The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 204-207

July 28, 2012 at 6:47 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , )

Oh, I have been SO slacking off this week!  I am so sorry!!!

And I’m sorry to tell you I really don’t have anything for you today, either!  I just wanted to say HI to everyone and share what’s going on in our little corner of the world.

So, let’s play catch-up…

Wednesday, first day as an actual employee where I work, last full pay check from the temp folks.  Also got my PTO time actually in the system, so I put in for a day off for when Mike has to go get his colonoscopy (oh what fun).  Still have time in my bank, figure I’ll leave it there, maybe plan a long weekend some time.  I think Mike has time banked, too, so maybe we can plan a couple days off together now!

Since I got paid, and it was a LONG day at work (lots of changes, scrambling to figure out what I’m doing, sharing info with folks who took over some of my stuff, getting things from other folks where I took some of their stuff, just craziness!) I sprang for burgers and fries from Five Guys.  I am SOOO glad we don’t eat their very often, it’s entirely too expensive for burgers and fries, but I have to admit, it was really good this time.  Last time, it was sort of blah, but this time, it was good!  I think maybe we have to be away from it for a while before it tastes really good!

Thursday, still a little crazy at work, playing catch up, figuring things out, helping other people figure their new stuff out, getting back into my routine.  By the end of the day, I was re-organized and ready to go.  Got some follow-ups done, worked on some reports, felt like I had actually made some progress.  Of course, I have a nemesis at work, this one girl who just doesn’t like me for whatever reason, is always treating me like I smell bad or something, huffs at me, snubs me, the whole nine yards…  and of course, we traded some properties in this whole re-org, so we had to speak to each other.  I try so hard to be nice, tried to give her some print outs, lists that have helped me, share info, she didn’t want anything to do with it because it wasn’t the way she would do it, her words “oh nevermind, I’ll just get it myself!”  I wanted to slap her SO bad, but I was good!!!  I filed away what I had, figure sooner or later I’ll need it for something.

James got called in to work, so I was without a vehicle, and still tired after work, Mike was working late, so William and I ordered pizza from Jets.  And once again, I will say, if you have a Jets pizza around, try them!!!  I’m not a huge fan of thick crust pizzas, but theirs is awesome!!!  And their bacon cheese bread sticks, yummy!!!

Friday, well, things calmed down a little at work.  Getting a feel for my new vendors, learning their issues, their strengths and weaknesses.  Talked to a bunch of new folks on the phone, they all seemed really nice and eager to work, so that’s a bonus.  Felt like I accomplished a lot, cleaned up some messes, felt good!  Plus, we had the monthly birthday and work anniversary celebration, so there were goodies, always a plus!

Mike and I made chicken nachos, guess I could share that one with you…  it’s really simple, but very tasty!

Chicken Nachos

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/4 cup taco seasoning

1/4 cup dried onion flakes

2 Tbsp garlic powder

Shredded cheese



Fill a large pot with water, add in the taco seasoning, garlic powder and onion, add in the chicken.  Heat over medium heat for about 45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.  Remove chicken and shred or cut into small pieces.

Put your favorite tortilla chips on a plate, spread out a little, top with some of the chicken, top with your favorite shredded cheese.  Microwave for 1 and 1/2 minutes, or until cheese is well melted.  Top with your favorite salsa, sour cream, or whatever YOU like on your nachos!

And here we are, it’s Saturday.  Time to catch up on chores that get ignored all week now that I’m working, time to relax a little between loads of laundry, time to hang with the family…

So of course, Mike was up and out before I even got out of bed, he had a CT scan this morning, part of his annual follow-up with Moffitt. So far, all the blood work and such is coming back good, so he’s feeling a little more comfortable with the whole “survivor” idea, and the fact that he IS one!

