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…


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!


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.


Five Guys burgers

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


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!


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!


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.


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…


Dragon fruit


Red grapes

Green grapes


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 258 – 263 (Week 38)

September 23, 2012 at 10:01 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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

William was home sick from school two more days, so he’s now missed 6 days in the first month of school!  I sure hope whatever the heck is going around out there stays the heck away from us!!!  He’s on another round of antibiotics, hopefully this will be the end for a while.

Mike is still fighting off the first bug, using his inhaler a lot, sleeping more than not when he’s not at work.  I feel bad for him, but I’m still fighting it, too.  My chest is still a little tight, but the stuffy nose is all gone and the sore throat with it, so I guess I’m getting better.  Out of antibiotics, so I certainly hope so!!

Work is going better, I’m actually helping to train a new person, so maybe all my uncertainties are all in my own head!  That would be business as usual for me, I’m always my own worst enemy.  I’m still learning new things, so that’s good, and keeps things interesting.

And last but not least, it’s been a busy weekend.  We were supposed to go visit my folks, dad’s birthday today, but since William was sick again, and Mike and I weren’t quite over what we had, we didn’t think it would be the smartest thing we’ve ever done to go over there.  But, we did get laundry done, the kitchen is cleaned up, got the yard cleaned up so maybe the HOA will leave us alone for a while, even got James to come home and help for a bit.  And got what I hope is a nice surprise…  the neighbors pulled up with a trailer, so maybe they are moving out!  That would be the highlight of my year!!!  They never cut their grass, the HOA ends up doing it about once every three months, so the weeds are literally 4-5 feet high before they get cut back, so guess what our yard is full of!  Keep your collective fingers crossed…

So, on to the week in food.  It was a very chickeny week around here, but we tend to eat a lot of chicken, so that’s not really unusual.  Maybe you’ll see something you want to try!


Chicken and Sausage

3 Boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 rope smoked sausage

1 Jar tomato basil spaghetti sauce

1 Tbsp garlic powder

Cut the sausage into chunks, put it in the crock pot.  Put the chicken in whole.  Add the sauce and garlic.  Set on low, and cook 8-10 hours.

During the last hour, prepare some rice in your rice cooker to manufacturer’s directions, adding a little garlic and chicken flavor boost to the water before you add the rice.  Stir it up before you turn on the cooker.

Remove the chicken and sausage from the crock pot, shred the chicken, cut the sausage into smaller chunks, add it back into the sauce to keep it warm.

Put about 1 cup cooked rice in each bowl, top with chicken, sausage and sauce, and serve!  You can add a little shredded cheese if you want.

This was OK, but it needed something, and I couldn’t figure out what…

We had some steamed broccoli on the side…

Microwave Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 Tbsp melted butter

1 Tbsp white sugar

1 Tbsp brown sugar

3 drops vanilla

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup flour

2 Tbsp chocolate chips

Mix the sugars, egg yolk, butter and vanilla together in a small bowl.  Add in the flour and mix until a thick dough has formed.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spray a small ramekin or coffee mug with butter flavor cooking spray, scoop in the prepared dough, microwave 45-60 seconds, and serve!  (Mine cooked for 50 seconds and were perfect)  You can top off with a scoop of ice cream if you like, would be good!!

Bacon Egg and Cheese casserole

12 eggs

1/2 cup Parmesan

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

1/2 cup shredded cheddar

1/2 cup half and half (fat free)

1 pound bacon, cut into small pieces and cooked crisp

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish with butter flavor cooking spray.

Mix all the eggs and cheeses together, add the salt and pepper.  Pour into prepared pan.  Sprinkle in cooked bacon, and make sure it sinks in to the eggs.  Cook for 1 hour, testing at 45 minutes to see if done in the center (poke it with a knife, clean = done!).  If you can get it done in 45, then do, but my oven always takes a full hour.

Sorry I didn’t get a “done” shot!  It looked really good.

