Val’s Farm-ous Lasagna

When I think about my hours spent in the kitchen on the farm, my first instinct is to grab my lasagna pan. Whenever we work cattle, have a crew out to help or need to work together on a project, I know that I can never go wrong with the cheesy, meaty greatness that is my “Farm-ous Lasagna.”

So here it is…AND I have a crew to feed it to today!

This is what we’re doing:

This is corn that has been chopped and will be used this winter to feed our cattle. We have a crew of 7 here today to help us get our feed ready!

This is corn that has been chopped and will be used this winter to feed our cattle. We have a crew of 7 here today to help us get our feed ready!

And I’ll be sure to explain it more later.

But for now, here’s the recipe:

Val’s Farm-ous Lasagna


  • ground beef, browned (I use 1 1/2 pounds of meat, but not everyone likes their lasagna THAT meaty, use your discretion.)
  • 1 can pasta sauce
  • 4 cups shredded cheese of your choosing (I prefer the pizza mix, because it melts so yummy!)
  • 1 22 oz. container cottage cheese (I use low-fat…which is almost laughable because of the amount of cheese in my lasagna, but I didn’t ask your opinion, now did I? 🙂 )
  • lasagna noodles, about 12, depending on your pan size, cooked al dente’ and drained/rinsed

1) Add pasta sauce and browned hamburger together in a skillet. I make sure it’s all warmed together before layering my lasagna.

This is how I start my lasagna, with a layer of sauce.

This is how I start my lasagna, with a layer of sauce.

2) Layer your lasagna: I always start with a base of sauce/burger mixture at the bottom, then a layer of noodles, then a layer of sauce again, cottage cheese and shredded cheese. Continue layering, ending with shredded cheese that covers the whole pan. (I use one package of cheese in the layering, and one package just for the topping…I like cheese.) Like this:

3) Bake at 350* for about 30 minutes, or until you notice the sauce in the lasagna starts boiling.

Can we say, "YUM!"

Can we say, “YUM!”

4) Enjoy! And perhaps consider hitting the gym for a little extra time tonight. The beauty of this recipe? If possible, it tastes even better as leftovers. Unfortunately, it’s been a year or two since my boys left us any leftovers!

* I am participating in Indiana’s Family of Farmers Table Talk Series and received a gift in exchange for my participation.

Table Talk Contributor

Wordless Wednesday – Corn Chopping (AKA Silage Cutting)

I was going through some of my older photos…and I realized that I hadn’t shared the shots that my 4-year-old took while we were driving truck for silage cutting.  Some of them are so funny, that I have to share.

EJ definitely has an eye for photography!

Today's post, brought to you by 4-year-old EJ.



Chopper at work...well, actually at rest, but getting ready to work.



Self-portrait. We'll call this, "EJ - Through the Looking Glass"



Chopper, at work again.



Up close shot of silage flying around.



Well, where would we be without our hands?



Had to get a shot in of his favorite person/mentor...Mr. Shorty.



A Meal for a Crew – Steak Pizza

I’m linking up to a Latte’ with Ott, A’s September Iron Chef Challenge. And this month, the ingredient of choice is Red Star Yeast. I was looking through recipes, and thought I would do The Pioneer Woman’s Steakhouse Pizza, but didn’t have much of the ingredients (except yeast, flour and steak!)…so I decided to make my own recipe.

I was nervous if it would turn out, but since the pan was empty in less than 15 minutes, I’m assuming that meant it was edible.

Here we go!

Great ingredients make for a great meal!


Ingredients (crust):

  • 1 teaspoon Quick Rise Instant Dry Red Star Yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil

Sprinkle yeast in 3/4 cup warm water. Let stand a few minutes. Combine flour and salt. Drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. next, pour in yeast/water mixture and combine until dough comes together. Coat a separate mixing bowl with olive oil and form the dough into a ball. Toss to coat dough in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set it aside for 1 to 2 hours, or store in the fridge until you need it. (Note: I made the dough the night before. It worked really well the next morning!)

Mixed dough



Dough - after being in fridge for 14 hours!



Pizza ingredients:

  • Dough (see above)
  • 14-15 oz. pizza sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons BBQ sauce
  • mushrooms (or toppings of choice)
  • steak (arm, ribeye, skirt, cut of choice)
  • 3 cups shredded cheese (pizza blend is what I use)

Ready to hit the oven!



On a cookie sheet, spread out dough. Combine pizza sauce and BBQ sauce. Spread evenly over dough. Top with toppings of choice, end with cheese. Bake at 400* for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese it bubbly and crust is turning golden.

Cook your steak as desired!



While crust is baking, cook your steak to about medium-rare. Let it rest. When pizza is done, slice steak into very thin slices and place on top of the pizza. Stand back and watch it disappear!

Did I say, Mmmmmmm?!?






This is what was left, about 15 minutes after it came out of the oven!




