Thursday, January 21, 2016

Leftovers into Yummy Pork and Noodles

Last night I made a Pork roast in the oven with chicken broth, onions, celery and a few carrots. I also made a gravy using some the juice from the pot after it was out of the oven. I made plenty of gravy so with my leftovers, I poured the extra gravy in with my veggies and broth and I shredded my meat using a fork and a knife to cut off any fat and added it to the mix. Clean up was simple I just threw it all in the fridge in one large storage container. 

Today I placed egg noodles in the bottom  of a crockpot with my mixture from last night on top. I had to add a little more juice as the noodles will soak up a lot while cooking. I would have preferred more cooking stock or broth but I was all out from the night before so I added some chicken bouillon powder and water. If you need just a little more moisture, follow the bouillon instructions of once cup of water per 1tsp of powder.  

I placed the crock pot on low for 8 hrs and stirred anytime I was in the kitchen (not because it needed it but because it's what I do).

Okay here is where the proof that I am NOT a professional chef: I added way too much water so I added some sour cream to thicken it up after a few hours. An hour later I still wasn't happy with how soupy it was so I made a little gravy by melting butter and 1/4 cup of flour in a saucepan. I then used the moisture from my crockpot to make a little gravy. I let it cook just as I would gravy and poured the mixture into the crockpot. That helped a lot and the sour cream made a nice creamy color that will go perfect over mashed potatoes. 

Just before dinner time I boiled a large pot of water and placed my peeled and quartered potatoes in the pot. I boiled until the potatoes were soft and a fork easy pierced the potato. 

Next I drained the water, added a couple tablespoons of butter and milk and mashed. If too thick for your taste, add milk. I wanted mine kind of dry and chunky so the adsorb some of the gravy from the pork and noodles. 

Last I prepared plates by one scoop of mashed potatoes and one large scoop of pork and noodles poured over the top. 

Yum Yum! 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Pork Pot Roast for the Lazy Wife

I have no idea what time the hubby is going to be home tonight. He has to move round bales and deliver hay for his father's customers on his way home from work. His famous last words were "shouldn't take too long". So I need a dinner that is flexible for serving but not a ridiculous amount of calories as I cheated on my diet and had a Latte and coffee cake this afternoon. 

I have several friends that think I'm superhuman because I can create a big wholesome meal like their moms used to make but they do not believe me that it is no big deal! This recipe is for you. 

I started with a 3 lb Pork roast. I choose a loin as it was on sale this week at the grocery store. It makes a lot of leftovers which is great but I can even shred some of my leftover meat for supper tomorrow night for bbq pork sandwiches or stew etc I haven't decided yet. 

Next I rubbed the meat with whatever seasonings sounded good at the time. I had some Italian seasoning leftover from another recipe so used that, onion flakes, garlic, salt and pepper. Pretty basic stuff. Sometimes I will use Cajun seasoning or something a little spicy for a kick of flavor but tonight I'm going to make a small batch of gravy because that's what he likes best and Cajun tastes a little funky with gravy. 

<<<(Variation if you like a well cooked crust/color on your roast- I want to use my leftovers for a soup or sandwich so I want the whole thing soft and skipped this step) --- use 2-3 tbsp of olive oil on bottom of a pan or you can use your Dutch oven. Place on a burner and cook each side to preferred color. Remember this is not cooking the meat internally just adding color to the end product. Now continue on to the recipe below. >>>

Next I put the roast in a large Dutch oven. I added chicken broth (just enough to go about half the height of the roast), some veggies I had in the fridge for myself as the hubby won't touch them. Carrots, celery, onion tonight. You can add anything you think will taste good or no veggies at all. Finally I added some peeled potato halves to the liquid so they would be nice and soft by dinner time with making another dish to wash.  

Next I placed the covered Dutch oven in the oven at 275 degrees. I can cook this for about 3 hours but I start checking my meat temperature at about 2 hours to make sure it isn't over done. You want to remove from the oven at about 140 degrees internally and let it sit for at least 10 mins to finish cooking. It must be 145-160 degrees internally to be safely cooked. Anything more than that will just dry the meat out. 

You can either serve sliced with the veggies and potatoes on the side or you can make a quick and easy gravy in a skillet to pour over your dinner. 

