Sunday, April 27, 2014

My Girls Favorite Squash

At least once while my girls are in, I MUST make this easy squash side vegetable dish that is always their most requested healthy dish.  Thank goodness they are calorie conscious, and I am getting more so with age.  This recipe can be seasoned with any seasoning really, but we prefer Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning, or occasionally lemon pepper and garlic salt.  With 1/4 cup Canola oil and a chopped onion, these zucchini and yellow squash are an excellent side that sometimes gets a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese as an added bonus!
My Girls Favorite Squash
4 yellow squash. sliced in 1/4 inch circles
4 zucchini squash, sliced in 1/4 inch circles
1 onion, chopped in large chunks
1/4 cup Canola Oil, vegetable, grapeseed, or olive oil
2 teaspoons Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning or you can use 1 teaspoon garlic salt with 1 teaspoon lemon pepper instead.  Truly - season to your liking.
Prepare squash and onions.  Pour 1/4 cup oil in a Teflon coated pan with stove top turned to medium high heat.  Add squash and onions cooking for five minutes while stirring occasionally.  Add seasoning and continue cooking on medium and then low heat as your vegetables start to cook through. I usually cook this uncovered, but when I am in a hurry covering your pan with it's lid will speed up the process!
***We love, love this simple, low calorie squash dish probably once a week in the summer when it's in overabundance in our garden!  It is great to make in large batches and have for leftovers for the next days meals.  I usually cook this in my large Teflon coated wok.
 ***This was lunch today for my girls that consisted of my Stuffed Jalapeno and Cheese Chicken and pasta.  I used nacho jalapeno's for this chicken dish as I was out of my usual favorite of pickled jalapenos, carrots, and onions.  When you live in the don't just run to town!


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Ranch Kitchen's Spicy Mexican Pretzels

State testing!!  I could write a mile long blog post on just the anticipation and preparation alone for it that we do in Texas schools alone!  However, I am so proud it is finally here and our students and teachers are ready!  We are going to 'blast' the STAAR Test! 

Today as we normally do at our campus we feed our sweet teachers with tons of snacks and cold drinks to help them make it through the day!  Testing sessions are long and our teachers are so deserving of any special thanks we can give them!  

Today I made my Pene Pretzels, except I left at home most of the spice ingredients!  So, as I am known to do I created a new creation and walla we now have my Spicy Mexican Pretzels with the help of the spice rack in my school cafeteria!  Who knew we had Mexican Seasoning...never heard of it...but now I have and will use it for everything!

These pretzels were a huge hit and hope they all like them because they will enjoy them again tomorrow!  I now have new recipe to share with you all, serve to our staff and my family and friends at home!

Spicy Mexican Pretzels

2 bags of Pretzels
1 package of Ranch Dressing powdered mix
2 teaspoons of Mexican Seasoning 
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of salt

Mix all spices with a whisk...or as I did by swirling the spices in the bowl to mix as I walked down my school hallway from our cafeteria!  Add to the spices one cup of oil (vegetable or Canola oil) and mix well.  
Place one layer at time of the pretzels in a large bowl drizzling your oil and spice mixture over the top.  Continue to layer and mix occasionally with a spoon to coat all pretzels.  Make sure as you drizzle the oil that you drag the oil/spice mix from the bottom of the bowl and coat all pretzels.  

Allow to sit for thirty minutes and serve!  
 These would be great divided in to individual snack bags and used for ballgames or trips on the road!  I regularly make my Pene Pretzels for our stock show Hereford family each summer at our shows! Click here for the link to my original pretzel recipe! The Ranch Kitchen's Pene Pretzels


Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Ranch Kitchen & Sure Champ VitaFerm Collaboration

Wow!  What a whirlwind of a week!  I am so very excited to announce my blog The Ranch Kitchen's collaboration with Sure Champ VitaFerm to advocate agriculture by sharing and creating recipes for their blog and site!

Having been long time customers on our ranch of their feed supplement products, we know first hand the difference it's made in their performance in and out of the show ring.  Sure Champ VitaFerm advocate agriculture first and foremost by supporting numerous junior national shows in many breed associations across our great nation.  They know first hand the undeniable impact that the agricultural way of life instills work ethic and leadership like none other in our youth.

