Category Archives: Ranch Happenings

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

Happy Friday! It’s funny to say that because out here on the ranch the days tend to meld together. We really don’t pay mind to if it’s Monday, Hump Day, or TGIF. The one thing that does rule our life however is the weather. We have been very fortunate to have a mild April so far (I say this quietly while physically knocking on wood). Mother Nature dealt us a bad hand last year at this time. We endured three awful storms that ended the lives of many baby calves. I don’t like to talk about it, but it is reality out here.  We definitely know how fragile life is and we also know there is little we can do when storms of that magnitude come along. It’s a very helpless feeling that all ranchers can relate to. I don’t like to focus on negative things, but I always keep memories like this tucked in the back of my mind. It helps me to be thankful for each day we have on this earth, plus when the days are nice….I rejoice!

I have been fortunate to see so many new babies on my daily morning checks. I have been posting numerous photos on Instagram and on Facebook of the daily “treats” I find. They truly make me feel alive and oh so happy!

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Our livestock are a representation of the fruits of our labors. Those mama cows are our lifeline and their babies are our future. We know how important they are to us. Hence, this is why we stay close to home especially this time of year. I have some major errands to run in Rapid City (the biggest city close to us and it’s still 100 miles away). I also need to do some Easter shopping as we have family coming to visit. This doesn’t happen very often, but I’m headed to town for the day……by MYSELF!!!! What will I do with myself?! Well, rest assured….I won’t be going to get my nails done! I have a million things to do so it won’t be a leisurely trip (what is that anyway?). However, I am excited to see how quickly and effortlessly I can get things done by myself…..I live an exciting life, don’t I?! 🙂

I knew I was headed to Rapid City for sure yesterday. When I am gone I still need to be concerned about what my guys are going to eat (there is no pizza delivery out here). Shane and I had watched Ree Drummond’s (Pioneer Woman) show last Saturday. She made Scalloped Potatoes and Ham. I must admit that I’m not a fan of this dish so I never make it. Shane was drooling all over the television and saying how much he loved to eat this. So, yesterday I decided to surprise him by giving her recipe a whirl. Let me just say this…..Holy Cow!!!! I have tried Scalloped Potatoes and Ham before and was not impressed…….but, I hadn’t tried PW’s recipe yet……she is truly my ‘go to” person for recipes because everything of hers that I have made has turned out incredibly well. So, here is her recipe (Thanks, Ree!):

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds Russet Or Yukon Gold Potatoes, Washed Thoroughly
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 whole Yellow Onion, Diced
  • 3 cups Diced Ham
  • 1-1/2 cup Half-and-half
  • 1-1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/4 cup Flour
  • Black Pepper To Taste
  • 1 cup Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 cup Grated Monterey Jack Cheese
  • Chopped Parsley (optional)

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a large casserole dish.

Heat butter in a large skillet. Add onions and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until they start to turn translucent. Add ham and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat and set aside.

Combine half-and-half and cream in a microwave-safe container and nuke for a minute or so, until no longer cold. Whisk in flour and black pepper until totally combined. Set aside. (You may add salt, but cheese and ham are salty, so add sparingly.)

Combine the two grated cheeses. Set aside.

Using a mandoline or slicer, slice potatoes into 1/8-inch slices (very thin.) Layer 1/3 of the potato slices in the buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle on 1/3 of the ham/onion mixture, then 1/3 of the cheese, then pour on 1/3 of the cream mixture.

Repeat this twice more, ending with a sprinkling of cheese and a pouring on of the rest of the cream mixture. Cover dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes at least, or until bubbly and hot.

Cut into squares and serve. Sprinkle on chopped parsley if you’d like!

(Note: To speed along the process a bit, you may boil sliced potatoes for 3 to 5 minutes before assembling the casserole. Just drain and slightly cool before assembling.)

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*I followed her recipe to a tee. It was amazing…..I liked it, Stone liked it, and Shane LOVED it!!! So, now I can head off to Rapid City without feeling guilty (kind of). I know that they will have a hearty, tasty lunch waiting for them (all they have to do is warm it up). This is what we ranch wives do…..our work is never done…..and we wouldn’t have it any other way! 🙂

Give Ree’s recipe a try. I am SO glad I did! Enjoy your day……I plan to as well.  ~Cheyenne

Three Cheese-Stuffed Shells with Meaty Tomato Sauce

Oh my gosh, where does the time go?! I’ve been pretty committed to blogging every other day or so and then April hit….holy cow! I’m barely able to fit in once or twice per week……please bear with me!

I am in charge of checking the cows every morning, which I enjoy immensely! I compared checking calves earlier this week to looking for Easter eggs….they are everywhere…..and sometimes hard to find! I count the calves every morning….I like to see how we are progressing. So far,  we are half done….exciting!

The other morning while checking the calving pasture I saw something extraordinary……and I hope I can describe it accurately as there was no time for pictures of any sort. The past month of checking on the cows has allowed me to see some really amazing sights. I saw my first batch of 6 coyotes hunting together. I’ve seen 3, 4, and even 5 coyotes packed up together, but never 6!!! It was amazing! They really don’t bother our cow herd that much. We have never lost a calf to a coyote attack as some people will claim they have so I wasn’t too nervous seeing them, but I always keep a watchful eye. If something looks out of order, I take note. I also always pack a gun…..in case of such problems. I’m no Annie Oakley, but I’ve been known to out shoot some of the men around here so……(guess I will pat myself on the back out of their sight!). 🙂