Allow to cool about half an hour, cut into 8 pieces, package them into individual servings, and you have breakfast for a few days!  Reheat 1 minute in the microwave, loosely covered, salt and pepper if you want, YUM!!!


Curry Chicken

5 boneless skinless chicken thighs

1/2 package Golden Curry seasoning mix

1 cup water

Salt and pepper to taste

Left over rice

1 cup frozen peas

Trim chicken thighs of any large pieces of skin or fat, but leave the little stuff, it’ll cook off.  Cut into bite sized pieces.  Cook in a large skillet over medium heat just until no longer pink.  Add in water, simmer for 10 minutes.  Add in curry seasoning, stir until mixed well, simmer another 10 minutes.  Add in left over rice and frozen peas, cook another 5 minutes, serve!

I had some left over broccoli from the night before, so I reheated that and topped off the bowls with it, except for William’s.

This was really yummy, but then we’re all getting hooked on curry since we first tried it earlier this year.  I’m going to have to find my own mix of spices to make my own curry!!


Mexican night!!

Can you believe, I told William it was Mexican night, and he actually says YEAH!  So here we go…

Frozen burritos topped with enchilada sauce and cheese, baked per package directions, but with my own little twists.


Flour tortillas

Ground beef

Taco seasoning


Shredded cheese

Butter flavor cooking spray

Cook ground beef until no longer pink, crumbling as you cook.  Drain off excess fat.  Add in about 3/4 cup water and 1/4 cup taco seasoning, stir well, cook until sauce thickens.  Remove from heat.

Preheat large skillet over medium heat, or just a touch lower.  I use the “4” setting on my stove.  Spray pay with cooking spray.  Put in 1 tortilla, spoon in about 3-4 Tbsp prepared beef, top with shredded cheese, top with another tortilla.  Use enough cheese so that the tortillas will stick together!  Cook about 1 minute per side, be careful when you flip it, it can be messy but after a few tries, you learn the tricks to keep them together.  I use two spatulas!

Remove from pan, cut into triangles with a pizza wheel, and serve with sour cream, ranch dressing, salsa, whatever you like!


Left Overs

We had some baked potatoes left over from the week before, I had frozen them after I cooked them, they keep pretty well.  We also had curry, chicken and sausage, and some school sandwiches, so everyone got something they liked.


McDonald’s – yeah, I know, junk food, but I was in the mood!!


Pepperoni Pizza Muffins

Mini Pineapple Pizzas

These sort of go together…

2 cans refrigerated biscuits, flattened

1 jar pizza sauce

1 bag pepperoni

1 cup pineapple tidbits (I mean one of those single serve cups, not a whole cup!)

1 bag shredded Italian blend cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Spray a muffin pan with butter flavor cooking spray.

Sprinkle corn meal on a pizza stone or pizza pan, whichever you have.

Put the flattened biscuits in the muffin cups, my pan holds 12.  Put the rest on your pizza pan or stone.

Mix about 1/2 jar sauce with finely chopped pepperoni.  Spoon mixture into muffin cup biscuits.

Spread about 1/2 tsp sauce on each flattened biscuit on the pizza pan/stone.  Top with 1 slice pepperoni and 4-5 pineapple tidbits.

Top each muffin and each mini pizza with shredded cheese, as much as you can get on there without overflowing!!  (we like lots of cheese)

Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes.


Mini Apple Pies

2 cans crescent roll dough

1 can apple pie filling

1/8 cup sugar

2 Tbsp cinnamon

1/2 Tsp vanilla

Butter flavor cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray Texas muffin pan with cooking spray.

Separate dough into 8 sections, two triangles each.  Roll up the dough into a ball, flatten it out really flat, put one circle into each muffin cup.  You will have two triangles left, roll them together, then roll them out into a rectangle, or as close as you can get to a rectangle.  Use a pizza cutter and cut the dough into 6 skinny strips, then cut those in half so you have two shorter skinny strips.  Set aside.

