The Shepherds Kitchen

A day in the life on my ranch and in my kitchen

Chicken Tortilla Soup for the Soul

This soup is amazing on a cold winter’s day, and isn’t your ordinary chicken soup either. Surprise them with delicious tummy warmer! My family loves it and so will yours!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
1 8oz can green chilies, chopped
4 cups chicken broth (I use the stock from my chicken)
1 15ounce can of diced tomatoes (if possible fire roasted is best)
1 can of black beans, drained & rinsed
3 chicken breasts
2 limes
Salt (optional)
1 cup fresh cilantro chopped
4 corn tortillas sliced
1 avocado
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes. Once the onions have softened, add the garlic and green chilies and cook for another minute. Pour the chicken stock, tomatoes and beans into the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and add your chicken breasts. Cook the chicken for 20 to 25 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pot. When it is cool enough to handle, shred it and place back into the pot. Add the lime juice and fresh cilantro to the pot.

In a serving bowl, ladle the soup and top with a lime wedge, grilled tortilla strips, avocado slices and cheese. Delicioso!

Double Bottom Blueberry Lemon Pecan Pie

Its National Pie Day! How about this delicious treat to honor the day? Yes it is a mouthful of a name, and an even tastier mouthful of summertime pie on this winter day.

1 refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
1/3 cup sugar
2- 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel (from 1/4 medium lemon)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1/2 medium lemon)
1 teaspoon quick-cooking tapioca
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup lemon pie filling (from a can)
Lemon slices, if desired
Pecan halves, if desired


Heat oven to 425°F. Unroll 1 pie crust in ungreased 9-inch pie plate. Press firmly against side and bottom. In small bowl, mix 1/3 cup sugar and the cinnamon until well blended. In medium microwavable bowl, microwave butter uncovered on High about 30 seconds or until melted. With pastry brush, brush melted butter on side and top edge of pie crust. Sprinkle buttered areas of crust with sugar mixture. Stir remaining sugar mixture and the chopped pecans into remaining melted butter until pecans are well coated. Sprinkle pecan mixture into crust-lined pie plate. Top with second crust; trim and flute edges. Prick top crust several times with fork. Bake about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on cooling rack, about 30 minutes.  In 1-quart saucepan, mix 1 cup of the blueberries, the lemon peel, lemon juice, tapioca and 2 tablespoons sugar. Using potato masher or fork, mash blueberry mixture well. Cook over medium-low heat about 15 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir in remaining 2 cups blueberries. Spread lemon pie filling evenly over top of cooled pie. Pour blueberry mixture on top.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Garnish with lemon slices and pecan halves.  Cover and refrigerate any remaining pie.

Substitute chopped walnuts for chopped pecans, if desired.

Garnish pie as pictured with a nest of lemon zest, if desired.

This was a winning pie from the Pillsbury® Refrigerated Pie Crust Championship in 2007.  This recipe was submitted by Marina Heppner of Orchard Park, first place winner of America’s Fair–The Erie County Fair (NY).

Parmesean Roasted Potatoes

I have made so many varieties of roasted potatoes and these are my family’s top favorite. These will have everyone begging for more!

Parmesean Roasted Potatoes

Cooking spray
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or as needed
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 pounds red potatoes, halved
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, or as needed
1/4 cup sour cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan or cast iron skillet with cooking spray; pour in about 3 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to coat the bottom.
Mix Parmesan cheese, salt, garlic powder, paprika, and black pepper together in a bowl.
Place potatoes in a bowl and drizzle with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil; toss until potatoes are lightly coated. Sprinkle potatoes with Parmesan cheese mixture; toss to coat. Arrange potatoes, cut-side down, onto the prepared baking pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn potatoes to cut-side up; continue baking until golden and crispy, about 15 to 20 more minutes. Serve with sour cream.

Scrappy Grande Granny Blanket

I am making currently  a Grande Granny Square Blanket. I have a huge tote of odds and ends of yarn leftover from various projects, so I decided what a better way to use them up but in a randomly coordinated Granny Square. I am not much for doing small blocks and stitching together so I am just continuing to go round and round making one large square. Which do you prefer?


Don’t laugh it is and assortment of yarn leftovers, but it is getting cozy warm as it grows in size.

Just in case this is new to you!

Here is how “Granny” made a quick and simple crocheted blanket. It is something most beginners can learn quickly, as the technique is the same for each row. Using Granny squares, you can crochet a blanket without having to carry the blanket-in-progress with you. You make the squares individually, then stitch them together.

Choose a color scheme. Yarn, of course, comes in a wide variety of colors. Which colors you choose vastly changes how your final blanket, pillow, or other creation will look. Carefully choose your colors to get the effect you want.

