The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 278 – 284 (Week 41)

October 14, 2012 at 8:26 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again my friends, and welcome back!  Hope you all had an amazing week!  Mine was interesting…

Wish I could say I did a lot of original cooking this past week, but I can’t.  I can, however, say that I did some really good cooking, when I cooked that is.  Had one of those weeks where I had a few nights where I just didn’t have the energy to cook, or to fight with William about trying something new, so I went for cheap-but-tasty take out.  I felt terrible afterwards, not so much physically, but mentally, felt like I let myself and my family down, but some days, you just need to give yourself a break!

Work has been strange.  Got my first permanent employee review coming up, have a couple of co-workers telling my I should get a promotion already (I know I COULD do the job, but I still feel like I have a lot to learn), training a new girl who is doing really well, found out my supervisor is leaving the group and we’re getting a new one.  Not sure how I feel about that last one…  she’s been a thorn in my side some days, but I’ve learned so much from her, I’m going to miss her and not miss her.  I’m sure you’ve all worked with someone like that before, so you know what I mean.

William had an awesome week at school, doing really well on his homework, having a ton of fun with his music classes, thinking about trying out for the soccer team.  Mixed feelings about the soccer…  he’s never really been the outdoorsy type, but then neither was James, and he did marching band and was amazing at it, and I want to encourage William to be more active, maybe this is a good thing?  Need to teach him the right way to put on sunscreen though, that fair skin and red hair, he’ll burn like I do!!

James is James, I never know what he’s doing or when he’s working or how his life is going, he doesn’t talk to me, which really disappoints me.  I feel like maybe I’ve done some things in the past that now he doesn’t want to talk to me, and I had hoped for so much more.  We were best buddies when he was a kid, but I guess I should just be thankful that he talks to his grandparents and I find out what’s going on in his life through them.  It’s still weird…

And I’ve been doing beadwork on my lunch hours at work, so I feel like I’m getting to work and play at the same time.  I finished a bracelet, didn’t take a picture but I will.  I finished the center piece to my first bead embroidery piece, now I just need to finish off the sides and put it on a cuff with some backing.  Bought the backing this weekend, but not ready to sit down with it just yet.  Soon though!  Started another piece, I really like the way it’s going, but I haven’t touched it all weekend.  But boy is it nice to do something I love at lunch time!  It’s so relaxing, and my co-workers are finding out that I do beadwork, and some are already asking about holiday gifts, so maybe I’ll have a little extra cash this Christmas!!

Anyway, you’re here for the food, not the gossip, so let’s get to it!

Monday

Pot Roast

1 beef roast of your choice (I prefer a beef chuck under blade roast, not too much fat, turns out really nice)

1 pkg french onion soup mix

1 quart water

Put all these into a crock pot, stir a little, set on LOW and cook 8-10 hours.  Remove roast to serving platter, allow to rest while you strain about 2-3 cups of the broth into a sauce pan.  Add in brown gravy mix to package directions to make a nice gravy.

The roast should fall apart when you try to cut it, serve it just like that with the gravy!

Broccoli 

1 bag frozen broccoli florets

About 2 Tbsp butter cut into chunks

Put these in a microwave safe bowl with a cover, microwave on HIGH 7 minutes, comes out like fresh steamed broccoli with butter, maybe just a little more tender, but yummy!!

Peas

Microwave Brownies

4 Tbsp flour

4 Tbsp white sugar

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 Tbsp water

Mix all these in a small microwave safe bowl, sprinkle in a couple tablespoons of chocolate chips if you want, or some chopped nuts, or not, it’s up to you!

Microwave on HIGH 1 minute 10 seconds, allow to cool AT LEAST 5 minutes, serve!  You can top this off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you want, we haven’t yet, but it sounds like it would be good!!

Tuesday

Fried Chicken Everglades

3 Boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of excess skin or fat

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/8 cup Everglades seasoning for fish and chicken (the orange one)

1 Tsp fresh ground black pepper

Cut the chicken into nugget sized pieces.

Mix the flour and seasonings in a wide shallow bowl.

Heat about 1/2 cup vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

While that’s heating up, put the chicken into the flour mixture, flipping several times since the first dip coats it, but gets damp again really fast because chicken is damp, so if you dip it again, it gets coated better, and you actually get some of it on the chicken once it’s cooked.

Fry a few pieces at a time, a few minutes on a side, or until done through and crispy brown on the outside.  Remove to paper towel lined serving dish.  Serve when they are all cooked!

Glazed Carrots

Frozen crinkle cut carrots, about 1 cup

1 Tbsp butter

3 Tbsp brown sugar

Put all these into a small microwave safe covered dish, microwave on HIGH 5 minutes, spoon the resulting sauce over the carrots just before serving…  YUM!