Mix the apple pie filling with the sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.  Spoon into biscuit cups.  Top with crossed dough strips, sprinkle with a little sugar.  Bake about 10-12 minutes.  Allow to cool about 10 minutes, serve with a scoop of ice cream.


Chicken and Dumplings…  sort of

OK, so this was not my best experiment.  I bought a package of frozen dumplings, and tried to follow the package directions, but all I got was thicker broth instead of good dumplings.  The dumplings were just lumps of dough in the bottom of the pan, they were NOT good.  So, I ended up with chicken, rice and peas in a nice creamy sauce.  It tasted really good, but I was SO disappointed in the dumplings, I was really looking forward to them!

So here’s what I cooked:

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 packets chicken Flavor Boost

1 Tbsp Everglades original seasoning (the green one, not the red one)

1 1/2 quarts water

1 cup frozen peas

1 pkg frozen dumplings

Put all this in the crock pot, cook on low 6-8 hours.  Remove chicken, shred, set aside.

Pour juices into stove top pot, bring to a boil, add dumplings.  The package says to break them into pieces, but they were frozen together, so I couldn’t!  This is probably the problem….  boil 3 minutes, reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes.  I did that, I still had lumpy doughy things in my pot, but my juices had become a sauce, so that was good.

I removed the dumplings, added in some leftover rice and the frozen peas, added in the shredded chicken, cooked it all over low for about 15 minutes to heat up the peas and rice, and served!  It tasted good, but it wasn’t what I had planned, so I was disappointed.  Oh well, guess I need to learn how to make flat dumplings!  Got a pasta machine on my Christmas list…

And now, some random photos for you…

I did my nails yesterday, I’m not sure I like them, but they’re OK.

Here’s William.

Here’s Duke the girl cat named by a four year old…

So, that’s it for this week.  It’s been a good food week, or at least a good food weekend.

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


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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 200-202

July 23, 2012 at 9:27 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  I guess I’m proving, to myself more than anyone, that I’m just not up to doing this every single day and working and keeping up with the house and doing crafty things…  so I’m just going to post as much as I can, and that will have to be OK!  I’m OK with it…  hope you can be, too!

Anyway, let’s see, last thing I posted was Friday night, and we went out!  LOL!  What’s happened since then…

Saturday was grocery shopping, short list, but I came home with I think 8 Walmart shopping bags full of stuff.  Lots of fresh fruit, meats, bread, some frozen veggies…  fridge is full, freezer is almost full, cupboard is well stocked but not overflowing.  Washed four out of five loads of laundry, cleaned up the kitchen.  Went to Bealls Outlet, FINALLY found a purse I liked for a price I wanted to pay!  Also got two tops and a pairs of jean capris for work, a cup for my desk, and a pair of earrings I plan on copying.

I know it was movie night, but we didn’t do snack type foods for a change, we had Mexican!  Frozen burritos, but cooked my way.  Frozen taquitos, just cooked to package directions, nothing special.  And home made quesadillas!  So here’s how you do it…

Semi-Home Made Burritos

1 pkg frozen burritos of your choice (we like both the beef and bean, and the chicken and rice varieties)

1 small can enchilada sauce

1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Arrange burritos in a large pan with at least a little bit of a lip, you can’t do this on a completely flat pan, it makes a mess!

I believe the package directions say to cook 25 minutes.  I cook them for 22 minutes, then take them out.  Pour enchilada sauce over partially cooked burritos, making sure to get them covered well, take your time!  Spread shredded cheese over all burritos.  Put them back in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is well melted and sauce is hot.  Serve!

I like to serve this with a little bit of sour cream, or if you don’t have that, they are really good with a little ranch dressing on the side, too.

