Italian Sausage Rigatoni with Roasted Garlic Baguettes

026Today, just because you are special, dear readers, you get two recipes for the price of one….

Actually, it’s cuz I feel guilty for not posting anything for a little while, but that’s a personal issue and I will get over it…



Published in: on January 20, 2009 at 3:12 pm  Comments (2)  
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Ranch Chili


This could be called “Make your own heat Chili”,  ’cuz you can make mild or as hot as you can stand it…..


My wimpy kids can’t handle much heat at all, so ours is on the mild side…..


Ribs, Baby, Ribs!

Ain’t nothing men love better than melt-in-your-mouth, dripping with juice, grilled slabs of meat…..

And this is the perfect recipe to work your way into any man’s heart…. to have them push back from the table with a deep sigh of satisfaction and that slightly glazed over look on their face… look at you with complete love and adoration and say, “Honey, will you marry me?”,

regardless of if you are already married or not…..


About the only other thing that will bring the same result involves lingerie, candlelight and lots of imagination……

Wait, did I just say that out loud? 

My mother reads this……

The Cast of Characters








So simple, so easy, so guaranteed to get results……

Mix together 1 and 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon Montreal Steak Seasoning, (swear by this stuff!) and 1 tablespoon Liquid Smoke.









Mince 4 cloves of garlic and add to bowl….








Have your 7 yr old mix well…..I can’t keep the crazy kid out of the kitchen….









Add 4 cups of BBQ sauce of your choice- I used Sweet Baby Rays and Cattleman’s cuz that’s what I had in the cupboard-

Try to hold still long enough to get an unblurry picture, while laughing at your 7 yr old production manager’s directions for photo’s-

Fail miserably….










Have 7 yr old stir well…. would have had the 10 yr old do it, but she had her nose stuck in a book….

This would be even better with a few shots of bourbon…..

In the sauce, I mean, in the sauce!










Slice wrapper off of ribs and cut into approximately two rib chunks…. would have left these as whole slabs of meat but needed to be able to fit them into my roaster pan…..

If you have a big enough roaster, you could leave them whole….

I used two 4 lb racks of spareribs…..








Place ribs in gallon bags, use two if necessary, and top with marinade mixture, tossing and turning to coat well…..

Make sure and spill some on the counter, like I did….it will make me feel better….








Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to 8 hours depending on level of flavor desired….

I marinaded them for about 6 hours while I waittressed at the Pawnee Cafe….

Remove from refrigerator and place in roaster pan….

Heat oven to 300 degrees F….








Roast in oven for about 2 and 1/2 hours or until the amazing smell drives you crazy and the ribs are fork tender…..

Place aluminum foil on two baking sheets, (trust me, you’ll thank me for it later!) and spray with non stick cooking spray-

Remove ribs from oven and place on cooking sheets… brush with extra BBQ sauce and drippings from roaster pan….set oven to broil..








Place ribs back in oven and broil until sauce is bubbly, caramelized, and dripping with flavor….

Remove from oven, place on platter and wait for looks of adoration to begin….







*Note: you could grill this instead of broiling it, and it would technically be more authentic, but we were out of propane for the grill and the wind chill was in the single digits— broiling it is!

*Second note: I know that BBQ purists only use charcoal– we use propane, deal with it…..

Cowboy Caviar

Despite the title, this dish has absolutely nothing to do with fish eggs. 

I personally don’t know any self respecting cowboy that would eat fish eggs… now calf nuts, that’s a different story…


If you know of any, please let me live in ignorance….K?

This is party food, Super bowl food, BBQ in the back yard food, and super, super easy– qualifications that make every cowboy I know swoon with joy….do cowboys swoon?  Okay, jump with joy…….


Plus, Shhh, don’t tell the cowboys, but it’s actually good for you!

Until you get deep fried pieces of corn chip and dip it in it, but you can’t be good all the time…..


