Barbecued Pork Chops

Grilling is perhaps the most-popular method to fix barbecued pork, be it chops, steaks or roasts. However, one shouldn’t discount preparing it in a conventional oven.

barbecue_pork_skillet_hrThat’s exactly what I did the other day when my grandson, Rakeem, came over for supper. One of his favorite meals is barbecued pork with mashed potatoes and whole-kernel corn.

I used pork steaks for this meal, trimming off all the fat and deboning the meat. I used a homemade barbecue sauce, which is one of my standbys. It is simple to make and very delicious, and a nice way to warm up the house on one of these cool days we’ve been experiencing all spring.

Barbecued Pork Chops
Olive oil
4 center-cut pork chops
2 cups ketchup
1 cup water
8 tablespoons brown sugar
8 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
8 tablespoonsWorcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce
1 cayenne pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
Saute onion, garlic, celery and cayenne pepper in olive oil. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until sauce thickens.

Meanwhile, trim fat from pork chops. Place chops in Dutch oven or other ovenware. Cover with sauce and cook in 325-degree oven for 2 to 3 hour or until meat is fork-tender. Serve with mashed potatoes and whole-kernel corn.

Caramel Rolls

Caramel rolls are one of those foods that’s hard to resist for just about anybody. To some people, they’re the ultimate comfort food.

ebbd7183-64d7-4355-a583-cf6c830b1017Also known as sticky buns, caramel rolls aren’t exactly diet food, but if you’re like me, all food fits in one’s diet, if consumed in moderation.

I west looking for a caramel roll recipe after receiving a request from one of my Facebook friends, Kay, of San Diego. Kay is from my hometown of Crookston, Minn., and has been after me for a while for a good caramel roll recipe.

So, when I recently was going through some of my late mom’s recipes, I came acrross the following, which brought back fond memories. The recipe is just one of many of my mom’s that I plan to share in this space in the coming months.

Caramel Rolls
2 loaves frozen bread
½ cup butter or margarine
1 cup brown sugar
2 small packages vanilla pudding
2 tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Thaw bread dough and let rise. Tear one loaf into pieces and drop in 8½ by-11-inch pan. Melt butter and add the rest of ingredients. Heat until smooth and then pour over dough in pan. Tear second loaf and place on top of ingredients in pan. Let rise 2½ to 3 hours and then bake at 375 degrees. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes before turning out.

Cajun Chicken Pasta

Cajun cuisine, the style of cooking named for the French-speaking immigrants who were deported by the British from Acadia (now the Nova Scotia area of Canada) in the mid-1700s, isn’t necessarily hot and spicy. But it can be.

pic1BRyQxWhile the base of most Cajun dishes is the mind “holy trinity” ingredients — bell peppers, onion and celery — some others contain generous amounts of spices and ingredients that aren’t for the faint of heart. Some entrees that come to mind are jambalaya, gumbo and blackened fish.

Recently, a friend, Monte Lund, inquired about a recipe for Cajun Chicken Pasta. He said he was looking for something that was spicy but didn’t contain peppers. I told him about the following recipe, which we like. It can be as spicy as you want it to be. And it doesn’t contain peppers.

I made it the other night (using pheasant breasts), since we hadn’t eaten it in a while. I doubled the recipe because our grandson, Rakeem, was dining with us. He enjoyed two generous helpings of the dish, and took one home, so I knew it was OK.

The dish is contains 924 calories and 63 grams of fat per serving, so you might want to take this into account when you’re planning the rest of the day’s meal.

Cajun Chicken Pasta
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
4 ounces linguine, cooked al dente
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons butter
1 thinly sliced green onion
1 to 2 cups half and half
2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Place chicken and Cajun seasoning in a bowl and toss to coat. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute chicken in butter or margarine until chicken is tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat, add green onion, heavy cream, tomatoes, basil, salt, garlic powder, black pepper and heat through. Pour over hot linguine and toss with Parmesan cheese.
Yield: Serves 2.
Approximate nutritional analysis serving: 924 calories, 61 percent of calories from fat, 63 grams fat (37  grams saturated), 280 milligrams cholesterol, 839 milligrams sodium, 49 grams carbohydrates, 2.5 grams dietary fiber, 3.2 grams sugar, 40.5 grams protein. Note: To thicken sauce, add some cornstarch. And to make spicier, add more Cajun seasoning.

