Cheesy Cauliflower Rotini

 I had this baby back on the old Mixing Bowl page & thought I'd better get it out here for y'all to enjoy.
I'm a big cauliflower fan.  I'm a bigger cheese fan.  So any dish that combines the two & adds in a carb I'm there.  This dish is rich and flavorful.  I also like it because it includes a veggie.  It's easy to make & requires simple ingredients.
1 small cauliflower head divided into florets
3 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of flour
3 crushed garlic cloves
3 cups whole milk
1 cup shredded Asiago, Gruyere, or Sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
freshly ground nutmeg
salt & pepper
4 cups uncooked tri-colored rotini
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Boil pasta until al dente (about half the time required for regular cooking), rinse under cool water & set aside.  Steam cauliflower florets until tender, but not mushy, about 4 minutes.  In a medium sauce pan melt butter & add in flour to create a rue.  Cook until bubbly & turns brown whisking constantly.  Meanwhile warm up milk in microwave until luk warm.  Add in garlic to the rue & stir for one minute.  Add warm milk to the rue & stir occasionally until milk becomes thick & frothy.  Add a dash of pepper & a dash of freshly ground nutmeg.  Next slowly add in the Asiago cheese & 3/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese.  Add in small bits stirring in between to make sure cheese is fully incorporated.  Add salt to taste (Don't under salt!  I usually add around a teaspoon, but it depends on what kind of cheese you use).
Reserve a cup of the cheese sauce.  Add remaining cheese sauce to noodles & stir to coat.  Pour into a baking dish.  Arrange cauliflower florets on top.  Pour reserved cheese mixture over the tops of the cauliflower & sprinkle remaining Parmesan & a bit of pepper over the entire dish.
Bake for 30 minutes or until bubble & lightly brown on top.  Enjoy!

Baked Spaghetti

One of my friends is currently moving.  Having just moved myself I was feeling her pain... big time.  I'm still unpacking boxes & mumbling under my breath "I hate moving!".  My girlfriend is moving deep into the boonies so take-out is not an option when dinner time rolls around, & there's nothing worse than cooking while you're moving.  So, to  help ease her stress, & hungry hubby & kiddos,  I've been trying to make her dinners so she doesn't have to cook.  Last week I made her a big pan of baked spaghetti & she commented on how she'd never heard of baked spaghetti, much less eaten it.  & that got me thinking, how many others out there have never heard of this wonderful dish?  It's yummy, easy, transportable, & versatile.  Great for large gatherings.  You can make it the day before (actually, it taste better if you do that).  It requires a casserole dish, which instantly means it's a comfort food.  I feel compelled to introduce the world to baked spaghetti... or at least the few of you who read this blog.  At least I've tossed the ball out of my court.  Here's the DL...
1 onion diced
4 garlic cloves diced
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound ground beef/elk/deer
6 cups spaghetti sauce

1 pound dry spaghetti noodles
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cup cottage cheese
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
Heat oven to 375 degrees.  In large pot melt butter.  Add the onion & garlic & cook about 3 minutes.  Add ground beef & cook through, until there is no pink.  Add spaghetti sauce to meat mixture & cover, simmer while you make the noodles.  Break spaghetti noodles in half & cook until al dente.  Drain & rinse with cold water to prevent sticking.
To assemble place a  layer of sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 inch casserole dish.  Top with half the noodles in an even layer, coat with half of the remaining sauce.  Dollop cottage cheese on top by spoonfuls & as evenly as possible.  Sprinkle half the Parmesan & half the cheddar on top. Next put on the remaining noodles in an even layer.  Evenly pour on remaining sauce & smooth out using a rubber spatula.  Top with remaining cheese & sprinkle on parsley.
Cover with foil & cook for 30 minutes.  Remove foil & cook for another 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.  Serve with burnt butter bread & enjoy!

