The Best Breakfast Casserole You'll Ever Eat

Best Breakfast Casserole

This breakfast casserole is ideal for a lazy weekend morning or a holiday.  It takes a little time to get the bacon crispy and make the hash browns but the investment is well worth it.  It can also be made a day or two in advance, cooked most of the way, and then finished later on a busy morning.  This recipe easily feeds six and makes fantastic leftovers, too.
 

Ingredients


1. The key to pretty much everything is bacon.  Bacon should be crispy and the best way to get crispy bacon is to cook it very low for half an hour or more.  It's also a great test of self control to let bacon cook for thirty minutes without eating it. 
 

2. Cut the bacon in half and place in double layers to cover the bottom of a skillet.  It's ok if it overlaps, there will be plenty of heat to go around.  Set the burner to medium-low and cook for fifteen minutes, turn, and wait another ten minutes.  The bacon will be slowly cooking in the rendered fat with very little popping.  If it's popping or splattering the heat is too high.  Start moving pieces around to get the uncooked parts to the middle.  When it's done it'll be deeply colored and super crunchy.  Leave it to drain on paper towels.  

3. While the bacon cooks, place the sausage links in a skillet and add half an inch of water.  Set the heat to medium and let the sausage cook while the water evaporates, turning once or twice.  This way the sausage cooks without burning the casings.  After the water cooks off, turn the links a couple more times to add color.  Remove from heat and set aside.  
 

Sausage Links4. While the bacon cooks and the sausage simmers, it's time to use a slicer on the potatoes.  I'm using a small julienne blade to make quick work of four peeled medium potatoes.  Place the slicer on top of a large bowl that's half full of cold water.  Always use the  safety guard when using a slicer.


5. Two minutes later, here's a bowl full of matchstick potatoes.  These need to soak to remove the starch or they'll turn into a discolored, oxidized, gelatinous blob instead of crispy hash browns.  Replace the cloudy water several times over the course of ten minutes.  


6. Drain the potato sticks and spread over layers of paper towels to dry.  Blot the top with additional paper towels.  Heat a large griddle on medium high heat and add a heavy tablespoon of Tyner Pond Farm lard.


7. Add the potato sticks to the hot griddle.  I decided to use a small red onion and ran it over the slicer, too, to dice.  Mix the potatoes around to distribute the lard.
 

8. Continue to mix periodically while letting the heat cook away moisture.  Start adding a pinch of salt and a few turns of the peppermill each time.  The potatoes will begin to reduce and brown.
 

9. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.


10. While the potatoes finish browning, use a bit more Tyner Pond Farm lard to grease a baking dish.  
 

11. Break the bacon into pieces, slice the sausage, and dice the scallions.
 

12. Crack and season the eggs.  I add slivers of scallions along with salt and pepper, garlic powder, parsley, dill, and a quarter cup of milk.  I'm using ten eggs here because let's face it I'm a couple eggs short of a dozen.


13. Line the bottom of the greased baking dish with the hash browns and spread around most of the bacon, sausage, scallions and cheese.  Blend the egg mixture together and pour on top. 
 

 Breakfast Casserole

14. Place the baking dish on the center rack of a preheated oven and cook for 35 minutes.  When finished, remove from heat and let rest for five minutes before serving.  Sprinkle on the remaining bacon, sausage, scallions and cheese.  I like to drizzle on a little hot sauce, too, when serving.  Enjoy!
 

See Scott's recipe for the Perfect Grass-Fed Burgers with Indiana Sweet Corn
 

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An Eggsperiment: Eggs From Pastured Hens vs. Conventional Eggs


One of life's great quandaries...which is better...eggs from pasture-raised hens, or the "other kind"?  Ok, well maybe you won't find a bunch of high-powered attorneys hashing this one out in a courtroom.  But, I bet it is something the average family talks about at the breakfast table.  We all hear that pasture-raised, non-GMO meat and dairy is superior.  But why?  And what makes it different?

 

A team of highly-skilled scientists will be performing an "egg"speriment.  The thing is, they look like a couple of pre-schoolers with a 20-month-old lurking in the background.
 

 

Today we will be determining the difference between the following subjects:

Tyner Pond Farm eggs from pastured hens  VS. conventional, store-bought eggs.

 

Initial observations

Characteristics of the TPF eggs via the mouths of a 6-year-old and "almost" 5-year-old

  • Pretty
  • Some are green, brown and some have spots
  • All are different shapes and sizes
  • They smell "like a beautiful, fresh stream"


Characteristics of Store-bought Conventional Eggs

  • They are all white
  • They all look the same
  • "They are copying each other"

 

Cracking the Eggs: We observed that the Tyner Pond Farm eggs had a much stronger shell and needed a good, solid whack to break it.  The conventional eggshells were "pretty crumbly".

 

What's Inside: This is where we noticed the biggest difference, and the most important one since this is what you put into your body! 


Tyner Pond Farm Eggs

  • Large, golden-hued yolks
  • Yolk is standing up tall and proud
  • Crystal clear egg whites


Conventional Eggs

  • "That egg is boring"
  • Small, pale-colored yolk
  • Whites are milky in appearance
     


How They Cook:  What an amazing difference!  The Tyner Pond Farm pasture-raised eggs cooked more quickly and evenly.  On a piece of toast, this yolk poured out and had a ooey, gooey, creamy goodness.  The conventional egg yolk just kind of sat there. Get with it!


In Conclusion
Our two different subjects, Tyner Pond Farm eggs and Conventional eggs, were examined in identical conditions.  Our team of scientists concluded that:

  • Eggs from pasture-raised hens have a varying color, shape, and size while conventional eggs look like clones.
  • Eggs from pasture-raised hens have a strong shell, golden-hued yolk and cook more quickly than conventional eggs.
  • Eggs from pasture-raised hens have a creamy, fresh flavor that is superior to conventional eggs.
     

We believe these difference can be attributed to the source of the pasture-raised eggs.  The hens do not eat any genetically-modified food.  They enjoy sunshine, air, and are treated humanely.
 

Studies show that pasture-raised eggs provide:

  • Less cholesterol
  • More vitamin E
  • Twice as many omega-3 fatty acids
  • More than twice the Vitamin D of confined chickens due to their direct exposure to sunlight
  • Are from happy chickens and make you feel good about consuming them (okay, I added that one)
     

Or you could just ask a 6-year-old...
 

"Tyner Pond Eggs are better eggs because the chickens get to play outside with their friends and they don't have to be squished together covered in poop."
 

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The Families of Our Farm: Meet The Chaves Crew


Farming at TPF is All About Family  
When it comes to getting stuff done at Tyner Pond Farm, it's a family affair. We're different than a lot of businesses in that we actually like and encourage family members to work together. Ha! We have several families that work for our farm, spending countless hours making sure our animals are raised properly on pasture, that our meats are cut correctly, and that our customers are satisfied with their purchases and free delivery. Each family member has a unique role that enables us do what we do - bring local, pastured, drug-free meat directly to you. 


Meet The Chaves Family
Husband and wife team, Ryan and Chandra, are a huge part of the crew at our farm. Chandra is our Director of Operations and Ryan is a full-time Farmer. Chances are you've spoken to Chandra on the phone, or maybe you've emailed with her - either way, she's the go-to gal for our farm staff and customers - she helps make the farm go round! Bottom line, if you have a question, Chandra will know the answer.

Ryan is one of the most hardworking, selfless and humble people you will ever meet. If you've been out to the farm, you may have run into him or seen him out on pasture doing what he does best; tending to our hundreds of animals. Ryan spends his time managing multiple TPF farm properties and rarely gets a day off, even on the coldest days of the year. We are so grateful for his commitment to our animals and our farm. 


