Mexican Lasagna – “Saved by the Dinner” Recipe

The kids didn’t nap yesterday and I needed a “Saved by the Dinner” recipe. Why? The Cowboss worked the cows all day, our Top Ranch Hand had football practice all afternoon and our two little guys were a mess all day. Some days are just harder than others. However, a good family dinner can turn everything around. No TV, phones or any sorts of gatgets. Over a good dinner, our teenager talks to our toddler, the Cowboss and I get to catch up about our day and the baby babbles to all of us. The rule is just good things are discussed over dinner. I can’t tell you how many hard days were “Saved by the Dinner” and ended on a good note. 

Anyways, here is a 30 minute recipe that you can pull off on any hard day you may encounter! 

http://www.theslowroasteditalian.com/2012/09/simple-mexican-lasagna.html?utm_source=FBRC&m=1

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Texas Style Brisket

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This recipe was so good. Our family ate the whole brisket last night for dinner. I have made this dish for my cowboys the day came home from hunting. They are not exactly roughing it when they go hunting as the cabin is quite comfortable, but I wanted to have a nice dish ready for them. We did miss them and were happy to have them home.

They came home, shared their hunting stories, took showers, wanted a quick grilled cheese sandwiches and hit the bed. Well, change of plans! Brisket will be served the next night, when they can keep their eyes open.

This recipe came from the Pioneer Woman. I was catching up on her cooking show while the guys were away. It is delicious. We typically smoke all of our roasts, especially brisket, but I had to try this recipe. We have all licked our fingers and ate it all!

Ingredients:

  • 3T brisket
  • 2 sliced onions
  • 1 head of garlic – just peel it
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • Two 15-ounce cans red enchilada sauce (We like Hatch brand). 
  • 1/2 cup water (Check half way through, if your sauce needs more liquid).

Directions:

  • Put the garlic and onions into a 6-quart slow cooker.
  • Place the brisket on top.
  • Sprinkle over the ancho powder and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  • Pour in the enchilada sauce.
  • Cover and cook on low until the meat falls apart, about 8 hours.
  • Check your liquid and add water, if necessary.
  • I have sliced the meat vs shredding it. We like the texture of the beef better.
  • I have served the beef with Mexican style rice, flour taco tortillas, guacamole, salsa and cheese.

Dobrou chut!

3T Zucchini Chocolate Coconut Cake

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Well, we got our first snow this week and my garden is officially done for the season. The past weekend, I have tried to harvest as much as I could before the snow storm. I will have to remind the Cowboss to “remind me” next spring that I shouldn’t plant that many zucchini plants. It was a little too much, but our chickens sure liked the leftover squash.

The cowboys were hunting pronghorn this past weekend and the little guys and I “manned” the ranch. So, we have picked our zucchinis, carrots, beets, tomatoes, peppers and somehow we still had strawberries?! That was a first one for sure.

As I had plenty of time on my hands at night, I decided to shred, freeze and can everything I could. Zucchini processing was one of them. I have packed two cups of shredded squash into freezer safe ziplock bags for baking. Pre-measured and ready to go.

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My sister was “manning” her own household and yet again we ended up talking about food and cooking. She baked this zucchini cake while her kiddos finally went down for the night. It is an old family recipe that our grandma used to make. Easy and tasty and versatile. You can use shredded apples instead of the zucchini. Grandma aka babi was so good with using up all of the produce from her garden. I sure do miss her. Actually, I so miss both of them. Best grandparents and great-grandparents.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups of shredded zucchini or apples
  • jam, Nuttela or melted chocolate for the top of the cake

Directions:

  • Spray 13×9 pan with canola, so you can get the cake out of the pan.
  • Mix all ingredients really well. You don’t even need a mixer!
  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and bake for 40 minutes.
  • Let it cool for 20 minutes and your cake should come out as “piece of cake”!
  • You can spread your favorite jam or Nuttela or melted chocolate over the top. Grandma even did powdered sugar and milk glaze. All are wonderful!
  • The kids like it and it is even better with a friend that just showed up for an afternoon coffee or tea.

P.S Here is the cake my sister baked. She is today 32! Funny girl she is!

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Homemade Beef Broth

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The weather is getting colder, well at least on the 3T, and the leaves are starting to change. Our favorite part of the year. Cool temperatures mean jeans, cowboy boots and long sleeve shirts, our choice of attire. Well, we kind of wear that in the summer as well to avoid sunburns while working outside, but this weather makes it more comfortable. You learn very quickly to cover up during the summer months while fixing the fence.

It also means that we are in the “crock pot” and more recently “instapot” cooking season. I have recently purchased an instapot and so far I have been impressed. Still playing with new recipes, but hoping to post a few good ones soon.

Good hearty soup and sauce can’t go without a good broth. You would be surprised how easy and delicious it is to make your own broth. I think there is a big difference in the store-bought and homemade broths. I only use beef soup bones, celery, carrots and water. I don’t include any salt or pepper. This gives me a tasty broth and I can later season the soup of sauce I’m making without the worry that something will be over salted, yet I’m getting the deep and rich flavor of the broth.

