glad I didn’t get him this week, since I ended up spending almost $400 on groceries at Walmart later!!  Still haven’t figured out how I spent so much, I didn’t feel like I got that much, but I think prices are going up little by little.  Have to pay more attention to the individual items next time, see if I can figure it out…

So, sort of a “me” day, sort of a “me and William” day, sort of a shopping day, all in all, a very GOOD day, even if it was expensive.

Monday

Spaghetti with Beef and Sausage Sauce

1 box Dream Fields angel hair pasta, cooked to package directions

1 pound ground beef

1 pound mild Italian sausage

1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce

Brown and drain ground beef and sausage together, crumbling as fine as you can.  Put the meat back in the pan, add in the sauce, and heat while you cook the pasta.  Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday

Pork Roast Everglades

1/2 pork loin roast, about 2-3 pounds

1 quart water (will NOT cover the roast, that’s OK!!)

1/8 cup original Everglades seasoning (the green one)

Put everything in the crock pot, set on LOW, cook 8-10 hours.

Remove from pot, slice and serve!  We had some steamed veggies along with this, it was YUMMY!!!

Wednesday

Chicken Bacon Ranch Wraps

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 pound bacon

Dry Ranch dressing mix

Flour tortillas

Cook the bacon crispy, set aside.

Clean any excess skin or fat from the chicken, cut into very small pieces, cook over medium heat just until no longer pink.  Sprinkle with about 2-3 Tbsp dry ranch dressing mix, mix well and cook about 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat.

Spoon a couple large spoonfuls of chicken into a tortilla, add in 2 slices bacon, cheese if you want it, and a little bit of prepared ranch dressing, wrap and serve!

Bacon Grilled Cheese

William’s idea…

Basically, we saved a few slices of cooked bacon from the wraps, and put them inside a grilled cheese sandwich, and it was AWESOME!

Thursday

James brought us Wendy’s for dinner

Friday

Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, Yogurtology, comic book store

Gotta say, the pizza was REALLY good, the yogurt was over priced and just not that good.  The store was cool, and William enjoyed it, but it was just GOOD, not GREAT, and for $20, it should have been AMAZING!!!

Saturday

Steamed buns with chicken (purchased at the Oriental market – OK, not great)

Steamed dumplings with chicken (same as above)

Fried dumplings with chicken (same as above – would have been better deep fried rather than pan fried)

Quick cheesecake (I bought a graham cracker crust, and a container of Philly pre-made cheesecake filling, and put them together)

Sunday

Southwest Egg Rolls

Egg Roll wrappers

2 pounds Ground beef

2 cans Black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup Taco seasoning

1 1/2 cups Water

Brown and drain ground beef, add in water, taco seasoning and beans, mix well, cook until sauce thickens, remove from heat, allow to cool at least 1 hour.

Put an egg roll wrapper on a plate, spoon in about 2-3 Tbsp filing.

Fold up bottom, tighten up the filling inside, fold in the sides roll forward, dampen the last open tip of the wrapper and finish rolling.  Repeat with remaining filling and wrappers.

When done, fry in oil over medium heat, about 1-2 minutes per side or until golden brown.  Serve with your favorite salsa.

Vegetarian Egg Rolls

Egg Roll Wrappers

1 head cabbage, shredded extra fine

12 baby carrots, shredded extra fine

3 Tbsp Hoisin sauce

2 Tbsp Teriyaki sauce

Mix the cabbage, carrots and sauces.

Lay an egg roll wrapper on a plate, spoon in about 2 Tbsp filling.

Fold up bottom and tighten up the filling a little.

Fold in the sides, and roll ONCE.

Dampen the last tip with water and finish rolling.

Continue filling wrappers until you run out of filling or wrappers.

When done, fry in oil heated over medium heat, about 1-2 minutes per side or until golden brown.

Remove from oil to paper towels, serve with your favorite sauce, I prefer Duck sauce since the Hoisin is a little spicy.

Southwest Wonton Bites

Wonton wrappers

Leftover filling from the SW egg rolls above

Put the wonton on a plate, put in about 1 tsp filling, dampen two edges of the wrapper.

Fold over into a triangle.

Dampen the two furthest corners and fold in towards each other.

Repeat until you run out of wrappers or filling!

Fry in oil over medium heat, almost exactly 1 minute per side, just a few seconds more maybe, or until golden brown.

Serve with salsa!