Let's not forget the Chaves' sons, Nick and Logan, who have been working at the farm, too! They gather and wash the eggs from our hens, collect our chickens, feed animals and do loads of other day-to-day farm work that needs get done. 


The best thing about this fantastic crew is that they "get it". They wholeheartedly understand why we do what we do and they live it each day. They put their family and the farm first. It's why we're bringing back the Family Favorites Bundle - to celebrate family at our farm. This bundle includes: 
 

  • All-Natural Hot Dogs (8 per pack)
  • Chicken Breasts (2 per pack, ~1.25-1.5lbs.)
  • 100% Grass-fed Ground Beef (1lb)
  • Pork Tenderloin (~1lb)
  • One Dozen Farm Fresh Eggs
     

 

See Chandra's delicious and easy go-to recipe for Chicken and Noodles

 
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Make the Perfect Grilled Grass-fed Burgers and Sweet Corn

Grass-Fed Burgers with Indiana Sweet Corn

Summer comes with two of my favorite things:  grilling and sweet corn.  Certainly grilling can be done 
year round, however there's something about hanging out in the back yard, cooking over fire, and smelling the smoke in the warm air that's impossible to resist.  This cheeseburger and corn on the cob recipe is one of my favorite summer meals and is quick enough to do on a weeknight.  The best possible quality ground beef and the freshest sweet corn and tomatoes available from your local farmer's market or garden are essential for making the most of this meal.


Ingredients

  • 1 lb Tyner Pond Farm grass-fed ground beef (or more depending on number of people)
  • Tyner Pond Farm bacon, precooked
  • Toppings of choice (lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles)
  • Wheat buns, or preference
  • Favorite condiments (mustard, ketchup, mayo, etc.)
  • Worcestershire (optional)
  • Basic seasoning (blend of equal parts sea salt, ground pepper, garlic and onion powders)
  • Cheese (classic yellow American and sharp white cheddar are favorites)
  • Fresh corn on the cob


Preparation
Clean grill drip pan and burner guard bars if using a gas grill.  If using charcoal, empty ash and prepare charcoal fire in advance to allow coals to heat.  These instructions use a gas grill, however it adapts well to charcoal as both items cook over direct heat.
 

Instructions

1. Clean the corn by removing the outermost layer of loose husk and cutting off excess silk.
 

2. Fill a sink (a clean bucket works well when cooking outside) with cold water and add the corn.  Let it soak for 20-30 minutes.  This will help prevent burning.
 

3. While the corn soaks, set your thawed Tyner Pond Farm ground beef, still in the package, out to warm.  This helps it cook more evenly as the center won't be cold when it hits the grill.
 

4. While the corn soaks and the ground beef sits, slice toppings.  It will be too much of a distraction while cooking!
 

5. Light the grill and set to preheat to 450 450

degrees.
 

Ground Beef

6. Open the ground beef and slide onto a plate or cutting board.  Remove the slip of paper that will be on one side. Using a fork and going with the grain, gently pull the meat apart.  It should separate into strands that formed as it came through the grinder.  If not, use fingers to separate the meat into small pieces spread thinly across the plate. The goal is to distribute the seasonings through the meat without having to mix it through by hand.
 

7. Sprinkle a tablespoon of the basic seasoning evenly over the meat.  Add three or four dashes of Worcestershire. I particularly like to include this on the 100% grass-fed beef since the lower fat content means the burger benefits from a little extra moisture.

8. Pile the outer pieces of meat onto the middle. Run fingers through the meat a couple of times to distribute seasonings and combine it. Don't overwork it as handling the meat can make it tough.

Ground Beef Burger Balls9. Form the meat into a loaf and slice it in equal sizes for however many burgers you're making.  I'm going all-in here and making half pounders so I cut it in half.  Pick up one chunk of meat and give it a quick roll between your palms to form a ball.  Depending on how well combined the meat is there may be cracks on the surface.  These will only get worse when flattened into a patty and allow juices to escape.  To remove, toss the ball between cupped hands a few times like a baseball, slightly turning it each time so it stays rounded and smoothes out as shown here.


10. Flatten the meat by pressing between the palms of your hands, rotating slightly, and repeating until an inch thick.  Doing it this way reduces the cracks that can form along the edges of the patty.  Finally, use your thumb to make a dimple in the middle of each to reduce plumping while cooking.

Grass Fed Burgers Flattened
11. Cut buns in half and set out cheese.  I like to break off each corner of the cheese and set it in the middle.  The corners are just going to melt and drip off, so why not keep them on your burger?


12. Verify your grill is heated to 450o.  The more the grill smokes while heating the more stuff that needs to cook off.  When the smoke stops, the grates are ready for cleaning.


13. Use a wire brush to scour the grates clean.  Next, layer a few paper towels and fold them over twice into a square, put a tablespoon of cooking oil on one side, and use an oven mitt to run the oiled towel over the grates.  This lubricates and removes any remaining debris from the grates.


14. Shake excess water off the corn and place on the clean grill grates.  Close the lid.  Note the time.


15. Wait ten minutes.  Turn the corn over and add the burgers.  Be careful not to drop or toss the patties on the grill. That will cause the meat to go between the grates and be sliced off by the spatula.  Close the lid and wait three minutes.  Don’t peek!  It's particularly important with grass-fed beef to stay nearby and keep an eye on the time to avoid overcooking.


16. At the three minute mark slide a metal spatula under each burger, rotate each patty a quarter way around and slide it (this is another reason to oil the grates) to a new spot.  The new spot will be hotter and make for better grill marks.  Avoid pressing on the patties or trying to flatten, as this will squeeze juices out and force meat between the grates.


17. Wait three more minutes and flip each patty.  If cooking smaller burgers (or bigger for that matter), the way to know when to flip them is to watch for smoke.  Cooking times will always vary so when the grill starts smoking moderately it means the patty is releasing juices and needs to be turned. Move the corn as needed so sides that are green face the heat and darkened parts face away.  Close the grill lid.  


18. After 4 minutes, or when the grill has started smoking again, add the cheese and bacon to each patty and close the lid. Wait two minutes for the cheese to melt.  By now there should be ample sizzling meaning it’s time to come off.  Once the cheese melts remove the burgers to a plate and let sit.  Remove the corn as well.  


19. If toasting the buns place each half cut-side down on clean spots of the grate and close the lid.  This only takes a minute so be careful not to burn.  Remove buns and turn off grill.


20. Shuck the corn while the burgers rest.  I also like to cut each cob in half.  Not only does this fit better on plates, it also caters to folks who want more than an ear but not two whole ears.  


21. Add mustard, ketchup, etc. to toasted bun halves, load up on toppings, and build a burger.  If you're like me and built a burger too tall, squish it a little and poke a wood skewer down the middle to help hold it all together.  Season corn and grab a slice of watermelon.  


Enjoy your dinner, summer, and the bounty of Indiana.  


Read more about Why Switching to Local Was Easy for our customer, Scott Andrews. 

 

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More Than Meat: Old Fashioned Lard and Butter Pie Crust

 

When we think Tyner Pond Farm, we typically think pasture-raised meat or maybe farm fresh eggs. But, with real unadulterated lard available from their heritage hogs, I also think PIE! Spring and summer harvests beg to be made into pie, and there's no better pie crust than one made with lard. My efforts to support local food have made my freezer nicely stocked with 12 lbs. of blueberries from Driving Wind Blueberry Farm.  Since I also had a couple of peaches that needed to be eaten, I decided to use those two fruits together for my filling.

