Spring is Finally Springing!

It has finally stopped raining long enough to get on with our spring activities. Although we’re doing it all almost a month late, it’s finally getting done. The puddles, standing water and mud is finally gone. It’s time to tackle flower beds, gardens and most importantly fields that have been more than a little “squishy” for the past month. I’m beyond excited to get this process going!

Yesterday I wandered around the house and took a few quick photos that show we are actually entering the growing season. The clouds have parted and our little spot in Ohio is finally feeling productive!

iris

One of my favorite flowers to bloom

irisbed

One of the beds my irises are in.

I absolutely love my irises. They are blooming in full force right now and smell divine! Mine aren’t blooming quite as robustly as they normally do, I had to tame the masses this year and separate them. We had a small “plant give away” a few weekends ago. I tackled some unruly flowers and found them new homes to beautify. My irises are quite prolific! But not as bad as these little beauties:

Hostas and ornamental strawberries, almost invasive in my beds!

Hostas and ornamental strawberries, almost invasive in my beds!

The small plant with the pretty little flower is an ornamental strawberry. They are sold as ground covers, bear no fruit just these fragrant little pink flowers and should be labeled as invasive species. Although a cute little plant they can take over a bed in the time it takes to blink your eyes. If you are in the market for a hearty ground cover look no further! It gets a beating between the kids and dogs at our house but keeps on multiplying. Kind of like the Hosta in this picture. We have them every where. Three different varieties and I have some in every bed. I like them, Tom calls them swamp weeds.

Another hosta bed.

Another hosta bed. It’s looking like I need to bite the bullet and take to mulching!

The above picture is a favorite of mine. In a nice shady corner of the house, I have planted impatients in this bed of hostas for the past six years. A creature of habit I guess, but really quite pretty once everyone fills out and my procrastinating self mulches.

Some plants are getting buds!

Day lillies are getting buds!

A close second in the favorite flower category is day lilies. I have planted lots of them over the past 2-3 years. I was pretty pumped to see the one is starting to get buds. Fear not, when they start blooming they’ll probably get their own blog post. At least the pictures will be pretty to look at. Mine have all been purchased from a local plant sale a neighboring dairy farmers wife does annually over Memorial Day weekend. She has hundreds of plants and day lilies in more colors than you can imagine!

The tiny little spot is a tractor finally getting to plant!

The tiny little spot is a tractor finally getting to plant!

If you squint really well you can see a tractor to the right of the telephone pole in this picture. We FINALLY dried out enough to start planting last night. We have been soaked for almost the past month. It would dry out enough to tease you, then dump on us again. The past few days have actually been dry and no rain in the forecast for a few more! It is so nice to finally see the crops going in the ground.

Todays project in more yard work and then the biggie, hopefully I have a garden ready to go by the end of the day. Then I’ll be one happy lady!

 

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The Adventures of Jack

If you would have told me a year ago that I would be sitting here writing a blog about a pony who resides at our house, I would have said you’re crazy. 1) I had no interest in writing a blog and pushed it off when ever it was suggested and 2) No way did I believe we would be the owners of any thing equine. But as you can see I broke down about both.

The middle tribe member is obsessed, and I mean obsessed, with anything dealing with horses. Taylor is a horse fanatic. Horse, donkey, pony, mule, draft he doesn’t care. If it neighs and eats copious amounts of hay, he’s all about it. I had a pony growing up. She was old, as in my mom’s pony from when she was a kid old. Dine had reached “pasture ornament” status by the time I was old enough to ride. I can remember riding her on occasion but not very often. My husband has told stories of Annie, his horse as a kid. We both had horse experience, Tom much greater than mine. We decided early on that a horse was not a road we wanted to go down. Every time one of the kids brought it up we brushed them off like they were crazy. Believe me, there were quite a few of these moments with Taylor.

