Archive for July, 2010

Beef & Linguicia Polenta

Seems like just yesterday Amy and I were telling you about our big summer plans; how we didn’t know what the Lord had in store for summer and how we just were so looking forward to a summer of adventure, family, great food, internships and beef advocacy.  Well I will tell you that summer has come and gone just too fast and while there is still about a month until school starts in the morning I will be leaving the ranch and heading back east by way of Morgan, Utah to spend a few days with family there.   Summer has not been what Amy nor I had planned by any means, but we have both grown a lot, loved a lot, and lived the past couple months to their full potential.  Ya know family is very important to me and I know it is to Amy as well.  Our heritage is what makes us who we are, and ya know heritage goes beyond state lines.  It’s about who we are because of who our parents, grandparents and great grandparents are and were.  It’s our values and our principles, it is our favorite meals, our favorite hymns and our favorite verses.  I will tell you that there is no better place to connect with your heritage than the ranch that your great grandparents started upon arrival from Switzerland, the place you were raised, the place your daddy and pappa were raised.  My great grandparents started this ranch with a sense of adventure and a dream of a future for their family and if I could only approach my life with half their sense of adventure and wisdom I will be alright.  Amy and I have been blessed beyond belief and have been given two things from our families that will last forever….Roots & Wings!  This dish is a family tradition it is called polenta… it is one of my favorites so I thought it more than fitting to share with you today!

Beef & Linguicia Polenta
1/2 lb ground beef
1 link Linguicia
2 cans diced tomatoes
3 leaves Swiss Chard
1/2 C mushrooms
1 T minced Garlic
4 T Pesto
4 T butter
1 Cup Polenta meal or Course ground corn meal
1/4 C Red Wine (optional)
1 C Parmesan Cheese
Salt, Pepper, Cumin, Oregano

In large skillet place the sliced linguica and 1 T butter, sautee this over medium heat, add the ground beef and seasonings.  Cook until brown, do not drain.  Next add 2 cans of diced tomatoes, and the mushrooms.  (I used dried wild mushrooms because that is what I had on hand but you can use any you wish) At this time chop the Swiss chard, Mom and Dad have some growing in the garden but if you can’t find chard any green will work.  You can also start the water to boiling for your polenta, just follow the directions on the bag.  Next add the pesto to the skillet, I used homemade but you can find it at the store fairly easy.  Now you can add the wine, I used a Sangiovese because that is what was on the table, but any red will work as long as it is not sweet, or if you don’t like wine leave it out…totally up to you! Now you can add the chard and let it wilt and cook down.  In a casserole dish, butter the bottom to ensure nothing sticks.  When preparing the polenta don’t forget to salt your water, just like any time you boil pasta please just salt the water, I don’t know why it is better but I know that it is better so just trust this Swiss girl!  Stir real fast as you pour the polenta meal into the boiling water otherwise you will get clumps, this is just like fixing grits if you are more familiar with that dish.  Then pour the meat and tomato gravy into the pan. Cover with parmesan cheese.  Spread the polenta over the top and cover with cheese again.  Then bake the dish for about 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven, just enough time to blend the flavors and melt the cheese.  Serve alone or with french bread or green salad.

Beef & Linguicia Polenta
1/2 lb ground beef- $1.30
1 link Linguicia- $1.50
2 cans diced tomatoes- $2.00
3 leaves Swiss Chard- $0.35
1/2 C mushrooms- $0.50
1 T minced Garlic- $0.30
4 T Pesto- $0.70
4 T butter- $0.40
1 Cup Polenta meal or Course ground corn meal- $0.50
1/4 C Red Wine (optional)- $0.40
1 C Parmesan Cheese- $1.50
Salt, Pepper, Cumin, Oregano- $0.50
Total Cost  – $9.95 (Serves 6)
Cost per plate- $1.65

I hope that you have enjoyed this little peek into my heritage, I will leave you with some wisdom from my great Aunt Louise who is 102.  “Just take each day as it comes, day by day, don’t worry about tomorrow until tomorrow, if you do that than maybe we will get to keep you around for 100 years like you have had me.”

Happy Trails,

~ Anna-Lisa


Beef On The Go – Cici’s Pizza

It’s a lovely Friday the sun is shinning and a beautiful breeze is blowing while I am here in the ranch country my mom grew up in.

