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Pork Tenderloin Big Salad

After a weekend of livestock showing and eating out of the concession stand, it was imperative that I get some veggies in my system. I needed greens! A girl can only live on meat for so long.

PT Salad

I went to my local grocery store and got everything they sold that I could possibly put into a  salad. Pickings are slim in a small grocery store.

I even made my own ranch dressing because we all know that stuff is the And, this needed to be the ultimate salad…after all, I had waited long enough!


You can add whatever meat you have on hand. Grilled chicken or steak works great.  As a matter of fact, I ate this for lunch the next two days and topped it with chicken. I can never get too much salad. Yum!

The pork was smoked in the smoker and then finished off in the oven. It was delicious. My husband thought I was crazy for putting on a salad. He prefers his meat in a tortilla.

Pork Tenderloin Salad
Print Recipe
A big salad for a big appetite when you want salad as your main meal. 🙂
Servings Prep Time
1 person 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 person 15 minutes
Pork Tenderloin Salad
Print Recipe
A big salad for a big appetite when you want salad as your main meal. 🙂
Servings Prep Time
1 person 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 person 15 minutes
Servings: person
  1. Cut up your veggies and assemble the salad with all ingredients.
  2. Top with the pork tenderloin.
  3. Drizzle with ranch dressing.
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Chipotle Chicken Chili

Have I mentioned lately that I got the new Pioneer Woman cookbook for Christmas? Have I mentioned lately that I heart it very much?

IMG_0583I’ve been cooking my way through it at an above average speed, lol.  Recently I made the Chipotle Chicken Chili and it was goooood. And, it was something totally different than anything else I make.

Tried something new: Check!

IMG_0582It was easy to make so don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients. I was all out of Mexican beer so I substituted with chicken broth and it was fine.

This dish is filling and not too spicy. Even the kids enjoyed it.

Chipotle Chicken Chili
Print Recipe
This is more like a robust chicken stew with a Mexican zing.
Servings Prep Time
8-12 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8-12 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Chipotle Chicken Chili
Print Recipe
This is more like a robust chicken stew with a Mexican zing.
Servings Prep Time
8-12 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8-12 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings: people
  1. 1. Start with your favorite dutch oven or large pot.
  2. 2. Heat the olive oil and cook onions until they start to soften
  3. 3. Throw the chicken in.
  4. 4. Cook 3-4 minutes until lightly browned.
  5. 5. Pour in all but 1/4 cup of the beer.
  6. 6. Then add the tomatoes, the chipotles, and all the beans.
  7. 7. Stir to combine, then add the chili powder, cumin, and salt.
  8. 8. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and let it simmer for 45 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken.
  9. 9. Next, combine the masa marina and the remaining beer. Whisk it with a fork until smooth.
  10. 10. Pour it into the chili. This will thicken it up more and give it a nice corn flavor. (I actually used the wet masa and it worked well too.)
  11. 11. Next, squeeze in the lime juice.
  12. 12. Then, stir it around and let the chili simmer for another 10 minutes.
  13. 13. Serve it with sour cream, cheese and cilantro.
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Cheesy Potato Soup

Winter made a very rude appearance the weekend after Christmas.  Sunday the temps were hovering around 30 degrees with wind and sleet making it feel about 10 degrees.

It was 80 degrees on Christmas day. Everyone complained that it didn’t feel like Christmas, and they were right. That week, people were out Christmas shopping in shorts and flip flops.

By this time of year, we are usually already experiencing winter temperatures.


Much of our region was without power…some for over 24 hours with blizzard-like conditions outside. Wind and sleet made it impossible to do anything outside.

We were blessed to not lose our electricity. And, since I had some potatoes that were going bad…I decided to make some soup. (My husband actually accused me of being addicted to cooking … he said something about there being plenty to eat in the fridge! I couldn’t understand him. lol)

I’ve had this recipe pinned for a while. You can find it over at the Wicked Noodle. Her version is loaded down with lots of goodies. I scaled mine back to just cheese and potatoes. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the other stuff, but I didn’t have it in stock.

This soup was excellent and filled that need for warm, comfort food during the cold spell. It’s a great base and you could add anything to it.

[recipe=title”Cheesy Potato Soup”]


  • 2-4 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 medium-sized sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1  32-ounce container chicken broth (4 cups)
  • 3 pounds red potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • salt & black pepper to taste
  •  optional toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped green onion, crumbled bacon, minced fresh jalapeno, a drizzle of adobo sauce


  1. Salute the onions in the butter in a stock pot. (I used a big one to allow plenty of room for boiling and mashing.)
  2. Once the onions are translucent, mix in the flour.
  3. Slowly pour in the chicken broth and mix well. Make sure all the flour is well dissolved.
  4. Add potato chunks. Broth should cover or come close to covering the potatoes. This will allow them to cook evenly. If you have too many potatoes you can add a little bit of water.
  5. Cook until the potatoes are almost done. You will want to have some texture in your soup so they don’t need to be over cooked.
  6. Begin mashing them in the pot with a potato masher. They should be chunky.
  7. Add cheese and stir it around until melted.
  8. Add milk and stir together to mix soup. Allow it to cook until heated all the way through. Your heat should be kept low so it doesn’t scorch.
  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Top with additional topping if you like. [/recipe]

Potato Soup 1

Potato Soup 2

Potato Soup 31

Potato Soup 3

Potato Soup 32

Potato Soup 4Potato Soup 5

Potato soup 11




Easy Lasagna Recipe

I know what you are thinking…who turns the oven on this time of year…especially in Texas?!?

