Saturday, December 31, 2016

Ringing In The New Year With The Ranch Kitchen

The new year is almost here and it's time to make those New Year Resolutions! This year, my resolutions are to organize my house, blog more by posting more recipes and continue to spend time doing the things we love as a family. Family is first in my life and above all things it's always my goal to make special moments and cherish the quality time I get to spend with them all.  I am extremly thankful for the year we have had and realize how lucky we are in so many ways.

Nothing speaks the New Year's foods like black-eyed peas, cabbage, Cajun Baby Back Ribs or this fun black-eyed pea appetizer below. Let The Ranch Kitchen help you ring in the new year with this medley of good luck, prosperity and healthy recipes that will start your year off right.

For starters to bring in that good luck you must have black-eyed peas.  I'm a little supersticious, so we make these from scratch on New Year's Day.  These Black-Eyed Peas are a sure fire hit and simple to make.  You can use your crockpot and cook them all day or put them on the morning of for you lunch or afternoon for your evening meal. If you are Keilbasa link sausage fan, add that to the pot as your cabbage cooks for an easy meal everyone loves too.



 Black-eyed Peas


Since cabbage is green naturally in color, it represents the color of money!  So eat lots and lots of cabbage on New Year's Day as well.  It's good for you to start with and my Granny's is Wilted Cabbage is one of The Ranch Kitchen's biggest hits.  Cabbage, my friends, is a worldwide vegetable that everyone loves and this recipe is easy, easy to make and serve. 

 Granny's Wilted Cabbage


This Black-eyed Pea Salsa is more of an appetizer for New Year's Eve, but is great as a side vegeteble  along any meal when you are wanting something a little different.  I made this in bulk this year and will serve it with tortilla chips.


 Back-eyed Pea Salsa


Next it's tradition to serve pork ribs for our meal as well on New Year's Day.  This crazily represents how pigs root their noses forward when they nudge the ground...I can't make this up...so it means you will be going forward in the new year. At any rate..eat some pork and don't go backwards. It's the other white meat and my Cajun Back Baby Ribs are the best way to make them! Just saying! You don't have to have a grill to make it, so your oven will do just fine. 

 Cajun Back Baby Ribs


So Happy New Year from The Ranch Kitchen!  Thanks for following my site. It's been such an unexpected thrill these last years adding to my site and sharing our recipes with you.  Here's to 2017 with all the luck, properity and happiness you can have!

Alise - The Ranch Kitchen


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Ranch Kitchen's Chicken Spaghetti Family Portion Sized Recipe & 200th Post!

For years I've shared my recipes that will feed a crowd. Crowds, large family gatherings and learning to cook from a mom and Granny who fed my brothers and all their friends was normal for me.

My - The Ranch Kitchen's Chicken Spaghetti is no exception and for years usually the only time I make this huge batch recipe is for our Hereford family friends at our cow shows.



It sounds like a funny joke for someone who advocates for beef to showcase one of her favorite recipes being that with the main meat being chicken!  But chicken it is and my The Ranch Kitchen's Chicken Spaghetti has become a main dish that is expected at gatherings in the winter at the National Hereford Show in Fort Worth, the Houston Jr. Livestock Show for our Gilmer FFA kiddos and then it's a must for one meal during our National Junior Hereford Shows wherever we land across the USA each summer.

This meal is easy to make in large roaster ovens where we easily feed not just our Texas friends, but sweet family friends and guest from across the US.  If you ask my daughter's friends what meal they associate with me, it's this simple dish.  And on the rare occasion that I didn't make this during a cattle show, it's the first thing I hear about and asked just where is it?!!

So tonight as I sit to FINALLY get my recipe on my site with the family portion sized recipe, please know that although I'm used to making it for a crowd, this recipe paired down is just as good.  It will still make a large amount, but will freeze and hold over well for a few days if you just can't eat it all in one sitting as we say in the south!

In this recipe you can use chicken from a can for ease or baked chicken you cook yourself.  I prefer to bake my chicken and shred or chop into chunk sized bites.  I also will never again make the mistake to use cheaper variety thin spaghetti noodles as you only want a good 'named' quality brand that will remain firm and not become mushy. So pay the extra few cents on the noodles and you'll thank me later.

My husband is not particularly a cheese lover in anything, but he loves the addition of Velvetta Processed Cheese in this recipe.  If you want it cheesier, then add more...but only add a little at a time until you get the chicken spaghetti to the consistency you want.