Broccoli

1 bag frozen broccoli florets

About 2 Tbsp butter cut into chunks

Put these in a microwave safe bowl with a cover, microwave on HIGH 7 minutes, comes out like fresh steamed broccoli with butter, maybe just a little more tender, but yummy!!

Peas

Wednesday

Jet’s Pizza

If you have one of these in your neighborhood, I HIGHLY recommend it!!

Thursday

Five Guys burgers and fries

Again, if you have one of these in your neighborhood, I HIGHLY recommend it!!

Friday

This was a pat week, so we went out to dinner, after our bi-weekly trip to the comic book store.

Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza

Really good thin crust pizza, not greasy at all, really good Tomato and Mozzarella caprese-style salad.

Saturday

Home Made Meatballs

2 pounds ground beef

1 pound ground Italian sausage

1/2 cup plain bread crumbs

2 Tbsp Italian seasoning

2 eggs

Heat a large skillet over medium to medium-low heat (about a 4 if you have a numbered dial like mine).

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, scoop about 1 Tbsp of this mixture and roll it into a ball, fry until as much as you can get is crispy, they WON’T be done in the middle, but you’re going to put them in the oven for about 15 minutes after they are fried, so they will get done perfectly.

Pizza Muffins

1 can refrigerated biscuits

About 1/4 cup small diced pepperoni

ABout 1/2 cup spaghetti or pizza sauce

Shredded Mozzarella cheese

Spray a muffin pan with butter flavor cooking spray.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Press the biscuits as flat as you can with your fingers.  Put one flattened biscuit into each muffin cup.

Mix the diced pepperoni and the sauce in a small bowl, put about 1 Tbsp in each prepared muffin cup.  Top with about 1/8 cup shredded cheese, bake 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and serve!!

Meatball Muffins

1 can refrigerated biscuits

10 Home Made Meatballs (above)

ABout 1/2 cup spaghetti or pizza sauce

Shredded Mozzarella cheese

Spray a muffin pan with butter flavor cooking spray.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Press the biscuits as flat as you can with your fingers.  Put one flattened biscuit into each muffin cup.

Put about 1 Tbsp sauce in each prepared muffin cup, add in one meatball.  Top with about 1/8 cup shredded cheese, bake 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and serve!!

Pigs in a Blanket

1 can Crescent roll dough

1 Bag beef Little Smokies

Spray a cookie sheet with butter flavor cooking spray.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut each triangle of dough into three smaller triangles, I usually cut off the tip, then cut the remaining piece at an angle, so I end up with three pieces that sort of look alike.  Roll one sausage in each triangle of dough, rolling from the wider end to the narrow end, rolling them sort of like a crescent roll.  Bake about 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.  Serve with your favorite dipping sauce(s).

Chips and Dip

Virginia Light Rolls

1 Cup + 1 Tbsp milk, warmed about 1 min in microwave

3 Tbsp honey

2 large eggs

6 Tbsp butter cut into small pieces

3 1/4 cups white bread flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 Tsp salt

2 Tsp yeast

4 Tbsp melted butter for brushing

Put milk, honey, eggs and butter into the bread machine pan.

Add in the flours.  Make a small well in the center, add salt and yeast.

Set the machine for DOUGH, hit start and go do something else for an hour!

Turn the dough out onto a floured towel, knead with a little whole wheat flour for just a couple minutes.

Line a 13″ x 9″ baking pan with parchment paper.  Pull globs of dough off the pile, roll into balls and put into pan.  Because you cook the whole pan at one time, it really doesn’t matter if you make big rolls or little rolls, I found this out this weekend.  I made slightly smaller rolls this time, so I got about 30 rolls out of my batch, just as high as the bigger rolls, but a better side dish size.

Cover, let rise for 45 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Bake 25-28 minutes, brushing with melted butter at the 15 minute mark.

Just so you know, I made these two weeks ago with twice as much whole wheat flour, and while they tasted amazing, they were really dense and heavy.  This version is much lighter, they rose better, and everyone liked them much better!

Sunday

Grilled Everglades Pork Chops

Super simple…

4 thin cut boneless pork chops

Everglades seasoning (green)

Heat your George Foreman grill to medium, put the chops on, sprinkle with seasoning, close the cover.  Cook 3-4 minutes, flip, sprinkle some more seasoning, close.  Cook another 2-3 minutes or until done.  Serve!

Chicken Pesto Pasta with Bacon

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

8 slices bacon

1 box Dreamfields penne pasta, cooked to package directions

1 container Pesto cooking cream

Trim any excess skin or fat from the chicken, cut into bite sized pieces, sprinkle with a little olive oil, saute in a skillet over medium heat.

