Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year from The Ranch Kitchen! Foods for good luck!

Crazy to think we are about to close off the year 2015!  I remember thinking as young woman how old I would be in 2015...  Well I am a bit older, hopefully a bit wiser and life is speeding by, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

As we look forward to tonight, our New Year's Day celebrations or simple family meals, here are some tried and true recipes that are good luck foods.  We always try eat to these recipes to bring us prosperity and good health in the year ahead.

One of my favorite appetizers to serve on New Year's Eve is this The Ranch Kitchen's Black-eyed Pea Salsa.  It's a fast and easy side to make and is great with corn tortilla chips or as a side vegetable.  I love to serve it in a large over-sized champagne glass or footed crystal bowl for some height with the chips underneath it.  There is seldom any of this left, but if there is and you make a ton it will keep up to one week in your refrigerator.  

Each New Year's day I also make sure to cook a pot of black-eyed peas from scratch on my stove-top. I'm a little silly about eating it out of the can as I think I have to cook it to have the good luck.  But if I had to I would as we are that superstitious about it!  These are one of my very favorite peas and one thing we always make sure they are full of is some smoked ham.

You can eat the black-eyed peas alone or over white rice and make your own Hoppin' John dish.  I usually make around two pounds of black-eyed peas so that we can take them out with our other evening meals the next few nights.  One note is to buy  your black-eyed peas early on New Year's Eve or before as the stores are always sold out.  And I have been known to cook them in a crock pot beginning at midnight of the new year to have them ready the next a.m. for lunch.  

At our house, you also have to make sure you make my Granny's Wilted Cabbage.  Cabbage is a sure fire way they say to have wealth and prosperity in the new year we always make sure to eat a ton of it! This is as close as I can remember her recipe and we really do love it.  The surprise is the mustard that you add to the cabbage.  Don't add too much mustard or it will overpower your cabbage.  The mustard really gives it an added kick.  We rarely have much left of this cabbage recipe.  You can also add smoked ham or Kielbasa sausage to it to make a complete meal.  

And last try these Baby Back Ribs because anyone can cook them, you don't have to have a grill and can even get them done on a counter top oven.  The trick is to spray your foil with oil, season liberally with your favorite Cajun Seasoning like Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning and cook away.  
My husband's mom, Billie Nolan always served up ribs on New Year's Day at her house along with sauerkraut as her cabbage side dish.  It was always a great lunch and welcomed meal after a night out the evening before.  Our tradition the last few years was for Scott to smoke the ribs on his smoker, but in a pinch or when it's up to me to make them this was always my go to recipe.  You can baste these ribs with BBQ sauce ten minutes before taking off the grill, just before serving or eat alone as they are that good.  
I like to make huge double or triple batches and use the left over rib meat in pork enchiladas using my King Ranch Chicken recipe.   We will miss her lunch this year as she is now watching down from heaven on us, but will eat these quickly before we head to Houston to take our Bethany for her internship there.  We wish her the best and are going to miss her.  

I hope these food help bring you the very best year yet.  To say I am excited about the year ahead is an understatement.  As we all know luck is what you make it.  It's truly  about how hard you work to achieve your goals and to have a little fun in the process.  

So here's to slimming down, blogging more for me, making time for yourselves and loving your families, friends and life.  

Enjoy your evening with family and friends and from our ranch to your home - Happy New Year!  

Alise - The Ranch Kitchen 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Modern Day Snowball Cookies

Growing up one of the first cookies I learned to make with my mom were Sand Tarts.  They were a simple cookie that didn't require a ton of ingredients and didn't have to look perfect.

During the holidays we love to bake lots of sweets to have out for our little family and to take to our Christmas parties.  Bethany decided to make these cookies tonight that she dubbed Modern Day Snowball Cookies because of the addition of mini chocolate chips and the round shape.

Click here for the recipe for Modern Day Snowball Cookies

She was able to put these light little cookies together quickly and we enjoyed them for dessert when her older sister came in for the holidays tonight.

As my girls become older and I realize it's quality and not quantity time that is important. It's special moments like these I treasure.  It's a favorite meal cooked to welcome a daughter home and then a new dessert creation that will hold special memories of this year's Christmas for my husband, myself and our girls.

Best wishes for a very happy holidays!

Merry Christmas from our ranch to yours!

