The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza day 313-319 (week 46)

November 18, 2012 at 10:02 pm (Food, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  It’s been an interesting week…  nothing Earth-shattering, just interesting.

Work has been really busy, which I can only think is NOT a good thing considering what I do, that means the foreclosure business is booming, or maybe things are just moving better through the courts, but whatever is going on, it can’t be a good sign for the economy.

And of course, there was all the post-election stuff going on, the stock market dropping, businesses laying people off, Hostess closing, just kind of a depressing week all the way around.

BUT, William had a really good week at school, things are going very well for him, he’s enjoying his classes, and getting good grades.  Absolutely cannot complain!

Mike had a good week at work, things are picking up, they are finally keeping him almost busy, and he spent all day yesterday working on his guitar.  Took his birthday money and bought some new pick-ups, a new pick guard, and he’s really happy with the results.

I’ve been fairly busy working on jewelry, too, but I need to get better at getting OFF the computer at night and doing things I LIKE instead of wasting so much time on Facebook.  I mostly work on new pieces on my lunch hour at work, but I spent about 3 hours last night making clay beads, which was more fun than I remember, and then a few hours today making jewelry from some of those beads, so I feel like I had an extra special day!  And, I still got the laundry done, cleaned up the kitchen, and did my nails.  GOOD DAY!

So, on to the food….

Monday

Baked BBQ Pork Chops

4 boneless pork chops

About 3 cups BBQ sauce of your choice

1 Tsp garlic powder

Put the pork chops in a roasting pan, sprinkle with garlic powder, pour over BBQ sauce, cover and bake at 350 degrees for at least an hour, or until chops are done through and sauce is bubbly.  Serve!

Ratatouille (this was fun!)

1 smallish yellow squash

1 smallish zucchini

1 Chinese eggplant

2 Tbsp dried onion flakes

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 cup tomato sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp olive oil, divided

1/4 cup Parmesan

Italian seasoning blend

Using a mandolin slicer, slice the squash and eggplant very thin.  Spray a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish with olive oil flavor cooking spray.  Pour the tomato sauce in the bottom of the pan, sprinkle with the onion flakes and garlic powder.  Liberally salt and pepper.  Lay the slices of squash and eggplant on the sauce, alternating each type of veggie, overlapping each, all the way around and in the center. (sort of like in the movie, looks a little like a fan)  Salt and pepper, sprinkle with a few Tbsp Parmesan.  Layer more veggies, salt and pepper, Parmesan.  Repeat until you have about 3 to 4 layers, or you run out of veggies.  Sprinkle with remaining olive oil and any remaining Parmesan, and sprinkle with Italian seasoning blend.  Cover with aluminum foil, cook at 375 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes, or until tomato sauce is bubbling up around the edges of the veggies.  Serve!!

Fried Potatoes

2 leftover Perfect Baked Potatoes

Sour cream, about 1/2 cup

Parmesan, about 1/2 cup

2 Tbsp butter

Salt and pepper

Chop potatoes into bite-sized pieces.  Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add potatoes and fry until they start to brown a little.  Skin on or off is entirely up to you!  Once the potatoes are heated through and just a very little browned, remove from heat, stir in sour cream and Parmesan.  Serve!

Chocolate Chip Cake with Chocolate Pudding Pokes

Basic Yellow Cake recipe

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

1/2 c chocolate chips

Allow butter and eggs to sit at room temp for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, grease and flour 9″ x 13″ baking pan.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter on medium for 30 seconds.  Gradually add in sugar, beating on medium, until well combined.  Scrape sides of bowl, beat two minutes more.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in vanilla.  Alternately add flour mixture and milk, beating on low after each addition, just until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake 25-30 minutes for 9″x13″ pan (I actualy had to put this back in for an extra 20 minutes before it was done, so I cooked 50 minutes)

Cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool completely in pan before frosting.

When cooled, poke holes in the cake with the handle of a wooden spoon.

Prepare instant chocolate pudding to package directions, family size package.  Pour over cake, making sure it gets into those holes and leaks down the sides a little.  Allow to cool in the fridge for about 30 minutes before serving.  YUM!

Tuesday

Ranch Fried Chicken, Bacon and Tomato sandwich

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 pkgs ranch dressing mix

2 cups flour, divided

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 pound bacon

1 large tomato, sliced

Cut the bacon into about 1/2″ wide pieces, cook until crispy, remove to paper towel lined plate to drain, set aside.