This is my first post to ever submit totally from my iPhone; but here at my grandparents house they don’t have Internet. So I’m apologizing in advance if something looks different or misspelled. I’m sorry! 🙂

This week was crazy busy and unpredictable. So on Tuesday I was craving pizza and the comfort that brings. I remembered the budget friendly buffet of Cici’s Pizza.

At $4.99 all you can eat pizza, salad, cheasy breadsticks and tasty desserts it is a great buy! The traditional beef pizza was actually my favorite of the ones I tried. BBQ and taco pizzas were good too.

So go check out a Cici’s and enjoy all you can eat for $4.99!! You really can’t beat that deal anywhere!

Take care and be safe this weekend wherever you are!


Summer Steak

I love steak and I love summer! Perfect combination in my mind. I mean think about it you get to cook outside, and then enjoy the gorgeous summer sunset!  It is just hard to beat sweet tea on the front porch during a summer ranch sunset.  Unfortunately I will be leaving that sunset soon, but the wonderful thing about sunsets is that they are everywhere!  My parents have a garden and from it comes wonderful vegetables and so I wanted to share with you just how deliciously beef can be served with fresh veggies.  This Quick Steak and fresh salad are wonderful for late summer evenings.

Quick Steak
Chuck Steaks
Salt, Pepper & Garlic

Season your steaks.  Let them sit for a min, then take them to the grill.  Sear both sides then allow to continue cooking until they have reached your desired degree of doneness.  Remember that they don’t need to die twice!

While the steaks are on the grill this quick salad can be prepared. 

Quick and Dirty Swiss Summer Salad
1 Cucumber
3 Tomatoes
1 Purple Onion
2 T Pesto
2 T Vinegar
2 T Olive Oil

Simply rough chop the purple onion, tomatoes and cucumbers.  They don’t need to be real small.  In a small cup combine the pesto, vinegar and olive oil.  (I used homeade vinegar but any will do, I prefer anything but white vinegar on salads.) Then stir up the salad and serve.

I also served the steak with some garlic toast, but use whatever you have on hand.

Costs of Summer Steak
Chuck Steaks – $2.98/lb – $10
Cucumber- $0.70
Onion- $0.83
Tomatoes – $1.30
Pesto, Vinegar, Olive Oil- $1.00
Total Cost- $13.83 (Serves 4)
Cost Per Plate-  $3.45

This delicious meal was very simple, and very affordable.  Perfect for that summer evening of visiting with family! I hope that you enjoy it!  For tips on making pesto check out AnnaGiannini on Twitter!

Happy Trails,

~ Anna-Lisa

Beef on the Go – Pei Wei style!

Growing up in Texas ranch country, Asian cuisine is surprising one of my favorites. (Not that I have a cuisine that I really don’t like, my palette is open to trying about anything – at least once) I love new flavors, fresh ideas and traditional cooking from around the world.

 But a great friend of mine introduced me to Pei Wei diner and it quickly became one of my favorite places to eat. There are multiple Pei Wei’s across the country and at $6.99 for beef fried rice, I promise you – it’ll become a favorite for you too!

 With tender slices of beef, minced red bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, scallions, egg and soy sauce stir fried with white or brown rice you can’t go wrong on taste and budget friendly too!

 So keep chasing out those budget friendly beef dishes, and don’t be shy in sharing them with me!

 Enjoy your summer nights, I am!


Beef Fried Rice = $6.99


Plan The Menu – Save Money & Sanity

Hello Friday!  This week has flown by again…one more week until I leave home and head back to school.  This next week is gonna be a little on the stressful side as I tie up all the loose ends and prepare for the trip!  What better way to end a 2,000 mile drive than an Aaron Watson concert right?  That’s what I’m thinking!  Today I want to tell y’all about a budget stretching exercise that I think is amazing.  Let’s talk meal planning!

Not only will planning your meals a week or two in advance result in less stress, it will also save you time and money!  I learned this from my Mom and my Aunt Heather.  They both plan their meals in advance; Mom for one week, Aunt Heather for two!  Why did they start planning in advance?  My Mom started the habit because she hates to work all day and then head home and try to figure out what to fix for supper!  Aunt Heather is an Air Force wife and she found that if she could plan her meals for two weeks the sometimes overwhelming trip to the BX would seem more worth it!  They both were surprised by the amount of money they saved and continued the habit!

