When it’s shipping season on the ranch, I am up before the sun – preparing the meal for the cowboys, and feeding an early breakfast to my man.
Soon the sun is high and the yard filled with horse trailers and cattle trucks, and the sound of incessant bellowing is heard.My Lucia doesn’t want to miss one minute of the action!Sometimes the drivers get the truck backed up perfectly the first try, sometimes it takes many tries. But it all works out. Calves and trucks wait to be loaded.Sorting off a specific number of calves to be loaded.Shipping is the sigh relief of a job well done at the end of the ‘cattle year’. Sometimes the calves come in at a good weight, and sometimes under. Sometimes the market is high, and sometimes low. But for those of us who enjoy this life, it is worth the uncertainty and risk. We ship off the babies, then begin preparing for next year – starting the cycle all over.
We don’t ranch because it is a sure way to get rich, but because we enjoy the way of life. The quietness, working with the livestock, the pleasure of working outdoors, the comfort of a neighborly community who has your back – all things that are disappearing from our culture in America at a rapid rate.
We ask for help when we need it, we return the favor gladly, and we have a jolly good time doing so. We find comradeship and sympathy during the rough years, mutual cheer during the good.
Next time you eat beef, think about the hard-working ranch families who raised it.
I thought I would share our meal list for this month, since some of you were asking. It is pretty simple and somewhat repetitive. 😉 But it seems that we do better if I stick to meals we know and like most of the time.
Monday – pancakes and bacon
Tuesday – crepes x 2, and chile rellenos x 2
Wednesday – waffles
Thursday – eggs and toast
Friday – sausage gravy and biscuits
Saturday – baked oatmeal (never actually got this made, somehow. Just ate leftover breakfasts from earlier in the week)
Sunday – cold cereal (what I would eat every day if I could. 😉 One of my favorites!!)
Monday – rice and beans
Tuesday – rice and beans
Wednesday – rice and beans
Thursday – rice and beans
Friday – rice and beans
Saturday – rice and beans
Sunday – Okay, so our church has a potluck every Sunday noon. (yes you read that right! 😉 ) And this is the one meal I had the hardest time sticking too! I made some of the planned meals, but our Saturdays were so crazy that I ended up throwing something together quick most Sunday mornings. Yeah, so I’m thinking I will plan easier meals for next months’ Sunday dinners! Maybe some more freezer meals?
Monday – Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes, Indian chicken, balsamic pork loin and mashed potatoes, Navajo tacos
Tuesday (Frank’s meals) – taco salad, chicken fajitas, meatball subs, lasagna
Wednesday – sandwiches and chips
Thursday (Jenni’s meals) – beef enchiladas, chili soup, mini-meatloaves with roasted potatoes,
Friday – hamburgers and roasted potatoes
Saturday – pizza
Sunday – beef-stuffed crescent rolls, jalapenos and fish sticks, philly-cheese-steak sliders, bbq meatballs and soft pretzels
NOTE: Sunday suppers have also varied somewhat from my menu. We ended up having guests, being gone, etc. And along with the listed menu items, we always have popcorn on Sunday evening. My favorite tradition!
So there you have it. A month of meals from my kitchen. Now you know what we eat, haha! Oh, and the kids really enjoy making a meal and having everyone praise and thank them for it. Frank still needs a lot of instruction, but Jenni is getting pretty good at cooking. But the main tip I have for kids cooking, is to have them start early in the evening so they have enough time to cook. They can’t throw things together like I can – it takes them about twice as long. And that’s ok – I just have to plan for it.
Do you have any suggestions for yummy freezer meals for Sunday lunch?
Preferably crockpot meals, since that is easiest for our kitchen crew.
Who says ground beef has to be boring? We love it around here! Meatballs are so versatile, you can make many different dishes with them.
Spaghetti and meatballs,
meatballs in cream sauce over pasta,
But the best part is having them on hand for those busy nights when you just don’t have time to cook! My kids (and me!!) love those frozen, fully cooked meatballs. But I refuse to buy them when I have beef in my freezer. I mean, how silly would that be? So I decided to make my own precooked, frozen meatballs. I mixed up a big batch of these and baked them for 20 minutes (would do 15 min next time) then bagged them and stuck them in the freezer. Now I can pull them out at a moment’s notice and pop them in the oven to reheat or in a pan of sauce on the stove-top. How cool is that?!
