The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 251 – 257 (Week 37)

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

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

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

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

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

So, here’s the short version:

Monday – Leftovers

Tuesday – Leftovers

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

William Burgers

1 pound ground round

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 Tbsp Original Everglades seasoning

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

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

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


Home Made Pizza

Frozen Pizza dough

Jar pizza sauce

Diced ham

Pepperoni slices

Shredded Italian blend cheese

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

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


Chicken Ham Casserole

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

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

1/2 package diced ham

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can chicken gravy

1 Tsp Original Everglades seasoning

2 boxes Great Value chicken flavor stuffing

3 cups hot water

1 stick butter, melted

8 – 10 slices Swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

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

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

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

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Serve!

Makes about 8 servings, and makes great leftovers!!

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

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


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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 194

July 15, 2012 at 7:25 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!!  Happy Sunday!!!  Hope you’ve all had a relaxing or productive or exciting or whatever you really wanted it to be weekend!!

Relatively quiet around here today.  Dishes, laundry, vacuuming, pitching stuff that should have been pitched a month ago, you know, all those little things you do on the weekends!  Chores, in other words.

Last load of laundry is drying now, but I think it’s time to clean out the pipes again, it’s taking way too long to dry each load again.  Either that or it’s time to get the thing serviced, which after 8 years, yeah, it might be time.  Can’t say I really have any complaints about the machine, it’s a work horse, just like the washer.  Super duty, super capacity, LOVE my machines!!  Only thing I could wish for is putting them up on a stand or shelf of some kind, but then I wouldn’t be able to reach inside the washer! LOL!!

Kitchen is almost completely cleaned up after all the stuff I did today, only a couple of popcorn bowls left over from last night, and the pan from the bread machine.  Everything else is either cleaned and put away, or in the dishwasher now getting washed.  Had a nice family dinner for a change, James was even home which is unusual, and everyone except William liked what we had, but what’s new, right?  So on to the recipes!!

This is sort of a new twist on the Chicken Cordon Bleu casserole from a few weeks ago.  I started thinking, why does it always have to be the same, what could I change, how could I play with this, but still end up with something just about everyone will like?  So here’s what I came up with….

Santa Fe Chicken Casserole

2 boxes Great Value chicken flavor stuffing

3 cups water

1 stick butter

3 – 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 cup shredded Mexican blend Great Value shredded cheese

5 – 6 strips cooked bacon, crumbled

1 small container Philadelphia cooking cream, Santa Fe flavor blend

Pour the dry stuffing into a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish.  Heat the water and butter in a large measuring cup or bowl in the microwave for about 5 minutes, or until steaming hot but not boiling.  Pour over the dry stuffing and stir until all the dry is wet.

Trim excess skin and fat from chicken breasts, and cut into small bite sized pieces.  Combine chicken, crumbled bacon and cooking cream in a large mixing bowl until chicken is completely coated.

Sprinkle shredded cheese over stuffing.  Spread chicken mixture over the top of the cheese, spreading as close to the sides of the dish as you can without touching if possible.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  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

Put water and honey into bread machine pan

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.

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

Program for dough.  I don’t know about your machine, but mine runs a 1 hour 20 minute cycle for dough.

Turn out into a lightly greased loaf pan, cover and let rise 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, maybe 35 tops.  You’ll get a nice crusty loaf of really dense moist bread that is great with butter!  Allow it to cool about 30 minutes before cutting and it will cut much nicer, won’t fall apart so easily.

Blueberry Dump Cake (or whatever fruit pie filling YOU like)

1 can blueberry pie filling

1 pkg yellow or white cake mix

1 stick butter, softened and cut into pieces

1/2 cup chopped nuts of your choice (I think the type of nut depends on the type of fruit, I picked almonds this time)

Rub your crock pot with some of the butter.  Pour in the pie filling.  Mix the rest of the butter with the cake mix until crumbly, sprinkle/spread on top of fruit.  Sprinkle with nuts.

Cook on LOW 2-3 hours or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.

Allow to cool a bit before serving.  Service with ice cream or whipped cream!

I found this one on someone else’s blog, she’s cooking something in the crock pot every day of the year, so she’s got LOTS of cool recipes to share.  Even found some for fish that I think I might try!

Anyway, that’s it for tonight.  Gonna go shower and relax for the rest of the evening.  Maybe do my nails while it rains…

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 170-173

June 24, 2012 at 9:28 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Wow, I took quite a break this time.  So sorry to my friends out there!!  I feel like I let you guys down!  I certainly didn’t mean to take that much time off, it just got away from me.