 

I've written before about the health benefits of whole natural fats from healthy grass fed animals.  When you use a combination of lard and butter in your pie crust, the lightness and flakiness is off the charts!  I've made lots of pies before with homemade pie crust, but never with lard until recently.  I've always wanted to, but never had good quality lard readily available.  There are a few variations in the making of pie crust, but most recipes are basically the same. Fat, flour, salt, sugar, and cold water. You can make a pie crust with lard only, but I like to do half butter just for flavor. 

 

Two important things to remember when making pie crust is to keep things very cold and don't over work the dough.  You want those little chunks of fat to melt in the oven, layering in the flour and creating that delicious flakiness.  If it's warm and overworked, it becomes harder and more dense because the fat has been more thoroughly distributed through the flour.  

 

Pie Crust Ingredients: (makes two crusts for a 9" pie)

 

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour (or a cup-for-cup gluten-free flour blend)

2 t. sugar (omit for savory pies)

1 t. salt

1/2 c. lard

1/2 c. butter

1/4 c. + 2 T. ice cold water 

 

Fruit Filling Ingredients:

 

4 c. fresh or frozen fruit (I used a mix of blueberries and peaches)

1 c. sugar

1/2 c. flour

1/2 t. salt

2 T. butter (in chunks)

 

Directions:  (Preheat oven to 475°)

 

1. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together dry ingredients.  In a large mixing bowl, cut very cold butter and lard into chunks.

 

  

 

2.  Add dry ingredients to the large bowl of fats and incorporate until you get even crumbles.  There are a few ways you can do this:  pulse with a food processor, use a pastry blender, or cut in with two butter knives.  The pastry blender is my favorite.  If you use a food processor, be gentle with it, using it as little as necessary because it can tend to warm the fats.

 

  

 

3.  Sprinkle the ice cold water over the crumbles.  Using a fork, mix in the water.  Mix the dough just until it forms a ball and no more!

 

 

4.  Divide the dough into two balls.  Place one ball in between two sheets of very lightly floured parchment paper and begin rolling from the center out until you've made about a 13" circle approximately 1/8" thick.  Put your first crust into the refrigerator to keep cool and roll out second ball of dough.

 

**TIP:  Every few rolls, gently peel back the parchment paper, flipping it to peel back the other side, too.  If the parchment wants to stick, vigorously rub your hand back and forth over the paper like you're smoothing it out as you pull the paper back.

 

5.  Place second rolled out crust into pie pan.  I like to keep the bottom paper in place, turn the pie pan upside down on top the crust, then flip the whole thing over and remove the bottom (now top) paper.  Press it gently into the pan.  Pierce the bottom of the crust with a fork to prevent bubbling.

 

 

6.  Mix together dry ingredients for pie filling and toss with fruit until evenly coated.  Fill pie crust and place cut up butter around the top of fruit.  

 

 

7.  At this point, you can fancy it up by cutting the first crust you rolled into lattice strips and weaving them over the top. You can go the traditional route by laying it over the top and crimping the edges.  Be sure to cut slits in the top for ventilation. You can get creative and cut out pretty shapes, too!  Personally, I love the ease and simple rustic look of a crust's raw edge folded over the top leaving the center exposed.  Moisten the top crust with a dab of water using a pastry brush and sprinkle with sugar.

 

8. Place in 425° oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce temperature to 375° and cook for another 35-45 minutes or until crust is browned and filling is bubbling.  Allow to cool at least 2 hours for filling to set.

 

 

***TIP:  If your crust is browning too quickly, take a sheet of aluminum foil, fold into quarters, and cut the folded corner off in a quarter round shape.  Size it so the center of your pie is exposed, but the edges are covered.

 

  

 

 

***TIP:  If you decided to use only one crust, you can save the other in the freezer.  Leave the bottom parchment paper in place, roll it up, and wrap it in plastic.  Allow to sit at room temperature just until thawed and pliable.  

 

 

Enjoy!  I'm looking so forward to making this crust for a savory pot pie once the weather cools off.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Real Deal with Terms "Free Range" and "Cage Free"


What Pasture-Raised Poultry Looks Like at Our Farm 
Last week, we posted some photos of our pastured egg layer hens (Red Sex Link breed) on our Facebook page. The hens were shown happily roaming and enjoying fresh air and new, lush pasture right next to Tyner Pond. This is truly how you'll see our hens and our chickens when you visit our farm. It's the reason why we have an open farm, too - we want you to see up close and personal how your food is produced. The truth is, happier and healthier hens create better tasting eggs and happy meat chickens make for more delicious meals.  


Why "Free Range" and "Cage Free" Are Misleading Terms
The issue with the terms "Free Range" and "Cage Free" are that they're misnomers. Many companies slap these labels on their egg and chicken packaging, tricking consumers into thinking they're buying eggs and meat from hens & chickens that led natural, happy lives...when they in fact didn't al all. "Free range" and "cage-free" can still mean cooped up by the thousands in a building, walking all over each other without room to spread their wings, and completely without grass, bugs, sunshine and fresh air. Awful, right?  


Make the Switch to "Pasture-Raised" 
If you're already committed to buying TPF local, drug-free chicken and eggs from our pastured hens, congrats! You've made a big step to a healthier lifestyle that supports local farmers, the local economy and treats animals how they deserve to be treated. If you find yourself standing in your local grocery store in the egg or poultry section, looking at all the options and debating on what to buy between free range, cage free, all natural, etc., ask yourself first, do I really have any clue how this product was raised and where it’s from? Or is it just false marketing? 


Here Are the Reasons Why Our Indiana Pastured Poultry is Unparalleled:

  • It's local! You know where and how your eggs and meat were produced
  • Botton line, our chicken and eggs are a higher quality, better tasting product
  • Our birds are rotated weekly on pasture in a stress-free environment
  • We never give our chickens or hens antibiotics or drugs
  • You're supporting local farmers and the local economy
  • Online ordering is EASY and we provide FREE weekly delivery 
     

Shop Pastured Poultry

 
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Managing Back-to-School Meals Like a Boss with TPF


It's "Back to School" time!  Busy, crazy mornings are about to get a whole lot crazier...  Kids refusing to get out of their pajamas, no more lounging around watching Power Rangers, plenty of complaining about what is served for breakfast, and a whole lot of stress over packing the lunch!  But, wait!  That doesn't have to be how we start off our school year! Not this year!  I just have to get back the mindset I had in Winter, when I was really on top of my game.  I will apply some of the same methods I talked about in Baby Steps to Buying and Eating Local for the Busy Family!  I will not be intimidated by my picky eaters, hectic mornings, crazy dinners, and ugh... complaints about their lunches.

 

Once I go back to Shoe Carnival for the 3rd time in 24 hours and finally find 15 8-Packs of Crayola Primary Color standard-sized crayons at Target, then I will have the time to get started on all the right feet for Back to School 2015!

 

Here's the plan...

 

Step 1 - Outline the week's meals on Sunday

Step 2  - A reminder in each week's calendar to place my Tyner Pond Farm order by 6pm the night before my delivery day

Step 3 - Make grocery lists and farmer's market lists.

Step 4 - Make easy-to-reheat breakfast meals in bulk or buy Tyner Pond Farm Sausage Breakfast Sandwiches

Step 5 - Make the kids' lunches the night before.  No matter what.  It's really kind of fun when paired with a glass of wine.  That's way better than a cold morning cup of coffee and an angry 19 month old on your leg.

 

Winter meal preparation involves a lot of "crock potting".  The one great thing about late summer/early fall meal planning is the ability to depend on local fruits and vegetables.  Some even from our own yard!

 

 

***Little Brother in the Big Bro shirt is not very excited about our first harvest of jalapenos.  He made sure to hold on to a large stick and a bag of BBQ chips to ensure he was never hungry enough to try whatever I was making.