To view their site please go to

What started out as a way to share my recipes with my daughters off at college more than five years ago has now grown into something so much more.  I now proudly have over 115 recipes to date that are my original or handed down from my family, or those shared by friends and family.  My blog has become a way to chronicle our life on the show road and our family love of agriculture and living life to the fullest while we chase after our three daughters Ilissa, Bethany and Audrey! 

I have many people to thank for this opportunity, but most especially my family and extended friends across Texas and USA who have both inspired me and been my biggest supporters. 

Thank you all for following my blog The Ranch Kitchen on Blogger, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter, and for trying my recipes, reading my post and most especially to Sure Champ VitaFerm for your confidence and support.  You never know how life will turn out, and this new collaboration is one both my family and I are very excited about! 

Here's to some new recipes and things to come!


Sure Winner Strawberry Salad

Spinach or Mixed Salad Greens
2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced thin
1 cup Sugared Pecans or Praline Pecans
1 cup Feta Cheese crumbles
1 cup Vinaigrette Hazelnut Vinaigrette Salad Dressing (I like to use Raspberry Vinaigrette)
Layer a layer of spinach or salad greens in a pretty crystal bowl.  You can use both the spinach with the mixed salad greens if you like.
Add 1 cup sliced strawberries, sugared pecans and Feta cheese crumbles.  Repeat layers and serve with a drizzle of Raspberry Hazelnut Vinaigrette! 
****This is a fantastic salad to serve in the spring when strawberries are just in season. The combination of the Feta cheese and sugared pecans are a really sweet addition that is favorite in our family.  Most grocery stores now sell sugared pecans and some call them Praline Pecans.  I've even considered breaking up pecan praline candies for this salad if for some reason my grocery store is out of this specialty item. 
You could also use a lower sugar content vinaigrette for this salad or a Balsamic salad dressing as another option.



Sunday, April 13, 2014

Tater Tot Casserole

Great memories were made this weekend!  Our middle daughter Bethany received her Fighting Texas Aggie 2015 Senior Ring at Texas A&M on Friday and dunked her ring with sorority sisters on Saturday night!  Getting to be foremost with all our daughters in Aggieland was wonderful in it's own right, but the added fun of getting to be around her's and some of our best friends, their sweet parents and making all those memories together will be something we will always cherish! 

Texas A&M has been college home for two of our daughters.  The years of football games and tailgates, parents' weekends, and moving them in and out of their various homes have been some of our very favorite memories.  Our favorite restaurants are there like Wings and More, La Bodega, Lane's and Chimy's.  And we enjoy The Dixie Chicken for a game of pool, and a good Aggie tent sale to buy more shirts than we will ever wear! 

We love you sweet girls.  Thanks for wanting us to be a part of your college fun weekends, being the role models you are for our little Audrey and for enriching our lives more than you will ever know! 


Tonight, as we arrived late home from Aggieland I contemplated one more meal out!  Our favorite family restaurant was calling my name as #1 I was tired and didn't feel like cooking, and #2 anytime we've been gone a while my favorite food to eat is always from there.  Feeling lazy and realizing our house guest Kyle had gone fishing on our place and Scott was busily working in our garden, I knew they'd be hungry as would our youngest thank God for the defrost button on my microwave and some frozen tater tots!  This meal was on the table in under an hour and will be great as leftovers tomorrow night when I don't feel like cooking again!

I've made this meal for years and can't believe I haven't shared it before now.  I've used ground pork  as well as beef and think ground turkey meat would be equally as good.  However, tonight I used ground beef and to be precise it was CHB, Certified Hereford Beef right off our place!  Kyle enjoyed it, as did the rest of us and I convinced him how easy it was to make!

The Ranch Kitchen's Tater Tot Casserole

2 lbs. ground beef, browned and drained
1 onion, chopped fine
1 can Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup
1 can Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup
2 cups grated cheddar cheese or 8 slices American Cheese slices
1 cup water
1 teaspoon Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning or Allspice
1 teaspoon garlic salt
Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning, garlic salt to taste for top of casserole

Brown ground beef and chopped onion until all pink is gone and drain excess fat, if any.  Add to this both cans of soup and one can of water.  Stir well and add 1 teaspoon of Tony Chachere's Creole Cajun Seasoning and 1 teaspoon of garlic salt.

Pour this mixture in a casserole dish like a 9 x 13 Pyrex dish that has been sprayed or greased with Pam cooking spray or oil.  Sprinkle on cheese or place on 8 slices of American Cheese slices (that is what I used tonight as I was out of cheddar cheese).  Pour entire frozen package of tater tots in a layer on top of meat and cheese mixture.  Sprinkle tater tots with a small amount of Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning and garlic salt.  Place in an oven that has been preheated to 425 degrees and cook uncovered for thirty minutes or until tater tots are slightly browned! 

