The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza day 299-305 (week 44)

November 4, 2012 at 10:02 pm (Food, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you all had an amazing week, and were inspired by something, anything at all, to do something new or interesting.  I’ve been trying all kinds of new things lately, and it’s been awesome!

For starters, technically, on paper at least, I’m still the scout-master of the cub scout pack William was in last school year.  So, I get things in the mail, like the ID cards for the new scouts this year, so I had to trek out to the scout meeting Monday night, kind of got sucked into a conversation with some of the current scout moms, was there a LITTLE longer than the 5 minutes I had planned on.

Halloween was Tuesday, and that always makes things interesting.  Got home from work, with William, at about 5:30.  Not even close to dark yet, but kids being kids, he was a little anxious to get out there and start collecting candy.  So, quick dinner of a sandwich and chips for him, and off we went to his friend’s house so they could go together.  We get there, his dad had made chili, and since I didn’t actually get to eat, I had some.   Ummm…  I’m not much for spicy food, but I was SO hungry, I ate more than I probably should have, even though my mouth was burning from the first bite.  I didn’t want to be rude, but it really wasn’t my thing!  I think I need to find a chili recipe I like, and play with it until it’s the way I like chili!!  Anyway, we had to wait around a little for a couple other boys to show up, but not long, they were all excited!  And for the first time I can remember, I didn’t take the boys out!!  William’s friend Noah’s dad took them all, they were gone for over an hour, and they came back very happy with their haul!  Then all the adults got to sit around and talk while the boys played video games for about an hour, very nice!  We don’t have many friends outside of work and family, so this was really a nice change for us.

Before I forget, here’s the pumpkin I made for the office:

I did decoupage with construction paper leaves, sprinkled on a little glitter, painted some veins on the leaves, added some cute wire spirals on top and hung paper bats from them.

So, the rest of the week was relatively quiet on the home front.  Mike had a good week at work, including working Saturday at the travelling Vietnam wall, (did I mention he works for the VA?) met some nice folks, made some good contacts for work.

End of the month for me is always a little hectic, but was relatively calm this time around.  My vendors did mostly what they were supposed to do, I found out some new computer tricks for them for using the company website, so it was actually a good week!  While Mike was working Saturday, I spent the day doing little chores around the house, cleaned the cat box, kept laundry going, did dishes, cleaned up the kitchen, got ready for cooking today.  Got blood work done, VOTED, picked up prescriptions, did my nails, too!  But I didn’t try to do it all one right after the other like I usually do, I took little breaks between chores, so I didn’t feel like I had been running all day, felt good to have things done!  Didn’t make the curtains I was supposed to make for my friend, but I got so much cooking done today, I should be able to knock them out tomorrow after work.

Oh, and since I finished that blue cuff bracelet last weekend, I started a new one in golds and browns, looks very classy so far.  I’m really liking it!!  Part of yesterday, though, was sorting out some beads, taking some of the cuff bases I made last weekend and putting together beads with the cuffs in bags, so I’m ready to start the next one as soon as this one is done.  I am SO loving this bead embroidery!  I conquered my fear of it, and it’s AWESOME!

So, I know you’re here for the food, not the gossip, so I guess I should get to it!  Here we go…

Monday

Parmesan Orzo

1/2 box Orzo pasta, cooked to package directions

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 stick butter, melted

Melt butter in the hot pan from the pasta, add back the pasta and the cheese, mix well.  Serve!

Chicken Sausage

1 package chicken sausage, cut into rounds, then the rounds cut into quarters

Pan fry until browned and almost crispy.  Serve over your favorite pasta!

Steamed veggies

No broccoli at the store when I went shopping, so we had peas, green beans and carrots.  Nothing fancy, just cooked in the microwave. Fill a microwave safe dish with veggie of choice, add a little butter, salt and pepper, microwave on HIGH 5 minutes for a small bowl, about 1/2 a bag, or 7 minutes for a large bowl, or a whole bag.  Comes out perfect every time!

Tuesday

I will be totally honest, I forgot to write it down, and whatever it was, it was so BLAH, I don’t remember what it was!

