Monday, August 13, 2012

The Ranch Kitchen's Creole Dressing

                                                 The Ranch Kitchen's
                                     Creole Dressing

The oldest daughter Ilissa is home and with that comes healthy eating and watching our carbs.  I know I need to do it...and I'm trying to be healthy.  So tonight instead of my Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing, I came up with this dressing for her salad.  It was so good that it ended up on top of my grilled chicken and then on top of my wild rice...healthy is definitely not always easy for me...but I have to's one of the best dressings I have had in a while.  You have to shake it vigorously to mix the ingredients, so maybe I burned a few calories! 

I plan to use it as a marinade for chicken next time, saving some to spoon on top of the cooked chicken.  Make sure the saved marinade/dressing was never used on your raw chicken. 

All and all preparing this recipe took a total of five minutes or less.  I have close to 3/4 of the dressing left, as a little bit goes a long way. 

I hope you enjoy my Creole Salad Dressing as much as we did.  It gets my big and baby girls two thumbs up.  Hubby liked it as well.

The Ranch Kitchen's Creole Dressing

1/2 cup white vinegar

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, spicy brown mustard, pepper, garlic salt, oil and hot sauce until thoroughly combined. Place in a Mason Jar and shake vigorously before serving.  Spoon or pour gently on to salad greens, baked chicken, rice or pastas. 

Alise @The Ranch Kitchen 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Potatoes Nolana

As a young cook, I used recipe books extensively.  My favorites were always the church cookbooks that had members tried and true recipes.  I spent my days raising two daughters, getting my undergraduate degree in education, and trying to be the perfect little housewife, wowing my husband with my cooking.  If you've read my posts, you know that I had more than one blunder or two in the kitchen...but as my husband says, "Age and wisdom, outweighs youth and treachery".  Thank God I cook a lot better today. 

One of the first dishes I ever made was this dish called Potatoes Nolana, which I stole from somewhere from some church cookbook titled Potatoes Anna.  With my own little addition or two from time to time, it became a staple in our household at dinner.  It takes literally four ingredients and is good every single time.

You can add any number of additions to this recipe.  Cheese is sometimes sprinkled on top, along with onions between the layers if I am feeling industrious.  Make it your own and enjoy. Remember cooking doesn't have to ever be hard.  It should be stress free and never a hassle.

Potatoes Nolana

6 - 8 medium sized potatoes of any kind, scrubbed clean with water, peeled or left with skins on
1 stick butter or margarine, melted
salt and pepper to taste

Grease a Pyrex pie dish.  Peel and slice potatoes in 1/4 inch slices.  Melt butter in a microwave bowl until just melted.  Begin by spooning 1 teaspoon of butter or margarine in the dish.  Layer one layer of potatoes on the butter.  Spoon 1 to 2 teaspoons of butter on first layer of potatoes, then season with salt and pepper.  Continue layering until all potatoes are layered and butter is used.  Cover tightly with foil and cook in oven until potatoes are fork tender.  Be careful removing the foil as the steam will burn you horribly.  Cajun seasoning is used instead of salt and pepper sometimes!


Alise @ The Ranch Kitchen

Friday, August 3, 2012

Certified Hereford Beef and Garlic Herb Grilling Paste

Garlic Herb Grilling Paste
Picture compliments of

Health conscious people every where always try to cook the leanest quality meats available.  On our ranch Nolan Herefords, CHB - Certified Hereford Beef is what we cook most often.  For those of you out there who know first hand what's it's like to raise your own beef, simply knowing what you put in to it before it reaches your table is a huge when it comes to keeping your family healthy.  It is rare that I have any fat left over when preparing my hamburger meat as most of it simply cooks away.  Compare that to the beef you normally prepare from your grocery store and you'll understand.  The flavor alone is proof that good quality beef is just about the perfect meat to serve anytime.  As someone who is forever battling anemia, beef is one way I get the iron I need. 

I can remember growing up and now as a mother the handiness of being able to open up the freezer and grab our own beef labeled from the local butcher with either the name Herbert Young (my maternal grandfather who raised commercial cattle), Walter Nolan (my father-in-law) who provided us with beef when we were first married and needed a little assistance, or Nolan Herefords, our ranch name that we now harvest our own beef from for our freezers.  

Sunday dinner beef roast will always be a favorite of mine as the smell was heavenly.  As my youngest nephew said one day as he walked in my garage...we all know how boys eat...he said, "Aunt Alise...I smell beef!"   He had the biggest smile on his face and ate a ton...precious boy.  Most of the time that is what you smell at my house around dinner time. 

Because I can't do as good a job as our Hereford friends at, the link below will help you with some history about Certified Hereford Beef.

And their commitment to quality.

Each year at our National Jr. Hereford Expo, competitors compete in the CHB Cookoff event.  It's always good fun to watch and hear presentations and especially eat the winning results!  Here is a link to the 2011 junior winners from Kansas.  Texas has had some winners as well and I hope to soon share those recipes with you from my friends Sandra Warnken and Barbara Metch Holan.

If you were wondering which cuts of Certified Hereford Beef or any beef for that matter are the leanest, here's your link to buy and save!