To reheat this dish you can use your trusty microwave or add a cup of chicken broth to a non-stick stove top pan to warm it all back up the next night.

So without further delay and with much prodding from my dear friends for a smaller quantity recipe for my most sought after recipe here on the site that for some crazy reason I've never placed on it.....here you go!  My middle daughter Bethany once made this for her Hereford friends at Texas A&M with the large recipe found her on the site.  She had made so much, that they ate it literally for a week and then much to my surprised pawned it off on a few of her guy friends at the end of the week six days later!  I sure hoped it was still worthy of eating and the boys fared well after it being in the fridge for that long!  Kids!  Glad they enjoyed it, but about scared me to death!

Click here for the recipe for
The Ranch Kitchen's Chicken Spaghet
ti

So eat your heart out! Share the recipe and remember that nobody said cooking had to be hard!  It's a meal like this that I have made innumerable friends with, made someone feel welcome and given them a taste of The Ranch Kitchen!

Enjoy and I hope you will make this recipe for my The Ranch Kitchen Chicken Spaghetti real soon!

If you like it, please share, comment below or on The Ranch Kitchen's Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.  To keep seeing my post on these sites you have to click to like or share to keep it current on your feed.  Sadly new settings on these sites limit pages like mine in visibility unless I pay for my post...which is pretty costly!

As always thanks for following my site, being an inspiration to me to keep on blogging and for trying out my recipes!

In closing, as I write my 200th post for The Ranch Kitchen site...it is very, very appropriate that this The Ranch Kitchen's Chicken Spaghetti be the one! I honestly can not believe I've hit this mark!

So as they say...it's been fun....it's been real...and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for following The Ranch Kitchen!  Life's an adventure and it's meant to be lived!

Alise Nolan 


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Ranch Kitchen Cooks - State Fair of Texas 'GO Texan' Event




This past weekend was a fun time for both myself and my family.  It was a culmination of 9 years of work as both a blogger, recipe developer and our families practice of advocating for agriculture with a cooking demonstration at the 2016 State Fair of Texas in their GO Texan Pavilion!




Most definitely one of the highlights for my blog and site The Ranch Kitchen has been my inclusion in the this year's Taste of Texas - Go Texan Recipe book that is housed in the Go Texan Pavilion during our annual State Fair of Texas with my Beefy Mexican Cornbread. More humbling was the fact that this recipe was handed down from my mother who made this for my brothers and I as children.  We loved it then and continue to enjoy it now, especially with the Hereford beef we raise on our ranch.  It's a southwestern inspired main dish with a cornbread topping mixed with corn that is extra spicy with a cheese filling and topping.  When we can we will use green chili's from our garden sauteed with the ground beef as I did for my demo this weekend.  

We do love our Texas Agriculture pictured here at the 

GO Texan preview event
the week before the cooking demonstration!


So nice to get to meet Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller!


Here I am with the official Go Texan Taste of Texas Cookbook
and my featured recipe for Beefy Mexican Cornbread!

As an educator, I'm used to speaking in front of a crowd of students and teachers.  But cooking and speaking in front visiting crowds was a different thing all together!  With the ebb and flow in the building of passers by and then the audience who sat down to watch, it was a busy, busy place.  

One of the most heartwarming moments was when my Audrey insisted to standing on stage with me and helping me every step of the way as the two older daughters Ilissa and Bethany ran back and forth filming and passing out small samples of each recipe.  Bethany's missing in these shots due to being the one behind the camera. 



Scott was the calmest through it all smiling and giving thumbs up from the back of the audience and throwing cues of things to say in his silent wording to stretch my time on stage!  Goodness knows he has been thru the good and the not so good with my earlier recipes! 



In the midst of it all we got rave review on the Beefy Mexican Cornbread, Tortilla Wraps My Way, and our Nolana's Family Hot Sauce.  One of the neatest moments were the children that so sweet and complimentary especially of my hot sauce.  One little girl came up twice to get samples and speak to me reminding me so much of the little elementary students I taught so many years ago.  That in itself made my day even sweeter...because children and teaching others is at the heart of why I do this all.

Click on each links below to get the recipes! 




Tortilla Wraps My Way

Tortilla Roll Ups My Way


 Nolan's Family Hot Sauce

Funny moments came when the new food processor I had bought would not work...but thankfully I had a huge batch to show and samples already ready of our Nolana's Family Hot Sauce! I've check once...check twice and check again! However if that was my biggest issue, I'm one happy momma!