I got William up around 9, we had breakfast together, then I went and got my toes done.  Got back just a few minutes before Mike did, and we all had lunch together, or at least in the same room.  Went grocery shopping, ran into Candy and David, that was cool.  William has been bugging her today asking if he can go over, or Noah can come over here.  She finally invited him over for the night, they are having home made pizza, I’m sort of jealous!  Mike and I then went back to Walmart, filled water jugs, picked up William’s prescription, got salad makings for dinner.  We are both sort of in the mood for a light meal, so here’s what we’re having:

Grilled Chicken Salad

Fresh salad greens of your choice (I got both an iceburg blend and a field green mix)

Grilled chicken (yes, we got premade)

Crispy bacon pieces

Ranch dressing, or your favorite

Shredded cheese

Put it all together and you’ve got an easy fresh dinner!

So, that’s really it for now.  Maybe I’ll cook up something interesting tomorrow, thinking meatloaf..

Until then, 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 96

April 6, 2012 at 10:50 pm (Food) (, , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you’re all having a fabulous Friday!

Been kind of quiet around here, just the usual stuff.  Getting James to and from both jobs, at least until this time next week when one of them ends.  William was off school today, had a friend over in the morning, went to a friend’s in the afternoon, so it was really quiet for a while.  Can’t say I did much of anything today, didn’t even really cook anything.  Got chicken strips, popcorn chicken, macaroni salad and potato salad from Walmart, had some salad leftover from last night, made a nice chicken salad for myself, guess I could share that with you…

Denise’s BBQ Chicken Salad

2 fried chicken strips, cut into bit sized pieces

About 1 cup chopped lettuce of your choice

Other salad veggies of your choice (I had tomatoes and green peppers left over)

1/2 cup mandarin orange segments

1/4 cup each BBQ sauce and ranch dressing, mixed together

Mix everything up in a large serving bowl, add a fork and dig in!

William had the popcorn chicken, chicken strips and oranges (one of the few fruits I can get him to eat), couldn’t talk him into a salad tonight.  Mike just kind of ate a little of everything, and that’s OK.  That’s kind of what Friday’s are supposed to be about, everyone gets a little something they like.  I’m just glad we’ve gotten away from burgers every Friday, or all that fast food!

Anyway, I’m off to make some chocolate chip cookies so we can have ice cream sandwiches a little later.  So until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 95

April 6, 2012 at 12:07 am (Food) (, , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!

It was another good day around here, hope yours is just as good!  Started laundry, cleaned up the kitchen AFTER I made the mess tonight (so I’m ahead for tomorrow, woo hoo!), cleaned the cat box, did the usual shuttling kids around, made a bracelet that turned out really well,

 (sterling and Swarovski crystals)

and only spent a few hours hunting those stupid Easter Eggs on Lima Beads today.  I did find a couple more, but I need two more to get the next free item…  guess I know what I’m doing tomorrow!

Anyway, good dinner tonight, here’s what was on the menu:

Cube Steak (a different way)

1 package cube steaks (I get the three packs)

1 carton beef broth

1 can cream of mushroom soup

Place all ingredients in crock pot (yeah I know, I use it a LOT), cook on LOW at least 6 hours, longer if you can.  Remove meat from pot and serve.  You could make a gravy out of the juices in the pot, would probably be really good, but I didn’t this time.

We had this with garlic bread (Walmart bakery) and a fresh salad.  William made his meat and bread into a sandwich with cheese.  I got pics!

 Here’s my plate!

 William’s sandwich.

He had salad, too, but his salad is always just lettuce and ranch dressing.

Anyway, that’s it for tonight.  Until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 64

March 6, 2012 at 2:09 am (Food) (, , , , , , , )

Almost forgot to post again!  OOPS!

So, hello again, and welcome back!  Good night around here, even though it’s Monday, which means scouts, plus the added time sucker of working on a Pinewood Derby car, and working on making blankets for our next camping trip, but then again, it’s not like I have a lot of other things going on right now…  Here was our menu tonight:

Rice, cooked in the rice cooker, but made with beef broth instead of water (REALLY good!)

Polska Kielbasa, cut into rings, then the rings cut into quarters, fried without any added oil or butter

Sauerkraut, sorry, this was canned (gotta learn how to make this!)


Green beans with bacon (leftovers from a couple of nights ago)

Fresh salad

Sorry, no photos tonight, completely forgot!

