Baked Ground Beef Chimichangas

IMG_3740Mexican cuisine is always a hit at our home, but I thought I would change up our ground beef burritos into chimichangas.

Chimichangas are basically fried burritos, but we are watching what we eat. Grassfed/grass finished beef is so good for you and you don’t want to ruin your healthy meal by frying everything. So, I decided to baked my chimichangas and it was a hit. The burritos got nice and crisp  .

 

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb 3T Ranch ground beef
  • 1/2 onion – small dice
  • 1 bell pepper – small dice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can green chili sauce or green chili enchilada sauce
  • 5 flour tortillas
  • Spanish rice (I have used the box, but you can certainly make it from scratch)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar
  • Canola oil in a spray
  • 1 tablespoon chopped up cilantro

Directions:

  • Saute onions and peppers in a cast iron skillet until translucent. Set aside.
  • Cook your ground beef  with cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  • Mix peppers and onions with the ground beef along with the shredded cheddar cheese.
  • Heat your oven to 375 degrees.
  • Spray your cookie sheet with the canola oil.
  • Steam your flour tortillas in the microwave. Make sure to put a wet towel over your tortillas and microwave for about a minute. This way, your tortillas will be easy to roll up.
  • Divide the meat mixture onto the five tortillas. Here is a quick way to roll them up.
  • Put the burritos onto the cookie sheet and spray with the canola oil.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes and broil for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Your chimichangas are nice and crisp!
  • Heat up your green chili sauce or green chili enchilada sauce over your chimichangas.
  • Serve with rice, avocado and salsa.

Dobrou chut!

Beef and Broccoli

img_2484

Finally! Our freezer is filled again with beef! Our customers come first, therefore we get our beef on the last round of processing. It was worth the wait! I wanted to have beef that night for dinner, so we have decided for an easy and fast recipe.

Ingredients:

  • flank steak thinly sliced against the grain
  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons brown sugar (start with two, you can always add more)
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup beef broth (best beef broth is from beef soup bones, easy to make)
  • 1 pound of broccoli thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • oil

Directions:

Heat oil in a large skillet and stir broccoli until nicely tender. Don’t over do it!

In the meantime, cut your steak. In a bowl, mix together soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, cornstarch, ginger, garlic, sesame oil. Pour half of the mixture over the meat and coat it. Reserve the second part for the actual sauce.

Take broccoli out of the pan, pour in little bit more oil, let the pan come to temperature again and put in the meat in a single layer. I had to do three different batches, but it was worth it. Don’t stir the meat right away, you want to have a nice crust on the meat. It takes one minute on the first side and 30 seconds on the other. Take out the meat. Remember, don’t over cook it, the meat will go back into the sauce and it will cook some more.

Pour the remaining sauce into the pan along with the beef broth, let it thicken and put in the meat and the broccoli.

I have served the dish with coconut rice (you can already buy it in a box). It was a nice change to either white or fried rice, but either way you can’t go wrong!

Give a try! Dobrou chut!

Why You Should Buy Beef in Bulk, Support Local, Look for Best Value.. and still have time to shop for cowboy boots

13686689_606928686154971_2856013641805210205_n

 

Well, our whole family is slowly gearing up for the arrival of our new cowboy. The cowboss and Luke aka our top ranch hand/oldest son are so excited for another cowboy helper to be joining our crew. Peanut and I are ready to “mother” this little boy. Excitement all around us.

Needless to say, I also want to be ready when he comes. I need to have meals ready as I’m not planning to cook any five star dinners during the first weeks, but I want my family to have a tasty meal each night. Our 1/4 beef will be in the freezer by the end of September! Just enough time for me to cook and freeze our meals.

Fall is the time of the year to buy beef in bulk from local ranches like ours. Why fall? Why is beef a seasonal item like peaches? Easy answer.. you want to buy beef when the animal just came off green grass and they are in their prime condition. Beef in February? Not so good.. Cows don’t gain weight during winter months as they are only fed hay. Nothing beats luscious green grass. Same as peaches, you know that August peaches taste the best, winter peaches are available, but the flavor and nutrients are just lacking.