Mongolian Beef

About 1 pound stir fry beef

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp ground ginger

3 Tbsp soy sauce

1 1/2 Tbsp honey

1 Tsp rice wine

2 Tbsp water

3 green onions, green part only, cut into 1″ strips

2 Tbsp oil for frying

Put oil in frying pan, heat over medium heat.  Add in beef, cook just until no longer pink.  Mix the rest of the ingredients (except the onion) in a cup, pour over beef, add 1 Tbsp corn starch or flour to thicken, cook about 8-10 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened.  Add in onions and serve!

Orange Chicken

4 – 5 boneless skinless chicken thighs

2 Tsp orange extract

2 Tbsp honey

1/2 Tsp ground ginger

1 Tsp minced garlic

1 Tbsp flour or corn starch

Trim chicken thighs of any large pieces of skin or fat, cut into very small pieces.  Cook over medium heat with just a touch of oil, cook until no longer pink.  Add in remaining ingredients, stir well, cook just until sauce thickens.  Serve!

Virginia light rolls (sort of!)

This is a recipe I got from my mom, but I have no idea where she got it, and I changed it!

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

3 Tbsp honey

2 large eggs

6 Tbsp butter cut into small pieces

2 1/4 cups white bread flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 Tsp salt

2 Tsp yeast

4 Tbsp melted butter for brushing

Put milk, honey, eggs and butter into the bread machine pan.

Add in the flours.  Make a small well in the center, add salt and yeast.

Set the machine for DOUGH, hit start and go do something else for an hour!

Turn the dough out onto a floured towel, knead with a little whole wheat flour for just a couple minutes.

Line a 13″ x 9″ baking pan with parchment paper.  Pull globs of dough off the pile, roll into balls and put into pan.  You should get 15 balls, pan should end up 3 across and 5 rows.

Cover, let rise for 45 minutes.

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

Serve with butter and honey!!

Bacon Egg and Cheese Casserole

12 eggs

1 Cup half and half (fat free)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese

1 pound bacon

2 Tbsp flour

Cut the bacon into small pieces, cook until crispy, drain.

Mix the eggs, half and half, cheeses and flour, pour about 2/3 into a greased 13″ x 9″ dish.  Sprinkle about 2/3 of the bacon into the eggs, push it down into the eggs.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve!

Bacon Egg Cheese and Spinach Casserole

Take the rest of the egg mixture and bacon, pour into a greased casserole dish (or in my case a souffle dish), add in about 1 cup frozen spinach thawed.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve!

And that’s it!  I cooked all day, and my feet hurt, but it was ALL so good!!

So until next time, eat well, love well, live well!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 237 – 243 (week 35)

September 2, 2012 at 8:19 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  What a week…

William was sick all week so he didn’t go to school at all.  On the one hand, he really wanted to go because he really likes the new school, but there was no way he would have made it through even one day.  He slept a LOT, started on one antibiotic but got switched to a stronger one when he was getting worse instead of better.

We almost had a hurricane, Isaac sort of skirted the coast, schools were cancelled on Monday just in case.  We certainly got a lot of rain, got some wind, but nothing major.  Kind of glad it missed us, but I feel bad for the folks who got the worst of it.

The RNC was in town so traffic was a nightmare, but my mom also came to stay with us for a few days since she was volunteering there, and I love it when she’s here!

Work was nuts, they rearranged again, and I’m trying to figure out what the person I took over from was doing, trying to hunt down notes and e-mails, still feel like I’m behind, but not so far behind that I’ll never catch up.

And Mike had a colonoscopy, so he spent almost three days on a liquid diet, which is always fun (NOT!).  Everything came out just fine, but it was a struggle.  And we get to do it again in a year, oh joy.  Of course, I’m due for one next year, too, so that ought to be interesting.

And James, well, he’s James.  Was supposed to cut the grass two weeks ago, finally cut part of the yard last week, ran out of gas and is waiting for me to go get some.  So much for being independent with that new car of his!  Not like it’s going to cost him $40 or something, we only have a one gallon gas can!  He worked a couple of days, still not getting as many hours as he would like, but he’s getting more than he was a month ago, so I guess he’s doing OK.  Don’t see much of him, between my work, his work, and him spending time with his girlfriend, but I guess he’s got to grow up sometime.

Anyway, I’m still sticking to posting at least once a week, so I’ll have a bunch of stuff for you all at once, rather than just one or two things every day.  I know it’s easier on me, not sure how you guys feel about it.  Would love some feedback!!

Monday

Left over night!!