The Cast of Characters


Black-eyed peas are very high in protein and give such a great flavor and texture….make sure and rinse them thoroughly to minimize those negative effects that those crazy beans can bring on…..


Course, cowboys don’t usually care too much– it’s those around them that have to put up with singeing blue flame emanating from derrieres……and the hysterical laughter….


Open both cans of black-eyed peas and dump into serving bowl. Drain corn well and add into bowl as well.  I’m using my lovely heavy pottery bowl to serve it in-don’t remember where I got it, but it’s my favorite dip bowl….








Add one can of Rotel tomatoes, undrained- I used the kind with lime juice and cilantro….



At this point,  you could add black beans as well, or chopped avocado, or anything your little heart desires…..these recipes are always open to interpretation…. we have even added cooked, chopped chicken and turned this into a salad….Yummy!




Have your 7 yr old squeeze the juice of one lime into the bowl, complete with grunting and running commentary on how tough squeezing the lime is…..


It’s not quite the same without the commentary…..but if you don’t have a 7 yr old handy, it will still taste good, I promise….


She begged me to let her help, I promise….





Finely mince cloves of garlic….I used 6 or 7, but if you don’t want to ward off vampires in your sleep, like I do, you might want to use less…… add to bowl along with loosely chopped fresh cilantro…..


Recipe actually calls for fresh parsley as well, but I didn’t have any on hand, and didn’t miss it– so if you want to save a little cash, skip the parsley….



Bowl should look like this right about now— look at those colors….it’s like a still life…..pottery with peas…..Ok, maybe not….








Stir well, sprinkle in a little kosher salt to taste, maybe a little pepper if you are feeling adventurous…..



And serve with crisp, crunchy chips….I just ate half a bowl of this and looking at it still makes my mouth water…..



Course, if you are trying to do New Years Resolutions, like I so diligently am… (ha, ha, ha, he, he, he, ha, ha…*wipes eyes*…ok, I’m back now) you can serve this with veggies to dip it out with, or even all by it’s little lonesome self….

But I promise you, those cowboys will not be near as happy……



If you would like to see a different variation on this recipe, check out Pioneer Woman’s blog under Cooking

Cinnamon Christmas Ornaments

christmas-ornaments-044Do you want to be able to give your friends and family a handmade gift that will last for years to come?


Do you want every pore of your furniture, your walls, your skin and your dog to smell like cinnamon for days and days on end?

Do you want to do something fun with your kids that leaves lasting memories and is almost free?

Did I mention that you will smell like cinnamon?
Keep Reading…..

White Chicken Chili

0601It’s filling, easy to make, and as spicy as you want it to be…..


Here under Cooking with Loving Hands

Fluffy Buttermilk Waffles

hay-auction-waffles-011You can have them for breakfast and make extra for the next week-

They freeze well too-

Here under Cooking with Loving Hands

Prairie Ranch Apple Crisp

apple-crisp-0051Make some and take it to a Veteran!

Recipe here- Cooking with Loving Hands

Published in: on November 11, 2008 at 10:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Cowboy Key Lime Pie

005 Its sweet, its easy, its out of focus– make it anyway!

Check it out under Cooking with Loving Hands

Published in: on November 9, 2008 at 8:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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Fragrant Indian Butter Chicken

I feel the need to add a disclaimer here- I attended a Taste of Home cooking show last night with some friends– this was a dish that was cooked on stage– we were tormented by the amazing smells wafting from the prep area (you’ll understand when you actually try the recipe) and we were not even able to take a bite!!

So on my weekly run to Wally World today ,in addition to, the bank, the post office, and taking the puppies to get their shots,  (you cram lots into a run to town when you live in the middle of nowhere and Wally World is really our only shopping option)  I picked up some of the ingredients-

Of course, because it was a crazy run to town and I had 7 puppies in the trunk of my car, I got all the way home, only to realize I forgot a few key ingredients–

Of course, when you live in the middle of nowhere, you DO NOT run back to town– You Improvise!!