Wednesday

Sandwiches and candy!  Hope you all had a HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

Thursday

Chicken Fillet Sandwiches

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 cup flour

1/8 cup Everglades seasoning (orange one this time, could have used a little more!)

3 eggs

Oil for frying

Bread or tortillas, your choice!

Trim any excess skin or fat from chicken, cut into strips about 1/2″ wide, the full thickness of the breast.

Place the pieces between two layers of plastic wrap, and pound them to about 1/4 in thick or less with a meat hammer.

Beat the eggs and put them in a wide shallow dish.

Mix the flour and seasoning in another wide shallow bowl.

Dip the chicken pieces first in the egg, then in the flour.

Fry in a skillet over medium heat, about 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown.

Serve on bread or wrapped in a tortilla, with your favorite sauce and toppings!  YUM!

Steamed Veggies

Once again, green beans, peas and carrots.

Friday

Braised Pork Chops

4 boneless pork chops

1 can diced tomatoes

1 packet Flavor Boost veggie flavor

1 Tsp garlic powder

Preheat a deep pan over medium heat.  Sear pork chops without any added fat until browned on both sides.  The fat on the chops is enough!  Add in tomatoes with all their liquid, flavor packet, garlic, and salt and pepper to your taste.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer about 15 minutes or until chops are done through.  Serve with a little of the tomato sauce and some Parmesan cheese, YUM!!

Biscuits

Sorry, not homemade, canned, but still yummy!

Steamed Veggies

The usual, green beans, peas and carrots, but I glazed the carrots with a little brown sugar this time.

Here’s my plate:

Saturday

Bacon Cheeseburger Roll

Got this idea from a post I saw on Facebook, but theirs was for a taco roll…

1 pound ground beef

2 cans crescent rolls

1 pound bacon

About 1 cup shredded cheese

Corn meal to sprinkle on pizza stone

Cut bacon into bite sized pieces, cook until crispy, set aside.

Cook ground beef until no longer pink, drain, mix in bacon.

While those are cooking, sprinkle a pizza stone with a little cornmeal to keep the roll dough from sticking.  Separate the crescent rolls into triangles.  Lay them on the pizza stone, overlapping towards the center, so that the sort of look like a flower, skinny ends out towards the edges.  Press the overlapping pieces together, and flatten them as much as you can towards the center, fill the hole if you can!

Sprinkle on about 1/3 of the cheese, then spoon in the meat mixture.  You MIGHT have a little leftover, depends on how much you want to pile up the meat.

Fold the outer “petals” of dough into the center, pressing them into the middle.  Top with remaining cheese.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, cover with foil for the first half, remove for the second half.

Microwave Chocolate Chip Cookies (for the boys)

1 egg yolk

1 Tbsp butter, melted

1 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp brown sugar

3 drops vanilla

1/4 cup flour

2 Tbsp chocolate chips

Mix egg yolk, sugars, vanilla and butter together until smooth.  Add in flour, working into a soft dough.  Work in chips.  Microwave on HIGH 50 seconds.  Allow to cook at least 2 minutes before serving!

Apple Cherry Microwave Dessert

1 small apple

1/4 cup dried cherries

1/8 cup brown sugar

1/8 cup oats

1 Tbsp melted butter

Core apple, cut into small slices, place in microwave safe dish.  Add in butter, brown sugar, oats.  Microwave on HIGH 1 minute.  Add in cherries, stir well, microwave on HIGH another 1-3 minutes, depending on your microwave.  Cook until cherries are plump, and apples are soft.  Mine took 1 minute, but some microwaves might take more.  Allow to cool at least 3 minutes!  Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it’s AWESOME!

Sunday

Or should I say COOKING DAY!  Wow, I feel like I accomplished so much today!

Sausage Egg and Cheese Casserole

12 eggs

1 cup half and half

3 Tbsp flour

4 sausage patties

1 cup shredded cheese

Spray a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish with butter flavor cooking spray.

Thaw sausage patties, cut into VERY small pieces.  Put in the prepared dish.