At the same time, cut bacon into small pieces, cook until crispy, drain on paper towel.

Add cooking cream to cooked chicken, stir in cooked pasta.  Cook until sauce is melted.

Scoop about 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups pasta and chicken into a bowl, top with bacon, and veggies of your choice, serve!

I put some of the broccoli and bacon on mine, plus I added some chopped cherry tomatoes, SO good!

Broccoli

1 bag frozen broccoli florets

About 2 Tbsp butter cut into chunks

Put these in a microwave safe bowl with a cover, microwave on HIGH 7 minutes, comes out like fresh steamed broccoli with butter, maybe just a little more tender, but yummy!!

Peas

Glazed Carrots

Frozen crinkle cut carrots, about 1 cup

1 Tbsp butter

3 Tbsp brown sugar

Put all these into a small microwave safe covered dish, microwave on HIGH 5 minutes, spoon the resulting sauce over the carrots just before serving…  YUM!

So that’s it for this week, hope you found something you liked!!

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 220 – 221

August 11, 2012 at 7:57 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you are all having a relaxing weekend.

Mine started out a little hectic, had to go get a new battery in my car, and let me tell you, I was not happy!  Last time I had to get one, Walmart did this thing where if the battery was less than 4 years old, they prorated the original cost and refunded you part of the purchase price, so my last battery cost something like $30.  NOT this time around!  It was almost $90!!!  All I can say is it better last more than 2 1/2 years this time!!!  And thank goodness James put gas in the car, because I won’t be able to until Friday now.

Then it was off to the bead shop, had to get some gold wire to do a repair for a friend, and it was SO reasonable, I got enough to make myself a bracelet, BONUS!  I love Breezy’s Beads in Brandon, they are just so awesome, reasonable, and it’s just FUN to go there!!  So one thing off my list of things to do this weekend.

Once I got home, folded some clothes, fixed a necklace, finished some craft projects I have been working on all week, now I have some cool decorations for my desk.  William and I did a couple loads of dishes, got the kitchen all cleaned up, and did a bunch of cooking!!

So here are the recipes of the day!

The first one was William’s idea, and it turned out really well.

Meatball Buns

 

Bread machine!!

7 1/2 ounces warm water

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup bread flour

2 Tbsp dry milk

3 1/2 Tbsp sugar

1 Tsp salt

3 Tbsp butter

1 1/2 Tsp bread machine yeast

Put the water in the pan.  Add in the flour, dry milk, sugar and salt.  Tap to level, then push a little into the corners.  Add the butter in the corners.  Make a small well in the center, add the yeast.  Set to DOUGH and push start!

Once it’s done, pour out the dough onto a floured surface and let rest for 15 minutes.

Take pieces about twice the size of a meatball, and wrap it around the meatball, shape into a ball, put onto a greased pan, repeat until it’s all gone.  Cover with a dry cloth and let sit 45 minutes.

Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees, serve with spaghetti or marinara sauce to dip!

Teriyaki Egg Rolls

Egg roll wrappers

1 small head cabbage, shredded

about 4 Tbsp teriyaki sauce

Leftover shredded chicken

Mix the cabbage, chicken and sauce in a bowl.  Spread about 2 Tbsp of mixture on an egg roll wrapper, fold over bottom, fold in sides, roll towards final tip, dampen tip slightly to seal.  Repeat until you run out of wrappers or filling or both!  Fry in hot oil over medium heat about 3-4 minutes per side.  Serve with your favorite sauce, like sweet and sour, duck sauce or soy sauce.  YUM!

Along with this we had some fried smoked sausage and some taquitos also fried in oil, they came out really crispy, YUM.

And then we tried our hands at cake pops!  Wow, talk about a pain in the butt!!  Even with a cake pop maker, it took over an hour to cook them all, one box mix makes something like 5 dozen baby cake pops.  Now we have to frost them all, and we have a tray that holds one dozen at a time, so needless to say, we have ONE DOZEN completed!  Next time, buying a styrofoam slab to work on…  But they are tasty, and cute, and William had fun helping!!

So, that’s what we’ve done today, actually turned out to be a good day all in all.

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 187

July 8, 2012 at 7:24 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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

Mine has been productive, if not overly exciting.  Made a bunch of stuff yesterday, which you’ve already read about if you’re a regular visitor, and cooked some more today, plus got laundry done and the kitchen cleaned up and the grocery shopping done, among other things!

Nothing interesting to report around here today, no big goings-on, just working on a clutch purse for myself, I’ll post a picture when it’s done.  William has a friend over today, same friend he went to Disney with.  Think his parents are out on a date night, so he’s here with us for the evening.  The boys had pizza for dinner, not home made, just Hot N Ready.  They enjoy it, not entirely sure why, but they’re kids!