Gravy: 1-2 tbsp of butter melted in pan. Add 3 tbsp of flour and mix well over medium high heat. Slowly add some of the juice and drippings from the roast and mix well. Keep stirring and add the leftover chicken stock to the pan a little at a time. Here you want to use a little judgement on the thickness of gravy you prefer. I like my gravy a little runnier for roast than I do for breakfast gravy so I'll add a little more stock/broth than someone who likes it thick. Whatever you like, add enough liquid (slowly) that it is runnier than you prefer. Here is a good opportunity to add some spices. I like using the same type of spices I used on my roast for consistent flavor but salt and pepper to taste are most important. Remember the broth you use will naturally be fairly salty so be careful to taste test before getting too crazy. Stir and cook for 5-10 mins until it reaches the consistency you like on medium heat. If it thickens too quickly, add more liquid and lower your temperature. 

Serve and enjoy!! 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Fast and Easy Pasta Salad

Tonight pasta was on sale but I had to purchase 10 boxes to get the deal. Okay challenge excepted! We haven't had my pasta salad for a while so perfect side for the hubby's lunchbox this week. 

First rule and most importantly, cold salads or side dishes HAVE to be attractive otherwise they will not get eaten quickly! That is why I have to make mine with TriColored Rotini. It is so pretty! I cooked the noodles to the package's directions making sure not to over cook as no one likes mushy cold noodles. 

Next I drained the noodles and immediately added one bottle of Italian dressing. You can make your own, it is not difficult but it is a week night and I have books to dive into. 

Next I added cherry tomatoes. I kept mine whole as I do not like tomatoes and it is easy to pick out when serving. 

Here's the fun part, you can add whatever you like! Sometimes I like bacon crumbles and cubes of cheese, sometimes I add black olives, but my favorite is to add pepperoni. I like the mini pepperoni and will sometimes use the turkey kind as there is little to no flavor difference but tonight I could only find the original sized pieces so I quartered about 2 oz, separated the stick little slices and stirred them into my mixture. 

Lastly I topped with a little bit of cheese for those cheese lovers and placed in the fridge. It will be ready to serve in a couple of hours or perfect by morning. 

Hearty and Cheap Meal

I have this newly discovered app on my phone that hooks up to my fuel saver card from the local grocery store that keeps my coupons on the fuel save card so I do not have to clip or remember to grab my envelope from home. I was experimenting how this thing works tonight and thinking of some cheap dinner ideas and decided to do a little inventing. (This is normally an eye roll from my hubby wondering what crazy thing I came up with next). I promise this one is simple and yummy! 

I started with browning 1lb hamburger, normally I would have done breakfast sausage or Italian sausage because they are inexpensive and we butcher our own hogs but my handy dandy app found a great deal on ground beef so here we go! 

After browning the meat I added some chili beans(baked beans would be good as well), one hot and one original for a little flavor but not too hot. I really wanted to dive some onions to add to the meat but couldn't find the onion I swore I purchased from the store. I must be going crazy...but that's for another discussion.

Next I prepared a large Dutch oven pot by wiping a little oil on the walls and bottom of the pot. Then I sliced and diced some russet potatoes and lined the bottom of the pan. 

The wine just makes this more fun for the chef! 

Next I layered the meat mixture on top of the potatoes. 

I am kind making it like lasagna layering potato, meat and cheese. 

I did not use a lot of cheese as I am not a huge fan of cheesy filled dishes but just enough to help it all stay together when scooping out to serve. 

I just kept layering like you would lasagna until all ingredients were gone. My top was potato so I could add some extra seasoning of garlic, onion flakes, salt and pepper. Then I finished out with a layer of shredded cheese. 

Since this was an experiment I placed it in the oven expecting it to take a while just like a baked potato. My oven is a little slow so I baked at 400 degrees for 1 hour checking how soft the potatoes were starting at 45 mins until my knife could easily cut to the bottom of the dish.  The last 10 mins I removed the lid to let the cheese get a little more solid. Removed from the oven to enjoy!

In the meantime I found that sneaky onion hiding from me in a bag I thought was empty from the grocery store. Looks like I'll have to find something for it tomorrow night! 


Friday, January 15, 2016

Dieting with Essential Oils

Dieting...ugh just makes me cringe thinking of such a thing! I am on a 1200-1300 calorie diet, use my fitness tracker or as I like to call it "the wristwatch of shame" to get my 10,000 steps in or 25 flights of stairs and the scale I think is broken! I lost 5 lbs so quickly that I assumed dieting would be easy. Now before you hate on me, I need to explain that at almost 30 years old I have NEVER dieted before. I ate anything and everything I wanted because I was that freakishly tall skinny girl that never stopped growing. I didn't need to diet because my body burned through whatever junk I put in my mouth. I, by a lot of standards, am at a healthy weight but I fear that should I want to reproduce I need to be in a little better shape. (No Grandma I'm still not trying to get pregnant!) 