Mix eggs, half and half, flour and shredded cheese together.  Pour over sausage in prepared dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

For us, I let this cool completely, cut it into 8 pieces, and put them in containers for quick breakfasts on the run during the week.

Bread Machine Focaccia

1 Cup warm water

3 cups flour (I did 2 cups white bread flour and 1 cup wheat flour)

1 Tsp salt

1 1/2 Tsp olive oil

2 Tsp dried oregano (or in my case, I didn’t have oregano, so I used Italian seasoning mix)

1 1/2 Tsp bread machine yeast

Put all this in the bread machine, in the order listed, set machine to DOUGH and turn it on.

When done, turn dough out onto a floured surface.

Oil a jelly roll pan, or like I did a pizza pan.  Stretch and press dough into pan, cover and let rise for 40-45 minutes or until doubled.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Poke the dough with your finger tips creating small indentations.

Mix 3 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp minced garlic, sprinkle over dough.  Then spinkle over 1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley.  Bake at 400 degrees 25-30 minutes or until deep golden brown.  Cool completely, cut into wedges and serve.

Potato and Parsnip Gratin

3 large potatoes

4 medium parsnips

Parmesan cheese

1 cup half and half

Salt and pepper to taste

Garlic powder

Wash and peel potatoes.  Slice on a mandolin.  Pour over some salted water to keep from browning.

Wash and peel parsnips and slice on the mandolin.

Spray a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish with butter flavor cooking spray.

Start layering potatoes in the bottom of the dish.  Layer in parsnips. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, Parmesan cheese.  Repeat.  Should have four layers of potatoes and parsnips.  Pour on half and half, press down to work out air bubbles and make sure the cream is saturated into the layers.  Top with a little extra Parmesan.  Cover with tin foil.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, remove foil, bake another 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are soft to a fork.  Serve!

I actually let these cool, cut into 8 servings, and put them in containers for later in the week.

Perfect Baked Potatoes

Wash and dry large baking potatoes, however many you want to cook.  Poke holes all the way around the potato.

Coat with a little olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt.  Now, you can put them right on the rack in the oven, or you can put them in a pan.  In the pan takes just a little longer, but I like it better because they are easier to handle as a group rather than one at a time.

Bake at 350 degrees for at least an hour, longer if needed depending on how big your potatoes are.  Mine were so big, I cooked them for an hour and a half, and they could have used a little more time.  They are done when you can cut them open, give them a little squeeze, and they pop open nice and fluffy.

Serve with your favorite toppings!

Potato and Parsnip Chips

So, I had a few slices of potatoes and parsnips leftover from making the gratin, and William has been asking for parsnip chips (hard to believe, but it’s true!), so I made some.

Heat about 1″ deep oil in a small saucepan over medium heat, drop in a handful of EITHER parsnips or potatoes, they do take different amounts of time to cook.  Potatoes take about 3-5 minutes to cook, parsnips take 1-2 minutes to cook.  Remove from heat, sprinkle with a little salt, and serve!

Chicken Fillets

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 cup flour

1/8 cup Everglades seasoning (green this time)

3 eggs

Oil for frying

Bread or tortillas, your choice!

Trim any excess skin or fat from chicken, cut into strips about 1/2″ wide, the full thickness of the breast.

Place the pieces between two layers of plastic wrap, and pound them to about 1/4 in thick or less with a meat hammer.

Beat the eggs and put them in a wide shallow dish.

Mix the flour and seasoning in another wide shallow bowl.

Dip the chicken pieces first in the egg, then in the flour.

Fry in a skillet over medium heat, about 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown.

Serve on bread or wrapped in a tortilla, with your favorite sauce and toppings!  YUM!

Pan Fried Steaks

2 New York strip steaks

2 Tbsp butter

Salt and pepper

Large skillet, over medium heat, melt butter, add steaks, sprinkle with salt and pepper, cook about 7 minutes per side for medium well.  Boy were these good!  Sorry, didn’t get photos, but I was pretty proud of how they came out.  I think it’s probably been 20 years since I’ve done a steak this way!