Mike and I, on the other hand, had roast beef, potatoes, carrots and home made bread!  Here are the recipes for you:

Pot Roast

1 rump roast (this really does seem to be the best cut for my crock pot!) about 2-3 pounds

4 medium potatoes, washed and cut into bite sized pieces

10-12 large baby-cut carrots, washed

3 green onions, green part only, cut into large sections

2 packets beef Flavor Boost

1 – 1 1/2 quarts water

Put potatoes and carrots in the crock pot, top with the roast then the onions.  Mix the Flavor Boost packets into the water, and pour over the meat and veggies.  Cook on LOW 6-7 hours, or HIGH 3-4 hours.  Remove the onion pieces, unless you’re really into onions. We’re not, they are just for flavor for us.  Remove the roast to a serving tray and the potatoes and carrots to a serving bowl.  Scoop out 3 cups of the liquid and transfer to a sauce pan.  Mix in 9 Tbsp brown gravy mix, stirring very well, and heat over medium high until thick and bubbly.  Slice the meat, and 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

1) Put water and honey into bread machine pan

2) 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.

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

4) Program for basic/specialty bread and whatever crust color you prefer.  I usually go for medium, unless I’m making bread that I know is really dense, which I would set for dark so I get a crustier bread.  Start machine and leave it alone until it’s done!

Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to cool another 10 minutes before slicing.  Use a bread knife, or you will have a crumby mess!

Serve warm with lots of butter!!

This is a slightly sweet, dense bread, with a nice crust.  It’s going to make a really good breakfast toast tomorrow morning, and it isn’t so sweet that it wasn’t good with dinner, in fact it was really good dipped in gravy.

So that’s it for tonight.  I was thinking about making fruit wontons, but my feet and hips are still sore from being on them so long yesterday making all those egg rolls, so maybe tomorrow night, we’ll see.  Maybe I can talk James into helping, if he’s not working.

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

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 159

June 10, 2012 at 8:42 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Happy Sunday!  Hope you’ve all had a great weekend, full of fun and family and good food!!  Welcome back!  🙂

Sunday’s around here are usually pretty quiet, and today was no exception.  Thought about going to a movie, slept in until 10:30 instead.  Finished up laundry, cleaned up the kitchen, did a little cooking, read the comics and clipped coupons.  Mike played video games with William for a little while.  William wanted to go visit a friend, but the family is out of town.  Nothing spectacular, nothing exciting, but a nice day around the house.

So here are a couple of recipes for you:

Home Made Granola

5 cups oats (I prefer old fashioned, but you can use quick if you want)

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp allspice

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

3/4 cup sugar free maple syrup sweetened with Splenda

3/4 cup honey

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla

Mix all dry ingredients in a BIG bowl.  Set aside.  Mix all wet ingredients in a medium bowl, mixing until it looks sort of creamy instead of like syrup.  I used a whisk for just a minute or two.  Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, mix VERY well.  It gets really hard after a minute or so, take a break, then mix some more.  It’s worth it!

Pour into a baking pan with sides, like a broiler pan or a cake pan, making sure the granola is not more than 1/2″ deep, break up large pieces as much as you can, spread it out.  Dark pans cook faster, try not to use them unless you have to.  I used to keep foil pans around just for this, but storing them got out of hand.  Split the batch over a couple of pans if you have to just to make sure it’s not too deep or squished to tightly in the pans, it won’t cook right.  It needs to be loose and not too deep in the pans.

Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour total, stirring every 15 minutes, breaking up bigger pieces, and making sure the batch isn’t getting too dark too quickly.  If you do have to use dark pans, cook about 10 minutes less.

Remove from oven and cool.  At this point, you can add raisins or chocolate chips before packing it up, or you can leave it plain.  You can serve in a cup, in a bag, or in a bowl with milk for breakfast.  You can use this granola to top off yogurt or ice cream.  It makes enough so you can do whatever you want with it!

Store in sealed containers up to two weeks.  Does not need to be refrigerated.

Oriental Seasoned Rice

Rice cooker (imperative!)

Rice

Water

Chicken flavor Flavor Boost, 1 packet

2 Tbsp Soy sauce

1 Tsp ground ginger

Fill bowl of rice cooker to the “4” mark.  Add in the chicken flavoring, the soy sauce and the ginger, mix well.  Using the scoop that came with your cooker, measure in 4 scoops of rice.  Turn on the cooker, when it’s done, serve!

We had this tonight with grilled pork chops, steamed broccoli with butter and steamed peas with butter.

So that’s it for tonight!  Gonna go relax with the family for a while…

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

 

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