Not sure what’s on tap for tomorrow, but I need to get a little more creative.  Maybe something in the crock pot….

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 30

February 1, 2012 at 1:24 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

WOW!  Sort of a milestone for me, 30 days straight!  WOO HOO!

Welcome back!  Hope you’re still enjoying my ramblings and recipes.  Hey, that’s a good book title, “Ramblings and Recipes”!  I’ll have to remember that…

Tonight, we went sort of old school, and I have to say, I will NEVER buy another “pot roast” from Walmart or Sam’s!  I don’t think I’ve ever had a tougher piece of meat in my life.  I even had trouble cutting it with a steak knife, and that after 4 hours in the crock pot, which usually turns any piece of meat into wonderful tender yummyness.  Not this time!

ANYWAY, here was the menu:

Pot Roast (go ahead and splurge on a decent piece of meat, Winn Dixie usually has good stuff, and they put it on sale every few weeks!)

3-4 pound pot roast with SOME marbling, but not TOO MUCH fat

1 medium onion, chopped into roughly 8 wedges (or you can cheat like I did and add about a cup of dried onion flakes!)

1 Tbsp rosemary leaves (I put my in a tea ball so I wouldn’t have to fish them all out again before making gravy)

Place roast in crock pot, add onion and tea ball with rosemary leaves inside, cover with water or beef broth (I prefer broth, but I didn’t have any tonight…  😦

Cook on LOW 8 hours, or until extremely tender and falling apart.

Remove from pot, and let rest while you use the juices from the pot to make gravy.  Then slice and serve!


Strain juices from crock pot (above!), mix with “brown gravy” mix using measurements from the package. (yeah, I know, it’s cheating!) Bring to a boil, simmer 1 minute or until nice and thick.  Serve!

Cheese Toast (James made this tonight)

Slice fresh bread loaf, French or Italian breads work well.  Slice enough so everyone gets two slices.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Spray ONE SIDE ONLY with butter flavor cooking spray.  Cook, sprayed side up, at 400 degrees for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven, turn bread over, sprinkle with shredded cheese of your choice (ours tonight was a blend of mozzarella, cheddar and provolone), cook another 5 minutes at 400 degrees, or until cheese is fully melted and edges of bread are toasty.  Serve.

We also had canned (GASP!) veggies, just because I have a pantry full of them to get rid of, and I ate the last of the leftover Brussels Sprouts from a couple of nights ago, which I have to say taste even better having sat in the fridge mixing it up for a couple of days, they were AWESOME, some plain cooked egg noodles (really good with gravy over them) plus we had a nice fresh salad.

So, to wrap it up, HORRIBLE roast, GREAT bread, AWESOME Brussels Sprouts (who ever thought those words would ever go together in the same sentence, right?!) and OK everything else.  Definitely a filling meal, and everyone got SOMETHING they liked.

Tomorrow, curried chicken and home made Mac N Cheese, James style.

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 23

January 25, 2012 at 12:45 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , )

Hello friends, and welcome back!  So glad you’ve joined me again for my nightly food ramblings.  I have to say, tonight’s dinner was a HUGE success, so much so that almost all the food is GONE, and even William didn’t have anything bad to say about anything on the table!  And the best part, I didn’t have a recipe, this one was all mine!!  🙂

So, here’s what I cooked up, you have got to give this a try and let me know if your family liked it as much as mine did!

Denise’s Fried Chicken

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, approx 2 lbs, trimmed of any leftover skin (they always have a little, don’t they?), and pounded to approx 1/4-1/2″ thick (yes, I finally bought a meat tenderizer/hammer, so my rolling pin is safe once again LOL!)

1/2 a box Progresso Panko bread crumbs (I had a coupon)

1/4 cup Everglades seasoning (I’ve been looking for new ways to use this)

1 tsp fresh ground pepper

I added a pinch of salt, and it really didn’t need it with the salt in the Everglades seasoning, so I would advise against adding any extra salt, but that’s really up to you!

2 eggs lightly beaten

1/2 cup flour

Oil for frying


Place flour in a wide shallow bowl, set aside.

