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!

Monday

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!!!

Tuesday

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!!

Wednesday

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.

Quesadilla

Flour tortillas

Ground beef

Taco seasoning

Water

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!

Thursday

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.

Friday

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

Saturday

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.

Serve!

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.

Sunday

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 251 – 257 (Week 37)

September 16, 2012 at 8:05 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , )

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

Whatever William had two weeks ago, with which he ended up missing an entire week of school…

Whatever Mike has been fighting for the past two weeks, and with which he missed several days of work…

Now I’ve got it!  Sore throat, stuffy nose, blowing my nose every few minutes until it’s too sore to touch, coughing half the night, headaches, watery eyes, low grade fevers…  been on antibiotics since Wednesday night, taking DayQuil to get through the weekend and chores, slept a LOT the last two days.  And since all this started last Sunday, needless to say I really didn’t do a lot of cooking this week, but I had so many leftovers from all that cooking last weekend, so it wasn’t so bad.

So, here’s the short version:

Monday – Leftovers

Tuesday – Leftovers

Wednesday – Mike and William cooked, we had grilled pork chops, grilled chicken, and grilled cheeseburgers.  William actually made the cheeseburgers, and they were REALLY good!

William Burgers

1 pound ground round

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 Tbsp Original Everglades seasoning

He squished all this together really well, and turned it into 3 nicely sized burgers, which we threw on the George Foreman grill, and they tasted AWESOME!

Thursday – we took our last $30 before pay day and ordered Jet’s pizza, bacon bread sticks, and antipasto salad.

Friday – Since it was pay day, we did our usual, we went to the comic book store, picked up our “pick list” (yes, even I have one on the list now!), and went out to dinner, but since Mike and I were still feeling under the weather, we got Taco Bell and took it home.  I know, not the king of fast food choices, but we don’t have it often, and we only have it without James, and since he was gone for the weekend…  yeah, I’m justifying that choice, I know!

Saturday

Home Made Pizza

Frozen Pizza dough

Jar pizza sauce

Diced ham

Pepperoni slices

Shredded Italian blend cheese

Thaw the dough (this takes a LOT longer than I thought!).  Roll out onto a greased or corn meal sprinkled pan or pizza stone, top with sauce and toppings, cook at 450 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until dough is browned at the edges and cheese is melted and lightly browned.  Slice into 6-8 pieces and serve!

I only had to do the dough rolling part, William did all the toppings, Mike helped with the second pizza, too, and I only had to pull them out of the oven when they were done.  Came out really well!!

Sunday

Chicken Ham Casserole

I keep playing with this one, I think it might end up as one of those “pick one from each column” type of recipes when I finish it!  Here’s tonight’s version:

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

1/2 package diced ham

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can chicken gravy

1 Tsp Original Everglades seasoning

2 boxes Great Value chicken flavor stuffing

3 cups hot water

1 stick butter, melted

8 – 10 slices Swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour both boxes of stuffing mix into a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish.  Add in hot water and melted butter, stir until all the dry stuff is wet, let sit about 5 minutes.

Top with sliced Swiss cheese, overlapping as needed, but use it all.

Mix together chicken, ham, soup, gravy and seasoning, mix well, spread over the cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Serve!

Makes about 8 servings, and makes great leftovers!!

So that’s it for this week.  Hopefully the coming week will be much better.  Everyone is starting to feel a little better, and I have a fridge and freezer full of food to cook with!

Until next time, 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 124

May 5, 2012 at 11:24 pm (Food) (, , , )

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

Well, I did the art show, it was really small, but everyone was really nice, and it was a pleasant day, not anywhere near as hot as it could have been, and we had shade.  James was a huge help, even ran for lunch since the food vendor didn’t show up.  I only sold one thing, made a whole $2, but I had a good time, so it was worth it.  Gotta get back into the swing of things somehow!  I thought I had something scheduled literally once a month all year, but some things fell through, so now I’m back to looking for shows.  I think I might have found another one for later in the year, gotta decide by Thursday…

Anyway, seems things were quiet around the house today.  Mike caught something from a client, so he’s feeling a little under the weather.  Seems to just be a head cold, keep your fingers crossed that’s all it is!  William spent the day goofing off, playing video games, and asking to go to a friend’s house.  Guess he was bored…

So I made a quick pizza for dinner, yeah I know, pizza two nights in a row, but that’s what we did.  At least this one was mostly home made.  Here’s what I did:

Semi-Home Made Pizza

1 frozen pizza dough, thawed

Roughly 6 Tbsp sauce

About 1/2 cup shredded cheese

About 10 slices lunchmeat ham

Corn meal

Liberally sprinkle a pizza stone with corn meal.  Place the thawed pizza dough on the stone, press with fingers to spread it out a bit.  Turn over, making sure to get corn meal under the dough.  Roll with a rolling pin until size and thickness desired.  I made what looked about like a large take-out pizza, went to the edges of my pizza stone.  Spread with sauce, top with ham slices arranged around the crust, and cover with cheese.  Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and lightly browned, and crust is crispy around the edges.

This was OK, not great, but it was certainly easy!  I think I need to make sure I keep pizza toppings in the house, and the right kind of cheeses.  I had Mexican blend in the fridge, but I wanted mozzarella and Parmesan.

With I had a photo for you, but it’s all gone already.  Sorry!

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

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