If you have a meat and potatoes kind of man around your house this is a sure pleaser of a meal!  It's a main dish that the most beginner of cooks can make and the most experienced will enjoy for the sure ease of it!  Enjoy! 

Cooks Note:  You can use ground pork or turkey for this family favorite meal as well.

Alise @ The Ranch Kitchen!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Campfire Cobbler

This weekend was one of many camping trips our family will take this spring and summer. We enjoyed our first camping trip at a local lake that is close to home, but far enough away that you feel like you are actually 'away'!  My husband enjoys setting out his catfish trot lines and I enjoy reading my magazines, sitting by the fire and sleeping in later than 7:30...that is my guilty pleasure....just sleeping in.  We had our good friends the Parkers out and it was nice just to catch up and enjoy their company! 

As I've gotten older I find I am a list maker and more of a planner than I have ever been. The spontaneity that I had in my youth has given way to each detail being planned out, even though I may still have to stop by the store on my way out of town.  This weekend my husband wanted to try a dessert recipe in his cast iron Dutch oven that we usually use to fry fish in.  I found an easy cake recipe all over the Internet that some call a cobbler.  It's an easy 1, 2, 3 recipe that calls for 3 ingredients plus a few sprays of Pam cooking oil.  The recipe consist of a cake mix, 1 stick of margarine or butter, and 2 cans of your favorite can of pie filling.  I chose to use a devil's food cake mix, 2 cans of cherry pie filling, and the 1 stick of butter. 

Honestly, you can use any combination of cake mixes and pie fillings for this recipe.  The next night I used instead a box of Butter Recipe cake mix and another 2 cans of cherry pie filling.  I'm envisioning for my third cobbler using peach pie filling and a white cake mix as sounds pretty good to me.  I may even drizzle caramel over the top of it or melted white chocolate.

If you cook this over the campfire as we did, make sure to cook over indirect heat (not full on high fire hitting your Dutch oven).  I also took the Dutch oven off the fire and allowed it to sit with the lid on the last ten minutes to continue cooking. 

The next night, I cooked this recipe in a 9 x 13 inch Pyrex dish in my oven at home on 375 degrees for 50 minutes.  It was just as good and would have been perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Campfire Cobbler

1 box cake mix of your choice, dry and not prepared (I used Devil's Food Cake)
2 cans pie filling (I used cherry pie filling)
1 stick margarine or butter, melted in your microwave until just turned to liquid (I used margarine)

Spray Dutch oven with Pam cooking spray generously.  Pour in 2 cans of pie filling.  Sprinkle on 1 box of dry cake mix evenly over pie fillings.  Pour 1 stick melted margarine or butter over cake mix.  You will not have enough to cover all the cake mix, so do not worry about it! 

Bake on 375 degrees for 50 minutes or until crust on top is browned over most of cobbler. 

Cook and serve along side ice cream or alone!  It's an easy dessert dish that you can create any number of ways and perfect to make for large crowds in a crock pot.  If you bake in a crock pot, prepare as directed above and cook on high heating element for 4 hours. 

These pictures may look like the cobbler is a little overdone, but honestly not a burnt piece in it. But do be careful and watch it closely if you chose to cook it over your campfire!


Alise @ The Ranch Kitchen!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Mexi Corn

Before we know it side dishes can get pretty boring on a weeknight meal.  To liven our corn up the other night I added 1/4 cup of La Costena Green Mexican Salsa or Salsa Verde. 
Yes, it was simple,easy and wonderful! I used one can of corn and 1/4 cup of the wonderful green Salsa Verde that we usually eat along side purple hull peas or tortilla chips, and presto, boring corn was a hit!  Give it a try! 

The Ranch Kitchen's Mexi Corn
1 can of whole kernel corn or frozen corn, thawed ( 1 1/2 to 2 cups), not drained
1/4 cup Salsa Verde or La Costena Green Mexican Salsa
In one can of whole kernel corn or from frozen, thawed corn, pour 1/4 cup of Salsa Verde and bring a low boil and simmer for twenty minutes. Depending on your tolerance for spicy foods, adjust the Salsa Verde to your taste.
Serve and enjoy!

Alise @ The Ranch Kitchen