Beat eggs in another wide shallow bowl, set aside.

Combine bread crumbs, Everglades seasoning and pepper in another wide shallow bowl, set aside.

Once you’ve pounded out the chicken, cut it into roughly equal portions, mine were about 3″ by about 2″.  Coat each piece in flour, then in egg, then roll it in the breadcrumb mixture.  Fry in oil approx 5 mins per side, or until no longer pink inside.  Serve with or without gravy (I did gravy, just seemed like the thing to do tonight…)

Sauteed Green Beans

1 lb fresh string beans, washed and ends trimmed, cut in half if desired (James did this part for me)

1 Tbsp minced garlic (I keep a bottle of minced garlic on hand because I’m just not any good at mincing!)

2 Tbsp butter

Heat butter in frying pan, add in garlic, stir.  Add in green beans and cook, stirring every few minutes, until tender crisp.  Serve warm.

We also had a nice fresh salad, Welch style, with all the cool stuff in separate containers so everyone could make their salad their way.  James cut everything up for me, which was VERY cool!  I love having help in the kitchen, especially when they know what they’re doing!

All in all, a very good evening, and a very good meal!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 16

January 17, 2012 at 11:57 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , )

Welcome back food buddies!!

Today, we had BBQ beef sandwiches for dinner, they were YUMMY!!!  We also had some leftover potatoes and carrots from last night’s dinner, and a nice fresh salad with Italian dressing.  Still have a couple of those mini banana breads left from last night, but they won’t make it until tomorrow.

I got the idea for the BBQ beef from a friend, think I should give her credit (Candy Allman!).  Not sure exactly what she puts in hers, how long she cooks it or anything like that, but she made some over the weekend, and I said “I can do that!”  So, here’s my take on BBQ beef…

BBQ Beef

1 pot roast of your choice (I used an eye round roast for this**), 2-3 pounds

1-2 boxes beef broth

2 Tbsp garlic powder

1 1/2 – 2 cups BBQ sauce

Put the roast, beef broth and garlic powder in a slow cooker, cook on low 7-8 hours, or high 3-4 hours, or until the meat pulls apart easily with a fork.  Remove the roast from the pot, remove any remaining fat if desired, cut into thick slices, and shred with two forks, literally pull the meat apart.  Put the shredded beef into a large sauce pan, add 1 1/2 – 2 cups BBQ sauce of your choice, I used Great Value brand hickory flavored BBQ sauce.  Heat over medium low for about 15-20 minutes, or until hot.  Serve with sliced buns (I used fresh hard rolls), cole slaw if you want it (I wish I had some tonight, I love cole slaw on BBQ!), and whatever side dishes you want.  This would make a good picnic food, so other picnic foods would probably go well with it, like baked beans, fresh fruit, fruit salad, just whatever you want!  Also makes really good leftovers…

**So I have to tell you, I picked this roast because it doesn’t have a lot of excess fat, and once it’s cooked, it’s easy to see the fat and remove it.  Standing joke in my family, I do “surgery” on steaks before I eat them, have to remove anything that even remotely resembles fat, before I will eat it.  So of course, I couldn’t use a regular pot roast for this, or I would have been standing at that stove for hours removing all the fat, and there wouldn’t have been any BBQ for dinner because I would have gotten frustrated and threw the whole thing out!!

Anywho…  BBQ beef sandwiches are awesome!!  Dinner was a hit, and no roasts ended up in the trash, so it was a good meal.

Not sure what’s on the menu tomorrow just yet, thinking maybe cheese souffle…

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


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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 13

January 15, 2012 at 3:41 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Welcome back my lovies!  Hope you all had a BEAUTIFUL and TASTY day!

We had a yard/estate sale today (and yesterday), got rid of a TON of stuff between our stuff, the last of my grandma’s stuff (she passed away almost 2 years ago now, and all the leftovers were in MY garage!), my friend’s stuff, and her deceased mother in law’s stuff, we literally had her garage STUFFED with stuff!  I am SO happy to say that you can walk through both our garages again, so it was a good couple of days.

