Buzzard's Beat

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Beer Drenched Pork Chops

My friends and family will tell you I'm not a beer drinker. However, that does not mean that I won't cook with it - hence this recipe that I found on Pinterest.

When you read through the ingredients you're probably going to think the pork chops will be bitter and overwhelmingly 'hoppy.' Not so.

I only made three chops with this recipe but should have made six because I was wishing I had more for leftover lunches the following days.

Without further ado:

Beer Drenched Pork Chops
- 1 bottle dark beer (not as dark as Guinness - I used Amber Bock)
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- six pork chops
- salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 water

Season chops with salt & pepper.

The beginning of a great meal
Place in a skillet with a little bit of vegetable/canola oil. Brown both sides.

Mmmmm, meat.
While the chops are browning, combine your beer, ketchup and brown sugar and mix together well.

The dark beer of choice - I'd say it turned out well!
Mix together ketchup, brown sugar and beer. It will be foamy - don't worry.
After chops are brown, add beer mixture to pan and simmer, uncovered, until chops are 145 degrees F. This will take about 15 minutes but use a meat thermometer to be certain - don't overcook your pork or it will be too dry! Especially since you're going to add them back to the sauce briefly to coat.

 Bubbly, porky goodness
Remove pork chops and set aside. Add ~1 tbsp cornstarch and 1/4 water to sauce mixture and simmer briefly to thicken. Add chops back to mixture and coat with sauce for a few minutes. Serve with rice or your choice of sides.
 
Don't be fooled - my food photography skills are not improving I just used some editing to make it look 'better' - I think white plates and natural lighting would drastically improve my plated meals!

That's it! Seriously one of the best pork recipes I've ever had - I hope you love it as much as the Ninja and I did!
 
Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~


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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Drought Happens in the Winter, Too

I know it's commonplace to associate drought with summer time. July and August are generally known for low precipitation and high temperatures. Yuck. I am not a fan of summer.

However, drought happens year round. While my home state of Kansas and the Ninja's home state of Ohio are faring well in terms of moisture through the cold months (I'm still waiting on snow to melt from January and NW Ohio has had a near record-breaking winter), farmers and ranchers in California are desperate for moisture. Any moisture.

California rancher Meg Brown of The Beef Jar has been blogging about the difficulties her family's ranch is facing with such an extreme drought.

Meg is not alone. As you can see, there are numerous states that are struggling with a lack of moisture right now.



 
So while there are many people [including myself] who are tired of snow, we should all keep those drought affected regions in our thoughts. Furthermore, that big purple portion of the map is responsible for A LOT of fruit and vegetable production in the USA and without water, it's going to be hard to get decent yields.
 
Just some food for thought!
 
Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Easy Last-Minute Chicken Stir Fry

I know, I know. It's chicken. Why is Buzzard blogging about chicken?

Because chicken is tasty when you season it perfectly, it's flexible and it's meat. Nuff said. Moving on.

Some days, I just really can't get motivated to think of something for dinner. My brain shuts off and just says, "hmmmm hamburger helper will work." However, then I feel bad that the Ninja has been at work for 12 hours and would probably appreciate a real meal with more than just meat and carbs. Picky, picky.

So, the other night, about 30 minutes before he gets home, I decide I should make something real. Out come the chicken breasts for three reasons:
  1. We only have ground beef right now; no steaks or roasts and I already told you I didn't want to make hamburger helper.
  2. Usually, for last minute meals I will use chicken because I can just bake it and while it's baking [which takes foreverrrrr], I can make some veggies and a rice or pasta dish.
  3. They were in the fridge/freezer and I didn't want to venture outside to the garage freezer to look for something different.
My brain ran through all the chicken ideas I had that weren't just plain baked chicken and I finally settled on stir-fry. It's colorful, has a lot of veggies and super easy and quick! A lot of people think they need a wok or that making sauce will be difficult. It's not. Quit telling yourself that you can't do this because it's easy and you can!

Here is what came of my last minute meal prep using chicken - I hope you like it! Beef fajita strips or stew meat could just as easily be used for this (neither of which I had on hand).

Easy Last-Minute Chicken Stir Fry (makes 2 servings)

- About 1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 green pepper
- baby carrots, cut in 1/2 lengthwise
- 1/4 white onion, sliced up (or diced, your preference)
- Minute rice
- 2 cloves garlic (or minced garlic ~ 1.5 tbsp)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- vegetable oil

Chop your chicken breasts into bite sized hunks.

Buzzard's Beat Easy Last-Minute Chicken Stir Fry
 
Brown chicken in hot pan with a couple tbsp veggie oil and 1/2 the garlic. Set aside on low heat.

On a separate cutting board (food safety!) slice and dice up your veggies. Again, I used green pepper, onion and carrots because that's what we had in the fridge but you could use whatever you like. I think sugar snap peas would be ok, as well.