Home Made Beef Quesadilla

1 pound ground beef chuck

2/3 cup water

1/4 cup taco seasoning

About 3 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese

1 pkg soft taco sized flour tortillas

Butter flavor cooking spray

Brown and drain ground chuck.  Put back into skillet.  Add in water and taco seasoning, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes or until sauce is thickened.

Preheat another large skillet, at least large enough to easily fit a tortilla.  Spray with butter flavor cooking spray.

Put in a tortilla, spread about 1/4 cup shredded cheese, about 1/4 cup meat, another 1/4 cup shredded cheese, top with another tortilla.  Spray top with cooking spray.  Cook about 2-3 minutes or until tortilla is browned and a little crispy, carefully flip and cook the other side.  Cheese will be very melty and yummy!!  Remove to serving platter, cut into 6-8 wedges with a pizza wheel.  Repeat until out of tortillas and meat, you might have some cheese left over.  Serve with sour cream, ranch dressing, enchilada sauce or salsa!

You can also substitute chicken for the ground beef for a lighter and slightly healthier dish, but the taco sauce made with the water and seasoning isn’t quite the same with chicken as with beef.  It still tastes really good, though!!  I like to put a little salsa inside the quesadilla when I use chicken, just makes it moister.

So, Sunday, no cooking going on.  Went to my mom’s for the day, spent the day swimming with my boys, eating mom’s picnic food (hot dogs, potato salad, deviled eggs, chips, baked beans, white cake with chocolate icing…  YUMMY!!!), mom bought me some tops and some new sandals, and then she and I clipped, sorted and tallied coupons that her group sends to a military base in Italy for the military wives to use at the commissary!  I just thinks that’s so cool!!  She said that we ended up with almost $4000 worth of coupons in that batch.

And last but not least, today…  Monday was a little crazy at work, two people called in sick, and silly me, I volunteered to cover for one of them!  Between my inbox, his inbox, my reports, his reports, I didn’t quite finish everything I was supposed to do today, but I think I did OK!  It was the busiest day I’ve ever had since I started this job, first time I even came close to feeling overwhelmed.

James and I made Cottage Pie, and then I made pineapple angle food cupcakes.  So here are the recipes…

Cottage Pie

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

2 Tbsp dried onion flakes

1 Tsp garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups water

6 Tbsp gravy mix

3 pounds potatoes

1 cup shredded cheese of your choice

Wash and peel potatoes, cut into chunks, boil until soft.  Drain, put back in pot.  Add in 1 stick butter and about 1/2 cup milk, mash with a hand mixer, adding in additional milk if needed, about 2 Tbsp at a time, until smooth and creamy.

Brown and drain ground beef, put back into skillet.  Add in garlic, onion, salt and pepper.  Add in water and gravy mix.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently if not constantly, about 10 minutes.

Heat oven to broil.

Layer meat mixture in bottom of casserole dish.  Cover with potatoes, smoothing over the top.  Top with shredded cheese.  Put dish on a cookie sheet to keep from messing up your oven in case it boils over.  Heat about 5-8 minutes under the broiler, just until cheese is melted and slightly browned.  Serve!

Pineapple Angel Cakes

1 box angel food cake mix

1 can UNDRAINED crushed pineapple

Mix these together very well, using hand mixer.  Prepare muffin cups with butter flavor cooking spray.  This makes AT LEAST 24 normal sized cupcakes.  I actually ended up with 12 regular sized and 12 jumbo!!

Cook the normal sized ones 15 minutes at 350 degrees.  Cook the jumbos 20 minutes at 350 degrees.  When cooled, you can serve plain or top with whipped cream, strawberries, blueberries, it’s up to you!  They are REALLY good plain!!

So, that’s it for today.  Warehouse 13 season premier is on, so I gotta go now.