Fast forward to February of this year. About mid-month. The husband and I were discussing what to get Taylor for his birthday. Just messing around, Tom goes “we should get him a horse”. We both sit and laugh about it. I investigated further on my own. I took to craigslist and our local news paper. We live in the heart of Ohio’s Amish country. There’s always horses for sale, we’re talking whole page of classified ads here. After not finding much in the paper I called a few leads from craigslist. All reasonable priced steads were either sold, too far away or not kid safe.

A few days pass and up pops an ad for this larger paint pony. He was very pretty, large enough for Tom and I to ride and amazingly about 20 minutes away from our house. The ad said to send texts and they would reply as soon as they could. So I did but some one else had before me. By this point in time, I reluctantly had Tom somewhat on board with me. By some act of God (this stuff never happens to us) the other guy backed out.

The next night Tom had to sneak out of the house with the stock trailer and no kids. This is no small feat. The kids see the trailer and come running to haul heifers. I guess someone needs to like to move the pesky critters, if it’s a 2 (almost 3 at the time) and 4 year old, so be it. So off he sneaks, rides the pony, likes him and strikes a deal. He then learns not only can Jack be rode but he also drives quite well and had the past career of a pulling pony, hence his stout appearance.

Jack lived with a neighboring Amish family the two weeks prior to Taylors birthday party. He had been stalled all winter and had some energy to burn off. Then the big day came!

The first time Taylor saw Jack. You can't tell in the picture but he was seriously crying happy tears!

The first time Taylor saw Jack. You can’t tell in the picture but he was seriously crying happy tears!

Jack is a seriously spoiled pony these days. While he can be quite contrary at times, we have a blast with him. He lets the kids crawl all over him, brush him endlessly and he loves apple treats (I think he just loves food!). Tom and the kids can ride him for hours.

Jack doing what he does best, eating!

Jack doing what he does best, eating!

Emma's preferred way to brush Jack.

Emma’s preferred way to brush Jack.

Jack and I however do not get along with me in the saddle. He is an intuitive booger and realizes my lack of horse expertise. He is not mean to me, but we do what Jack wants to do. So these days I brush him and lead him for the kids to ride. He gives me horsey nuzzles and we get along famously until I sit on him. Oh well! He senses I’m more of a cow person I think.

The tribal elder on the trusty stead.

The tribal elder on the trusty stead.

The only issue we’ve had with Jack is when he’s in the pasture he likes to run and run and run. Normally only after he slips his halter. His most famous adventure was when he was in the pasture with the dry cows. He slipped his halter, I believe this is first on his check list when turned loose. Then preceded to run around like normal. Well this night he was determined to stay outside. He alluded all attempts to be caught. So Jack got his wish. About 8 o’clock the next morning Toms phone rang. It was the neighbor who also has horses. Apparently Jack got out and went on a little adventure. He was still so determined to not be caught, they had to lead one of their brood mares all the way to his pen before we could catch him. I believe the husband may have been adding some not so nice words that rhyme with “sass” to the end of Jacks name that day!

Big excitement came this month with the purchase of a pony cart! We have tried out Jack’s driving abilities and he LOVES to pull a cart. Now he may not be the fastest pony, but don’t tell him that. He will trot all over the back roads by us happy as can be. Little Henry even enjoys a nice ride squealing and giggling as we go. This is the only way Taylor will go “fast” on Jack. When he rides he only lets him walk.

Ready to head out!

Ready to head out!

While Taylor may be our original horseman, his sister has apparently caught the bug.  She’s really been enjoying riding. Taylor would be just as content to hand feed Jack and brush him all day. Emma’s already requesting a palomino mare for her birthday. It’s always good to know she isn’t picky. Someone informed us when we bought Jack that these animals were contagious…

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, Back to 3x We Go!

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Yesterday we made a change on our farm. We are hoping this to be a profitable and worthwhile adjustment to our business. Starting last night, we went back to milking our cows three times a day. We were doing this prior to Henry being born. But with the chaos of a baby, said baby making two trips to Akron Children’s Hospital and my dad having rotator cuff surgery, went back to twice a day milking.

