Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sausage Pasta Bake

Dinner!  The combination of what's left over in my fridge and a little bit of the garden was on the table last night! 

We love, love Bratwurst sausage and adding it to my pasta last night made it more of a man's meal for my husband and one my preteen loved.  Use what you have and add to really any pasta like the Fettuccini I used along with some cooked squash I cooked on the side and dinner can be ready in less than 30 minutes like my Sausage Pasta Bake.

Be creative and let your taste and likes guide you in creating your own dishes you and your loved ones will love.

Alise - The Ranch Kitchen

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sure Champ and The Ranch Kitchen's 'Recipes From The Ranch' August State Fair Post

It's up!  My newest 'Recipe from the Ranch' on Sure Champ VitaFerm with ideas to feed your hungry crews at state fairs across the USA! 

One of my very favorite times of the year is State Fair of Texas!  It just brings together all my favorite things that scream Texas like foremost showing our Hereford cattle and getting to see samplings of our state at it's best in our various exhibits and events at our state fair deep in the heart of Dallas, Texas! 

State Fairs across our USA are well underway as I write this blog post and most kids, moms and dads involved in agriculture in one way or another have worked long hours preparing their market animals, show heifers and market projects for this fun event.  It's a huge homecoming of sorts for families and a way to showcase their families farm, ranch and or homegrown produce.

In Texas it's a huge array of events like the Texas OU Football weekend where their football teams battle it out in the Cotton Bowl!  My favorite event each year is not the football game but when our beef heifer show falls on this weekend and we get to watch as the band from the two opposing teams 'battle it out' on the grounds by our barns!  How neat is that?  It's a memory I know my girls, husband and I enjoy each year. 

I also love getting to taste the newest fried food sensation like fried Twinkies, Oreo cookies and even fried bacon!  And my favorite thing to do each year is of course go by the Go Texas Pavilion and buy those 'Texas' made products to take home and enjoy with my family. 

The quilt shows, gardening displays and culinary exhibits are also some of my favorite places to visit as well and just being a part of the mass of people, smells and taste are a true thrill for me each year. 

State Fairs are a slice of Americana that each person should enjoy a few times in their life if not every year!

For this month's August post for Sure Champ VitaFerm's Recipes from the Ranch we chose to highlight foods that could feed the masses and crews that each family who shows or exhibits at state fairs could easily serve their families!  Thank God for electric crockpots and roasters as they help us take a partial kitchen to these shows.  With an army of helping hands and cooks in the forms of moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, aunts and uncles we feed not just the animals each day but the hungry kids and adults as well!  The friendships I've made over a huge vat of chicken spaghettiand my Italian green beans are too many to tell by now and I wouldn't trade those times for anything! 

Today I share several recipes with you below that I hope you'll try at your state fair or your next show on the road or for your families at home.  These recipes are great for pot lucks or church gatherings and especially easy to make for a crowd when you double or triple these recipes! 

Please check out my newest post August Sure Champ VitaFerm Recipes from the Ranch Blog Post for these recipes below off my site The Ranch Kitchen.  Click on the links below each recipe to take you to them.



Have a great month and state fair season! And if you are in Texas...we'll see you at the State Fair of Texas!
Alise - The Ranch Kitchen

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ranch Fried Okra

I've fried okra for years the wrong way!  I guess you have to mature a little to learn how to correctly fry this little veggie.  Or...finally get the patience to let something sit and soak up milk as I did today.  I have no finally, finally I have perfected okra after 25 years.

Okra can be fixed numerous ways.  You can fry it as in my recipe for Ranch Fried Okra, boil it or steam it.  Each delivers a different texture. I've found after much debate with my friends and family that most enjoy the fried version over okra being boiled.

Boiling your okra gives it a 'slimy' texture that my husband actually loves.  I can eat it, but would really prefer not too.  I only like okra cooked in hot liquid in a good Cajun or Seafood Gumbo recipe!

You can also steam okra on top of you stove seasoning with a little salt (sea salt or regular) and pepper.  Simply steam the okra until it is tender and you can 'fork' through it easily.

For my recipe today I took an already prepared seasoned 'meal' as we call it in the south of Zatarains Fish Fri and added a little more Tony Chachere's to spice it up a bit. 

Make sure you allow your prepared okra that you have cut in 1/2 inch rounds to soak up milk for at least ten minutes.  Mine probably stayed in the milk for 20 minutes as I got distracted with the rest of my meal I was cooking.

Drain okra and add to prepared meal, tapping off excess 'meal' mixture while bringing oil to a medium to high heat and then carefully drop in your okra. Continue to fry for 3 - 5 minutes or until fried okra is browned to a golden brown.

Once cooked, drain on paper towels to remove excess oil and enjoy! 



Serve okra with ketchup.  However I have seen it eaten with Ranch Dressing as a sauce on the side.  We especially love it with along side fried catfish or chicken fried deer 'venison' steak.