So, let’s see…  my last post was Wednesday, what’s happened since then?

Thursday, nothing special, the usual, Mike’s late night, James worked, William and I ordered pizza for the second time this week.  I know, I’m being SO lazy!

Friday, Mike stayed home, couldn’t sleep Thursday night, so he and William hung out for the day.  They went to the comic book shop, got boxes for their growing collections.  Went to Cold Stone Creamery, I was HIGHLY upset with them!  I had been practically begging to go last weekend, and we talked ourselves out of it.  BUMS!!!  We had Taco Bell for dinner, talk about lazy!  But, in my own defense, it was pouring down rain, and all the meat in the house was frozen, so we had to eat something, and I didn’t want pizza for a third time!  Picture if you will, me in the car at the drive through, with an umbrella sticking out of the window so I can actually place my order.  Wish someone had been brave enough to stand out in the rain long enough to take THAT photo!

So let’s see, Saturday is always movie night, unless the boys decide to play video games instead.  We actually watched four movies I think, had munchie type foods, which I will share in a minute.  Mike figured out how to hook his computer up to the new monster TV, so we can do Netflix, or things we’ve bought from iTunes, or whatever else he’s got on his computer.  It’s actually pretty cool.  Plus, we made a little trip to Walmart, picked up things for our munchfest, and picked up a combo pack movie of both Sherlock Holmes films, so that’s where we started our evening.  I had forgotten how good the first one was, and the second was just as good, if not better.  William fell asleep during the last movie around 1AM.  I think we turned in around 1:30, heard James come in from work, but was too lazy to get up, get dressed and say “hi”.  So, recipes:

BBQ Meatballs and Sausages

1/2 bag Great Value frozen homestyle meatballs

1 pkg Lil Smokies cocktail sausages

1/2 LARGE jug Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce

Put all this into a crock pot, cook on LOW 8 hours or HIGH 4 hours.  Serve about 6 meatballs and 6 sausages in a bowl, or put out toothpicks and let everyone help themselves, depends on your setting.  These are really good for a party, at which the toothpick idea is best.

We also had frozen Taquitos, Pizza Rolls, chips and dip…  OOO, I can give you that recipe, too!

French Onion Dip

1 x 2 cup container sour cream

1 package dry French onion soup mix

Mix the soup mix into the sour cream, put it in the fridge for about an hour before serving.  Serve with rippled chips!

And we also had root beer floats…

Root Beer Float

Put one large scoop vanilla ice cream into a large mug or glass, pour over root beer carefully, it will foam up a LOT (the foam actually tastes kind of good), you can scoop off the foam so you can fill up the root beer.  Top with whipped cream and serve!

And of course, I had my usual fresh fruit cup later in the evening.  I still have cantaloupe, honey dew and grapes in the fridge, and today I picked up a pineapple, going to see if I can get James to cut it up for me tomorrow.

So that was it for yesterday!  Today, I cooked, and cleaned, and cooked some more!  Got lots to share!!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole (updated version!)

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 pkg diced ham

1 pkg sliced Swiss cheese

1 family sized can cream of mushroom soup

1 tbsp milk

2 boxes chicken flavored stuffing mix

3 cups water

1 stick butter

Clean chicken of any leftover skin or fat, cut into small bite sized pieces.  Mix in diced ham, and set aside.

Pour stuffing mix into a large bowl.

Put water and butter in a microwave safe measuring cup, heat on high 4-5 minutes or until hot and butter is completely melted.

Pour over stuffing and mix very well, making sure all liquid is absorbed.  Spoon into pans of choice.  Usually, I do this as one dish in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish, but tonight I was feeling a little adventurous, so I used four small individual casserole dishes and one 8″ x 12″ glass casserole.  I put about 2 heaping spoonfuls of stuffing in the bottom of each small dish and spread it out, then put the rest in the larger dish and spread it out.

I ppread about 2 heaping spoonfuls of chicken and ham over each small dish, and the rest over the large dish.

I got to get extra cheesy tonight since I needed to cover everything with cheese, so each small dish got two slices overlapping, and the large dish got the usual 8 slices overlapping.

Mix the soup and milk together in a bowl.

I spread two heaping tablespoons over the small dishes, and the rest over the large dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  If using these small dishes, might I suggest that you let them sit about 15 minutes before serving, they are VERY hot!