Why buy in bulk? You save time, money and introduce your family to new cuts that are not typically available at the grocery stores. Easy math = We sell our 1/4 beef (100 lbs) for $710, which is $7.10 per pound. Each 1/4 includes steaks, ground beef and roasts about 1/3 of each. $7.10 per pound for grassfed, grass finished local beef? How much did you spend the last time you have bought T-Bone Steak? I bet it was not $7.10 per pound! I have seen prices that are at least three times as much at the stores with no guarantee that you are truly getting grassfed/grass finished beef. Many stores import beef from South America. We also sell smaller options, check out our  3T Ranch website. Why buy in bulk? I make less trips to the grocery store.  I can usually whip up a pretty good dinner as long as I have some kind of protein in the fridge or freezer. Steak salad, steak fajitas, grilled steak, beef stew.. endless possibilities. Not sure what to cook or need an inspiration? Check out our 3T Ranch Blog.

Why local? Make friends with your local ranchers and farmers. Here at the 3T we are happy to show you our operations, how we raise our cows, what we feed them, etc. You may learn a thing or two that you didn’t know about cows. I know I’m biased, but ranching is pretty interesting. It is not just about handsome cowboys riding into the sunset and stylish cowboy boots. Ranching is tough, but rewarding work. Our cowboss will talk your ear off about his cows, but I would think that is a great sign that he knows what he is doing, proud of his product and truly a guarantee that you are getting what is being sold to you.

Why Best Value? I don’t know about you, but I want to feed my family the best we can afford. I shop smarter, not harder. I’m going to give you another example. Each year, we buy peaches from The PeachFork in Palisade. I buy four big boxes. I use the peaches for jams, homemade ice cream, freeze them for delicious cobblers, bars in the winter time and my guys gobble up at least one box just for snacks. Why do I buy from them? I know them, I trust them, I talk to them and I know that they are passionate about their farm. Bonus? The peaches are the best, flavor, size, price.. You just can’t beat that. So, next time you are buying two steaks or two peaches at the store, ask yourself a question. Are you shopping smarter or are you shopping harder? How many times have you gone to the store to buy meat? Was it $7.10/per pound? I’m sure enjoying my quiet time as I get ready to make peach jam and make room in my freezer for my beef. I have everything I need at home for a full year. I have supported local, got the best value and my family will have plenty of healthy meals.

Round Steak

IMG_1578 2.JPG

Round steak is not your typical cut that you can find at the grocery store, yet so tasty that it totally should be!

We like to use the round steak cut for fajitas. I cut my steak thinly against the grain and fry it with just a little splash of oil in my cast iron skillet. Make sure your skillet is preheated. This cut is super lean and it doesn’t take very long to cook. You want to see some pink before taking it out of the pan. Seasoning is very simple, salt, pepper and little bit Wildtree Asada seasoning.

This cut is also great for Beef Stroganoff, the braising does wonders for it.

Give it a shot. Sirloin is tasty for sure, but many beef cuts are underutilized, round steak being one of them.

Meatloaf Patties to Satisfy Any Pregnant Lady

Sometimes, you just have to provide for the pregnant lady and  just give her what she wants and craves from one minute to the next. This pregnancy is so far the easiest out of the three, but the cravings are through the roof! Pickle juice one minute and why not washed it off with an ice cream bar. I try to restrain myself from overindulging, but last night I just had to have meatloaf. The boys are not big fans at all. They much rather have a juicy burger or a steak. Well, too bad for them, because meatloaf it is. To my surprise, they loved it! A few tweaks for better texture and they thought it was a hit to add onto our dinner rotation list.

IMG_1269 2.JPG

Things to have on hand:

  • 1 lb 3T ground beef
  • 1 box of stuffing
  • 1 egg
  • 2 green onions – chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Soak the stuffing in the 1/2 cup of water. Some of the pieces will be still crunchy, that is totally OK!
  • Mix together all of the other items including the stuffing.
  • Create small patties and fry for about 5 minutes on each side.
  • The cooking time is much faster vs an hour long oven bake for a regular meatloaf. Especially, on a night where everybody is super hungry and dinner needs to be served right now. The stuffing gives the meatloaf a better texture than just regular breadcrumbs.

Fried Pork Chops with Potato Casserole & Cowboy Creme Brûlée

You can’t go wrong with this dinner at our house! I have finally mastered frying pork chops. The cowboss is busy checking on the cows and calves many times a day, so the last thing he wants to do is to grill these  chops outside. He comes home and crashes hard every night. So, I needed to learn how to cook pork chops inside and still have the tender meat you get from the BBQ. It sure took me a few disasters, but I have nailed down!

