Do You Name Your Cows?

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"Do You Name Your Cows?" Is sure a question that we get more often than you would think. Well, the answer is sort of.. There is a reason behind our "naming" or "numbering" process.

We just had a little "doggie" this morning, the mama and the calf were sure thankful that the cowboys built plenty of shelter for them. You can easily lose a calf in this weather. The cowboss checks on the ladies a lot during this type of weather. Anyways, if you have a closer look at the picture, you will see that the calf has a tag that shows 16/11. 16 is for the year she was born and the 11 is after her mama. (Yes, it is a little heifer aka girl). Her mama's number is 12/11. 12 is for the year she was born and 11 is her cow number. Meaning she was our 11th cow on this outfit. Little 16/11 will get a new cow number when she is about a year old. We number all new calves after their mama, so we know who belongs to who when we transport them to their summer pastures. Nobody wants to end up with the wrong mama. It also helps us to collect valuable information on the mamas and have a track record of their previous calves and how they have performed. It is important to know, when the mama cow typically delivers, does she struggle with delivery and may need help, does she have big or small calves and keep track of the lineage.

12/11 was our first calf that was born on 3T Ranch. The cowboss helped during the delivery as her mama ran out of steam at the end. He was sure happy to see that mama and our first calf were just fine. You can tell from the pictures that we did get attached to her and closely followed her first year and even know, she has a special place on our ranch.

We do name our bulls, they have numbers too, as they do the "hard" work around here. We have Phill and Bob. Bob's number is 12/00. The cowboss got creative with the double 00..


3T Chicken Pot Pie

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I have served this deliciousness last weekend. The cowboys spent days working on our new shelters for the cows. Calving season is coming!

Easy dinner, yet with a few extra additions, you can impress your family and friends.

What to have on hand:

  • 1 pound of skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • Seasoning for roasting the chicken: paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, fresh rosemary, olive oil - 1 tsp of each
  • Ready to use pie dough - I buy Pillsbury pie dough (you will get two sheets in one pkg)
  • 1/2 bag of frozen pearl onions
  • 1 bag of frozen veggies of your choice (I have used broccoli, cauliflower and carrots combo. I use fresh veggies from my garden in the summer, but the frozen veggies in the winter will be just fine as well).
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Seasoning for the sauce: two sprigs of fresh rosemary (chopped up into small pieces), 3 garlic cloves (chopped), 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp seasoned salt (regular salt is fine too), 1tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp nutmeg (use it, it will add so much flavor)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg

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Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  • Take the pie dough out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature.
  • Coat the chicken with paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, fresh rosemary, olive oil and roast on a cookie sheet with a rack for about 30 minutes. Check the meat, flip it and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Let the chicken cool and in the meantime, let's start on the sauce.
  • In a big size frying pan melt the butter and include all of the veggies along with the rosemary and garlic. Let the veggies be nicely coated in the butter.
  • Add the flour and constantly stir for about a minute, so you don't burn it.
  • Slowly pour in the chicken stock and the milk. Continue stirring and the sauce will start to thicken.
  • Let's spice it up - mix in all of the spices:  paprika, seasoned salt (regular salt is fine too), pepper and nutmeg.
  • Simmer on low during the time you will be cutting up the chicken into bitesize chunks. Add the chicken and stir.
  • Turn of your sauce and get your ramekins ready. I have used four individual ramekins, but you can certainly use one big pie dish.
  • Cut your dough about an inch bigger than your dish. I have used my cookie cutters to cut out fun western designs. You can use whatever you have at home or leave it plain!
  • Ladle your sauce with chicken into each of the ramekins, leaving about an inch at the top. Put your dough circles over the top and  firmly press around the edges. Put your cookie design on the top. Slit three small holes into each of the dough tops. The sauce will bubble during baking and needs to have an escape route, so you don't end up with a huge mess.
  • Crack the egg, whisk it with a splash of water and brush it all over your dough. This will bring nice color to the dish.
  • Put the ramekins onto a cookie sheet and bake for about 30 minutes. Check for doneness and if necessary bake for additional 5 minutes.

Let's talk the salad!

  • My mother-in-law Diane makes the most delicious salads! Anytime they come over for a dinner, she has the task of bringing one of her tasty creations. Why? My cowboys don't like fancy salads that often. Butter lettuce with Ranch is their favorite option. Bummer for me! So, we have compromised.. I have used lettuce, roasted walnuts and homemade ranch dressing. It satisfied everybody. Here is the Pioneer Woman Ranch recipe.

Dobrou chut! Bon Appetite!


Fancy Dinner under 30 Minutes - Schnitzel

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Schnitzel with rice and asparagus is your everyday fancy dinner. It is very often requested by our son aka "Top Ranch Hand". I like making Schnitzel, because it can be so versatile. I can use pork, fish or chicken. Let's face it.. anything breaded is really good and you will score big brownie points with your crowd.

What is Schnitzel? A thin piece of meat that is breaded (flour, egg, breadcrumbs) and fried to perfection.

Best cuts to use: boneless pork chops, chicken breast, cod, tilapia, etc. Pork chops and chicken breast should be thin. I like to use my handy dandy kitchen hammer. Cover your meat with clear foil, so you don't end up wearing all the meat juices and pound away on both sides. The meat will be thin in no time.

Seasoning: You can't skip on seasoning. Season both sides of the meat with salt, pepper and paprika. You can certainly use Lemon Pepper Seasoning on fish.

