Ranch cooking is usually centered around beef recipes. And often – crowd-sized! I have to double or triple most recipes, when I am feeding the cowboys! I decided to go searching for all the beef recipes for a crowd that I could find, and compile them in one place for us ranch wives. Hopefully this will help simplify your meal-planning, the next time you need to feed a bunch of cowboys.
I don’t know about you, but chicken is one of my top comfort foods! Maybe because I ate a lot of it as a kid – and boy! was my mom ever a good cook! Growing up Amish will do that…
But this Balsamic Chicken Recipe is different than the chicken my mom made. This includes the rich flavors of balsamic vinegar and soy sauce to bring a tastiness to simple baked chicken legs.
I bought a family-sized package of chicken drumsticks on sale, and wanted to make them tasty and yet easy. Right now, I am homeschooling three kids,I have a 3 year old, and an infant! So,I don’t have much time to peruse cookbooks or experiment. I wanted a new fun flavor, though, so I came up with this simple marinade, and it was an instant hit!
I didn’t take time to let it marinade – it was close to lunch, so I just popped it in the oven right way. But marinating it a few hours would only improve the flavor, I’m thinkin’.
I baked them for most of the time in a normal oven, but the last 30 min or so, I turned on the convection roast feature in my oven, to get the skin crispy and brown. If you don’t have that feature – just turn on broiler for a few minutes – watching closely so it doesn’t burn.
We loved this balsamic chicken recipe – so easy and yummy. Let me know if you liked it!
Breakfast quickly falls into a rut, for me. Toast, eggs, sausage… pancakes… biscuits and gravy…
Great food, of course, but once in a while I like to switch it up. So this week, I tried my hand at inventing some tasty little breakfast tarts! Now, ‘tarts’ may be a bit misleading, since they don’t have a crumbly, homemade crust. But I hope you forgive me when you realize how simple and tasty these are.
Take a package of wonton wrappers, place one in each muffin cup. I gave my muffin tin a light spray of cooking spray – to keep the cheese from sticking, and give it a bit of that fried texture.
They will look like they aren’t big enough – not coming up the sides very far – but they will be fine, no worries!
Then you add the eggs and sausage, topping with a small slice (or spoonful of shredded) cheddar cheese. I think swiss would be good, too! I used about a tablespoon each of eggs and sausage.
Slide it in the oven for about 8-10 minutes, depending how crispy you like your crusts. Serve with fruit or juice. Perfect for little hands to grab and eat on the way to school! (not messy at all)
What are you serving for breakfast, these days? I’m always open to new ideas!
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.
Breakfast: 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!!)
Dinner: (lunch) 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?
Supper: 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,
chicken fajitas 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.
Last month I asked my Facebook friends if they menu plan, and how. They gave me some great answers! I quickly decided on a plan that was suggested by a sweet ranch wife. Knowing she lives a similar lifestyle, and it worked for her – made me feel like I could do it too. 😉 So this is totally her idea, but I know she won’t care if I share it.
I got a piece of paper and a pen, and we began planning.
Supper: First, I sat down with my older kids (11, 13) and told them they will each be making one supper each week. They were allowed to pick the menu for that meal. So they each picked four meals.
Then, I wrote in the meals that we eat every week. We have ‘Saturday Night Pizza’ and Friday Night Burgers’. We do this every week and we love it! We also have been pretty consistent with Wednesday night sandwiches, so I went ahead and put that down too. So now I had 5 nights already done. I went ahead and planned the other two night of meals, and wrote them down.
Dinner: (lunch) We are eating mostly rice and beans for lunch. Easy, healthy, and we all like them. A lot. I make tortillas about 2-3 times per week as well. About one dinner per week ends up being leftovers from all the suppers.
Breakfast: I made a week’s menu for breakfast, and then just used the same weeks’ plan every week for the month. Next month I will be changing the breakfast menu, although I have a feeling the kids would rather I stick with the same food. They seem to really like knowing what food is going to be which day!
Then I took my menu and made a grocery list of all the supplies I needed for all the meals. I made two nice lists; one for Sams Club and one for Walmart. These are the main places I shop for food. (One reason I decided on the monthly menu, is because we get paid monthly, and I like to buy in bulk. It works better than shopping every week. )
One item I put on my grocery list was a whiteboard. I picked one up at Walmart for 8$. It is big enough to write my meals on, and it has a side panel that I can jot down grocery needs that come up during the month. Then I can just snap a photo of the list when I go shopping again. (theoretically!)
Anyways. So we had a huge shopping trip, spent hundreds of dollars and came home resolving to eat only beans and rice for every meal from now on!! (Food is crazy, I’m telling you! )
So far it has been nearly 3 weeks, and we are loving it! (I took the photo last Monday!) The kids and my husband like to walk over and see what meals we are having for the day. The older kids are enjoying cooking their chosen meals, too. They pretend they are on ‘Chopped.’
Cons: To really make this work for you, I think you have to stick pretty closely to the plan. Which I am doing. But I know during some seasons of life I couldn’t have done it. Pros: It saves money and headache if you can stick to it. I just have to look at the board and I know what I am making for supper. No more last minute guessing.
The family loves it. Plus it’s healthy, although I have always cooked from scratch. Things I would change: Next month I will plan for a couple quick meals that I can make for unexpected guests, etc. Maybe a couple freezer meals? I will also set aside a portion of money for fresh fruits/veggies later in the month.
Anyways, it is totally working and I am loving it. Since I only have 10 meals for the whole month to plan by myself, I feel so much more free to get on Pinterest and pick out a new one or two to try. 😉 I do love cooking and resisted a menu plan for years because of my tendency to ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants’. That is fine but when I am homeschooling 3 kids, and have a toddler, and frequently cook for the ranch crew, etc, etc… I must take charge of my time wisely. I am very thankful for this plan.
So the big question is: Do you menu plan? How? Do you stick to the plan? Do you eat the same things regularly? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Strawberries are coming into season around the country right now, red and luscious and oh so delicious! Strawberry-anything suits me just about right!
Fun Fact: Did you know that strawberries have more vitamin C, oz for oz, than oranges? Yep. (but don’t ask me where I read that, because I forget. But go check it out yourself! Dare ya.) After I’d made several batches of jam with these babies, I still had some bright berries left over. I decided to make a simple strawberry cake.
I didn’t feel like digging through my very un-organized recipes to find one, so I just made up my own. It was fabulous. (Yes it was!)
First, I sliced the strawberries and stirred in the sugar. Then I let them stew in their own juices while I mixed up the cake. I cut the butter into the flour, added the sugar, salt and baking powder, then added the eggs and milk. Stir it together, spread it in a greased 9×9 pan, and into the oven it goes. I let the cake cool almost completely, (not in the fridge! You want it soft) then just before serving I spooned the strawberries over the top, drizzled with some soft whipped cream*, and served immediately. Yummy. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge. The cake stiffens up in the fridge, but it is still very tasty! This is a faster way to serve the scrumptious strawberry shortcake. Especially for a big group.