Category Archives: Cooking in Chaos

I love to cook and amid the chaos of our lives, I actually spend a lot of time in the kitchen making meals for my family and for when we are working cattle.

Pancake Sausage Muffins

I have been stuck in bed for a week now due to having surgery. Therefore I have been spending a lot of time on the Internet, mostly Pinterest. I have found some pretty fun recipes most I cannot try due to taking too much time on my feet, but they will be coming soon. 
This recipe is quick and easy and so fabulous.


Grab sausage patties and your pancake mix. That’s basically it besides a muffin tin and some nonstick spray. 


Cook the sausage until done. Mix up some pancake batter. 


Cut each sausage patty into four pieces. (crumbled sausage would probably work also)
Spray the pan with nonstick spray. Pour in just enough batter to cover the bottom of each muffin. Place 1-2 pieces of sausage in each spot. Pour batter just until the sausage is covered. 



Bake at 350 degrees until done. The tops will stay white. It will depend on how thick your batter is. I would say 10-12 minutes. But check with a toothpick. 


Serve with warm syrup. Great make ahead for camping!


I used my best dishes for these!! Since I’m out of the kitchen, I’m making cleanup easy for my family. 

Lamb Gyros! My New go to Meal!

We have been buying a lamb at our local 4H sale for quite a few years. If you haven’t had lamb, you are missing out. If you had lamb and didn’t enjoy it, the chef or restaurant had no idea how to cook it properly.  Lamb is absolutely delicious.

The other day my cowboy cooked up a lamb roast on the traeger. It was delicious. The next day we were going to be heading to town and would be  in and out from the ranch. I knew we would not have a chance to eat up the leftovers. I remembered the Gyros I had eaten in New York at the Sheep and Wool festival. I sliced the meat very thinly and froze it in baggies. That way each biggie was enough for Gyros for our family of four.

Today I grabbed the rest of the ingredients from the store and made our meal. They were everything I remembered. The taztziki sauce was simply delicious.

Head out this week and buy yourself a lamb roast. Look for one that is grown in America.(It’s important to support our farmers and ranchers!)
Lamb Gyros

Start with a lamb roast. Generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. Nothing fancy. Place on a rack in a roasting pan. Cook on your traeger or in the oven until done to your liking. Serve with mashed potatoes, green beans, and mint jelly.

The next day slice the meat very thinly.

Gyros

Taztziki sauce

1/2 cup cucumber peeled, seeded, and shredded. Then squeezed through a towel to remove excess water

2 cups Greek yogurt

1 clove garlic minced

1/2 tsp salt

1tbsp olive oil

Mix all together and let sit in the fridge for several hours
In a pan or griddle sauté the sliced lamb with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. I also add a little garlic powder.  In another pan or at the end of the griddle heat up one piece of pita bread turn it occasionally to keep it from burning.


When all is cooked and warm build your pita. Add a good amount of the sauce to the pita, then pile with meat and your favorite fixings.

Sliced olives, lettuce, tomato, sliced red onion, oregano, mint, and the sauce all combine to make a great gyro.
Enjoy

Leftover Yummies

We all have a few foods that we enjoy as leftovers. Some are not as good as others, but there are a few that stand out. 

When I make mashed potatoes I always think about the leftovers. We of course have to heat them up for whatever meal they went with, steak, pork chops, fried chicken, etc. However sometimes the only thing left is the potatoes. In that case, I look forward to transforming this morning staple into something wonderful. 


Potatoes cakes are truly fabulous. They are whipped up in no time at all and are great alone or with the next days dinner. Growing up we had these quite often. 

Make these the next time you have leftovers. They are great with a meal, breakfast, or as a snack.  

Potatoes Cakes

Leftover mashed potatoes

1 egg

Chopped onion 

Flour

Salt/pepper

Oil
Mix mashed potatoes with egg. Add enough flour to be able to handle the potatoes. Stir in the onion. (Sometimes I add garlic salt and cheddar cheese). Make into patties and fry in a nonstick skillet with a little oil. Cook until brown on both sides and heated through. 


Enjoy!

Chicken Soup on a Cold Day!


If you have read many of my posts you know that I love soup. It is my go to meal when I’m unsure what to cook. It is my go to meal when it’s cold. Let’s face it, it is my go to meal anytime!!

It has been overly cold here in Wyoming, and finally I found chicken on sale. Chicken in Wyoming is outrageously overpriced. At home in Tennessee, it is so cheap!!

When I have chicken I usually make chicken noodle soup. However this time I mixed it up and made chicken and rice. 

All of my chicken soups start with a great broth or base. You can do this lots of ways. However I love Watkins Chicken Base.  It adds the perfect mixture of seasonings without salt.  

