Saturday, February 27, 2010

BBQ Chicken Pizza and Getting Your Picky Kids to Eat!

Here's another recipe for ya!

Do you like pizza? How about BBQ chicken?

I adore both so why not combine them?


(aka BBQ Whitey Pizza or There Once Was a Rooster Named Whitey! Just joking, just joking, settle down, Whitey is still among us. Note: If this makes no sense to you, you need to read the last post.)

Okay, here is another recipe that proves "Sauce is Boss"! You can be lazy and use store bought BBQ Sauce and cheat your family from delicious homemade sauce that says "I love you guys" or you can make this homemade sauce and have your children giving you foot rubs because they love you so much! LOL that would be the day, right! But I'm getting ahead of my self. We need to talk crust first.

I also make my own pizza crust, it is so easy, there is not an excuse not to, unless you simply don't have time. But there is no excuse for not making the BBQ Sauce. It's easy and you can make it way ahead of time. Like on the weekend, if you work during the week. If you work during the week, this is a perfect recipe for a Saturday afternoon.

This might get lengthy so hold on.

Pizza Dough

I make mine in the bread machine on the dough cycle.

6 ounces water (80 degrees F)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons yeast

Put ingredients in the bread pan in the order they are given. Program your bread machine for the dough cycle. When the dough is done, turn it out on a floured surface and knead it about 1 minute or so, then let rest for 15 minutes.

Roll dough out in a 12 to 14 inch crust. Place on a pizza pan or pizza stone (that's what I use) and bake in a 400 degree oven for 8 minutes.

Now while the crust is rising in the bread machine, you can make the BBQ Sauce. I like this one which is a smokey, sweetish and a little hot. I modified a BBQ sauce I got out of this cookbook that I have and adore called "Top Secret Restaurant Recipes" by Todd Wilbur. The sauce is from Tony Roma's.

Smokey Honey BBQ Sauce

1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup garlic flavored red wine vinegar
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoon Franks Red Hot sauce (more or less depending on how hot you like it)

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the barbecue sauce in a saucepan over high heat. Blend the ingredients with a whisk until smooth.
  2. When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered.
  3. In 30 to 45 minutes, when the mixture thickens, remove it from the heat. If you overcook it and make the sauce too think, thin it with more vinegar.
This makes more than you'll need for the pizza. You can keep the extra in the refrigerator and use it for another meal. I used mine with left over roast and made BBQ Beef Sandwiches. Oh la, la... so good!

Okay, we've got our crust and our sauce, now it time to make the pizza.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

1/2 cup BBQ Sauce
1/2 cup pizza sauce (someday I'll share the recipe for my homemade pizza sauce!)
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded (farm fresh of course)
Shredded Mozzarella cheese
Shredded Cheddar cheese
1 thinly sliced onion
2 tablespoons butter
And any other toppings you want like black olives, green pepper, diced green chiles...

Spread the combined sauces over the crust. Add as much cheese as you feel you need, use 1/2 mozzarella and 1/2 cheddar. Spread chicken and onions on top of cheese. Then sprinkle, (sprinkle? sounds like we're making sugar cookies!) a little more BBQ sauce over the chicken and top off with a little sprinkle of cheese.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the pizza is hot and bubbling.

Here's a great tip for those of you who have children to feed. This is especially helpful if your little darlings are picky eaters!

When making homemade pizza, divide your dough into four pieces and allow your children to make their own personal pizzas! Kids love to eat what they make and also you need to be teaching them how to prepare meals for themselves or they may never leave the home. Or if you never take the time to teach them any cooking skills, they will live on Kraft Easy Mac and Ramen Noodles for the rest of their lives. Not healthy at all.

I think it is extremely important to teach your kids to cook. If you start young enough, they think it is something fun to do, but if you wait too long, they won't want to do it simply because it is something that you want them to do. So the earlier you start the better!

You do need to set a few rules with these personal pizzas. This also discourages kids from becoming picky eaters.

Rule #1: Do not use more than what is required. Set limits on the cheese and sauce. You want to teach them what is appropriate! Don't let them be wasteful. As my mom use to say, "There are thousands of starving children in this world..."

Rule #2: You have to eat what you make. This discourages them from experiments that they won't eat when it turns out to be a bad idea, like Captain Crunch and Sausage!

Rule #3: They get to clean up their own mess while the pizza is cooking! This teaches them wise time-management and encourages cleanliness in the kitchen.

You can also try this with calzones. Give it a try and let me know what your kids think about it!

Tatee-cakes was sleeping on the couch while I was baking this.

Yummm, Yummm, this Rooster sure makes good pizza!

Who knew that jerk would taste so good!

Just joking, I told you the rooster was still among us!