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 150 & 151

June 2, 2012 at 9:51 pm (Food) (, , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Sorry I’m behind again…

So it’s been an interesting couple of days around here.  Last night, we decided not to cook at home, and to have some fun!  So we went off to a comic book store, Mike, William and I, James was working…  all three of us got something, so that was cool!  Got to check out one of the stores we couldn’t get into last Monday, it was a really nice store, except for the older comics, they were a PAIN to get to!  So now we’ve been to four local stores, one was really tiny and hard to move around in.  One was laid out really well, their older selection was awesome, but their newer selections were limited.  One was nice, good selection all around for the guys, but nothing I was interested in.  And then this last one, really good new selection and graphic novels everywhere, but the older ones were hard to hunt through.  At least we know where to go for what now!

Today, we went to Kmart, got Mike some new work shirts, looked for a lunch box for William since he lost his favorite, and he’s really bummed about it.  Haven’t been able to find what he wants, since of course he wants one EXACTLY like the one he lost, but we’ll look once the bring out all the school supplies later this summer, you never know.

Then we went to a couple of book stores, Books-A-Million and Barnes and Noble.  Got two more books in the Percy Jackson series, since I finished the first three already!  (Yes, I said ME)  William is still working on the third, but they other two will be waiting when he’s ready!  I wanted to get the second and third Hunger Games books, but they aren’t in paperback yet!  Maybe I’ll splurge next pay day and get them all as digital editions rather than wait for the paperbacks.  Also got a couple of cook book marks!

And in between all this, got some dishes and laundry done, so it was a productive day as well.

So, on to dinner…  it’s supposed to be family movie night, but I think we’re all outgrowing that family event, so William is watching a movie in the game room, and Mike and I are watching Hatfields and McCoys on History channel.  But I still want us to eat together, so I still made something everyone would like.  So we had semi-home made pizza, and mini biscuit pizzas.  Here are the recipes:

Home Made Pizza

1 frozen pizza dough, thawed in the fridge

1 jar pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce of your liking

Shredded Mozzarella cheese

Turkey pepperoni

Chopped ham

Olive oil spray

Spray a round pizza pan with olive oil cooking spray.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Pull or roll pizza dough into a large circle and place it on the pizza pan.  Spread it all the way to the edges, making sure to make a small lip around the edges so you have a nice crust when it’s cooked.  Spread on pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce, as thick as you like, but we like about 5 tbsp on ours.  Put on pepperoni and ham, top with enough cheese that when it’s melted, you won’t know there’s any meat on there!  That’s about 1 to 1 1/2 cups as near as I can figure.

Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until crust is risen around the edges and cheese is melted all the way around the pizza.  Remove from oven, allow to cool about 5 minutes, cut with a pizza wheel or knife into 6-8 wedges and serve!

Mini Biscuit Pizza

1 can regular size biscuits

Pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce

Pineapple tidbits

Chopped ham

Shredded Mozzarella cheese

Olive oil spray

Spray a cookie sheet with the olive oil spray.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Press the biscuits as flat as you can with your fingers or with a rolling pin.  Try to keep them relatively round.  Place on cookie sheet.  Top with about 1/2 tbsp sauce, pineapple, ham and shredded cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until edges are toasted and cheese is melted.  Serve!

So that was our quick and easy but crowd pleasing meal tonight!  And it really did go over well, there’s only three of the mini’s left.

Anyway, that’s it for tonight, gonna watch TV with Mike for a while.  Until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 138

May 19, 2012 at 8:44 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend!

I feel like I got a lot done today, but I also had some fun, so it’s a good day in my mind.

5 loads of laundry down, 2 more to go.  Of course, how in the world 4 people can make 8+ loads of laundry in one week is beyond me!  (counting the two loads I did earlier in the week…)  Although, if I really think about it…

Mike wears one set of clothes to work, and changes into something comfy when he gets home.

I wear one set of clothes to work, and change into something comfy when I get home.

William wears uniforms to school, and we make him change into casual clothes when he gets home.

So James is the only one around here who doesn’t wear two sets of clothes every day, but only because he isn’t working every single           day!  If he was, it would be a uniform for work, and casual clothes at home for him, too.

