The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 218 – 219

August 9, 2012 at 9:36 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!

I know, I know, behind again.  What can I say, I’ve been watching the Olympics and doing some crafts, so I’ve sort of let this slide.  Good news is, I actually cooked the past two nights, so I have something for you, if now new then at least tasty!

Work is beyond busy, but I’m getting there!  Getting things done, hitting my stride, feeling like I might actually know what I’m doing, FINALLY!

Mike is rocking his job, and coming home more excited than I’ve seen him in a long time, and I’m so glad!!

James is getting a few more hours, and we’re making plans to get his car in the next couple of weeks.

And poor little William is bored to tears at home by himself, but he’s being stubborn about spending time with his friends, so I can’t help him right now.  I do need to get all his pants hemmed for school, guess I know what I’m doing this weekend!

So here are a couple of recipes for you, hope you enjoy them!

Quiche 

Great Value deep dish pie shells, package of 2, thawed, poke them up the sides and around the bottom so they don’t puff up when you bake them, baked for 10 minutes at 425 degrees

10 eggs

2 cups milk, divided in half (I actually mixed 1 1/2 cups milk and 1/2 cup half-n-half this time)

10 slices bacon, cut into small pieces, cooked until crisp, drained on paper towels

6 slices Swiss cheese

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup frozen spinach, cooked in the microwave about 2 minutes

Mix the eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl, set aside.

After the pie shells have cooled a bit, spread the Swiss cheese in the bottom of one, fanned out around the inside and slightly up the sides, so it will give you cheese in every slice.  Top with the partially cooked spinach, then half the cooked bacon.

In the second, spread the cheddar cheese, top with the remaining bacon.

Pour roughly half the egg mixture into each pie crust, and bake 10 minutes at 425 degrees, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 35-40 minutes more.

Serve!!

Pork Chops with Apples and Peas

5 boneless pork chops

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tsp ground ginger

1 cup frozen peas

1 Granny Smith apple, diced

Cook apples and peas in a large skillet over medium heat until apples are soft and peas are heated through.  Remove from pan and set aside. Put pork chops into a skillet , pour over soy sauce, sprinkle over ginger.  Cook until pork chops are browned and cooked through, turning as needed to avoid over browning.  Add back peas and apples and reheat through.

Serve!

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

 

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 213 – 216

August 6, 2012 at 10:19 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , )

Yeah, yeah, I know, behind again.  And not even a good excuse to offer you!  Not much cooking going on around here either…

So here’s what’s been going on in our little corner of the world…

Friday, Mike got home from his trip to Orlando.  James took off for the weekend.  Mike and William went to the comic store and picked up their regular order.  When I got home from work, we splurged a little and went to Sonny’s for dinner.  Hadn’t been in a while, wasn’t all that impressed.  William’s burger wasn’t cooked, Mike and I got cold corn on the cob (wasn’t supposed to be cold!), just not the best meal we’ve ever had there, but the waitress and manager comped William’s meal, and gave us a discount, so I guess it was OK.  Don’t think we’ll go out of our way to go again any time soon.  So, no cooking!

Saturday, I went to work for a couple of hours, yeah, everyone was a little behind, so they approved some OT for us, I took some!  When I got home, Mike, William and I went back to the comic shop.  They were having an anniversary sale, fill a short box for $50, which for us worked out to about 30 cents per book, because we packed our box!  Not as much as some folks I saw, but we did pretty good!  So, after poking through comics stacks for 3 HOURS, we went and got subs at Jimmy Johns, then William and I went school supply shopping.  He wasn’t thrilled, but he cooperated completely and was good as gold!  $130 later and he’s ready for school, got it all!  Finally got home around 6, got to sit down, look through all our comics, and just sort of nibbled the rest of the evening.  Again, no cooking!

Sunday, we got up, had bacon and eggs, I worked on my grocery list while the bacon cooked, got all my coupons ready.  Then we headed off to see The Dark Knight Rises…  yes, again!  Had to take William to see it!  Splurged on popcorn, but took our own bottled water (that big purse sometimes comes in handy!).  Had to stop back at the comic shop to get bags and boards for all those books we bought (this is turning into a bit of a money sucker…), stopped at McD’s because we all HAD to eat after all that time in the theater, then dropped the boys at home and went to Walmart.  Boy, Walmart on tax-free school shopping weekend is a little crazy!  Almost wished I didn’t need groceries, but I made it.  2 hours after walking in, finally walked out $350 later with groceries and prescriptions.  Needless to say, my plan to cook dinner was out the window.  I was whipped!  So, free for all, everyone got something, but mom didn’t really cook.