Trim any excess skin or fat from the chicken, cut into chunks, then pound those to about 1/4″ thickness between two sheets of plastic wrap.

Put 1 cup plain flour in one wide shallow bowl.

Put the eggs, beaten, into another wide shallow bowl.

Mix the other cup of flour, ranch dressing mix, and a little salt and pepper, in a third wide shallow bowl.

Dip each piece of chicken first in the plain flour, then in the egg, then in the seasoned flour.  Fry in shallow oil over medium heat until golden brown and crisp.  Remove to paper towels to drain excess oil while cooking remaining chicken.  I can usually do 3-4 pieces at a time.

Serve on bread, toasted or not is up to you, with bacon, tomato and your choice of sauces.  YUM!

Wednesday

Jet’s Pizza

Thursday

Chicken and Sausage with Tomato Sauce

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 rope Kielbasa

1 Jar spaghetti sauce

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp Italian seasoning blend

1/8 Tsp red pepper flakes

1 Tsp orange Everglades seasoning

1 Jar (that sauce jar!) water

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Cut the sausage into roughly 2″ pieces.  Don’t cut the chicken, in fact, frozen works really well for this.

Put everything in a crock pot, mix a little, cook on LOW 8-10 hours.  Using a slotted spoon, fish out the chicken, which should be falling apart at this point, the sausage and beans, put on a serving platter.

Serve with rice or pasta, your choice, and a little of the sauce from the pot poured over each serving.

Parmesan Orzo

1/2 box Orzo style pasta

1 stick butter

1 c Parmesan

Cook pasta to package directions.  Drain.  Melt butter in the hot pan, add back in pasta, and add Parmesan.  Mix well and serve!

Steamed Veggies

Friday

Burritos and Taquitos

Frozen ones, sorry, no recipe this time!

Saturday

Taco Bell

Yes, we ate out.  I just didn’t feel like cooking after working half the day, then housework, just didn’t have it in me!  But, once I ate dinner, I made…

Chicken soup

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

4 pkts chicken flavor Flavor boost

2 pkts vegetable flavor Flavor boost

4 quarts water

2 Tbsp green Everglades seasoning

1 Tsp garlic powder

1/2 bag frozen green beans

1/2 bag frozen sliced carrots

1/2 c frozen peas

1/2 box Orzo style pasta

In a LARGE stock pot, pour in water, add flavor packets and spices, mix well.  Add in chicken.  Cook over LOW heat about 2 hours.  Increase heat so that water boils, add in pasta, cook about 15-20 minutes, or until pasta is well done.  Reduce heat again, add in veggies, cook another 30 minutes.  Remove from heat, serve, or allow to cool and put into serving size containers.  Freezable!!  This made about a dozen large servings, about the same size as Chunky soup cans, but a lot better for you.

Sunday

Breakfast for Dinner

Bacon, cooks crispy

Scrambled eggs with cheese

Crescent Rolls

Simple, quick meal that everyone loves.  I added a sliced tomato to my plate, but I’m the only one that likes them…

Apple Banana Dessert

1 small apple

1/4 cup dried banana slices

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp butter

1/4 C old fashioned oats

Core apple, cut into wedges, then slice the wedges into very small slices.  Put into a microwave safe bowl.  Add in the dried banana slices.  Top with the butter and brown sugar.  Microwave 1 minute, mix well, microwave another 4 minutes.  Allow to cool at least 5 minutes before serving!  Top with a little ice cream, YUM!!!

Anyway, that’s it for this week.  Hope you found something you want to try!!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 156-158

June 9, 2012 at 7:50 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Yeah, I’ve been sort of out of touch the past couple of days, got WAY behind on posting!  I’m sorry!!!

So, welcome back, hope you’re having a great weekend, and experimenting in the kitchen.  I tried a couple of new things tonight, some success, some not so much, but fun trying!

Been a normal Saturday around here.  Cleaning up the kitchen.  Getting laundry done.  Grocery shopping.  Spent way too much time on the computer today, off and on, reading mail, getting caught up with a friend I haven’t talked to in about 8 years but suddenly found on LinkedIn, and of course did a little cooking.  So here are the recipes of the day:

Crock Pot Chili

2 large cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 large can diced tomatoes

1 pound ground beef

1 Tbsp garlic powder

2 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tsp salt

1 Tsp pepper

1 Tsp cumin

2 Tbsp taco seasoning blend

2 Tbsp dried onion flakes

Brown ground beef, do not drain.  Put everything in the crock pot, mix well, cook on LOW at least 5 hours, longer is always better in the crock pot.  Serve hot topped with shredded cheese!

