Veggie Tips

We eat a lot of vegetables in our house.  Raw, grilled, steamed, chopped, pan-fried, over the open fire, you name it, we eat it that way.

I thought I would share some tips we have learned along the way as well as how we (ok it’s me really) sneak more veggies into our family diet.

Keeping sliced carrots and celery in our fridge in some cold water to make them last longer is a trick I do every week.  I keep blue cheese and peanut butter around so they can dip them instead of just munching on them raw all the time.  Works like a charm!

Chopping up all types of vegetables and storing them in baggies or small containers that are visible when opening the fridge is another way of getting the kids to snack healthy as they will grab them when hungry.  I keep some ranch dressing along with the blue cheese for these types of vegetables.

Storing my own homemade salad in a bag is another easy thing for kids to grab.  I have a few different dressings to choose from and also red wine vinegar as that’s the Teen Queen’s favorite to top off her salad.  You would be surprised how quick a kid will eat salad if they only have to grab a handful out of a bag and put it in a bowl!

Keeping things colorful is inviting to all.  In our chicken stir fry I use all different color peppers and also for when I am making a vegetable side dish for dinner.  The kids call these dishes “rainbow vegetables”.

Kale chips are another great crunchy snack.  You can do the same thing with brussel sprouts by peeling them and baking.

Topping veggies with sauce and cheese is a great alternative to pasta.  This gets scooped right up in a matter of minutes!

Filling them with meat and rice topped with sauce…who could resist!

Loading up your crockpot meals with all different types of veggies that soften, add flavor and break down into the gravy is sneaky!!  This is how I hide parsnips from the Boy!

Grilling is huge in our world.  I will grill many many vegetables in the summer.  Seasoned with a little olive oil, garlic powder and salt and cooked until charred and soft.  Every vegetable is delicious!

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And last, keeping fresh corn around and teaching the kids how to microwave their own for 4 minutes and then peel allows for a delicious, no string ear every kids loves!

I have shared recipes on this blog (you can find them under the “Categories” section) as well as on our Facebook page: ChasenChanceranch for all of these pictures.  If you can’t find one, just ask!

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Barbecue Ribs

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Working as a waitress had it’s perks. Besides meeting the man of the house when I was a part time waitress, I was able to watch many different chefs cook and I learned a lot.

If you want the most tender, delicious pork ribs, you have to steam cook them in a bit of water with 2 TBSP of white vinegar. The meat will fall off the bone after you grill them!

Place the ribs on a wire rack in a roasting pan. Fill the bottom of the pan (not touching the meat) with water and 2 TBSP white vinegar.  Place the cover on.

Cook at 250 for an hour and reduce heat to 200 for another hour.

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If grilling right away, slather them in your favorite BBQ sauce (or make your own!!) and grill them until heated through basting more sauce on.

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If you are cooking them later, let them cool and either place in fridge for a day or two until you are grilling or freeze them (thaw before grilling).

I steamed these yesterday and we had them for dinner tonight. You can see how tender they are!

A sad Christmas break goodbye

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Today we had our first lunch “cookout” of 2015 complete with hot dogs and chicken on the grill, macaroni salad, potato salad, fruit platter, and chocolate pie for dessert.  It was our salute to the 2014 Christmas break as it’s officially over tomorrow and back to work and school for us.  Our neighbors came over to join in the goodbye.

My friend Julie is a great cook and always makes beautifully displayed and tasty dishes.  She made a macaroni salad with wagon wheel noodles which the kids love.  She also brought a wonderful assortment of fresh fruit.  IMG_1292 IMG_1296 IMG_1295

I marinated chicken breasts in a store bought Italian dressing and we grilled that along with the tasty hot dogs.

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I also made potato salad and a snack tray to pick at while waiting for the food to cook.

The tween queen decided she wanted to make a chocolate pudding pie for dessert.

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She assembled the ingredients and using a store bought crust made the homemade filling.  Recipe here: Chocolate Pudding

This is the easiest and creamiest pudding recipe I have used and I am thankful to fellow blogger Jodi from Of Kids and Cows  for this perfect pudding recipe!

It’s a sad day saying goodbye to another year and wonderful break with the kids home from school, but it was a nice afternoon easing us into the coming routine again.

You can find my Classic cook out Potato Salad recipe here:  Potato Salad

Birthday Dinner (cooking strip steaks)

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This past Tuesday was the man of the house’s birthday.  It was a big one (50!!) and the kids were very excited to have a wonderful grilled strip steak dinner along with the potatoes they harvested and a chocolate chip cookie cake for dessert.

