The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza day 320-326 (week 47)

November 25, 2012 at 10:29 pm (Food, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you all had a wonderful holiday week!  A little odd for us…

William was off school all week, so he was home, and he was BORED, but he was good.  He read every day, practiced his guitar, did his chores, and stayed out of trouble.

It was a short week for Mike and I, because of the holiday, doctor’s appointments, and a little time off.  I took off Friday so I could go Black Friday shopping, ended up doing more online shopping than in-person shopping, but it was nice to not have to worry about work.  Seems I went a little overboard though, didn’t leave a whole lot of cash until next payday!  Good news is I only have two more people to shop for, and I have at least one idea for one of them, something I can get any time between now and Christmas!  And I have two things to make, gotta get busy, but then I am DONE!!

James decided to start his holiday early, so we haven’t actually seen him since Tuesday, hope he had a good holiday!

We were supposed to go to Mom’s for Thanksgiving dinner, but Mike and William both started coming down with something, and we didn’t want to expose my folks to it, so Wednesday night we made the mad dash through Walmart getting all the stuff we didn’t have on hand to make dinner Thursday!

Anyway, on to the food….

Monday

Pork chops

Simply pan fried with a little butter, nothing fancy.

Steamed veggies, broccoli and peas, the usual.

Rolls, the canned kind.

Mike ended up cooking for me, because I worked a little late to help with a project.

Tuesday

Chicken and Black Bean Homemade Burritos

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup taco seasoning mix

1 quart water

Tortillas

Shredded cheese

Put the chicken, black beans, taco seasoning and water into the crock pot in the morning, let it cook all day on LOW.

Remove chicken from pot, shred.  Remove black beans from pot.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lay out tortillas.  Sprinkle with shredded cheese, spoon in a little shredded chicken and some black beans, roll into burritos, place in a large baking pan.  Repeat until you use up all the chicken and beans, or run out of room in your pan, whichever comes first.  Top with a little more shredded cheese.  Bake about 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Serve with a side of ranch or sour cream or guacamole, whatever you like!  Salsa works well, too.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1 Bag frozen Brussels sprouts (I used frozen this time because I wasn’t sure when I would make these, they were a little softer than fresh, but tasted OK)

4 slices bacon

1/2 C dried cherries

1/4 C chopped or sliced nuts of your choice (I prefer pecans, but I had almonds on hand)

Remove stems from sprouts, and cut into quarters.

Cut bacon into small pieces and cook until crispy.  Remove from pan, but don’t pour off grease.  Add cut sprouts to pan, saute lightly until slightly browned and heated through.  Toss bacon, cherries and nuts into pan, mix well, heat another minute or two.

Pour everything into a baking dish of your choice, bake at 350 degrees 45-55 minutes, or until well browned and very soft.  Serve!

Wednesday

Jet’s Pizza

Thursday

Thanksgiving Dinner

Turkey – rubbed with butter, sprinkled with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning, DO NOT TRUSS or stuff, roast at 350 degrees per package directions – my 10 pound turkey said it needed to cook 2 hours, I didn’t believe it, so I cook it 3, it was dry, but tasty!

Potatoes – 6 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks, boiled about 45 minutes or until very soft.  Drain, add in 1 stick butter, maybe 1/2 C milk, more if you like them creamier, mix with hand blender until smooth and creamy!

Sweet potatoes

1 can yams

1/2 C brown sugar

1/2 stick butter cut into pieces

Pour yams WITH JUICE into a casserole dish.  Sprinkle over brown sugar, place pats of butter around pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until heated through and bubbly.

Rolls

Store bought frozen rolls, sorry!

Gravy

Turkey drippings, gravy packet from the turkey, plus some poultry gravy mix.

Broccoli

Green beans

Peas

Stuffing

Boxed, sorry again, but remember, I didn’t PLAN on cooking at all!!

Cranberry sauce

Friday

Subway

Saturday

Mini Pizzas – frozen, but good!

Cheese Sticks – frozen

Cheese bites – frozen

Sunday

Pot Roast with Potatoes

1 roast of your choice, I went for a tip roast this time, I like them

1/4 cup onion flakes

3 packets beef flavor Flavor Boost

1 quart water

4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces

Put everything in the crock pot, set on low for 6-8 hours, remove and serve!

Steamed veggies

The usual, broccoli and peas with butter

Gravy

Strained the juices from the pot, mixed in some brown gravy mix, YUM!