We had left over meatloaf, mashed potatoes, broccoli, peas, Spasagna, corn muffins, spinach hummus and chips, and chocolate cake with home made chocolate butter cream frosting.  Everyone got something they liked, and we cleaned out some of the containers from the fridge!

Tuesday

Chicken Bacon Alfredo Pasta

5 boneless skinless chicken thighs

1 pound bacon

1 jar Alfredo sauce

1 box Dream Fields penne pasta

Cut the bacon into about 1″ pieces, fry until crisp, remove from pan to dish lined with paper towels.

Trim as much excess skin and fat as you can from the chicken, and cut it into bite sized pieces.  Fry in the bacon grease until done through.  Remove from pan.

Meanwhile, cook pasta per package directions, drain, do not rinse.  Put back in pot.  Add in chicken and alfredo sauce, heat over low about 5 minutes or just until sauce is warm.  Sprinkle over bacon pieces and serve!

Wednesday

Spaghetti with Smoked Sausage

1 rope chicken smoked sausage

1 package Dream Fields angel hair pasta

1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce

Cut sausage into rings and then into quarters.  Cook in a skillet over medium heat until cooked through and some pieces are slightly caramelized.  Add in sauce and heat over LOW while you cook the pasta to package directions.  Serve about 1 cup cooked pasta with about 1/2 cup sauce with sausage, sprinkle over Parmesan cheese if you want and serve!

Thursday

Chicken Noodle Soup with Biscuits

William was still feeling rough, and Mike was prepping for his test, so I took the easy road…  Canned chicken noodle soup and canned biscuits!!

Friday

Pay day, and our usual routine is to go out to eat then hit the comic shop.  Well, since Mike had his test and William was still out of school sick, when we got home from the hospital, Mike took a nap, and William and I ran errands.  Dropped of checks at a couple of places, including the rent, then we went to the comic shop early.  And instead of our usual Sonny’s or Jimmy John’s, we actually we to a restaurant, The Oaks, where William had a bacon cheeseburger (imagine that!) and Mike and I both had Grouper Reubens, kind of their specialty, and OH so yummy!  Onion straws on the side, didn’t stand a chance!

Saturday

More left overs, believe it or not, we still have some meatloaf left, some of the minis, plus a couple corn muffins, and I went grocery shopping so we had whatever we wanted as sides.  Just sort of a free-for-all!  But then I made dessert…

Fruit Pizza

1 Sugar cookie roll dough

1 box cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup sugar

2 Tsp vanilla

Fruit of your choice, sliced very thin (I used kiwi and peaches this time)

Spray a pizza pan with butter flavor cooking spray.  Spread cookie dough into pan all the way to the edge.  I pushed and pulled, but I think maybe cutting it into slices, putting them in the pan and THEN spreading them to fill the gaps might have been easier.  I’ll have to try that next time.  Bake at 350 degrees about 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and allow to cool almost completely.

Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a small bowl, spread over cooled cookie.

Top with fruit slices in an appealing pattern, whatever you like.  Slice into eight pieces like a pizza and serve!

Sunday

Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

1 bag frozen tater tots

1 pound ground beef

1 pound bacon

1 bag shredded cheddar cheese, or whatever kind of cheese you like, 2 cup size

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spread frozen tots in a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish.

Cut bacon into about 1″ pieces, cook over medium heat in a skillet until crispy.  Remove from pan, spread over tots.

Cook ground beef in the bacon grease, crumbling as much as possible, cook until no longer pink.  Remove from pan and spread over tots.

Top the whole thing with the 2 cups of shredded cheese, season with salt and pepper if desired, and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and serve!

You could serve this with the usual burger toppings if you wanted, ketchup, mustard, relish, onions, pickles, ranch, mayo, whatever your family likes, you could even put them out in little dishes and everyone could just get what they wanted on their serving!

So that’s our week in food!  Oh, and I also did my nails tonight, wanna see?

Yup, that’s my chubby thumb, but isn’t this color pretty?!  And I love the new stickers I got this week!!

Anyway, that’s it.  Until next time, eat well, love well, live well!!  And have a safe holiday tomorrow!!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 229-235

August 25, 2012 at 10:13 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you’ve all had a wonderful, positive week!  It’s certainly been interesting around here…

Last Sunday we went to my parent’s house, so no, I did not cook. We went swimming and caught up on what’s going on.  Mom made burgers, the boys helped cook them on the grill.  She also made her amazing potato salad, baked beans, deviled eggs, and Tres Leche cake.  I have recipes for some of those things, maybe I’ll even share one day, but not today!  We picked up James’ car and brought it home.  Somehow, I can’t believe I’m saying those words, my child is not supposed to be old enough to have his own car, I’m not that old!