I agree, but sometimes your taste buds call for Italian food. Or, your kids have friends over and you need something that will make leftovers. 🙂

I am going to share my easy secret recipe….

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The Easiest Fried Pork Chops in the World

Pork chops have been a staple in our house for the past few years. This is due to stockshows and pigs. We always have one that we feed out and process. 
This translates to a million different ways to cook pork chops. I’ve baked them, fried them, grilled them and more. I’ve tried all the spices in our cabinet and a combination. But, I always come back to this easy, pan fried method.
Full disclosure: I also love them on the grill but we are always out of propane for one reason or another. So I end up frying them! Yum yum!!

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Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe – Cream Based

Rest assured when Summer arrives, I will blog more about the farm and less about the food! Until then, I’m locked indoors so I will continue to cook. 

You can thank me later. 


Crepes crepes and more crepes

You know what is appealing about a crepe? It’s just a pancake in another form! And, I do love a pancake! (See my favorite recipe here.)

I’m not a crepe expert, as a matter of fact, I had never made them. So, I did my research! I consulted the Internet for an expert. She sounded like she knew what she was talking about so I dove in and gave it a whirl.  

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Chicken and Dumpling Recipe with Biscuits

The ultimate winter comfort food. This meal is always popular at my house. 

I’ve been making chicken and dumplings forever. And, each time I make them, they come out different. For that reason, I hesitated to post this recipe. But, cooking is trial and error, and you will not get better until you jump in and try it … over and over.

 I have never actually made real dumplings. I prefer biscuits. The best kind of biscuit is the cheap, smaller biscuit. Do not use the big giant ones that you love to eat for breakfast.

For years I just used chicken, salt/pepper and biscuits, but lately I’ve been using the recipe below. It gives it more pizzazz. It still comes out a little different every time I make it. Mainly it is consistency that varies for me.

Loosely adapted from Paula Dean’s recipe here.

1 whole chicken (boiled and deboned)
3 ribs of celery, chopped
1 large onion chopped
2 bay leaves
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 or 2 teaspoons of pepper
1/2 teaspoon of salt (the bouillon cubes and soup add plenty of salt)
a dash of garlic powder
1 can of cream of celery or chicken soup
4 cans of biscuits
1 to 2 cups of flour

Place the whole chicken, celery, onion, bouillon and spices in large pot.  Add 4 quarts of water and bring to a simmer. Boil chicken until meat easily starts falling off the bone. Remove chicken from water, set aside and let it cool.

Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and discard it. Then, remove meat from the bone by using a fork to pull it away from bone. Return the meat to the juices.  Add the cream of celery soup to the pot and simmer gently over low to medium heat.

*Alternate step: Sometimes I dump all or half of the used chicken water out and replace it with fresh, canned chicken broth. This is personal preference. 

Next, pour 1 to 2 cups of flour on to a plate. Cut biscuits into fourths. Roll in flour until covered and drop into hot liquid. Repeat until all four cans are done. (You may only need 3 cans depending on how much liquid is available.) The flour will thicken your broth.

Do not stir once the biscuits are included. Use a spoon to push them under the liquid and all the biscuits are covered. This is the tricky part. You never want to over-stir dumplings. But, they tend to stick to the bottom of the pot. The heat has to be hot enough to cook them quickly, but not too hot or the dumplings will stick to the bottom and burn. If they stick, try to run the spoon along the bottom of the pot to unstick them but don’t stir. However, when in doubt, it’s better to stir than to burn!

I always prefer having lots of juice.  This requires less dumplings. Monitor your broth to dumpling ratio. Know it will thicken as it cooks. Feel free to add some more broth if you need it, but heat it first.

 Good luck! I hope you enjoy your dumplings.


Turkey Vidalia Onion Avocado Sandwich

Do you ever get desperate? 

Desperate for something that will dazzle your taste buds? But, all you have in your fridge is boring left-overs! 

I cooked a turkey a few days back. The hubby caught them on sale after Christmas. I had hoped we would get around to smoking it, but we ran out of time and it had to be cooked. I tried one of those fancy “brines” I’ve heard so much about. 

Either I did something wrong or used a lack-luster recipe. Boring!! Now, I’m stuck with some pretty bland turkey in my fridge that needs to be eaten.  

Out of desperation comes creativity, right? (tweet this) 

In an effort to do something with the left-over turkey, I came up with a yummy sandwich! It was super simple and quick to make. 