  • Get the “gypsy” look by pairing red, dark purple, pink, yellow, bright blue and spring green.
  • Get the “old country” look by making bright squares but putting them together with a black border.
  • Get a classic American look by combining, white, red, blue, and pale yellow.
  • If you don’t want the granny square look but you want to still use the method to get a fast blanket, use only two colors (white and blue, for example) to create a more subtle look.

Once you know your colors, you’ll want to pick out a good yarn in the best material for you. If you’re making a blanket for a baby, use the softest yarn possible. If making something more durable, such as a pet-bed cover, use acrylic.

Obtain an appropriately sized crochet hook. The size of the hook should be stated in the pattern you want to use or listed for the weight of yarn you purchased.

  • If you’re worried about the hook size, do a test patch with a few rows of double crochet.

Chain six and form a loop around the hook, wrap yarn around the hook, and pull it through the loop in the knot–this is one chain stitch. After the yarn you pulled is wrapped around the hook, pull another loop through that, making a second chain stitch. Be sure to leave at least 4 inches (10.2 cm) of yarn at the beginning in case you need it later.

Slip stitch into the first chain. This forms a ring. Pull a new loop through the loop already on the hook, as well as through the chain stitch.

Chain three. This is the same as if you were doing rows of double crochet stitch.

Double crochet. Make two double crochet into the center of the ring.
Chain and double again. Chain two then make three double crochet into the center of the ring. Do this 3 times, for a total of 4 groups of 3 dc (double crochet).
Slip stitch to finish. Slip stitch into the top of the three chain to finish the round.
Start with a new color (or continue with same color, its your blanket) . Add a new color for the next row if you like. Simply start crocheting with the new color from any ch-sp (chain space, the gaps left by the chain stitches between the bunches of double crochet).
Chain three again. Again, this is the same as if you were doing rows of double crochet stitch.
Double crochet in the corners. In the chain space described above, do 3 double crochet stitches (but don’t forget that in your first set, the first dc is really the chain three that you did already).
Move to the next chain space. Chain two over the double crochet bunch and then make three more double crochet stitches into the next chain space. This begins to create the square.
Form the corner. Make 3 chain stitches to form the corner of the square and then double crochet 3 more into the same chain space.

  • Change to 1 chain stitch between if you want a rounder, tighter square as shown in the pictures.

Continue until the row is complete. Do all 4 corners, and then slip stitch to the top of the ch-3 in the first corner to finish the round. Each corner should have two sets of three dc, each separated by three chain stitches.


Start the next row. Change colors again if you like, again this is your blanket!

Continue similarly to the previous row. Double crochet 2 bunches of three stitches (separated by three chain stitches) into each corner. Do only ONE bunch of three dc into each “flat side” chain space, with two chain stitches between the corner bunches and the middle bunches.

Make as many rows as you want. The number of side spaces will continue to increase.

  • You can make a potholder by backing your square with sturdy cloth, make an ornamental doily by using a thinner yarn, or even a baby blanket by using soft yarn in baby-friendly colors. You can make an afghan by either making one huge square or by attaching a number of small squares together.
  • Squares can be attached by sewing or by crocheting together using slip stitch or single crochet.

And your finished! Good luck & happy hooking!

Enjoying the Garden Life

I know it has been a considerable amount of time since I have blogged. That is going to change right here today!


Rudy the Rooster supervising my raking skills

I got so busy with life, rushing to do this & that, I forget to stop and enjoy life.

My hubby & I have begun the task of creating 2 very large garden plots. The weather has been gorgeous the last few days in Oklahoma, certainly good for scooping up manure from the horses & goats, tilling & raking and repeat the steps again and again. Mercy me, I am sore from head to toe but I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the gentle breeze & sunshine. The day was beautiful my chickens joined in on the raking, well truth be told they were on bug duty. The joys of watching them definitely brings me serenity.

I will be back on the blogosphere from here at the ranch, sharing my favorite recipes, my daily musings on the ranch, things I craft and so much more!

I hope you enjoy & share it! Want it delivered to your inbox each day? Please “subscribe” by entering your email address!

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Chicken with Garlic Asiago Cheese Sauce & Pasta

If you like this recipe, be sure to share it or pin it! What better food to comfort you than a small taste of Italy! Mamma Mia, this is de-lish! I hope you enjoy this as much as we do, although my hubby doesn’t like it with tomatoes, so for him I omit this step.