The work week was relatively calm, except that we’re loosing some team members to other teams, loosing one team member who’s just leaving the company, getting some new team members, and reorganizing coverage areas again, but not so much that it will be completely crazy, and I’m comfortable enough now that I think I can handle it.  I’m just glad that the boss thinks I can handle it, too, means I am doing OK even though sometimes I still have doubts.

Mike is still feeling pretty rough, but he saw a new specialist this week that we think is on the right track, more tests, but he has some good ideas and isn’t just blowing smoke, and not immediately blaming all Mike’s health issues on his weight like so many others, including me sometimes.  I know, I have no room to talk, but I just think we would both feel so much better if we lost some weight.  Of course, I’m not helping, doing all this cooking all the time, but I’ve got it in the back of my head all the time that I need to find healthier ways to make the foods we like rather than just trying to redo our whole diet.  We’ll get there!

William started school this week, new school, new kids, new teachers, new schedule, first week of Middle School.  Again, I’m not old enough for my younger child to be in MIDDLE school!!  But he absolutely loves it!  His homeroom/math teacher seems fun.  Didn’t get to meet the PE coach, but William seems to like him, too.  Language arts/Social studies teacher seems really nice, and she seems to understand my thoughts on teaching to more than just the FCAT, I like a teacher that thinks I’m right LOL!  The music teacher is just too cool, and William has two classes with him, regular music, and guitar class.  William and Mike went out last weekend and rented William a guitar, think it might be a rent-to-own type of thing, not entirely sure, but he really seems to be enjoying the class.  Didn’t get to meet the science teacher yet either, but William likes her, so she must be OK.  He can usually smell bullshit faster than we can, and he’s really happy so far, so I think this might be one of our better moves, this Charter school.  And, of course, I’m going to get to put some of my fundraising experience to work for them and be involved without being in charge, so I’M happy, too!!

And James is, well, James.  Working, playing video games, out for the weekend as usual.  I’m a little frustrated with him right now, his “rent” is chores, and they aren’t getting done unless we bug him, and I just feel like he’s 19, I shouldn’t HAVE to remind him any more, but I do.  I think we’re going to sit down one night soon and have a chat.  Need to talk about what we’re going to do when it’s time for new phones at Christmas, what we’re going to do about chores and rent and school, just all those fun little subjects we all love talking about so much…  NOT!  Hopefully it will be a grown-up discussion instead of the usual talking-to-a-wall discussion…

Anyway, you aren’t here for the gossip, you’re here for the food!  I decided to take it a little easy on myself this week, I kept track of what I made each night, but I didn’t pressure myself to WRITE each night, and I actually feel better about this little project than I have since I went back to work.  I was putting a lot of pressure on myself, and getting on my own case when I didn’t write every night, but I’m realizing that that’s just not fair to me.  I have to have time to unwind, relax, be part of the family, and quit trying to be Super-Mom.  So I think I’m going to stick to writing on weekends, maybe a night or two during the week if it’s not too much pressure, but not every night, it’s just too much with the job and the kids right now.

So, here we go…

Monday

Pot Roast and Potatoes

1 rump roast, approx 2-3 pounds

1 packet beef Flavor Boost

4 Tbsp dried onion flakes

1 Tsp garlic powder

4 potatoes, washed and cut into bite sized pieces

Water

Put the roast, the cut up potatoes, Flavor Boost, onion flakes, garlic and potatoes into the crock pot.  Add enough water just to cover everything in the pot.  Stir it up a little, set to LOW, and cook 8-10 hours, stirring a couple of times throughout the day if you can.  It’s OK if you can’t, but it’s better if you can, or if you can find someone like my son to do it for you!

Remove roast and potatoes from the pot, put on serving platter, allow to rest while you strain out about 4 cups of the broth, put it in a sauce pan, add in brown gravy mix per package directions (packets usually call for one packet for each cup of liquid, the large container of mix calls for 3 Tbsp per cup of liquid), stir well with a whisk, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thickened.  Serve with the roast and potatoes for a good old fashioned family meal!  We also had some steam broccoli and peas with our meal, just to round things out.  A salad also works very well.