Anyway, I cam onto a flat…..I call it “Baby Flat” because this is where our cows like to hang out with their babies. I looked across the prairie and could see little black flecks everywhere (baby calves). Our cattle are for the most part black angus and black angus cross. We have a few Corriente cows and a few Longhorns….I actually love to see their bright colors every once in awhile (eye candy). As I was checking everything out I happened to look across the flat to the hills. I saw a bunch of cows (30 or 40) acting strangely….running and circling around. As I looked on, I saw one cow in the lead…..and she was charging on. It was while I was checking her out that I discovered she was chasing something….something light colored and quick moving. Holy moly…..she was chasing a coyote…..she was in hot pursuit and not slowing down! No kidding…..she was on that coyote’s heels! She chased it all the way over the hill and kept on going! The cattle were all quite riled up by then so they all followed her. Over the ridge they went and down the hill to the dam. They didn’t stop till they got to the water….this was a trek of about a mile or so. I figured the coyote was long gone but the time I got there…..nope….there he ran….and 5 of his buddies weren’t far off. I decided then that I definitely need to keep my eyes open from then on as to these coyotes. If they become a major problem…..well, we know what happens to major problems to our livestock around here…..enough said.

The next day I searched for the coyotes, but didn’t see a single one….and I haven’t since….maybe that old cow gave that coyote a run for its life. Maybe it decided to go elsewhere and told it’s pack mates the same thing…..maybe…..we’ll see.

With all the busy days on the ranch I haven’t had a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. We’ve been up early….going all day….then eating supper sometimes at 10 pm!! Last night we got home rather late, but I decided to make something new….we deserved it! So, I made the Pioneer Woman’s Three Cheese-Stuffed Shells with Meaty Tomato Sauce. O – M- G……it was too die for!!! Here is the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces, weight Jumbo Pasta Shells
  • 30 ounces, weight Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
  • 8 ounces, weight Parmesan Cheese, Grated, Divided
  • 1/2 cup Grated Romano Cheese
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 12 leaves Basil, Chiffonade
  • 2 Tablespoons Minced Parsley
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 whole Medium Onion, Chopped
  • 5 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1/2 pound Italian Sausage
  • 1/2 cup Red Wine
  • 1 whole 28 Ounce Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 whole 15-ounce Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Minced Parsley

Preparation Instructions

Cook pasta shells for half the cooking time; make sure not to overcook. Drain and rinse in cool water. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for a minute or two. Add Italian sausage and brown, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. Pour in red wine and let it cook for a minute or two.

Pour in cans of crushed tomatoes and stir. Add sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check for seasonings; can add crushed red peppers if you like a little heat.

In a separate bowl, mix ricotta, half the Parmesan, Romano, egg, salt and pepper, basil, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Stir until combined.

To assemble, coat the bottom of a baking dish with sauce. Fill each half-cooked shell with the cheese mixture. Place face down on the sauce. Repeat with shells until cheese mixture is gone. Top shells with remaining sauce. Sprinkle on extra Parmesan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Serve with crusty French bread.

Here are my pictures of my cooking adventure:

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How good was it? My husband (and I) flipped….he rarely gets excited about anything besides steak, but he absolutely loved it!! 🙂 2 thumbs up, Pioneer Woman…..this is absolutely divine! Give it a whirl and let me know what you think. Enjoy! ~Cheyenne

Back It Up!!

Yesterday was not the best day I ever had. It wasn’t the worst day either, but it was cause for me to have a mild freak out. What would cause that, you ask? Let me tell you….it was my Quickbooks program. I am the bookkeeper on the ranch and I also fill that role in my business as well. To keep everything separate I use two different programs: Quicken for the ranch and Quickbooks for my business. Quickbooks is fairly new to me. I got it mostly to assist with invoicing and check writing. It also helped with retail transactions when I opened my store. I am quite proficient on Quicken since I’ve been using it since 2005. I’m not as familiar with Quickbooks as I’ve only been using it for about 15 months.

I’ve had our ranch accounts balanced and finished since January (a record for me). I’m usually down to the wire with these things and I swore I wouldn’t be this year. My attention to the ranch’s bookkeeping just how I wanted it to be. My business on the other hand was a nightmare. It literally took me three solid days of sitting down and manually entering every transaction to get it correct. I finished late last week and sent it off to my accountant. I was happy and relieved to be done with it. I didn’t get it done as early as I would have liked, but I wasn’t sliding in on April 14th either so I was satisfied. Whew!

I was paying bills yesterday at the shop and came to the realization that my landlords name was missing. I searched and searched for it, but couldn’t find it. This prompted me to search my check register in the program to see when I last entered her name. It wasn’t there and neither was all of the expenses for 2013 plus the majority of my 2014 transactions were all gone. Three days of manual entering was GONE?! Yep, gone! I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. I searched and searched as well as I could not knowing Quickbooks like the back of my hand. I hurried and called my accountant. She looked at what I had emailed her and said that she had the same thing. Insert scary music here! She had me come down with my laptop so she could try to find it. She looked in files and in my backups, but the sad truth was all of my 2013 expenses were gone….vanished into cyber space.

Girl Computer (This was me!)

I honestly felt like crying. I know…what good would that do?! I don’t know, but it seemed like the logical choice at the moment. Then I thought about getting drunk. I quickly realized that wouldn’t help either (especially since after two drinks I’m done for). So, I went back to the shop and finished out the day. I came home and listened to my husband as he tried to explain what I should do next time. It’s funny how this happens every once in a while (slight smirk here). He was right though. I should have backed it up on an external hard drive or a disc as he suggested. My online backups were useless.

Mean Computer(I swear this was my computer!)

