The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 271 – 277 (Week 40)

October 8, 2012 at 10:25 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you’ve all had a perfectly wonderful week, and a glorious weekend!  Here we are at Monday again, I know, I’m behind, but I think you’ll forgive me…

Last week was interesting.  Work was crazy, end of the month always is, but this one was crazier than the last few.  Half our group is new people, less than 3 months in, and the senior coordinator was out for the week, so I became the go-to person.  I know I am approachable, I try very hard to be that way, but I felt like there were whole days where I didn’t get any of my own work done because I was so busy answering everyone else’s questions!  It’s nice to be needed again, but come on…

Anyway, all the family were relatively healthy for a change, knock on wood!  William didn’t miss any school.  Mike missed one day of work, but I think it was more of a mental health kind of day.  James got called in for extra hours at his job, makes for a nice pay check.  I think I need to plan a day off, just for me…

So I did a little cooking during the week, nothing Earth shattering, but some fun new dishes.  Of course, I pretty much HAD to cook considering I spent almost $500 in groceries last weekend.  But it all came in handy, and I got to try out the new recipes!  YEAH!  Looking forward to trying even more new stuff this weekend, trying to put together a plan for what I want to cook, make sure I have everything I need on hand.  Working on trimming down the shopping list, trimming down the grocery budget, and maybe trimming down the family a little!

Anyway, here we go…

Monday

Mongolian Beef

1/2 lb beef tenderloin, thinly sliced against the grain

1 Tbsp corn starch

2 cloves minced garlic

1/4 tsp ground ginger

3 Tbsp soy sauce

1 1/2 Tbsp honey or agave nectar or sugar

1 tsp rice wine or dry sherry

2 Tbsp water

3 green onions, cut into 1″ pieces, green part only

1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil or canola oil

Stir together soy sauce, honey, water and wine.  Set aside.

Heat oil in pan over medium heat.  Dredge the beef in corn starch, shake off the excess.  Add the beef to the hot pan and quickly saute until lightly browned.

Add in garlic and ginger, saute for a few seconds.  Add the sauce you set aside earlier.  The sauce should quickly come to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer, stirring constantly.  Continue to cook until the sauce thickens and glazes the beef.

Toss in the green onions at the last minute, mix, and serve!

Adapted from a recipe I found on cHow Divine http://www.chowdivine.com

Sorry, I didn’t get photos, but then mine didn’t look anywhere near as pretty as hers did!  But it was yummy…

Orange Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess skin and fat (as much as you can without being too anal) and cut into bite sized pieces

1 Tbsp orange flavoring

1 Tbsp garlic, minced

1 Tsp ground ginger

2 Tbsp honey

1 Tsp corn starch

2 Tbsp vegetable oil plus 1 Tsp sesame oil for frying

Put the oils in a large skillet, heat on medium.  Add in chicken, saute until no longer pink.  Add in orange, garlic, ginger, honey and corn starch, mixing well to coat chicken, sauce will thicken quickly.  When chicken is done through, remove from heat and serve!  Really good with fresh steamed rice…

Vegetable Egg Rolls

1 head cabbage, shredded very fine

12 baby carrots, shredded very fine

2 Tbsp Hoisin sauce

1 Tbsp teriyaki sauce

1 Pkg egg roll wrappers

Oil for frying

Mix cabbage, carrots and sauces together.  Spoon about 2 Tbsp of the mixture into an egg roll wrapper, fold up bottom and tuck in filling.  Fold in two side corners, dampen final corner and roll closed.

Fry about 2 minutes per side in hot oil until golden brown.  Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Left over rolls (those supper yummy half whole wheat Virginia light rolls I made last weekend…)

Tuesday

SW Egg rolls with cheese

I had made about 3 dozen of those south west style egg rolls with the taco seasoned beef and black beans inside, we had 17 left after our little munch fest.  Well, I put those in a big deep pan, covered them with shredded cheese and baked them at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.  They crisped up a little on the exposed edges, but sort of tasted like mini burritos with the melted cheese, and made for a nice meal!

