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

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

Hello again friends, and welcome back!!

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

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

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

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

Ramblings Meets Reviews!

Nirvana Bay Designs Presents:

So, on to the food….

Chicken Everglades

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

Everglades original seasoning (green)

Fresh ground pepper

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

Pork Chops Everglades

4-5 boneless thick cut pork chops

Everglades original seasoning (green)

Fresh ground pepper

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

Nachos

1 pound ground beef

2/3 cup water

1/4 cup taco seasoning mix

Tortilla chips

1 cup shredded taco blend cheese

1/2 cup salsa (I use mild)

Chopped black olives (optional)

Chopped green pepper (optional)

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

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

Cheddar Sausage Biscuits

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3 cups Bisquick

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

4 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup milk

1/2 tsp dried Rosemary leaves

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

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

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

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

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

Makes about 8 dozen balls.

Corn Pudding

1 can creamed corn

1 cup milk

2 tbsp flour

2 tbsp butter, melted

1/4 cup sugar

3 eggs

Dash of salt

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

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

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

Oatmeal Scotchies

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1 stick plus 6 tbsp butter, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

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

1 cup butterscotch chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

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

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

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

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

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

Bulgar Breakfast Squares

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

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

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 Tbsp melted butter

1 Tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup dried bananas

1/2 cup dried blueberries

1/2 cup dried cherries

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

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

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

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

Snowballs

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1 cup butter, softened but not melted

1/4 cup sugar

2 cups ground pecans

2 cups sifted flour

1 box confectioners sugar

Heat oven to 300 degrees.

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

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

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

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

Tollhouse Cookies

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2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 large eggs

1 10 ounce package chocolate chips

1 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

In one bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.

In another bowl, cream butter, add sugars, vanilla and eggs, mix well.

Gradually add in flour mixture.

Gently stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop by rounded tablespoons (cookie scoop!) onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 9 – 11 minutes.

OR, do like I did and spread it all into a greased pizza pan, bake 20 – 25 minutes, cool in pan, cut into wedges with a pizza cutter.

Ham and Cheese Quiche

1 frozen pie crust

3 large eggs

1 cup half and half (fat free, of course)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 cup diced ham

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Place pie crust in glass pie plate.  Prick bottom and sides, bake 10 minutes to set.  Remove from oven and cool.

Sprinkle ham and cheese in cooled crust.  Mix eggs, milk and spices in mixing bowl.  Pour over ham and cheese.  Bake 10 minutes at 425 degrees.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees, bake another 30 – 40 minutes, depending on your oven, or until puffy and lightly browned.  Cool about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Chicken and Pasta

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

Olive oil cooking spray

1 Tbsp garlic powder

2 Tsp Italian seasoning blend

Salt and pepper to taste

Spaghetti sauce

Dreamfields Penne pasta, cooked to package directions

Grated Parmesan cheese

Spray skillet with cooking spray, heat over medium heat.  Add in chicken and spices, cover, stir frequently to cook through.  Drain off excess liquid.

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

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Crockpot Chili

2 pounds ground beef, browned and drained

3 cans red kidney beans

1 large can diced tomatoes

1 can tomato sauce

1 diced green pepper

2 Tbsp onion flakes

2 pkgs chili seasoning

Salt and pepper to taste

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Top with a little shredded cheese, sour cream, whatever YOU like on your chili!!

So I think that’s enough for now…

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 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 170-173

June 24, 2012 at 9:28 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Wow, I took quite a break this time.  So sorry to my friends out there!!  I feel like I let you guys down!  I certainly didn’t mean to take that much time off, it just got away from me.

So, let’s see…  my last post was Wednesday, what’s happened since then?

Thursday, nothing special, the usual, Mike’s late night, James worked, William and I ordered pizza for the second time this week.  I know, I’m being SO lazy!