Dipping stations: Once your meat is thin, seasoned, it is time to bread it. Use one dinner plate for flour, second dinner plate for egg with a splash of milk - whisk it, third dinner plate for seasoned bread crumbs - you can use Italian, garlic or Panko breadcrumbs are all great choices. Pat the breaded meat with your hands to make sure all sticks together. If you have time, but not necessary, put the meat in the fridge for about 30 minutes. This ensures, all of the flour, egg and breadcrumbs will stick to the meat.

Cooking time: Heat up a cast iron pan, pour in about 4 tablespoons of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Trust me, the butter makes it extra good. Fry the meat on medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side for chicken, 4 minutes for pork and fish. I usually check that the meat is done in the middle, especially the chicken.

Sides: Mashed potatoes are always a hit. I have served our dinner with wild rice. You can make fancy rice scoops with your ice-cream scoop. (Restaurant tip). Steamed or roasted asparagus with fennel will be another great addition to your plate. Lemon! Don't forget it! Lemon is a nice garnish for your plate, but use the juice on your meat right before you serve it. Just a few drops over the cooked meat.

Leftovers: If you have any! Schnitzel sandwich - rye bread, mustard, pickle and Schnitzel. The best travel lunch. My mom made these sandwiches for all of our road trips.

Appetizer: This was very popular for one of our dinner parties: Cut up your Schnitzel (this time chicken or pork would be the best choices) into bite size pieces, put it onto a buttered and toasted french baguette that was also cut up into bite size pieces, top it with a sliced pickle. Use a toothpick to secure and serve it on a big platter. You can also put a little bit of spicy mustard on the bread. Voila!

Dobrou chut! Bon Appetite!

 

 

 


What is a Rib Steak?

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We all know how delicious a Rib Eye Steak is, but what is a Rib Steak? Well, let me tell you that Rib Steak is even better than Rib Eye Steak. The Rib Eye is boneless and the Rib Steak includes the rib bone and is often called a "Bone-In Rib Eye Steak". Rib Steaks are also the same as Prime Rib. When combined as a multiple Rib Roast Section and roasted, it is Prime Rib. When each bone section is sliced and then grilled, it becomes a
Bone-in Rib Steak.

Now, how do we cook it?

You can grill it or we cooked it last night in the cast iron pan. The important step that many people forget is to bring the meat to room temperature (at least 30 minutes), dry it with paper towel and adequately salt it.

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If you are grilling the steak, cook it low and slow. If you are using a cast iron pan, make sure to heat the pan first, then pour in one tablespoon of canola oil and I also include a little bit of butter. Let it heat up again. Sear the meat on both sides, the pan should be screaming hot and sizzling. I would say about two minutes on each side, check out the nice crust on our steak. Transfer the meat onto a cookie sheet with a rack, pour your oil and butter mixture from the cast iron pan onto the meat and put it into 475 degree oven for three minutes to finish the meat. Don't move from the kitchen, you can easily overcook the meat! Take the meat out of the oven and let it rest for about 4 minutes, cover it with foil.

Time to cut the steak and enjoy this wonderful cut. I have served the steak with loaded cauliflower mash. (Steamed cauliflower, 1/2 brick of cream cheese, 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar, 2 chopped up green onions, 2 cloves of chopped up garlic. Mix it all together, you can also use a little bit of your steaming liquid to make the perfect texture. Sprinkle with more cheese and bacon pieces).


Shrimp Appetizer

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I'm always trying to come up with new recipes to add to our "3T Ranch Food Rotation". The new item has to be approved by my cowboys before it can make it to this prestige list! Trust me, when I say my guys love my cooking, but they are also picky on what they add to our list. I got a shrimp dip recipe from my best friend Carrie many years ago that has been our staple for holidays and family celebrations. I thought that maybe I can tweak it and make it a little bit more festive to serve to my family as we ring the New Year. My practice run has turned out even better than I expected! The shrimp cups didn't last very long. Easy, festive and delicious.. you should give it a try!

Ingredients:

  • 24 uncooked shrimp
  • 2 scallions - chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh dill - chopped (you can use dry dill, but fresh is much better)
  • 1 cup of arugula
  • 1/2 block of cream cheese - softened
  • 2 tablespoons of milk
  • 12 wonton wrappers
  • cooking spray for mini muffin tin
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil (garlic olive oil is great for this recipe, but any olive oil will do)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of Wildtree Spicy Carne Asada seasoning (variation: 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon of cumin and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini muffin tin with cooking spray and arrange wonton wrappers in the 12 cups. Spray the wontons again with the cooking spray. Bake for about 5 to 7 minutes until golden brown and crisp.
  • In a bowl combine softened cream cheese, scallions, dill, salt and pepper. Use electric mixer to combine all ingredients for nice smooth texture. Add one tablespoon of milk at a time to make the dip nice and smooth, but don't make it too runny!
  • Pour olive oil into a skillet and turn it to medium heat. Throw in your shrimp along with the seasoning. I have used the Wildtree Spicy Carne Asada as I had some left from one of their parties, but you can certainly make your mix with chili powder, cumin and garlic powder. Cook until pink with a nice crust. (Note: What makes a good crust? Dry your uncooked shrimp in paper towels, so you don't steam your shrimp instead).
  • Time to assemble! Put your wonton cups on a plate, on the bottom of the cups put a few leaves of arugula. This will give the cups a nice peppery taste. Next layer is the dip and each cup gets topped with two pieces of shrimp. Serve immediately.