The extra cheese and the diced ham made this SO much better than the original recipe!  Next time, I’m thinking I need to kick it up just a little more and maybe add some bacon and use ranch dressing somehow instead of the soup.  This just has SO much potential!

After dinner, I worked on making some things for lunches and such for this week, so here are a couple more recipes for you:

Grilled Pork Egg Rolls

3 grilled pork chops (I did mine on my George Foreman grill, since it’s POURING down rain!)

9 egg rolls wrappers (because that’s all I had left, I really could have used a whole package, which I think is 20)

About 1/4 head of cabbage, shredded very fine (I used the electric chopper)

About 25-30 baby carrots, shredded very fine

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Soy sauce to taste (I just sprinkled until it looked and tasted right to me, maybe 3 tbsp?)

Chop pork chops into roughly 1/2″ slivers.

Mix the shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, chopped pork and spices in a large bowl.  Allow to set in the fridge for about an hour if you have the time, let all the flavors combine before stuffing your egg rolls.

Place one wrapper on a plate, fill with about 2 tbsp filling, NOT heaping!

Fold up bottom first.

Fold in sides next.

Dampen point with water, and roll.  Set aside until ready to fry.

Put vegetable oil in a large skillet, and heat over medium heat.  Cook about 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crispy.

Serve with duck sauce, soy sauce or sweet and sour sauce, that’s completely up to you!  These are great reheated, best if refried, but can be heated in the oven.  I don’t recommend reheating in the microwave, but you can if you want.

And last but not least, I made my newest favorite dish…

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1 carton Brussels sprouts (I find them in my produce section, I think the carton is about a pound)

1/4 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup bacon bits, or crispy bacon pieces

4 Tbsp honey

2 Tbsp butter

Remove ends and loose leaves from sprouts.  Cut small sprouts in half, medium sprouts in quarters, and large sprouts into 8 wedges.  Set aside.

Melt butter in a medium skillet.  Add chopped sprouts, cook until lightly browned and sizzling.  Add in nuts, bacon bits and honey, mix well, cook about 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat and put in oven safe dish with cover.  Cook at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Serve hot!

So, that’s it for today!  Finally got through it all.  Hopefully I won’t have any more big breaks and get back to being regular with my postings.

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 149

May 30, 2012 at 6:59 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you’re all having a nice SHORT week!  It has certainly been an interesting one.  🙂

Work is still going really well, so well in fact I got a compliment from my boss today, and I really feel like I’m starting to fit in!  I’m still a little leery of trying to fit in socially, since I’ve had such lovely luck (yes, that is sarcasm you smell) in the past with co-workers, but as far as the work part goes, I’m doing really well.  It’s sort of cool that I can do most of my job with my iPod plugged in, since it’s a lot of computer centered work.  Glad I updated it over the weekend!  Even bought myself a new movie for it from iTunes, but I can’t exactly watch it while I’m working. Maybe at lunch though…  hmmm…

James is home tonight, and being nice to William! (wow, is the world going to end tonight or something?!)  They’ve actually been spending more time together, James seems to be developing a little more tolerance for his little brother, and William seems to be getting better at being less annoying to James, so it’s working out well!

William had a good day at school, except he still hasn’t been able to find his lunch box.  Somewhere between lunch on Friday and Tuesday morning when I went to pack lunch, it disappeared.  He doesn’t remember if he brought it home or not!  He was REALLY bummed at first, but since I told him we would get him a new one, he’s feeling a little better.  Not sure if I’ll be able to find one EXACTLY like it, but I’m going to try!  Maybe I’ll let him pick out the design so he doesn’t feel cheated…

Seems like Mike had a good day, too, but he’s plugged in over on the other couch checking out comic books, so I can’t really talk to him right now.  I don’t mind, though, since we’re all rediscovering our love of comics, and I’m glad he’s found something to get a little excited about.  Plus, this is something we can all do together!  He and William have been trading comics back and forth, reading all the ones they bought, so I guess they’re getting a little bonding time in, too.  Mike says maybe we should have been buying William comics all these years to get him to read!  Seems to me we did buy him one a long time ago, and he just wasn’t interested at the time.