Now for those of you not familiar with farming, you may be wondering why we would choose to milk our cows more than the traditional twice a day. Some of you may be far enough away from farming to not realize cows are already being milked twice a day. I hope not, you’re missing out!

Milking cows is very comparable to breast feeding, if you’ve ever been a nursing mother this will be easy to understand. If not, bear with me this was the best comparison I could think of. Every lactating animals milk supply follows a supply and demand type production. The more frequently a baby nurses, the more milk mommy gives. So by milking the cows an additional milking (think pumping to mommies), we are increasing the demand. Very simple principles. We milk them more often they give more milk. This increases production the most naturally.

We’ve learned a lot of things since beginning milking three times a day originally. For starters you must have enough help milking. No one wants to be a zombie milking cows. This is a miserable feeling. Cows do not care if you’re tired or sick, they treat you just the same. We’ve utilized a college that is close to us for our labor needs. It’s kind of neat to watch how some of these kids change in the year or two the work for us.

Secondly, if you want to improve production you must have happy, healthy cows. Yes happy! Cow comfort is a big deal. They must have comfy beds and tasty food to want to give us more dairy goodness than they already are. Are you productive if you’re uncomfortable, hungry and tired? I think not.

We made the change in an effort to take advantage of a booming milk market right now. Prices are record high for quality milk. I think often times the consumer forgets that farms are businesses. Our goal is to pull a profit. There’s nothing wrong with making money. I know of no business owner who has the goal to lose money.

You may be thinking, Ok you’ve told me all these reasons that are good for you, what about Bessie standing in the barn? And if you’re wondering, no we do not currently have a cow named Bessie. The more you milk hypothetical Bessie, the more comfortable her udder is. Stop and go back to the nursing mom. Think of the first time your little one slept thru the night. Yea, they feel that way too when they’re full. With an udder that isn’t brimming to the top every time she enters the parlor Bessie is more comfortable. She’ll be able to relax more in a stall and just may be tempted to eat more of her tasty food. With some of our girls giving upwards of 120 pounds a day, they want the relief!

Next time you hear of a farmer milking their cows more often, don’t think we’re trying to turn them in to constant milk machines. While they are giving us more milk, they are giving it to us because they are naturally producing more from being happy and comfortable. I haven’t seen too many unhappy animals or people ever be to productive!

 

 

 

 

Pig Lickin’ Good Cake

Yes, that is seriously the name of this cake. It is seriously that good. This recipe originally came out of a cookbook my church made 10 or so years ago. I was looking for a cake recipe to take to a cook out at my parents tonight and stumbled back upon it. It’s been a few years since I made it, so after re-finding the recipe I knew it was what I had to make. It’s moist, delicious and contains fruit so it’s almost healthy!

Pig Lickin’ Good Cake

Cake:

  • 1 Lemon Cake Mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2C Vegetable or Canola Oil
  • 1- 11oz Can of Mandarin Oranges

Put all ingredients in to a mixer bowl. Mix on medium for 2 minutes. Bake in a greased 9×13 pan at 350 degrees for a half hour. Let the cake completely cool.

Topping:

  • 2- 8oz Cartons of Cool Whip
  • 1 Can of Crushed Pineapple, drained
  • 1 Large Box of Vanilla Instant Pudding

Place all ingredients in a bowl and fold together. Spread over the top of the cake when combined. This cake needs to be refrigerated after the topping has been put on it.

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Completed pan-o-yummy cake!

If there’s a recipe I’ve blogged that MUST be tried it’s this one.  I would make this cake the night before if possible, it seems to make it even tastier. And remember it has fruit in it so you can have 2 slices and still be good!

Country Fair Blog Part

Banana Bread

My bananas, a little past their prime.

My bananas, a little past their prime.

I have this bunch of delightfully brown bananas. It has been raining and ugly here all morning. This is really becoming quite the trend. I’m reading all these tweets on Twitter and posts on Facebook about all these lucky ducks who are done planting. They obviously don’t live too close to us, if they did they would have needed to strap flotation devices to their tractors to even think about getting in to some of the fields here. Mud is abundant right now, growing crops are not.