- 1 lb ground beef
- ½ cup breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs, ground fine
- 1 egg, beaten
- ½ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Mix all ingredients together.
- Shape into balls.
- Place on an un-greased baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes.
- Cool and freeze.
- Can double or triple recipe easily.
Beef is a staple at our house, as you have probably figured out by now! We have ranch-raised natural beef in the freezer, and we eat it every day. Sometimes I pull a package of ground beef out of the freezer and let it thaw – just so I have something to work with at dinnertime! I know – I should be organized enough to have a menu plan – but I am just not always that organized, ya know? 😉
Now this recipe is very quick and very delicious – due in part to the super-sweet sauce. But – before I lose you on the sugar content, let me just tell you that you can substitute any kind of liquid sweetener, like honey, agave, etc, if you want a healthier option. 😉 I don’t make this all that often – it is a treat when I do make it!
Make the sauce, slice the onion, and fry the mini-meatloaves.
Put the fully-cooked meatloaves onto a covered plate to keep warm.
(Don’t worry about the browned bits on the pan – that just adds flavor!)
Add a little butter to the skillet and caramelize the onions.
Add sauce to onions and de-glaze the pan.
Pour the sauce and onions over the meatloaves.
Serve with potatoes or pasta.
This has been one of my husband’s favorite meals for a long time. You should try it! You will like it. 😉
- 1 lb ground beef
- ⅓ cup dark Karo
- 6 TBL steak sauce
- 6 tsp mustard
- 1 onion
- 1 TBL butter
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- Mix ground beef with salt and pepper, shape into 8 patties.
- Fry over med. heat until fully cooked.
- Remove to covered serving plate, keep warm.
- Put butter in frying pan - add onions.
- When onions are sauteed, add sauce.
- Cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Pour over mini-meatloaves.
- To make sauce:
- Mix the karo, steak sauce, and mustard together.
Welcome to my beef series! This is the first in a series of beef recipes I plan to post this year. I will be posting a different beef recipe every week – only recipes that we eat and enjoy! So be sure to sign up for new posts by email, so you don’t miss any!
My sister gave me this recipe last summer, and it was an immediate hit! We love grilled steak, but when the wind is screaming, and the snow is flying – well, you ain’t gettin’ this southern-at-heart girl outside to grill! Baked steak is a wonderful compromise. This recipe is so easy, and very tasty. It is quite versatile, too! We like to pour the broth over rice, noodles, or mashed potatoes.
Step 1: Mix sauce ingredients. I used red wine vinegar this time, but any kind will work. I usually use apple cider vinegar.
Step 2: Get your skillet hot, and add a little oil to the pan. Sear the steaks for one minute on each side. Because I never remember to get my beef out of the freezer, these were still pretty much frozen solid. So they didn’t brown as nicely. But, hey – who cares, right? It works.
I don’t time the searing part – I just fry ’em till they are a little brown on each side.
Step 3: When you are done searing them all, lay them in a 9X13 pan or similar. Just stack ’em in, baby. They will shrink as they cook.
Step 4: Pour the sauce over the steaks.
Step 5: Cover with foil and bake at 350º for 2 hours. You can also do this in a crockpot for 4 hours on high or 6 on low. (You may need to adjust your time in the crockpot depending on your type of steak and your particular crockpot.)
I used rib steak for this recipe, but I have used different steak cuts – sirloin, elk, etc. Basically just whatever I happen to have in my freezer and feel like using. I hope you enjoy this beef recipe as much as we do!
- 3-4 lbs steak
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup vinegar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp mustard
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- Sear steaks in skillet over high heat for one minute per side.
- Place steaks in a baking pan.
- Combine sauce ingredients in small bowl and stir well.
- Pour liquid over steaks.
- Cover pan with foil.
- Bake at 350 for 2 hours.