 

Nothing will let us hold on to every last sunbeam of summer like cooking on the grill.  It's always easy and healthy, and requires literally no clean up!  Mommy likey.  Tonight we are going to grill a  Tyner Pond Farm Whole Chicken, "Indiana style", with a beer can stuffed up it's you-know-what.  The kids think this is absolutely the most hilarious thing they have ever heard of.  We will enjoy some barbequed Chicken Drumsticks we are grilling on the side tonight, and then tomorrow, I will dice the chicken breast meat to make a batch of chicken salad for the week.  I also will thinly carve any remaining meat to use for this week's lunches.  Here are a few easy lunch menus for this school year that I can make the night before...

 

Chicken Salad Pita Pocket

Grapes, Pretzels, Yogurt

 

Chicken Sandwich

Sliced chicken on a Hawaiian sweet roll

Apple, Wheat Thins, Cheese cubes

 

Plain Pulled Chicken (For Little Brother who isn't a big fan of carbs)

Side of ketchup or BBQ.  We will see how this goes.

Chips, Gogurt, A Little Treat


BLT
Tyner Pond Farm Bacon, Lightly toasted bread, lettuce, and tomato all separated for a MYO sandwich
Grapes, Carrots, A little treat

Of course, one of the keys to kiddo happiness is variety!  They love to find something different or surprising in their lunch.  And I mean a new snack food, unique fruit, or a hand-written note from mom or dad.  I'm not talking about "mystery meat".
 

 

I am so grateful to have access to locally-sourced, non-GMO, delicious meat!  Tyner Pond Farm and their free delivery have made my hectic weeks a little less chaotic!

If things are running a little too smoothly, I think I am going to mix it up and try to make a vegetable that my boys will eat.  I've repeatedly told them that they, "just haven't truly experienced summer without Indiana farm-grown green beans".  They don't believe me.

I would love a quick and easy way to make crunchy, tasty green beans that they will at least try!  Someone out there, please share a recipe that I can whip up with delicious HUSK non-gmo Green Beans!  Email me at megan@yourbestnestindy.com!

 

Happy Back to School!!!

 

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The Beef with Feedlots and a Lesson in TPF Beef

 
Tyner Pond Farm Pastured-Rasied Beef Cattle 
 

The Difference with Tyner Pond Farm Pastured Beef Cattle

At Tyner Pond Farm, we seperate our 100% grass-fed beef cattle and our grass-fed/grain-option beef cattle--they live on different farms. We raise our all our cattle the same way on pasture, but there is just one difference; our grass-fed/grain-option cattle get the choice to eat grass and corn. 


The Beef with Feedlots  Feedlot Beef Cattle
Beef cattle taken to feedlots are given formulated feed rations designed to make the animals grow as fast and​ as big as possible. In many cases, their feed has as much as 75% corn - which is the biggest problem with the feedlot "solution"; cows are not evolved to digest corn. In feedlots, cattle can experience severe stress due to the crowded living conditions and consumption of too much grain. Too much grain causes ulcers in cows and feedlots easily become breeding grounds for harmful bacteria. That's why feedlot beef cattle are constantly given antibiotics and we, in turn, can later be exposed to antibiotic resistant bacteria. 


The Scoop with Our Grass-Fed/Grain-Option Beef
Our pastured, grass-fed/grain-option beef cattle use grain (corn) only as a supplement vs. a crowded feedlot, where it's their entire diet. Just like our 100% grass-fed beef cattle, our corn-finished cows live on open pasture; they're just given the option to eat grass and/or corn grain. Every cow is different, but typically, with our grain-option beef, only 15% of their diet is corn. That’s why our grass/fed corn-finished beef just tastes better - when you treat animals the way nature intended, plain and simple, you just get better tasting beef.


To sum it up, here are some benefits to TPF Grass-Fed/Grain-Option Beef:

  • It's locally grown - you know exactly where your meat comes from
  • Grain-option beef produces more marbling than our 100% grass-fed beef, which some customers prefer 
  • Our beef is high quality and better tasting
  • Our cows are pasture-raised in a stress-free environment
  • Our cattle are never given drugs or antibitotics 


So, if you like your beef with more fat than our 100% grass-fed, but still want a local, healthy, delicious option, our grass-fed/grain-option ground beef, beef patties, filets, chuck roast, stew meat and more are the perfect option for you & your family!  

 

 

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Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken Breast

 

Mmm... honey mustard grilled chicken.  In my days before more conscientious eating, I usually dipped drive-through chicken nuggets into a faux honey mustard sauce.  Real mustard and real honey is soooo much better, especially when you add fresh steamed veggies or a bed of lettuce with honey mustard vinaigrette to make a well-rounded meal!

 

My husband recently told me that if I had the grill heated up and the meat thawed by the time he got home from work, then he'd make dinner.  Didn't have to tell me twice!  These TPF chicken breasts were already thawed, so I thought I'd try something different.  I was in the mood for caramelized goodness, so I knew honey had to be a part of it. 

 

I am not the grill master in my family, my husband is.  I'm easing into it a bit more lately and am learning as I go.  Not just how to properly light the charcoal and bring it to temperature, but also how to prepare the meat for grilling.  This time, when I poured the marinade over my chicken, it quickly became too watery. I should have placed my rinsed chicken breasts on a paper towel and blotted them dry before marinating.  Then, after using up all the marinade, I realized that I should have kept some of it aside to brush on during grilling.  I whipped up a quick half-batch to compensate.  In the end, after reading even more about grilling, I'm thinking a mustard dry rub may be the way to go with the glaze added towards the end.  I'll have to try that next time!  Another thing both my husband and I are still in the process of mastering is cooking pasture-raised meats a little slower than what we're used to.  These breasts should have probably been moved off of the hot spot a little sooner, but they were still delicious. One thing at time, I suppose!

 

Ingredients: 

4 TPF chicken breasts

1/2 c. honey

2 T. dijon mustard

2 T. yellow mustard

2 t. white wine vinegar

1 t. salt

1 t. fresh ground pepper

1/4 t. onion powder (you may add 2 T. fresh minced onion instead)

 

Directions:  Preheat grill to high - 450° (where you can hold hand your hand 5" over the grate for only 2-4 seconds)

 

1. Mix ingredients (except for chicken) into a small bowl until well blended.  Set aside 1/3 c. and pour remainder over refrigerator-thawed chicken breasts (rinsed and patted dry).  Let stand, covered, until chicken reaches room temperature.

 

 

2. Place on hot grill until just seared, both sides. Either reduce grill temperature to medium-low (325° - 350°), or move chicken away from the direct heat to a spot where you can hold your hand for about 7-8 seconds.

 

3.  Once both sides are seared, continue grilling at medium-low and brush both sides with saved marinade.  Cook until inner temperature reach 165°.  

 

 

 Enjoy!

 

 

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My Kids' Top 5 From Their Visit to the Farm

 

Every little kid, and big kid, wants to visit a real, working, all-American farm.  My two oldest, both dirty, rough-and-tumble boys, have been anxiously awaiting a trip to Tyner Pond Farm since we first talked about What Preschoolers Think a Real Farm Looks Like.  So, we set out to Greenfield, IN on a beautiful afternoon, ready to discover where all our meat comes from, Tyner Pond Farm!  Here are a 4 year old and 5 year old's Top 5 from their first trip to a living, working farm...

 

#5  Baby turkeys

These little guys were just about ready to head out to pasture when we visited them.  They were very friendly and chatty.  My boys loved meeting them and someone commented that we will see them again at Thanksgiving.

