Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Staring at the Fridge

So every day, around noon and every evening around six, my family gets this crazy idea that they're hungry. They need food. They need sustenance. They need...big gasp...a meal!

If you're like me, this always comes as a surprise, even though it's every day, twice a day, so I find myself standing in front of the fridge, staring at its contents, praying that something will jump out and become a gourmet meal.

Lunch especially is the bane of my existence. My kids have been home for the most part of my time as a stay at home mom and farm wife, so I usually have multiple palates cater to, as well as trying to figure out how to make lunch appear on the table when I have been at the gym, running errands, taking kids to and picking up from preschool in town, etc.

Anyway, we are super fortunate around here to have a freezer full of beef  (our own) and pork (from my in-laws), so main courses or at least the main component of a meal is rarely an's just how to make a "hunk of meat" turn into a well balanced meal.

Plus, when you have a time in our season of farming when the guys are really busy and need something quick, a roast and potatoes or spaghetti and meat balls are not necessarily something Joe can eat in the semi or in the tractor or amidst a calving mama cow.

On top of this, we are in the midst of a drought, which means that everyone is on edge, and I have been trying to medicate these nerves with food.

However, when you live out in the middle of nowhere, at least 10 minutes from town, with four kids who all nap at random times or need to get from here to there, etc., running out to get eggs is not necessarily the easiest chore.

So, it brings me back to staring at the fridge.

I think a lot of us suffer from this feeling. We know our families need to eat, and eat well. We know what our moms and grandmas and other family members cooked for us, but it appeared so effortless. My sister in law just had a Facebook plea for recipe ideas. She lives in the Los Angeles area...where people...gasp...deliver food, and she still struggles. It's everywhere. Fridge staring should be considered an epidemic.

However, I feel as if I have a little bit of a different challenge than my dear sister in law, considering not only geography, but food expectations. As a livestock man's wife, my husband has worked hard all morning, and doesn't consider peanut butter and jelly a sandwich of choice when you have been busting your buns corralling cows or putting up fence or hay or whatever. Not that he ever complains if we have "randoms" once in a while, but everyone needs a good meal.

Thankfully, I have discovered the Pioneer Woman and her cookbooks, which have revolutionized my cooking....I once wrote a snarky post about her, and now, like always, regret my snap judgement. Her first cook book is my staple. She is a beef lady, who lives deeper in the country than me, so she does a lot with what is easy to keep on hand. I also have found that both of my grandmas have left me with recipes that are good comfort food, and have cards written in their hand that have guided me as a cook. I am a fan of googling my ingredients that I have on hand, and seeing what comes up. Some times it works, some times its a bust.

Anyway, I beg you, folks, give me some new ideas to infuse in my recipe box. Help me figure out ways to use hamburger, steaks, ground pork and the always present and too plentiful ham steaks (ugh...I am sorry Rick and Karma...those kill me).

Suggestions please! My fridge staring is at an all time high!


  1. Ham steaks, easy to cook, but yuck. I have a bunch of those from last year's pig and show season is coming to an end! Maybe you could come up with a great recipe for them and post for all of us!

  2. Something that goes over well in my house, especially when I have a lot of ground beef or pork to use up is Campbell's Beef Taco Skillet:

  3. We have similar freezer supplies. We make taco bake a lot. Fry one lb freezer beef in skillet. Drain grease. Mix one can of red enchilada sauce (Old El Paso is our Fav brand) Add garlic powder and onion flakes (or powder) Mix this with meat and top with shredded cheese. Bake 30 min in 350 degree oven. Prepare all the fixings (taco shells, lettuce, tomatoes). Or make this into nachos.