Storage: I pour my cooled down broth into quarter size plastic jugs and put it into our freezer. I also use ice cube trays. Sometimes I just want a little bit of broth and two ice cube size portions are just right. Once the broth has been frozen in the trays, pop them out and store in a freezer safe plastic bag.

Leftover meat and veggies: You will end up with really mushy veggies. I usually discard them, but right now our 10 month old little cowboy totally digs the soft veggies for dinner. You will also end up with a little bit of tender meat. Again, great baby food for older babies or you can use it in hearty soups. Don’t feel bad, if you just keep the broth and toss everything else. The goal is to make the broth.

Ingredients:

  • 3 packages of 3T Ranch beef soup bones
  • 1 lb of celery stalks – chopped up
  • 1 lbs of carrots – chopped up
  • 10-12 cups of water – you can do more or less, depending of your likings

Directions:

  • You don’t even have to defrost the bones. Just unwrap and put the bones into the crockpot.
  • Chop up your veggies and throw into the crockpot.
  • Pour 10 cups of water into the crockpot.
  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Check on your water levels throughout cooking. I have added 2 cups of water about 1/2 through cooking.

Dobrou Chut!

 

Tomato & Serrano Ham Tarts

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Our freezer has beef soup bones and T-Bone steaks left. It shows that we don’t like sharing our T-Bone steaks that much, they are too tasty. I’m counting down the days when our freezer will be restocked again.

It is the middle of the week and the Cowboss felt like grilling. Can’t blame him, the weather has been so nice, not as hot, but warm enough to enjoy our summer evenings outside. He grilled our T-Bone steaks to perfection. I made “potato boats” as the Easton Clan calls them. They are really twice baked potatoes, but I go with the Easton tradition and call them potato boats. I also wanted to try a new side dish – puff pastry tart. Our greenhouse is producing tomatoes left and right and I wanted to use them up in a different way than just in a salad. I have recently made peach tarts and they were hit, so I thought, why not a savory tart.

So, here goes the recipe for Tomato and Serrano Ham Tarts. Perfect addition to our tasty dinner.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 defrosted sheet of puff pastry
  • 2 tomatoes (I have used Roma as they were the perfect size for the tartlets) – sliced
  • 9 tablespoons of cheese of your choice – shredded – I have used Gruyere
  • 5 slices of Serrano Ham – sliced
  • salt & pepper

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Defrost the dough – use instructions on the box.
  • Unfold your dough and cut into 9 squares (tip: pizza cutter works well on this)
  • I did 4 tomato and 5 Serrano ham squares.
  • Sprinkle each square with 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese.
  • Top with sliced tomatoes or cut up ham.
  • Put squares on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the tomato squares with sea salt.

Dobrou Chut!

What is the difference between “live”, “hanging” and “freezer” weight?

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We have been recently asked what is the difference between “live”, “hanging” and “freezer” beef weights? 3T Ranch sells beef with our prices based on freezer weight. Why, do you ask? Here is some information to consider when ordering beef.

When it comes to beef weights, there are 3 different ones of which customers should be aware.  The first is “live” weight. This is what the animal weighs on the hoof alive.  The live weight of our steers usually averages around 1,000 lbs.

The next weight is “hanging” weight.  This is the weight that the butcher charges their processing fee on and is based on a “dressed” animal.  Dressed simply means the hide and all organs have been removed but all of the bones and other unusable parts are still included; and this gives the hanging weight of the animal. The hanging weight is usually about 60% of the live weight.  So, a 1,000 lb animal would have a hanging weight of approxiamtely 600 lbs.

The last weight is the “final” or “take-home” or “freezer” weight.  This is the weight of the actual beef that each customer will bring home and gets to put in the freezer and then on the BBQ.    It is only the packaged steaks, roasts, and ground beef.  This weight is usually about 40% of the live weight, or 67% of the hanging weight.  So for our 1,000lb live steer that had a 600lb hanging weight, it would have a 400lb “freezer” or “take home” weight. The difference between hanging weight and freezer weight is two parts:  water weight lost during the 10-14 day period that the beef is aged, the rest comes from the bones and unusable parts that are cut out during the processing and packaging.
We choose to sell our beef as “freezer” weight. This provides the customer with a total price that doesn’t change as well as the customer knows how much beef they actually get in the freezer. For a ¼ share, you get 100lbs of beef for $710, which is $7.10 per finished pound, the order is consistent every time.  This allows the customer to plan ahead and there are no surprises.  All fees from the processor are already included in the total price.

