Monday, March 5, 2012

Dinner on the Farm

Chicken Caesar Parmasean

A few weeks ago our local grocer had boneless, skinless chicken breasts on-sale for $1.99 a lb. I picked up several packages to have on-hand for chicken salad, to grind at a fantastic price or just to bake. One of my favorite chicken breast dinners is Chicken Caesar Parmasean.

Take 4 chicken breasts and pound them just a little to make them about 1" thick and cut them in half. Cutting them in half creates a good 4-5oz piece or one serving.

Marinade them in Ken's Lite Options Caesar salad dressing. Ken's salad dressing is made from extra virgin olive oil and is only 80 calories for 2 tbsp. I would bet you don't have quite 2 tbsp on each chicken breast serving.

Place them on a broiler pan sprayed well with an olive oil non stick spray.

Bake 40 minutes at 375 degrees in the middle of your stove.

Then sprinkle Parmesean cheese to lightly coat the top of the breasts and let them cook another 5-10 min. Generally Parmasean cheese is 10 calories per tsp. so very good to use if you use it lightly to season.

I cook more than we'll eat tonight because I will make our lunches (wraps) to save calories and money. If there is any left I'll make another wrap for the next day!

Also, about every 3 months in the Sunday newspaper coupon inserts there is a  $1 off 1 Ken's salad dressing coupon. About the same time our local grocer puts these salad dressings on-sale for 5 for $5. I have not had to buy Ken's salad dressing in 2 years as I stock up a generous supply!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Farm Sunday, spring is around the corner!

It's another Farm Sunday on our hobby farm and today is quite beautiful out. I noticed the trees that had started budding a few weeks ago now have new leaves forming. It's becoming green again. The dewberries are starting to grow their long vines and can be a trip hazard if you don't watch closely. The grasses that were mowed and shredded last week are tall again, a welcomed site after more than a year of drought conditions. And the birds are everywhere looking for nesting spots and mates.

This week both John and I suffered from a nasty respiratory bug. He had it first, then I picked it up. Many people are passing it around. I am hoping just being in the warm, fresh air will make us both feel much better. I think we are both at the end of this and that it will be the only illness we get for a while. I certainly hope so. I don't need the down time.

Today is a do or do without day. The new garden spot needs to be finished or at least enough room to plant the tomatoes I started in the mini-greenhouse. They are very mature and desperate to be transplanted.  As luck would have it, the front end loader is giving us fits and I am afraid we are headed towards something else breaking.. At least John got it leveled. I am afraid the rest of the work will be manual.

I have huge lick tubs available good for large container growing as a plan b. Lick tubs are huge containers usually made of a rubber or plastic based material that originally had a cattle supplement in them. Ranchers in the area have them in abundance and often times will simply give them to you. I have 3 that have potato starts in them and it's one of the best ways to grow potatoes. Start with about 5-6" of soil in the bottom and place your potato "eye" in the soil. Cover with another 2 inches of dirt. As the plant emerges from the top of the soil, keep filling in soil around the plant leaving about 1" of plant sticking up above the soil. You'll need to keep adding soil periodically as the plant grows. Once you fill up the container with soil, again adding soil a little at a time, then wait about a month. You can "root" your hand into the container to feel the potatoes growing and occasionally "rob" a few for dinner. When the plant starts to die on top later in the summer you harvest your potatoes.  Remember to water occasionally, watering only until the soil is damp, not wet as you'll rot your crop. You can also safely use old tires for this too.

I am also trying to get some used railroad ties from one of the local rail lines for above ground gardening. The mulch we have had sitting for 2 years is so  good that we won't have to worry about breaking up this insane soil we have. It will make life easier here to have above ground gardens and with several acres we can continue to grow the number of above ground gardens as needed.

For those who are not from here, we live in a clay soil area. This soil is so dense that it resembles molding clay. The farmers rough cut it. You have to amend it to grow hobby gardens. It is quite a workout to run a tiller through it but once it is amended you have years of good garden soil. It is just a nightmare to get to that point. For seniors like us who don't have help, you come up with a plan b quickly!

So today is a must do day. I must get mulch to the leveled rough turned dirt and tomato plants in at the minimum.

Although quite honestly, I'd rather take a nap.