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 271 – 277 (Week 40)

October 8, 2012 at 10:25 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you’ve all had a perfectly wonderful week, and a glorious weekend!  Here we are at Monday again, I know, I’m behind, but I think you’ll forgive me…

Last week was interesting.  Work was crazy, end of the month always is, but this one was crazier than the last few.  Half our group is new people, less than 3 months in, and the senior coordinator was out for the week, so I became the go-to person.  I know I am approachable, I try very hard to be that way, but I felt like there were whole days where I didn’t get any of my own work done because I was so busy answering everyone else’s questions!  It’s nice to be needed again, but come on…

Anyway, all the family were relatively healthy for a change, knock on wood!  William didn’t miss any school.  Mike missed one day of work, but I think it was more of a mental health kind of day.  James got called in for extra hours at his job, makes for a nice pay check.  I think I need to plan a day off, just for me…

So I did a little cooking during the week, nothing Earth shattering, but some fun new dishes.  Of course, I pretty much HAD to cook considering I spent almost $500 in groceries last weekend.  But it all came in handy, and I got to try out the new recipes!  YEAH!  Looking forward to trying even more new stuff this weekend, trying to put together a plan for what I want to cook, make sure I have everything I need on hand.  Working on trimming down the shopping list, trimming down the grocery budget, and maybe trimming down the family a little!

Anyway, here we go…

Monday

Mongolian Beef

1/2 lb beef tenderloin, thinly sliced against the grain

1 Tbsp corn starch

2 cloves minced garlic

1/4 tsp ground ginger

3 Tbsp soy sauce

1 1/2 Tbsp honey or agave nectar or sugar

1 tsp rice wine or dry sherry

2 Tbsp water

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

1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil or canola oil

Stir together soy sauce, honey, water and wine.  Set aside.

Heat oil in pan over medium heat.  Dredge the beef in corn starch, shake off the excess.  Add the beef to the hot pan and quickly saute until lightly browned.

Add in garlic and ginger, saute for a few seconds.  Add the sauce you set aside earlier.  The sauce should quickly come to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer, stirring constantly.  Continue to cook until the sauce thickens and glazes the beef.

Toss in the green onions at the last minute, mix, and serve!

Adapted from a recipe I found on cHow Divine http://www.chowdivine.com

Sorry, I didn’t get photos, but then mine didn’t look anywhere near as pretty as hers did!  But it was yummy…

Orange Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess skin and fat (as much as you can without being too anal) and cut into bite sized pieces

1 Tbsp orange flavoring

1 Tbsp garlic, minced

1 Tsp ground ginger

2 Tbsp honey

1 Tsp corn starch

2 Tbsp vegetable oil plus 1 Tsp sesame oil for frying

Put the oils in a large skillet, heat on medium.  Add in chicken, saute until no longer pink.  Add in orange, garlic, ginger, honey and corn starch, mixing well to coat chicken, sauce will thicken quickly.  When chicken is done through, remove from heat and serve!  Really good with fresh steamed rice…

Vegetable Egg Rolls

1 head cabbage, shredded very fine

12 baby carrots, shredded very fine

2 Tbsp Hoisin sauce

1 Tbsp teriyaki sauce

1 Pkg egg roll wrappers

Oil for frying

Mix cabbage, carrots and sauces together.  Spoon about 2 Tbsp of the mixture into an egg roll wrapper, fold up bottom and tuck in filling.  Fold in two side corners, dampen final corner and roll closed.

Fry about 2 minutes per side in hot oil until golden brown.  Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Left over rolls (those supper yummy half whole wheat Virginia light rolls I made last weekend…)

Tuesday

SW Egg rolls with cheese

I had made about 3 dozen of those south west style egg rolls with the taco seasoned beef and black beans inside, we had 17 left after our little munch fest.  Well, I put those in a big deep pan, covered them with shredded cheese and baked them at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.  They crisped up a little on the exposed edges, but sort of tasted like mini burritos with the melted cheese, and made for a nice meal!

Wednesday

Pork Chops Everglades

6 boneless skinless porkchops

Everglades original seasoning (the green kind)

Heat a large skillet over medium, add in the chops.  Sprinkle over Everglades seasoning instead of salt and pepper, make sure you sprinkle both sides (when you turn them).  I have no idea how much we used, but it sort of looked like we had used it in place of salt and pepper, so liberally sprinkled, but not coated with seasoning.  Saute until done through and browned on the outside.

