The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza day 348-365 (week 51 & 52)

December 30, 2012 at 11:51 pm (Food, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!!

Well, we made it through the year, made some new friends along the way, and had some fun!  I’ve really enjoyed trying out new recipes, sharing them with you, and sharing the little ordinary goings-on of our family with you.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the tidbits as well as the food, and found some cool new things to try!!  I know I’ve tried things I never thought I would, and found out I actually LIKE curry!

So here’s our final entry for this blog for this year.  I’ve got a BUNCH of recipes for you, some simple, some not-so-much, but all well worth the effort.  I hope to continue this food blog in 2013, but I don’t think I’m going to focus as much on doing something new every day like this on started out, I think I’m going to try new things every weekend and share those adventures.  Gives me more time to work on my two new blog ideas….

Here are my two new blog ideas for 2013, I’m going to give them a shot and see where they take me.  I’m going to start a new blog doing some product reviews, starting with some of the things I got for Christmas, and then I’m going to have a second blog about jewelry making, share some things I’ve tried, maybe try my hand at doing a tutorial or two on some basic techniques.  Could be fun!  Hope you’ll join me!!

Working names, please let me know what you think!:

Ramblings Meets Reviews!

Nirvana Bay Designs Presents:

So, on to the food….

Chicken Everglades

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (or however many you need to feed your crew)

Everglades original seasoning (green)

Fresh ground pepper

Trim any excess skin or fat from the chicken breasts, cut into small bite sized pieces.  Spray a large skillet with olive oil cooking spray, heat over medium heat, add in chicken.  Sprinkle liberally with Everglades seasoning and pepper, I think I use about 2 Tbsp for 2-3 chicken breasts.  More than that is way too salty, but less is sort of bland!  Cook chicken, stirring frequently, until done through.  Serve with sides of your choice!  I usually go for some steamed veggies and maybe some biscuits.

Pork Chops Everglades

4-5 boneless thick cut pork chops

Everglades original seasoning (green)

Fresh ground pepper

Trim any excess fat from the chops, and cut into small bite sized pieces.  Spray a large skillet with olive oil cooking spray, heat over medium heat, add in pork.  Sprinkle liberally with Everglades seasoning and pepper, I think I use about 2 Tbsp for 4-5 chops.  More than that is way too salty, but less is sort of bland!  Cook pork, stirring frequently, until done through.  Serve with sides of your choice!  I went for some rice this time, and some steamed veggies.

Nachos

1 pound ground beef

2/3 cup water

1/4 cup taco seasoning mix

Tortilla chips

1 cup shredded taco blend cheese

1/2 cup salsa (I use mild)

Chopped black olives (optional)

Chopped green pepper (optional)

Brown ground beef in a large skillet, drain excess fat.  Add in water and taco seasoning, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes.

Arrange tortilla chips on a plate, top with seasoned beef, shredded cheese, and any other toppings you like, everything except the salsa at this point!   Microwave about 1 minute, maybe just a little more or less depending on your microwave, just until cheese melts.  Top with salsa, sour cream, or ranch dressing and serve!

Cheddar Sausage Biscuits

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3 cups Bisquick

1 pound bulk pork sausage (I used mild, and wish I had used medium!)

4 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup milk

1/2 tsp dried Rosemary leaves

1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh parsley or 1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes

BBQ sauce or Ranch dressing or chili sauce, whatever you like for dipping!

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray bottom and sides of jelly roll pan with olive oil cooking spray.

Stir together all ingredients, mix VERY well.  I had to get in there with my hands to get it mixed right.  Shape into 1 inch balls, a cookie scoop works really well for this, wish I had had one when I was doing this!  Place in pan, right up against each other, but don’t squish them together.

Bake 25 minutes or until brown and slightly crispy.  Remove from pan to paper towel lined platter.  Serve warm with dipping sauce.

Makes about 8 dozen balls.

Corn Pudding

1 can creamed corn

1 cup milk

2 tbsp flour

2 tbsp butter, melted

1/4 cup sugar

3 eggs

Dash of salt

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Beat eggs, sugar and flour together.  Add corn, butter, salt and milk.  Pour into buttered (or in my case, butter flavor cooking sprayed) 13″ x 9″ dish.  Bake at 325 degrees approximately 50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

NOTE: if you double this recipe, you will have to cook it about an extra 20-30 minutes for the center to set right.

Oatmeal Scotchies

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1 stick plus 6 tbsp butter, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

3 cups oats (Quick cooking or not, doesn’t really matter, but the consistency of the cookie IS different.  I prefer regular over quick oats)

1 cup butterscotch chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter, add in sugars and mix well.  Add in eggs and vanilla, mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt.  Slowly add to butter mixture, mix well.

Add in oats and chips, you will have to switch to a spoon rather than a mixer at this point, it gets really thick! (at least I do…  my little hand mixer won’t handle it…)

Dropped by tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes.