Back to my bananas and off my wet, slippery soap box. I have decided to use this wet, nasty morning to bake. I have the day off so I’m going to spend it baking. Yes, I could be much more productive than whipping some brown bananas in to a loaf of scrumptious bread, but I digress. Bananas either go like hot cakes around this house or they sit on the counter until they are only fit for the chickens to eat. I caught them in the nick of time today. Banana bread they shall become!

Banana Bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • 2/3C of Sugar
  • 1/3C of Shortening
  • 3 TBSP Buttermilk or Soured Milk*
  • 1C Mashed Bananas
  • 2C Flour
  • 1 TSP Baking Powder
  • 1/2 TSP Baking Soda
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 TSP Salt
  • 1/2 C Chopped Nuts, Optional

* If you don’t have buttermilk, create “sour milk” by mixing 2 1/2 TBSP milk with 1/2TBSP lemon juice. Let it sit a few minutes until it’s curdled.

Cream the sugar, shortening and eggs in a mixer. Stir in the milk and bananas. Sift together the dry ingredients and slowly add to the mixture. Mix in the chopped nuts. Pour in to a greased 9x5x3 loaf pan. Let stand for 20 minutes. Then bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in to the middle comes out clean.

Creaming the shortening, sugar and eggs. Nice motion photography!

Creaming the shortening, sugar and eggs. Nice motion photography!

Add in the bananas and milk. If you have a tribe of your own, they make excellent banana mashers!

Add in the bananas and milk. If you have a tribe of your own, they make excellent banana mashers!

So upon uploading this amazing photography work of mine I realized you can see all of my clean, mismatched socks in the top left corner. Our washer and dryer are in the kitchen. Word from the wise, do NOT ever do this in a house. 3 kids, a farm, my kitchen is constantly full of laundry.

Here come the dry ingredients!

Here come the dry ingredients!

All mixed up!

All mixed up!

bananabreadrest

In a well greased loaf pan. Now we rest for 20 minutes.

Now you get to find something to do for the next 20 minutes while this loaf of deliciousness rests. Me, I’m going to go fold those socks.

Once rested pop it in the oven and wait again……

 

All done!!!!

All done!!!!

These loaves normally don’t last long around our house. Make sure to have a stick of softened butter to slather on the warm bread. This is quite the treat, all you have to do is recycle some bananas!

 

 

 

Meet Our Parlor Manager

I would like to introduce you to our parlor manager. He dutifully watches us and our milking procedures to ensure all the dairy goodness leaving our farm is at its peak quality. Now some of you may be wondering why with only 120 cows we would need a parlor manager. Normally when you hear of this position it’s on very large dairies to manage all the milking employees. Well we decided to break the mold and found a pretty darn cute one.

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Henry, the parlor manager, lounging at home.

Now that picture was taken between his shifts, while lounging at home. The boy needs some R&R in between his shifts. It’s awful hard being that darn cute! Here are some shots of him hard at work.

Carefully observing from his swing, where he can see all parlor activities.

Carefully observing from his swing, where he can see all parlor activities.

Some days that swinging motion gets the best of him.

Some days that swinging motion gets the best of him.

Henry’s big excitement last week was acquiring an office chair. He now feels very official.

Excersaucer, office chair, it's all the same when you're 5 months old.

Excersaucer, office chair, it’s all the same when you’re 5 months old.

His favorite and I mean all time favorite spot to be is close to the action assisting me…

Pretty sure in a former life this kid was a native American baby raised in a papoose.

Pretty sure in a former life this kid was a native American baby raised in a papoose.

Management comes with some perks on hot days.

Fan and a beverage anyone?

Fan and a beverage anyone?

He a very responsible employee and we’ve only once caught him taking a shirtless selfie.

HenSelfie

After all this hard work, some rest is required!

Catching some Zzzz's after a hard day.

Catching some Zzzz’s after a hard day.