Buzzard's Beat Easy Last-Minute Chicken Stir Fry
 
In a separate pan, fry veggies with a little vegetable oil and the rest of the garlic. Cook until soft enough to eat but still crispy.

Buzzard's Beat Easy Last-Minute Chicken Stir Fry
 
In a bowl, combine soy sauce, cornstarch and lime juice. Add to chicken when vegetables are nearly done. Allow sauce to thicken and stir around with chicken.

Buzzard's Beat Easy Last-Minute Chicken Stir Fry
 
Prepare rice according to directions. Combine chicken (when cooked through) and sauce with veggies - stir together. Spread over rice and enjoy!

Buzzard's Beat Easy Last-Minute Chicken Stir Fry

I did a lot of winging it with this recipe and the Ninja LOVED IT so I'm sure that you can do the exact same thing. The important factor is to make sure the chicken is done and that you allow the sauce to thicken a little bit over heat. If you want a saltier sauce, add more soy sauce. Also, we really like garlic in our house but if you aren't a huge fan, you can trim the amount back.

 Also, just as a reminder, I'm not a food photographer, although I really think I am getting better. The Ninja said this is one of his new favorite recipes.

Hope you like it!

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~


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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Doggie Antics

 Oh look, more videos of our dogs :)



video
Rooster was extremely excited that our beloved Wildcats beat the chickenhawks on Monday night!

video
Little dog + deep snow = adorable
 
Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~
 

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Cold in Black & White

Do you ever notice how winter photos that are black & white make you feel colder than those in color? Or is it just me?

I'm cold just looking at our woodpile


I run on this gravel road - except when it's covered in snow

So this one isn't black & white but look how that blue door and
 red brick silo pop against an almost monochromatic landscape!



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Monday, February 3, 2014

Hunk of Meat Monday: Easy, Delicious Beef Meatballs in Under an Hour!

Dear readers, it is 'Hunk of Meat Monday' and yes, you read that right. You can prepare a delicious home-made beef meal in less than an hour. For reals.

This week, I thought I'd share something that doesn't require a crockpot - no offense Crockie, I still love you but sometimes you need something that tastes fresh, ya know?

I made this recipe because I wanted to see if it could compare to my grandmother's meatball recipe, which I have no intention of sharing. Good news - these are fantastic! This is the second time I've made them and they were delicious both times and SO FANTASTICALLY SIMPLE. The great thing is that you could substitute pork, veal or lamb really easily, or do a combo. The next time I make them, I plan to combine pork and beef.

Buzzard's Meatballs
  • 1 lb hunk of meat ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp H2O
  • 1/2 c bread crumbs (I make a piece of toast, then tear apart and put in my food processor)
  • 1/4 c minced onions
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ~ 1 tsp garlic salt*
  • ~ 1 tsp Italian seasoning*
* Remember my inability to measure things? Note the approximation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (that's 177 degrees Celsius for my Aussie friends). In large bowl, combine all ingredients except meat and mix together.

Easy, Delicious Beef Meatballs in Under an Hour!
Doesn't look like much but all those spices contribute to the delicious factor!
Add hunk of meat/ground beef, broken into chunks, and mush with your hands to combine.

Easy, Delicious Beef Meatballs in Under an Hour!
Mix it - mix it real good.
Form into meatballs and bake for 25-30 minutes for 1" balls. If your balls are larger, it will take more time to bake them. Mine were larger than a golf ball so it took about 40 minutes (always use a meat thermometer and for ground beef recipes like this, the internal temp should be 165 F).

Easy, Delicious Beef Meatballs in Under an Hour!
Handsome little fellas
These could be really great for spaghetti or pasta or as a stand-alone meal. I like to prepare them as a meal and then serve with veggies and pasta on the side.


Easy, Delicious Beef Meatballs in Under an Hour!
I've mentioned before that food photography is not my forte but trust your tongue not your eyes - these are delicious!
I hope you enjoy! Sound off below and let me know if you liked it!

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~


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Sunday, February 2, 2014

My Two Favorite Super Bowl Commercials

This won't surprise any of you but I was pretty excited about a few of the Super Bowl commercials.

By far my favorite was the labrador puppy and the Budweiser Clydesdales, "Puppy Love." It sort of spoke to me since it was like watching Rooster the Rodeo Dog play with my ponies (albeit, much smaller ponies in my barn). I'm not going to lie, I teared up watching it. If you have ever owned and loved a dog or a horse, I bet you will get a little misty, too.



Second place was the Chevy "Romance" commerical, for many reasons:
1. Chevy trucks are the best
2. They incorporated the cattle business
3. Great background music
4. Herefords are easily in my top 3 favorite breeds of cattle



Anyone else think they used a horned Hereford bull to help the audience differentiate between male and female?

What was your favorite Super Bowl commercial?

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

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