Frosty Farm

We were really, really close to a frost this morning…and our farm isn’t ready for that! (Of course, Mother Nature never waits ’til you’re ready, though.)

So, what does frost mean for the farm?

Well…it means work.

Frost kills the plant, which in turn makes the fruit of the plant ripen sooner than planned. Unfortunately, when plants don’t ripen on their own, and a frost helps ripen them, they can all ripen at the same time. Which is stressful!

Today our high is supposed to be mid-50’s, tonight a low of upper-20’s, and then a slow warm up again. It’s hard to plan in the fall, because you never know what the day is going to bring. My boys leave for school in heavy jackets and come back without them. You start the day in long sleeves and end the day in shorts. It’s crazy, but it’s the same thing every fall.

Another sure sign of fall? I was up ’til almost 2 this morning, canning the vegetables that were ready to go, just in case frost did set in. I’m a tired prairie mama today!

Just some of the produce now prepared for winter!


Farm update – corn planting

I realized that my posts lately have been heavy on family and emotions, and light on farm and facts! So here goes a great Friday post!

Check out this video on our no-till corn planting (only 45 seconds, won’t kill ya to watch it!):

And now here are some pics of that same corn…growing!

All our little corn plants, growing in a row!



Planted a little later than liked, but looking good! Happy corn makes for happy cows makes for happy Boss Man!



Yes, the corn appears to be a little on the weedy side right now, but thanks to the never-ending rain, there’s not much that can be done about it at this time. It’s raining as we speak…and I took some cool pics, but you’ll have to wait for my Wordless Wednesday post on those! 🙂 Now you have a reason to come back…

See you soon!

Fantastic fall footage

I put together a video of chopping corn, but never posted it to my blog. Thanks to the wonders of YouTube, more than 100 people have found their way to it! LOL! But I meant to post it, so I still will…if you’ve already seen it, enjoy it again, or go check out some of my other videos. (Including one with the live birth of a calf!)

To explain the process, once corn reaches the stage at which boss man feels it would be ready to cut (or when we have help available!), we set out with the Gehl’s and start the job. The choppers cut the corn into bite size pieces, that will be mixed with ground hay and wet cake to make a yummy cocktail for our calving herd throughout the winter and spring.

The corn is dumped on a pile that is driven over, and over, and over by a big 4-wheel drive tractor. This packs it and makes it easier to cover and prevents extensive spoilage.

The chopped corn smells sweet. I, personally, am not a big fan of the smell, but my sister loves it! It’s just a part of fall.

The pile is covered with a thick plastic, part to prevent spoilage and part to prevent damage and loss from deer. Deer were a MAJOR problem last year. We had a herd of probably 200-300 deer that decided that our hay yard and feed were a GREAT way to spend the winter. They made a mess of everything, so this year we’re trying to nip that in the bud and make sure we’re prepared. (You can see the video on YouTube, if you check out some of my videos that I’ve posted. It’s not a great video, since it was my first ever, but you get the point.)

We’ll start feeding cows in the next few weeks. It will depend on when snow covers the ground and we’re able to get the cows moved home. It’s time to admit that winter is almost here!

This is how it goes

So, mommy duties trumped farm-wife duties today. Although I was planning on driving truck all afternoon, plans were changed on me. Imagine that.

George decided that he would start a fever today. He’s been cranky for a few days, so I had a feeling it was coming, but it’s been a long time since we’ve had fever issues. For those that aren’t aware of my family background, “George,” our youngest son, has been battling mysterious health issues for most of his life. His only diagnosis so far has been Failure to Thrive. Doctors throw ideas at us left and right, but nothing ever sticks, and we get passed off from specialist to specialist like a nasty church potluck dish.

Anyway, I digress.

So I spent my day trying to entertain an ailing child, debating with myself as to whether or not I should call in and just at 8 p.m., as the walk-in clinic an hour from here was closing, his fever decided to spike. Yeah, we roll like that.

So we loaded up some Motrin (Tylenol is a no-no right now, since one of our first major issues were liver enzyme levels close to 300, both AST and ALT), and now he’s resting well. I’m guessing ear infection, which is about as close to an accurate diagnosis as any doctor gives us, and will probably be visiting the clinic in the morning.

Can I tell you…I’d rather drive truck.

Sure sign of fall

I’m not ready for today…but then again, I never am. No, I’m not talking about the first days of school or the first snow fall, nothing that simple. Today we start chopping corn. Ugh.

Now, I know that it’s a good thing. This means that we’ll be prepared for winter, have plenty of feed for our cattle, be able to provide for them the nutrients they need. That’s all great!

It’s what it means that makes me say, “Ugh.” Silage harvest is closely followed by winter. No matter how you look at it, you can’t escape it. And when you live in a state like North Dakota, winter is kinda a big deal.

So this morning, I’m getting lunch ready to put in the oven, my canning stuff put away, some laundry done and a very excited little boy ready to go. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be in the silage truck, hauling corn to the pile…and not very excited about it.