To say I could not have done this without my family is an understatement. Through it all they have been my biggest and most honest taste testers, supporters and push when I needed it. Each gave their weekend freely to support their momma and wife which truly touched me deeply.  As proud as I know they were of me, I was of them for being there for me.  It was a moment that will be etched in my memory forever.


Family picture by Big Texas! Sadly head got cut off by friendly lady who took our picture! 


So, as I sit here this evening still reminiscing from the past weekend of fun and family, I'm reminded again at why I do this thing called blogging. At the conclusion of my cooking demo this weekend, a sweet lady came up to me and thanked me for advocating for agriculture during my demo.   She told me few people ever do that. 


Special thanks to my personal media specialist and middle daughter Bethany for all these pictures!  You won't see her in any pictures as she was behind the camera the whole time and Scott was supporting from the back of the audience!




Visiting with the little girl and mom who loved Nolana's Family Hot Sauce! So sweet! 


Making my Beef Mexican Cornbread with Certified Hereford Beef of course! Click on the link more great Certified Hereford Beef recipes!


I proudly told her it's just what we do, how we've raised our girls and wouldn't have it any other way.  In a world where by 2050 there will be over 9 billion people, it's those of us in agriculture that farm and ranch that will feed and clothe our world.  It's a tradition of hard work, dedication and values that we strive to instill in our girls and one that to date has proven worth it's weight in gold. We are FFA proud, agriculturally driven and passionate about the Hereford beef we raise on our ranch and the lifestyle it has enabled us to be a part of.  


Stopping by the Go Texan Store to purchase some Pioneer Cornbread mix to use in my Beefy Mexican Cornbread!  Most ingredients for all my recipes were proudly Texas products!


Post cooking demonstration celebration watching the Texas Aggies 'BTHO' Tennessee in the Mueller tent eating their 2016 State Fair of Texas People's Choice Award winner 'Injectible Balls of BBQ'!  Delicious! 
So worth all those 20 tickets!

The Ranch Kitchen has been a labor of love for many years now and something that I hope catalogs family favorite recipes for many years to come.

As always click on the links above to view the recipes on The Ranch Kitchen recipe section of my site. I'm very proud of how many recipes both myself and friends have added to date. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr.  Leave a comment  after the recipes you've tried and let me know about any additions you made to make that recipe your own.  

Drop by the National Hereford Women's new recipe website that I helped create during my time on their board and of course Certified Hereford Beef as well where we showcase the 'ranch to table' aspect of our Hereford breed for more great beef recipes! 


Image result for certified hereford beef logo

Also check out on Pinterest Beef Loving Bloggers with the Texas Beef Council where The Ranch Kitchen is a contributing blogger on their board.  Mouth watering, easy recipes there to get beef on your dinner plate as well!  

The Ranch Kitchen is also a contributing blogger on Sure Champ VitaFerm and the Missouri Hereford Association's monthly magazine, so check out their sites as well in the links above with their names! 

The Ranch Kitchen proudly affiliated with these great associations and companies!

*******************

Many thanks to the GO Texan program, the Texas Beef Council, Beef Loving Texans, and my family for this opportunity this past weekend. And if you are at a Go Texan event this year, stop by and pick up a the recipe book..  It is full of great recipes from contributors like Southwest Dairy Farms and even a winning state fair cobbler dessert! YUM!

Have a great fall everyone and keep checking back for fun things to come at The Ranch Kitchen!

Alise - The Ranch Kitchen 



  

Monday, August 1, 2016

Summer Vegetable Tian Via Ilissa and Pinterest


                   

Our Lissa (Ilissa) as we call her is becoming a good cook in her own right.  She's a big girl now with her first job and living in the big city, she has started, as her traveling permits, to cook when inspiration or an event calls for it. Her recent Pinterest (www Pinterst.com) feed find resulted in this healthy dish.  Our family loves zucchini, squash, onions and potatoes, so this dish naturally marries the four. I think her picture below speaks for itself. She sent me the before and after.  
She now has the honor of making this when she come home for dinner during our county festival. Proud of you Ilissa!  Your family won't starve one day and you and Bethany can carry on the The Ranch Kitchen blog!!  Hugs! 
The recipe hails from the site Budget Bytes via Pinterest http://www.budgetbytes.com/2011/08/summer-vegetable-tian/.  If you want to know exactly how much the approximate cost for a dish like this is, this site will spell it out for you.  