Do you wonder how to tell if your beef is done? Read more at: How to Tell When Beef is Done |

You can never go wrong with a thermometer or in our family we use the hand method described briefly in this article above.

When and if you get the opportunity to buy Certified Hereford Beef, give it a try.  Don't cook it too long as in our family slight pink in the center - medium well - is a good thing!

Where to buy Hereford beef...that is if you don't get it from Nolan Herefords?  Check out this link below.

DM BR L1 Domino 146 • Calved: 3/26/01
DM BR L1 Domino 146 of Nolan Herefords

Above is a picture of our newest bull....11 year old DM BR L1 Domino 145 who has come to Nolan Herefords to retire.  We've used him extensively in our breeding program and could not be happier his final home is with us here on our ranch.  His days are spent courting a few heifers and laying under our pine trees. 


Today I am sharing a recipe right off the site for a great grilling paste to use on your next set of steaks.  I have a gigantic rosemary bush in my back yard that friends near by are welcome to cut from to make this paste. 

What I like most about this recipe is the easy to find ingredients that most of you will have in your kitchen  pantry.  I think the main turn off for some people when cooking is not having ingredients at hand.  My goal is to try to give readers of my blog The Ranch Kitchen ingredients in my recipes that are convenient! 

Garlic Herb Grilling Paste

This big-flavor grilling paste is delicious on a tender steak like a ribeye or filet mignon. This makes enough to use on four (6- to 8-ounce) Certified Hereford Beef® steaks.


  • ¼ cup fresh minced garlic (from about 6 to 8 large cloves)
  • ¼ cup sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper


    1. Mix all ingredients together in a shallow pie pan. Dredge both sides of each steak in the grilling paste and set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes before grilling. Makes about ¾ cup.

Country Style Pork Ribs

Sometimes I think cooks shy away from cooking ribs of any kind in the kitchen. They believe it is delegated to the outside grill and not to the indoor oven.  For years I have cooked all styles of ribs in my house much like you would do a simple roast.  Even though we raise Hereford cattle on our ranch, I do love pork ribs.  

Probably the thing I like best about pork ribs is the ability to have tons of leftovers that can be used for my favorite of all pork enchiladas that I cook usually the next night or two after the first night of our rib dinner. 

Foil is your best friend when cooking ribs because no one enjoys scrubbing baked-on grease off a pan.  I simply prep my foil with cooking spray and lay in a 9 x 13 inch Pyrex dish or roasting pan.  I then layer my ribs, seasoning as I go with Tony Chachere's More Spice or their Creole Seasoning and then add water to just up half of the ribs.  Next, I secure my foil on top by folding upwards with the bottom piece of foil to make an airtight packet for the meat to steam/cook in.  In my convection or regular oven, I turn the temperature to 400 degrees and cook about 1 and one-half hour or until the meat forks easily away from the bone and the meat has turned white.  You do not ever want to eat pork that is pink and not cooked well.  As I rule I allow the ribs to sit five minutes and then I place on a platter and cut in serving size chunks to serve.  Sometimes during the last thirty minutes, I will brush with BBQ sauce and uncover the meat for those last few minutes of cooking time.  Make sure you have used enough foil so that no water escapes and cooks under your packets.  The bake on the mess you will have is never any fun later.

This is a go-to meal when I have a large group of guest or family over.  I am always amazed that people have never had them.  We haven't found anyone who doesn't always love country-style ribs.

I usually prepare a large amount so that I can use the pork in a variety of ways like my enchiladas I describe earlier.  The Ranch Kitchen's King Ranch Enchilada's  are wonderful when you use leftover shredded pork instead of chicken.  A lot of the times I will also use the leftover rib meat in jambalaya or in open-faced BBQ sandwiches the next night.  Since these ribs do tend to be fatty, I always remove the fat and discard.

I am sure you can find other ways to use your leftover pork or for that matter beef rib meat.  If you have a recipe, I'd love to hear about it. 

Country Style Pork Ribs

4 - 8 Country Style Ribs (bone-in or out)
4 cups of water
Pam Cooking Spray
Tony Chachere's More Spice, Creole Seasoning or any quality BBQ Seasoning
Glass or metal roaster

Prepare pan by spraying with cooking spray.  Lay foil on the bottom of the pan making sure that foil comes out by at least 5 inches or more so that when you attach the 2nd layer or top piece or layer of foil they will fold together easily. 

Season meat and place in a single row with fat side up.  Add water to just up to half the pork ribs.  Cover with remaining foil, forming a packet by folding foil upwards.  Cook on 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 - 1/2 hour or until pork is cooked.  Be careful when unfolding the foil as the steam that escapes will burn your hands and arms. 

Allow meat to sit for at least five minutes to seal in juices.  Remove to a platter and cut in serving size pieces. 

You really can't get much simpler than this meal and the smell coming out of your kitchen will make everyone beg for dinner!  Enjoy!

I also have enclosed a link to the site that will give you more ideas for great country style rib and pork recipes.  Give these country-style pork ribs a try this weekend.  You'll love them.

Remember that no one said cooking had to be hard!

Alise - The Ranch Kitchen