Monday, January 2, 2017

Finding Joy With My Favorite Recipes

People say to me...you cook a lot.  And yes, that is very, very true.  After reflecting a lot over my Christmas break, I came to this conclusion about several things both big and small.  Cooking is ultimately for me one way I show joy.  It's a little thing to me that helps me wind down after a big day or clear my mind and just spend time with just little old ME.

As I reflect on the new year ahead, I will immerse myself in what brings myself, my family and those I love and work with find joy whether it be in my cooking, my actions through my help, or just in how I treat them.

As a mother, educator, daughter and sister, it's rare that I ever have time just for me.  Although I would not want it any other way, it's those that half hour or more each evening without the Internet or television where I get to stop, reflect and just concentrate on the task at hand.  Cooking has become that outlet for me over the years and a way that I get to see the instant gratification of my efforts. It's that mom always fixes this when I come home, or my husband enjoys this meal, or my youngest loves to help me make this, that drives this part of my cooking most.

Just last year, my husband placed a television in my kitchen thinking I might enjoy it.  However to date I've probably turned it on maybe five time total, because to me the distraction of it takes time away from my me time.  I'd rather immerse myself in these moments and find time to let my creativity transform a recipe or two, make my family happy and bring a smile to my heart.

So as I reflect today and look toward the year ahead on just what brings me the most joy in life outside of what ranks at the top of that list being that of a wife, mom and daughter and sister... it's these dishes below that rank at the top of my list.






















So here is hoping you find joy in the new year.  Find what makes you happy and make your day, your week, your month and year ahead your best ever.  I plan to work on just that one goal each day from this point on.

Alise - The Ranch Kitchen

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Ringing In The New Year With The Ranch Kitchen

The new year is almost here and it's time to make those New Year Resolutions! This year, my resolutions are to organize my house, blog more by posting more recipes and continue to spend time doing the things we love as a family. Family is first in my life and above all things it's always my goal to make special moments and cherish the quality time I get to spend with them all.  I am extremly thankful for the year we have had and realize how lucky we are in so many ways.

Nothing speaks the New Year's foods like black-eyed peas, cabbage, Cajun Baby Back Ribs or this fun black-eyed pea appetizer below. Let The Ranch Kitchen help you ring in the new year with this medley of good luck, prosperity and healthy recipes that will start your year off right.

For starters to bring in that good luck you must have black-eyed peas.  I'm a little supersticious, so we make these from scratch on New Year's Day.  These Black-Eyed Peas are a sure fire hit and simple to make.  You can use your crockpot and cook them all day or put them on the morning of for you lunch or afternoon for your evening meal. If you are Keilbasa link sausage fan, add that to the pot as your cabbage cooks for an easy meal everyone loves too.



 Black-eyed Peas


Since cabbage is green naturally in color, it represents the color of money!  So eat lots and lots of cabbage on New Year's Day as well.  It's good for you to start with and my Granny's is Wilted Cabbage is one of The Ranch Kitchen's biggest hits.  Cabbage, my friends, is a worldwide vegetable that everyone loves and this recipe is easy, easy to make and serve. 

 Granny's Wilted Cabbage


This Black-eyed Pea Salsa is more of an appetizer for New Year's Eve, but is great as a side vegeteble  along any meal when you are wanting something a little different.  I made this in bulk this year and will serve it with tortilla chips.


 Back-eyed Pea Salsa


Next it's tradition to serve pork ribs for our meal as well on New Year's Day.  This crazily represents how pigs root their noses forward when they nudge the ground...I can't make this up...so it means you will be going forward in the new year. At any rate..eat some pork and don't go backwards. It's the other white meat and my Cajun Back Baby Ribs are the best way to make them! Just saying! You don't have to have a grill to make it, so your oven will do just fine. 

 Cajun Back Baby Ribs


So Happy New Year from The Ranch Kitchen!  Thanks for following my site. It's been such an unexpected thrill these last years adding to my site and sharing our recipes with you.  Here's to 2017 with all the luck, properity and happiness you can have!