It’s a sad thing when an electronic device holds so much power over us. Don’t’ get me wrong, I love most all modern conveniences (you won’t find me without my iPhone very often). Computers are a wonderful thing…..when they work correctly. When they don’t, misery can ensue like a swarm of mad hornets. I don’t long for the days of using a pencil and a ledger for keeping track of things, but it would be nice if things would just “work”. It’s kind of like when working cows I guess. Some days they work so well you almost think they sorted or worked themselves. Some days are kind of like my current problem.

I would love the opportunity to negotiate with Quickbooks the way I negotiate with our cattle sometimes. Do it my way and life is good. Try to do it your way and I will “make” you do it my way. One way or another, I come out on top. The sad thing is my computer cares not that I’m in a bind. It doesn’t care that it is calving season and I really don’t have time for this. In reality, I shouldn’t even be writing this. I should be entering transactions back into Quickbooks. I’m in a bit in denial right now. I’m going to finish my coffee, go out and check the cows. When I get back I will tackle this nightmare. I’d like to say that I’m looking forward to it, but the truth is I’d rather go muck out a dirty cattle pot with a spoon than enter all of these transactions again. Yes, that’s how horrible this is to me! I guess I definitely learned a lesson in all of this. No matter what, hook up my external drive and back it up. Duly noted!

On a positive note, after I wrote this I called a childhood friend of mine, Jeremy, who owns ProTech Computing in Gillette, Wyoming. I figured one more try to find my lost information couldn’t hurt. He was able to remotely access my computer and after a bit he located all that I had lost. I was so elated I didn’t know what to do. I guess the moral of the story is always….and I mean, always back up your important stuff. And if you are lucky like me, you have a friend out there who knows a thing or two about computers. Until next time, I’ll be backing things up around here (probably to an OCD level)! ~Cheyenne

April Fool’s

Are you a lover of April Fool’s pranks? I am if I’m the one doing the prank! 🙂

We aren’t big pranksters around here. I think we have too much going on a lot of the time and don’t get around to that. Don’t get me wrong….we have plenty of laughs, but they are mostly due to things that happen around here by chance (not on purpose).

I was sitting here thinking this morning about an April Fool’s Day prank my grandma played on the hired men years and years ago. I was too young to remember it, but I enjoy the story my mom tells. My grandma was the camp cook back in those days (how blessed those people were as my grandma was the best cook around). Breakfast was a hearty meal always. I’m not sure how my grandma got the idea to do this, but I sure wish I could have been there. My grandma set about making pancakes, eggs, bacon, etc. She served it and the hired men and my grandpa sat down to eat. The one hired man was a bit on the shy side. He picked out the top two pancakes and doctored them up with butter and syrup. He started to cut his pancakes, but quickly had difficulty. No matter what he did he couldn’t get them cut. He was far too shy to say anything, but my grandma looked on with a big smile on her face. Soon all the guys at the table stopped eating and were watching him try to cut his pancakes. Eventually, the hired man stopped trying to cut them and looked up. About this time my grandma said, “April Fool’s”! It took a second for it to register with him, but he finally grinned. My grandma revealed how she had fooled him. She had taken bits of an old rag and put it in the pancake batter. She then made a couple of pancakes with rags in it (careful not to ruin the whole batch). He just happened to be the lucky one who got the “raggy” pancakes! My mom says that everyone at the table laughed until they almost cried!

This story makes me smile…..smiles and laughing are so important in life! I’m so glad we know this kind of happiness. Did you play an April Fool’s joke on someone today? Perhaps you had one played on you? However you spend the 1st of April, make it a good day full of smiles and laughs if you can. I will do the same! ~Cheyenne

 

 

Tuscan Roma Pizza

Good Early Morning! I’ve been wide awake since 4 am for some unknown reason…..it’s not like I’m a sleepy-head in the morning, but come on! Guess it’s a good time to get out of bed and blog….so here goes…..

First thing every morning, I get up and go check on our mama cows and their babies out in the calving pasture. I wait until around 8 am to do this so there is good light. I get to see every sunrise….something I look forward to every morning. Most of the time, my camera can never picture the gift that Mother Nature reveals at first light. Here was my attempt yesterday:

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The sun over our good horse trailer made me yearn for warm summer days when we head off to a ranch rodeo…..those days will be here soon!

After a huge cup of coffee, I take off. It works really good for me to go check so Shane can have a bit of a break. He has been night calving (checking on our heifers in our calving lot throughout the night). He gets to take a nap while I go check. Stone is usually still asleep so it works out pretty well. Most days I get back and Shane has breakfast made (bonus!). Here was one of the first scenes I came upon yesterday morning:

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One baby was up and around, but the other one was still hiding in the tall grass. I love seeing this…..it truly brightens my day!

Another scene that brightened my day was this:

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Cows out grazing with lots of grass to eat near a full dam of water….plus the blue sky adds a nice touch too. 🙂

One of the last things I saw when I finished checking was our beef steer. Every year we raise a steer or two to fill our freezer with. A few years ago we had some roping steers who froze their horns. Shane casted them so we could rope them throughout the first summer. They were dirt cheap when we got them so we’ve held onto them using them as our beef critters every fall. This is the last of the 5 of them:

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Isn’t he a sight to see?! His horns grew in such an odd fashion…..I swear he looks almost mean. He actually is kind of an arrogant acting fellow…..I think maybe he thinks he looks cool…..his horns will make for an interesting mount that’s for sure!