Sauteed green beans with garlic

About 1/2 lb fresh green beans, ends removed, cut into 1″ pieces

1 Tbsp minced garlic

3 Tbsp butter

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat, add in garlic, mix a little, add in green beans and saute about 10 minutes or until beans are bright green and crisp tender.  Serve!

Fruit Salad

This was a fun fruit salad for me, because William helped me cut up everything!

1 medium Gala apple

1 medium Bartlett pear

1 medium Dragon fruit

About 30 large red grapes

Cut the apple and the pear into 8th wedges, remove seed cores, slice into thin bite sized pieces.

Cut dragon fruit in half.  Spoon white seeded core out of pink skin, making sure to remove all the skin pieces, it’s not edible.  Cut white fruit into small bite sized pieces.

Cut grapes into quarters.

Toss all this together, and serve!

Thursday

Jet’s Pizza

Yeah, we had take out…  we needed a night off!

Friday

Bacon Cheeseburgers

1 lb ground beef

1/2 lb bacon (about 8 pieces)

1 egg

Salt and pepper to taste

Sliced cheese of your choice

Burger buns

Mix ground beef, egg, salt and pepper together, mix VERY well, until beef is really smooth rather than crumbly.  Form into 4 patties.  Fry in a large pan over medium heat, flipping as needed to keep from burning.  Cook until medium well, or however YOU like your burgers.  We like ours ever so slightly pink at the very center and slightly crispy on the outside.

Cook the bacon crispy, break each piece in half, give each burger four half strips of bacon, cheese and toppings of your choice, serve on fresh burger buns, YUM!

Tots – yeah, frozen tots, cooked to package directions, whichever way you like to cook them.  I prefer them fried, but that’s not very healthy, so I usually bake them…  boring, but OK.

Saturday

Fried Chicken Nuggets

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into small tenders or large nuggets, your choice

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup Everglades seasoning (the orange version this time)

1 Tbsp fresh ground black pepper

Heat 3-4 Tbsp vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Mix the flour and seasonings together in a large shallow bowl.  Add the chicken a few pieces at a time to this mix, let it sit for a minute or two on each side.  Shake off any excess and add to hot pan.  Cook about 4-5 minutes per side, or until done through.  Remove to paper towel lined serving dish.  Cook in batches until all chicken is done.  Serve!

Chicken gravy – made from a mix, yes I cheated a little, but it wasn’t thickening the way I wanted, so I added some of the flour mixture from coating the chicken, made it really tasty!

steamed veggies – broccoli, peas, green beans

Microwave Brownies

4 Tbsp flour

4 Tbsp sugar

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

2 Tbsp oil

2 Tbsp water

Pinch salt

Mix everything together in a coffee mug or shallow bowl.  You can add in a few chocolate chips or some nuts if you want, just don’t go overboard on the chocolate chips, it doesn’t cook as well.  We’ve been adding about 2 Tbsp chocolate chips and about a dozen nuts.  I like pecans, Mike likes almonds, they both work well!

Microwave 1 minute plus 10-15 seconds, allow to cook 5 minutes before serving.

Really good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!

Sunday

We went to Mom’s to celebrate Dad’s birthday, a couple weeks late, but at least we didn’t take all those colds and infections over there with us!  Burgers, baked beans, potato salad, chips…  LOVE picnic food!!

Oh, and I did my nails Saturday, between loads of laundry, tell me what you think!

Had fun with this one!

Anyway, that’s it for last week…  Already working on this week, probably not a lot new, but some good stuff nonetheless…

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 125

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mini meatloaves

1 cup ketchup

4 tbsp packed brown sugar

1 tsp ground mustard

2 eggs, beaten

4 tsp Worchestershire sauce

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

3 tsp onion powder or flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp garlic powder

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

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

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

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

And here’s what I did for dinner:

Marinated Pork Chops with Fruit

6-8 boneless pork chops

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

1 Granny Smith apple

1 D’Anjou pear

10-12 baby carrots

2 Tbsp butter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Olive oil

Kosher salt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 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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