Step 1Find yourself something to plan withAunt Heather uses a calendar, Mom uses a white board.

Step 2Decide what you want to eat for the week (or two if you’re ambitious).  Think about the sides that will go along with the dishes as well, get out your recipe books (or computer in our case) and figure out what ingredients you will need.  Be sure when you are thinking about what to fix you account for leftovers, maybe plan to have leftovers on an evening you have a meeting or the kids have a 4-H meeting.

Step 3:  Create your shopping listBe sure to double-check and remove things from the list that you already have in the pantry.  Check and double-check your list to ensure that you don’t make any last-minute grocery store runs during the week because that is where most grocery dollars are spent!  Include at the end of your list any household items you might need to pick up for the week; tin foil, paper towels, etc.

Step 4Post your menu!  Hang the whiteboard or calendar on the fridge.  Your kids will enjoy seeing what they will be having for supper during the week!  Maybe you can get them involved and pick one day a week that each child gets to help choose the recipe and help fix supper for the family….responsibility lesson?  Also, this one might be a long shot for some of you, but maybe if you post the menu and your older children and spouses know that all the ingredients are in the pantry, they will start fixing supper before you get home to surprise you…positive thinking!

By following these 4 steps with diligence you will save money.  My mom has found that she saves nearly $50 per week simply because she doesn’t go to the store repeatedly.  I know from experience that it is sometimes difficult to get out of the Wal-Mart under $30 even if you just went to pick up a tomato. You will also save time because when you go to the store you are in and out with minimal thinking involved!  Among all of the other benefits, maybe the greatest bonus is the fact that no longer will you have to pull out your hair worrying over what to fix each night, how much money you are spending a week and where to cut down your grocery budget!  Bottom line: Plan your menu to save money & sanity!

Wishing you a weekend full of BEEFY meals, budget friendly deals & a fun night out in your favorite pair of heels!

Happy Trails,


Beef Chorizo Pizza – On The Grill!

Seriously, Wednesday is already here!  This has been a couple of weeks where it seems like I lay my head down on Monday and wake up to Friday! WHAT is with THAT!  Well I decided to mix things up a little bit this week.  See I think about food a lot, when I can’t sleep I think about recipes, when I am running I think about recipes, driving down the interestate thinking about recipes…I am certainly that girl that finishes eating lunch and thinks hmm…what am I going to make for supper.  The interesting thing is that sometimes my wild ideas work, sometimes they are awful and sometimes they are absolutely EPIC.   While this recipe is great, I don’t know that I would consider it EPIC, the post will help you get to know me better!  What do I mean by that?  Well during this post you will get some insight into my life because I burned the thing AND it stuck to the pan…both things that happen in the kitchen, to some of us more than others, but they happen to everyone.  That’s the great thing about cooking, it’s an experiment, an adventure and some even consider it a journey.  So my wild idea to cook pizza on the grill will actually work, but learn from my mistakes and grease your cookie sheet!  Head for the kitchen and let’s talk Beef Chorizo Pizza!

Beef Chorizo Pizza
1 lb ground beef (I like my pizza beefy)
1/2 link of beef Chorizo
1 Italian Zuchini (the green ones)
1 small can sliced olives
1 C muschrooms
1 1/2 C cheese
1/2 C Pizza Sauce
1 pizza dough

Let’s talk beef chorizo some of you may not be familiar with this delicious beef product.  It is a hispanic style beef product made of cheeks and spices, it is delicious when mixed with ground beef.  So start by mixing the two meats.  No need to dirty a bowl, mix them in your black iron skillet cause that is where you will cook it.  In the summer time I love to cook outside so i even cooked the meat in my black iron skillet on the grill, but you can do that part in the house if you wish.  Let that cook and during this time mix up your pizza dough.  I used a Betty Crocker pizza dough but Betty and I got into a fist fight so use whatever you would like.  If you do use Betty’s don’t get confused by the directions…GREASE YOUR COOKIE SHEET!  (I get so excited that I don’t read things through sometimes…FAIL) So next spread your pizza dough onto your baking dish of choice, I will tell you that I used a square cookie sheet because I baked it on the grill, but I prefer to bake pizza on a pizza stone (The Pampered Chef makes a great one).  However, a pizza stone wont fit on the grill, so if you are fixing this inside in an oven I RECOMMEND the pizza stone!  Dice up your veggies into a bowl and mix them in the bowl to save a step later.  Now I know what you are thinking… veggies on a pizza I thought this was BEEFonaBudget… I love a ton of meat on my pizza but let’s face it, it is summer and we have delicious vegetables available so for heaven’s sake let’s use them!  Trust me on the veggies, use whatever you have on hand. 