And of course, I did my nails over the weekend, so here’s this week’s design…

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 229-235

August 25, 2012 at 10:13 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you’ve all had a wonderful, positive week!  It’s certainly been interesting around here…

Last Sunday we went to my parent’s house, so no, I did not cook. We went swimming and caught up on what’s going on.  Mom made burgers, the boys helped cook them on the grill.  She also made her amazing potato salad, baked beans, deviled eggs, and Tres Leche cake.  I have recipes for some of those things, maybe I’ll even share one day, but not today!  We picked up James’ car and brought it home.  Somehow, I can’t believe I’m saying those words, my child is not supposed to be old enough to have his own car, I’m not that old!

The work week was relatively calm, except that we’re loosing some team members to other teams, loosing one team member who’s just leaving the company, getting some new team members, and reorganizing coverage areas again, but not so much that it will be completely crazy, and I’m comfortable enough now that I think I can handle it.  I’m just glad that the boss thinks I can handle it, too, means I am doing OK even though sometimes I still have doubts.

Mike is still feeling pretty rough, but he saw a new specialist this week that we think is on the right track, more tests, but he has some good ideas and isn’t just blowing smoke, and not immediately blaming all Mike’s health issues on his weight like so many others, including me sometimes.  I know, I have no room to talk, but I just think we would both feel so much better if we lost some weight.  Of course, I’m not helping, doing all this cooking all the time, but I’ve got it in the back of my head all the time that I need to find healthier ways to make the foods we like rather than just trying to redo our whole diet.  We’ll get there!

William started school this week, new school, new kids, new teachers, new schedule, first week of Middle School.  Again, I’m not old enough for my younger child to be in MIDDLE school!!  But he absolutely loves it!  His homeroom/math teacher seems fun.  Didn’t get to meet the PE coach, but William seems to like him, too.  Language arts/Social studies teacher seems really nice, and she seems to understand my thoughts on teaching to more than just the FCAT, I like a teacher that thinks I’m right LOL!  The music teacher is just too cool, and William has two classes with him, regular music, and guitar class.  William and Mike went out last weekend and rented William a guitar, think it might be a rent-to-own type of thing, not entirely sure, but he really seems to be enjoying the class.  Didn’t get to meet the science teacher yet either, but William likes her, so she must be OK.  He can usually smell bullshit faster than we can, and he’s really happy so far, so I think this might be one of our better moves, this Charter school.  And, of course, I’m going to get to put some of my fundraising experience to work for them and be involved without being in charge, so I’M happy, too!!

And James is, well, James.  Working, playing video games, out for the weekend as usual.  I’m a little frustrated with him right now, his “rent” is chores, and they aren’t getting done unless we bug him, and I just feel like he’s 19, I shouldn’t HAVE to remind him any more, but I do.  I think we’re going to sit down one night soon and have a chat.  Need to talk about what we’re going to do when it’s time for new phones at Christmas, what we’re going to do about chores and rent and school, just all those fun little subjects we all love talking about so much…  NOT!  Hopefully it will be a grown-up discussion instead of the usual talking-to-a-wall discussion…

Anyway, you aren’t here for the gossip, you’re here for the food!  I decided to take it a little easy on myself this week, I kept track of what I made each night, but I didn’t pressure myself to WRITE each night, and I actually feel better about this little project than I have since I went back to work.  I was putting a lot of pressure on myself, and getting on my own case when I didn’t write every night, but I’m realizing that that’s just not fair to me.  I have to have time to unwind, relax, be part of the family, and quit trying to be Super-Mom.  So I think I’m going to stick to writing on weekends, maybe a night or two during the week if it’s not too much pressure, but not every night, it’s just too much with the job and the kids right now.

So, here we go…

Monday

Pot Roast and Potatoes

1 rump roast, approx 2-3 pounds

1 packet beef Flavor Boost

4 Tbsp dried onion flakes

1 Tsp garlic powder

4 potatoes, washed and cut into bite sized pieces

Water

Put the roast, the cut up potatoes, Flavor Boost, onion flakes, garlic and potatoes into the crock pot.  Add enough water just to cover everything in the pot.  Stir it up a little, set to LOW, and cook 8-10 hours, stirring a couple of times throughout the day if you can.  It’s OK if you can’t, but it’s better if you can, or if you can find someone like my son to do it for you!

Remove roast and potatoes from the pot, put on serving platter, allow to rest while you strain out about 4 cups of the broth, put it in a sauce pan, add in brown gravy mix per package directions (packets usually call for one packet for each cup of liquid, the large container of mix calls for 3 Tbsp per cup of liquid), stir well with a whisk, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thickened.  Serve with the roast and potatoes for a good old fashioned family meal!  We also had some steam broccoli and peas with our meal, just to round things out.  A salad also works very well.