Home Made Sort-of Hummus

2 cans chick peas, one drained

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tsp salt

1 Tsp pepper

Put chick peas and juice from ONE CAN in a blender, use liquify setting to turn them into mush, make sure to get all the chunks.  Add in the yogurt and spices and blend again until everything is smooth.  Serve with chips or pitas.

So after we all tried this “as is”, I started experimenting, because this was a little bland.  All I can say is…  too much garlic!  Oh well, it was cheap enough to make, I can make more tomorrow if I want.

Home Made Egg Rolls

1/2 head cabbage, shredded very fine

1 cup baby carrots, shredded very fine

1 Tsp ground ginger

1 Tsp minced garlic

1/2 cup diced leftover meat (I used ham tonight)

1/4 cup soy sauce

Egg roll wrappers

Mix everything except the wrappers in a medium bowl.  Place 1 heaping tablespoon on the center of an egg roll wrapper.  Fold in two opposite corners, fold over a third corner and tuck around filling, use a little water to dampen the last corner, roll wrapped filling over onto dampened corner and seal.  Place sealed edge down in hot oil over about medium heat, cook about 1-2 minutes, turn over and cook other side.  Cook until golden brown and crispy.  Serve!

Yogurt Pie

1 cup yogurt of choice (I like Yoplait original, just about any flavor)

1 container cool whip (medium container, not the tiny one and not the pig tub)

1 deep dish pie crust, cooked to package directions for empty pie shell

Mix yogurt and whipped topping with mixer, spoon into prepared pie crust, heaping up in center, will be VERY full!  Refrigerate at least two hours before serving.  Cut into pie shaped wedges and serve!  You can also add fresh fruit on top before serving if desired.

So, that’s it for tonight.  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 125

May 6, 2012 at 10:25 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you all had a spectacular weekend!

Well, what can I say…  It’s been an interesting weekend!  The craft show yesterday, and then we tried to do something cool today, but it just didn’t work out, so I cooked and chopped and did laundry and puttered around the house…

We got up early, not too early, but early for a Sunday for us, made a nice breakfast of pancakes, scrambled eggs with cheese, and sausage.  Got everyone ready to go, and out we went.  Up to the movie theater we go, thinking we might be able to get tickets to The Avengers…  YEAH RIGHT!  The show we were trying for, and the next two shows, were sold out, and there was a line!  There’s NEVER a line on Sunday mornings!!  ARGHHHHH!!  So we headed back home, I dropped off the boys, and headed off to Walmart to get groceries for the week.  Not what we had planned, but what needed to be done.  Got a trash can for outside, only been here almost six years, no rush right?  Got a new pair of shoes for work, something comfortable but not sloppy.  (had to throw out a couple pairs of “work” shoes recently, they finally wore out)  And then…

I cut up lettuce, tomatoes, green pepper for salads.  Watermelon and cantaloupe for my fruits this week. (last couple of weeks have been pineapple, papaya and mango plus red grapes, but the last pineapple wasn’t that great, so I’m thinking the season is over.)  I shredded cabbage in my handy little chopper I got for Christmas, I can use that in salads, in recipes, or make some cole slaw.  I sliced up some nice young yellow squash, made a couple of steamer bags for a lunch or dinner.  Then put my pork chops in a marinade to soak for a while before dinner.

Next, I made mini meatloaves for later in the week, had everything thawed out, had to cook it, figured it will be a quick dinner later this week, or lunches for someone.  Here’s the recipe in case you missed it the last time:

Mini meatloaves

1 cup ketchup

4 tbsp packed brown sugar

1 tsp ground mustard

2 eggs, beaten

4 tsp Worchestershire sauce

3 cups bread crumbs, cracker crumbs, corn flake crumbs (basically whatever type of filler you like)

3 tsp onion powder or flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp garlic powder

3 pounds lean ground beef, or mixed beef and sausage (mix 2:1 beef and sausage)

In large bowl, combine ketchup, brown sugar and mustard. Remove 1/2 cup to be used on top of cooked loaves. Add eggs, Worchestershire, cereal/bread crumbs, seasonings.  Mix well, let set for 5 mins.  Add meat(s) and mix very well.

Press mixture into 18-24 muffin cups and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  Drizzle/top with remaining sauce mixture reserved earlier. Bake 10 minutes longer, or until meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.