Summer Vegetable Tian 
By Budget Bytes

Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion 
  • 1 tsp minced garlic 
  • 1 medium zucchini 
  • 1 medium yellow squash 
  • 1 medium potato 
  • 1 medium tomato 
  • 1 tsp dried thyme 
  • to taste salt & pepper 
  • 1 cup shredded Italian cheese 
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Finely dice the onion and mince the garlic. Saute both in a skillet with olive oil until softened (about five minutes).
  2. While the onion and garlic are sauteing, thinly slice the rest of the vegetables.
  3. Spray the inside of an 8×8 square or round baking dish with non-stick spray. Spread the softened onion and garlic in the bottom of the dish. Place the thinly sliced vegetables in the baking dish vertically, in an alternating pattern. Sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, and thyme.
  4. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, top with cheese and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown.
Get cooking,

From Ilissa!









Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Strawberry Angel Food Cake



One of my favorite memories from my Granny's house was her love of strawberries.  As a small girl she always had a vegetable garden of some kind each summer and would always grow a few strawberries.  Each morning for our breakfast she would let my brother and I go pick some strawberries to put in our cereal.  I remember thinking that doing this was pretty special and looking back, it really was.

They say you are either a sweets or main dish cook and for my grandmother that was true.  She didn't really make many things that were sweet, although being a diabetic, she loved her sweets a little more than anyone.  She once told me to not ever just eat the cake icing straight out of a container...I told her she must do that, because the thought had never crossed my mind!  She was a sneaky diabetic buying doughnuts for the grandkids, along with pound cakes that were just for us.....

This weekend, we celebrated both Independence Day and my mother's 70th birthday with this sweet Strawberry Angel Food Cake.  We used a sugar free whipped cream that hopefully carved off a few carbs for my mom sugar wise.

Click here for the recipe and card for Strawberry Angel Food Cake

To make this dessert, cut your store bought Angel Food cake in half and place strawberries and whipped cream and then repeat on your top layer to make this pretty cake.  It's simply that easy and the results look really pretty.  Kids young and old enjoy this cake and any extra will keep nicely in the refrigerator wrapped tightly in plastic wrap to keep the air out.

So, when you are looking for a fast and fun cake to make on the run or something easy to create for your family, this little cake is simple and impressive to make and very economical.

Below are some scenes from the fireworks show we watched on my mom's birthday in our little town.  They were awesome and sponsored by my brother and cousin's law firm for us all to enjoy. My mom especially enjoyed it and that made all our night. In the past month, she has been recovering from a severe stroke to her left side. I've never seen her work as hard to recover and it was a welcome treat to have her with us and enjoying the holiday with her grandkids. I've never been prouder of her deligence and spirit through this difficult time and the positive attitude that she will regain all of her left side function. Strokes can be devastating and for my mom, this is not an option.




Happy July everyone and hope your Independence Day was a fun and relaxing one.

View from Lake O' The Pines at dusk


Alise - The Ranch Kitchen 

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Ranch Kitchen's Chicken Fried Steak and Gravy

 The Ranch Kitchen's Chicken Fried Steak

Every once in a while, we love our chicken fried steak.  It's southern comfort food at it's best and when served along side some mashed potatoes and gravy you have the perfect meal.  

On our ranch we of course use our Hereford beef raised on our place.  The flavor always shines through and it's great knowing we raised it ourselves.  

The trick to chicken fried steak is letting it fry at an even heat and not handling your meat too much once it is placed in the pan with the hot oil.  I use either water or milk in my batter as two different methods for battering your steak.  Both turn out great everytime.  Cast iron skillets are some of the best, even skillets or pans to use for chicken fried steak also.

To begin, first take the egg(s) and milk and best them together making a batter with a dash or two of hot sauce.  This is 'red' hot sauce like Tabasco Sauce that will give your egg batter a bit of flavor and add to the overall taste of your meat. We love anything spicy and since I use the hot sauce with my fried chicken tenders, I thought why not with my steak.  If you are measuring the dash of hot sauce it would be around 2 teaspoons or adjust to your heat index.  I've also used Chili Sauce some and it is just as good.  If you are out of milk, must use water and it's just as good.