He works in the medical field and had a first case at 6:30 a.m. and a late case that started at 6:30 p.m. so the kids had to contain themselves until he was finally home.

I am not a master on the grill.  As a matter of fact, I probably shouldn’t be allowed to use that thing!!  But use it I did and I think I did a great job on our steaks.

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When cooking any type of steak I always rinse it first.  I season it with Montreal Steak seasoning which has all the wonderful spices you need such as garlic, black pepper, salt, onion powder etc.  I let that sit for 1/2 hour and then before grilling I put a few pats of butter on the side that will be face up on the grill letting it melt and season the meat as it cooks.

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For perfect steaks you should always cook them on high heat quick.  We like ours medium rare so it does not take long for the outside to get browned while the inside stays light pink and juicy.

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The potatoes were grown in containers this year (see post here on how we grew potatoes).  I steamed them in a little garlic oil and water and seasoned them with freshly ground sea salt.

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A side of corn and a tad of sour cream with chopped chives finished our plates.  It was delicious.

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The kids were finally happy to sing to their dad!!

 

 

Pork Medallions (super easy dish)

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It’s a balmy night here with the humidity waiting on the rain.  I had a pork tenderloin out and decided to make pork medallions (which is a fancy term for the tenderloin sliced into 1 inch thick slabs).

Such an easy dish to make and very impressive for serving friends.  I don’t use a recipe but will tell you how I make them and you can follow along without worry of making sure it’s perfectly measured!!

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Season the tenderloin with about a tablespoon of sesame oil (or olive oil/garlic oil etc), salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Pork Tenderloin (about 2 lbs)

Chives (grow your own indoors or out they are super easy to grow!!)

Butter, garlic powder, beef bouillon cubes, salt/pepper, sesame oil or other oil, parsley flakes (optional)

Cut into medallions (about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick) and let sit for about 20 minutes

In saucepan measure 1 3/4 cups water with 2 beef bouillon cubes and boil to dissolve the cubes

Add 1 tablespoon butter and let it melt stirring frequently

Add 1 tablespoon cornstarch into 3 Tablespoons of water and stir to dissolve

Add cornstarch mixture to hot simmering broth slowly stirring the whole time

Add 2 Tablespoons chives and parsley and stir to thicken.  Set aside on low

Grill Medallions until no longer pink inside (about 5 minutes each side on medium heat)

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Serve Medallions over rice with the sauce and extra chives on top.

We had ours with out homemade freezer applesauce (I will post recipe for that when I make more to replace our stock).  Applesauce should never be purchased it’s so easy and so much better making it yourself!!

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For dessert I threw together these chocolate chip macaroon cookies before the kids got off the bus.  These are super easy (4 INGREDIENTS) and the recipe is here: coconut chocolate chip macaroon cookies

 

Sirloin Steak

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Sirloin is not the best cut of beef for a steak but you can make it taste like it is.

Sirloin is about 1/3 of the price of a filet cut.  I try to pick one that does not have a lot of fat running through it.  Lay it on a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet and cover the top with wax paper.  I will then pound it with my metal meat tenderizer the long way and then flip it over and pound it across.  I don’t make it thin but give it a good enough hit to “soften” it.  I will then sprinkle it with meat tenderizer seasoning and leave it for about 2 hours in the fridge.

A half hour before cooking I season the meat with montreal steak seasoning nicely coated on both sides.  Light the grill and cook it to a medium rare.

There is never a piece left over in our house!!

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ready to pound out

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montreal steak seasoning on 1/2 hour before grilling

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perfectly medium rare and delicious!!

Kabobs

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Oh my this is a yummy plate of goodness.  This is a great way to invite a child to try a vegetable.  Let them build their own kabob and they will want to try what they created.

Weekends are always a busy time and especially at this time of year with weddings, showers, graduations, end of the school things and so on.  Kabobs are such a quick meal and you can have the kids build them while you make whatever else you need for dinner.  Grilling is quick and in a half hour you can have a great (fast) family dinner.

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I love having chicken and beef kabobs.  It’s like a little buffet!!  I marinate the meat in store bought Italian dressing, and cut some colored peppers, red onion and pineapple.  You can add so many other veggies or fruits.  Each time our kabobs are different so you never tire of them!!

With this meal I made jasmine rice cooked in homemade chicken stock seasoned with a little garlic powder and pepper.  Great meal