 

 

 

#4  The dock at Tyner Pond

Yes, we found the "real" Tyner Pond for which the farm bares its name.  A quaint watering hole in the cow pasture with a little dock.  A young cow who had gone "rogue" from the rest of the cow gang was comfortable enough with my little guys for an almost face-to-face chat.

 

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#3  Cow pasture

Walking out into the cow pasture is amazing!  It's grass and sky for as far thee eye can see.  The cows very curiously eyed us, and seemed to enjoy our presence. 

 

 

#2  Getting inside the hen house

This is an amazing experience!  The hens are a rowdy bunch, so be ready for a lot of clucking and a little pecking.  Don't worry, it doesn't hurt.  You can actually reach in and grab a freshly laid egg!  Just like my kids, you always know that the chicken lays the egg, but until you see it happen, you don't appreciate the process. 

 

 

#1 Poop

 Yes, coming in at their absolute favorite part of their visit to the farm is how amazingly huge cow patties are.  They were fascinated.  They told everyone they saw for the next few days; neighbors, a priest, the guy at Kroger.  They are pretty big, and they are everywhere in the pasture.  As my kids pointed out, "you can't potty train a cow".  Which brings me to a farm tip.. Don't plan on wearing any cute new shoes when you make the trip!  Old sneakers or rubber boots are the most ideal.  Sorry, no pictures.  So, come on out and see for yourselves! 


Next adventure... an overnight stay at The Farmhouse!  The boys have already picked out their bunks.  We will escape the city for a few days and experience life in the beautiful country.  The Farmhouse even has a Keurig, so I'm on board.  These farm boys are ready to get back to Tyner Pond Farm!

 

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Sara's Bona Fide Beans and Weenies

I find it fascinating to learn about the foods people ate or didn't eat while they were children. So much of what we choose to eat as adults is shaped by what we learn about food when we are young. My mother was buying organic, sustainable food from a co-op long before Whole Foods arrived, and while I can't say I've made the best decisions all the time (we all need some potato chips every so often, right?), I know that many of my choices are based on the knowledge my mother gave while I grew up.
 

Beans & Weenies
 

Beans and weenies is a meal I never ate that others did. Hot dogs were a rare treat for me as were baked beans, and so I never had the craving to make it myself when I got older. Now that I've found high quality hot dogs and bacon ends from Tyner Pond Farm, I decided to make an attempt at beans and weenies. Surly I could make a dish that resembled what you found upon opening a can but with better ingredients, I thought. 
 

I was right. This dish is sticky, saucy, chunky, and has layers upon layers of flavors. Once John and I took a bite, we knew we had a home run and needed to keep this recipe we just created. 
 

To achieve a thick syrup that covers the beans and hot dogs, I used maple syrup, ketchup, brown sugar and mustard. A vinegar kick from the mustard balances the sweetness of the other ingredients, and everything cooks down to a sticky sauce. Diced onions and garlic deepen the flavors of the sauce without fighting for the smoke of the Tyner Pond Farm bacon ends. Seriously - the smoke on the bacon ends and pulled pork is incredible, and I cannot replicate the flavor at home. I don't have a smoker, so I rely on the smoked meats that Tyner Pond Farm offers.
 

Cornbread compliments the beans and weenies with color and texture. You may just want to crumble it on top! 
 

Beans and Weenies

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 handful Tyner Pond Farm bacon ends
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 Tyner Pond Farm hot dogs sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 15-oz cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
     

1. In a large skillet, begin to brown the bacon ends over medium heat. Stir to brown on all sides. Remove and set aside on a paper towel.

2. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat. Cook the minced shallots and garlic for two minutes.

3. Add the sliced hot dogs and brown on each side for about 2 minutes. 

4. Pour in the brown sugar, ketchup, yellow mustard and maple syrup and stir. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper, and stir in the pinto beans. 

5. Set the heat to low and let cook for 5 minutes. Chop the bacon into small pieces and then add it to the beans and weenies. Serve with or without cornbread.

 

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Chicken and Rice Aztec Stew

 

When spring temperatures take a sudden 20° nose dive, I like to make a warm and hearty meal.  After some fantastic rain, we woke up to cooler weather that had me thinking stew. We LOVE stew around here.  It's incredibly versatile, low maintenance, and always gifts us with leftovers.

 

This particular stew is an attempt at reverse engineering one of my favorite dishes from a certain specialty grocery store that boasts impressive hot and cold self-service bars.  I photographed the ingredients label and made some modifications.  Their dish has a couple more exotic grains that I couldn't easily find.  Sprouted brown rice and split peas fill the bill in my version.  This is a broth heavy stew, so use those chicken carcasses to have homemade nutrient-dense bone broth on the ready!

 

Aztec Stew is the perfect example of what you can do with leftover chicken.  I've mentioned before how much I like to put a large Tyner Pond Farm whole chicken into the slow cooker with nothing more than some salt and pepper.  Sometimes, I'll add some onion and thyme, too.  Cook on low for 6 hours.  Don't be alarmed when a leg pulls right off as you try to remove the chicken from the slow cooker!  It's the best chicken to use in recipes like loaded chicken saladBBQ party sliders, or toasted chicken nachos.  Having chicken cooked and ready to use is a huge time saver for busy weekdays!

 

Ingredients:  Makes about 6 servings

32 oz. water or broth (for cooking rice and peas)

1 c. sprouted brown rice

1/2 c. dry split peas (rinsed and sorted)

1/2 c. diced tomatoes

1/2 c. Husk sweet corn

2-3 c. chicken broth (more or less depending on your preference)

2 c. cooked TPF chicken from a whole chicken or breasts (as chunky or shredded as you like)

juice from 2 limes

2 c. course chopped cilantro leaves

sliced avocado

salt to taste

 

 

 

Directions:

 

1. Add 32 oz. broth, rice, and peas to a large skillet.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover, simmer on low for about 45 minutes or until rice and peas are al dente tender. 

 

 

2.  Add 2-3 c. broth (adjust according to how loose or thick you want your stew), tomatoes, and frozen corn.  **If your chicken is cold or frozen, add it in this step.  Simmer about 5 minutes  until tomatoes are cooked through and corn is fully heated.  

 

3.  Stir in lime juice and cilantro.  **If your chicken is fresh from the crock pot, add it in this step.  Add salt to taste.  

 

Serve hot and garnish with tomato, avocado and cilantro.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

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DIY Hoosier Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

DIY Hooser Pork Tenderloin

A tenderloin sandwich, to me, really represents the Hoosier state. It's a sandwich that is larger than life, or at least always the bun it is served upon. Rolled in breadcrumbs and served with melted cheese and red sauce, or topped with the classic burger toppings, and everything in between, the pork tenderloin sandwich has become a staple of the Indiana food scene. Found on school lunch plates, dive bars, and hole-in-the-wall places around the state, I want to show you how easy it is to serve them on your own plate at home, at a far lower cost than going out to eat.  

INGREDIENTS:

2  Tyner Pond Farm Mug Pork Cubed Tenderloin
2  Tyner Pond Farm Fresh Eggs
2 C. All-Purpose Flour
1 Tb. Black Pepper
1 Tb. Savage Spice AP Seasoned Salt
Olive Oil
You'll also need: one large 
sauté pan, 3 large bowls and whatever bread and toppings you like!


PREP: Mix the flour, pepper, and 2 Tb seasoned salt in a bowl, and split between 2 bowls. Whisk the eggs with 1 Tb seasoned salt. Coat the tenderloins in the first flour mixture, just enough to make sure the entire piece of meat is dusted. Place into the egg mixture and be sure to cover all the meat with egg. After making sure the egg isn't dripping off the meat, put the tenderloins into the second bowl of flour, making sure to cover the egg completely with flour.