Alise - The Ranch Kitchen


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Ranch Kitchen's Chicken Spaghetti Family Portion Sized Recipe & 200th Post!

For years I've shared my recipes that will feed a crowd. Crowds, large family gatherings and learning to cook from a mom and Granny who fed my brothers and all their friends was normal for me.

My - The Ranch Kitchen's Chicken Spaghetti is no exception and for years usually the only time I make this huge batch recipe is for our Hereford family friends at our cow shows.



It sounds like a funny joke for someone who advocates for beef to showcase one of her favorite recipes being that with the main meat being chicken!  But chicken it is and my The Ranch Kitchen's Chicken Spaghetti has become a main dish that is expected at gatherings in the winter at the National Hereford Show in Fort Worth, the Houston Jr. Livestock Show for our Gilmer FFA kiddos and then it's a must for one meal during our National Junior Hereford Shows wherever we land across the USA each summer.

This meal is easy to make in large roaster ovens where we easily feed not just our Texas friends, but sweet family friends and guest from across the US.  If you ask my daughter's friends what meal they associate with me, it's this simple dish.  And on the rare occasion that I didn't make this during a cattle show, it's the first thing I hear about and asked just where is it?!!

So tonight as I sit to FINALLY get my recipe on my site with the family portion sized recipe, please know that although I'm used to making it for a crowd, this recipe paired down is just as good.  It will still make a large amount, but will freeze and hold over well for a few days if you just can't eat it all in one sitting as we say in the south!

In this recipe you can use chicken from a can for ease or baked chicken you cook yourself.  I prefer to bake my chicken and shred or chop into chunk sized bites.  I also will never again make the mistake to use cheaper variety thin spaghetti noodles as you only want a good 'named' quality brand that will remain firm and not become mushy. So pay the extra few cents on the noodles and you'll thank me later.

My husband is not particularly a cheese lover in anything, but he loves the addition of Velvetta Processed Cheese in this recipe.  If you want it cheesier, then add more...but only add a little at a time until you get the chicken spaghetti to the consistency you want.

To reheat this dish you can use your trusty microwave or add a cup of chicken broth to a non-stick stove top pan to warm it all back up the next night.

So without further delay and with much prodding from my dear friends for a smaller quantity recipe for my most sought after recipe here on the site that for some crazy reason I've never placed on it.....here you go!  My middle daughter Bethany once made this for her Hereford friends at Texas A&M with the large recipe found her on the site.  She had made so much, that they ate it literally for a week and then much to my surprised pawned it off on a few of her guy friends at the end of the week six days later!  I sure hoped it was still worthy of eating and the boys fared well after it being in the fridge for that long!  Kids!  Glad they enjoyed it, but about scared me to death!

Click here for the recipe for
The Ranch Kitchen's Chicken Spaghet
ti

So eat your heart out! Share the recipe and remember that nobody said cooking had to be hard!  It's a meal like this that I have made innumerable friends with, made someone feel welcome and given them a taste of The Ranch Kitchen!

Enjoy and I hope you will make this recipe for my The Ranch Kitchen Chicken Spaghetti real soon!

If you like it, please share, comment below or on The Ranch Kitchen's Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.  To keep seeing my post on these sites you have to click to like or share to keep it current on your feed.  Sadly new settings on these sites limit pages like mine in visibility unless I pay for my post...which is pretty costly!

As always thanks for following my site, being an inspiration to me to keep on blogging and for trying out my recipes!

In closing, as I write my 200th post for The Ranch Kitchen site...it is very, very appropriate that this The Ranch Kitchen's Chicken Spaghetti be the one! I honestly can not believe I've hit this mark!

So as they say...it's been fun....it's been real...and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for following The Ranch Kitchen!  Life's an adventure and it's meant to be lived!