Leftover loaves are freezeable!  Thaw frozen loaves and reheat at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Can also be microwaved for 1 minute each.

And here’s what I did for dinner:

Marinated Pork Chops with Fruit

6-8 boneless pork chops

Good Seasons Italian dressing (make with olive oil and apple cider vinegar)

1 Granny Smith apple

1 D’Anjou pear

10-12 baby carrots

2 Tbsp butter

Mix up some Good Seasons Italian dressing (using olive oil and apple cider vinegar) per the package directions.  Place 6-8 boneless pork chops in a 9 x 13 baking dish, pour the entire bottle of dressing over the chops, pick up each chop to make sure some of the dressing gets underneath as well, and put the dish in the fridge for a few hours at least.  Mine set for about 4 hours all together.

Core and 8th both the apple and the pear.  Slice each 8th into small slices.  Slice the baby carrots into rounds.

In one pan, cook the apple, pear, carrots in butter until soft but not mush.

In another pan, cook the pork chops until done through.

Place the chops on a serving platter, top with the fruit mixture, serve!

I kept some of the apples, pears and carrots out of the pan and served them on top of the salad, keeping those flavors going in different dishes.  It actually worked really well!

I also had some baked potatoes around, since I cooked a whole bag of them last weekend and froze most of them so I would have them around.  The recipe for these is REALLY simple, but makes GREAT baked potatoes!

Perfect Baked Potato (I actually found this recipe on the web)

1 bag (5 lbs) baking potatoes (Russets work really well)

Olive oil

Kosher salt

Wash the potatoes well, and remove any eyes.  Dry them!!  Rub the potatoes with olive oil, pierce once on each side (total four sets of fork holes) then sprinkle liberally with Kosher salt.

Now this next part is up to you, but I prefer pans…

Bake either directly on the oven rack, or in a pan.  The only drawback to the pans is you have to cook a few minutes longer.  And if you do like I did and cook a whole bag at one time, it takes a LOT longer! (almost 2 hours total, but SO worth it!)

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour on the rack, or 1 hour 15 minutes in a pan.  Turn once about half way through to ensure even cooking and no hard spots in the skin.

When done (you can tell by poking with a fork, when it’s easy to poke it’s done) serve!  Cut it open, top it with your favorite combination of toppings, or keep it simple with butter and salt.

You can freeze them after they are cooked, and reheat in the microwave using the baked potato setting (about 7 minutes) from frozen, or thaw and reheat about 3 minutes in the microwave.

Anyway, it was a cooking kind of day, and somehow I missed making William’s lunch sandwiches, so I guess I know what I’m doing in the morning!  Had enough today…

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 122

May 3, 2012 at 7:16 pm (Food) (, , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you’re all having a Thrilling Thursday!  It’s almost the weekend after all.

Still going well at work, learning some cool stuff, getting in a little deeper every day, hoping I’ll have some properties of my own soon.  I know that’s what my boss wants!  I know we’re still cleaning up so we can close out April, but I know how stressed everyone else in the group is, so I want to do more!

William had a really good day at school, and an OK day after school with his friends.  Seems the boys had a little argument, but I think he’s OK now.  I just wish I could teach him how to stand up for himself without whining!  I know sometimes adults just shut kids down, but if he could learn to explain his side without sounding like he’s whining, he might actually get to tell his story and not feel like he’s the bad guy so many times!  I know how it feels when you’re in the right, but no one will listen…

James is off to work again, in my car, being very responsible with it, putting gas in it even though it’s really my turn, but since right now it’s I drive home, he grabs the keys and leaves, and doesn’t get home until the middle of the night, it’s kind of hard for me to actually put gas in the car right now!  This weekend, I think, I’ll be able to fill it up.

Speaking of this weekend, I’ve got a craft show on Saturday.  I was planning on using my new canopy that I got in January, but since it broke already (one of the telescoping legs is jammed), I thought I might have to back out.  BUT, the nice folks organizing the event have offered to let me use their canopy, so all I have to do is get my tables and my jewelry there, and I’ll be all set!  It’s from 10 to 3 on Saturday, can’t imagine if this fair skinned read head had to be outside all day without a canopy!  Mike and the boys are going to help me get everything over there, and now James has offered to stay and help me run the booth, so this could be a cool day!  Maybe Mike and William will even find something to do and stick around for a while, too, rather than driving all the way back home just to come back a couple hours later.  Guess we’ll figure that out…

Anyway, you’re not here for my life stories, so here’s what was on our table tonight:

Italian Tomato Chicken and Pasta

4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 can petite diced tomatoes

1 quart water

1 packet Swanson flavor boost, chicken flavor

1 packet Good Seasons Italian dressing mix

Put everything in the crock pot, cook on LOW at least 8 hours, longer if you can.  Stir just a little every couple of hours if you can, just to make sure everything gets distributed evenly.