A short time ago I made my first batch of truly homemade pizza, which I blogged about. I felt inspired to try my hand at making my mom’s and my favorite:  Tuscan Roma Pizza. I’ve only ever had this kind of pizza at Pizza Ranch. My first attempt was really good! It was so good that I told my mom about it. She wanted to try it the next time I made it. Dad had some business to attend to away from home last evening so I invited mom over for supper. I made the guys their traditional Pepperoni Pizza (wouldn’t want to scare them with spinach and tomatoes on a pizza).  😉

I have to interject here to tell a funny on my husband. On Monday, I bought my first Ginger Root. I’m planning to make a Pioneer Woman recipe later this week and needed it for that. I’ve never cooked with fresh Ginger Root before so this will be fun. Anyway, I put it on the counter as I put away my groceries. Yesterday, Shane came in and asked me, “Why do we have a dead lizard on the counter?” I was like, “WHAT?!” I quickly realized what he was talking about. I had quite a laugh over that “Shaneism”….more on his comments and words for things later. 🙂

So, the guys  aren’t for new or unusual foods very much. However, my mom and I like to venture off to new places in that department. This brought me to Tuscan Roma Pizza. In all truth, there really isn’t even a recipe (with measurements and all that). I googled Tuscan Roma Pizza Recipe and came up with a slight copy-cat recipe. I decided on my own course and what I came up with what I consider to die for!

Tuscan Roma Pizza

• Homemade Pizza Crust
• Garlic Oil
• Alfredo Sauce
• 2 cups of Mozzarella Cheese
• Roma Tomatoes (or whatever kind you have), sliced thinly
• Spinach Leaves with the stem removed

I rolled out the pizza crust that I made onto the pizza pan that was sprinkled with corn meal. Make sure to get it quite thin.  Push a few holes in the crust then brush lightly with Garlic Oil. *The second time I made this pizza I brushed the crust first with Garlic Oil. It made a huge difference in the taste.* Use about a cup or so of the Alfredo Sauce. Spread it around all over the crust making sure it is even (and not too thick). Add the Mozzarella Cheese and spread out evenly. Place the sliced Tomatoes evenly on the pizza and then add the Spinach Leaves. Bake for 15 minutes or so at 375 degrees. *My oven cooks really hot so I always cook at about 50 degrees below what most recipes say so you may want to bake this at 425 degrees.*

Here is my first attempt before it went into the oven:

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After it came out:

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Here is the one I made last night…..it was even more delicious! *Note:  I used my Pampered Chef stone for the first pizza I made. The crust wasn’t as crispy as I hoped it would be so I went to Wal-mart (of all places) and bought a couple of cheap pizza pans with holes in them. What a difference they made! The crust was amazing!*

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Give this fun pizza version a try. It may not be something the guys like (since it isn’t loaded with “meat”, but most ladies I know would love it). Maybe this is “girl” pizza?! Who knows……my mom and I absolutely love it though. Enjoy! ~Cheyenne

Cheeseburger Pie & Ranch Stuff

It’s been a busy couple of days around here….plus, I just battled off a migraine. For those of you who have never had one….thank your lucky stars LOUDLY!!! I honestly never suffered from them before I turned 30. I had a few bad headaches here and there (working around perfumes), but when I finally ventured into migraine territory…..I got scared! Migraine sufferers out there can relate to me I’m sure. It’s not fun when you can’t see out of one eye and the faintest glint of light makes you nauseous. Almost two months ago, I decided to cut out Splenda and I started taking Mygrafew. My migraines have decreased drastically! It’s kind of scary to think how much Splenda I have ingested over the years and what it was doing to my body….yikes! I believe that my problems now are due to hormones. I’m 40…..getting closer to “the change” so I am positive that is what I’m dealing with now.

I woke up with a migraine this morning….not a fun way to wake up, but I decided to deal with it head on. I ate a banana for breakfast and took 975 mg. of Acetaminophen. Off I went to check on the heifers and the cows. This has become my daily duty first thing every morning. I love it….nothing like fresh air and getting to see the countryside and our cattle to brighten a person’s spirits! Here are a few sights I saw over the last few mornings:

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Three mornings ago, I came upon this scene. A mama cow, her baby, and a winter calf who was investigating the newborn. I smile when I see this picture…..that winter calf is all fuzzy and scraggly while the newborn is all slick and shiny! The winter calf ran off to his mother not far away as soon as I snapped this picture. 🙂

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The cows were snowy two mornings ago….they were in the rough country eating grass while trying to stay out of the wind.

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These girls found a bank to hide behind….that wind was vicious!

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Such an amazing view I had this morning! Wonderful, indeed! Our cows could feel the warmth of the sun and there was no wind. They moved out of the roughs and were out eating grass wherever they pleased. This sight warms my heart!

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I spied a brand new baby in the grass so I took a closer look. It’s mama wasn’t far off keeping a close eye on me. Can you see the other baby off in the distance with it’s mama also close by? I didn’t stay long as I didn’t want to disturb the napping newborn. I smiled all the way home!

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This has been my outfit the last couple of mornings….that wind is cold! Shane calls me “Fargo” when I wear this hat…..he thinks he is funny….at least I’m never cold when I wear it! 🙂

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Before I went home after checking the cows this morning, I stopped to see my two best boys – Doc & Shotgun. I gave them a few treats and checked their hay and water. All was good so I gave Doc a good scratch on his back….look at all that shedding hair! Shotgun was interested in what I was doing. Spring is on the way!

I got back home and my migraine was better….fresh air, I tell ya! I walked into the house to the smell of bacon frying…..and got handed a cup of hot cocoa….I’m a lucky woman for sure! It was way better than breakfast in bed…..I can assure you! Speaking of my husband, I just love this picture!

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He is riding Shotgun, a real bronc…..haha! Did I mention that?! 😉 Shane rode him last night to gather the heifers bareback with just a string around his neck. I love this horse! Glad to call him mine (Shane might try to steal him, but I’m going to fight hard on this one). 🙂

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It’s amazing how much warmer it is to ride bareback. Doc is a gentle guy too…..may have to try him bridleless one of these days! I decided I’d better use a halter on him at least last night.

