I'd sure like to just snuggle up with a blanket and read a book when the weather is like this, but ranchers just can't do that. Our cows depend on us for food and shelter, and very importantly, fresh water. So we put on lots of layers, bundle up as best as we can, and head out to feed hay, roll out straw and chop ice so the cows can be comfortable.
Before I head out, I always pop something in the crockpot for the ranchers when we finally get back inside to warm up. This time it is homemade Beefy Noodles. I even make my own noodles...yes, I do! Check this out!!
So you can use nearly any steak or roast that you have. Stew meat would be perfect, but I use round steak mostly. It isn't a very tender cut, but it makes for some delicious stew meat! I just cut it into cubes while it is still a bit frozen. Easier to cut that way. Toss the chunks of fat, and give the bone to Roo the Cowdog. She is my best friend for a few days then!
Then toss the beef cubes into a big stock pot with a bit of heated oil. I put some Blythe Family Seasoning on top and then a bit of flour and brown the cubes slightly. For the seasoning recipe, check out this blog: Super Secret Beef Seasoning Recipe!
When the chunks are evenly browned and even a bit toasty on the outsides, I fill the pot half full with water, stir it up and set it to simmer on the stove for a few hours. I want the water to cook down a bit, but not too much. But the best part is the beef becomes very tender, while the juices mix and the liquid is really rich and delicious! Once it is all simmered down by approximately half the water volume and the meat is tender, you can either turn it off and wait to add the noodles later, or if you are ready to eat, turn it up to boil and make the noodles.
I do make my own noodles, but you can buy the frozen egg noodles, too. They are awesome, but really the recipe is so simple, I don't know why everyone doesn't make their own!! So put 2 cups of flour in a bowl, 1 tsp of salt, and 2-4 eggs (depending on how large the eggs are). I don't like to add water or milk to make the dough come together--so add enough eggs to make a dough, but not so that it is sticky. Yeah, I'm really precise about that kind of thing....just play with it. You'll see. This time, it took 4 eggs. Then drop it out on the counter and knead the rest of the flour in. Spread a bit of fresh flour on the counter and roll it out...this is not easy! The dough is very stiff and hard. Once again, there is no precision to this. Just roll it as thin as you can. I usually have a teenage boy do this for me! They are much taller and get better leverage above the countertop, and they are much stronger. But I can do it myself as well. Then I use my pizza cutter to cut the noodles into strips about 1/4" wide and then into chunks about 2" long. You can see, there is no real perfection here as well. Once it is in the pot, it will all look great! Of course, if you have a pasta machine, you already know how to make noodles. Since I won't have teenage boys around next winter, I may ask for a pasta machine for my birthday!!
I do not wait for my noodles to dry, although some people claim that is important. I find fresh noodles are awesome either way. So do it how you like. I just toss them into the boiling pot and stir them and watch them cook up!! They should be ready to eat in only 10 minutes or less. If you are not eating right away, pour the whole thing into a crockpot and turn it to warm for the day. That means it will be hot and ready to eat whenever the cold cowboys come in from the storm!
I don't really use a "recipe," but let me list my ingredients for you.
Homemade Beefy Noodles
1 round steak, cubed. Discard the fat and feed the bone to Roo the Cowdog
2 Tbsp olive oil (or other cooking oil) to brown the meat in.
Lots of water...not very precise.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
I serve the soup with a little parmesan cheese on top--some people add ketchup or BBQ sauce too! Everyone can mix in whatever they prefer! I plan to mix some herbs or veggies into my noodles one day, but I never take the time now. Life is just too darn busy and I know the noodles are delicious this way. Why mess with perfection?!
Stay warm, my friends, and remember that spring is one day closer!!