Now my scale seems to jump around from losing weight to gaining it back. My diet is NOT perfect because I have absolutely no willpower but overall I am eating much less and moving a lot more than I usually do. 

What I found that I can graphically track by my daily weight is the days I use a blend of three essential oils I keep steadily declining the numbers on the scale. No it is no a quick fix or a diet fad and there are no guarantees it will work for you but it seems to help boost my results when used in combination of my healthy eating and exercising goals. 

What I use daily is Peppermint, Lemon and Grapefruit essential oils. They seem to help me go longer without feeling hungry and are supposed to flush toxins and help my body "do its thing" while I am eating the correct foods. 

Before you get all judgmental, YES I do sell them (, NO I am not trying to force them on anyone, NO I do not think they are a cure-all, and Yes I have found a lot of uses for my essential oils that really do work! 

Now what makes me want to share this with such a public domain? This week I have been so tempted by all my friends on social media selling weight loss this and meal replacement that; I can admit I actually was in the checkout with one product before I decided to research it! What I found was a perfect reminder from a weight loss coach that we need to ask ourselves if it is something that is a quick fix that we cannot sustain long term (for example shakes that do not teach us how to eat right)? If so then do not waste your money! Why I like my oils: they don't claim to be a weight loss supplement, they are just a little extra boost to help your body maintain a healthy weight. No they are not a flashy new product that will promise you will loose 10 lbs in the first week and make thousands of dollars in extra income for you, they are just a natural healthy product used for thousands of years well before conventional medicine that seem to work well for me! 

Simply Delicious Chili

Hats off to all the people that make their own chili recipes, enter them in contests and win blue ribbons! I on the other hand am not one of those people! My cowboy hubby has a card party night tonight and needs snacks or crockpot items to bring for his buddies. He loves bringing chili because everyone is always amazed at "how good it is." Come on people it is as simple as it gets! No special ingredients, secret recipes etc just two busy people that through some junk in a crockpot and go.


2 lbs fully cooked ground beef
30 oz chili beans (we like the hot/spicy)
1 qt tomatoes (straight out of my MIL's garden or the grocery store)
1 small onion
1 HOT chili seasoning packet (you can make your own but this is the simplified version)


Throw all ingredients into the crockpot, stirring with each new addition to keep everything mixed well. The onion we keep whole by just chopping off and discarding the ends and the outer layer of skin for flavor only. We remove the onion before serving. If you like onion in your chili then dice and mix in. Cook on low for 8 hrs, the longer the better for flavor but technically it is ready to eat after thoroughly heated.

Serving suggestions:

Scoop out a large bowl, add a dollop of sour cream, top with cheddar cheese and crackers (or if you are like me, that spoon is just for looks, use the crackers to scoop up the chili). Enjoy with your favorite side of corn bread and or cinnamon rolls!

How to Start a Blog

The 10 Step Process of Starting a Blog as Done By the Harvest Cowgirl:

Step 1) Be overly confident that you can do this and it'll take a few minutes
Step 2) Ask for advice
Step 3) Dive right in
Step 4) Panic thinking you messed everything up and it is irreversible and your private information is out now for all to see
Step 5) Watch a YouTube video and ignore the entire thing as the lady's voice is annoying and you can figure this out
Step 6) Read instructions
Step 7) Ignore instructions and do it your own way
Step 8) Reread Instructions and actually figure out what they are trying tell you
Step 9) Mind goes blank on what to write
Step 20) Deep breath and here we go!

Hello everyone! (Seems silly saying while knowing this will probably be seen by 5 people total)

I am the Harvest Cowgirl, an Iowa native (What?! There's no cowgirls in Iowa right?), a wife, a risk management advisor for Iowan farmers, and yes, a cowgirl. I newly discovered my love to cook and my hatred for following recipes that I want to share with others as well as some easy cleaning tips, money management tips, and maybe even a few horse training tips. Who knows what else may get discussed; I am not making any promises!

I hope you enjoy this as much as I will stress about making this blog worth reading and I look forward to seeing your comments!