Whisk the two together and and 'bread' the steaks in this order.  First dip the steak in the flour that has been seasoned with 1 teaspoon of garlic salt and 1 teaspoon of any brand of All Seasoning Spice like Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning or an all purpose steak spice covering fully (mix the seasonings well with the flour) and then placing in the egg and milk, then back in the flour.  Place immediately in the hot vegetable or Canola oil that has been heated to around 350 degrees Farenheit or a medium heat. The steak should sizzle when you place it in the skillet and not smoke. If the oil smokes, then turn it down and allow it to cool before you place your battered steak in it.

My rule of thumb on frying steak is to allow each side to side to fry for one minute, then gently turning with tongs.  Don't stab at the meat as you turn it or you will cause the crust to tear off the sides of your steak.  After you've turned the steak once, you then allow the steak to fry for 3 - 4 minutes per side until the crust is a light or darker caramel color (that is light brown).  

Take out steaks immediately allowing the excess grease to drip back into the fying pan before placing on two paper towels to drain excess oil.  Season with an additional - light sprinkle of extra garlic salt and allow to cool. 

Continue to fry all steaks until they are finished.  You may have to add more oil to the frying pan as you go. If you do this allow the oil to heat to the correct temperature before frying the rest of you steaks.  You can also keep them warm in your oven on a heat proof dish on the warming element of your settings.



another way to fry up a family favorite! 

For the gravy:

Once all steaks are fried, carefully pour all but 1/4 cup of oil out of the frying pan in a heat proof dish and heat oil to just smoking.  You'll want the small left over cooked bits of steak batter to stay in the pan with the oil to help 'season' your gravy.  Add to the hot oil your water or milk that has had 1/4 cup All Purpose Flour added to it and whisked together until smooth.  Pour this milk/water and flour mixure into the hot oil and continue whisk to blend together.  Allow mixture to come to a light brown color (usually takes one minute) and bubble as it boils.  Then add 2 more cups of water and continue to cook on a medium heat, whisking continously.  Season as you whisk the gravy with extra salt/sea salt or black pepper.  

Some people prefer milk to water in their gravy.  Either way, this gravy is so delicious and easy to make.  It just takes time and watching your gravy and not leaving the pan as it continues to cook.  You can add more or less water or milk to make to the desired consistency/amount of gravy you'd like to serve. 

Spoon the gravy over your steak and mashed potatoes for the perfect dipping sauce! 




You can use this chicken fried method or fying steak with chicken, pork, deer/venison, goose or dove.  It's great with any meat you chose to batter and fry up in this way.  

With this meal above is also my recipe for my Sure is the BEST Broccoli Rice Casserole that is my husband's favorite.  This side is usually what I prepare for his birthday dinner each fall or as a special side at the holidays.  

Hope you'll give my chicken fried steak and gravy a try.  In a world where we don't fry things near as much as we once did, it's a welcome treat every once in a while to enjoy a little chicken fried steak. Because after all, it's comfort food... and sometimes that is reason enough!

Happy frying!

Alise - The Ranch Kitchen 



Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Why I Blog and Post My Recipes

Today as I was posting one more recipe the realization struck me pretty hard.  I've been doing this blogging thing now over nine years.  Over 190 blog posts later and with almost 187 recipes to date, this blogging - recipe thing is a pretty big part of my life. 



Someone recently asked me when they saw the large photographer's light in my house, just why I needed that?  The answer came off my tongue strangely quite easily and I told them that because I cook mostly at night, I need the professional light to photograph my food for my recipe and blog site.  It's funny how my family is now used to me taking photos of almost everything we cook and when a recipe is good they will nonchalantly say, "Make sure you put that on your site".  To me that is the ultimate compliment! 


When I think about it, I don't do this blogging thing to for anything else other than to share and teach others about cooking and my love for it.  My recipes aren't difficult, fancy or require four different cheeses for a simple 'mac and cheese' dish or expensive cuts of meat. I made that promise to myself years ago that the recipes I shared would be those that any cook could make, on any budget and be both economical and family friendly. 


While all my recipes may not be the leanest or the most cutting edge, they are my tried and true family recipes that either I created for my daughters and husband, or are the handed down from of my sweet mom and dear Granny. I feel pretty blessed to have watched some awesome cooks in my lifetime like the both of them.




I may use a soup can now and then to thicken a sauce or a little too much Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning, but when you find a good thing there is no need to change it.  I like to think my Granny is looking down from heaven and is proud I love cooking so much and in the process shared a few of her recipes.