 

 

Oven Bake Burritos

Good news, this is not a chicken recipe! We love Mexican food in this house. Tacos, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, it really doesn’t matter. I stumbled across this little beauty on Pinterest a while ago, made a few modifications and it’s been a huge hit. This is kind of like if a burrito and a quesadilla had a love child. Crunchy outside and burrito inside. I promise, after that marathon of a recipe last time, this one is back to quick and easy!

Oven Baked Burritos

  • 8 Ounces of Cream Cheese
  • 8 Ounces of Cheddar Cheese or any gooey meltiness you prefer
  • 1 Packet of Taco Seasoning
  • 1 Pound of Cooked, Shredded Meat (I used ground beef)
  • 8 Flour Tortillas
  • Cooking Spray
  • Whatever type of burrito toppings you prefer: shredded cheese, black olives, lettuce, salsa, sour cream, etc

Start to preheat your oven to 350 degrees. If you using ground beef, brown your meat. If using some type of left over chicken or roast, shred it. Stir together the cream cheese, shredded cheese and taco seasoning. Fold in your choice of meat. Stir until all combined. Divide the mixture as evenly as possible between the 8 tortillas. Tuck in sides and fold each tortilla in to a neat little square pouch. Lay seam side down on a baking sheet. Spray the top with cooking spray. DO NOT skip this step. This is what makes the outside all crunchy and delicious! Bake for 15 minutes. Flip burritos and bake an additional 15 minutes. Serve with your burrito toppings.

I must caution you, the innards of these pouches are comparable to the innards of a pizza rolls or Hot Pockets in that they stay hot forever! Exercise restraint and do not pick up and shove in your mouth right away like the poor husband did. He may still have 3rd degree burns.

Enjoy your little pouches of burrito goodness!

Yes, I’m Brainwashing My Kids

I have to admit one thing as a parent. I’m brainwashing my three children. If you have met them and know how strong willed they are, this is no small feat. Now before you worry that I’m filling their impressionable little minds with awful nonsense, you may breathe a sigh of relief. I’m brainwashing them in the ways of dairy farming.

Emma and Taylor joined the milking force at the ripe old age of two weeks. Henry had some minor health problems and waited until six weeks. Yes, my children are living examples of “were you raised in a barn?”. Emma was born shortly after we had the hoof trimmer giving the ladies pedicures, I’m pretty sure my mom, the hubby and I thought I was going in to labor one morning milking while I was pregnant with Taylor (he hid for another week) and I milked cows the night before I had Henry. I’m sure I’m not the only farm woman who has done this.

My children, who can talk, probably know more about the American food supply and how it works than the average “anti” who finds their information on the internet. They know when a cow is sick she gets medicine, that her milk is “no good” after she’s had medicine and that sometimes, despite all our efforts, medicine doesn’t work. They don’t worry about what is flowing out of the tank valve and in to their red solo cup in the milk house. They know it’s safe.

My kids can tell you the difference between a calf, a heifer and a cow. They can also tell you which barn they live in and what food they eat. They also know that bull calves don’t stay. Believe me, I spent a whole afternoon consoling the middle tribesmen after a brown swiss bull calf left that he favored. But they know not every gets to stay.

Taylor's little buddy. He now lives with the farms handy man.

Taylor’s little buddy. He now lives with the farms handy man.

The amount of responsibility my children have for their age impresses me. I don’t believe they would have this if they didn’t have the chance to be growing up on the farm. I mean I am the mother of an entrepeneur. I have a four year old who mans her own egg business. Emma has 18 of her own laying hens and 28 pullets “in waiting”. She sells eggs to much of our family and many of our neighbors. I make her talk to customers, count change and she does the daily care of her hens. Now before you start thinking I’m some crazy mom, slaving my kids away we help them. That’s the thing, farming is a most generally a family thing. No matter how big or small your operation. We must “brain wash” them to have good family values.

Emma and a hen "in waiting" to lay eggs. She names all of her barred rocks Pocahantas for some reason.

Emma and a hen “in waiting” to lay eggs. She names all of her barred rocks Pocahantas for some reason.