Homemade Chili Sauce

Chili sauce is a great condiment. It can be used for dipping (i.e. shrimp, fish, chicken strips), marinades (chicken, steak), spicy stir-fries (pork or beef), salad dressings (Thousand Island), or as it’s name suggests, in sauces (meatloaf, meatballs with grape jelly).

8027458770_4cdd7e9745The chili sauce most people are familiar with is the kind you can buy at the supermarket. But if you’e like me, there are some things that lend themselves to being homemade.

I decided to try my hand at making my own chili sauce after coming across a recipe my mom gave me years ago. It was from her Aunt Harriet Brown, a classy woman who hailed from St. Louis and whom we dearly loved.

Aunt Harriet had been married to my grandmother’s cousin, Lyle Brown, who was a doctor in my hometown of Crookston, Minn., where they lived during the 1930s and ’40s. Lyle was like a brother to my grandmother, Vella, hence he was called Uncle Lyle by my mom. After Uncle Lyle died, Aunt Harriet stayed in Crookston and remained close to our family. And, I guess, she passed along the following recipe to my mom or grandmother.

I decided to try the recipe, which is a large one. If it suits my fancy, I’m going to can some this fall. At this time, I have a pot of it cooking on the stove, thickening along the way. And from the smell and the taste of the sauce, I can’t wait to try it with shrimp or on some pork or chicken.

Aunt Harriet’s Chili Sauce
½ bushel ripe tomatoes
4 sweet green bell peppers, diced
2 quarts onions, diced
3 bunches celery, diced
2 pounds brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ginger
6 tablespoons salt
4 teaspoons nutmeg
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon red pepper
1½ quarts cider vinegar
Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot. Cook your chili sauce down until you have the desired consistency. You have to keep the heat very low and stir often. Place sauce into pints with canning lids and canning rings. Place in a pressure canner and process or 35 minutes.
Yield: About 16 pints.

Sue’s Brownies

Ask any little kid what his or her favorite sweet is, and there is a good chance that it’s something that contains chocolate. Ask a big kid the same question, and you’re likely to get the same answer. You can count me in that group.

Chocolate-Brownie-Recipe-600x400Perhaps my all-time favorite dessert is German chocolate cake, followed closely by chocolate chip cookies. But not far behind those are brownies, especially the kind that are frosted.

My mom used to make great brownies, as does Therese. But one brownie recipe that I haven’t tried in years might be even better. It’s from an old hometown friend, Sue Lucken Werner, who now resides in the Denver area.

Some of my old cronies might say that was back in the days when Alice B. Toklas (cannabis) brownies were the rage among college kids and hippies, so there was a good chance that my penchant for the luscious morsels might have been unduly influenced. But I made the brownies several times — sans the illegal herb — after that first taste, and they were just as good.

Sue was kind enough to give the recipe, which she credited to Mom Lucken, back in the 1970s, and I’ve decided to share it here.

Sue’s Brownies
½ cup milk
2 squares chocolate
½ cup butter
2 eggs
2/3 cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
¾ cup nuts
1 teaspoon vanilla
Frosting (recipe follows)
Put butter, chocolate and milk in saucepan. Heat until chocolate and butter melt. Cool and add sugar, beaten eggs, flour, salt, vanilla and nuts. Spread in 9-by-9-inch pan and bake for 25 minutes at 325 to 350 degrees. Frost.

Creamy Brownie Frosting
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
3 tablespoons Hershey’s cocoa
1 tablespoon light corn syrup or honey
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
Beat butter, cocoa, corn syrup and vanilla in small bowl until blended. Add powdered sugar and milk; beat to spreading consistency.
Yield: About 1 cup.