OR, spread into a buttered (or sprayed) 13″ x 9″ pan, bake 30 – 35 minutes, cool and cut into bars.

Bulgar Breakfast Squares

2 cups cooked Bulgar wheat (1 cup uncooked = 2 cups cooked)

2/3 cup milk (or fat free half and half!)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 Tbsp melted butter

1 Tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup dried bananas

1/2 cup dried blueberries

1/2 cup dried cherries

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

First tip, put the dried fruit in with the Bulgar when you cook it, just add about 1/4 cup extra water, softens them up nicely.

Combine everything, spread into a greased (sprayed) 8″ x 8″ baking pan, cover with tin foil, bake 30 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly before trying to cut, serve warm.

You can also prepare this in advance, cool completely, cut into squares and reheat in a microwave.

Snowballs

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1 cup butter, softened but not melted

1/4 cup sugar

2 cups ground pecans

2 cups sifted flour

1 box confectioners sugar

Heat oven to 300 degrees.

Cream butter.  Add sugar, pecans and flour.  Mix well.  Dough will be VERY stiff.

Shape into tablespoon size balls, again a cookie scoop would have come in very handy here, but I didn’t have one yet.

Place on UNGREASED cookie sheet, bake 45 minutes at 300 degrees.

Remove from oven and immediately roll in confectioners sugar.  Set out to cool on waxed paper over newspaper (to protect your surface!).  Roll again in confectioners sugar when cooled.    Store in a sealed container.

Tollhouse Cookies

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2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 large eggs

1 10 ounce package chocolate chips

1 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

In one bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.

In another bowl, cream butter, add sugars, vanilla and eggs, mix well.

Gradually add in flour mixture.

Gently stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop by rounded tablespoons (cookie scoop!) onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 9 – 11 minutes.

OR, do like I did and spread it all into a greased pizza pan, bake 20 – 25 minutes, cool in pan, cut into wedges with a pizza cutter.

Ham and Cheese Quiche

1 frozen pie crust

3 large eggs

1 cup half and half (fat free, of course)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 cup diced ham

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Place pie crust in glass pie plate.  Prick bottom and sides, bake 10 minutes to set.  Remove from oven and cool.

Sprinkle ham and cheese in cooled crust.  Mix eggs, milk and spices in mixing bowl.  Pour over ham and cheese.  Bake 10 minutes at 425 degrees.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees, bake another 30 – 40 minutes, depending on your oven, or until puffy and lightly browned.  Cool about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Chicken and Pasta

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

Olive oil cooking spray

1 Tbsp garlic powder

2 Tsp Italian seasoning blend

Salt and pepper to taste

Spaghetti sauce

Dreamfields Penne pasta, cooked to package directions

Grated Parmesan cheese

Spray skillet with cooking spray, heat over medium heat.  Add in chicken and spices, cover, stir frequently to cook through.  Drain off excess liquid.

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Add sauce and chicken to pasta, serve topped with a little Parmesan!

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Crockpot Chili

2 pounds ground beef, browned and drained

3 cans red kidney beans

1 large can diced tomatoes

1 can tomato sauce

1 diced green pepper

2 Tbsp onion flakes

2 pkgs chili seasoning

Salt and pepper to taste

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Top with a little shredded cheese, sour cream, whatever YOU like on your chili!!

So I think that’s enough for now…

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza day 306-312 (week 45)

November 11, 2012 at 9:24 pm (Food, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Welcome back friends!  Hope you all had a glorious week!  It was certainly an interesting one for us.

Mike’s birthday was yesterday, Happy Birthday Baby!  Balloons, candy, ice cream cake, pizza, movies.  Nice evening!!

William got his first middle school report card, 7 A’s, 1 B, WAY TO GO William!

Work was work, James was James, no idea what’s going on with him, but he’s a teenager, I don’t think I’m SUPPOSED to know what’s going on any more.

Working on a new bracelet, here’s where I’m at as of today:

And of course, new nail design for the week:

So, kind of a quiet week, but that’s OK!  Oh, almost forgot, my office is putting together a cook book for charity, so I put in about 10 recipes.  Would have done more, but they set a limit…  That’s OK, now I know where to go when I’m ready to do mine in print!!

On to the food…

Monday

Free for all!

We had all that cool stuff left over from all that cooking I did last Sunday, so everyone got what they wanted, and I cleaned out the fridge.  Nice, easy Monday night!

Tuesday

Goulash (formerly “Hot Brown and Lumpy”)

1 pound ground beef

2 cups water

1 cup frozen peas

1 box Dream Fields penne pasta

6 Tbsp brown gravy mix

Prepare pasta to package directions, drain.

While cooking the pasta, brown the ground beef, drain.  Add in the water and gravy mix, bring to a boil.  Add in peas, boil 2 minutes, reduce heat, simmer about 10 minutes, just about the time it takes the pasta to cook.  Add in the drained pasta, mix well.  Salt and pepper to taste, and serve in a bowl!

I made some canned biscuits to go with dinner, it was a nice meal.