Alise - The Ranch Kitchen1

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Refrigerator Okra and Cucumbers with Yellow Squash

Making refrigerator pickles with cucumbers have always been a big part of my summer cooking.  We love to take out a jar of these each night with dinner and add to whatever we've got for supper.

This past week I got in the mood again and decided to make a few new batches of refrigerator cucumbers and a new recipe for okra which I had never done before.  The key in these is to use Ball Crisp Granules that you can find in your local grocery or Walmart beside canning supplies. These will now be a essential part of any refrigerator pickles I make.  As a result these 'pickles' were far better than any I've ever done.  My cucumbers, okra and squash stayed fresh and crisp and the difference was seen by my family. 

Last night at dinner these both were a huge success and especially with my oldest daughter who had come in for the weekend. 


With summer heat closing in on our little part of East Texas our squash is starting to suffer!  So, I'll be making more of these and canning some in hot water baths so that we can enjoy these all fall and winter long. 

Please click on the recipe named links below the pictures to access the recipes!

Alise - The Ranch Kitchen


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Chicken Rodeo

Chicken Rodeo was inspired by my daughter's love for Chicken Marsala after eating her roommates version of it the past year.  One of my middle daughters main request while she was home from college was to learn how to make more easy recipes that she could cook to have for several nights while busy at college. 

I decided to improvise a recipe I found and recreate mine own version calling it Chicken Rodeo after my favorite wine from Los Pinos Winery named Rodeo Red.  I thought it impressive that a young cook took on this recipe and since she liked it so well, I needed to learn how to make it.  Thanks Lauren for the inspiration and cooking for my girl at college!


The recipe is a little more involved than my usual ones, but well worth the effort.  The Los Pinos Rodeo Red wine gives the sauce a slightly sweet taste. And the mushrooms and bacon cooked in this recipe we thought threw it over the top.  I left the bacon in strips cut in half, but you may chose to cut them in small bite sized chunks. 

This dish was really good served over my Hot Fettuccine Buttered Noodles that are so simple to make and were a staple at our house when my girls were younger.

Hope you'll try it.  Click on the links above to try the recipes! 

Alise - The Ranch Kitchen

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Peaches, peaches and more peaches!

This week peaches took over my kitchen and many others in our little part of East Texas and the south.  Roadside stands are bursting with not only the vegetables from our mild, wet summer, but fresh peaches that are just coming into season.

If you are looking for a great recipe to use your peaches, then this Easy Peach Crisp by a friend of The Ranch Kitchen Kathy Sewell McClain from my hometown is for you!  I am so happy she shared a recipe with my Share a Recipe Link on my site The Ranch Kitchen. It's so easy to do this by first creating an account and then sharing your recipe.  I am looking forward to many other of her great recipes on my site.  This week she shared a recipe from her mother that I am sure each time she makes it brings back many great memories. 
Both of us are lucky enough to live next to Efurd Orchards that has spectacular peaches each summer!  This summer has been abnormally wet in Texas and the peaches and all of us have benefited from the rain and cooler weather.

My daughters and I went out and bought a bushel of their ripest peaches to make Peach Preserves the other day that we actually froze in Ball's freezable containers and in freezer bags to use in my Winner Peach Ice Cream later this winner in my Cuisinart Ice Cream and Yogurt Machine.  Once thawed, the peach preserves are good in my refrigerator for up to 2 months.  Much thanks to Ball for the recipe that I modified slightly for these Peach Preserves and to my Bethany for helping to peal 40 of them! 

Later that night I made a peach sauce to go over my newest recipe for Chicken with Peach Sauce.  The surprise addition was an onion that really added to the flavor of the roasted chicken.  You could really speed this recipe up by using a rotisserie chicken from your grocery store and just spoon your sauce over it reheating in your oven or microwave.

For dessert we experimented with a Crock Pot Peach Pie Cobbler from fresh peaches of course and my Winner Peach Ice Cream that I created for my July Sure Champ VitaFerm Blog Recipes from the Ranch post.  The Crock Pot Peach Pie Cobbler will be on my August Sure Champ VitaFerm post later this week for those wanting something easy to cook at state fairs across our country! 


My family is now officially tired of peaches (I'm almost tired of peaches too) and we discovered that my Bethany is both allergic to the skins of peaches and mangos now!  

She is being a trooper while she is home helping me up after my cooking and helping me with her little sister!  She will gladly go back to A&M in a few weeks...but we will most certainly miss her tons!  

So peaches, peaches and more peaches are in my recipe post for today!  Hope you'll click on the recipes above and try them out for yourself.  Peach orchards are now trying to make themselves more of a destination experience by having fresh peach ice cream, canned syrups, jams, jellies and other fresh vegetables. Efurds Orchard does an excellent job and has so many photo opportunities for families and children.

Alise - The Ranch Kitchen