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Doc is the best horse we have (in my opinion) and it’s not just because I love him so. You can do anything on him. I am grooming him to someday be Stone’s. I think he will be great for youth rodeo, which isn’t that far off! Stone took a shine to Doc long ago….I think it’s mutual.

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The best view of the evening as we gathered heifers a couple of nights ago!

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The two best cowboys I know…..this truly makes my heart sing!

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Shane and Stone pairing out a heifer…..as I stand back to turn her into the gate. Ranching is definitely a family affair! I would say the future of ranching looks good in our family so far. 🙂

We went to my folks’ for Sunday dinner today (we try to do this several times per month). Either my mom cooks, or I do, or we do it together….either way it sure is nice to live close to one another. Today, mom made Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Fresh Rolls, Fruit Salad, and Peach Cobbler. YUM!!!

I came home and took 800 mg. of Ibuprofen hoping that it would help to totally get rid of this migraine. Then, I worked on finishing up some bookkeeping that I’m behind on…..with a bit of a headache left. I’m glad to say that it’s almost gone. I decided to make Cheeseburger Pie for supper. This is a recipe that goes back over 40 years! I’m not sure where my mom got it, but it came from her…..and it is wonderful!

Cheeseburger Pie

  • 1 Pie Crust
  • 1 lb. Ground Beef
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Oregano
  • ¼ tsp. Pepper
  • ¼ c. Onion, chopped
  • ¼ c. Green Pepper, chopped
  • 1-8 oz. can of Tomato Sauce
  • ½ c. Dry Bread Crumbs or Oatmeal

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare pastry for 9 inch one crust pie. In skillet, cook and stir meat.

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When about half browned, add the green pepper and onion. Finish browning.

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While it cooks, make sure to break up the ground beef into small chunks.

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Drain off fat, stir in salt, pepper, oregano, crumbs/oatmeal, and tomato sauce.

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Turn into pastry lined pan.

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Cheese Topping:

  • 1 Egg
  • ¼ c. Milk
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • Mustard & Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 c. Shredded Natural Cheddar Cheese

Stir first 5 ingredients together then add the cheese.

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Spread over top of filling.

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Bake about 30 minutes.

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Cut into wedges. Serve. Believe me….you’ve never tasted anything quite like this! I think the mustard and Worcestershire “do” something to this recipe. This is good right away or the next day…..I love anything that makes good leftovers (I know what Shane will be eating for lunch tomorrow)! Hope you like this recipe as much as we do. Enjoy! ~Cheyenne

About Me……

Happy 1st Day of Spring!! I sure hope Mother Nature knows what day it is and acts accordingly from here on out. I’d love to look out and see this in my backyard…..

First Day of Spring

Sigh….wishful thinking……this picture sure does put me in a good mood though (even if it’s not in my backyard)!

The sun is shining out and it’s supposed to be nice today. I’ve got a busy day ahead of me. I need to go check on our cows in the calving pasture in just a few minutes. Our calving pasture is quite large so it takes me quite a while to get around it and get everything checked. I look forward to it (especially on beautiful mornings such as this). We will feed hay and then we will head in to have my son’s check up with the dentist who performed his oral surgery last week.

I mentioned that I’ve been writing a column. I’m excited that another publication has added me to their feature list and now I am being considered by three more (one a very well known magazine). I’m super excited about this wonderful opportunity! I’ve been sending off my bio and my intro column to them all for print. It dawned on me that it may be a good idea to post it on here so all of you can read it as well. So, here’s a few words about little ole me!

Me on Doc

Greetings from the Pine Ridge Reservation! I have been busy thinking about what my first submission would be about. I came up with all sorts of topics, but then I realized that the majority of you don’t know who I am. So, I’m taking this opportunity to introduce myself. Once we are properly acquainted, I can get right into what’s on my mind in the next issue.

My name is Cheyenne Glade Wilson. I was born in Miles City, Montana and I was fortunate to be raised on a ranch north of the Yellowstone River northwest of Terry. My great grandparents had settled the place in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s. The ranch had been run by my grandparents, Art & June Reukauf and eventually went on to my parents, Cliff & Lila Glade. I grew up helping my folks on the ranch along with my brother, Wyatt. We learned all about cattle and horses. You may have heard the phrase, “She could ride before she could walk”. That phrase could pertain to me in one sense or another. As kids we spent a lot of time in the saddle and we learned a lot along the way. Our fun time was rodeo….youth rodeo to start with, then high school, and then college. The values I learned from how I grew up have carried me along my journey through life.

After a year or so in college, I drifted towards city life. I spend about 12 years in the retail trade. While growing up on the ranch, I always wondered what life was like “on the other side of the fence”. I got quite an education while I was “over” there. I learned a lot and I applied the work ethic I learned while growing up. It served me well as I was promoted quite quickly and eventually I became a district manager. I really enjoyed the hustle and bustle of city life. However, as I got older, I could feel a tug inside me. It was my past ranch life that was calling me. A couple times a year, I would come back and help out on the ranch during busy times (branding, shipping, etc.). It was always hard to go back to my city life after being “home” for a while. Eventually, I made the decision to move back. My life changed drastically when I met my would-be husband, Shane, in Miles City.

We eventually moved to ranch near my folks. They had sold their place in Montana and had moved down here in early 2000. We arrived in early spring 2005 and we have called the Slim Buttes area near Oglala home ever since. Moving back was the best decision I’ve ever made! Shane and I married in the summer of 2006 and then our son, Stone, came along in August 2008. He is truly my greatest accomplishment. I never knew how amazing being a mother could be!