First, you need some of this stuff. 
Vidalia onion salad dressing. 
Take some lose turkey and shred it. (Use two forks and pull it apart.) Then mix with a tablespoon of dressing. (or more!) 
This is a bad picture, but you can see my shreded turkey and dressing concoction. (The high-dollar paper plate came from the Dollar General… in case you were wondering.) 
Next, butter two pieces of your favorite bread and put them face down in a medium-hot skillet. You want it to get crisp, but you don’t want to cook it too fast. 
Sprinkle some grated, cheddar cheese on one side. This will melt slightly as bread warms and toasts. (Chipotle or guyure would work nice also.)

Next, add the turkey mixture to the other side. 

If you like your turkey really hot, you can microwave it for 30 seconds prior to putting it on the bread. It gets slightly warm on the bread but not hot. 
When the bread is toasted to your liking, remove it from the skillet. You want it to be crispy! 

*NOTE – We are not flipping our bread. That would make your goodies fall off. 
Slice a fresh avocado in half. Then, take one side only, cut it length wise while in its peel. Then scoop it out with a spoon and place it on your sandwich. Save the other half for the second sandwich because you are going to want another one. 
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Sprinkle the avocado lightly with garlic powder and salt. 

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Next, add some lettuce. 

Top with the cheese bread slice. 
The combination of the vidalia onion dressing and the garlic make this a little tangy and sweet. It’s a great combo of flavors! I’m sure you could add a few more things like onions and maybe tomato but this was all I needed. I don’t do raw onion and I wasn’t sure tomato would marry well. Besides, Mr. Tomato gets invited to all the sandwich parties so why invite him to this one? 
This was a uniquely, yummy sandwich that I encourage you to try. But it might not appeal to the masses …. or those who do not like this type of salad dressing. However, I had it for lunch and again for dinner! Lol. I lovvvved it!! 
Pin this recipe. 

The toasted bread (with real butter of course) makes the sandwich! Don’t skip that step. And do not use that crappy, sliced sandwich cheese that is not even real cheese. What is that stuff anyway? 

I hope you enjoy this easy sandwich! Make it and send me your photos on Twitter @jc12999. Or, pin it to Pintrest. 

Happy eating! 
Ingredients – quantity depends on how much you like on your sandwich
2 slices of sandwich bread
cheddar cheese
turkey (fresh or sliced)
vidalia onion dressing (1-2 tablespoons)
avocado (half of one)
butter (3-4 tablespoons)
garlic powder and salt

1. Butter the bread and lay it face down in a medium-hot skillet.
2. Shred turkey and mix with vidalia onion dressing.
3. Place desired amount of cheese on top of bread while in skillet.
4. Place turkey on top of other slice of bread in the skillet.
5. Cut avocado and place on top of turkey after you remove it from skillet.
6. Sprinkle avocado with garlic powder and salt.
7. Place desired amount of lettuce on top of avocado.
8. Place other piece of bread on the top.
9. Eat and repeat!

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The Perfect Pancake

For the love of pancakes … or panclocks for those of us who have the movie 50 First Dates memorized!

Confession .. my family and I eat a lot of pancakes! It is a weekend ritual. I always throw in a fried egg for protein to counterbalance the sugar.
There is just something about a pancake that speaks to me. I have a general love for all things pancake. Is this normal?
I have an old recipe. I think it may have originally come from a Betty Crocker cookbook. I’ve changed it up over the years, but the basic ingredients stay the same.
Another little yum factor for making these the best pancakes on the planet is cooking them in a cast iron skillet. (If you love cast iron, check out this facebook page.) The one I have is only big enough for cooking them one at a time, but it’s worth it.  The edges get crispy in the cast iron!
This lets you mix without over stirring.
Getting just the right consistency is tough sometimes. If in doubt, don’t overmix. But the real trick to perfect pancakes is a hot skillet.
Set it to a 5-6 heat setting and get it hot. Spray the pan between each pancake so it doesn’t stick.
This consistency is right before you flip. See how puffy it is? It is just about to bubble.
Look at the color? Beautiful!
I always eat my pancakes with one or two eggs! This helps add protein to all those carbs.
1 cup milk (2% or whole)
1 large egg
1 cup all purpose flour (maybe a little less depending how thick you like them)
3 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of oil or butter (I get a better consistency with oil.) Vegetable or Canola oil
2 tablespoons sugar
This recipe yields 6 big, fluffy pancakes. Mix all ingredients together with a fork. Don’t overmix. Leave slightly lumpy. Let it rest a few minutes and give the baking soda some time to work. Preheat your skillet on a medium setting and spray it with Pam between each pancake.
Pour batter in slowly. If the skillet it hot enough, the batter will hold and not run all over the skillet. After the first pancake you may need to adjust your heat. I usually have to turn mine down. The cast iron takes a while to heat but it holds the heat well.
When the edges start to crisp up and the top starts to bubble, flip it over. Slide your spatula under the pancake quickly. No hem-hawing around. This is where my kids have trouble. Flip without fear and you will succeed.
Remove and butter immediatly. There is no buttering a cold panclock! And you must use real butter. I mean it! That is half of the awesomeness.
These are so good you don’t need syrup, but I use it anyway. It’s lovely.

Make these and your family will love you forever. Then, leave me a comment and tell me what you thought of them.


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