The Nolans

Thanks for my festive The Ranch Kitchen logo Bethany!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Jeremy's Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Olives


Excited to share with you our friend Jeremy's Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Olives that our Bethany came home raving about this fall after a visit to our friends ranch the Hamman's.  She said they loved these olives so much that they actually hid them to keep them all to themselves! 

Jeremy has been a friend of our family for many years in our Texas Hereford and Polled Hereford Association.  His love of life and sweet friendship is special to our girls and family.  His has a keen wit and is just a hoot to be around.   

Little did I know that outside of a Hereford cattle show Jeremy is a fantastic cook!  While at the ranch I understand he cooked several wonderful things.  I'm sorry I missed out and thank the Hamman's for having our Bethany in from Texas Tech for the weekend.

We love our olives stuffed with jalapenos, so wrapping them in bacon was something we had never thought of.   Bacon wrapped anything is way up on my list of comfort food!

I placed these olives in foil for easier cleanup of my baking dish.  Cooking time is between 35 and 45 minutes and I used the roasting element on my convection oven. 

I think I'll be try wrapping Feta cheese or garlic stuffed olives with bacon for our next party. It's especially good with pepper bacon and we used New Braunsfels Smokehouse Bacon which was a gift from our dear Hereford friends the Echols of Muleshoe Ranch for this first batch.  All our Hereford family is very dear to us. 

Thank you Jeremy for the fantastic new recipe for these olives!  We absolutely love them and now buy our jalapeno olives in bulk so that we are ready to make these appetizers on a minutes notice! They will be wonderful around the holidays and perfect to take to help out with friend's parties. 

Enjoy your holidays ahead and here's another appetizer to wow your family and friends with!

Isn't my logo cute?  Thanks Bethany for the cute Christmas light addition to our logo! 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Sweet and Salty Toffee Crackers!
Sometimes genius hits!  This week after realizing I was almost out of brown sugar, one of the quickest and easiest desserts was created in under fifteen minutes. The results were delicious and as our staff at school said simply addicting.  These Sweet and Salty Toffee Crackers are one of my newest dessert creations that will be at every holiday meal from now on.

The secret ingredient to these little gems are the Heath Toffee Bits - Bit 'O Brickel Toffee Bits that top off the saltine crackers.  Just recently my husband and I have discovered Heath Bars and we love them and especially in the snack size bars.  Adding these little sugary bits made specifically for baking to the crackers truly took them over the top in flavor!


I used unsalted butter for the best results, but you could substitute with margarine instead.  The combination of brown and white sugars worked as well along with the vanilla to flavor them.  And for the saltine crackers the cheapest costing brand worked just fine.

These crackers will keep up to two weeks covered in an airtight container and would be perfect for the holidays ahead.

So the next time you are needing a delicious, quick and easy dessert to take to a party or just make for yourself or family, here is the perfect recipe.  I literally threw this together before taking my daughter to school in fifteen minutes. You can't get any easier than that. The extra cooking time in the oven with the heat turned off was a result of her needing to be at school and using the oven timer to stop the cooking as I drove away. 

Did I tell you how much I love my cooking timer on my oven? It's a must for busy cooks and times that take you away from your kitchen. 

Click here for the recipe for The Ranch Kitchen's

Sweet and Salty Toffee Crackers!

It's like I never know when genius will hit.  Sometimes it's because you are a last minute, late to school mom who needs a dessert for a potluck at school and whammo you've created something wonderful! 

This was my genius for the week.  It doesn't happen often! 




Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sure Champs November Post 'Recipes from the Ranch' - Holiday Must Haves!


Thanksgiving is almost here and most of us will be thinking toward what recipes to fix for our holiday meals.  For this month's Sure Champ's Recipes from the Ranch we shared some of my families favorite side dishes that have now become a tradition at our house.

It's a cook greatest wish to impress her family and friends and these recipes are always highly requested and loved.

Each of these recipes are easy to prepare the day before, cook the day of or add the dressing to right before serving.  Served here are my Sure Champ Blue Ribbon Green Beans and The Ranch Kitchen's Winter Salad. 


Check out the November Blog post below at the link or by clicking on the picture.  You'll find both recipes on the Sure Champ site and also on my recipe tab on The Ranch Kitchen Blog and Recipe Site.