Shane, Stone, and I spend our time doing what most ranch folks do:  tending to our livestock, fixing fence, watching weather reports, speculating about the market, helping neighbors, and praying for few storms, heavy calves, and good prices at sale time. I also own a custom crystal cap business called Cowgirl Swank. I started it in 2007 and it has grown significantly in the last seven years.

I’m proud to say that my upbringing has led me to where I am today so I owe my folks a big “Thank You” for that! I love to write, which is something I did a lot as a kid (back in the days before Dish TV and iPads). I write poems, short stories, and I blog. I also love to cook so my blog allows me to share recipes, tell stories of ranch life, and I can talk about one of my favorite things, Women’s Ranch Rodeo.  I hope you enjoy reading my column as much as I’m going to enjoy writing it every two weeks!

That’s it! Hope you enjoyed reading it. Enjoy this first day of spring….may it be the first of many wonderful weather days to enjoy in the coming months! ~Cheyenne

First Time Pizza & Martha

We tagged our heifers yesterday. Basically this means that we took out the I.D. buttons that were in their ears and replaced them with ear tags that mean something to us in our record book. We use numbers on our tags plus the year on them as well to identify what year these particular heifers were born. This is what our ear tags look like (this year we are using purple).

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Working cows around here is a family effort. Even though Stone had oral surgery on Tuesday….he was out helping us like a trooper. Most ranch kids are this way…..Shane and I can totally relate because we were both raised like this. It taught us the value of working hard at a young age. The term “Cowboy Up” comes to mind when I think about our lifestyle. We don’t get sick days…..someone always has to be available to check on things around here and take care of our livestock. Ranch kids don’t shirk their responsibilities and they grow up understanding the importance of pulling their weight. I am truly so glad we get to raise Stone in the same fashion. I truly think it’s a gift to be a rancher. Here is Stone pushing up the heifers….he did a great job too!

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Stone is fortunate enough to have a few cows to call his own. His most gentle cow is #76. She was obviously someone’s bottle calf at one point. This isn’t commonplace what I’m about to show you!

Stone on his cow

She’s a great cow….and she’s young so we hope to have many more fun-filled years at the caking pickup with her! Next up in the “gentle” category is Stone’s soon-to-be-milk cow, Meet Martha!

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She is a “milk cow-in-training”. She hangs out with our heifers in the calving lot and is one step closer to learning the ropes around here. Milk cows are essential on a ranch. We use them primarily for a good milk source for any bum calves we have along the way. Stone recently found out about milking cows….he’s all fired up about milking Martha. That won’t take place until next year as Martha has to wait until this spring/summer to meet a handsome boyfriend.  Stone is pretty proud of Martha….can’t you tell?!

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Martha has a lot to learn in the next year….primarily…..how to wear a halter and how to lead. She really needs to be as gentle as a kitten by next spring….we are hoping that she is as quiet and nice as she is now come next March!

Our first step with her today is to get her accustomed to her new halter. Shane is putting it on her here.

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We will keep a close watch on it as time goes on….inevitably she will grow and her halter will need to be adjusted to grow with her. She really is a nice Holstein heifer. She even got a new pick ear tag that said “Martha” on it with Stone’s brand on the back of it. 🙂

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She doesn’t seem to mind her new halter at all! Stone gives her some pets to reassure her that all is okay. 🙂

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Animals and children really are gifts from God. We are blessed to have them both in our lives. My son is at the center of everything we do. We are truly blessed to be parents and we know it…..we are thankful always. Teaching our son the value of animals in our livelihood and how to care from him is truly a bonus in what we do for a living. I took a selfie today…..not something I do all the time, but I couldn’t resist. I had the best cowhand by my side today…..who cares about the dirt on our faces…..it’s pure happiness in our hearts doing what we love to do!

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We had a great day working heifers…..great weather and each others company….what more can you ask for?!

As I mentioned yesterday I have never made pizza from scratch…..GASP!!! Haha…..I think it’s rather funny and odd that I’ve never done it before…..I don’t know why…..just never have. I guess I should reword that….I have made homemade pizza before, but I let my bread maker do all the work for me. Talk about a nightmare kneading that dough…..ugh! By the time the second one came around I grabbed for my Kitchen Aid mixer and let it do all the work.  I still can’t feel my left hand…..I have an old injury in my left wrist that really flares up when I have to do certain strenuous things….kneading dough is one of them….so……I’m all about modern conveniences when it comes to that. Forget about doing it old school!

Anyway, I started with this:

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I used the recipe for the pizza crust on the back. I won’t go into all the details of that. It was relatively easy once I got the hang of it……I have to be honest here….Thankfully there were three packets because I ruined the first batch. UGH!!! I’m not afraid to admit that I’m far from perfect…..I have occasional accidents in the kitchen….and this was one of them. Check this out:

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Doesn’t that look yummy?! Haha…..it was hard, dry, and gross….it went in the garbage. The next batch I made…..I slowed down and added half as much flour…..what a huge improvement. I tend to do things too fast some of the time…..guess I won’t do that again when making pizza dough!

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My second batch….I used my mixer like I mentioned. Both of these batches turned out perfectly. Mama Mia….I love pizza!

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I used my two pizza stones from Pampered Chef….I love them both and I’ve used them a ton as you can tell from the looks of this one.

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I sprinkled them both with corn meal to give a little slip under the dough.

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I spread out the dough (does that sound like the right term?) and then used my fingers to push in little holes all over the place. I was told this helps prevent air bubbles in the crust as it is baking.

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Next I put on the pizza sauce.

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Then on went the cheese!