Remove chicken from pot, shred.  Strain out some of the tomatoes from the pot, put over the chicken.  Serve the chicken and tomatoes over pasta or rice, whichever you prefer.  Top with a little shredded mozzarella cheese, or parmesan if you have it.  Serve!!

The only thing I think I will do different next time is 2 cans of tomatoes, no water, and 2 packets of dressing mix.  It was just a little bland.  No bad, just not as strongly flavored as I would have liked.

Pretty easy meal, the pasta I used was leftover from last night, one benefit to making a whole package when I cook it, I have leftovers for the next day.  Not to mention we’re working on portion control around here, so what used to be one meal, sometimes now ends up being two, which is kind of cool.

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 108

April 18, 2012 at 11:09 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!!  Hope you all are having a Wonderful Wednesday!  I know I am.  🙂

Today started off relatively quiet…

Mike was out the door before I even got out of bed, as usual.  I feel bad about that, but we get to spend the evenings together, and weekends, and his steady job is keeping up afloat!

Got William a good breakfast for yet another day of FCAT testing.  He seems really comfortable with the tests this year, not nervous at all like last year, and his teachers have a really good approach, they provide snacks before the test starts each day so the kids get a little extra boost.

James got to sleep in since he didn’t need to be to work until 5PM.  He really seems to be liking the new job, I’m glad, but I still wish he had just a little more ambition.  Oh well, one of these days…

I had to get ready for my interview at 9AM, no problem.  Got there almost 15 minutes early, just sitting around, staring at the lobby, watching the guy working on the ceiling lights, kind of dull.  Finally get called in at exactly 9AM, met with two very nice ladies, did the question and answer stuff, talked a little about this blog which was kind of cool.  Thought it went well, and they said they would let me know by the end of the day.  Spent maybe 20 minutes in the interview, home before 10AM, figured it would be a while, so I decided to try to do some jewelry.  Well, it wasn’t even 11:30 when I heard back, they want me!  WOO HOO!!  Had to go run around, pick up paperwork, get a drug test (passed of course), start on Monday morning!  Gotta go back tomorrow, I think, and get a time card so I’m ready for next week!

So, in between running around today, I managed to take William back to Game Stop, since he picked out the wrong game yesterday, and he picked out two more today.  Spent about half his birthday money now, can’t believe he still has any, he usually spends it as fast as he gets it!  AND, I managed to put together a pretty good meal!  Here’s what we had:

Tomato Ranch Chicken

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 large can petite diced tomatoes (plain, not seasoned)

3 Tbsp ranch dressing mix

2 cups water

1 Chicken Flavor Boost packet

Put everything in the crock pot (yes, I know, crock pot again?!), cook on LOW at least 6 hours, 8 is better.  Serve each chicken breast individually, with or without tomatoes, depending on what your family likes.  We end up with some of each around here.

 

Whole Wheat Flat Bread

3/4 cup lukewarm (80-90 degrees) water

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

1 Tbsp honey

1/2 Tsp salt

1 pkg (or 2 Tsp) active dry yeast

Put water, honey and oil in bread machine pan.  Add in flour and salt.  Tap pan to settle ingredients.  Make a well in the center and add the yeast.  Lock pan into bread machine.  Set machine for DOUGH and press start.  When done, turn dough out onto floured surface, dust lightly with additional flour, knead about 1 minute.  Allow to rest for 15 minutes.  Roll dough out onto pizza pan dusted with corn meal, about 12 inch circle, cover and allow to rise another 20-25 minutes.  Bake at 425 degrees 20-25 minutes or until edges are crispy.  Let rest 5-10 minutes, then cut into bread sticks or pizza wedges to serve.  Serve warm or cold, with a dipping sauce or with a meal.

We also had some leftover veggies with this meal, and salad or fruit salad, depending on what everyone wanted.  This was a really good dinner!  Sorry I didn’t get any photos for you…  tomorrow, promise!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 107

April 18, 2012 at 12:10 am (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!!  Hope you are having a terrific Tuesday!  I know I am!!!  🙂

Started my day getting William a good breakfast so he would be ready for FCAT’s.  Two whole weeks of testing, reading, science, math, I feel bad for the kids!!