Alise Nolan 


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Ranch Kitchen Cooks - State Fair of Texas 'GO Texan' Event




This past weekend was a fun time for both myself and my family.  It was a culmination of 9 years of work as both a blogger, recipe developer and our families practice of advocating for agriculture with a cooking demonstration at the 2016 State Fair of Texas in their GO Texan Pavilion!




Most definitely one of the highlights for my blog and site The Ranch Kitchen has been my inclusion in the this year's Taste of Texas - Go Texan Recipe book that is housed in the Go Texan Pavilion during our annual State Fair of Texas with my Beefy Mexican Cornbread. More humbling was the fact that this recipe was handed down from my mother who made this for my brothers and I as children.  We loved it then and continue to enjoy it now, especially with the Hereford beef we raise on our ranch.  It's a southwestern inspired main dish with a cornbread topping mixed with corn that is extra spicy with a cheese filling and topping.  When we can we will use green chili's from our garden sauteed with the ground beef as I did for my demo this weekend.  

We do love our Texas Agriculture pictured here at the 

GO Texan preview event
the week before the cooking demonstration!


So nice to get to meet Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller!


Here I am with the official Go Texan Taste of Texas Cookbook
and my featured recipe for Beefy Mexican Cornbread!

As an educator, I'm used to speaking in front of a crowd of students and teachers.  But cooking and speaking in front visiting crowds was a different thing all together!  With the ebb and flow in the building of passers by and then the audience who sat down to watch, it was a busy, busy place.  

One of the most heartwarming moments was when my Audrey insisted to standing on stage with me and helping me every step of the way as the two older daughters Ilissa and Bethany ran back and forth filming and passing out small samples of each recipe.  Bethany's missing in these shots due to being the one behind the camera. 



Scott was the calmest through it all smiling and giving thumbs up from the back of the audience and throwing cues of things to say in his silent wording to stretch my time on stage!  Goodness knows he has been thru the good and the not so good with my earlier recipes! 



In the midst of it all we got rave review on the Beefy Mexican Cornbread, Tortilla Wraps My Way, and our Nolana's Family Hot Sauce.  One of the neatest moments were the children that so sweet and complimentary especially of my hot sauce.  One little girl came up twice to get samples and speak to me reminding me so much of the little elementary students I taught so many years ago.  That in itself made my day even sweeter...because children and teaching others is at the heart of why I do this all.

Click on each links below to get the recipes! 




Tortilla Wraps My Way

Tortilla Roll Ups My Way


 Nolan's Family Hot Sauce

Funny moments came when the new food processor I had bought would not work...but thankfully I had a huge batch to show and samples already ready of our Nolana's Family Hot Sauce! I've check once...check twice and check again! However if that was my biggest issue, I'm one happy momma!

To say I could not have done this without my family is an understatement. Through it all they have been my biggest and most honest taste testers, supporters and push when I needed it. Each gave their weekend freely to support their momma and wife which truly touched me deeply.  As proud as I know they were of me, I was of them for being there for me.  It was a moment that will be etched in my memory forever.


Family picture by Big Texas! Sadly head got cut off by friendly lady who took our picture! 


So, as I sit here this evening still reminiscing from the past weekend of fun and family, I'm reminded again at why I do this thing called blogging. At the conclusion of my cooking demo this weekend, a sweet lady came up to me and thanked me for advocating for agriculture during my demo.   She told me few people ever do that. 


Special thanks to my personal media specialist and middle daughter Bethany for all these picture!  You won't see her in any pictures as she was behind the camera the whole time and Scott was supporting from the back of the audience!




Visiting with the little girl and mom who loved Nolana's Family Hot Sauce! So sweet! 


Making my Beef Mexican Cornbread with Certified Hereford Beef of course! Click on the link more great Certified Hereford Beef recipes!


I proudly told her it's just what we do, how we've raised our girls and wouldn't have it any other way.  In a world where by 2050 there will be over 9 billion people, it's those of us in agriculture that farm and ranch that will feed and clothe our world.  It's a tradition of hard work, dedication and values that we strive to instill in our girls and one that to date has proven worth it's weight in gold. We are FFA proud, agriculturally driven and passionate about the Hereford beef we raise on our ranch and the lifestyle it has enabled us to be a part of.  