Wednesday

Pork Chops Everglades

6 boneless skinless porkchops

Everglades original seasoning (the green kind)

Heat a large skillet over medium, add in the chops.  Sprinkle over Everglades seasoning instead of salt and pepper, make sure you sprinkle both sides (when you turn them).  I have no idea how much we used, but it sort of looked like we had used it in place of salt and pepper, so liberally sprinkled, but not coated with seasoning.  Saute until done through and browned on the outside.

Sauteed green beans with garlic

About 1/2 lb fresh green beans, ends removed, cut into 1″ pieces

1 Tbsp minced garlic

3 Tbsp butter

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat, add in garlic, mix a little, add in green beans and saute about 10 minutes or until beans are bright green and crisp tender.  Serve!

Fruit Salad

This was a fun fruit salad for me, because William helped me cut up everything!

1 medium Gala apple

1 medium Bartlett pear

1 medium Dragon fruit

About 30 large red grapes

Cut the apple and the pear into 8th wedges, remove seed cores, slice into thin bite sized pieces.

Cut dragon fruit in half.  Spoon white seeded core out of pink skin, making sure to remove all the skin pieces, it’s not edible.  Cut white fruit into small bite sized pieces.

Cut grapes into quarters.

Toss all this together, and serve!

Thursday

Jet’s Pizza

Yeah, we had take out…  we needed a night off!

Friday

Bacon Cheeseburgers

1 lb ground beef

1/2 lb bacon (about 8 pieces)

1 egg

Salt and pepper to taste

Sliced cheese of your choice

Burger buns

Mix ground beef, egg, salt and pepper together, mix VERY well, until beef is really smooth rather than crumbly.  Form into 4 patties.  Fry in a large pan over medium heat, flipping as needed to keep from burning.  Cook until medium well, or however YOU like your burgers.  We like ours ever so slightly pink at the very center and slightly crispy on the outside.

Cook the bacon crispy, break each piece in half, give each burger four half strips of bacon, cheese and toppings of your choice, serve on fresh burger buns, YUM!

Tots – yeah, frozen tots, cooked to package directions, whichever way you like to cook them.  I prefer them fried, but that’s not very healthy, so I usually bake them…  boring, but OK.

Saturday

Fried Chicken Nuggets

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into small tenders or large nuggets, your choice

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup Everglades seasoning (the orange version this time)

1 Tbsp fresh ground black pepper

Heat 3-4 Tbsp vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Mix the flour and seasonings together in a large shallow bowl.  Add the chicken a few pieces at a time to this mix, let it sit for a minute or two on each side.  Shake off any excess and add to hot pan.  Cook about 4-5 minutes per side, or until done through.  Remove to paper towel lined serving dish.  Cook in batches until all chicken is done.  Serve!

Chicken gravy – made from a mix, yes I cheated a little, but it wasn’t thickening the way I wanted, so I added some of the flour mixture from coating the chicken, made it really tasty!

steamed veggies – broccoli, peas, green beans

Microwave Brownies

4 Tbsp flour

4 Tbsp sugar

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

2 Tbsp oil

2 Tbsp water

Pinch salt

Mix everything together in a coffee mug or shallow bowl.  You can add in a few chocolate chips or some nuts if you want, just don’t go overboard on the chocolate chips, it doesn’t cook as well.  We’ve been adding about 2 Tbsp chocolate chips and about a dozen nuts.  I like pecans, Mike likes almonds, they both work well!

Microwave 1 minute plus 10-15 seconds, allow to cook 5 minutes before serving.

Really good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!

Sunday

We went to Mom’s to celebrate Dad’s birthday, a couple weeks late, but at least we didn’t take all those colds and infections over there with us!  Burgers, baked beans, potato salad, chips…  LOVE picnic food!!

Oh, and I did my nails Saturday, between loads of laundry, tell me what you think!