Anyway, Saturdays around here are movies and munchies night for our little family, so we had a couple of old stand-by’s, and a couple of new things.  Here’s the whole menu for tonight:

Fresh salad (done just the way I did it yesterday, everything in separate bowls so everyone could pick what they wanted)


Pigs in a blanket

Unroll crescent roll dough, cut each triangle into three triangles

Wrap a “little smoky” in each mini triangle

Place on ungreased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown


Meatballs in Cranberry BBQ Sauce

Place frozen meatballs in crock pot (I did about half a Great Value bag of meatballs, you can use either plain or Italian)

Add 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce, or your own homemade if you do that

Add 1 can jellied cranberry sauce

Cook on either low for 4-5 hours, or high for 2-2 1/2 hours


Frozen stuffed mushrooms (because I haven’t found a recipe I like yet)


Sweet potato waffle fries (yep, store bought those, too)


Blueberry Wontons (this is actually my own creation, let me know if you try them and like them!)

Lay out number of wontons you want to cook (I did about 16 tonight)

Brush two edges with beaten egg

Spoon in 1 tsp blueberry pie filling

Fold over to make a triangle pouch and seal (that egg helps seal those edges, works much better than water, should look like a rangoon when you’re done)

Fry in veggie oil over medium heat for about 30-45 seconds per side, should be a light golden brown and crisp

Remove from oil and drain on paper towels

Dust with powdered sugar just before serving!


Apple pie filling, and dust with cinnamon sugar

Cherry pie filling, dust with powdered sugar

Pumpkin pie filling, dust with cinnamon sugar

Lemon pie filling, dust with powdered sugar

Leftover sweet potato casserole (you know, sweet potatoes, butter, brown sugar, marshmallows), pureed, dusted with cinnamon sugar


And leftover rice custard from last night.  I have to tell you, it turned out very tasty, but it is absolutely NOT rice pudding, it is definitely rice CUSTARD.  Still hunting for that perfect home made rice pudding recipe…

And, I forgot to take pictures again, and it’s all gone already…

Tomorrow night, I try my hand at fish tacos…  look out family mine!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 12

January 14, 2012 at 2:02 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Welcome back friends and family!

Tonight’s dinner went over much better than last night’s!  Except for William, everyone liked my take on burgers…

I combined hamburger meat (I think it was ground chuck), onion soup mix and egg, then turned it into patties and cooked them on the George Foreman grill.  (I have to say, I like cooking on that thing, but I’m not liking the clean up!  There must be a trick I’m missing…)  Then, I sliced up some fresh pineapple and grilled a few of the slices as well.  I picked up some fresh made hard rolls at Walmart and sliced those open instead of pre-made hamburger rolls, which are sort of bland.  Then everyone got to pick what kind of cheese they wanted on their burger, American, Swiss or cheddar, the onion burger, grilled pineapple if they wanted it, and then whatever sauce they wanted.  Most of us thought the burgers were really good, but William said the soup flavor was too strong, so he had a sandwich and a salad.

Oh yeah, I made a HUGE salad to go with our burgers, but I’m getting smarter…  I chopped up green onion, green pepper, cucumber, tomato, carrot and celery to go with the lettuce, but I put them each in separate containers so everyone could have what they wanted on their salad, too!  (Yeah, I have a house full of picky eaters, but I’m learning how to get around them! LOL)

And on the stove now, I’m making rice custard pudding, which should take a couple of hours according to the recipe, so I’ll have to let you know tomorrow how it turned out!

Here’s the recipe:

4 cups milk divided

1/2 cup uncooked long-grain rice

1/4 cup butter

3 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

In the top of a double boiler, combine rice and 2 cups milk.  Cook, stirring occasionally over boiling water until rice is tender and most of the water has evaporated, about 45 minutes.  Stir in butter.

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, blend in sugar, vanilla, salt and 2 cups milk.  Stir into hot rice mixture.  Pour into a lightly greased 2 qt. casserole and top with nutmeg.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until firm.

Serve warm or chilled.  Leftovers make good breakfast!

Until tomorrow, eat well my friends!

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