Thursday, November 19, 2015

Sweet and Salty Toffee Crackers!
Sometimes genius hits!  This week after realizing I was almost out of brown sugar, one of the quickest and easiest desserts was created in under fifteen minutes. The results were delicious and as our staff at school said simply addicting.  These Sweet and Salty Toffee Crackers are one of my newest dessert creations that will be at every holiday meal from now on.

The secret ingredient to these little gems are the Heath Toffee Bits - Bit 'O Brickel Toffee Bits that top off the saltine crackers.  Just recently my husband and I have discovered Heath Bars and we love them and especially in the snack size bars.  Adding these little sugary bits made specifically for baking to the crackers truly took them over the top in flavor!


I used unsalted butter for the best results, but you could substitute with margarine instead.  The combination of brown and white sugars worked as well along with the vanilla to flavor them.  And for the saltine crackers the cheapest costing brand worked just fine.

These crackers will keep up to two weeks covered in an airtight container and would be perfect for the holidays ahead.

So the next time you are needing a delicious, quick and easy dessert to take to a party or just make for yourself or family, here is the perfect recipe.  I literally threw this together before taking my daughter to school in fifteen minutes. You can't get any easier than that. The extra cooking time in the oven with the heat turned off was a result of her needing to be at school and using the oven timer to stop the cooking as I drove away. 

Did I tell you how much I love my cooking timer on my oven? It's a must for busy cooks and times that take you away from your kitchen. 

Click here for the recipe for The Ranch Kitchen's

Sweet and Salty Toffee Crackers!

It's like I never know when genius will hit.  Sometimes it's because you are a last minute, late to school mom who needs a dessert for a potluck at school and whammo you've created something wonderful! 

This was my genius for the week.  It doesn't happen often! 




Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sure Champs November Post 'Recipes from the Ranch' - Holiday Must Haves!


Thanksgiving is almost here and most of us will be thinking toward what recipes to fix for our holiday meals.  For this month's Sure Champ's Recipes from the Ranch we shared some of my families favorite side dishes that have now become a tradition at our house.

It's a cook greatest wish to impress her family and friends and these recipes are always highly requested and loved.

Each of these recipes are easy to prepare the day before, cook the day of or add the dressing to right before serving.  Served here are my Sure Champ Blue Ribbon Green Beans and The Ranch Kitchen's Winter Salad. 


Check out the November Blog post below at the link or by clicking on the picture.  You'll find both recipes on the Sure Champ site and also on my recipe tab on The Ranch Kitchen Blog and Recipe Site.

You can read the blog post here at -
Sure Champ Recipes from the Ranch November Must Have Blog Post.

What are your favorite recipes?  I'd love for you to share them on my The Ranch Kitchen blog.  It's easy to create a login and post your recipes so that your famly and friends can easily access your family favorites for generations to come!

Happy holidays a little early and enjoy the cool, crisp weather ahead!

Alise Nolan


Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Ranch Kitchen's Apple Cake

It's been years since I made my last apple cake.  It's one of my husband's favorites, even if he doesn't remember that fact. 

Years ago, one of our most veteran teachers Mavis Dacus would bring her apple cake to school. It was one of the best cakes I'd ever eaten and remember it well to this day. Being the organized person that I am....I've had the recipe in my hands twice...lost it... and now had to resort with trying my best to recreate it.  I will be asking for the recipe again from her sweet granddaughter Dee...hint...hint.

This past weekend I bought a jumbo bag of tart, green apples from my local Sam's Club so that making an apple cake would definitely happen. 

As I made this cake, I'd forgotten how hard it is to mix the dough together once you add the apples in.  It's for sure a muscle building exercise making this delicious cake, but so worth it.  Just make sure you mix the ingredients at the end together with a large, sturdy spoon or you might break your mixer.

The cinnamon can also be optional if you have allergies to it, but I think it makes the cake even better.   

Click here for the recipe for The Ranch Kitchen's Apple Cake!