Junking Market Finds

This past weekend I went to a fun junking market.  It was a beautiful place full of antiques, handmade goods, & re-purposed items.  My major score was found within the first two minutes I was there.  I walked into the very first booth & a beam of golden light from heaven was illuminating this gorgeous cast iron pan.  It was big, it was already seasoned, & it was only thirty-five dollars.
I ran to it & snatched it up, & held it tight, & firmly told the other customer who tried to grab it off the counter as I was purchasing it "I'm buying that."  & the mom was happy.  I've needed a very large skillet since we've moved from the ranch & I had to leave the one that belongs to my parents.  I have a great set of red Paula Deen pots & pans, so I was just going to but the large skillet that matches.  But this, this is beyond my wildest imagination!  Just look, it's fifteen inches across.
It's hard to picture fifteen inches in your head, so here's an egg for scale.
And a banana.  See how big this sucker is!  Imagine how many chicken fried steaks I could cook at once... or biscuits... or bacon!
I'm not totally sure you understand the capacity of this pan, so I put Spider Man in to help you.
Here's my shoe, with room to spare... see what I mean?!  Now I need to go wash my precious pan... without soap- never was cast iron with soap, takes the non-stick coating off... & it takes years of cooking to make that coating.

Fall Accompaniments

We've finally hit some Fall like weather up here in the Rockies.  It has been so unseasonably warm here it really was Summer until a few days ago.  I was beginning to worry that we'd go straight from Summer to Winter, & skip my favorite time of the year- Fall.  But with cool weather & rainy days I'm beginning to believe that we will be able to enjoy our beautiful Fall weather. 
Part of what makes this season so wonderful for me is the smells & the food.  Of course I love the colors & the crisp air (I believe 60's & 70's are the perfect temperatures).  But the wonderful smells that are associated with Fall like apples & pumpkin spice are by far my favorite scents.  & the food of Fall..oh, the food of Fall.  Soups & warm bread, turkey & potatoes, apple & pear desserts... they can't be beat!  They are comfort food at its best.  I've shared my most favorite soup ever, Turkey, Mushroom, & Sage soup.  If you've never tried it, whip up a batch.  Use fresh sage & I guarantee you won't be disappointed
But today I want to share with you the king of all comfort foods, the captain of all soups, the agent of warming the soul- homemade chicken noodle.  So easy & flavorful, you can't go wrong with this soup.  It's the perfect accompaniment to a crisp Autumn day.  Here's the skinny...
10 Cups chicken stock
2 cups cut up cooked chicken 
1 1/4 cups sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 cups uncooked wide egg noodles 
Salt to taste
Bring  chicken stock to a boil & add chicken, carrots, celery, parsley.  Let boil until carrots are almost tender.  Add egg noodles & continue to boil until noodles are cooked.  Turn heat down & add salt to your liking (this varies widely depending on your taste & what kind of chicken stock you use.  If you make your owns stock it will need more than if you use store bought stock.  Just add a little at a time & taste in between).  Serve warm with a good bread.  Enjoy!

Baked French Toast with Praline Topping

The last two & a half weeks without internet have been long haul.  It has been a real eye opener to how much I love the world wide web!  I realized my life is a lot easier when I have the internet... & more entertaining.  So kick off the celebration of being reconnected with y'all I'm posting a super yummy recipe.
I discovered this baby a few weeks ago & I love it!  It's so stinkin' good that you'll groan with delight after each bite.  This dish is also way too easy & makes for a great Sunday morning breakfast.  So here's the skinny on Baked French Toast...
1 loaf French bread
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash salt
  • Praline Topping
  • 2 sticks butter melted
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • Mix all ingredients together until thick & gooey
  • Directions
  • Slice French bread into one inch slices. Generously butter a 9 by 13 baking dish & arrange bread slices by overlapping & they fill up the baking dish.   In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and mix until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
  • The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve immediately with maple syrup.  Enjoy!
*Special shout out to Paula Deen for this awesome butter & cream laden dish... heavenly.

