The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza day 306-312 (week 45)

November 11, 2012 at 9:24 pm (Food, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Welcome back friends!  Hope you all had a glorious week!  It was certainly an interesting one for us.

Mike’s birthday was yesterday, Happy Birthday Baby!  Balloons, candy, ice cream cake, pizza, movies.  Nice evening!!

William got his first middle school report card, 7 A’s, 1 B, WAY TO GO William!

Work was work, James was James, no idea what’s going on with him, but he’s a teenager, I don’t think I’m SUPPOSED to know what’s going on any more.

Working on a new bracelet, here’s where I’m at as of today:

And of course, new nail design for the week:

So, kind of a quiet week, but that’s OK!  Oh, almost forgot, my office is putting together a cook book for charity, so I put in about 10 recipes.  Would have done more, but they set a limit…  That’s OK, now I know where to go when I’m ready to do mine in print!!

On to the food…

Monday

Free for all!

We had all that cool stuff left over from all that cooking I did last Sunday, so everyone got what they wanted, and I cleaned out the fridge.  Nice, easy Monday night!

Tuesday

Goulash (formerly “Hot Brown and Lumpy”)

1 pound ground beef

2 cups water

1 cup frozen peas

1 box Dream Fields penne pasta

6 Tbsp brown gravy mix

Prepare pasta to package directions, drain.

While cooking the pasta, brown the ground beef, drain.  Add in the water and gravy mix, bring to a boil.  Add in peas, boil 2 minutes, reduce heat, simmer about 10 minutes, just about the time it takes the pasta to cook.  Add in the drained pasta, mix well.  Salt and pepper to taste, and serve in a bowl!

I made some canned biscuits to go with dinner, it was a nice meal.

Wednesday

Five Guys burgers

Yeah, we had some money left over as we got closer to pay day, so we splurged just a little.

Thursday

Santa Fe Chicken

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of any excess fat or skin, cut into small bite sized pieces

1/2 box Orzo style pasta

1 can Black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup frozen green beans

1 Pkg Sante Fe flavor cooking cream

Cook chicken in a large skillet until no longer pink.  Add in cooking cream, black beans, peas and green beans.  Mix well, simmer on low while you cook your pasta to package directions.  Drain pasta, add in to skillet and mix again.  Serve!

Friday

Cheesecake Factory

Well, we’re big fans of The Big Bang Theory, so we decided that since we couldn’t get in to Red Robin in less than an hour, we would give this place a try.  Well, let me tell you, the food was good, but WAY over priced.  $11.95 for a burger and fries!  Don’t get me wrong, it was good, but not THAT good!  And I LOVE cheesecake, but not for $6.95 a SLICE!  The waiter was slow, even once we got seated, we were there for about an hour and a half, and I was seriously disappointed that he brought us the dessert menu then disappeared for 15 minutes so that we didn’t actually order dessert, we went somewhere else.  I would NOT recommend going unless you have that kind of cash to blow.  I guess we’re more the Five Guys kind of folks, and even that I think is overpriced, but at least I don’t have to wait an hour for it!

Saturday

Frozen pizza, Ice cream cake

Yeah, it was pay week, and I went grocery shopping so we had all kinds of food I could have made, but it seemed like a pizza kind of night, Mike’s birthday and all.  Let him pick the movies, had pizza and bread sticks, then we went and got an ice cream cake and balloons.

Sunday

Crock Pot Enchiladas

4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (approx 1 lb each), trimmed of any leftover skin or fat

1/2 cup taco seasoning mix

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 jar chunky salsa, mild (or your preference)

2 cups shredded cheese, Mexican blend or chedda

Tortilla chips

Cook chicken breasts in water with taco seasoning on the stove, covered, for about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, or until done through and falling apart when you try to take them out.  Shred chicken.

Mix soup, salsa and shredded chicken in a bowl, place about 1/4 of the mixture in the bottom of the crock pot.  Layer shredded chicken mixture, cheese, tortilla chips, until you have 3 to 4 layers.  Finish off with a layer of tortilla chips and cheese. Cover and cook on LOW for 3-4 hours or until bubbly and cheese is melted well.  Serve!

And since I went shopping, including a side trip to the Oriental market and the fruit stand, I made a KILLER fruit salad for this week…

Pineapple

Dragon fruit

Pomegranate

Red grapes

Green grapes

Strawberries

And we’re off tomorrow, for Veteran’s day, so I think I’ll do a little cooking tomorrow with all the cool stuff I got this weekend.  I even got stuff to try my hand at Ratatouille!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 278 – 284 (Week 41)

October 14, 2012 at 8:26 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again my friends, and welcome back!  Hope you all had an amazing week!  Mine was interesting…

Wish I could say I did a lot of original cooking this past week, but I can’t.  I can, however, say that I did some really good cooking, when I cooked that is.  Had one of those weeks where I had a few nights where I just didn’t have the energy to cook, or to fight with William about trying something new, so I went for cheap-but-tasty take out.  I felt terrible afterwards, not so much physically, but mentally, felt like I let myself and my family down, but some days, you just need to give yourself a break!

