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!
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!):
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)
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.)
*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