My greatest wish is that my legacy for my girls will be one of love, sharing and teaching and giving through service to others through this blog and my life's work.  My blog and recipe site are yet another way as the educator I am to continue to teach others how simple and fulfilling cooking is and how one of greatest joys is to enjoy our family around a good meal.  There is simply no need for our youth or new cooks to think cooking is hard or tedious.  


So as I post yet another of my recipes to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumbler, remember it's just the teacher in me helping another student learn.  It's also the momma in me sharing my recipes with my girls and the advocate 'agvocating' about our beloved agricultural lifestyle.  And it's just me sharing my passion and enjoying what I've always loved...cooking and ultimately writing.  It's my way to do something that's just for me.  As a mom and wife we all give so much of ourselves each day. My blog is my outlet and believe it or not, my ultimate downtime.


Deep down I'd like to thank all my friends, subscribers and especially my family for following, sharing and liking my recipe posts.  What started as a way to share recipes on my blog for my girls while at college has turned in to so much more and for that I am very humbled and thankful. 


So stop by my site from time to time, try a recipe, save or share it and tell me if you liked it! I hope maybe just one recipe will inspire a meal around your table with family and friends.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart and from The Ranch Kitchen blog and site.  


Remember, no one said cooking had to be hard! 

Alise Nolan - The Ranch Kitchen





Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Ranch Kitchen's Dilly Dip

As spring turn into summer, our garden is starting to overflow with squash and all our other vegetables.  One thing I always insist on making sure we have plenty of is crookneck squash and zucchini as we love it!

Last summer to help be a little healthier, I began to cut the fresh squash and serve it with Hidden Valley Ranch Dip as an appetizer before our meal each night.



This year with the fresh dill from my garden I've starting making my own The Ranch Kitchen's Dilly Dip that my husband and I have become pretty addicted too.  We enjoy it nightly now this past week and I can't wait to make it for my health conscious older daughters when they come in for Memorial Day weekend!



This recipe literally takes under five minutes to make and you will love it just as much, if not even better than traditional ranch dips or salad dressings.

The trick is to this dip is to grow your own fresh dill.  Dill is super, simple to grow and will spread in huge clumps pretty rapidly.  However, I don't think it taking over our herb garden will be much of a problem with Scott and I making this Dilly Dip all the time.



I used a new seasoning in this dip by Tone's called Six Pepper Seasoning Blend as you can see in the picture below. Click on the link in the name in the last sentence and you can buy it off Amazon. It's fantastic in this dip and even better on top of homemade pizza from our grill.

So give it a try and let me know how you like it.  It would be even healthier with a good Greek Yogurt or light sour cream used instead.

Try this dip as a side for baked fish like salmon, cod or catfish too!

Enjoy!

Remember, no one said cooking had to be hard!

Alise - The Ranch Kitchen   

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Ranch Kitchen's Jambalaya

In an effort to not just cook the girls usual favorite meal of salmon or goulash when they came in, we opted for something a little out of the ordinary this Easter weekend when they came home.

Jambalaya or anything Cajun has a strong place in our girls hearts.  We love our crawfish season like none other and especially enjoy fried, boiled or it cooked as an etoufee served over rice.  So for Friday nights meal, I cooked a family favorite that we usually don't eat at home but from our favorite Cajun food restaurant Dudley's.  We cooked our own The Ranch Kitchen's Jambalaya.



I used my large nonstick Wok to cook this one pot dish and this recipe could easily have served eight people or a small crowd.  Along with a salad and some crusty French bread to dip up the broth, you have a meal that is worthy of serving company.

Years ago, when my two older daughter's each had their high school senior week activities, we always had a Crawfish Boil at our house with a big Capture the Flag game in the pasture at dark.  To serve along the boiled crawfish, I would make a huge triple batch or two of this recipe for The Ranch Kitchen's Jambalaya and serve it for those kids who didn't really enjoy the main course of 'mud bugs' as some call them in the deep south.  Crawfish are small lobster looking creatures that are harvested in the creeks and man made ditches in Texas, Louisianna and Mississippi. Spiced up with a Creole Seasoning like Tony Chachere's or Zattarain'a Shrimp Boil, you can't find a better meal.  We just boil and serve them out on top of huge tables covered with newspaper for easy cleanup.

I remember those parties well and the fun the parents had cooking for our kids and watching them enjoy each other in their last days before graduation.  It's a tradition we hope to continue for our Audrey when she graduates in a few years and hope they enjoy it as much as her sisters and friends did.