Tuesday

Curry Chicken and Rice

Another crock pot meal…

5-6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, thawed or frozen, doesn’t really matter

1 packet chicken Flavor Boost

1/2 box Golden Curry mix, medium heat variety

1 can coconut milk, shaken well

Put all these into the crock pot.  Add just enough water to cover the chicken, I think I might have added 3 cups all together.  Set to LOW and cook 8-10 hours.

When I got home from work, I made a small pot of rice in the rice cooker (water to the “2” mark, two scoops of rice), added 2 packets of chicken flavor Flavor Boost, served the chicken with this rice, and some steamed veggies on the side, it was AWESOME!  Even William went back for seconds on both the rice and chicken.  There was barely enough left for my lunch the next day!

Wednesday

Turkey Sausage with Parmesan Orzo

This is a super easy meal, and William helped me cook it.

Cut up the turkey smoked sausage into bite sized pieces, saute with no added butter or anything, the liquid in the sausage helps it steam/simmer very nicely, just don’t leave it alone, it might burn just a bit.  Voice of experience here!

Along with this, we made Orzo pasta to package directions, drained, added butter and Parmesan cheese, mixed it all up, kind of tastes like mac-n-cheese but better.  Goes great with the sausage, makes for a hearty meal, but not too heavy.

Thursday

Leftovers

We had leftover potatoes and gravy, leftover egg rolls, some leftover veggies, I don’t even remember what all else we had, but we had quite a bit on the table!

Friday

Spasagna

I found this on another blog, it sounded yummy, and OH WOW, it was AWESOME!

So, courtesy of http://www.thecountrycook.net here’s Spasagna…

1 (26 oz) jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce

1 (16 oz) jar of Alfredo or Garlic Alfredo sauce (I didn’t have the garlic kind, so I added a little garlic to the recipe)

1 Lb spaghetti noodles (I used Dreamfields angel hair)

1 lb ground beef

2 cups shredded mozzarella

1/2 cup milk (2% or higher)

1 Tsp dried oregano

1 Tsp dried parsley (I didn’t have the individual spices, so I added 2 Tsp of mixed Italian seasoning)

Cook noodles to package directions, drain very well.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray 9 x 13 baking dish with olive oil nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, combine Alfredo sauce, mozzarella, milk and spices.  Stir well. Add in noodles and stir/toss to coat completely.  Put this mixture into the prepared baking dish.  Cover with aluminum foil, and bake about 30 minutes.

While the noodles are baking, start cooking the ground beef in a large skillet or medium saucepan.  Brown and crumble beef until cooked through.  Drain well, and add back into pan.  Add spaghetti sauce, and leave on LOW heat, cover if you can, and let it simmer until the noodles are ready.

Allow the noodles to sit about 10 minutes before trying to top or cut into servings.  Top with the meat and spaghetti sauce mixture.  (I wasn’t sure what a serving should be, so I just cut the pan into 8 pieces.)  Top with Parmesan cheese if desired and serve!

Saturday

Pork Wontons

4 boneless pork chops, fried and cut into small pieces (about 1/2″ pieces)

Wonton wrappers

Oil for frying

Your favorite sauce for dipping

Place one piece of pork into the center of a wonton wrapper, wet two edges of the wonton wrapper and fold over to make a triangle.  Then dampen two corners and fold in towards each other to make a little hat packet looking shape.  Fry in hot oil about 2-3 minutes per side, remove from oil to paper towel lined serving tray.  Continue with pork and wontons until you run out of one or both.  Somehow, we had just enough of each!

And we had sweet and sour sauce, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, my home made plum-peach sauce from last weekend, lots of sauces to pick from!  Needless to say, they are all gone…

Spinach Hummus

I found this recipe on the internet, but I had to tweak it a bit to make it work in my blender.  One of these days I’ll get an actual food processor…

2 cans chick peas, one drained, one not drained

1/2 cup Tahini, well stirred

4 Tbsp garlic, minced (I buy my garlic pre-minced in a squeeze bottle, so it’s WAY easy!)

Juice of one lemon, or more if you prefer

2 Tsp salt

1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed

4 Tbsp olive oil

Put chick peas in blender, with the juice from one can, blend until smooth.  Gradually add in Tahini, spices and spinach, blending very well after each addition.  You can add a little more oil if needed to thin it out and make it blend better.  I have to admit, I still have a couple of whole chick peas because I wasn’t overly patient with this, but it still tasted really good, and I’m not a huge fan of hummus!