Then, I went off to an interview with a temp agency, took a typing test (think I came in around 50 WPM, which is actually good for me, I’m NOT a typist!), data entry (no idea what I scored, but her words were “I can see you’ve done data entry before!”), and talked about a job with a company that manages foreclosed homes, doing things like arranging cleaning, arranging yard work, arranging maintenance, etc.  Thought it went well, she said she was sending this company my test results and resume, she would let me know…  well, about an hour later I get a call, can I come for an interview tomorrow morning!  So I guess I look good on paper, now I just have to impress them in person!  I just need someone to let me in the door, and let me show what I can do, and I know I can do any job I put my mind to!  And this one actually sounds interesting to me!  I am SOOO ready for something different.

So, since I spent about an hour yesterday chopping up fruits and veggies, I knew I had to make something good for dinner.  BUT, since it’s officially William’s birthday today, and he got cash, he wanted to go shopping first.  So off to Game Stop we went, after picking James up from work (so after 5), hit rush hour traffic, hit every light we possibly could, at least there wasn’t a line at the store!  He picked a game, ended up being the wrong game, but we can take it back tomorrow, and this time he knows what he wants!

Anyway, got home after 6, no idea what I was making, but I knew I had partially thawed hamburger to work with, so:

Hot Brown and Lumpy (yeah, I’m looking for a better name!)

1 pound hamburger

1 pound noodles of choice, cooked to package directions (I had leftover egg noodles from a couple nights ago)

2 cups water

6 Tbsp brown gravy mix

Brown hamburger, crumbling very well while it’s cooking, drain any excess fat.  Return to pan, add water and gravy mix, simmer about 10 minutes or until thickened.  Add in cooked noodles, mixing well, simmer just until everything is heated through.

We had broccoli, cauliflower and carrots mixed together as one side dish, peas as a second, fresh salad (lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, carrots, green pepper, tomato) and fresh fruit salad (pineapple, papaya, grapes).  Everything tasted awesome!!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 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 77

March 18, 2012 at 11:21 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Happy Sunday to you as well.  Hope you all had a nice, restful, productive, whatever you wanted it to be day!  I know I did!

Finally finished the book I got for Christmas, and just started reading a couple of days ago…  11/22/63 by Stephen King.  All I can say is, he did it again!  Love Stephen King, always have, always will.  Except for Tommyknockers….  but that’s not why I’m here today!  I’ll critique books another time.

Today, I read, and relaxed.  Laundry was finished yesterday, so didn’t have to worry about that.  Had to go grocery shopping, but it was a “small” trip for me, so it didn’t take long, and I didn’t have many coupons.  My wonderful guys helped put everything away.  Of course, I had to go grocery shopping because we were out of things, like dishwasher soap, so I had to run the dishwasher a couple of times to catch up, but the kitchen was nice and clean, until I made dinner!  And it’s James’ night to unload the dishwasher, but he’s not here, and I already did it twice today, not doing it again, so I guess I’ll clean up dinner mess later!

Anyway, enough rambling for one day.  On to the recipes!!

Mom’s Meatloaf (makes 2)

2 pounds ground round

1 pound ground sausage

2 cups uncooked oats

2 cans tomato paste (NOT sauce)

2 eggs

Salt and pepper to taste

Line two loaf pans with tin foil.  Mix all ingredients together VERY WELL, getting in there with your hands and really mixing it up good.  Put half of the meat mixture in each pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes.

I served this with:

Smashed Potatoes

10-12 small red potatoes

2 Tbsp butter

About 1/4 cup milk (when you start mixing this up, you’ll need to add a little at a time until you get the consistency you want)

Salt and pepper to taste

Garlic powder to taste (optional!)

Rinse potatoes well.  Cut into roughly 1″ pieces.  For me, this meant cutting most of them into quarters.  They were pretty small potatoes!  Cook in lightly salted water for approx 1 hour over medium heat.

Drain potatoes, then put them back in the pan.  Add in the butter, cut into pats, and stir until butter in melted.  Mash potatoes with a hand masher, adding in a little milk at a time, until you get the consistency you want.  I left mine a little chunky, but I thought that went well with the skins still in there.  Add in salt and pepper to taste, and garlic powder if using.

I also made plain brown gravy, but I cheated, it was a Tone’s mix, so it was really easy.

So, that’s it for tonight.  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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