Stopping by the Go Texan Store to purchase some Pioneer Cornbread mix to use in my Beefy Mexican Cornbread!  Most ingredients for all my recipes were proudly Texas products!


Post cooking demonstration celebration watching the Texas Aggies 'BTHO' Tennessee in the Mueller tent eating their 2016 State Fair of Texas People's Choice Award winner 'Injectible Balls of BBQ'!  Delicious! So worth all those 20 tickets!***************
The Ranch Kitchen has been a labor of love for many years now and something that I hope catalogs family favorite recipes for many years to come.

As always click on the links above to view the recipes on The Ranch Kitchen recipe section of my site. I'm very proud of how many recipes both myself and friends have added to date. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr.  Leave a comment  after the recipes you've tried and let me know about any additions you made to make that recipe your own.  

Drop by the National Hereford Women's new recipe website that I helped create during my time on their board and of course Certified Hereford Beef as well where we showcase the 'ranch to table' aspect of our Hereford breed for more great beef recipes! 


Image result for certified hereford beef logo

Also check out on Pinterest Beef Loving Bloggers with the Texas Beef Council where The Ranch Kitchen is a contributing blogger on their board.  Mouth watering, easy recipes there to get beef on your dinner plate as well!  

The Ranch Kitchen is also a contributing blogger on Sure Champ VitaFerm and the Missouri Hereford Association's monthly magazine, so check out their sites as well in the links above with their names! 

The Ranch Kitchen proudly affiliated with these great associations and companies!

*******************

Many thanks to the GO Texan program, the Texas Beef Council, Beef Loving Texans, and my family for this opportunity this past weekend. And if you are at a Go Texan event this year, stop by and pick up a the recipe book..  It is full of great recipes from contributors like Southwest Dairy Farms and even a winning state fair cobbler dessert! YUM!

Have a great fall everyone and keep checking back for fun things to come at The Ranch Kitchen!

Alise - The Ranch Kitchen 



  

Monday, August 1, 2016

Summer Vegetable Tian Via Ilissa and Pinterest


                   

Our Lissa (Ilissa) as we call her is becoming a good cook in her own right.  She's a big girl now with her first job and living in the big city, she has started, as her traveling permits, to cook when inspiration or an event calls for it. Her recent Pinterest (www Pinterst.com) feed find resulted in this healthy dish.  Our family loves zucchini, squash, onions and potatoes, so this dish naturally marries the four. I think her picture below speaks for itself. She sent me the before and after.  
She now has the honor of making this when she come home for dinner during our county festival. Proud of you Ilissa!  Your family won't starve one day and you and Bethany can carry on the The Ranch Kitchen blog!!  Hugs! 
The recipe hails from the site Budget Bytes via Pinterest http://www.budgetbytes.com/2011/08/summer-vegetable-tian/.  If you want to know exactly how much the approximate cost for a dish like this is, this site will spell it out for you.  

Summer Vegetable Tian 
By Budget Bytes

Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion 
  • 1 tsp minced garlic 
  • 1 medium zucchini 
  • 1 medium yellow squash 
  • 1 medium potato 
  • 1 medium tomato 
  • 1 tsp dried thyme 
  • to taste salt & pepper 
  • 1 cup shredded Italian cheese 
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Finely dice the onion and mince the garlic. Saute both in a skillet with olive oil until softened (about five minutes).
  2. While the onion and garlic are sauteing, thinly slice the rest of the vegetables.
  3. Spray the inside of an 8×8 square or round baking dish with non-stick spray. Spread the softened onion and garlic in the bottom of the dish. Place the thinly sliced vegetables in the baking dish vertically, in an alternating pattern. Sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, and thyme.
  4. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, top with cheese and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown.
Get cooking,

From Ilissa!