Chicken with Garlic Asiago Cheese Sauce & Pasta
20 oz Chicken Breast
1/4 cup White Flour Bleached
1/4 cup Creamery Butter
1lb of your favorite pasta. (Linguini, bow tie, penne, tortellini etc)
1 cup Cherry tomato halves
2 cups Milk-1%
1 tsp fresh rough chopped basil
1/4 cup Asiago medium cheese
1 medium red sweet onion
1 tsp sea salt
5 Garlic Cloves
1/2 tsp Spices, Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Nutmeg, Ground
2 tbsp Canola Oil

Boil 8 cups of water in a pasta pot.

Dice the onions, half the tomatoes, and chop the garlic cloves. Add 1 Tbsp canola oil to a large frying pan and saute the onion, tomato, and garlic until the vegetables are cooked through, then add basil. Remove the sauteed vegetables from pan and set aside in a separate bowl.

Cut up the chicken breasts into bite size pieces and add 1 Tbsp of canola oil to the frying pan you cooked the vegetables in. Add the chicken to the frying pan until cooked and browned through.

Make the sauce:
Place 1/4C of creamery butter in a medium sized pot and over medium heat. Melt until clarified and add 1/4C flour and stir constantly for one minute until flour is cooked. Add 2C of 1% milk and place heat on high stirring constantly until thickened. Use a whisk to prevent burning. Once thickened remove from heat and place aside.

Add the sauteed vegetables, chicken and all spices into the sauce. Stir thoroughly. Place pot over medium heat and add 1/4C shredded Asiago cheese to the pot stirring constantly until melted into the sauce. Reduce heat to very low to keep the mixture hot for serving.

Add 1 box of hole wheat pasta to boiling water and cook according to directions. Divide the cooked pasta between four large plates and add your chicken garlic and asiago cheese sauce over the cooked pasta.


Grilled Margarita Taco’s for Cinco De Mayo!

With all of this talk about Cinco de Mayo and Mexican fiestas, you may be wondering where & how it all began celebrating the 5th of May ” Cinco de Mayo”.  We will get to where  & how after we get your chicken marinating!


Grilled Margarita Taco’s

This is so simple & easy, and your family will love it!


3lbs Chicken Breast
2-1/2 cups Margarita Mix
1/4 cup cilantro chopped
1/4 cup scallions diced
2 tsp sea salt
Romaine lettuce chopped
Shredded Cheese (choose your favorite)
Grilled Guacamole (recipe below)

Pour the margarita mix, salt, cilantro, and scallions into a large resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken breasts, and press out as much of the air as possible before sealing. Marinate 4 to 8 hours in the refrigerator. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat. Lightly oil the grill grate. Remove chicken from marinade, and discard the marinade. Grill chicken 8 minutes per side, or until juices run clear.

Then I slice my chicken into long thin slices for the tortilla’s. Layer up your tortilla’s with all your favorite goodies!

Grilled Guacamole


5 Avocados (pitted & removed from shell in halves)
1/2 cup red onion diced
1/4 cup cilantro chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1-1/2 cups of grape tomatoes (halved)
1- large serano pepper (remove seeds, and diced)
1- lime (juiced)

While your chicken is on the grill, add your avocado’s big side down on the grill, lightly grill for about 4-5 minutes. Remove from grill. Add avocado’s to medium sized bowl and lightly mash, leaving some small chunks, add onions, cilantro, garlic, tomatoes, pepper and juice of a lime, and mix by hand well. Add salt & pepper to taste.  **can be stored in air tight container for 2 days in refridgerator. (if it lasts that long) Makes a great dip too!

With all of this talk about Cinco de Mayo and Mexican fiestas, you may be wondering where & how it all began celebrating the 5th of May ” Cinco de Mayo”.

What is Cinco de Mayo?

Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday full of rich history and Mexican pride. This day commemorates the Mexican Army’s astonishing triumph over the French that took place on May 5, 1862. The Mexican Army was greatly outnumbered by the French, who had also not lost a battle in over fifty years!

In hopes of slowing the French’s advancement toward Mexico City, General Ignacio Zaragoza and his troops attacked the French Army in the small village of Puebla. This attack resulted in the unlikely victory for the Mexican Army. On September 16, 1862, President Juarez declared that the date of the Battle of Puebla would be made an annual holiday. Hence, Cinco de Mayo became a popular holiday in Mexico and in areas where there is a large Mexican population.

I think this is about as close as you can get to Heaven in a kitchen. Definitely not your “standard” scone. Catch those blueberry sales at the grocery store, or get them when they are freshest & in season where you live, this will be a definite add to the recipe box. I just bought my blueberries yesterday, and this is on the menu for the weekend.

