There's a lake (okay, so it's really a cow pond, but we still call it a lake) about a hundred and fifty yards from our house. In recent months, Big Daddy has spent countless hours on his tractor, clearing brush piles, mowing and, generally, grooming the area around the lake. So when we took a walk down there just before Christmas, I told him it would make a great place for a tailgate party and bonfire. He already had the big brush pile and there was a wide open area for folks to gather.
So, the Friday after Christmas, that's just what we did.
As sunset approached, we hauled chairs, a work table, a gas burner and food, down to the lake, along with a couple of tailgates.
Of course, it's not a party until somebody gets stuck in the mud.
The younger cousins played at the water's edge.
Until it was finally time to light the bonfire.
Even the smallest members of the family were mesmerized.
While others just wanted to eat.
Since it was cool, soup seemed both easy and logical for this event. So I made up a batch of Taco Soup (you can find that recipe here).
And some Ranch Hand Chowder.
Like Taco Soup, Ranch Hand Chowder is quick and easy to throw together.
Here's what you'll need:
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- ½ cup (one stick) butter (I prefer unsalted)
- 1 10 oz can condensed cream of potato soup (yep, good ol' Campbells or store equivalant)
- 2 ½ cups milk
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon chicken flavored stock base (I used Better Than Bouillon)
- 1 lb breakfast sausage, browned
- 2 - 17 oz cans creamed corn
- ½ - 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Melt butter in large Dutch oven. Add onion and peppers and sauté over medium-high heat until tender.
Add remaining ingredients, except cheese.Stir to combine.
Now add your cheese.
That’s it! Hot and ready in no time at all.
Both soups were a hit, even with the hollow-legged teenage grandboys. We ate, we talked, roasted marshmallows for s'mores... Then capped it all off with fireworks over the lake. Sorry, I wasn't able to get a picture of those, but they sure were pretty.
Now I'm thinking we might need to do it all over again for the Fourth of July.
So how were your holidays? Calm or chaotic? Bustling or relaxed? And how's the new year treating you so far? Any big goals for 2019?
Three-time Carol Award finalist, Mindy Obenhaus lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, the youngest of her five children and two dogs. She's passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com