Anyway, you don’t come here for the family updates, you’re here for the recipes, so here’s what was on the table tonight:

Sausage and Peppers

1 smoked sausage (like Eckrich or Gwaltney), the long rope style

1/2 green pepper

Cut sausage into rounds, then cut rounds into quarters.  Cut green pepper into roughly 1/2″ pieces.  Put all these little morsels into a large skillet and cook over medium heat until sausage is heated through and browned and peppers are translucent.

Serve over rice or noodles, or as I did tonight with some:

Great Value chicken flavor stuffing (made to package directions with water and butter, takes about 15 minutes including the time it takes to boil the water)

Fresh baby carrots

Fresh cut up cauliflower

Fresh grape tomatoes

Leftover cooked peas

Leftover cooked green beans

Those last two are because I have a couple of picky eaters who wouldn’t eat a fresh piece of cauliflower if it was the last piece of food on Earth!

So that was our relatively healthy meal tonight!  No desserts on tap, we’re out of cake, and I’m ready to just chill out a little tonight.  Maybe tomorrow night I’ll have the urge to bake something…

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 94

April 4, 2012 at 10:23 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Boy, that really is getting old, isn’t it?  Gotta come up with a new opening line!!  Anybody got any suggestions???

Well, it’s Wednesday.  Time to start laundry for the week, cleaned up the kitchen just so I could mess it up again, made a good meal, shuttled kids around, James started his new job today, but he’s still working the old one until next Friday (the 13th, hmmmm), so he ought to be good and tired when I go get him later.  Hopefully they’ll give him enough hours that he can get his car on the road (finally!) and get his tooth fixed (since we can’t afford to do it for him any more…).  Back to a normal routine day for me, at least.

So here’s what we had tonight:

Super Chicken (the kids named it that!)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 quarts water

2 packets chicken Flavor Boost (Swanson)

1 can cream of chicken soup

2 Tbsp garlic powder

2 Tbsp dried onion flakes

Put everything in the crock pot, mix it up a little, and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours.  I start with frozen chicken, if you start with thawed, it probably doesn’t have to cook as long.  Also, I stir it about once an hour to make sure everything gets mixed up enough so that it’s not all chunky or weird when it’s done.

After cooking, turn off crock pot, remove chicken to serving platter.  Strain some of the juices into a sauce pan, about 2 cups, and mix in poultry gravy mix per package directions, about 2 packages if you use packets, or follow the directions on the bottle if you buy the big container like I do!  I think I added about 1/4 cup, maybe a little more.  Cook over medium heat until thickened.  Serve!

We also had Stove Top stuffing and canned peas with dinner, so it was all pretty good!  Here’s some pics for you…

So, enjoy!  And until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 19

January 20, 2012 at 11:28 pm (Food) (, , , , , , )

Hello friends, and welcome back!
This is actually NOT a new recipe for me, but it’s been a while since I’ve eaten it, and I’ve never MADE it before, so I’m counting it!
This originally came from my cousin Kim Cogswell Willard, but came to me courtesy of my mother, Patricia Scott Cogswell, so thank you to both lovely ladies!
Chicken Stuffing Casserole
8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed if needed and cut into bite sized pieces
2 packages stove top stuffing mix (chicken) (I actually used Great Value’s version, which was a little different)
8 slices Swiss cheese
2 cans cream of chicken soup (and I didn’t HAVE two cans, so I used one cream of chicken and one cream of mushroom)
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2. Wash and drain chicken. Lightly butter 13 X 9 X 2 casserole dish
3. Prepare stuffing: Combine ingredients of 2 veg/season packages, 1/2 cup margarine in pieces and 3 cups hot water. (here’s where I got into trouble with the Great Value brand, they don’t HAVE a separate packet of seasonings, it’s all mixed in! But I think it will be OK)
4. Stir in stuffing crumbs to moisten (hot water method from box, don’t cook stuffing on stove)
5. Spread stuffing on bottom of casserole dish. Lay chicken (cut-up) on top. Cover chicken with cheese
6. Mix soup with 2 tablespoons of milk and spread over chicken
7. Bake uncovered for 1 hour
This serves 6 – 8 people
I’m serving this with simple canned veggies, since that’s what I have on hand.  Tomorrow is shopping day, so I need to stock up on fresh veggies and salad stuff, and of course I have to plan out the recipes for the next two weeks so I can put together a good list, but I have a craft show to do tomorrow as well, so this is going to get tricky…  maybe Sunday will be shopping day this time!
Anyway, I’ll take some pics before it’s all gone and add them later…
Until then, eat well, love well, live well!

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