Had fun with this one!

Anyway, that’s it for last week…  Already working on this week, probably not a lot new, but some good stuff nonetheless…

Until then, eat well, love well, live well!!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 264 – 270 (Week 39)

September 30, 2012 at 10:16 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!!

Everyone was actually healthy, no one missed any work or school, feels like we should celebrate!!  And it was a pay week, so of course we went a little overboard this weekend, but that’s nothing new.

The only stories for this week revolve around my fun day yesterday, the rest of the week was kind of quiet.  But, it was a pay week, so we did the Friday night out, more on that a little further down.  And then Saturday…

Started the day getting my nails done, getting my toes done (hurt a bit, but SO worth it!), got my hair cut.  William joined me for this part of the trip, he likes to sit in the massage chair while I get my nails done.   Then we made a quick trip into Winn Dixie to see what meats they had on special.  Got two pot roasts, two packs of boneless pork chops and stir fry beef for $32.

Then it was off to Game Stop to get William the current free character for Pokemon, and he put a game on order.

Next, my first trip to the local Oriental Market.  WOW!  I could spend a whole day in there if I didn’t have William sitting the car waiting!!  Maybe next time…  But I did get some cool food for Saturday movie night.  More on that below.  And I think I found the elephant I want for my desk, but I didn’t want to spend the $8 that day…  kind of glad I didn’t get him this week, since I ended up spending almost $400 on groceries at Walmart later!!  Still haven’t figured out how I spent so much, I didn’t feel like I got that much, but I think prices are going up little by little.  Have to pay more attention to the individual items next time, see if I can figure it out…

So, sort of a “me” day, sort of a “me and William” day, sort of a shopping day, all in all, a very GOOD day, even if it was expensive.

Monday

Spaghetti with Beef and Sausage Sauce

1 box Dream Fields angel hair pasta, cooked to package directions

1 pound ground beef

1 pound mild Italian sausage

1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce

Brown and drain ground beef and sausage together, crumbling as fine as you can.  Put the meat back in the pan, add in the sauce, and heat while you cook the pasta.  Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday

Pork Roast Everglades

1/2 pork loin roast, about 2-3 pounds

1 quart water (will NOT cover the roast, that’s OK!!)

1/8 cup original Everglades seasoning (the green one)

Put everything in the crock pot, set on LOW, cook 8-10 hours.

Remove from pot, slice and serve!  We had some steamed veggies along with this, it was YUMMY!!!

Wednesday

Chicken Bacon Ranch Wraps

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 pound bacon

Dry Ranch dressing mix

Flour tortillas

Cook the bacon crispy, set aside.

Clean any excess skin or fat from the chicken, cut into very small pieces, cook over medium heat just until no longer pink.  Sprinkle with about 2-3 Tbsp dry ranch dressing mix, mix well and cook about 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat.

Spoon a couple large spoonfuls of chicken into a tortilla, add in 2 slices bacon, cheese if you want it, and a little bit of prepared ranch dressing, wrap and serve!

Bacon Grilled Cheese

William’s idea…

Basically, we saved a few slices of cooked bacon from the wraps, and put them inside a grilled cheese sandwich, and it was AWESOME!

Thursday

James brought us Wendy’s for dinner

Friday

Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, Yogurtology, comic book store

Gotta say, the pizza was REALLY good, the yogurt was over priced and just not that good.  The store was cool, and William enjoyed it, but it was just GOOD, not GREAT, and for $20, it should have been AMAZING!!!

Saturday

Steamed buns with chicken (purchased at the Oriental market – OK, not great)

Steamed dumplings with chicken (same as above)

Fried dumplings with chicken (same as above – would have been better deep fried rather than pan fried)

Quick cheesecake (I bought a graham cracker crust, and a container of Philly pre-made cheesecake filling, and put them together)

Sunday

Southwest Egg Rolls

Egg Roll wrappers

2 pounds Ground beef

2 cans Black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup Taco seasoning

1 1/2 cups Water

Brown and drain ground beef, add in water, taco seasoning and beans, mix well, cook until sauce thickens, remove from heat, allow to cool at least 1 hour.