Steamed Veggies

The usual, green beans, peas, carrots.

So, all in all, a very busy day, but a really good one!  I had FUN!!

And to end the post, here are the nails for this week…

So that’s it for this week!  Hope you all found something inspiring here…

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!

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 118

April 28, 2012 at 9:35 pm (Food) (, , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope your weekend is starting out well.  It’s been kind of quiet around here…

Took all the guys to get hair cuts, probably should have gotten one myself, but not sure what I want to do with mine yet.  Got my toes done instead, that was NICE!  Hopefully once the paychecks start, I can do that every couple of weeks, maybe get my nails done, too.  Other than that, did laundry, watched movies, and made pizza, that’s about it for today.

So here’s the pizza recipe, it’s kind of a cheat, but it was pretty good.

Pizza

2 store bought pizza crusts (I found an off brand that had two in the package at Walmart)

1 jar pizza sauce

1 package mozzarella cheese, 4 cup size (you’ll only use about half)

1 package pepperoni

1 package diced ham

1 package sausage crumbles, pre-cooked (Hormel brand)

Remove pizza crusts from package, place on pizza pan or cookie sheet.  Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Brush crusts with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and garlic powder, especially close to the edges.  Spread half a jar of the pizza sauce on each crust (less if you like, that’s really up to you!).  Top with pepperoni, ham and sausage (or topping of YOUR choice, again, this is your pizza, put what you like on it!).  Cover with about 1 cup shredded cheese, making sure to get it over all the sauce, close to the edges, but not hanging over the sides.  Cook at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes, cut into 6-8 slices, serve!

I think my next project will be figuring out how to make home made crusts in the bread machine and freeze them.  Then I’ll have to work on my sauce, and get back into canning so we always have it around.

Anyway, it’s movie night, so I’m going to get off here now.  Until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 80

March 22, 2012 at 12:06 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , )

Hello again my friends, and welcome back!  Happy to have you here!

Well, it was an interesting day…  the usual running around, getting William to and from school, getting James to and from work, but between the to and the from, I took a three hour nap!  I NEVER take naps, unless I’m sick, but I was just absolutely exhausted.  Guess pulling weeds yesterday took more out of me than I thought.  I woke up sore all over, then the whole nap thing, but I’m much better now.

Anyway, I went for a quick and easy dinner, just because I forgot to take anything out of the freezer last night.  So here’s what we had:

Garden Quiche

1 refrigerated pie crust

3 eggs

1 cup half and half

1/2 cup shredded cheese

Veggies of your choice – tonight I used about 10 cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters, about 1/4 cup chopped green and orange peppers mixed

Meat of your choice – tonight I used cooked crumbled sausage, about 1/2 pound precooked weight.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Put pie crust into GLASS pie plate, prick bottom of crust with a fork and cook 10 minutes unfilled.  Remove from oven and cool while you mix your filling.

Mix eggs, half and half, shredded cheese in a medium bowl.  Place veggies and meat in the bottom of your pie crust, cover with egg mixture.  Cook at 425 degrees 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook 40-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve!

Meat Quiche

1 refrigerated pie crust

3 eggs

1 cup half and half

1/2 cup shredded cheese

1/2 pound sausage, cooked and crumbled

1/4 pound lunch meat ham, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Put pie crust into GLASS pie plate, prick bottom of crust with a fork and cook 10 minutes unfilled.  Remove from oven and cool while you mix your filling.

Mix eggs, half and half, shredded cheese in a medium bowl.  Place meats in the bottom of your pie crust, cover with egg mixture.  Cook at 425 degrees 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook 40-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve!

Sausage Omelette

5 eggs

1/2 cup half and half

1/2 cup shredded cheese

1/2 pound sausage, cooked and crumbled

Preheat large skillet over medium heat.  Spray pan with butter flavor cooking spray.  Mix eggs and half and half in a medium bowl, pour into pan, and allow to cook almost completely before adding cheese and sausage.  When egg mixture is browned on the bottom and almost down through, sprinkle with cooked sausage and cheese, and using two spatulas, fold in half.  Cook about 2-3 minutes, turn over and cook another 2-3 minutes, or until eggs are done through.  Serve!  (We actually cut this into 4 pieces so everyone got some, and with the other food, it was more than enough!)