White Chocolate Blueberry Scones

8 Tablespoons unsalted butter (chopped into small cubes) (freeze first for ease)
1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries ( or exchange for your favorite berry)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk (I use 2%)
1/2 cup sour cream (I use lowfat)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar (plus a smidge or two for sprinkling)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grab those bowls, bowl #1 in small bowl whisk together sour cream and milk then set aside. Bowl #2 add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and lemon zest and whisk it together to blend. Now in bowl #2 add those cubes of butter and using a pasty cutter and rough blend. Do not over blend this. Next fold in the milk mixture from bowl #1 and fold until just moistened, again do not overwork this. Now turn the dough on floured surface crumbs & all, then gently knead for about 6-8 times just until it holds together in a ball. Roll out into a 12″ inch square, fold into thirds. Then take the small end and roll into thirds again. Gently roll out into a 12″ square again, sprinkle chocolate chips, and blueberries on to the top of the dough and lightly press in. Next roll up like a jellyroll sealing the seam and ends. Lightly mash into a until it measures 12″ x 4″, then with knife into 1″ rectangles down the length of the roll. Cut each rectangle in half crossways making the triangle. Place on lightly sprayed baking sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes. Place on wire rack to cool about 5 minutes and serve warm.

Today’s Cell Pic Challenge is “Rug”. Have fun with this! I am using and iPhone and the facetune app, I defocused the edges, used an 50% old days filter overlay, with a follow up 100% gold filter overlay, then adjusted the lighting to 50% darker. You can join me in the #cellpicchallenge2014 by scrolling up to the pinned post.



Cell phone photography daily challenge for May 2014. Think outside the box on these daily themes. Rules are simple, can only use a cellular device, you may use any app to enhance your photo. Everyone is welcome to participate & post their pics to our wall or on instagram & Twitter #cellpicchallenge2014. Most of all HAVE fun & Share the challenge!

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Chilled Cranberry Breakfast Drink

Good cran-a-licious morning to you. Something a little different than coffee for you. I hope your day is bright & sunny where you are. It is a beautiful although very chilly morning here in Oklahoma, May 1st & its 37 degrees at 8:00 am, enough mother nature, we all have cabin fever and would like some fun in the sun! (Be sure to check our photo challenge by scrolling down)

Cranberry Breakfast Drink

2 cups orange juice
1medium firm bananas
3/4 cup frozen cranberries
1/8 cup 2% milk
1/8 cup sugar
Ice (enough to your desired thickness)

In a blender place half of the orange juice, bananas, cranberries, milk, sugar & ice and blend well until its smooth. Pour into a pitcher or chilled glasses.  Serve Makes about 4 servings.


For those of you that do not know, my life revolves around our little ranch. I am always asked if there is “new life on the farm? ” For now our baby season is over for us with the exception of hatching chicks, turkeys & ducks, however these do not require sleepless nights and even longer days. For today’s photo challenge I chose a pic I took last December, its a bittersweet shot I took. Even though this was a day we welcomed new life, we said goodbye as well. That day our sweet goat delivered twins, short time after she gave birth she passed.  The heartbreaks of loss on a ranch can be overwhelming, but it is diminished when you bring new life onto this earth.

One generation passes away, and another generation comes: but the earth stays for ever. Ecclesiates 1:4

Want to take part in the #CellPicChallenge2014? Scroll down and see how!

In My Hand- New Life

In My Hand- New Life

Here on the Ranch we decided to have some fun. Cell phone photography daily challenge for May 2014. Think outside the box on these daily themes. Rules are simple, can only use a cellular device, you may use any app to enhance your photo. Everyone is welcome to participate & post their pics to our wall on Facebook or on Instagram & Twitter #cellpicchallenge2014. Most of all HAVE fun & Share the challenge!

Find & Follow us by clicking below-

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May Challenge

Not Once, but Twice Baked Potatoes

Please if you like this recipe, share it!

Are you looking for new ways to side dish potatoes? My family loves when we have twice baked potatoes! Although when they are made in this house, the rest of the meal seems to take the back burner.
Wash up those potatoes, let’s get baking!!

Twice Baked Potatoes

Twice Baked Potatoes

Twice Baked Potatoes


4 large baking potatoes
8 slices bacon
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
8 green onions, sliced, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake potatoes in preheated oven for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.
When potatoes are done allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh into a large bowl; save skins. To the potato flesh add sour cream, milk, butter, salt, pepper, 1/2 cup cheese and 1/2 the green onions. Mix with a hand mixer until well blended and creamy. Spoon the mixture into the potato skins. Top each with remaining cheese, green onions and bacon.
Bake for another 15 minutes.


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