Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hair and Makeup!

In the Nolan household it's show season again! It's our first year for the youngest of our girls to show her cattle in the ring as a full fledged junior here in our Jr. Hereford Association and Jr. FFA program.  She is as excited as the rest of us!

Hair and makeup is what my husband has always called getting the cattle ready for show...that means bathed...yes we wash our cows...combed...we comb, blow their hair out with large super strenght blow house like those you would use at the car wash except these blow out hair...and them we throw on a little hair spray or oil to puff their hair out like your favorite teddy bear!  So with three girls and one older mom at our husband is always out voted...and he understands all too well the hair and make up of not only our cattle but the girls.  I tell everyone that I am the 'puff and fluff' of our outfit...I make sure everyone is fed, clothes are clean, and we are ready to show by looking our best.

Enclosed is a picture of our littliest one showing her heifer Angel.  We call her the 'showmanship hiefer' as she is not the most likely to win a show...but by far the most gentle and Audrey's favorite...she may never go out to pasture and just stay in our barn! 

If you have never watched a cow is a different kind of fun!  We love it.  It has helped make our girls into what they have become and we couldn't be prouder! 


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Ranch's Chicken Spaghetti for a Crowd!


It's this time of the year when I think of tailgating at Texas A&M and cooking at the State Fair of Texas for family and friends!  Each year my happiest moments are serving the recipe of Chicken Spaghetti for a Crowd that I have entered below.  It's a definite crowd pleaser and along with a salad, and bread sticks, it's fills even the biggest man up! 
I think the Rotel Tomatoes with cilantro are the big difference in this recipe compared to most others.  It adds a freshness and zing that I don't taste in other recipes.  It's a dump recipe at best and if you don't have a large roaster pot - it's a must have.  I recently made an East Texas styled pork roast and sweet potatotes in it that vanished quickly!  Spray  your pan down with Pam or grease it good so your clean up won't take so long!  Always make sure to dry the pans in these roasters, as with scratches they will rust. 

I hope you enjoy this simple dish as much as my friends in our Texas Hereford Associaton do and my local FFA group!  I haven't yet made this at a tailgate, but am looking at the Texas A&M vs. Nebraska game to serve this to a few Aggies I know!
This is my huge double can easily cut this in two!


Chicken Spaghetti for a Crowd

12 chicken breast, cooked and cubed (can used canned chicken and/or precooked chicken breast or thighs) 

4 large packages spaghetti noodles, broken into thirds

4 cans Hunts 4 Cheese Spaghetti Sauce or any brand will do!

4 cans Rotel Tomatoes with Cilantro

2 lg. containers chicken broth

2 lg. family sized mushroom soups

2 can’s cream of celery soups

2 large - 2 lb. packages of Velvetta Cheese (no light), cubed

*Optional – 2 – 4 large onions

Salt, pepper, and additional water to cover

Spray large roaster with Pam or oil.  Halve ingredients between two roasting pans.  Place sauce, Rotel tomatoes, chicken broth, mushroom soups, celery soups, onions and water to 6 inches from the top in the two roaster.  Bring to a boil.  Add 1 package of noodles (breaking noodles into thirds – I prefer the thin spaghetti) at a time and allow each package to soften some before adding the next.  Break apart the spaghetti with a fork to make sure the pasta does not stick together as you boil it.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add chicken.  Continue cooking on medium to high heat. 
***Add cubed Velvetta cheese the last 30 minutes as it will stick horribly if added earlier. 

Get cooking!

Alise Nolan

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Nolana's Family Hot Sauce

In Texas we LOVE our hot sauce!  My girls ate hot sauce along with their baby food!  Before I felt my oldest daughter could eat the tortilla chips without choking, she would dip a saltine cracker in the hot sauce from our favorite Mexican food restaurants.  

My girls love to eat Mexican food so much, that to tease them when they asked to go out, we'd say, "Yes, we are eating at Nolana's Family Restaurant tonight!"  Of course it took them a while to figure it out....but once they did the name stuck and of course we eat at Nolana's Family restaurant a lot!  Nolana's is of course my family kitchen.  

In an attempt to make my own family recipe that did not have to be cooked, but was fresh, easy, and most importantly tasty, I came up with this simple recipe.  

Here is my attempt at hot sauce or salsa, as some might call it!  My girls love it, as does my husband.  Their friends attack it when they come over!

This hot sauce or salsa keeps well in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Nolana's Family Hot Sauce

2 can's of canned tomatoes with green chili's (not Rotel Tomatoes)
1 small sweet onion, quartered (1015's in Texas)
1 jalapeno, seeded
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. cumin (optional)
2 tsp. sugar (optional)
1 bunch cilantro with stems removed\
1 half of a green pepper (optional)
1 half of a sweet banana pepper (optional)
1 lime, juiced (I cut in half and use a fork to get the juices out - works like a charm)

In a medium to large food processor put tomatoes, onions, jalapeno, additional peppers, and spices (garlic salt, pepper, cumin, & sugar.  Pulse for ten second or to desired consistency.  Add to this cilantro mixture and pulse quickly for 2 seconds.  

Cook's Note: This will keep for up to one week in the refrigerator. You can also use other onions like tradtional white and yellow cooking onions, but I think the sweet onions like Texas A&M's 1015's make the hot sauce taste better.

In hopes that your family enjoys it as much as mine does! 

Enjoy along with your favorite tortilla chips, with your Mexican food, on the side of eggs or some fresh cooked peas of any kind! 