Friday, Mike stayed home, couldn’t sleep Thursday night, so he and William hung out for the day.  They went to the comic book shop, got boxes for their growing collections.  Went to Cold Stone Creamery, I was HIGHLY upset with them!  I had been practically begging to go last weekend, and we talked ourselves out of it.  BUMS!!!  We had Taco Bell for dinner, talk about lazy!  But, in my own defense, it was pouring down rain, and all the meat in the house was frozen, so we had to eat something, and I didn’t want pizza for a third time!  Picture if you will, me in the car at the drive through, with an umbrella sticking out of the window so I can actually place my order.  Wish someone had been brave enough to stand out in the rain long enough to take THAT photo!

So let’s see, Saturday is always movie night, unless the boys decide to play video games instead.  We actually watched four movies I think, had munchie type foods, which I will share in a minute.  Mike figured out how to hook his computer up to the new monster TV, so we can do Netflix, or things we’ve bought from iTunes, or whatever else he’s got on his computer.  It’s actually pretty cool.  Plus, we made a little trip to Walmart, picked up things for our munchfest, and picked up a combo pack movie of both Sherlock Holmes films, so that’s where we started our evening.  I had forgotten how good the first one was, and the second was just as good, if not better.  William fell asleep during the last movie around 1AM.  I think we turned in around 1:30, heard James come in from work, but was too lazy to get up, get dressed and say “hi”.  So, recipes:

BBQ Meatballs and Sausages

1/2 bag Great Value frozen homestyle meatballs

1 pkg Lil Smokies cocktail sausages

1/2 LARGE jug Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce

Put all this into a crock pot, cook on LOW 8 hours or HIGH 4 hours.  Serve about 6 meatballs and 6 sausages in a bowl, or put out toothpicks and let everyone help themselves, depends on your setting.  These are really good for a party, at which the toothpick idea is best.

We also had frozen Taquitos, Pizza Rolls, chips and dip…  OOO, I can give you that recipe, too!

French Onion Dip

1 x 2 cup container sour cream

1 package dry French onion soup mix

Mix the soup mix into the sour cream, put it in the fridge for about an hour before serving.  Serve with rippled chips!

And we also had root beer floats…

Root Beer Float

Put one large scoop vanilla ice cream into a large mug or glass, pour over root beer carefully, it will foam up a LOT (the foam actually tastes kind of good), you can scoop off the foam so you can fill up the root beer.  Top with whipped cream and serve!

And of course, I had my usual fresh fruit cup later in the evening.  I still have cantaloupe, honey dew and grapes in the fridge, and today I picked up a pineapple, going to see if I can get James to cut it up for me tomorrow.

So that was it for yesterday!  Today, I cooked, and cleaned, and cooked some more!  Got lots to share!!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole (updated version!)

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 pkg diced ham

1 pkg sliced Swiss cheese

1 family sized can cream of mushroom soup

1 tbsp milk

2 boxes chicken flavored stuffing mix

3 cups water

1 stick butter

Clean chicken of any leftover skin or fat, cut into small bite sized pieces.  Mix in diced ham, and set aside.

Pour stuffing mix into a large bowl.

Put water and butter in a microwave safe measuring cup, heat on high 4-5 minutes or until hot and butter is completely melted.

Pour over stuffing and mix very well, making sure all liquid is absorbed.  Spoon into pans of choice.  Usually, I do this as one dish in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish, but tonight I was feeling a little adventurous, so I used four small individual casserole dishes and one 8″ x 12″ glass casserole.  I put about 2 heaping spoonfuls of stuffing in the bottom of each small dish and spread it out, then put the rest in the larger dish and spread it out.

I ppread about 2 heaping spoonfuls of chicken and ham over each small dish, and the rest over the large dish.

I got to get extra cheesy tonight since I needed to cover everything with cheese, so each small dish got two slices overlapping, and the large dish got the usual 8 slices overlapping.

Mix the soup and milk together in a bowl.

I spread two heaping tablespoons over the small dishes, and the rest over the large dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  If using these small dishes, might I suggest that you let them sit about 15 minutes before serving, they are VERY hot!

The extra cheese and the diced ham made this SO much better than the original recipe!  Next time, I’m thinking I need to kick it up just a little more and maybe add some bacon and use ranch dressing somehow instead of the soup.  This just has SO much potential!