You can read the blog post here at -
Sure Champ Recipes from the Ranch November Must Have Blog Post.

What are your favorite recipes?  I'd love for you to share them on my The Ranch Kitchen blog.  It's easy to create a login and post your recipes so that your famly and friends can easily access your family favorites for generations to come!

Happy holidays a little early and enjoy the cool, crisp weather ahead!

Alise Nolan


Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Ranch Kitchen's Apple Cake

It's been years since I made my last apple cake.  It's one of my husband's favorites, even if he doesn't remember that fact. 

Years ago, one of our most veteran teachers Mavis Dacus would bring her apple cake to school. It was one of the best cakes I'd ever eaten and remember it well to this day. Being the organized person that I am....I've had the recipe in my hands twice...lost it... and now had to resort with trying my best to recreate it.  I will be asking for the recipe again from her sweet granddaughter Dee...hint...hint.

This past weekend I bought a jumbo bag of tart, green apples from my local Sam's Club so that making an apple cake would definitely happen. 

As I made this cake, I'd forgotten how hard it is to mix the dough together once you add the apples in.  It's for sure a muscle building exercise making this delicious cake, but so worth it.  Just make sure you mix the ingredients at the end together with a large, sturdy spoon or you might break your mixer.

The cinnamon can also be optional if you have allergies to it, but I think it makes the cake even better.   

Click here for the recipe for The Ranch Kitchen's Apple Cake!

As the leaves begin to fall and apples are being harvested, this is the perfect cake to make for home, work, church or just because you know your husband loves it.  Right Scott?!  (He really did love it!) And thankfully so did our second grade teachers today at school. 


Sometimes it takes a little muscle to get the cake in the oven!

Alise - The Ranch Kitchen

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Cowboy Beans

Cowboy Beans

It's the first day of fall and nothing says cooler weather more than a big bowl of pinto beans simmering on the stove.

This past weekend, on our thankfully lazy Sunday afternoon, I cooked a dish we all grew up with around my house called Cowboy Beans.  This dish was made famous by my mom because anytime she placed the word cowboy in front of a dish, my brothers would eat it up and so would I. 

The name just sounded rough and tough....something surely we should eat and always did.  Moms of little, rowdy boys like my brothers have to learn what works and naming her food seemed to do the trick.

Pinto beans are one of those one pot meals that you can make and allow to cook all afternoon.  The pinto beans in this recipe had not been presoaked the night before to tenderize the beans. Just follow the directions on the back of your beans package for the 'quick cooking' method.  However, if you do presoak your pinto beans you will reduce your cooking time by half.

You may chose to use your pressure or slow cooker to make this dish even easier.  Just follow their cooking directions for similar recipes.

Adding ground beef, pork, or turkey to these pinto beans makes this a meal chalked full of extra protein.  I baked some homemade cornbread with a square pat of real butter making us all pretty content and full by that evening.  You can get a recipe for my Jumbo Mexican Cornbread here, but I'd cut the recipe down by 3/4 as this recipe is for a huge crowd!  Of course you can always freeze the cornbread. 

Click here on the link for our Cowboy Beans to get the recipe where you can copy, share by email or to save in your files. 

This recipe can be served on top of rice and is always better the second day when the flavors seem to continue to improve.  Reheat Cowboy Beans on your stove or in your microwave oven the next day. 

We hope you'll enjoy this simple dish that is a family favorite on our ranch and a favorite of my childhood.  It's one of my husband's favorites that we cook all fall and winter long. 

         Alise - The Ranch Kitchen


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Black Bean Salsa Two Ways

One of my new favorite ways to eat black beans are in a homemade salsa.  They are light, healthy, and full of flavor.  Usually, I have most everything that's needed in my pantry and throwing a salsa like this together is no big deal. 

For camping a few weeks back, I wanted recipes that could be easily packed and brought out with sandwiches and meals at night that didn't keep me in the kitchen.  When we camp it's all about being out on the lake helping my husband run his trot lines for catfish or enjoying water sports with our girls.  I've found that recipes like these last a few days and are good with tortilla chips or as an easy side vegetable dish along fried catfish.

They say that great minds think alike, and when we invited our dear friends the Parker's over for Saturday night's fish fry, she in turn as any good southern gal does, brought a side dish to help out.  Funny thing is that she brought her own black bean salsa.  So, we left mine in the refrigerator for a later meal and devoured hers!  It was delicious as anything is that Cindy makes. 