Pretty in Pink Shoes Winner

Sorry this is a day late.  Of course the internet guy showed up today instead of yesterday.  Oh well, at least I can reconnect with the cyber world again.

Congratulations to:
Carrie said...

I would love those for my principessa....I am pretty sure they will fit her, and she would be tickled "pink" to have them!

Email me at so I can get these sent off to you!

The Future of Rodeo

Things haven't slowed down a bit.  We just spent the holiday weekend with a couple of close friends out at our ranch.  Total head count, 7 adults, 13 children.  Needless to say we were out numbered.  But the kids kept themselves very busy, moving as a small herd from the barn, to the pond, to the bunkhouse, back to the barn & only coming to the house when they were hungry. 
We ended the weekend with an afternoon at the rodeo where a few of our buckaroos did some mutton bustin. 
Not sure what that is, pretty simple & semi-barbaric.  It's where you stick your small precious bundles of joy on top of a non-rideable sheep & let them see how far down the arena they can get.  One of our girls went the farthest, she really held on! 
It's always super fun to watch & the kids feel so proud afterwards.  Sometimes the pride comes after a few tears, but they always have big smiles when they're handed their prize of a baseball cap & two dollar bill.  This is our friends son biting the dust.  That't the unfortunate part of the game, everyone has to fall off sometime.  A few lucky ones are saved by the rodeo clown, but that doesn't happen very often.

Here's a my second born's (by 10 whopping minutes) ride in sequence.  She had a good grip from the start.
 The sheep eventually turned right & B-lined for the flock.  But she held on.
 Then the sheep tried another tactic, bucking.
Which proved effective.  There's here dismount, & the rodeo clown is right there to help her up.  Those rodeo clowns are great.  They keep the kiddos safe & help them when they fall off, I mean, dismount.  They are so encouraging & the kids feel like real rodeo starts.
I love the bronc riding.  Now you see him... you don't.  Look a that horse's concentration.
My girls love the barrel racing.  They are just starting to learn how to do it & love it.  I wouldn't be suprised if I have pictures of them in the junior barrel racing in next year's rodeo.
And of course everyone loves the bull riding.  For some reason this doesn't seem like a good idea to me.
And all of it's wrapped up with wild cow milking.  I love watching wild cow milking.  Hey buddy, are you sure you want to do that?!

Shoes, Come & Get Em'!

Sorry my posting has been a little skimpy this week.  We have officially moved, most of our stuff, into our new house.  All the remodeling isn't done so we are still wiring, tileing, etc while we live there.  My two oldest girls began their school year on Wednesday.  And I don't have internet access yet, it's coming in 9 days.  So bare with me over the next week as we settle in.  I happen to be at my parents house tonight to visit my brother who is home fromt the army for a few days, so I had internet access... yipee!
With all our moving I have inevitably cleaned out my closet a bit.  And of course I found a pair of my old shoes that I no longer fit.  You can read about my shoe saga here, it's dramatic & gripping.  I've been hanging on to these babies for too long.  Every once in a while I try to unsuccesfully squeeze my feet into them.  I've had these shoes since college & I just love them.  It's gonna be tough to part with them.  But, alas, they simply do not fit.
They are pink (my favorite color) & the cutest shape.  Pluse they have these great buckles, I love buckles on shoes.  They are also kitten heels, because I honestly cannot handle real heaes.  Can't do it.  The balls of my feet & arches get incredibly sore.  Seems weird for someone who danced, but I just can't handle heels... which is probably why I never did ballroom dancing.  These shoes are not name brand & I can't remember where I bought them.  But they are comfortable... a top priority in footwear for me.
These babies are a size 7 1/2 & if you're wanting them throw a comment down below & let me know.  I'll do a drawing if there's enough comments.  If you're the only one who enters then their yours.  I will ship them to you at my cost.  Drawing will be held on Monday, September 12th in honor of me getting internet access again.  Please give my cute buckled shoes a home... you won't regret it!