For this recipe you will use three different meats like the shrimp, sausage and chicken we used, but sometimes we can opt for just one.  You can add crawfish if you like and even bits of cut up fish like Crappy, white fish, bass, ling, snapper or catfish.  Just use what you have and make it how you like it! Do however be careful with the Creole Seasoning and add enough to make it as 'hot' in taste or mild depending on your own likes.  When you think about it, jambalaya is a very close to a seafood gumbo with most of the broth or liquid cooked out and white rice already added in.

This jambalaya dish also freezes well to serve for a quick nights dinner.  However, left overs were not an issue and what little was still left the oldest daughter gladly took home to her 'home away from home' for dinner!

So try you some mud bugs or crawfish soon while they are in season!  Season is any month that has a letter R in it (September - April) and especially January - April...because the hot summer months are just too hot to harvest them.

Enjoy and get you some crawfish if you have never had any soon and do try The Ranch Kitchen's Jambalaya!

Alise - The Ranch Kitchen


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Nolana's Potato Soup


Not all my daughters love soup. It's funny to think of and sometimes a bit confusing to remember just who likes what.  And it can be a little hard to please everyone. Thankfully tastes change as our girls have grown older and they appreciate some of their mom and dad's favorites finally.  

One of my husbands all time favorites is a just good old plain potato soup.  He is not a cheese lover at all, so a simple recipe is his favorite.  When you ask him what he liked that his mom Billie cooked, it was first her potato soup, then fried potatoes and her deer steak. 

So today as I asked Bethany just what she wanted before she headed back to her internship, it was potato soup that she requested for lunch.

It was really nice to have my mom come over and eat with us too.  Along with Bethany being home to top it off my mom asked for this recipe! So that really made my day twice as nice.  

For this recipe you can use red or traditional white potatoes, however today I opted for Idaho potatoes that had been pealed and cut in one inch cubes.  I sauteed a sweet white onion with garlic and about 3 stalks of celery to add flavor.  I usually add chicken broth, but since I couldn't find any in my pantry, I substituted with Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup. 

Ten minutes before the potato soup was served, I added 1 cup of heavy cream to thicken it up and add a milky texture.  Sometimes I don't add the heavy cream, but instead use a little milk to add to the overall flavor.

We the potato soup I served a slice of cornbread, but will sometimes bake biscuits or beer bread as side to go along with it.  This week I'll get my beer bread up on the site to share.  It is so simple and easy to make and the house smells amazing (not like beer)!


Click here for Nolana's Potato Soup  


This soup is easily reheated with a little added water or milk the next day.  If you like add grated cheese on top and bacon or fried ham bits as I did above right before serving.  You can also add 1/3 cup or more of Cheese Whiz or Velvetta Cheese the last five minutes if you like to add additional cheesy goodness.

I hope you enjoy this our potato soup recipe as much as we do.  It's a quick and easy meal to make that almost everyone loves.  It's great on a cold night or when you are feeling a little under the weather.  

Enjoy!

Alise - The Ranch Kitchen





Monday, February 29, 2016

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies with Oreo Crumb Icing

 
I'm starting to think the youngest daughter may yet be my next creative baker.  This weekend she wowed us all with her take on whoopie pies with her addition to store bought vanilla icing!  The results were wonderful and you could not eat just one!

One thing I've always enjoyed is cooking a big Sunday lunch. To try to get my girls to help out, I'll either have them make a side dish or dessert to add to the menu.  This week Audrey decided to use our new whoopie pan and create a new family favorite from the seasonal Red Velvet Oreo's I'd found at the grocery store. 

Audrey made the cake from start to finish for the first time on her own and we could not have been prouder.  She used an idea I've done for years by adding whole milk instead of water to the cake mix.  This addition just adds such depth and flavor, yet still keeps the cake moist. 

We spooned about one large tablespoon of the Oreo Crumb Icing in each whoopie pie round using our ice cream scoop which made it extra fun for Audrey.  She loved sticking the toothpick in them toward the end of each batch to check if they were done.

 

The icing sandwiched between each whoppie cake round helped take these over the top.  We enjoyed them yesterday at midday and then again after dinner during the Oscars.

Audrey hopes you will try them and knows they will become a new family favorite.  She has me thinking now of what else to add to icing to make it a little out of the ordinary.



 
 
 
So give these Red Velvet Whoopie Pies with Oreo Cookie Crumb Icing a try soon and especially get creative with your icing additions! 
 
Alise - The Ranch Kitchen