After dinner, I worked on making some things for lunches and such for this week, so here are a couple more recipes for you:

Grilled Pork Egg Rolls

3 grilled pork chops (I did mine on my George Foreman grill, since it’s POURING down rain!)

9 egg rolls wrappers (because that’s all I had left, I really could have used a whole package, which I think is 20)

About 1/4 head of cabbage, shredded very fine (I used the electric chopper)

About 25-30 baby carrots, shredded very fine

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Soy sauce to taste (I just sprinkled until it looked and tasted right to me, maybe 3 tbsp?)

Chop pork chops into roughly 1/2″ slivers.

Mix the shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, chopped pork and spices in a large bowl.  Allow to set in the fridge for about an hour if you have the time, let all the flavors combine before stuffing your egg rolls.

Place one wrapper on a plate, fill with about 2 tbsp filling, NOT heaping!

Fold up bottom first.

Fold in sides next.

Dampen point with water, and roll.  Set aside until ready to fry.

Put vegetable oil in a large skillet, and heat over medium heat.  Cook about 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crispy.

Serve with duck sauce, soy sauce or sweet and sour sauce, that’s completely up to you!  These are great reheated, best if refried, but can be heated in the oven.  I don’t recommend reheating in the microwave, but you can if you want.

And last but not least, I made my newest favorite dish…

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1 carton Brussels sprouts (I find them in my produce section, I think the carton is about a pound)

1/4 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup bacon bits, or crispy bacon pieces

4 Tbsp honey

2 Tbsp butter

Remove ends and loose leaves from sprouts.  Cut small sprouts in half, medium sprouts in quarters, and large sprouts into 8 wedges.  Set aside.

Melt butter in a medium skillet.  Add chopped sprouts, cook until lightly browned and sizzling.  Add in nuts, bacon bits and honey, mix well, cook about 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat and put in oven safe dish with cover.  Cook at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Serve hot!

So, that’s it for today!  Finally got through it all.  Hopefully I won’t have any more big breaks and get back to being regular with my postings.

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 44

February 15, 2012 at 1:07 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again my friends, and welcome back!

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Hope yours was as nice as mine…  but then I have three great guys in my house!

I feel like I’ve been cooking all day, but I sort of have because I made dessert earlier, then prepped all the stuff for dinner a little early so it wouldn’t be such a long wait once Mike got home.  Plus I’ve been doing a little crafting every day, working on this year’s line of Christmas ornaments already, they’re coming out pretty well!  Busy, but in a good way!

So, here’s our menu for Valentine’s Day!

Coconut Curry Chicken (yeah, this one has been done before, I’m not counting it as “new” for today…)

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of any leftover skin or fat, cut into SMALL pieces (approx 1/2″)

3 heaping tablespoons curry paste (I probably should have stopped at 2, but I was feeling adventurous)

1 can coconut milk

2 Tbsp oil for frying

Heat oil in a large frying pan.  Add chicken pieces and cook until done through.  Drain excess liquid if necessary.  Add in coconut milk and curry paste, stir really well.  Simmer 25 minutes or until sauce is well thickened.  Serve over rice.  (just a note on the rice, I use a rice cooker, and usually I just do rice and water, but tonight I used chicken broth instead, it came out a little fluffier, and had a little more flavor, but it didn’t make a HUGE difference)

Green Beans with Bacon

4 cups frozen green beans

1/4 cup crispy bacon

This is beyond simple!  Put the green beans in a sauce pan, cover with water, add the bacon, and boil until the beans are tender!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1 pound bacon, cut small, cooked crisp

2 pounds brussels sprouts, bottoms trimmed, loose leaves removed, quartered

1 box dried dates, cut into small pieces

1/4 cup chopped pecans

Cook bacon crisp in a large frying pan, remove bacon but not the drippings.  Add in the brussels sprouts and cook just until sprouts turn a brighter green.  Transfer sprouts to an oven safe casserole dish.  Add bacon, dates and pecans, stir well.  Make sure the dates are evenly distributed, they tend to stick together.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, stir, bake another 15 minutes or until sprouts are very tender.  Serve!