Put an egg roll wrapper on a plate, spoon in about 2-3 Tbsp filing.

Fold up bottom, tighten up the filling inside, fold in the sides roll forward, dampen the last open tip of the wrapper and finish rolling.  Repeat with remaining filling and wrappers.

When done, fry in oil over medium heat, about 1-2 minutes per side or until golden brown.  Serve with your favorite salsa.

Vegetarian Egg Rolls

Egg Roll Wrappers

1 head cabbage, shredded extra fine

12 baby carrots, shredded extra fine

3 Tbsp Hoisin sauce

2 Tbsp Teriyaki sauce

Mix the cabbage, carrots and sauces.

Lay an egg roll wrapper on a plate, spoon in about 2 Tbsp filling.

Fold up bottom and tighten up the filling a little.

Fold in the sides, and roll ONCE.

Dampen the last tip with water and finish rolling.

Continue filling wrappers until you run out of filling or wrappers.

When done, fry in oil heated over medium heat, about 1-2 minutes per side or until golden brown.

Remove from oil to paper towels, serve with your favorite sauce, I prefer Duck sauce since the Hoisin is a little spicy.

Southwest Wonton Bites

Wonton wrappers

Leftover filling from the SW egg rolls above

Put the wonton on a plate, put in about 1 tsp filling, dampen two edges of the wrapper.

Fold over into a triangle.

Dampen the two furthest corners and fold in towards each other.

Repeat until you run out of wrappers or filling!

Fry in oil over medium heat, almost exactly 1 minute per side, just a few seconds more maybe, or until golden brown.

Serve with salsa!

Mongolian Beef

About 1 pound stir fry beef

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp ground ginger

3 Tbsp soy sauce

1 1/2 Tbsp honey

1 Tsp rice wine

2 Tbsp water

3 green onions, green part only, cut into 1″ strips

2 Tbsp oil for frying

Put oil in frying pan, heat over medium heat.  Add in beef, cook just until no longer pink.  Mix the rest of the ingredients (except the onion) in a cup, pour over beef, add 1 Tbsp corn starch or flour to thicken, cook about 8-10 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened.  Add in onions and serve!

Orange Chicken

4 – 5 boneless skinless chicken thighs

2 Tsp orange extract

2 Tbsp honey

1/2 Tsp ground ginger

1 Tsp minced garlic

1 Tbsp flour or corn starch

Trim chicken thighs of any large pieces of skin or fat, cut into very small pieces.  Cook over medium heat with just a touch of oil, cook until no longer pink.  Add in remaining ingredients, stir well, cook just until sauce thickens.  Serve!

Virginia light rolls (sort of!)

This is a recipe I got from my mom, but I have no idea where she got it, and I changed it!

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

3 Tbsp honey

2 large eggs

6 Tbsp butter cut into small pieces

2 1/4 cups white bread flour

2 cups 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.  You should get 15 balls, pan should end up 3 across and 5 rows.

Cover, let rise for 45 minutes.

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

Serve with butter and honey!!

Bacon Egg and Cheese Casserole

12 eggs

1 Cup half and half (fat free)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese

1 pound bacon

2 Tbsp flour

Cut the bacon into small pieces, cook until crispy, drain.

Mix the eggs, half and half, cheeses and flour, pour about 2/3 into a greased 13″ x 9″ dish.  Sprinkle about 2/3 of the bacon into the eggs, push it down into the eggs.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve!

Bacon Egg Cheese and Spinach Casserole

Take the rest of the egg mixture and bacon, pour into a greased casserole dish (or in my case a souffle dish), add in about 1 cup frozen spinach thawed.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve!

And that’s it!  I cooked all day, and my feet hurt, but it was ALL so good!!

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

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