And here we are, another Monday, back to work.  Work was busy, feeling just a little overwhelmed with my new area, but starting to get a handle on it.  Got a few things off my desk, got a little more organized, but still didn’t get everything done I wanted to.  Gotta work on that some more!  Poured down rain, lightning and thunder, lights flickered at work a few times, interesting drive home, but no major issues, just slow.  James tried to cut the grass for me, ran out of gas.  Cut up a cantaloupe and honey dew for me during the day, then later a papaya.  LOVE having fresh cut fruit in the house!!  Made fruit bowls with a little of each, plus some grapes, like grabbing one for my lunch, and sometimes have one for dessert, too!  Finally cooked dinner!!  A new twist on our chicken casserole…

Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole

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

2 packages chicken flavor stuffing mix

3 cups water

1 stick butter

16 slices Swiss cheese (more or less, it’s up to you, we like it cheesy!!)

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can cream of celery soup

1/2 pound bacon, cut into small pieces and cooked until crisp

3 Tbsp dry ranch dressing mix

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Pour dry stuffing into casserole dish.  Heat water and butter in microwave 5 minutes or until butter is melted and water is hot but not boiling.  Pour water and butter over dry stuffing, mix well until all the dry stuff isn’t dry anymore.

Place cheese slices over stuffing, overlapping, to cover all the stuffing without going over the edges of your dish.

Spread crispy bacon over cheese.

Mix soups, ranch dressing mix and cut up chicken, spread over bacon and all the way to the edges of your dish.

Bake uncovered for 1 hour, serve!!

This went over really well, had good flavor, didn’t need salt or pepper or anything, Mike didn’t even put his Cajun seasoning on it!

Anyway, that’s it for tonight.  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 152

June 3, 2012 at 8:14 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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

It’s been quiet around here today…

James spent the weekend with the girlfriend, and working, so we haven’t seen him since Friday night, and then only for a few minutes while he loaded up the car.

William has been playing Legos all day, except for the few times he’s come out to show me the “movies” he’s creating by doing stop motion photography with his phone and some Lego creations…  well, his version of stop motion anyway. Don’t think he completely gets that you have to make a TINY adjustment between each photo!  But he’s trying, and it’s adorable!

Mike has been reading comics and helping with laundry and dishes, and of course watching movies.  It is Sunday after all, and SyFy is running all the Alien movies as a teaser to Prometheus as it is coming out next weekend, can’t wait!!!

And I’ve been doing odds and ends…  went grocery shopping, relatively small trip, but we needed a few things.  Had to take my time,  compare prices on things, and dodge all the non-English speaking folks with their food stamps who were out in DROVES today.  Something about that really bothers me…  couldn’t be that when we needed help we couldn’t get any!  We had to depend on friends and family and hope it all worked out.

OK, enough of the soap box rant…  sorry!

Finished up the laundry, did dishes, cleaned up the kitchen, made a nice dinner, and now dessert is in the oven.  I took a couple of familiar recipes and changed them up a little, they turned out really well!  Here are the recipes:

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

2 boxes Great Value chicken flavor stuffing

3 cups water

1 stick butter, cut into pieces

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 large can Great Value cream of mushroom soup

8 slices Great Value Swiss cheese

8-10 slices lunchmeat ham (or one pkg diced ham)

2 Tbsp milk

Heat water 5 minutes in the microwave while you slice up the butter into pats.  Put the pats in a large casserole dish, pour over the hot water, and stir until the butter is completely melted.  Mix in the two boxes of stuffing, mixing well to make sure all the pieces get moist, and all the liquid gets absorbed.  Set aside.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Trim any excess fat or leftover skin from the chicken breasts, including removing that tendon that runs through the breast, and cut the meat into bite sized pieces.  Set aside.

Lay the lunch meat ham (or spread the diced ham) over the stuffing.

Top with the chicken pieces, spreading them out over the whole dish.