Anyway…  cleaned up the kitchen, Mike helped, was getting way out of hand, think we need to have a family meeting about it.  No one wants to unload the dishwasher after work or school, I don’t want James to get stuck doing it every day, but it needs to get done.  Have to admit, I got a little snippy with Mike “discussing” it while we cleaned.  Think that’s why he helped, but I’m not questioning or complaining!

So, started the cooking marathon in between loads of laundry and dishes, here are the first recipes for the weekend:

Dinner Rolls

7 1/2 ounces (3/4 cup + 3 tbsp) 80-90 degree water

3 cups bread flour (can mix white and wheat or rye)

2 Tbsp dry milk

3 1/2 Tbsp sugar

1 Tsp salt

3 Tbsp butter, cut into 4 pieces

1 packet active dry yeast

Add water to pan of bread machine (2nd best investment ever!).  Add flour, dry milk, sugar and salt to pan.  Tap pan to settle dry ingredients, level with a spatula then push a little into the corners of the pan.  Place butter in corners of pan.  Make a small well in the center of the ingredients, add the yeast.  Lock pan into bread maker.  Set machine for dough, press start.  My machine runs for 1 hour 20 minutes on this cycle, doing most of the kneading and such for me, which is WAY cool!

When the machine is done, turn the dough out onto a floured surface, cover, allow to rest for 15 minutes.

Now, at this point, you can turn this into crescent rolls, cloverleaf rolls, four leaf clover rolls or breadsticks.  I opted for some cloverleaf rolls, and some breadsticks, only because I don’t own two muffin pans of the same size, so I didn’t have enough spots for all of this to be rolls!

So, pull off a small piece of dough, about half the size of a golf ball, roll it into a ball, put it in a greased muffin pan.  Put three dough balls in each muffin spot.  If you have enough muffin spots, you can make 18 rolls.  If not, you can do what I did, and take the rest of the dough, split it into four pieces, roll them into ropes, put them on a greased cookie sheet.  Brush them with melted butter.  If you want, you can sprinkle the breadsticks with garlic, or parmesan, or herbs at this point.  Cover the rolls and breadsticks, let them rise another 45-60 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, serve warm!

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

1 bag frozen meatballs

1 can crushed or chunked pineapple, DO NOT DRAIN (in juice, not sugar or syrup)

2 bottles sweet and sour sauce

1 green pepper, chopped

About 3 cups water

3 Tbsp soy sauce

Mix the water, sweet and sour sauce and soy sauce in a pitcher.  Put the meatballs in a crock pot (best investment for the kitchen ever!).  Add in the pineapple, including the juice and the green pepper.  Cover with the liquid.  Cook on HIGH 3-4 hours.  At this point, you can strain the liquid into a sauce pan, add in a few tablespoons of corn starch, heat over medium high heat until thick.  Add back in the meatballs, green pepper and pineapple, serve over rice!

Now, I also started cooking for tomorrow, here’s what’s cooking:

Potato Soup

4 pounds (more or less) potatoes

1 packet chicken Flavor Boost

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tsp black pepper

1/8 Tsp red pepper

1/8 Tsp chili powder

1 Tbsp kosher salt

1 quart water

Wash and peel potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces, put in the crock pot.  Mix everything else in a pitcher until thoroughly mixed, pour over potatoes.  Cook on HIGH 3-4 hours, or low 7-8 hours.

Add in 1 cup half and half, and 1/2 cup flour mixed with 1/2 cup water (should be a loose paste) and cook another half an hour or until thickened.  Serve with your choice of toppings, such as sour cream, bacon bits, chopped scallions, cheese, etc.

Perfect Baked Potatoes

4 medium russet potatoes, washed and dried

Kosher salt

Olive oil

Pierce potatoes once on each side.  Coat lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with Kosher salt.  Place on baking pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, or until done through and soft when poked.  Remove from pan and serve.