For our Sure Champ 'Recipes from the Ranch' post this month, I chose to share both our recipes for readers.  Cindy's is more traditional with the possible addition of avocado, while mine adds black olives.  I've also added fresh bell pepppers, chili's and even fresh tomatoes to difference variations on this easy recipe.  An additional squeeze or two of lime juice takes this salsa over the top and cilantro gives it the freshest of taste. 

The Ranch Kitchen's Black Bean Salsa

You'll notice in this recipe the different colors of  the black beans.  This was from the two different brands of black beans I bought.  Both tasted good, but the blackest beans were the best tasting I thought.  Make sure you rinse and drain the beans well, as they have a thick black liquid that come with them in the can.  You'll want you black beans only (not the residue) in this dip so that the flavor shines through and doesn't discolor your salsa. 

Cindy's Black Bean and Roasted Corn Salsa 

We hope you'll try these black bean salsa recipes soon.  They will keep for up to four days refrigerated and are great to take to share.

Remember, no one said cooking had to be hard!

Alise  - The Ranch Kitchen

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Brenda's Bread and Butter & Hot Garlic Jalapeno Pickles

Brenda's Bread and Butter Pickles in the front and Hot Garlic and Jalapeno Pickles in back!

Summer means gardening for so many of us. In Texas this year with the torrential and welcomed rainfall, gardening has been a little difficult.  Many of us, including our ranch, had so much rain that we haven't had the usual harvest we are used too.

However, friend Brenda Oakley garden is flourishing and she shared these fantastic recipes with me today for her pickles she made this weekend! 

In the South we love our Bread and Butter Pickles and in the Southwest everything is better with jalapeno's and garlic in them!  Both these recipes are keepers for sure and so easy to prepare.

Nothing's better than eating what you grew and canned  And who doesn't love getting gifts straight from your own hands from the work you put in to your garden? 

Hope you'll try these Brenda's Bread and Butter Pickles and her Hot Garlic and Jalapeno Pickles. They are wonderful!

Thanks so much Brenda for sharing! 

Alise @ The Ranch Kitchen

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Audrey's Peach and Blackberry Cobbler

Who doesn't love summer peaches and blackberries?  I know we sure do as does our girl Audrey who informed me she could live off of fruit if she had too!

This past Sunday for our Father's Day dessert for my father and husband, Audrey created this Peach and Blackberry Cobbler from our frozen peaches from the year before and some fresh blackberries from our local orchard.  

The peaches already had some sugar added to aid in the freezing process and along with the blackberries they had just enough sweetness.  The topping was made out of a Pillsbury Butter Recipe Cake Mix, one stick of butter and a tad of sprinkled cinnamon on top. The cinnamon is optional, but we think it gave the cobbler an extra kick.

I'm sure there are many variations of this recipe and you could use most soft fruits and berries to make this cobbler.  Canned fruits in a light or heavy syrup would work well too.

Audrey cooked this for 35 minutes on 375 degrees and we served it warm.  It'd be fantastic with vanilla ice cream.  However, since we'd had a huge meal of ribs, okra, purple hull peas and fresh garden tomatoes, the cobbler was just enough. We were stuffed!

Click here for the recipe for Audrey's Peach and Blackberry Cobbler
We hope you'll give this easy cobbler a try.  It's easy to make and so easy a budding young cook like our Audrey had no problem making it all by herself! It was the sweetest thing watching her tell everyone that she made this cobbler.  

Alise & Audrey of The Ranch Kitchen 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Memorial Day Recipe Suggestions!

Memorial Day will soon be here and our thoughts range from respecting those who fought for our freedom and for those who still do.  We love this holiday in our family and the time to enjoy a long weekend either at the lake or just at home for a long break. 

School is almost out in Texas and the rains continue to come. Today was in the 60's and my garden and flours on our porch have never been greener or with more blooms. Our tomatoes are suffering some due to lack of sunshine and friends won't get their gift sacks if it doesn't come out soon.  Not that I am complaining about the great rain....but we are all reaching our saturation point and rivers and streams are starting to run over!