Top with the Swiss cheese, overlapping as needed.

Make sure the cheese doesn’t touch the pan, it WILL stick!  Mix the 2 tbsp milk into the cream of mushroom soup, spread over the entire dish, making sure to get this all the way to the edges.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until chicken is cooked through and cheese is melted.  I always cook exactly one hour and it’s perfect.  Serve!

Vanilla Pudding Cake with Chocolate Pudding Sauce

Cake:

3/4 c butter

3 eggs

2 1/2 c all purpose flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 3/4 c sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/4 c milk

1 pkg vanilla instant pudding mix

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Allow butter and eggs to sit 30 minutes at room temp.  Grease and lightly flour cake pans or muffin pans.  Suitable for:

9″ rounds (2)

8″ rounds (2)

8″ squares (2)

Cup cakes (18-24)

Mini Cakes (12)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix together flour, salt and baking powder, set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, slowly add in sugar until completely blended.  Add eggs one at a time, blending well between each addition.  Beat in vanilla.

Alternately add in flour mixture and milk, blending well, until everything has been added and well blended.  Add in pudding mix and oil, blend well again.  Pour into prepared pans.

Bake as follows:

8″ rounds, 9″ rounds, 8″ squares      25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean

Cup cakes 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean

Mini cakes 18-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean

Chocolate pudding sauce:

1 large pkg chocolate instant pudding mix

1 1/2 cups milk (or half whatever the package calls for in the directions!)

Mix together, blend very well, pour over cooled cake and serve!  (Sorry, don’t have a photo of this last part for you…)

So that’s it for tonight!  Hope you enjoy one or both of these recipes.  We sure did!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 67

March 9, 2012 at 1:26 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again, and welcome back!  So glad you could join me again…

Another busy day.  Working on a new necklace for a contest, maybe, getting laundry together and started so I don’t end up doing it ALL on the weekend, and maybe have a weekend.  Quick shopping trip to pick up a few odds and ends.  Doing the usual running around, taking kids here and there.  But still plenty of time to make a really good meal!  So here’s what we had tonight:

Quiche Two Ways

Great Value pie shells, package of 2, thawed, baked for 10 minutes at 450 degrees (I would recommend deep dish shells, wish I had those tonight!)

10 eggs

2 cups milk, divided in half

10 slices bacon, cut into small pieces, cooked until crisp, drained on paper towels

2 Tbsp flour

3 slices swiss cheese

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper

Handful of fresh spinach, cooked about 3-4 minutes in the fat from the bacon (basically deep fried)

10 grape tomatoes, cut into quarters

2 large mixing bowls

First bowl, mix 5 eggs, 1 Tbsp flour, 1 cup milk, salt and pepper to your taste.  Pour into one of the pre-baked pie shells.  Add the sliced swiss cheese and half the bacon.

Second bowl, mix 5 eggs, 1 Tbsp flour, 1 cup milk, shredded cheddar cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.   Add the other half of the bacon, the spinach and the tomatoes.

Bake both at 325 degrees for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve!

We had a nice fresh salad with this, so it was a nice dinner.

And for dessert, we’re having:

Apple Pie Bites

1/2 Cup sugar

2 Tsp cinnamon

1 pkg refrigerated pie crusts (Great Value of course!)

3 Tbsp melted butter

1/2 can Great Value apple pie filling (I used the no sugar added kind)

Mix the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.  (I am making these so often now, I’m just keeping a mixture of sugar and cinnamon in a shaker!)

Unroll the pie crust onto a baking pan covered with parchment paper.  Brush with melted butter.  Sprinkle with just less than half the sugar mixture.  Cut into 8 wedges with a pizza cutter.  Place one or two apple slices from the canned pie filling at the outer edge of each wedge.  Roll in toward the center of the pie crust.

Repeat with the second pie crust.

 Unrolled crust

 Brushed with butter

 Sprinkled with cinnamon

 Apples placed

 Finished!

Brush the outside of the rolls with melted butter, and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture.

Bake at 425 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until edges are golden brown.  Allow to cool about 15-20 minutes before serving.  Serve alone, or with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, whatever YOU like with your apple pie! (thinking about trying a little cheddar cheese one of these days…)

Hope you enjoy these as much as we do!!

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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