We also had a nice fresh salad!

Sorry, no photos tonight, I forgot!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 55

February 26, 2012 at 12:52 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!

Feeling much better tonight, so I cooked!!!  And it was fun, tasty, and popular!!  WOO HOO!  Everyone got something they liked, which is always a challenge around here…  So here’s the menu:

Taco Muffins

1 Pkg canned biscuits (I used Great Value, of course), 10 biscuits per can

1 pound ground chuck

2/3 cup cold water

1/4 cup taco seasoning

1/4 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese (again, I used Great Value brand)

Butter flavor cooking spray

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray 10 muffin cups with cooking spray.  Flatten the biscuit dough with your fingers, make it as flat as you can, and place it in a muffin cup.  It should cover most of the way up the sides of the cup.

Brown the ground chuck, drain excess fat, add in water and taco seasonings.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes or until sauce is thickened.  Spoon meat mixture into biscuit lined cups, should use up as much of the meat mixture as possible without overflowing cups, might have a few tablespoons left over.  Top with shredded cheese, using all the cheese across all the muffins.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and biscuit cup is browned.  Serve!

Sausage Sandwiches

1 roll crescent dough

1/2 pound Italian sausage, skins removed

2 slices Provolone cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line baking pan with parchment paper.  Unroll crescent dough on lined pan.  Break into four rectangles, pinching diagonal seams together.

Brown sausage, separating into small (less than bite sized) pieces, make sure it’s cooked through.

Split cheese slices in half, place one half slice on one end of each dough rectangle.  Top with a couple spoonfuls of cooked sausage.  Fold over dough into shorter rectangles, seal edges by pressing with a fork all the way around.  (You can also add a couple spoonfuls of spaghetti sauce if you want, but I didn’t this time.)

Bake at 400 degrees 15-18 minutes. Serve with dipping sauce!

Apple Pie Bites

1 pkg rolled pie crust

1/2 can apple pie filling

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tsp cinnamon

3 Tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, set aside about 2 Tbsp.

Unroll pie crust one at a time, brush with melted butter, sprinkle with half the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Cut with a pizza wheel into 8 pie shaped wedges.  Place a full apple slice with a little of the sauce on the outer edge of each “pie slice”, roll inward towards points.  Place on parchment lined baking sheet.  Repeat with second pie crust.  Brush rolls with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar.  Bake 13-15 minutes or until edges of pie crusts are lightly browned. (mine actually took about 17 minutes total)

Serve warm, with or without ice cream or whipped cream.

Hope you all enjoyed one or all of these recipes!  We certainly did!!  🙂

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 40

February 11, 2012 at 2:12 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , )

Hello friends, and welcome back!

I’m so glad you guys can join me in my nightly ramblings!  As you know, I’ve had some successes, and a few failures, but so far it’s been more good than not, so I’m happy.

Tonight, William picked the recipe, Cheeseburger meatloaf.  Friday is supposed to be burger night, you know, I made that deal with William that we could have burgers on Fridays, supposed to help keep the peace…  well, we talked about it, and as long as the dish is hamburger based, he’s good with it, so I don’t have to make actual BURGERS every Friday!  Thank goodness, I was running out of ideas on how to make them different every week!

So here’s the recipe:

Cheeseburger Meatloaf

1 pound hamburger meat (I used ground chuck)

1/2 cup ketchup, divided in half

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup bread crumbs (I used Italian seasoned)

6 slices American cheese

2 Tsp mustard (I used brown)

2 Tsp dill relish

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix 1/4 cup ketchup, beaten egg, bread crumbs and salt and pepper in a bowl.  Mix in burger VERY WELL.  Spread onto waxed paper into a 10″ x 6″ rectangle.