Many ranches sell beef by “hanging” weight, in this method the customer is given an approximate total sales price and an approximate amount of beef (lb.) in the freezer. Each animal weighs a different amount and therefore the ranch or the processor can only estimate how much beef there will be after the processing, the “freezer weight”. The hanging weight includes all of the bones and extras before processing, it is not what you get to take home in the freezer.  Each animal has a different yield (the ratio of freezer weight to hanging weight) so you’re not sure what the end price will be and how much you will get out of it.  It is the easiest way for the ranchers and processors to charge, but we feel like it is not the most transparent method for the customer.  Why not just charge for what you get to take home, so the price and quantity are known up front?  It’s more like buying beef at the store, the price is marked on a given cut that has a given weight; you don’t have to guess how much the whole animal weighed at one time or what it’s yield was.  Given our example above of the 1,000lb steer, our 100lb “freezer” weight ¼ share is $7.10 per pound.  For comparison sakes that would be the same as a 150lb hanging weight ¼ share at $4.73 per pound (4.73 x 150lbs = $710 and would yield 100lbs).  A quarter of beef at $4.73 per pound hanging weight is the same as $7.10 per pound freezer weight.  Some also sell based on hanging weight plus processing.  The cost of processing would then be added into the hanging weight cost for the final amount at pickup.  Processing is usually about 70 to 80 cents per pound extra.  Our pricing is always the final price, inclusive of all processing and packaging costs.

We know it gets confusing trying to compare the different pricing methods our there, so we try to make it as straight forward as possible, your order will be the stated weight for the stated price.  Even though our beef packages are based “freezer” weight we have added pricing on our website 3T Ranch Beef Price List that shows prices for both methods “freezer” and “hanging” weights.

Hopefully this information is helpful, but as always, please drop us a line if you have questions! 3tranchcolorado@gmail.com

Smoked Tri-Tip Roast

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I have been trying to take a picture of the smoked Tri-Tip Roast the whole summer, but still no luck. The moment the meat is ready to be served it is gone in minutes! It is that good! The Cowboss smoked the roast this past weekend for our monthly BBQ with our friends. It was a hit.

I have used Chicago Steak Seasoning from Weber, but you can use any dry rub you like. Bring the roast to room temperature, let it sit on the counter for at least 30 minutes.

Here are the smoker directions from the Cowboss:

  • I like to get my smoker going at about 225 and I use a combination of hardwood lump charcoal and walnut chunks for the fuel.  A meat thermometer is handy to have as well.  I put it right on the grill of the smoker and let it go for about 3 hours and let it get to 155 or so for the inside temperature.  Then, wrap it in a foil and put it back on for another two hours, keeping the heat still at 225.  That helps soften and slow cook the meat without getting it dry.  It’s a lean cut, so the foil keeps the juices in while you’re finishing the smoke.  The times vary depending on the size of your roast, I usually do about a 2.5 pounder.  Let it rest for a few minutes when it’s done and then you’re all set for a wonderful Tri-Tip roast.  Done right and you can eat the slices with just a fork, no knife.  Enjoy!

Euro Cheeseburger 

It’s a nice cool evening outside, the sun is not beating on us and the cowboys didn’t spend all day working outside. That means I got them to eat outside! This is a big deal at our house. The cowboys spend a lot of time outside fixing the fence, gathering cows or whatever needs to be done that day. They do it in all weather conditions, sunny, windy, hot, freezing, snowy, you name it. So, the last thing they want to do is to eat dinner outside. But, not tonight! 

On evenings like tonight, we like to fire up the grill and cook some cheeseburgers. Guacamole and bacon are always great choices to go along with the burgers, but I wanted to change it up a little. I have found European Brioche Buns at the store the other day and wanted to make a tasty euro sauce to go with it. I know us Euros can be sometimes little funny, like eating French fries with mayo, but this is not the case. This pow wow sauce is just the perfect match for grassfed/grass finished beef. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 mayo 
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 3-4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

I would guess, you probably have all of the ingredients. 

Give it a try!
Dobrou chut! 

Yay Baby! It’s a Dutch Baby!

This was a huge success this morning. We are early risers and a big 3T breakfast is a must on our outfit. You might miss lunch sometimes, especially, if your neighbor’s 10 steers decide to visit your pasture and don’t want to leave. “Hey, grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. ;)” The cows always want to prove this saying.

We have been trying to cut down on butter, sugar and rich foods and so far so good. This dutch baby recipe called for 1/4 cup of butter and 1/4 cup of sugar. I don’t think so. If I would feed this to my guys, they would load up on sugar and be hungry in a couple of hours.

So, here is our version of this recipe. I have served this dutch baby with scrambled eggs and peppers, both from our outfit.

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. At the same time put in your large cast iron skillet to heat up.
  • In a blender combine together: eggs, milk, zest, vanilla until smooth
  • Add flour, sugar and salt, whisk again for about 30 seconds on high.
  • Carefully pour oil into the hot skillet and put it in the oven for another 30 seconds.
  • Take out the skillet and carefully pour the batter into it.
  • Spread out blueberries.
  • Bake for about 22 minutes.
  • Serve right away. No need for sugar or syrup. It is delicious on its own!

Dobrou Chut!