Still trying to figure out what I’m cooking tomorrow, plus I need to make stuff for lunches for William, but that’s tomorrow.  I think I’m done for today, so until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 132

May 13, 2012 at 9:07 pm (Food) (, , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you all had an amazing weekend.  It was sure fun around here!!

Today was the end of a wonderful few days celebrating my birthday, and Mother’s Day.  We went to my mom’s today, I gave her earrings I made to match the bracelet her friend commissioned from me, so she’ll match next time she wears them!  And I got some birthday goodies!!  Two new tops for work, one black and white with a little bling, and one in a bright deep coral with frilly stuff, can’t wait to wear them this week!!  A new book to read, and the meatloaf pan I’ve been eyeing for a while now.  Oh, and chocolates!  Who doesn’t love chocolates!!

We went out to dinner, Sonny’s BBQ, had an amazing meal and great family time.  We swam before dinner, then the kids went back in when we got back, and of course we had cake.  Mom made one of my favorite cakes, a fruit basket cake, guess I could share that recipe with you tonight!  And then we all started talking about creative cakes, so I have some ideas to try over the next few weeks.  So here’s today’s recipe:

Fruit Basket Cake

1 white cake box mix

1 large tub whipped cream topping

Fruit of your choice, but might I suggest:

1 can diced pineapple

1-2 sliced bananas

1 can mandarin oranges

Make the white cake to package directions, round, square, that’s entirely up to you.  Cool completely!!

Now, you can slice the cake(s) into more layers, or you can just make two layers, or one rectangle cake.  Again, it’s entirely up to you!  We usually end up with a two layer cake, but I think next time I make one, I might try making four layers, just to say I tried it.  I’m going to give you directions for just a two layer cake here.

Place first layer on whatever plate you are going to use to serve the cake.  Frost this first layer on the top only with whipped cream, cover with pineapple bits, banana slices and mandarin oranges.  Top with second layer of cake.  Frost top and sides with whipped cream, be generous!  Top with remaining fruit, make designs if you want, or just make it random, it’s YOUR cake!  My cake this year had flowers made of fruit, mandarin oranges, peaches and cherries specifically, it was COOL!!  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

So, enjoy this cool creamy treat, and until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 119

April 29, 2012 at 7:27 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Here we are again, another week gone, another weekend gone, and ready for a new week to begin.  Hope you’ve all had a Super Sunday!

We’ve had a pretty good day around here.  My folks brought us a FREE 42″ flatscreen TV, it’s all hooked up and we’ve been watching movies all afternoon.  Mike’s been playing with the color and contrast and stuff, trying to get that perfect picture.  I think he’s finally got it!

William had a little homework, plus normal Sunday chores, and except for a little complaining, he’s gotten it all done with a minimum of fuss.  That’s a nice change!

James is out and about, be home later.  He’s had my car all weekend, waiting to see it come home OK!  It’s not that I don’t trust him, but without that car, I can’t get to work tomorrow and we’re screwed.

I did the grocery shopping, finished up the laundry, cleaned up the kitchen, and managed to cook a decent meal in the process.  Here’s what we had:

Pot Roast

1 Eye Round Roast, about 3 pounds

1 carton beef broth

1 Tsp dried rosemary leaves

2 Tbsp kosher salt

Put everything in the crock pot, cook on HIGH 4 hours, or on LOW 8 hours.  Remove from pot, allow to rest about 10 minutes, slice against the grain of the meat and serve.

Baked Potatoes

4 medium russet potatoes, washed and dried

Kosher salt

Olive oil

Pierce potatoes once on each side.  Coat lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with Kosher salt.  Place on baking pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, or until done through and soft when poked.  Remove from pan and serve.  Top with your choice of toppings, tonight we did just butter, salt and pepper, but they are also good with sour cream, shredded cheese, broccoli, chili, really whatever YOU want to put on them!  I actually cooked a whole bag of potatoes so we’ll have some laying around ready to top.  PLUS, they freeze well, so you don’t have to worry about them going bad!