In a small bowl, mix remaining 1/4 cup ketchup, mustard and relish.  Spread onto meat mixture.  Top with 4 slices American cheese.  Using waxed paper to lift, roll into a spiral starting with a shorter edge, will only roll a couple times, don’t expect too much!  Make sure to only use the paper to lift and help roll, don’t include it IN the meat roll!

Place meat roll into a loaf pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Top with remaining cheese slices, put back in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until cheese it just melted, not browned. (I actually used shredded cheese since I have SO MUCH of it around right now) Remove from oven, allow to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.  Serve!

I also made a “plain” meatloaf, since I had everything together anyway, and I’m glad I did!  Everyone went for seconds, or thirds in some cases, so we actually went through a meatloaf and a half!!  Here’s the other recipe…

Mom’s Meatloaf

1 pound ground chuck

1 pound ground sausage

1/2 cup bread crumbs, Italian seasoned

1 egg

1 can tomato paste (NOT sauce)

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything in a large bowl, USE YOUR HANDS, it will be messy, but it’s the only way to get it all mixed right and smooth.  Put the mixture into a loaf pan, bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Remove from oven and allow to rest at least 10 minutes before slicing.    Serve with mashed potatoes and gravy, it’s awesome!  Also makes really good meatloaf sandwiches the next day…

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

 

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 32

February 3, 2012 at 12:55 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again, and welcome back!!

Tonight, I had help in the kitchen again, BOTH boys this time!  James made the scones, William cracked eggs, it was very cool!  They BOTH want to be chefs some day, and I REALLY have to encourage that!!  I just wish it wasn’t so darn expensive to go to culinary school!  James should be there now…

So, tonight we had breakfast for dinner, here are our recipes.

Oatmeal Scones

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup quick oats

2 Tbsp baking powder

2 Tbsp sugar

2 tsp salt

1 pound butter, cold, diced

1/2 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, MAKE IT with 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 tsp lemon juice)

1/2 cup real maple syrup

4 eggs beaten

1 egg beat

1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp milk (this is the egg wash)

Glaze

1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix flours, oats, baking powder, sugar and salt.  Blend in diced cold butter just until crumbly.

Combine buttermilk, syrup and 4 eggs, QUICKLY add to dry mixture, blend well.  Will be sticky.

Dump onto floured surface, flour hands and rolling pin, roll out dough to 3/4 – 1″ thick.  Cut into rounds using biscuit cutter.  Move rounds onto baking sheets covered with parchment.  Brush with egg wash.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from baking sheets to cooling racks, allow to cool at least 20 minutes, or until completely cool if time allows.  Coat with glaze and serve.

Very Meaty Breakfast Casserole

4-5 medium potatoes

1 pound sausage, style is up to you, I prefer regular, not spicy

1 pound bacon, cut into small strips

8 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 cup shredded cheese

Cut 4-5 medium potatoes into very small pieces (we’re making home fries), fry in vegetable oil until crisp and golden brown.

Brown and drain sausage, set aside.  Cut bacon into small strips, crisp and drain, set aside.  Lightly beat eggs and milk in a medium bowl, set aside.

Place about half the cooked potatoes into a 13 x 9′ casserole dish.  Add sausage and bacon.  Add shredded cheese.  Pour over egg mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until eggs are done.  Serve with home fries on the side.

It’s almost all gone, so I know it was all good!

So friends, until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 25

January 27, 2012 at 1:38 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello friends!  Welcome back!

Let me start by saying, I’m an idiot!  All the time I had today to cook, and not a SINGLE picture!  Too busy stressing out over websites, Facebook pages, Webelos camping trips, making jewelry, and every other little thing that caught my attention today, that I completely forgot!!!

So, tonight’s meal was interesting, and pretty tasty for the most part.  I have leftovers, so it wasn’t a COMPLETE hit with the family, and I had to make William something else to eat, but it wasn’t bad…

Cherry and Rice Stuffed Pork Roast

1 x 3 lb pork loin roast, butterfly cut and pounded to about 1/4″ thickness

1/3 cup rice (wild rice if you’ve got it)

1 1/4 cups water

1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried cherries (or cranberries)

6 ounces (approx 1/2 roll) bulk sausage

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 cup cold water

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

2 Tbsp flour

Butterfly roast, pound to 1/4″ thickness between two sheets of plastic wrap, set aside.