Tuesday

Curry Chicken and Rice

Another crock pot meal…

5-6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, thawed or frozen, doesn’t really matter

1 packet chicken Flavor Boost

1/2 box Golden Curry mix, medium heat variety

1 can coconut milk, shaken well

Put all these into the crock pot.  Add just enough water to cover the chicken, I think I might have added 3 cups all together.  Set to LOW and cook 8-10 hours.

When I got home from work, I made a small pot of rice in the rice cooker (water to the “2” mark, two scoops of rice), added 2 packets of chicken flavor Flavor Boost, served the chicken with this rice, and some steamed veggies on the side, it was AWESOME!  Even William went back for seconds on both the rice and chicken.  There was barely enough left for my lunch the next day!

Wednesday

Turkey Sausage with Parmesan Orzo

This is a super easy meal, and William helped me cook it.

Cut up the turkey smoked sausage into bite sized pieces, saute with no added butter or anything, the liquid in the sausage helps it steam/simmer very nicely, just don’t leave it alone, it might burn just a bit.  Voice of experience here!

Along with this, we made Orzo pasta to package directions, drained, added butter and Parmesan cheese, mixed it all up, kind of tastes like mac-n-cheese but better.  Goes great with the sausage, makes for a hearty meal, but not too heavy.

Thursday

Leftovers

We had leftover potatoes and gravy, leftover egg rolls, some leftover veggies, I don’t even remember what all else we had, but we had quite a bit on the table!

Friday

Spasagna

I found this on another blog, it sounded yummy, and OH WOW, it was AWESOME!

So, courtesy of http://www.thecountrycook.net here’s Spasagna…

1 (26 oz) jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce

1 (16 oz) jar of Alfredo or Garlic Alfredo sauce (I didn’t have the garlic kind, so I added a little garlic to the recipe)

1 Lb spaghetti noodles (I used Dreamfields angel hair)

1 lb ground beef

2 cups shredded mozzarella

1/2 cup milk (2% or higher)

1 Tsp dried oregano

1 Tsp dried parsley (I didn’t have the individual spices, so I added 2 Tsp of mixed Italian seasoning)

Cook noodles to package directions, drain very well.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray 9 x 13 baking dish with olive oil nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, combine Alfredo sauce, mozzarella, milk and spices.  Stir well. Add in noodles and stir/toss to coat completely.  Put this mixture into the prepared baking dish.  Cover with aluminum foil, and bake about 30 minutes.

While the noodles are baking, start cooking the ground beef in a large skillet or medium saucepan.  Brown and crumble beef until cooked through.  Drain well, and add back into pan.  Add spaghetti sauce, and leave on LOW heat, cover if you can, and let it simmer until the noodles are ready.

Allow the noodles to sit about 10 minutes before trying to top or cut into servings.  Top with the meat and spaghetti sauce mixture.  (I wasn’t sure what a serving should be, so I just cut the pan into 8 pieces.)  Top with Parmesan cheese if desired and serve!

Saturday

Pork Wontons

4 boneless pork chops, fried and cut into small pieces (about 1/2″ pieces)

Wonton wrappers

Oil for frying

Your favorite sauce for dipping

Place one piece of pork into the center of a wonton wrapper, wet two edges of the wonton wrapper and fold over to make a triangle.  Then dampen two corners and fold in towards each other to make a little hat packet looking shape.  Fry in hot oil about 2-3 minutes per side, remove from oil to paper towel lined serving tray.  Continue with pork and wontons until you run out of one or both.  Somehow, we had just enough of each!

And we had sweet and sour sauce, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, my home made plum-peach sauce from last weekend, lots of sauces to pick from!  Needless to say, they are all gone…

Spinach Hummus

I found this recipe on the internet, but I had to tweak it a bit to make it work in my blender.  One of these days I’ll get an actual food processor…

2 cans chick peas, one drained, one not drained

1/2 cup Tahini, well stirred

4 Tbsp garlic, minced (I buy my garlic pre-minced in a squeeze bottle, so it’s WAY easy!)

Juice of one lemon, or more if you prefer

2 Tsp salt

1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed

4 Tbsp olive oil

Put chick peas in blender, with the juice from one can, blend until smooth.  Gradually add in Tahini, spices and spinach, blending very well after each addition.  You can add a little more oil if needed to thin it out and make it blend better.  I have to admit, I still have a couple of whole chick peas because I wasn’t overly patient with this, but it still tasted really good, and I’m not a huge fan of hummus!