So all this to say, this is NOT typical cowboy food, (although the way my family scarfed it down you would have never known it!) I admit it’s a bit out of the box, and the ingredients are not quite what the recipe calls for– but it was amazing, the fam loved it and we will definitely make it again— that’s really all that matters, right? 

So without further ado…..

The Cast of Characters

fragrant-indian-butter-chicken-002I’m aiming for a new camera for Christmas so forgive any out of focus, bad lighting, chaotic shots- if anyone is interested, I would like a Nikon D-90–(hint,hint)

We have our chicken tenderloins (on sale at Wally), onion, chili powder, turmeric, brown sugar, cinnamon, canned diced tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, half and half, and light sour cream. 

The ingredients I forgot to put in the picture are–butter, garlic, ginger, black pepper,fragrant-indian-butter-chicken-007 and cilantro and hot cooked rice–

(It was a crazy day and I am not used to cooking dinner while taking pictures!)

Start by slicing your chicken into bite size pieces and dicing your onion and garlic.

Place 2 Tablespoons of butter in your pan– Love my cast iron, don’t cook with anything else, but you can cook in whatever pan your little heart desires—

Melt your butter over medium heat, and add diced onion and minced fresh garlic, stir until onion is tender, about 5 minutes.  fragrant-indian-butter-chicken-009






Throw in your chicken, cinnamon, ginger, chili powder, turmeric and cinnamon.  Cook and stir until chicken is no longer pink and your mouth is watering because of the amazing smell coming from your skillet-fragrant-indian-butter-chicken-013





This is my Saint, Bandit, trying to play cool- she’s really praying that a miracle will happen and the entire skillet will somehow fall off the stove and into her large jowls– she does not care about burned tongue– it would all be worth it–she does this every day, every meal– it’s a way of life for her and one day, she just knows her patience will be rewarded…







Where was I?  Oh yeah, the incredible smells coming from your skillet- Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, salt and pefragrant-indian-butter-chicken-016pper. 



Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.






     Lift lid, breathe deep, swoon, pick yourself up, add half and half, sour cream and stirfragrant-indian-butter-chicken-021


We like more sauce on our rice, so I added chicken broth as well, even though the recipe did not call for it- I could have added even more broth–did not affect thickness- just gave more juice for the rice–

Simmer uncovered for 5 more minutes– Remove from heat, stir in chopped, fresh cilantro, spoon over hot rice and……..fragrant-indian-butter-chicken-019





                  SERVE!fragrant-indian-butter-chicken-024  Disclaimer– this is where my improvising kicked in- forgot the cilantro at Wally World, so we used dried parsley, not near as good, and I am looking forward to making it with cilantro– LOVE fresh cilantro!!  

Original recipe also called for this to be made with cooked rotisserie chicken- this would make it a very fast, very good midweek option- I was too cheap to buy a rotisserie chicken when the raw stuff was already on sale- It works both ways pretty well- if you make it with rotisserie, you stir in the chicken with the sour cream and half and half.

Also did not have fresh gingerroot on hand, but did have a jar of fresh ginger on the door of my fridge- worked in a pinch-

In my house, I do not measure- feel free to adjust, experiment, go crazy- send me your improvisations- we are ALL about creativity here!

Fragrant Indian Butter Chicken

2 Tblsp butter

1 C chopped onion

2 tsp minced garlic

1 Tblsp grated fresh gingerroot or jarred fresh ginger

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp ground tumeric

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 can (14-1/2 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained

2 Tblsp tomato paste

1 Tblsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper (or regular)

1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast or tenderloin

1/3 C half and half cream

1/3 C reduced- fat sour cream

1/2 c chicken broth, optional

Fresh Cilantro, chopped, to taste

Hot Cooked Rice, optional



Published in: on November 6, 2008 at 8:32 pm  Comments (2)  
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