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About this time, my little boy asked what I was doing. He got so excited about putting the pepperonis on……I love his excitement at this age!

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He did a great job! Now it’s ready for the oven:

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I baked both pizzas (one at a time) in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes each. They were both perfect! I swear I could each pizza daily and it wouldn’t phase me…..as long as someone else can knead the dough for me….I’m good!

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Do any of you make your own pizza? I’m totally inspired now. My mom and I absolutely love the Tuscan Roma pizza at Pizza Ranch. It has a base of alfredo sauce and is topped with spinach and tomatoes….Yummo!!! I’m going to try some exotic mixtures like that next time I do this…..like in a few days…..I wasn’t kidding when I said I love pizza…..Stone agrees with me….pizza once a day would be heavenly! ~Cheyenne

Oral Surgery Ordeal

Wow…..what a tumultuous couple of days we have had. We went through Stone having oral surgery in Rapid City yesterday and got to travel home 100 miles….the last 8 of which were in the lovely gumbo mud that I’m so fond of (yeah, right….). We were all exhausted by the time we got home.

We went up to Rapid City on Monday afternoon. We had some errands to run and wanted to get together with my cousin, ReAnn, to celebrate her belated birthday. We also planned to stay at the Ramkota because of their little water park. Stone loves it and it’s better than the larger water park in town (Watiki) in my opinion. The last few times we stayed at Watiki we all got sick the first time, the last time I got folliculitis and Stone got a rash/flakiness in his hair….not good. Both require medication to get rid of so I’m not a fan of Watiki any longer. Anyway……we wanted Stone to have some fun before he underwent oral surgery early the next morning so that was our plan.

We got our errands done and met ReAnn at Minerva’s for supper. She brought her daughter, Rylee, along. Stone and Rylee are cousins….and good buddies. We had only eaten breakfast at Minerva’s before as it is connected to the Ramkota so it was perfect the last time we stayed there to grab a bite before we checked out. I have heard good things about Minerva’s and was excited to eat there. I’m happy to report that it was delicious! ReAnn and Shane each had cheeseburgers, Rylee and Stone had buttered noodles, and I splurged…..I had the Canadian Walleye. Oh my gosh….it was awesome! The salad bar was out of this world also. It was fun to get together with them and enjoy some time together. After we finished, they headed home and we headed off to the pool.

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We all swam and had a great time. We met some nice folks there who had two kids. Stone played and we visited. Shane and I went down the water slide (me….just once). I swallowed half the pool so once was more than enough for me! It was fun though…..I truly enjoy making memories like this with my family. Shane stayed and visited some more. I took Stone to the room to get showered. He was hungry so we ordered a pizza from Minerva’s. I wanted him to eat since he couldn’t eat or drink past midnight until after his surgery (we had no idea how he would do so I didn’t want him hungry if we could help it). We walked down and got the pizza…..Stone ate 3/4 of it by himself. It was hand-tossed and grilled. Holy cow….it was to die for!!! Minerva’s definitely get a thumbs up in my opinion!

We got up the next morning at 6 am…..and it was snowing and blowing like crazy. Shane held Stone and I drove the back streets to get to the surgery center. We made it 15 minutes early. I was nerve wracked….mostly because of his surgery. It’s a funny thing when you have children…..I can have anything done to myself, but when it comes to my son…..I freak out. Not even a little bit either…..I did pretty good and disguising it from him though (Shane said he could see how freaked I was in my eyes). Midway though the nurse came out and asked if they could remove Stone’s top 3 front teeth (two right in front and one next to them). They had decay on them and were just going to lead to more trouble down the road. So, we agreed to have them removed. In addition to that he had root canals and crowns put on 6 molars. Stone went in for surgery at 7:30 and was done and out of there by 9:00. It went so quickly…..I couldn’t believe it! He woke up happy like he always does….he was groggy and sleepy so we just picked him up and drove home. Shane looks like he could use a nap here too:

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What a nerve wracking experience. They were great at the surgery center though so I give them kudos for that. It’s crazy to think that his procedure yesterday cost as much as half my 2005 Chevy Pickup…..unbelievable!! I’m not going to complain…..it’s done with and he is on the road to recovery….with healthy teeth that will no longer affect his adult teeth below the surface. All in all…..it’s good.

We got home before noon, which surprised me. It also surprised me that my husband got us stuck half a mile from our house.

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Have I mentioned how much I loathe gumbo mud? Hmmmm…..I think I have a time or two…..I have to warn you that I don’t see me stopping that anytime soon. Here we are with our little boy recovering from surgery….stuck ON THE ROAD!!!! No, we didn’t go off the road…..we didn’t go boonie-bashing…..we simply were trying to get home…..but no, we got stuck…..and I mean STUCK!!!! It took our four wheel drive tractor to get us out……Oh, the glory!

Anyway, we were all exhausted when we got home….no wonder, right?! We didn’t do much yesterday. Stone only needed some Tylenol once and one of his stitches came out. He’s so funny….didn’t bother him at all. He slept well…..we all did. It was all just a huge relief to have it all done with. We got up feeling refreshed. I made him his favorite for breakfast….pancakes. He ate like a trucker……all is right in the world today! Here’s my new toothless little man….I sure do love him! 🙂

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We are getting ready to go over and re-tag our heifers. After that, I’ve decided to tackle some homemade pizza for the first time ever. Don’t get me wrong….I’ve made pizza before, but I’ve never made the crust and all that jazz from scratch.

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It’s been on my “to do” list for some time now….in the spirit of the great pizza we had at Minerva’s I feel inclined to give it a whirl. I’ll report on how it went tomorrow…..wish me luck! ~Cheyenne

Moving Cows in Muck & Chicken Tortilla Soup

The sun is shining again today….hooray!!! It’s a vast improvement over Friday, which was overcast, gloomy, and cold. Of course, I spent the majority of the Friday trailing cows…..that’s just how things seem to work out here sometimes!