Corn Muffins

This recipe is from the package of Dixie Lily corn meal…

1 cup flour

1/4 cup sugar

4 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 cup corn meal

1 egg

1 cup milk

1/4 cup melted shortening (butter!) or oil

Grease muffin cups or use paper liners, heat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Beat egg in a separate bowl, add milk and shortening and mix well.  Stir in dry ingredients and mix well.  Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full, bake 25-20 minutes or until golden brown and set.  Serve warm with butter, honey, grape jelly, whatever YOU like on corn bread!

Chocolate Cake with Home Made Chocolate Frosting

I used a chocolate fudge cake box mix, Duncan Hines I think.  Didn’t do the cake from scratch, just followed the box directions.  But then I didn’t want to use store bought frosting, so went hunting for a recipe…  Here’s what I found!

4 cups powdered sugar

1 cup butter, melted

2 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp milk

6 tbsp cocoa powder

Blend everything very well in a large bowl, spread onto cooled cake, top with sprinkles if you want and serve!

So now it’s movie night, gonna go eat the cake and watch a movie.  So until next time, eat well, love well, live well!!!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 224

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

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

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

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

2 pounds ground beef chuck

1/2 large jar great value spaghetti sauce

1 box Dreamfields penne pasta

1 Tbsp Italian seasoning mix

1 Tsp garlic powder

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

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

Really tasty!!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 211 – 212

August 2, 2012 at 8:16 pm (Food) (, , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you are all having a wonderful week.  It’s certainly been an interesting one for me!

Work has been completely crazy, I’m behind, and that just feels weird!  First time since I started there that I actually feel BUSY.  And I think it’s going around, they just authorized overtime so everyone can get caught up, so it’s not just me!

James got a few extra hours at work this week, hopefully that means things will pick up and he’ll get back to four or five days a week again.  I know he was doing really well for a while there, then things sort of fell off, but then he had a nice chat with his boss, so hopefully things will get back to busy for him!

William it seems slept most of the day, but then he barely slept last night, so I guess I understand…  but I’m worried about that trend!  If he keeps on this way, he’ll sleep all day and be up all night and I’ll never know what the heck he’s doing!!  That could be trouble…

Mike is still in Orlando, he’ll be home tomorrow night.  I’m ready!  Looking forward to dinner with my sweetie and a trip to the comic store, our every-other-Friday night out with William.  Of course, the comic shop we like is having an anniversary party Saturday, so we might have to put off our usual Friday stuff until Saturday so we can go!  We’ll see…

So, on to the food!  Wednesday night was a no cooking kind of night, we ordered pizza, it was just William and I, I figured what the heck. The bread sticks were off, but the pizza was good.  Still debating telling them about those bread sticks. First time we’ve ever had anything that wasn’t good from Jets Pizza!  I think it was a fluke, but then again, if I tell them, I might get something free…  Hmmmm…

Tonight, on the other hand, I cooked, and dinner was really easy but really good!  I’m going to recommend a new product to you, new to me anyway…  Dreamfields pasta is amazing!  Low carb, but tastes good, nice texture, has a slightly buttery taste without adding any butter.  I was very impressed!  AND, Walmart is carrying it now, HUGE bonus!  Don’t have to shop at a different store just for this one product.

Here’s the recipe of the night:

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 package frozen broccoli florets

1 box Dreamfields angel hair pasta

1 jar Great Value Alfredo sauce

Olive oil cooking spray

Salt and pepper

Trim any excess fat or skin from chicken, cut into small bite sized pieces.  Put into a large skillet, spray with cooking spray, season with salt and pepper, toss, heat over medium heat until cooked through.  Add in the Alfredo sauce, stir well, simmer over LOW while you cook the pasta and broccoli.

Cook the pasta to package directions, I think it says boil 5 minutes, we actually cooked it about 7 and it was perfect, but that counts the returning to a boil time, not just the boiling time.

And I steamed the broccoli in the microwave, seven minutes from frozen to done in a cover glass dish.

Once it’s all hot and ready, put about 1 cup of pasta in a bowl, top with about 1/4 of the broccoli and about 1/4 of the chicken and sauce, mix well, chop it up if that’s how you like it (I do!), and serve!  It’s really tasty and you get your carbs, veggies and protein all in one dish.  PLUS, if you’re like us, you have left overs for the next day’s lunch as well.

That’s it!  Simple, tasty, a hit!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 195

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baked Pasta

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

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

1 pound ground beef

Garlic powder

Salt

Pepper

Italian seasoning blend

Shredded Mozzarella cheese

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

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

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

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

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

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