Friday, February 26, 2010

A Little Chicken Time

Yesterday Dan the Man helped me haul chicken feed to the layers' coop so that I could refill their feed barrel. Guess he didn't have anything better to do. That or he just loves me so much he wants to spend every available moment with me.

The egg layers are a great bunch of chickens, except for Whitey, the rooster. Well, Whitey isn't even an egg layer, but he is part of that bunch. The hens never complain and happily lay their eggs day after day. They never talk back and don't ask for much.

Whitey on the other hand is a real pain in the neck. Not all the times, just when you are not expecting it. He is so bossy with the hens. It really irritates me to no end when he has to run clear from one end of the yard to the other at full speed when he sees a hen who didn't ask permission to wander off from the flock for a little "me" time. When he gets to the poor little hen he belittles her and chases her back into the flock. What a jerk. He is so full of himself.

Actually he scares me! Believe it or not, I use to HATE and I mean HATE chickens.

It all started many years ago, I think I was around 10 years old, long before I ever dreamed of being a Country Chicken Girl. My sister's grade school class had hatched chicks. One day she came home with one of the chicks. With her puppy hazel eyes she asked our mother if we could keep it and of course my mother, the push over, said yes. The chicken, whose name was Funky, was okay when it was a chick, but as it got older, it became a crazy possessed wild thing that could run as fast as a freight train. Funky Chicken use to chase me all over the back yard, threatening to gouge out my eyeballs if I let her get close enough to me. I can remember screaming with terror to the point that I was crying and my evil sister just laughing her head off.

My sister found it so hysterical that she couldn't or wouldn't help me because she was laughing so hard. Makes me shutter to this day to relive those chicken attacks!

A couple of years ago, after we had started our chicken business, my sister and I were having this conversation.

Sis: I can't believe you are raising chickens! I thought you were scared to death of chickens. Remember Funky Chicken?

Me: How could I forget? I had nightmares for 3 months straight after we got our first batch of chickens because of her.

Sis: She use to chase you all around the yard and make you cry! That was so, so funny!!

Me: I remember. It took me several weeks before I could trust these chickens and to be able to walk among them because of your stupid chicken.

Sis: Ya, but you have to admit it was hilarious! Haa, haaa, haaa, heee, hee!!

Me: It wasn't that funny. She scared the poop out of me!

Sis: It was funny, it was so funny, I can still see you... running around the yard with the can full of feed. You'd shake the feed in the can while you ran and Funky would just keep chasing you because she wanted the feed! ROFLOL!

Me: You mean she was chasing me because I had the can of feed???

All those years, I thought she was just a freakazoid chicken who had a vengeance out for me. All of the sudden the fright and terror had been lifted. If she had told me that years ago I could have just fed Funky the feed and none of that would have happened!

Anyway, I'm not completely healed of the ordeal. Every once in a while, Whitey feels like he needs to attack the feet of the one who feeds him. He usually does it when I am least expecting it and when I have my back turned. The attack usually starts with me feeling a big bump against the back of my legs. I think he takes three steps backward and then lowers his head, spreads his wings and comes running at me full blast. Then when he gets to me he jumps a little and tries to cold-cock my calves with his feet. I can't tell exactly what he does because my back is turned. That's when my heart starts racing and I am afraid I am going to have a heart attack right then and there in the coop where no one will find me for days and days. All the while, Whitey will be pecking my eyes out and eating my nose and mouth and pooping on my dead face.

Well, I'm not about to let that happen so I muster up the courage and fight back, usually by trying to kick him, but he is so nimble on his feet that he can jump backwards, just like a boxer quick on his feet, just far enough to avoid my fierce karate kick! He even does that head bob thing that boxers do. When I can't land a kick in his head, I start to yell at him in an evil chicken killer voice. I tell him what I am capable of doing to chickens. How I can gut a chicken in a little under 120 seconds and how he'd better run away scared because I really don't need him in this chicken operation. He is only here because the hatchery screwed up. Sometimes I take a rake after him. When we have one of these go-a-rounds in the ring, he usually lays off for a couple of weeks, but then he inevitably tries it again.

Stupid rooster, he's lucky he's still around. He may not be so lucky next time we process chickens.

Anyway, I was feeling sorry for the egg layers this morning because they hardly get any cyberspace time on this blog. I have ample pictures of cattle and cats, but none of the chickens. Poor, poor chickens.

Fret no more my sweets! I will go through my pictures and post what I have of you.

Okay ladies, listen up!

Two of the Buff Orpingtons laying their eggs!

My little ladies so do nice work, beautiful eggs ladies!

Looks a little cold out here this morning.

Looks like it snowed last night Ethel, still want to go out?