I mix several cups of water with the seasoning according to the directions. Bring this to a slow boil. Toss in chopped chicken or you can toss in cooked shredding chicken. Let this cook until the chicken is done or until warm. 

I then add my onions and carrots. These are freeze dried and will plump back up. I toss in whatever amount to my liking. Thrive is an awesome company! I use so many of their products. The veggies never go bad and I don’t have to worry I always have them on hand!

Let this cook until the veggies are plump and tender. At that point I add in the frozen noodles or in this case uncooked rice. If you use noodles it really tastes much better with homemade or frozen. Regular pasta just doesn’t do it. 

Let it cook until tender at a slow boil.  If you like throw in some frozen peas and 1 tsp or so of celery powder. 

If you would like your soup a little thicker, mix together water and cornstarch until blended. Pour a little at a time into the soup until it reaches your desired consistency. 

Check taste. You will need to add salt and pepper. Sometimes it needs more chicken flavoring and I will mix in a little water and more Watkins seasoning. 


Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts

Peas, carrots, onions

Frozen Noodles or rice

Watkins chicken soup base

Quick, Easy, and Oh, So Yummy!

I recently returned from a visit to my family in Tennessee. I always enjoy my visit and come back with lots of great memories. I also usually have lots of stuff from taking advantage of stores we do not have here in Wyoming. This year I also came home with a great recipe. 

Now recipes are swapped back and forth between my mother and I all the time. The significance of this recipe is it came from my little sister. She is not a cook. By that I mean she doesn’t try new recipes very often. She keeps it simple. She does basics! She could cook very well if she wanted but as she says cooking is not her thing. 

Well she shared this recipe and at first I was reluctant. The ingredients, all three of them, just didn’t seem to be a good mix to me. Then she popped over to mom’s and proceeded to whip this up. 

I was wrong it’s wonderful. Not only does it only have three ingredients but it is done in about 10 minutes, Maybe less! It is also addicting. 

The other reason I love it, is that it makes just enough. You don’t end up with a huge pot of dip. It is a rather small amount compared to my regular sausage dip with velvetta. So if making for a crowd you will need to double or triple. 

Here it is. You must make this! Chances are you have everything you need in your fridge right now!

Easy Sausage Dip

1lb sausage- swaggerty

1 pkg of cream cheese

1 can of original rotel
Brown the sausage and drain the grease. 

Then add the cream cheese and rotel. Mix throughly. 
Serve warm with tortilla chips or crackers. 

You will thank me for this one. I couldn’t resist. Had a bite immediately!

A Little Pasta Salad

Loganne and I both love pasta salad. Especially this one. It incorporates Logannes favorite food, pickles. Yes, not just a small amount either. Dill pickles are the star of this salad. 

With everyone gone, I decided to make this for dinner. Now in my usual fashion it just got bigger. If you know me, then you know I can never cook a small amount. I don’t know what it is but my food amounts always just grow. But now I have pasta salad for a football team, I swear.  It’s crazy. Enjoy!


Creamy Dill Pasta Salad

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Print

A great summer pasta salad.

Ingredients

-3 cups dried pasta

-1 cup diced dill pickles

-1 cup diced cheddar cheese 

-3/4 cup diced onion

-1/2 cup pickle juice

-1 teaspoon dried dill

-2/3 cup mayonnaise 

-1/3 cup sour cream

-3 tbsp pickle juice

-salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large pot bring water to a boil. Cool pasta according to pkg directions or until tender. Do not over cook. Drain and run under cold water.  Put back in the cooled pot and add the 1/2 cup pickle juice. Toss to coat and allow to sit. 

In the meantime chop pickles, onion, and cheese. Set aside. In a small bowl add mayo, sour cream, and pickle juice. Stir to combine. 

Pour the pickle juice off the pasta and add to a large bowl. Stir in the mayonnaise mixture and stir to coat. Add in the chopped ingredients and the dried dill. Place in the fridge and allow to sit at least an hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
Note: this does seem to absorb a lot of the dressing, so if you like it creamy you might make extra sauce to stir in after it sits overnight. 

A Little Something For Breakfast 

In the summer I really struggle to find things that sound appetizing. It’s so hot that anything heavy or hot just sounds unappealing. I also crave veggies. I know with all those things together I’m surprised I find anything. 

The last week or so I have been making the most glorious concoction for breakfast. There is really not much to it, but it tastes amazing and sticks with me until evening. 

This is one of those things were you toss in what you like or what you have on hand. It varies for me depending on my fridge and my mood. 


