Crockpot Beef and Broccoli

Man, do I love me some Chinese food!  When I was in college, I lived right next to the best Chinese buffet-style restaurant.  Oh, the wonderful smells I would smell as I walked to and from campus.  As you can imagine, it was extremely difficult for my room-mate and I not to eat Chinese take-out at least once per week and it probably contributed to my weight gain.  But whatever, at least we were walking to class (That’s what we told ourselves, anyway).

Now that I live out in the boonies and I am miles away from a Chinese restaurant of any kind, I have to make my own Chinese cuisine.  Which is probably for the better because I can monitor my salt and fat intake and tend to eat less.  I like to throw around the phrase “tend to eat less” pretty loosely and still eat more than I should….

Anywho, here is a super easy and delicious recipe for Beef and Broccoli that will be perfect for dinner this week!  After all, May is Beef Month; support your local beef farmers! 🙂

Ingredients:

1-2lbs beef roast, cut into little chunks with fat trimmed

2 cups beef broth

1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp. sesame oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 tbsp. flour

2 cups of frozen broccoli florets (or as many as desired)

1 cup sliced carrots (optional)

1 package of fresh mushrooms (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In the insert of your crockpot, whisk together broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil and garlic.
  2. Add the beef slices and carrots.
  3. Turn crockpot on low and cook for 5 hours or until meat is tender.

CAUTION: Don’t over-cook the beef or it will fall apart. Crockpot temperatures may vary, so you may want to keep an eye on the beef if it is your first time with the recipe. 

  1. Add flour and stir to create a thicker sauce.
  2. When you reach the desired sauce thickness, toss in the broccoli and mushrooms. Cook for another 30 minutes.
  3. Serve over rice and enjoy!
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What Do Dairy Farmers Do On Holidays?

There are no days off on the farm.  Cows don’t care if it is Christmas and that you have eggnog to drink; they still need to be fed, milked and cared for.  It may be business as usual at the farm, but we still make time to celebrate with family and friends.  The whole crew works together to get chores done and we all find time to eat, drink and be merry.  Each year is different, but here is how Christmas went down at the farm this year.

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Christmas Eve morning started with all hands on deck.  My father-in-law fed the cows as usual, my mother-in-law and her helper fed calves, and my husband and I cared for the hospital cows,  newborn calves and their mothers.  Meanwhile, other employees worked in shifts to get the cows milked and pens cleaned.

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Morning chores were soon complete and things settled down.  Slowly, but surely, everyone was able to take a break and prepare for Christmas celebrations.  My husband and I left around noon and headed to my mother’s house a couple of hours north.  The farm would be in the good hands of my in-laws and a few others while we were away.

Every year my mom throws a big Christmas party for nearby friends, family and neighbors.  My sisters and I do our best to help her plan and prepare.  This year we presented a pasta bar to our guests!  Using recipes from the Pioneer Woman, we offered a variety of noodles and three different sauces: Marinara with Beef, Vodka Sauce with Chicken and Alfredo Sauce with veggies.  Oh, and of course plenty of cheese!  Brushetta, garlic-cheesy bread and other yummy appetizers were also on the menu.

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While the food is always delish, what our guests really come for is the holiday cheer.  And by cheer I mean booze.  We usually whoop it up pretty good at the Christmas party.

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Christmas morning quickly came, presents were opened and my husband and I trucked on back to the farm.  Morning chores were taken care of by the time we arrived home, but there were pens to clean and new calves to care for, as well as evening chores.

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  My mother in-law and I fed the baby calves a Christmas dinner of warm milk!

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By evening, my husband and I were cleaned up and ready for a cup of cheer!  Around these parts, the Christmas beverage of choice is a Tom & Jerry. It seems as though many folks are not familiar with this drink and that the mix cannot be found everywhere, but if you ever see it…BUY IT!  The directions are right on the container and they are easy to make.  Can’t find the mix? Make your own!  Be warned, these suckers will catch up with you quick!  My husband and I spent Christmas evening together organizing our brand spankin’ new house!

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Christmas celebrations and farming continued through the weekend as my husband’s sisters and their families arrived to town.  Friday was lunch with grandma followed by an evening with my husband’s family.  The entire crew worked to get things done quickly on Saturday so that we could open gifts and feast that night.  While there were a few snags along the way, we eventually all made it inside to see what Santa had brought.

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With one last Christmas/Packer celebration on Sunday, the Christmas week was complete!  While I enjoy the holidays and love seeing everyone, I am glad it is over.  Between moving into our new home, farming and celebrating, my husband and I stayed quite busy!  It will be nice to get back to the daily grind.

We are extremely thankful for all of our employees who help us care for the cows everyday and allow us to take time away from the farm.  If it wasn’t for the great team we have at our dairy farm, we wouldn’t be able to do all the things we love and enjoy.

Hope you all had a VERY Merry Christmas and made dairy part of your celebration

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Steakhouse Pizza: The lazy girl version

I previously posted a blog called Modern-day Farmers: Breaking the Stereotype and it got my wheels a turnin’. The post was about how today’s farmers have various hobbies and interests other than farming. I happen to be one of those farmers with other interests. In fact, when I am not farming, I enjoy cooking, getting my craft on, going to country concerts and hanging out with my favorite people. I want to begin blogging about my other interests and hopefully reach a new and different audience. I hope to share recipes, new ideas as well as all things farm related. With that being said, I have a super awesome recipe to share with you!

Steakhouse Pizza: The lazy girl version
The original recipe, Steakhouse Pizza, can be found in the Pioneer Woman’s cookbook. In my opinion, her recipe is a bit time consuming and is enough to feed an army, so I tweaked it to my liking. Here is what you need:

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  • Pizza crust
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Red onion
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • 8 oz. of tomato sauce
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • 12 oz. steak (give or take)

The Pioneer Woman makes her own pizza crust and grills up a giant steak just prior to assembling this pizza.  Well, ain’t nobody got time for that.  In the lazy girl version, we are buying pizza crust and using pre-cooked steak.  Any pizza crust will do, as long as it is thick.  When I make steakhouse pizza it is usually when we had steak a couple of nights prior and have leftovers.  Buying pizza crust and having steak that is ready to go makes this recipe a breeze.  Okay, let’s get started!

Disclaimer: Sautéing the onion will make your house smell like a Mexican restaurant.  Open a window.

Step 1:  Mix a drink.  You can’t cook without a drink.

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Step 2: Slice the steak and onion into thin strips.  Also, prepare your pan and crust at this time.  Set your oven to 400 degrees or to whatever temperature your crust suggests.

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Step 3: Add 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, a tablespoon of olive oil and the sliced onion to a large skillet.  Sautee on Medium-High heat until tender.

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Step 4: While your onions are sautéing, prepare the sauce.  Mix the tomato sauce with 1-2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.  I also like to mix in a bit of steak sauce or BBQ sauce.

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Step 5:  Your onions probably aren’t done yet, so take a sip of your drink or mix another if needed.

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Step 6: Assemble the pizza beginning with the sauce.  Put all of it or just some of it on, whatever you prefer.  Next, put a layer of mozzarella on followed by the steak strips, mushrooms and sautéed onions.  After you have all the good stuff on, top it with a layer of parmesan cheese.  Don’t be shy, I have never heard anyone say, “This has too much cheese”.

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Stick her in the oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.  After you take it out, top it with some steak sauce; its delish.  Now, here is the tricky part…let it cool.  I have yet to master this step, I always end up getting after it and burning my mouth.

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There ya have it folks, Steakhouse Pizza.  My first food blog, hot dang.  Hope you enjoy it!

Cooking is hard work

Cooking is hard work