Corn Muffins

This recipe is from the package of Dixie Lily corn meal…

1 cup flour

1/4 cup sugar

4 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 cup corn meal

1 egg

1 cup milk

1/4 cup melted shortening (butter!) or oil

Grease muffin cups or use paper liners, heat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Beat egg in a separate bowl, add milk and shortening and mix well.  Stir in dry ingredients and mix well.  Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full, bake 25-20 minutes or until golden brown and set.  Serve warm with butter, honey, grape jelly, whatever YOU like on corn bread!

Chocolate Cake with Home Made Chocolate Frosting

I used a chocolate fudge cake box mix, Duncan Hines I think.  Didn’t do the cake from scratch, just followed the box directions.  But then I didn’t want to use store bought frosting, so went hunting for a recipe…  Here’s what I found!

4 cups powdered sugar

1 cup butter, melted

2 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp milk

6 tbsp cocoa powder

Blend everything very well in a large bowl, spread onto cooled cake, top with sprinkles if you want and serve!

So now it’s movie night, gonna go eat the cake and watch a movie.  So until next time, eat well, love well, live well!!!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 187

July 8, 2012 at 7:24 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend!

Mine has been productive, if not overly exciting.  Made a bunch of stuff yesterday, which you’ve already read about if you’re a regular visitor, and cooked some more today, plus got laundry done and the kitchen cleaned up and the grocery shopping done, among other things!

Nothing interesting to report around here today, no big goings-on, just working on a clutch purse for myself, I’ll post a picture when it’s done.  William has a friend over today, same friend he went to Disney with.  Think his parents are out on a date night, so he’s here with us for the evening.  The boys had pizza for dinner, not home made, just Hot N Ready.  They enjoy it, not entirely sure why, but they’re kids!

Mike and I, on the other hand, had roast beef, potatoes, carrots and home made bread!  Here are the recipes for you:

Pot Roast

1 rump roast (this really does seem to be the best cut for my crock pot!) about 2-3 pounds

4 medium potatoes, washed and cut into bite sized pieces

10-12 large baby-cut carrots, washed

3 green onions, green part only, cut into large sections

2 packets beef Flavor Boost

1 – 1 1/2 quarts water

Put potatoes and carrots in the crock pot, top with the roast then the onions.  Mix the Flavor Boost packets into the water, and pour over the meat and veggies.  Cook on LOW 6-7 hours, or HIGH 3-4 hours.  Remove the onion pieces, unless you’re really into onions. We’re not, they are just for flavor for us.  Remove the roast to a serving tray and the potatoes and carrots to a serving bowl.  Scoop out 3 cups of the liquid and transfer to a sauce pan.  Mix in 9 Tbsp brown gravy mix, stirring very well, and heat over medium high until thick and bubbly.  Slice the meat, and serve!!

Honey Oat Bread (1 1/2 pound loaf)

7 1/2 ounces water, 80-90 degrees (a little warm)

3 Tbsp honey

1 cup wheat flour

1 cup bread flour

1 cup old fashioned oats

1 1/2 Tbsp dry milk

1 1/4 Tsp salt

1 1/2 Tbsp butter, cut into quarters

1 1/2 tsp bread machine/fast rise yeast

1) Put water and honey into bread machine pan

2) Add in dry ingredients except yeast.  Tap pan to settle, then level with a spatula and push a little into the corners of the pan.  Put the butter in the corners.

3) Make a small well in the center of the ingredients, add in the yeast.  Lock pan into bread machine.

4) Program for basic/specialty bread and whatever crust color you prefer.  I usually go for medium, unless I’m making bread that I know is really dense, which I would set for dark so I get a crustier bread.  Start machine and leave it alone until it’s done!

Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to cool another 10 minutes before slicing.  Use a bread knife, or you will have a crumby mess!

Serve warm with lots of butter!!

This is a slightly sweet, dense bread, with a nice crust.  It’s going to make a really good breakfast toast tomorrow morning, and it isn’t so sweet that it wasn’t good with dinner, in fact it was really good dipped in gravy.

So that’s it for tonight.  I was thinking about making fruit wontons, but my feet and hips are still sore from being on them so long yesterday making all those egg rolls, so maybe tomorrow night, we’ll see.  Maybe I can talk James into helping, if he’s not working.

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

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