Breakfast Scramble

15 minutes to make and serves 2

       2 swaggertys sausage patties 

        1/4 cup diced bell pepper

       1/4 cup onion chopped

      1/4 cup asparagus in 1/2 inch pieces

     1/4 cup diced fresh tomatoes 

  3-4 eggs whisked 

Handful of shredded cheddar cheese
Brown and crumble the sausage in a skillet. Once no longer pink add all the veggies and a little olive oil if needed. Cook stirring often until tender about 10 minutes. Add the eggs and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss in the cheese and fold in until melted.  Serve with toast. Enjoy

At Last… Gas!

When my husband and I were looking at homes and picking out appliances I was asked gas or electric.  Well I had never really been around a gas stove so I went with what I knew electric. Isn’t that what most of us would do?

I mean I watched my mom cook on an electric flat top. I watched my grandmother cook on an electric stove. So that must be the norm. 

Let me date myself a little. This was in 1997. Before major cooking shows on foodnetwork appeared on my satellite dish. To be frank we didn’t have satellite so I didn’t even watch those shows. I knew who Julia Child was, but I had never really watched one of her shows. At this point in my life I cooked mostly what I learned from mom and from foods in high school. I just didn’t see that many people using gas until I began to watch food network. 

As the years tickled by I became aware of the popularity of a gas range. The usefulness of a convection oven. I began to desire them both. However my stove of 17 years was working fine and there was no upcoming need for me to upgrade in the near future. At least I thought. 

When I cook pulled pork in the oven using the Pioneer Woman’s recipe, it never fails. There is going to be a problem. I don’t know why. There just is. Usually no biggie. It boils over every time.  

When the fire starts in the bottom of the oven. I try not to panic. I of course always remember baking soda is for grease fire. Or was that baking powder. Or was it salt. By this point I have a fairly large white hill that should put out the fire. However it’s changing. Somehow the element got bent has burnt completely into. The fire is now looking like a welders arc and it is coming out of the element. I am trapping it under a mound of well, all white matter. Let’s just say we are now moving into destruction of stove mode. My hubby is now on the scene helping to throw more white stuff at this point baking soda onto the arc. We have unplugged but the damage is not fixable. 

I’m devastated.  I mean I was cooking. It was done but I need to brown it. Looks like I’m getting a new stove.

  Yes, you guessed it I’m going to upgrade to gas. Well this is on Sunday and I am having knee surgery on Thursday. We pick one out in Casper which is 1.5 hours away. Then go back to pick it up on Wednesday. Who knew that stores don’t keep ovens in stock? We buy all the gas parts and JJ assures me while I’m bedridden  on Thursday and Friday he will get this bad boy in. 

  
I’m home from surgery on Thursday. JJ and my son work to get this hooked up. I can hear commotion but I am incapable of movement out of my bed. 

They get it all in place. I hobble in to take a gander and it’s perfect. I can’t wait to cook. However I can not be on my feet very long. 

I get to listen as JJ and the kids begin to contemplate what to cook. He is going to cooks on my new stove. He is the first one. I’m so mad and jealous. Life just is not fair sometimes. I hear the sounds of excitement and ooh dad. They cook 2 pizzas at once in the convection oven. Works like a charm. I’m drifting off to sleep and dreaming of what I will cook. 

It has been almost two weeks and I absolutely love it. It cooks like a dream. The convection is wonderful. I plan to cook two pans of cookies tomorrow at the same time just to try it out further. If I had known I would have set that other stove on fire purposely. Just kidding!

  
Is it crazy to be that excited about a stove? Yeah I think so. 

From A Movie To The Plate

I love a good movie. I love a movie even more if it includes Meryl Streep. Just love her. How can you go wrong with one of her movies?

 I have watched her in the movie It’s Complicated more times than I can count. I just love it. Her and Alec Baldwin are hilarious together. Now if you haven’t seen it rent it ASAP. I even have it downloaded on my phone so I can watch it if I get bored on a plane or car ride or I just want to watch it in bed at night. I know I’m weird. But sometimes, okay most of the time, JJ is watching some awful show upstairs and Loganne is downstairs. There really is no other option. So I watch a movie and knit. What’s more fun than that!

  

Now in this movie she is a brilliant cook. This is what draws me to this movie besides the humor aspect. I just love movies about cooking. 

 I have wanted to make the Croque Monseir ever since I saw her cook it. I had no idea what it was,  I just knew it came out of the oven smothered in cheese. 
  
Basically it is a fancy ham and cheese sandwich that you will hug yourself after making!!! I found a recipe by Ina Garten. It includes a cheese sauce that will allow you to make about 6 sandwiches. Maybe even one or two more. Trust me you will want to!
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/croque-monsieur-recipe.html

Give this recipe a try soon. You will thank me. 
  
I added roasted Parmesan and garlic potatoes. 
Enjoy!