Work has been strange.  Got my first permanent employee review coming up, have a couple of co-workers telling my I should get a promotion already (I know I COULD do the job, but I still feel like I have a lot to learn), training a new girl who is doing really well, found out my supervisor is leaving the group and we’re getting a new one.  Not sure how I feel about that last one…  she’s been a thorn in my side some days, but I’ve learned so much from her, I’m going to miss her and not miss her.  I’m sure you’ve all worked with someone like that before, so you know what I mean.

William had an awesome week at school, doing really well on his homework, having a ton of fun with his music classes, thinking about trying out for the soccer team.  Mixed feelings about the soccer…  he’s never really been the outdoorsy type, but then neither was James, and he did marching band and was amazing at it, and I want to encourage William to be more active, maybe this is a good thing?  Need to teach him the right way to put on sunscreen though, that fair skin and red hair, he’ll burn like I do!!

James is James, I never know what he’s doing or when he’s working or how his life is going, he doesn’t talk to me, which really disappoints me.  I feel like maybe I’ve done some things in the past that now he doesn’t want to talk to me, and I had hoped for so much more.  We were best buddies when he was a kid, but I guess I should just be thankful that he talks to his grandparents and I find out what’s going on in his life through them.  It’s still weird…

And I’ve been doing beadwork on my lunch hours at work, so I feel like I’m getting to work and play at the same time.  I finished a bracelet, didn’t take a picture but I will.  I finished the center piece to my first bead embroidery piece, now I just need to finish off the sides and put it on a cuff with some backing.  Bought the backing this weekend, but not ready to sit down with it just yet.  Soon though!  Started another piece, I really like the way it’s going, but I haven’t touched it all weekend.  But boy is it nice to do something I love at lunch time!  It’s so relaxing, and my co-workers are finding out that I do beadwork, and some are already asking about holiday gifts, so maybe I’ll have a little extra cash this Christmas!!

Anyway, you’re here for the food, not the gossip, so let’s get to it!

Monday

Pot Roast

1 beef roast of your choice (I prefer a beef chuck under blade roast, not too much fat, turns out really nice)

1 pkg french onion soup mix

1 quart water

Put all these into a crock pot, stir a little, set on LOW and cook 8-10 hours.  Remove roast to serving platter, allow to rest while you strain about 2-3 cups of the broth into a sauce pan.  Add in brown gravy mix to package directions to make a nice gravy.

The roast should fall apart when you try to cut it, serve it just like that with the gravy!

Broccoli 

1 bag frozen broccoli florets

About 2 Tbsp butter cut into chunks

Put these in a microwave safe bowl with a cover, microwave on HIGH 7 minutes, comes out like fresh steamed broccoli with butter, maybe just a little more tender, but yummy!!

Peas

Microwave Brownies

4 Tbsp flour

4 Tbsp white sugar

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 Tbsp water

Mix all these in a small microwave safe bowl, sprinkle in a couple tablespoons of chocolate chips if you want, or some chopped nuts, or not, it’s up to you!

Microwave on HIGH 1 minute 10 seconds, allow to cool AT LEAST 5 minutes, serve!  You can top this off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you want, we haven’t yet, but it sounds like it would be good!!

Tuesday

Fried Chicken Everglades

3 Boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of excess skin or fat

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/8 cup Everglades seasoning for fish and chicken (the orange one)

1 Tsp fresh ground black pepper

Cut the chicken into nugget sized pieces.

Mix the flour and seasonings in a wide shallow bowl.

Heat about 1/2 cup vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

While that’s heating up, put the chicken into the flour mixture, flipping several times since the first dip coats it, but gets damp again really fast because chicken is damp, so if you dip it again, it gets coated better, and you actually get some of it on the chicken once it’s cooked.

Fry a few pieces at a time, a few minutes on a side, or until done through and crispy brown on the outside.  Remove to paper towel lined serving dish.  Serve when they are all cooked!

Glazed Carrots

Frozen crinkle cut carrots, about 1 cup

1 Tbsp butter

3 Tbsp brown sugar

Put all these into a small microwave safe covered dish, microwave on HIGH 5 minutes, spoon the resulting sauce over the carrots just before serving…  YUM!

Broccoli

1 bag frozen broccoli florets

About 2 Tbsp butter cut into chunks

Put these in a microwave safe bowl with a cover, microwave on HIGH 7 minutes, comes out like fresh steamed broccoli with butter, maybe just a little more tender, but yummy!!