Looks a little chilly to me Gertrude, are you going to go out?

Lets think this over girls.

Whitey and one of the Buffs .

Look how cocky he is!
Watch out Whitey, you may be a beautiful photo subject,
but your days may be numbered!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sensational Slow-cooked Roast with Onion-Mushroom Sauce

Sensational Slow-cooked Roast with Onion-Mushroom Sauce

The other night I made the best roast I have ever made in my life! I'm not trying to brag or be prideful, I just want you to know that it was so absolutely delicious, that I want to make it over and over again.

Let me tell you how I feel about beef.

First of all, I love roast, but only if it is tender, juicy and flavorful. If roast is cooked to my stringent specifications, I like it better than steak. Unless the steak is grilled properly and is fork tender with an out-of-this-world rub. Those kind of steaks don't come around very often.

I usually prepared my roasts in the crock pot. They are my "go to" meals when I'm going to be gone most of the day and want an easy-to-serve meal. Sometimes my roast are tender and juicy, sometimes they are not so tender and juicy. I know they would be better if I took the time to brown them in oil before I put them in the crock pot, but that doesn't always happen. Actually, it hardly ever happens.

The main reason for this laziness concerning the browning of the roast is because I hardly ever think far enough in advance to get the roast out of the freezer and thaw it before it is time to cook it. I would say that 80% of all my roasts are thrown in a crock pot, fully frozen and left to their own mercy in the crock pot.

Now don't get me wrong, I don't throw them in there without any devices. I usually throw in something, like a can of cream of mushroom soup, a package of onion soup mix, etc. Then after the roast is cooked, I pour the left over juices on the roast for flavor.

But let me tell you, I simply adore sauces. Any kind of sauce. Sauce just adds such dimension to any dish. Let's consider a few...

Cheese sauce... who can eat broccoli or cauliflower without cheese sauce?

Vanilla sauce... oh my goodness, add to any dessert and you make it a dessert you'll never forget.

Fudge sauce... now I'm drooling.

Marinara sauce... what's pasta without marinara sauce? Naked, that's what!

I could go on and on, but I won't. I can't spend all morning on this computer! The house needs to be cleaned.

Anyway, sauce is boss! Especially homemade sauce. I know you can buy sauces at the store, but please don't. You don't know what you are missing if you have not made sauce, any kind of sauce, from scratch.

Okay, back to the roast beef. Have you guessed that a sauce is involved?

Here goes the recipe.

Sensational Slow-cooked Roast with Onion-Mushroom Sauce

I used an English Cut Roast, but you can use what ever you want to. I don't see why any kind of roast wouldn't work.

Place the roast in the crock pot. Frozen or thawed, doesn't matter.

Have you tried the new, well not so new, crock pot liners??? If you haven't, saddle up your horse, git to town and buy yourself some. You can find them in the plastic wrap and foil isle. I do not use my crock pot without them anymore. Talk about easy cleaning!!!! They make me so happy!

Back to the recipe, sorry, but you really do need to know about those liners.

Dump 1 can of cream of mushroom soup on top of the roast. Dump 1 package of onion soup mix on top of the soup. Dump 1/2 cup of water over that. Cover with lid and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.

Remove roast from crock pot and place on the cutting board to rest.

In a large skillet, I use a cast iron skillet, saute 2 cups of sliced mushrooms in 1/4 cup of melted butter. When the mushrooms are beginning to turn a golden brown, add 3 cloves of chopped garlic and saute for a few more minutes until the garlic is lightly browned. Be careful not to burn it!

Remove the mushrooms and garlic from pan and set aside. Carefully dump the juice from the crock pot into the pan. Make sure to get all the stuff that might be stuck to the bottom. You need about 2 1/2 cups of liquid, so you may need to add a little water. Bring this to a boil and add 1/2 cup of red wine or cooking sherry. Allow this to reduce and then add the mushrooms. Combine 1 tablespoon of corn starch with 3 tablespoons of cold water. Add to sauce to thicken it. Mmmmmm... I can smell it just by thinking about it.

Slice your roast and serve with the sauce. We even poured the sauce over our garlic mashed potatoes.

I think that the onion soup mix makes this sauce.

Give it a try and tell me what you think!!

Sorry I didn't do this in true recipe form, but I figured there wasn't that many ingredients that you couldn't just write them down yourself. I'll try to get this in recipe form and when I do I will post it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hoar Frost by Gosh!

Note: Please enjoy the photos more by clicking on them. This will bring a full screen view of them. Just hit your browser's back button to return to the blog.

Just another day in the life of a Country Chicken Girl...