This weekend whether you stay at home or on a mini vacation with family and friends at the lake, beach, or camping in the woods all these recipes can be easily adapted to fit in a foil pan or foil packets or chilled in your coolers or refrigerator.  All these recipes are family favorite because most of all they aren't 'fussy' to make and left overs are even better!

From my good friends the Berans of Kansas these can be cooked on or off the Kabob skewers!

Oh my how good these are...and easy to make!  Cook enough steak the night before to
use for these fajitas the next night or use brisket!
My daughter Ilissa's most requested pasta everytime she comes home!
My version of King Ranch Chicken Enchiladas.....just wish my picture was better....I'll work on that!  :o)
A special meal that we enjoy for occassions when we are all home!
Low calorie with only a few extra ingredients makes this recipe a hit with
zucchini and crook or staight neck squash.
Just made these for our big weekend and for my teachers at work today!  Proud of our students and teachers for their state testing results!  YOU ALL ROCK!  Love you all!  Thanks to my
daughter Bethany these are always a hit! And for daughter Audrey
I do half the pan without coconut.  You can add nuts, but we don't care for them.
Hope you'll give these recipes a try and check out more of them from myself, family and friends on my The Ranch Kitchen site.  Enjoy your weekend and remember why we celebrate it by thanking a veteran or member of our armed services!

Alise @ The Ranch Kitchen

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Ranch Kitchen's Mojito Lime Fajitas with Spanish Rice Especial and Refied Beans

This week's been a whirl wind of state testing in Texas and continued rain storms with a tornado thrown in.  We've been blessed with tons of rain the last few months, but we are now officially saturated and trees from the winds these storms and tornadoes produce are making havoc on our power lines and century old oaks and hardwoods.

The Ranch Kitchen's Mojito Lime Fajitas

The other night before the power went out yet again from another spring storm, I quickly prepared these simple Mojito Lime Fajitas, my Spanish Rice and Refried Beans.  With our Certified Hereford Beef we raise off our ranch and the special skills of our meat packers the Barnes who cut my skirt steak into bites sized slices, my beef cooked in not time.  And the McCormick Mojito Lime seasoning isn't just a marinade!  These fajitas were the best I've ever had..and we eat Mexican food a lot in our little corner of Texas!

The rice and bean recipes are simply doctored up versions that we think make them taste even better.  I'm always about adding a pinch of this and that to spice up my cooking!


Hope you'll give these recipes a try. Also, please check out the the wonderful new Certified Hereford Beef site for more wonderful, healthy recipes! one said cooking had to be hard!

Alise @ The Ranch Kitchen

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Recipe's from the Ranch' - Grillin' That's Better The Next Day on Sure Champ's Blog for March

As a rancher and advocate for agriculture, I know first hand how beef has helped shape our lives.  Raising our own Certified Hereford Beef on our ranch allows our family the benefit of taking part first hand in the daily process of knowing where our beef comes from.....aka 'ranching heritage'.  Knowing beef producers from across our nation affirms our pride in the US beef product because we've also witnessed how when it comes to feeding the world as they do, both safety and a great tasting and lean beef product are paramount for these ranchers, their associations, and on the state and national levels.  

This month for Sure Champ's Blog and my Recipes from the Ranch blog contribution I chose to showcase a few meals we prepare using left over CHB steak and brisket.  These recipes are quick and easy to make.  A little thinking ahead by grilling or smoking extra beef the weekend before makes these dinners come together in a snap allowing the cook (me) the ability to not spend all their time in the kitchen!

 Sure Champ's Brisket Stew

You can click here at Sure Champ's Recipes from the Ranch Grillin That's Better The Next Day's March Post for three recipes for Sure Champ's Brisket Stew above, and The Ranch Kitchens' Brisket Fajitas and Beef Stroganoff from both grilled steak and brisket below. 

  The Ranch Kitchen's Brisket Fajitas

The Ranch Kitchen's Beef Stroganoff

As the temperature warms finally here in Texas and spring begins to peak it's head out from behind the clouds, do your best to get out and grill!  Make enough extra beef to help plan your week aheads meals.  And all the while as you are planning ahead remembering that no one ever said cooking had to be hard!  It's just takes a little planning ahead that will result later in some great meals with minimal effort and overall savings of your hard earned cash in the process!


And in closing from my favorite television commercial....Beef.  It's what's for dinner!

Alise - The Ranch Kitchen