Plus we had a light fruit salad, actually the last of what I made last weekend.  We really just had pineapple and grapes, because that’s all that was left, but I had to use it up because I just finished making a new fruit salad for this week with pineapple, mango, papaya and grapes.

So, hope you all enjoy something from this meal, or the whole meal, and have a wonderful rest of the weekend.

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 107

April 18, 2012 at 12:10 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!!  Hope you are having a terrific Tuesday!  I know I am!!!  🙂

Started my day getting William a good breakfast so he would be ready for FCAT’s.  Two whole weeks of testing, reading, science, math, I feel bad for the kids!!

Then, I went off to an interview with a temp agency, took a typing test (think I came in around 50 WPM, which is actually good for me, I’m NOT a typist!), data entry (no idea what I scored, but her words were “I can see you’ve done data entry before!”), and talked about a job with a company that manages foreclosed homes, doing things like arranging cleaning, arranging yard work, arranging maintenance, etc.  Thought it went well, she said she was sending this company my test results and resume, she would let me know…  well, about an hour later I get a call, can I come for an interview tomorrow morning!  So I guess I look good on paper, now I just have to impress them in person!  I just need someone to let me in the door, and let me show what I can do, and I know I can do any job I put my mind to!  And this one actually sounds interesting to me!  I am SOOO ready for something different.

So, since I spent about an hour yesterday chopping up fruits and veggies, I knew I had to make something good for dinner.  BUT, since it’s officially William’s birthday today, and he got cash, he wanted to go shopping first.  So off to Game Stop we went, after picking James up from work (so after 5), hit rush hour traffic, hit every light we possibly could, at least there wasn’t a line at the store!  He picked a game, ended up being the wrong game, but we can take it back tomorrow, and this time he knows what he wants!

Anyway, got home after 6, no idea what I was making, but I knew I had partially thawed hamburger to work with, so:

Hot Brown and Lumpy (yeah, I’m looking for a better name!)

1 pound hamburger

1 pound noodles of choice, cooked to package directions (I had leftover egg noodles from a couple nights ago)

2 cups water

6 Tbsp brown gravy mix

Brown hamburger, crumbling very well while it’s cooking, drain any excess fat.  Return to pan, add water and gravy mix, simmer about 10 minutes or until thickened.  Add in cooked noodles, mixing well, simmer just until everything is heated through.

We had broccoli, cauliflower and carrots mixed together as one side dish, peas as a second, fresh salad (lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, carrots, green pepper, tomato) and fresh fruit salad (pineapple, papaya, grapes).  Everything tasted awesome!!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 52

February 23, 2012 at 12:36 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  I’m feeling a little better today, but I still went for a quick and easy slow cooker recipe…

Hawaiian Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 can sliced pineapple IN JUICE

3 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 Tbsp)

3 slices ginger (or 1/4 tsp ground ginger)

1/4 Cup soy sauce

1/2 Tsp salt

1/2 Tsp pepper

2 Tsp honey

1/8 Cup orange juice

Place pineapple rings in the bottom of the crock pot.  Rinse and trim chicken breasts and place on top of pineapple rings.  Mix pineapple juice from can, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, honey, orange juice, salt and pepper in small bowl, pour over chicken.  If chicken is not covered, add chicken broth JUST until chicken breasts are covered.  Cover and cook on LOW 7-8 hours.

Serve 1 chicken breast and 2-3 pineapple rings over rice.

The recipe didn’t call for a sauce, but I would think a little of the juices from the pot mixed with some flour or cornstarch would make a good sauce, and chicken in a crock pot it notoriously dry, so this really could have used a sauce!  I’ll have to remember that next time…

Anyway, it was good, but not great.  Needs a little tweaking I think.  I’ll let you know if/when I give it another shot!

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


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