Taylor is obsessed with horses. He became one of the few lucky kids who asked for a pony for his birthday and actually got one. We talked with him about how Jack was a lot of work. Most days Taylor feeds Jack and gives him a good brushing. For being all of 3 years old he knows that he is in charge of Jack.

The day Taylor got Jack!

The day Taylor got Jack!

My kids know how much work the cows take. They are both involved in peewee showmanship at a district Holstein show we go to. The show isn’t until August but the kids are learning if they want to do good they have to start now. Success does not come easily. The other night was quite the battle of wills, who is more stubborn the kids or the calves?

Emma and Rainbow. Emma has a problem keeping clothes on when it warms up.

Emma and Rainbow. Emma has a problem keeping clothes on when it warms up.

Taylor and Sparky. Sparky's name should be Spunky, the girl has some go!

Taylor and Sparky. Sparky’s name should be Spunky, the girl has some go!

Our kids may be getting brain washed, so to speak, to become responsible individuals. Who knows what fun adventures Henry will want to tear in to. I’m sure what ever the three of them jump in the upcoming years will shape them in to unique adults. I can think of no better way to raise a child than “brain washing” them on the farm!

 

Rain, Please Stop for a While…

It seems as though farmers are never content with the weather. It’s either to wet, to dry, to hot, to cold, to windy…you get the picture. Ohio decided to skip spring this year. Just wasn’t worth her time. We went from 20 below to a hot, muggy 85 in a week, or at least it felt that way. This nice, and appreciated, warm up has me chomping at the bit to get in to my garden and flower beds. There’s been one problem, we have had an epidemic of thunderstorms for the past week. Today was complete with tornado warnings and all!

Everything is wet, if you’re going to plant something you’re going to “mud it in” so to speak. What gets dried out during the day get saturated again at night. It’s getting kinda depressing. I want to plant a vegetable garden but instead it may be wiser to build an ark. There aren’t even many farmers who have crops out by us. I’m not saying there aren’t any, but we aren’t on track. You may need some pontoons to enter some of our fields.

I don’t do much with the tractors. I’ll man a plow or a disc in a pinch to fit down a field, but aside from my skid loader abilities, that’s it. I don’t know if my dad planned it this way so he had someone who only wanted to work with the cows or not, but regardless I’d much rather spend my time with the ladies. I small scale farm at home. I’m content with a veggie garden and my flower beds.

I broke down on Saturday and could put it off no longer. I went to the green house. Now we are lucky enough to have a fabulous one by us that I frequent regularly this time of the year. I went in with the intentions to buy a flat of petunias and a flat of impatients. Instead I emerged with one flat of petunias, two flats of impatients (too many colors I couldn’t decide), one flat of dianthus and an assortment of single annuals to plant two tubs. Then I quickly checked out before Tom saw the grand total. One must be sneaky when they indulge in their bad habits!

Saturday was rushed between tending to the ladies on our day to work this weekend and dropping off a massive egg order Emma had at our church for their Mother’s Day breakfast. But we did sneak in making two of these pretty pots between milkings.

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Mine and Emma’s pretty creation!

Then that evening we were on a roll. We planted most of the petunias and dianthus sporadically in a few beds to add some color here and there. We were in luck as I found two bags of leftover mulch from last year. So what does one do with two little tribe members who are just wandering around? Make them spread mulch!

The mulch crew!

The mulch crew!

After a chaotic Mother’s Day and Monday we returned to gardening in the mud yesterday to work some pretty impatients in to my hosta bed. Emma and Taylor dug holes and places flowers with me while Henry supervised from his stroller. He loves, I mean loves, the great outdoors. The only problem is one hour outside means a two hour nap for him. All his supervising is tiring!

Taylor complete with gardening gloves. Must prevent the poison ivy!

Taylor complete with gardening gloves. Must prevent the poison ivy!