In small saucepan, boil 1 1/2 cups water, add 1/3 cup rice, dried rosemary and salt, bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer 40-45 minutes or until rice is tender.  Add in chopped cherries or cranberries, set aside.

In skillet, cook sausage with onion, crumble, drain if needed.  Remove from heat. Add in dried thyme and pepper.  Add in cooked rice mixture.

Spread this rice and sausage mixture over your pounded out roast, then roll (starting on a short side) and tie up the roast.  You’ll end up with slices that sort of look like a pinwheel when this is all done.

Place rolled roast in a roasting pan, sprinkle with salt, pepper and more thyme if desired, cover, cook at 325 degrees 2 hours or until thermometer in roast reads 155 degrees minimum. (mine read 180 when it was done, and it was just about perfect)

When done cooking, remove from pan, cover with foil, and allow to stand about 15 minutes while you make gravy with the juices.  Add 1 cup cold water to the pan and whisk to bring up any bits from the bottom of the pan.  Transfer these drippings to a sauce pan, stir in 1/3 cup water mixed with 2 tbsp flour, bring to a boil, stir and cook until thickened.

Slice roast, serve with gravy.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts (yeah, you read that right…  the dreaded Brussels Sprout!)

1 lb fresh Brussels Sprouts

4 slices bacon

1/3 cup coarsely chopped dried cherries (or cranberries)

1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)

Cut bacon into 1/4-1/2″ strips, cook until crisp, DO NOT DRAIN!

Remove ends and loose outer leaves from sprouts.  Cut into quarters.  Toss into pan with bacon, including the fat!  Once the sprouts have gotten brighter green, couple of minutes in the pan, add in the cherries and nuts, then transfer everything to an oven safe dish, cover and bake about 1 hour at 325 degrees, or until sprouts are very tender.  I think maybe I could have done mine maybe 45 minutes and they might have been better, they were a little softer than I wanted, but considering I HATED Brussels Sprouts before trying this recipe, they came out really good!

I made some more of the green beans from last night, sauteed fresh green beans cooked in butter and minced garlic, cooked in a frying pan until crisp-tender only, and a fresh salad to go with the roast and the sprouts.  Made for a very nice meal!

So, busy day, topped off with a good meal, not too shabby!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 24

January 26, 2012 at 3:08 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , )

Hello friends, welcome back to my little world!

I took it a little easy tonight, no big complicated dishes, just good home cooking.  Couple quick recipes for you, but they are REALLY easy, and make for a great family meal.

Bisquick biscuits

2 cups bisquick mix

1/2 cup + 3 Tbsp milk

Mix in a bowl until a thick dough forms.

Either:

Knead 10 times or until smooth, roll out, cut with biscuit cutter and place on ungreased cookie sheet

OR

Divide into 8 blobs and place directly on ungreased cookie sheet

Bake at 450 degrees 8-10 minutes or until golden.

To go with these, I made:

Sausage Gravy

1/2 lb bulk sausage, browned, DO NOT DRAIN!

In jar with lid or shaker with lid, mix the following:

1 1/2 cups milk

3-4 Tbsp flour

1/2 Tsp salt

1 Tsp fresh ground pepper

Close container, shake WELL.  Add mixture to cooked sausage, stirring frequently, bring to a gentle boil and cook and stir until thick and bubbly.  Serve over biscuits.

And to round out our breakfast for dinner evening, we had bacon and scrambled eggs.  I didn’t get finished shots of these, sorry!

All in all, a very nice meal, and there are only 2 biscuits left, so everyone enjoyed it!

Tomorrow, I’m making a stuffed pork roast, which takes a little more time, so if I’m on the ball, I’ll have lots of prep and finished photos for you, and a cook recipe!

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!

Variations:

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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