COOK: Heat a large skillet on med-high heat with enough olive oil to cover the pan.  The flour will absorb a lot of oil. Place the tenderloins into the oil, give a gentle shake to make sure they aren't sticking. Turn down the heat to medium once the meat starts to sizzle.  You only want to turn these one time, so make sure they don't burn before finishing cooking!  They are thin, so it should only take a few minutes on either side. Cook until both sides are golden brown.


Top with your favorite toppings and condiments.  I like mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato, and maybe some pickle or onion.  
 

TIP: When breading your tenderloin, or anything else using the 3-step breading process, always try to keep one hand for going into the flour, and the other for touching egg.  If not, you will have a pasty mess on your hands -- literally.

 

See and read about more delicious eats from Chef Ian Rossman at chefrossman.tumblr.com!

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Restaurant Style Toasted Chicken Nachos

 

When it comes to feeding a lot of people easily, you can't go wrong with a nacho bar.  Providing a variety of toppings, shells, chips or whole lettuce leaves for wraps, ensures there will be a little something for everyone.  We like to do nacho night... or "taco stuff" as we call it.  Oven toasted nachos are reminiscent of some I've had in restaurants.  This dish can be toasted on individual oven-safe plates, or in a larger pan or cast iron skillet to serve up family style.  So fast and easy, the most time-consuming part is prepping all the toppings!

 

Use your favorite packaged taco seasoning, or make a batch of homemade seasoning from the recipe linked below in the ingredients.  Whether you choose hamburger or shredded chicken, this versatile taco meat is great to make in advance for freezer storage.

 

Tyner Pond Farm's large whole chickens are my FAVORITE!  I like to sit one in the slow cooker on low for 6 hours with nothing more than a generous topping of salt & pepper.  It makes for a tender chicken that can be seasoned and used several different ways. I almost always make up some chicken salad, too, and save a little in the freezer for a soup or casserole later.  Of course, with a  family of three (including a toddler), our whole chickens can stretch further than they would for a larger family.

 

Ingredients:

1 lb. shredded chicken (from breasts or whole)

3 T. taco seasoning (your favorite brand or a homemade version like this, use more or less to taste)**

1/2 c. water (use less if your meat is fresh from the slow cooker)

Tortilla chips (there are some tasty non-GMO chips on the market cooked in organic expeller-pressed oils)

Toppings (rice, beans, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, olives, peppers, sour cream... all your favorites!)

**if making homemade seasoning, add 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch or arrowroot powder to your dry mix for a saucier consistency.

 

 

 

Directions:  Preheat oven to 400° F

1. In a large skillet on medium heat, combine chicken, seasoning, and water.  Bring to a simmer and cook for a minute or two until the water has evaporated and left a moist seasoned chicken.  If you cook too long, add a bit more water to loosen it back up.

 

2.  Layer your plate or dish with a base of chips topped evenly with meat and shredded cheese.  However little or much you like! If you're using other warm toppings like rice or beans, you can add them before toasting.

 

 

3.  Toast in the oven a few minutes just until the cheese melts and the chips barely start to toast on the edges.  Be sure to stick around and keep an eye on it.  Once it gets to a certain point, it will begin to brown FAST.

 

 

4. Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!  If you're using a single skillet, top the whole thing at once, or let each person pull some chips from the pan and top individually on their own plates. 

 

Ditch the carbs by wrapping your meat and toppings into a fresh Romaine lettuce leaf.  Delicious with red bell pepper and sour cream!  

 

 

 

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What Preschoolers Think a Real Farm Looks Like

What do you think a farm looks like?  Do you picture a big red barn and white fences, like the Fisher Price farm you played with as a child?  Does the farm have fields of green grass, piles of hay, and animals rolling in the mud?   Or do you envision a dark, giant warehouse, with perhaps as many as 5,000 animals stuffed inside its walls?  Do the animals you picture spend their short lives confined in tiny cages full of their own feces?  Which image do you envision?  And which one do you know to be the reality?
 

Like most children, I assumed all animals grew up on a farm that looked just like the toy ones I played with, or the farms I saw in my Little Golden books.  At some point in my youth, I learned the dark reality that there were less and less of these smaller, family-run farms, and more and more commercial farms producing our chicken nuggets.  So, what do kids these days think a real farm looks like?   Is the quintessential all-American farm still portrayed as the big red barn to the next generation?  Or do they learn the reality of American farming at a very young age?  Well, let's find out...
 

To test my "farm image theory", I find myself 2 real-life all-American kiddos.  The subjects are ages 4 1/2 and 5 1/2.  They are not actual farming experts, although they indicated they would be presenting themselves as such for the purpose of this study. 
 


Okay gentlemen, I am going to ask you a few questions about farms and I want you to answer each question truthfully, while keeping your hands to yourself.

What do you think a farm looks like?
 

"A big red barn with clouds."

"Baby animals are being born!"

"The mommy is licking flies off the baby cow."

"All of the animals are probably running around."

"There is lots of mud.  I know because animals love to play in mud.  And kids do too."

"Some animal probably just pooped some where."  (Snickers and giggles.  Well, we made it through 5 whole sentences without a bathroom reference.)
 

So, does this picture look like a farm to you?
 

Commercial Cow Farm


"That's not a farm!"

"They have to stick their heads through metal to eat?  That's weird!"


Did you guys know that most of the meat people eat comes from these kind of farms?


"Gross."
 

Do you want to go visit a real farm?  The kind with a big red barn?  Or the other kind of "farm"?


A "Real farm!  Real farm!  Real farm!"  chant breaks out.
 

The next stop for the Morton Family Field Trip is...Tyner Pond Farm!  They have an open farm so you can come visit, too! Find out more here.  We will be heading there May 5th for this year's first Chicken Round Up!!!
 

So, now 2 preschoolers know the truth about real farms.  Was this a slightly cruel exercise?  I don't think so.  I just showed them some pictures, I didn't share all the gory details.  If they ask me some day, I will tell them more.  They are old enough to choose what goes on their bodies.  Like wearing knee-high basketball socks and a Purdue jersey for the last 12 days in a row.  They should be able to be involved in deciding what goes in their bodies, too. 

So, what do you want your farm to look like?  We grown-ups know they don't all have white fences and clouds.  So which farm do you choose?  It's an easy decision, but not always the most convenient one.  What is important, is that the choices we make can begin to impact an industry.  And, if you don't care where your meat comes from, that's okay, too.  Trust me, we all have enough to worry about.  But, we should all be informed, we should all know the truth, regardless of our age.  Maybe if we think with our hearts, the only way a couple of preschoolers know how, there will start to be more farms with green grass and big red barns.
 

Want to read more of Megan's adventures with kids and cooking? Read her blog post on DIY Family Pizza Night.

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Steak Tacos with Spicy & Sweet Honey Habanero Salsa

Flank Steak Tacos

Since Cinco de Mayo is tomorrow, we thought this sweet and spicy taco recipe would be the perfect dish to celebrate the occasion! Whether your dining solo or entertaining friends and family, this recipe is one you'll want to keep on hand all summer long.

 

Flank Steak Tacos with Spicy & Sweet Honey Habanero Salsa
1 Tyner Pond Farm flank steak (or any other steak from TPF) 
Season the steak heavily with salt, pepper to cover all side
Sprinkle with a mixture of cumin, coriander, garlic powder and ancho chile pepper powder 


Directions:
Season the flank steak and let set 30 minutes outside of the fridge. A charcoal grill is recommended for this recipe. Start the grill and get the coals screaming hot, around 500 degrees. When ready, place the steak on the grill for 5-8 minutes on each side. This recipe calls for well done steak, but you can cook however you'd like -- just be sure to keep an eye on it! Take the steak off the grill and let the meat rest for 10 minutes. Lastly, cube it up. Place a few ounces of meat on each corn tortilla. Make it both sweet and spicy with this fun and fresh salsa recipe.

