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!