As the leaves begin to fall and apples are being harvested, this is the perfect cake to make for home, work, church or just because you know your husband loves it.  Right Scott?!  (He really did love it!) And thankfully so did our second grade teachers today at school. 


Sometimes it takes a little muscle to get the cake in the oven!

Alise - The Ranch Kitchen

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Cowboy Beans

Cowboy Beans

It's the first day of fall and nothing says cooler weather more than a big bowl of pinto beans simmering on the stove.

This past weekend, on our thankfully lazy Sunday afternoon, I cooked a dish we all grew up with around my house called Cowboy Beans.  This dish was made famous by my mom because anytime she placed the word cowboy in front of a dish, my brothers would eat it up and so would I. 

The name just sounded rough and tough....something surely we should eat and always did.  Moms of little, rowdy boys like my brothers have to learn what works and naming her food seemed to do the trick.

Pinto beans are one of those one pot meals that you can make and allow to cook all afternoon.  The pinto beans in this recipe had not been presoaked the night before to tenderize the beans. Just follow the directions on the back of your beans package for the 'quick cooking' method.  However, if you do presoak your pinto beans you will reduce your cooking time by half.

You may chose to use your pressure or slow cooker to make this dish even easier.  Just follow their cooking directions for similar recipes.

Adding ground beef, pork, or turkey to these pinto beans makes this a meal chalked full of extra protein.  I baked some homemade cornbread with a square pat of real butter making us all pretty content and full by that evening.  You can get a recipe for my Jumbo Mexican Cornbread here, but I'd cut the recipe down by 3/4 as this recipe is for a huge crowd!  Of course you can always freeze the cornbread. 

Click here on the link for our Cowboy Beans to get the recipe where you can copy, share by email or to save in your files. 

This recipe can be served on top of rice and is always better the second day when the flavors seem to continue to improve.  Reheat Cowboy Beans on your stove or in your microwave oven the next day. 

We hope you'll enjoy this simple dish that is a family favorite on our ranch and a favorite of my childhood.  It's one of my husband's favorites that we cook all fall and winter long. 

         Alise - The Ranch Kitchen


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Black Bean Salsa Two Ways

One of my new favorite ways to eat black beans are in a homemade salsa.  They are light, healthy, and full of flavor.  Usually, I have most everything that's needed in my pantry and throwing a salsa like this together is no big deal. 
For camping a few weeks back, I wanted recipes that could be easily packed and brought out with sandwiches and meals at night that didn't keep me in the kitchen.  When we camp it's all about being out on the lake helping my husband run his trot lines for catfish or enjoying water sports with our girls.  I've found that recipes like these last a few days and are good with tortilla chips or as an easy side vegetable dish along fried catfish.
They say that great minds think alike, and when we invited our dear friends the Parker's over for Saturday night's fish fry, she in turn as any good southern gal does, brought a side dish to help out.  Funny thing is that she brought her own black bean salsa.  So, we left mine in the refrigerator for a later meal and devoured hers!  It was delicious as anything is that Cindy makes. 
For our Sure Champ 'Recipes from the Ranch' post this month, I chose to share both our recipes for readers.  Cindy's is more traditional with the possible addition of avocado, while mine adds black olives.  I've also added fresh bell pepppers, chili's and even fresh tomatoes to difference variations on this easy recipe.  An additional squeeze or two of lime juice takes this salsa over the top and cilantro gives it the freshest of taste. 

The Ranch Kitchen's Black Bean Salsa


You'll notice in this recipe the different colors of  the black beans.  This was from the two different brands of black beans I bought.  Both tasted good, but the blackest beans were the best tasting I thought.  Make sure you rinse and drain the beans well, as they have a thick black liquid that come with them in the can.  You'll want you black beans only (not the residue) in this dip so that the flavor shines through and doesn't discolor your salsa. 

Cindy's Black Bean and Roasted Corn Salsa 

We hope you'll try these black bean salsa recipes soon.  They will keep for up to four days refrigerated and are great to take to share.
Remember, no one said cooking had to be hard!
Alise  - The Ranch Kitchen