 Spread the pizza dough, then put a layer of pizza sauce, then put a layer of the meat, then cover with the cheese, then spread your veggies, then put the rest of the meat.  Now this is not going to look like your normal pizza, cause I love a lot of toppings, this is the kind of pizza you have to eat with a fork.  Then take your pizza to the grill and leave on there until the crust is golden and the cheese is all melted.  This is a seriously delicious pizza, spicy but not too spicy, beefy and fresh all at once!

This is what will happen if you get in a fist fight with Betty Crocker & don’t GREASE your cookie sheet….

 The thing I learned from this experience, maybe there could be such thing as a crustless pizza…A new topic to ponder, perfect!

Beef Chorizo Pizza
1 lb ground beef – $2.00
1/2 link of beef Chorizo- $0.75
1 Italian Zuchini- $0.80
1 small can sliced olives- $1.10
1 C muschrooms- $0.60
1 1/2 C cheese- $1.50
1/2 C Pizza Sauce- $0.90
1 pizza dough- $0.99
Total Cost – $8.64 (serves 4)
Cost Per Plate- $2.16

I hope that you enjoyed this 20 min meal idea!  So fast, so easy, so affordable, this kid pleaser is fun for them to help with too!  I hope that each of you have a blessed week! 

Happy Trails,

~ Anna-Lisa

Beef On The Go – Arby’s Roast Beef

This weekend found me in Oklahoma City at the inaugural Battle in the Saddle competition and was the ‘facebook queen’ giving play by plays of events and results for the Battle in the Saddle facebook page. I am truly enjoying my time here at the American Quarter Horse Association, as the marketing intern. I never know what all I will get to do.  I tagged more things in the two days I was in OKC, than I ever have on facebook before! Social media truly is an amazing tool. Little did I know 5 years ago that travel expenses would be allotted for facebook administrators at events around the country, or that I would be one of those people.

I feel it is important to continue to improve my social media skills, because it is needed in our world today.  I don’t know what the next few years hold as far as the technological advances, but innovation and change is a must have for continued success in job searches, career fields and especially in the continued growth the stability of the agriculture industry.

Speaking of innovation and technological advances, these pictures of my Beef On The Go posts are taken with my iPhone. I had avoided getting a high-tech phone for many years, but now I do not think I could live without my lil’ white phone, it helps me accomplish so many tasks. I guess I need to remember to embrace the future while never forgetting the past.

Today’s stop is at one of my favorite places to eat – Arby’s. It always brings back fond memories of when I was a little girl. The first five years of my life, my parents ranched in Colorado for the summer and fall months, and would move back to Texas in the winter. Arby’s was the stop in Raton, New Mexico where I would eat those amazing curly-frie-things in our travels back and forth between the Lone Star State and Colorful Colorado. It is funny how you remember things like that, from when you were 3, 4 and 5, and how it comes back to you as you standing in line ordering, and putting Arby’s sauce on your roast beef.

With Arby’s current $1 menu, you can find some great budget friendly buys, awesome roast beef and curly fries. So go check it out, and don’t forget that wonderful Arby’s sauce for both your tender roast beef and fries!

Have a fantastic week everyone, and I’ll see you Friday, if you have anything specific you would like me to post about – shoot me an email at, because I always love hearing for y’all!

Adios Amigos,

Cost breakdown:
Reg. Combo = $5.01 (sandwitch, drink and curly fries)
Jr. Sandwitch = $1.00 (you can get two jr. for less than a regular size)
Jr. Curly Fries = $1.00
Jr. Fountain Drink = $1.00