Honey Habanero Salsa
3 habanero chilies, seeded
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup of Pure Local Honey
2 oz tequila
1/2 lime for fresh lime juice
1/2 cup fresh cilantro

Directions:
Start with three habanero peppers, seeded and steamed. Roast peppers and garlic cloves together on the grill until you get a nice char. Once done, place both in a hot pan and add a shot of tequila (Note: be very careful if you do this off of your stove -- be sure keep your head back!). I used white Jose Cuervo tequila. Cook off the alcohol place and place it in a blender with the pepper and garlic cloves. Next, add one cup of pure local honey to your warm pan until it becomes liquified. Once liquified, place in the blender with other ingredients. Add a pinch of sea salt, fresh pepper and squeeze the juice of half of a lime and blend until garlic and peppers are blended. Add a handful of fresh cilantro and you're ready to roll!


Top the tacos with the honey habanero salsa, chopped red onion, fresh cilantro and lime. Enjoy alongside a cold margarita rimmed with salt!

 

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Asian Style Beef and Broccoli

 

Mmmm... beef and broccoli!  This dish was my very first taste of Chinese food as a high school student many years ago.  As I got older, I began to notice that Chinese take-out, among other restaurant foods, wasn't working for me anymore.  A stiff achiness would overwhelm me, my hands would swell, and I would feel pretty much lousy afterwards. Once I started cooking regularly for my family, in an effort to clean up my diet and take control of my health, I decided to try my hand at some restaurant-style dishes with a healthier twist.  Many beef and broccoli recipes call for brown sugar.  I adapted my recipe to use honey and molasses as the sweetener. I also use other ingredients that some people may not have on hand such as, Tamari soy sauce and arrowroot powder. Don't worry, I'll include the common ingredients as well.  Ultimately, I'd like to further modify the recipe to avoid soy.  I've read a lot about coconut aminos, and look forward to trying it as a substitute for soy sauce.  Doing so would make this recipe both legume and gluten-free!

 

In the past, I've made beef and broccoli with flank steak. This time, I already had a large Tyner Pond Farm round steak thawed in my refrigerator.  It was perfect!  Like lamb neck, I had never cooked round steak before, either.  The original plan was to come up with a recipe for fancy stuffing filled braised steak rolls.  Yeah... I always think I have more time than I actually do!  I'm so happy with how this turned out.  It's perfect served over a bed of rice.  If you're trying to reduce carbs, it's every bit as delicious on it's own.  Hope you like it!

 

Ingredients:  (makes four servings)

approx. 1.5 lbs. TPF round steak or flank steak

1 T. beef tallow (or other high-heat tolerant whole natural fat)

1 c. beef broth or water

1/2 c. Tamari or regular soy sauce (if sodium is an issue, use low-sodium soy sauce)

1/3 c. honey

2 T. unsulphered molasses (or your favorite kind)

1/2 t. fresh grated ginger 

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 t. arrowroot powder or cornstarch

2 c. broccoli florets, steamed to just fork tender

red pepper flakes (optional)

cooked white rice (optional)

 

Directions:

 

1.  Trim fat, bone, and connective tissue from round steak.  Slice in VERY thin slices no more than 1/8" thick.  If using flank steak, make sure to cut against the grain.

 

 

2.  In medium-sized bowl, mix together honey, molasses, soy sauce, broth, garlic and ginger.  Add meat and place in refrigerator while you clean up and prep the rest of the meal. This can be prep a few hours in advance and left to marinate.

 

 

3.  Clean and cut broccoli.  Steam cook broccoli to desired tenderness (fork tender, but still with a bit of tooth)

.  Be careful not to overcook it!

 

 

4.  Prepare rice according to package instructions. 

 

5.  In a large skillet, heat tallow or other fat to medium-high heat.  Using tongs, pull beef strips out of marinade, shake off excess, and place single layer in skillet (leave marinade in bowl... this will become your sauce). The beef will cook very quickly.  Once you see the bottom browning, turn the pieces over and cook a few more seconds (stir and flipping to cook evenly).  AS SOON AS the meat is no longer pink, remove from pan with clean utensil (large spoon) and set aside.  Do this until the rest of the meat is cooked.  This will happen quickly, so be ready!  Cook small batches of beef at a time to ensure your ability to remove it quickly without overcooking. As you remove the cooked meat, leave sauce liquid in pan.

 

 

6.  In a small bowl, add arrowroot or cornstarch powder.  Make a slurry by slowly adding a teaspoon at a time of the chilled marinade from the bowl. Add 2-3 teaspoons of marinade. Stir until smooth.  

 

 

7.  Pour remaining marinade from bowl into skillet, bring to a simmer.  Stir in slurry, boil until reduced and thickened, about a minute or less. Stir constantly. NOTE: This is not going to make a thick sticky sauce.  It will be like a slightly runny gravy.

 

 

8. Add meat and broccoli to the pan with sauce. Remove from heat, stir to evenly distribute sauce.

 

Serve over a bed of rice and sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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"Aunt Margie's" Sweet Deviled Eggs

Sweet Deviled Eggs

 

Sweet deviled eggs.  My mom always made them with a bit of sugar, so that's how I like them.  As I get older, I find myself wanting to venture into something spicier, but for now, I'll stick with what I know.  "Aunt Margie's" deviled eggs, as my cousins call them, are holiday staples in our family.  At parties, if you're late... too bad, the deviled eggs are gone.

 

Did you know that deviled eggs, or something very similar, can be traced back to Roman times?  I won't go into too much detail here, but History.com actually has a post titled "The Ancient History of Deviled Eggs."  Taking a look at how ancient "stuffed" eggs were made, this recipe looks tame in comparison!  The devilish name was given in 1786 Britain as a reference to the spices used.

 

There is always debate over the best way to hard-boil eggs.  I'm showing my favorite in the directions, but feel free to follow your own tried and true methods.  A general rule of thumb is to buy your eggs two weeks early before hard-boiling.  Fresh eggs are known for sticky shells that don't want to peel.  If you have fresh eggs, you can add 1/4 cup of salt to your boiling water.  I learned that trick from a farm-to-table chef who uses it for eggs grabbed from her coop earlier the same day.  In my experience, it works!  While I haven't tried it, others swear by steaming eggs.

 

Tyner Pond Farm Eggs are so fantastic for several reasons.  They come from chickens that are free to do what chickens do best.  Peck, roam, roost, and eat bugs, seeds, grass, or whatever else they can catch.  This natural diet produces a richer yellow yoke that looks bright and beautiful in a display of deviled eggs.  Additionally, Tyner Pond Farm never uses antibiotics or hormones on their birds.  It doesn't get much better than that!

 

Ingredients: (makes 12 deviled eggs - recipe may be multiplied for larger quantities)

6 Tyner Pond Farm Farm Fresh Eggs

3 T. mayo or salad dressing

3 T. sweet pickle relish (my favorite homemade relish recipe)

1 t. yellow mustard

1 t. sugar or honey

1 t. apple cider vinegar

salt & pepper to taste

garnish (paprika, chives, dill, crumbled bacon, whatever you'd like)

 

Directions:

1. Place eggs in a medium sauce pan.  Fill pan with cold water to about one inch above the eggs.  Bring to a rolling boil over high heat.  Once a rolling boil is reached, boil for one minute.  Remove from heat and cover, let stand 15 minutes (12 minutes for smaller eggs).