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As I’ve mentioned numerous times, we live in the gumbo. If you don’t know what gumbo is count yourself lucky and never try to find out. If you do, then you know the difficulties we face every time any kind of moisture occurs out here. Calving will be starting anytime for us so we decided to bring our heifers in and then move our mama cows to where the heifers had been (our calving pasture). The heifers need to be watched so we brought them in two miles to our corrals where they will call home until they have had their babies. The mama cows (or old cows as we call them sometimes, which doesn’t make sense because our cows aren’t “old”) were brought from one of our far east pastures. It was about a 4 miles trek for them. That normally isn’t a great distance, but add the gumbo mud and it quadruples all efforts of physical movement. In all honesty, when it’s like this we normally leave our horses at home and jump onto our four wheelers or our Rhino. Don’t get me wrong….we could ride our horses, but we don’t have any young guns right now who need to be worn down so the point is mute. Plus, the endless running back and forth in this muck is not fun…..it can cripple a horse. Our horses mean to much to us to do that to them (yes, I baby them….it’s my prerogative). That philosophy may sound strange to some, but until you’ve lived out in this stuff…..don’t judge! 🙂 We use horses a lot, but we like to save them for the dry times of the year (and there are plenty of those coming up).

This is how my windshield looked most of the day….caked with mud and ice. It was a cold bugger out there and I’m truly thankful that I had the windshield to block the wind….even if it was hard to see through it.

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My trusty steed for the day…..here it is:

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Yep, and my trusty little side-kick sneaked into the picture too! He actually stay in the house with Grandma yesterday….I’m so thankful that we have that option when we need it. Stone loves his Grandma so his day was a great one….I think hers was too! 🙂

The run off from the melting snow is just crazy! Our creek is out of its banks in some places. We haven’t had this happen for several years now. We have a huge culvert between my folks’ place and ours. We drive over it every time we have to go to their house or if we have to go to town. It is smack dab in the middle of our places. Of course we had to trail the cows over it too. I didn’t know how that was going to go since it sounds like a freight train with all the raging water going through it. See what I mean:

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It’s quite a sight….and sound to see that much water in a normally dormant creek. My dad was concerned that it might overflow and go over the road. When we finished last night there was about 2 inches of room left at the top of the culvert. I haven’t made it over there yet to see if it went above that or not yet. I will be venturing over there soon though because we will be putting out straw bedding in our heifer jugs (pens) in the shed. We also need to feed our heifers hay every day now that they are at the corral. It’s always exciting when the first baby is born….that should be happening before long. Here are the heifers on their final leg of the journey.

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The weather stayed the same all day….foggy, misty, cold, and damp. There was mud everywhere…..and I’m afraid it will be this way for quite some time. I have kind of a love/hate relationship with moisture out here. Don’t get me wrong….I’m not so self-absorbed that I don’t realize that we need it….and lots of it….it’s just that we pay a high price for it. We endure this greasy, slimy stuff every time it happens…..we stay home….we don’t galavant off to down unless it’s absolutely necessary…..we don’t get to ride for the fun of it…..exercising horses or having fun in that fashion is out….for weeks sometimes. I know we need moisture, but………okay, complaint over…..our cows/horses need green grass so I’ll shut up. 🙂

Thursday night, I decided that I needed to use up some chicken breasts in my freezer. Perfect opportunity to make Chicken Tortilla Soup! My recipe is from The Pioneer Woman, but…..I’ve made it my own. Here is the link to her recipe and I’m posting my version below.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (Cheyenne’s Version)

  • 4 good-sized boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 -2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp. Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp. Chili Powder
  • ½ tsp. Onion Salt
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 TB Olive Oil
  • 1 Red Onion, diced
  • 1 Green Pepper, diced
  • 1 Yellow Pepper, diced
  • 1 Red Pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Crushed or Minced
  • 1 10 oz. can Rotel Tomatoes and Green Chiles
  • 32 oz, Chicken Broth
  • 1 small can Tomato Paste
  • 1 TB Cilantro
  • 4 cups Hot Water
  • 2 – 15 oz. cans Black Beans, drained
  • 3 TB Cornmeal or Masa
  • 2 cups of Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • Tortilla Chips, used when serving the soup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the chicken breasts into thinner pieces for quicker cooking. Mix cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, and salt. Drizzle 1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil on chicken breasts (coating both sides), then sprinkle some of the spice mix on both sides. Set aside the rest of the spice mix. Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet or in a casserole dish as I have.

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Bake for 30 minutes, turning once until chicken is done. Use two forks to shred the chicken. Set aside.

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Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add onions, peppers, and minced garlic.

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Stir and begin cooking, then add the rest of the spice mix.

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Stir to combine, then add shredded chicken and stir.

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Pour in Rotel, chicken broth, tomato paste, cilantro, water, and black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, covered.

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Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water.

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Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes.

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Check seasonings, adding more if needed – add more chili powder if it needs more spice, and be sure not to undersalt. *I always seem to add more seasonings…..we like lots of taste at our house!* Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Five minutes before serving, stir in cheese.

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Ladle into bowls that have tortilla chips crunched up in the bottom, top with a few more chips, shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream. You can also garnish the soup with diced red onion, diced avocado, pico de gallo, etc. The garnishes really make the soup delicious!

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So, there you have it! Hope you give either version a whirl….they are both delicious…..similar, yet different. Well, the sun is shining…..I’d better get out there……have lots to do today. Enjoy! ~Cheyenne