Alise Nolan 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Big Girls Favorite Goulash!

Old is only a word, right?  Well tomorrow I will feel old!  My oldest daughter will be 22!  Along with our other daughters, she has been a blessing.  She receives her Aggie Ring in November and graduates from college in May!  We couldn't be prouder!  

Whenever she comes home...she wants our local Mexican food restaurants chips and hot sauce first - and then this dish.  It was the first thing she cooked at college for friends when they all took turns Summer 1 session cooking for each other during the week and watching their favorite summer shows.  

Happy Birthday my big girl!  Now all you have to do is access Mom's site to get your favorite recipes!

My Big Girls Favorite Goulash

2 lbs ground meat, browned (cooked until pink is gone - and drained) :o) - we use Certified Hereford Beef 
1 can stewed tomatoes or canned tomatoes, chopped
1 can Rotel Tomatoes with green chili’s (I like the one with cilantro & lime juice best)
1 onion, chopped
¼ cup sugar
3 tsp. chili powder
4 cans water ( or more as needed to mixture cooks and does not dry out and cause pasta to stick or burn)

2 cups bowtie, egg or macaroni noodles
1 tsp. garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste (1 tsp. of each)
1/ 4 block of large Velvetta Cheese – equals 1 cup chopped
Optional – ½ bell pepper or sweet banana pepper, chopped

Brown hamburger meat and drain. Add tomatoes with liquid from can. Add on onion, sugar, chili powder, water, noodles and spices. Bring to a boil and then down to a simmer (low heat). Cook on low, stirring occasionally, until noodles are tender. Add Velvetta Cheese the last 10 minutes or it will stick. Cook in a non stick – Teflon – pan.

Get cooking!


Monday, September 6, 2010

The Ranch Pasta - Literally!

Today I spent a great day, resting - which I never do and once again making my pasta!  This is one of my youngest girls favorite sides that I make.  It's fast and easy...and since I discovered Ranch Dressing in the economy size at my nearby Sam's's even better than easy.  Also...don't discount your store brand take-off Ranch Dressing mixes because they are good as well.  Today was my husbands birthday and friends invited us to their place to celebrate it with them, as they were also celebrating a birthday as well. What a great day!  Thanks the Hayes family!

The Ranch Pasta!

2 packages pasta (any style shells will do)
1/2 cup REAL Mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 package Ranch Dressing powdered mix
1 cup cubed sharp cheddar or jalapeno cheese
garlic salt to taste (optional)

Bring water to boil and add pasta.  Boil until pasta is done.  My check for pasta being cooked, is if it forks easily in half, then it is done.  Drain in a colander and cool with running water.  Use a spoon to stir pasta gently around in order to stop cooking process as the cool water runs over it.   Allow pasta to drain well as you complete the next step.  In a mixing bowl, add REAL mayonnaise and sour cream to the Ranch Dressing mix.  Add pasta to Ranch Dressing mixture, stirring to blend.  Add cheese to this and season with garlic salt.  Transfer to another bowl and chill in the refrigerator.  This is always better after it has been allowed to sit in the fridge at least a day. 

You can also add chopped olives, ham, turkey, canadian bacon, real bacon bits, tomatoes, sweet Texas A&M 1015 onions or red onions, and sweet corn to this to add some variety.  You can also squeeze one lemon over the ranch dressing mixture to add a little extra flavor.

Get cooking! 


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Pene Pretzels - A Movie Night Favorite!

One of my favorite things as you know is to cook...but more than that it is always to be with my family.  My husband and 3 daughter/extended family (mom, brothers, nephew & nieces) keep me forever cooking.  

My middle daughter loves to have friends over and she is becoming a great cook in her own right.  Whatever your occasion may be, she's going to bake or make these Pene Pretzels...because that is just what she does.  

She's the first to call you on your birthday, be it midnight as her friends and sister know, and my proudest moment with her cooking was when one of her dear friends realized I made the cookies and not Bethany...and that wasn't a compliment on me.  What he meant is that Bethany always watches her baking better than old mom -  who is very easily distracted.  

My husband says I can cook about anything, just not bread as it is always burned as I am forever doing 20 things at once. 

I got this recipe from my husbands best friends 3rd was the hit of the wedding and when they accidentally got spilled everyone jumped up because they were so darn good. 

These are a go to snack for my daughters movie nights at our house.

Pene Pretzels

2 large bags of pretzels
1 package Ranch powdered dressing mix
1 tsp. lemon pepper
1 - 2 tsp. garlic salt
1 cup Canola or Vegetable Oil

1. Mix together Ranch powdered dressing, lemon pepper, & garlic salt. 2.Add spice mixture to the oil in a medium size bowl.  In a large bowl (giant actually), begin to place 2 cups of pretzels at a time.  
3. Continually stirring and scooping mixture of spices and oil, one tablespoon at a time and drizzle over the pretzels.  
4. Continue this process, layering pretzels over 'wetted' pretzels until all of the spice/oil mixture is gone and pretzels are coated.  
4. Taste a pretzel.  If it is not salty enough, sprinkle more garlic salt.  But be careful or you can sprinkle too much! 

At our state and national cattle shows, I usually place these in individual sandwich bags and put out as snacks in the afternoon.  It's always a hit and especially good with an adult afternoon beverage.  ;o)  

I hope you love this as much as our family and my daughter's friends do.  It is always highly requested, especially by those big old football boys! 

Get cooking - Alise