Our new favorite light dessert is Cowboy Creme Brûlée. What is that thing?! It was so good that I didn’t have a chance to take a picture of that tasty concoction. Gone, in a second. Check out the recipe below. Easy, light and delicious recipe. IMG_1283.JPG

Pork Chops:

  • 4 pieces – 3/4″ bone in pork chops – cut a small incision into the fat side of the chop. This prevents curling of the chop. It will stay nice and flat.
  • 1 cup of flour
  • Weber Kicking Chicken Seasoning or you can use paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper and salt (You should try the Kicking Chicken Seasoning. It is a great blend that works on chicken as well as pork).
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 stick of butter (I know, I know. Trying to cut out butter as much as I can, but you do need it for this recipe).

Directions:

  • Bring the chops to room temperature, at least 30 minutes. Pat them dry and season. Dredge in flour on both sides.
  • Heat your cast iron skillet (ribbed skillet is the best, but any will do) on high eat, let it come to a high temperature, pour in oil and butter.
  • Shake off the flour and put the chops in the skillet.
  • Cook for about  4 minutes on the first side, depending on the size of the chop.
  • The other side only takes about a couple of minutes.
  • Let the meat rest on a plate and cover with foil.

The chop is so tender, yet you end up having a nice outside crust on the meat. You have to use the butter. It just doesn’t fry right without it.

Potato Casserole: Can’t go wrong with The Pioneer Woman’s Funeral Potatoes. Just that good. We like to use the O’Brien Potatoes vs Hash Browns.

Cowboy Creme Brûlée:

  • 1 pkg vanilla pudding (cook and serve, NOT instant)
  • 1/2 cup of frozen berries (smaller is better)
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Cook the pudding as directed on the package. You will need 3 oven proof bowls. The bottom of the bowls get the frozen berries and you will pour the hot pudding over the fruit. This will let out all of the fruit juices. Let it cool on the counter for about 10 minutes and refrigerate for about 2 hours. Sprinkle sugar over the top and set it under the broiler for about 30 seconds. Don’t walk away. It goes quick! It is nice and light and fancy! It is hard for us to go out for dinner during this time of year, so we need to be creative. 🙂

Dobrou Chut! Bon Appetite!

Do You Name Your Cows?

IMG_1150

“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..

When the Cowboys are “Nesting”

We are finally in the last stretch of time before our cows start having calves. We have about a month to go. Before long, we will have little “doggies” as we call our newest cattle additions, running all over the place. I thought that puppies are the cutest and most playful animals, until I saw our calves playing with each other and racing around with their tails way up high. The most spectacular sight is to see them being born and getting hang of walking and milking within just few minutes. We eagerly wait for the mama and baby to create their new bond and figure out this milking ordeal. Let me tell you, I have lost so many nails, watching them struggle, desperately wanting to help the calf to find the utter, yet the best thing is to let them figure it out. We have been lucky so far, all of our cows are good mamas and claim their babies. We don’t take any chances though and have calf formula ready, just in case we need to use it.

The last month is hard for the cows and for the cowboys. As any expectant mother can relate, the last month is the longest and must have at least extra 10 days packed on! The nesting period begins for all soon to be moms to make sure all is ready for the wonderful arrival. My cowboys are also “nesting” the month before our first arrival. They want to be ready and give the calves the best chance to survive. This year, the cowboys built new shelters for our cows as April can be temperamental with weather. We intentionally don’t “calf” in the middle of the winter. We wait until the cows have some nice green grass and the calf is born into better weather. No need to rush and have little calves struggle through months of cold and snow.

The cowboss was pretty collected when we were expecting our little Peanut, big help with the new baby and many times assured me that the baby is still sleeping, when I jumped out of bed in the middle of the night to check on her. Well, he is the same with our cows. During calving season we sleep with the window open to hear all strange noises from coyotes to cows being in trouble. (And he complained about the baby monitor being too loud?!) He will go check on the mama cows a few times a night, in a crack of dawn and many times during the day. You can clearly see the excitement and nervousness on his face.

Each year, we will have a few cows who will require his help and he needs to act fast to save the mama and the calf. I try to stay calm, but I’m a nervous wreck on the inside, but I try to keep it together for him. We are both exhausted and relieved when all is set and done and we have another addition to our heard. It is not easy to pull out 70 lb calf! During this time, we try to provide the cowboss with any help he needs, cook tasty meals and keep it all together!

Ha, are you tired yet? Calving is a lot of work. I think the adrenalin kicks in for all of us during the month of April, we get through it and cherish every new calf.

Cooking a tasty meals after a long day of fussing with new calves is important on this outfit. 3T Ranch Chicken Pot Pie is always a winner after a long day or night.

We are expecting about 30 calves this year. Stay tuned for the most adorable photos!

 

3T Chicken Pot Pie

IMG_0950.jpg

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

IMG_0948

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!