I enjoy my flowers. They’re fun but I normally don’t get too carried away with them. I have lots of perenials planted so I don’t have to re-spend money on flowers every year. I’m a little cheap, OK? What I really enjoy is planting a big vegetable garden. Now I’m not one of those crazy people who are anal about weeds. My garden is more “functional”. My veggies grown with about 60% of my weeds pulled. This year I believe I’m going to be passing down some fine weeding skills to my little tribe. Emma did well last year, Taylor shall be educated of the ways this year. I have my garden all ready. Old tomato cages gone, stakes pulled, one thing is left. It needs to STOP raining. All I’m asking is for a few days so I can get my garden fit down. I want some fresh lettuce, green beans off the vine and heads of cabbage ready to be made in to tasty freezer slaw. I also have many great canning recipes to share once I have fresh produce. So until the rain passes, I’m going to stare at this picture while I construct my ark.

Some garden booty from last year.

Some garden booty from last year.

 

 

 

 

Buffalo Chicken and Baked Potato Casserole

It’s been a crazy, busy weekend and I promise I will get a blog of some substance up in the next few days. However, I was getting stuff together to make this tasty casserole for supper in the next few nights and thought you may enjoy it as well. It’s a HUGE hit at our house, although I don’t make it often because it is a little time consuming for me. I normally don’t make it when it’s hot out either, your oven has to be screaming hot at first and this old farm house has no air conditioning. I try to avoid turning my kitchen in to a sauna. Easier said than done once it starts to warm up!

Buffalo Chicken and Baked Potato Casserole

Pre heat over to 500 degrees (I’m serious), I’m putting this first, before the ingredients because some peoples ovens may take a little while to obtain this crazy temperature. I re-read this temp a few times when I first made it to make sure I wasn’t going crazy. But first thing is first, crank her up to 500 degrees.

  • 8-10 Medium Potatoes, I like to use red and leave the peels on, but any potato will do the job
  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons of Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon of Paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons of Garlic Powder
  • 6 Tablespoons of Hot Sauce, we are not a spicy family and I have never used this much. I go with 3 for a nice medium heat

In a large bowl, big enough for all the potatoes, mix together olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder and hot sauce. Cube potatoes (apprx 1/2 inch cubes) and add them to the mix. Stir to coat. Place potatoes in a greased 9×13 pan. It is best to remove potatoes with a slotted spoon to leave the liquid mixture behind. The end goal is crispy potatoes, to much of the oil mix in the pan makes soggy potatoes. Do NOT dump the oil mixture out. Bake in your insanely hot 500 degree oven for 45-50 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Hey, I said this was kind of a pain in the butt recipe, but it’s worth it.

Now while your tending tirelessly to your potatoes, sweating in your old, hot kitchen you need to bust out the chicken part of this recipe.

  • 2 Pounds of Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, you could also easily use boneless, skinless thighs

Cube chicken in to 1/2 inch cubes, comparable in size to the potatoes. Marinate the chicken in the left over oil mixture while your potatoes bake. Once potatoes are done cooking, remove the pan from the oven, carefully. Remove chicken from the oil mixture with slotted spoon and add to the potatoes. Turn your poor oven down to 400 degrees. Mix chicken and potatoes together. Put back in the oven for 10 minutes.

Topping (or layer of delicious, gooeyness)

  • 2 Cups of Fiesta Blend or Cheddar Cheese, whatever suits your fancy
  • 1 Cup of Crumbled Bacon, don’t skimp and use bacon bits, use the real deal
  • 1 Cup of Diced Green Onions

Mix this all together. When your chicken’s 10 minutes are up, remove pan from oven and top with this mix of goodies. Return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes until the cheese is melted in to a gooey mess of goodness.

When your approximately hour and fifteen minutes of cooking is completed, I serve this with a side of ranch dressing or someone has suggested more hot sauce. They must live more on the edge than I do. You may also serve with a beer or other adult beverage, let’s face it, this recipe is a lot of work!

So I apologize for the length of cook time and the heat of the oven, but I promise you will not be disappointed in the final results. I will hopefully have a new blog post up in the next day or two and maybe my next recipe won’t contain chicken? Until then, enjoy!