Wednesday

Five Guys burgers

Yeah, we had some money left over as we got closer to pay day, so we splurged just a little.

Thursday

Santa Fe Chicken

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of any excess fat or skin, cut into small bite sized pieces

1/2 box Orzo style pasta

1 can Black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup frozen green beans

1 Pkg Sante Fe flavor cooking cream

Cook chicken in a large skillet until no longer pink.  Add in cooking cream, black beans, peas and green beans.  Mix well, simmer on low while you cook your pasta to package directions.  Drain pasta, add in to skillet and mix again.  Serve!

Friday

Cheesecake Factory

Well, we’re big fans of The Big Bang Theory, so we decided that since we couldn’t get in to Red Robin in less than an hour, we would give this place a try.  Well, let me tell you, the food was good, but WAY over priced.  $11.95 for a burger and fries!  Don’t get me wrong, it was good, but not THAT good!  And I LOVE cheesecake, but not for $6.95 a SLICE!  The waiter was slow, even once we got seated, we were there for about an hour and a half, and I was seriously disappointed that he brought us the dessert menu then disappeared for 15 minutes so that we didn’t actually order dessert, we went somewhere else.  I would NOT recommend going unless you have that kind of cash to blow.  I guess we’re more the Five Guys kind of folks, and even that I think is overpriced, but at least I don’t have to wait an hour for it!

Saturday

Frozen pizza, Ice cream cake

Yeah, it was pay week, and I went grocery shopping so we had all kinds of food I could have made, but it seemed like a pizza kind of night, Mike’s birthday and all.  Let him pick the movies, had pizza and bread sticks, then we went and got an ice cream cake and balloons.

Sunday

Crock Pot Enchiladas

4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (approx 1 lb each), trimmed of any leftover skin or fat

1/2 cup taco seasoning mix

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 jar chunky salsa, mild (or your preference)

2 cups shredded cheese, Mexican blend or chedda

Tortilla chips

Cook chicken breasts in water with taco seasoning on the stove, covered, for about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, or until done through and falling apart when you try to take them out.  Shred chicken.

Mix soup, salsa and shredded chicken in a bowl, place about 1/4 of the mixture in the bottom of the crock pot.  Layer shredded chicken mixture, cheese, tortilla chips, until you have 3 to 4 layers.  Finish off with a layer of tortilla chips and cheese. Cover and cook on LOW for 3-4 hours or until bubbly and cheese is melted well.  Serve!

And since I went shopping, including a side trip to the Oriental market and the fruit stand, I made a KILLER fruit salad for this week…

Pineapple

Dragon fruit

Pomegranate

Red grapes

Green grapes

Strawberries

And we’re off tomorrow, for Veteran’s day, so I think I’ll do a little cooking tomorrow with all the cool stuff I got this weekend.  I even got stuff to try my hand at Ratatouille!

So until next time, eat well, love well, live well!!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 204-207

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

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

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

So, let’s play catch-up…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chicken Nachos

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/4 cup taco seasoning

1/4 cup dried onion flakes

2 Tbsp garlic powder

Shredded cheese

Salsa

Water

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

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

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

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

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

Grilled Chicken Salad

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

Grilled chicken (yes, we got premade)

Crispy bacon pieces

Ranch dressing, or your favorite

Shredded cheese

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

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

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 203

July 24, 2012 at 9:03 pm (Food) (, , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!!  I feel like I’m on a roll, two days in a row…

So, my last day as a temp, I’m officially an employee as of tomorrow morning!!!  Get paid tomorrow for last week, a partial check next week, and my first regular paycheck next week, too.  Ought to be interesting!

Still waiting for the electrician to come back and find the short in the phone system…  and the sprinkler folks to come and fix or replace the sprinkler controller.  That stupid lightning strike is still haunting us…

Anyway, Mike stayed home sick, again.  I feel kind of bad for him with the fatigue and everything, but I’m also worried about how much work he misses.  I hope it doesn’t come back to bite him, we can’t afford it!!

James is at work… and William helped fix dinner!

Tonight’s recipe is completely an original…

Chicken Bacon Nachos

3 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/2 pound bacon

Corn tortilla chips

Shredded cheese

Salsa

Cut bacon into small pieces and cook over medium heat until crispy.  Remove to plate with paper towels and set aside.

While bacon is cooking, trim excess skin and fat from chicken, and cut into small bite sized pieces.  Once bacon is done, add the chicken pieces into the bacon grease, and cook until cooked through.  Remove to plate with paper towels.

(I made the mistake of leaving the bacon in the pan and adding the chicken, and while it tasted good, the bacon wasn’t crispy any more…  learn from my mistake!)

Spread tortilla chips onto a plate until plate is covered.  Add some chicken and bacon.  Cover with shredded cheese.  Microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.  Top with some salsa and serve!

We all really liked them!!  Have to remember this one, it was YUMMY!!!

That’s it for tonight, though…  doing my nails, so no more cooking for now.

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

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