Peas

Wednesday

Jet’s Pizza

If you have one of these in your neighborhood, I HIGHLY recommend it!!

Thursday

Five Guys burgers and fries

Again, if you have one of these in your neighborhood, I HIGHLY recommend it!!

Friday

This was a pat week, so we went out to dinner, after our bi-weekly trip to the comic book store.

Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza

Really good thin crust pizza, not greasy at all, really good Tomato and Mozzarella caprese-style salad.

Saturday

Home Made Meatballs

2 pounds ground beef

1 pound ground Italian sausage

1/2 cup plain bread crumbs

2 Tbsp Italian seasoning

2 eggs

Heat a large skillet over medium to medium-low heat (about a 4 if you have a numbered dial like mine).

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, scoop about 1 Tbsp of this mixture and roll it into a ball, fry until as much as you can get is crispy, they WON’T be done in the middle, but you’re going to put them in the oven for about 15 minutes after they are fried, so they will get done perfectly.

Pizza Muffins

1 can refrigerated biscuits

About 1/4 cup small diced pepperoni

ABout 1/2 cup spaghetti or pizza sauce

Shredded Mozzarella cheese

Spray a muffin pan with butter flavor cooking spray.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Press the biscuits as flat as you can with your fingers.  Put one flattened biscuit into each muffin cup.

Mix the diced pepperoni and the sauce in a small bowl, put about 1 Tbsp in each prepared muffin cup.  Top with about 1/8 cup shredded cheese, bake 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and serve!!

Meatball Muffins

1 can refrigerated biscuits

10 Home Made Meatballs (above)

ABout 1/2 cup spaghetti or pizza sauce

Shredded Mozzarella cheese

Spray a muffin pan with butter flavor cooking spray.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Press the biscuits as flat as you can with your fingers.  Put one flattened biscuit into each muffin cup.

Put about 1 Tbsp sauce in each prepared muffin cup, add in one meatball.  Top with about 1/8 cup shredded cheese, bake 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and serve!!

Pigs in a Blanket

1 can Crescent roll dough

1 Bag beef Little Smokies

Spray a cookie sheet with butter flavor cooking spray.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut each triangle of dough into three smaller triangles, I usually cut off the tip, then cut the remaining piece at an angle, so I end up with three pieces that sort of look alike.  Roll one sausage in each triangle of dough, rolling from the wider end to the narrow end, rolling them sort of like a crescent roll.  Bake about 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.  Serve with your favorite dipping sauce(s).

Chips and Dip

Virginia Light Rolls

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

3 Tbsp honey

2 large eggs

6 Tbsp butter cut into small pieces

3 1/4 cups white bread flour

1 cup 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.  Because you cook the whole pan at one time, it really doesn’t matter if you make big rolls or little rolls, I found this out this weekend.  I made slightly smaller rolls this time, so I got about 30 rolls out of my batch, just as high as the bigger rolls, but a better side dish size.

Cover, let rise for 45 minutes.

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

Just so you know, I made these two weeks ago with twice as much whole wheat flour, and while they tasted amazing, they were really dense and heavy.  This version is much lighter, they rose better, and everyone liked them much better!

Sunday

Grilled Everglades Pork Chops

Super simple…

4 thin cut boneless pork chops

Everglades seasoning (green)

Heat your George Foreman grill to medium, put the chops on, sprinkle with seasoning, close the cover.  Cook 3-4 minutes, flip, sprinkle some more seasoning, close.  Cook another 2-3 minutes or until done.  Serve!

Chicken Pesto Pasta with Bacon

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

8 slices bacon

1 box Dreamfields penne pasta, cooked to package directions

1 container Pesto cooking cream

Trim any excess skin or fat from the chicken, cut into bite sized pieces, sprinkle with a little olive oil, saute in a skillet over medium heat.

At the same time, cut bacon into small pieces, cook until crispy, drain on paper towel.

Add cooking cream to cooked chicken, stir in cooked pasta.  Cook until sauce is melted.

Scoop about 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups pasta and chicken into a bowl, top with bacon, and veggies of your choice, serve!

I put some of the broccoli and bacon on mine, plus I added some chopped cherry tomatoes, SO good!

Broccoli

1 bag frozen broccoli florets

About 2 Tbsp butter cut into chunks

Put these in a microwave safe bowl with a cover, microwave on HIGH 7 minutes, comes out like fresh steamed broccoli with butter, maybe just a little more tender, but yummy!!

Peas

Glazed Carrots

Frozen crinkle cut carrots, about 1 cup

1 Tbsp butter

3 Tbsp brown sugar

Put all these into a small microwave safe covered dish, microwave on HIGH 5 minutes, spoon the resulting sauce over the carrots just before serving…  YUM!

So that’s it for this week, hope you found something you liked!!

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

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