 

 

2. Allow eggs to cool completely.  To stop the cooking, empty hot water, and refill pan with cold water.  Repeat when water becomes lukewarm.  Once eggs cool completely peel away the shells.

 

3.  Cut eggs in half, remove yolks into a small bowl and crumble with a fork or pastry cutter.

 

.

 

***If eggs are left in the hot water too long, or set out to cool naturally, they will develop a green color around the yolks from overcooking.  This is harmless, so if it happens, don't sweat it.  By the time your deviled eggs are finished, no one will ever know.

 

4.  Add ingredients.  Blend until creamy.  I usually just use a fork, but you can use a hand mixer for an even creamier texture.

 

 

5.  Fill egg whites with mixture.  You can spoon it in or use a pastry bag if you have one.  I often put the filling into a Ziploc bag and cut the corner off for an impromptu pastry bag.

 

 

5. Garnish as desired, eating one or two as you go to make sure you get your fair share for making them! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Baked BBQ Party Sliders with Honey Butter Sauce (beef, pork or chicken)

 

Oh boy, I'm excited to share this recipe with you!  It's so easy and scrumptious (be prepared to lick your fingers).  While I try to avoid bread most days, I do make the occasional exception.  If I'm going to have a "cheat" food, this is a good one to have!  These sandwiches are so great for parties because you can feed a lot of people with minimal effort.  I've yet to serve these sliders to anyone who didn't love them.  

 

I first had these sweet little butter baked sandwiches on Hawaiian rolls at a baby shower a few years ago.  Those were made with deli meats topped with a honey mustard butter sauce and poppy seeds.  After searching for recipes and trying them out a few times, I realized these are great "wing-it" sandwiches.  You can shake them up in so many different ways.  This barbecue version came about from using what I had available.  It's become our favorite version, and can be made with shredded beef, pulled pork, or shredded chicken.  They're a fantastic way to use leftover meat!

 

I'm not going to lie.  These sandwiches are messy to make and can be messy to eat... in the best kind of way!  They're covered in a honey butter sauce prior to baking that makes the bread an irresistible combination of sweet, savory, sticky, buttery, toastiness.  My mouth is watering.  Let's get to it!

 

Ingredients:

 

(sandwiches)

1 flat of sweet Hawaiian rolls (12)

3 c. shredded TPF beef, pork,or chicken

1 bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce

12 small slices of your favorite cheese (we like pepper jack and cheddar)

 

(honey butter sauce)

1 stick butter

1 T. honey

1 T. minced/crushed tomato (a couple cherry tomatoes work great)

1 t. dried minced onion 

A pinch of salt with fresh ground pepper to taste

 

Directions: (preheat oven to 375°)

 

1. In a small saucepan over medium heat mix shredded meat with barbecue sauce until warmed.  Add the sauce in parts to make it as saucy (or not) as you like.  You probably won't use the whole bottle.  Keep a fork handy to give it a taste (ahem... maybe a couple of clean ones if you're cooking for others).

 

 

2. Place Hawaiian rolls on a cookie sheet and cut in half (making tops and bottoms).  I find it's faster to separate the rolls down the middle with two sections of six rolls each, then cut each section in half all at once. Separate all the rolls from each other and remove the tops.

 

3.  Assemble the sandwiches with a spoonful of meat topped with a slice of cheese.  Replace the roll tops.

 

 

4.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine sauce ingredients.  Cook until butter is melted and it begins to simmer.

 

 

5.  Spoon sauce over assembled sandwiches.  Take care to keep your bits of tomatoes and onions on top.  I like to make sure the sides are covered in sauce, too.  You can use a brush, or, if you're careful, pick the sandwich up and turn it to sweep it in the butter beginning to accumulate at the bottom of the cookie sheet.

 

 

6.  Bake at 375° for about 10 minutes or until they've begun to brown and toast.

 

This recipe easily doubles to make more.  Enjoy!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oven-Braised Lamb Neck Stew with Carrots and Peas

 

I ordered lamb neck from Tyner Pond Farm without having a clue what it was... other than lamb... which I had never cooked before.  Once the delivery truck dropped off my order, I have to admit, I wasn't thrilled.  It was heavily marbled, fatty, and sinewy.  Not my favorite qualities. I will tediously pick out actual muscle from a nicely marbled ribeye while my husband cuts off a hunk and eats it without looking.  If you're like me, don't let this stop you from reading more.  There's a way around it all... I promise!

 

The lamb neck sat in my freezer for a couple of weeks while I contemplated what to do with it.  Just as the TPF store description indicates, it is an underrated cut with huge potential for tender meaty morsels.  It's considered an offal cut like organs, tails, and tongues.  The universally recommended method for cooking this tough cut of meat is low and slow. Low and slow is the best method for all pasture-raised meats. When I saw that it was often braised with vegetables for hearty stews, I knew exactly what to do with it.  

 

Stew is easily my husband's favorite winter meal, aside from the occasional roast.  He's a meat-and-potatoes guy through and through.  Made with potatoes, carrots, and onions, stews are appropriate when eating seasonally during winter months in Indiana.  It's one of those things I never make quite the same way twice.  It can be a good clean-out-the-fridge kind of dish with carrots, peas, corn, whatever potatoes I have, Brussels sprouts, squash, tomatoes, etc.  Sometimes I make it with the meat dusted in a seasoned gluten-free flour or sprouted brown rice flour, then add only water or broth after browning for a thick Irish stew.  Other times, I choose a tomato and red wine sauce.  We like both equally, so this time I opted for tomato and red wine.  Mostly, because I had two sad looking tomatoes that needed used and two bottles of dry red wine left from my birthday that I'll never drink.  Also, I decided to leave the potatoes out of the stew, and instead, serve it atop a portion of mashed potatoes. I'm looking forward to ordering more lamb neck and trying the Irish stew version. 

 

Ingredients:  (makes four servings)

  • 3 lamb neck slices with bone
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 t. dried rosemary
  • 1 3/4 c. carrots biased-cut (make-the carrots a generous thickness to avoid over cooking)
  • 2 medium tomatoes finely diced (remove pulp and seeds)
  • 1/2 c. dry red wine
  • 1 c. beef broth 
  • 1 c. frozen sweet peas
  • Salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

 

 

Directions:  (preheat oven to 300° F)

 

1.  In a heavy skillet with lid or Dutch oven that can be used for both stove-top and oven, brown both sides of lamb neck. The lamb neck is fatty enough, I didn't feel the need for additional fat.  Salt & pepper to taste. Set aside.

 

 

2.  Using the same pan, reduce heat to medium and add onions, garlic and rosemary to heated fat and juices rendered from lamb neck.  Sauté until onions are translucent.  Add carrots and tomatoes.

 

 

3.  Deglaze the pan with red wine. Add beef broth and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

 

4.  Nestle browned lamb neck slices back into the pan.  Cover and braise in the oven for 2 - 2 1/2 hours until lamb is tender.

 

 

5.  Once lamb neck is tender, remove from oven and use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove slices from sauce.  Return sauce to stove-top and simmer on medium heat 3-5 minutes until thickened. Stir frequently.

 

6.  While sauce is reducing, strip lamb meat from the bone, sinew, and fat.  I found it best to use clean hands for some of this (remember - it's hot!).   Be careful not to miss any of the meat that can be hiding in little pockets of fat and sinew.

 

 

7.  Add lamb meat back into the sauce.  Rinse frozen sweet peas in cold water, stir into stew and serve.  

 

This stew was delicious served over creamy mashed red potatoes.  If you'd prefer to include potato chunks directly to the stew, just add 4 quartered large red potatoes at the same time as the carrots and tomatoes.  Add a splash more broth and wine to compensate.

 

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