Egg Custard

2 cups milk

2 large eggs

2 egg yolks

1/3 cup sugar

1 Tsp vanilla

Nutmeg

Place 5-6 custard cups or ramekins in a larger pan, just large enough to fit cups.

In sauce pan, heat milk over medium low heat just to simmering.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine eggs, yolks, sugar and vanilla.  Slowly add to simmering milk, stirring well.  Cook 1-2 minutes only.

Pour through strainer into custard dishes or ramekins.  Pour hot (not boiling) water into larger pan just to half way up cups.  Sprinkle nutmeg over the top of each custard.

Place pan in 300 degree oven, bake 35-45 minutes, or just until custard is no longer jiggly.  It may not be fully set, don’t worry!  Leave cups in water in pan for 2 hours, it will continue cooking then cool, and it will be well set when it’s done.  Serve!

So that’s it for today, hope you enjoy one or all of these dishes yourselves!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 25

January 27, 2012 at 1:38 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello friends!  Welcome back!

Let me start by saying, I’m an idiot!  All the time I had today to cook, and not a SINGLE picture!  Too busy stressing out over websites, Facebook pages, Webelos camping trips, making jewelry, and every other little thing that caught my attention today, that I completely forgot!!!

So, tonight’s meal was interesting, and pretty tasty for the most part.  I have leftovers, so it wasn’t a COMPLETE hit with the family, and I had to make William something else to eat, but it wasn’t bad…

Cherry and Rice Stuffed Pork Roast

1 x 3 lb pork loin roast, butterfly cut and pounded to about 1/4″ thickness

1/3 cup rice (wild rice if you’ve got it)

1 1/4 cups water

1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried cherries (or cranberries)

6 ounces (approx 1/2 roll) bulk sausage

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 cup cold water

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

2 Tbsp flour

Butterfly roast, pound to 1/4″ thickness between two sheets of plastic wrap, set aside.

In small saucepan, boil 1 1/2 cups water, add 1/3 cup rice, dried rosemary and salt, bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer 40-45 minutes or until rice is tender.  Add in chopped cherries or cranberries, set aside.

In skillet, cook sausage with onion, crumble, drain if needed.  Remove from heat. Add in dried thyme and pepper.  Add in cooked rice mixture.

Spread this rice and sausage mixture over your pounded out roast, then roll (starting on a short side) and tie up the roast.  You’ll end up with slices that sort of look like a pinwheel when this is all done.

Place rolled roast in a roasting pan, sprinkle with salt, pepper and more thyme if desired, cover, cook at 325 degrees 2 hours or until thermometer in roast reads 155 degrees minimum. (mine read 180 when it was done, and it was just about perfect)

When done cooking, remove from pan, cover with foil, and allow to stand about 15 minutes while you make gravy with the juices.  Add 1 cup cold water to the pan and whisk to bring up any bits from the bottom of the pan.  Transfer these drippings to a sauce pan, stir in 1/3 cup water mixed with 2 tbsp flour, bring to a boil, stir and cook until thickened.

Slice roast, serve with gravy.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts (yeah, you read that right…  the dreaded Brussels Sprout!)

1 lb fresh Brussels Sprouts

4 slices bacon

1/3 cup coarsely chopped dried cherries (or cranberries)

1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)

Cut bacon into 1/4-1/2″ strips, cook until crisp, DO NOT DRAIN!

Remove ends and loose outer leaves from sprouts.  Cut into quarters.  Toss into pan with bacon, including the fat!  Once the sprouts have gotten brighter green, couple of minutes in the pan, add in the cherries and nuts, then transfer everything to an oven safe dish, cover and bake about 1 hour at 325 degrees, or until sprouts are very tender.  I think maybe I could have done mine maybe 45 minutes and they might have been better, they were a little softer than I wanted, but considering I HATED Brussels Sprouts before trying this recipe, they came out really good!

I made some more of the green beans from last night, sauteed fresh green beans cooked in butter and minced garlic, cooked in a frying pan until crisp-tender only, and a fresh salad to go with the roast and the sprouts.  Made for a very nice meal!

So, busy day, topped off with a good meal, not too shabby!

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

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