Hoarfrost: According to Wikipedia

"Radiation frost (also called hoar frost or hoarfrost) refers to the white ice crystals, loosely deposited on the ground or exposed objects, that form on cold clear nights when heat losses into the open skies cause objects to become colder than the surrounding air. A related effect is flood frost which occurs when air cooled by ground-level radiation losses travels downhill to form pockets of very cold air in depressions, valleys, and hollows. Hoar frost can form in these areas even when the air temperature a few feet above ground is well above freezing. Nonetheless the frost itself will be at or below the freezing temperature of water.

I must say that frozen winter mornings as these posses a beauty like no other.

The stillness in the air is like no other silence I know.

The hoar frost is so delicately formed that if you barely brush against it,
it is destroyed and gone like a dying man's last breath of air.

The crunch of the snow beneath your boots sounds like it is amplified 100 times because of the stillness in the air.

The solitude that I feel in this frozen winter scene causes me to think of
my Creator and the beauty of His world around me.

I am thankful and feel so truly blessed to be a part of His world.

Camille was my willing sidekick today. Nice posing Millie!

I've said it before and I'll say it again...

One day in the country is worth a month in town!

Thank you Lord for this life.

The End

Sunday, February 21, 2010

And the Winner Is...

I know you all have anxiously been awaiting the results of the
"Name That Calf" Contest.

We had a total of 23 names submitted!

I wrote them all down on separate pieces of paper and threw them in a hat.

Dan the Man drew the winner.

And the Winner Is...

Drum roll please...

Sweetheart submitted by Amy!!

Congratulations Amy!

You win...



Maybe I could send you some Farm Fresh Eggs!!

I feel bad not having a prize.

How lame is a contest without a prize???

Well, I'm sure Sweetheart is happy that she now has a name!

Maybe I could send you a picture of her!

Tell me Amy, would you rather have the eggs or a picture?

The choice is yours!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered!

Last Chance to enter the "Name That Calf" Contest

Okay people, here is your last chance to "Name That Calf"!

What were you waiting for? A formal invitation?

Well, then...

You have cordially been invited to enter the Country Chicken Girl's "Name That Calf" contest.
When: Now
Where: on the Country Chicken Girl blog

If you have no idea what I am talking about then saddle up your horse and git rat over to the post with the contest.

Click Here to go to the contest.

I'll draw the winning entry around 5pm this evening and post the winner on the blog.

Won't you please help name this poor nameless calf.

She is counting on you!

I know there are a lot of kids out there that haven't entered.
Sometimes kids have the best ideas when it comes to naming animals.

Won't you please help me get a name?
I don't want to be just a number, #924, for the rest of my life.

I'm almost a year old and still don't have a name, boo, hoo!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Winter's Back...

Well... winter is back here in Western Nebraska. I knew the lovely mild weather we were enjoying was not going to last forever. Besides, caving season is fast approaching here at the Open A Bar 2 Ranch and that usually means merciless blizzards that come and try to take our sweet little calves from us.

In a weird way, I actually love winter. Friday morning was one of the reasons why I love winter. It was not too cold, it had snowed during the night, the wind wasn't blowing and there was an eerie fog looming in the air. I love how quite it is when all of the world seems frozen in place. The fog made my world seem very small and very intimate. That is a very comforting feeling for me. I love walking about and taking pictures of God's glorious creation on days like these.

I also have been experimenting with a photo editing program. Some of these below have been jazzed up and some where not.

I hope you enjoy the peacefulness of the morning that I experienced. I think some of the pictures really caught that feeling.

I started out by taking pictures of the calves. The fog was so dense that I could only see a few hundred feet ahead of me.

NOTE: Remember that you can click on the image for a full screen view of the photo. Click on your browser's back button to return to the blog. Just do it, you're cheating yourself if you don't look at the full view!!

I love this one!
You'd better click on it or else I'm going to have to hurt you!

So cute how they get a little snow ring around their noses as they graze in the snow!

They are so curious, that as I get closer to them, they can't stand it and have to get closer to me to see what I am doing out there. Either that or they all want to be blog stars!

Sure glad I have this nice warm coat!

Curious three.

Also love this one!
The calf on the left has a heart shaped snow ring.
Too cute...

Are you thinking of a cute name for me?

Enter the contest to name me.
Click Here!

After I got tired of the calves and they got tired of me, I went into the back yard. My faithful sidekick, Sammy, decided to join me. She loves going for walks with me, as long as I blaze the trial through the snow!

Sam I am, I am Sam!

I'm telling you, you've got to click on the picture!

Oh la, la...
I think my sissy will like this one!
What do you think sissy?

Nice, I like this one!

Beautiful Sammy

By this time little Sammy was ready to go back inside and have a cup of hot cocoa!
She's giving me the look that said, "Are you done yet?"

Yes Sammy dear, we can go in now...

The End