Skillet Pork Chops with Mashed Potatoes

Ever wonder why pork chops are such a popular entry? Maybe it’s because they can be fried, grilled, roasted or even stuffed. And they can be cooked at relatively low temperatures because of improved breeding techniques.

porkchopsOne of my favorite ways to fix pork chops is in a barbecue sauce and cooked in a covered cast-iron pot inside my oven. But those prepared in a skillet, such as the following recipe, comes in a close second. Paired with some mashed potatoes and whole-kernel corn, this is a meal that I could eat at least once a week.

A nice sauce that contains half and half, sour cream, prepared mustard, red wine and Worcestershire sauce is great over the potatoes. And the mushrooms are an added bonus. So delicious.

Skillet Pork Chops with Mashed Potatoes
4 boneless pork chops
Kosher salt
and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 tablespoons butter
½ cup
sweet yellow onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup red wine
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup half and half
¼ cup sour cream
Season chops on both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat a
large cast-iron skillet over medium heat until hot. Add 2 tablespoons butter.
chops on both sides, turning only once. Remove and keep warm.
Saute the onions and garlic for 1 minute in the drippings. Add 2 tablespoons butter and mushrooms. Saute until mushrooms have released their liquid and are cooked through.
Add wine, Worcestershire sauce and mustard, stirring to
incorporate bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook about 3 minutes. Return chops to the pan, cover and simmer about 5 minutes. Remove pork and keep warm.
To the sauce, add ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste), along with h
alf and half. Cook until liquid reduces and slightly thickens. Whisk in sour cream until smooth. Taste and adjust salt and pepper, if needed. Return chops to skillet, along with any accumulated juices, to warm through. Serve with mashed potatoes.
Yield: Serves 4.

Grandma’s Spare Ribs

If you are among the fortunate to have been born into a family that loves cooking and baking, consider yourself lucky. Good cooks usually come from good stock.

newribsI was reminded of that recently when three of my cousins invited me to go deer hunting with them and to share a cabin on Round Lake near Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge north of Detroit Lakes, Minn.

Not only did it offer me a chance to catch up with Kim, Joe and Tom Menard, it also afforded aus an opportunity to share some meals together and reminisce about our family.

The Menard boys are the sons of my mom’s kid brother, Fritz, who also happened to be my godfather. Fritz, my Aunt Harriet Hendrickson and my mom, Lilah, all passed away within a year or so of each other since May 2012, so it’s not like we haven’t seen each other, but the hunting getaway provided us an opportunity to meet under more pleasant circumstances.

While you may think hunting would be focus of our get-together, it actually was cooking and eating. I provided a meal of spaghetti with meat sauce, but it was cousin Kim who was the head chef at the hunting camp. He cooked up some great wings, knephla soup, chili and enchiladas and also some shrimp scampi in homemade garlic butter.

Over the course of the four days I was with my cousins, we talked a lot about our grandparents, the late Albert and Vella Menard. Grandma was quite the cook and baker, and she passed it on to her children. My mom, as well as her three siblings, were pretty adept in the kitchen,

Both Kim and I carry on some family cooking traditions, including making Grandma’s baked oysters, which are a staple at both our Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts.

One night while we were sitting around, Kim asked me if I had Grandma’s recipe for spare ribs with apples, prunes and bread dressing and wondered if he could get it. I said sure.

Pork was a favorite of my grandparents. Grandma liked to combine pork and veal roasts for Sunday dinners. But it was her recipes for spare ribs and sauerkraut and the aforementioned one with apples, prunes and bread that were staples on our dinner table.

Here are those two recipes, which are among my favorites.

Spare Ribs and Sauerkraut
3 pounds spare ribs
1 quart sauerkraut
Salt and pepper to taste
Brown ribs in roasting pan in 350-degree oven. Next, top with sauerkraut and bake another hour or so, until the ribs are tender. Serve with mashed potatoes.

German Spare Ribs with Apple-Prune-Bread Dressing
4 pounds lean, meaty pork spare ribs
12 prunes, cut up, with pits
8 apples, pealed and cut up
8 slices dried bread, broken in pieces
Cinnamon to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Place ½ of ribs in the bottom of a roasting pan. Season ribs with salt and pepper. Mix prunes, apples and bread and season with a little cinnamon. Place on top of ribs.
Place the remaining ribs on top of prune mixture and season with more salt and pepper.
Add water to pan and cook for 3 hours at 350 degrees.

Wild Rice Casserole

Tried and true family recipes, the ones that have been made for years and years, are priceless. My favorite recipes are those that have been passed on to me by my late mom.

wildricecasseroleI can’t begin to count how many of them that still grace our dining room table. Some of them were my grandmother’s recipes, such as the one for baked oysters that we have during the holidays. Or her one for pickled beets, which Mom and her family called Grandpa’s pickles, because they always were on the table when her Grandpa Burkhardt lived with them.

There also are a lot that I haven’t tried yet, such as Mom’s recipe for overnight buns, which were a favorite of ours when my brothers and I were growing up.

But it’s not just my mom’s or grandma’s recipes that have a special place in my heart. My Auntie Helen Tiedeman, who was married to my Uncle George, passed on several recipes that I love. Her recipe for barbecues (or Sloppy Joes) that were served at our school hot lunch for year, is among my favorites.

Recently, I tried another of Auntie Helen’s recipea. It’s for Wild Rice Casserole. (She called it dressing.) I made it for our upcoming elk hunting trip to Colorado. It was the first time I made it, but it won’t be the last. It’s really tasty.

Give it a try. I’m sure you’ll love it, too.

Wild Rice Casserole
1 cup wild rice, steamed 3 or 4 times
¾ pound pork sausage, browned
2 medium or 1 large onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 4-ounce can sliced mushrooms
½ green pepper, diced
1 10¾-ounce can cream of mushroom soup
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon sage
Saute onion and celery. Mix with other ingredients, including juice from mushrooms. Bake 30 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees and serve.

Baked Ham with Honey-Mustard Glaze

Baked ham is an Easter tradition in many homes. And most of them are usually sweetened up a bit with a tasty glaze. That’s what we do at our home.

newglazerLast year, I tried out a recipe for a glaze that is in my Fanny Farmer cookbook. It was such a hit that I used it again this year. It’s a very simple concoction, a mixture of brown sugar, honey, cider vinegar and dry mustard.

Here’s the recipe, which you can put away until next Easter or sooner, if you decide to fix a ham before then. You won’t be disappointed.
Honey-Mustard Glaze
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons dry mustard
Mix all the ingredients and spread about half on a scored ham before putting it in the oven. About an hour before the ham is done, spread on the other half.

Barbecued Pork

A good pork roast dinner, complete with potatoes, winter squash and whole-kernel corn is a great way to enjoy a Sunday afternoon when the temperatures outside are a bit on the cold side and the wind is howling. And as usual, there always are some good leftovers.

bbporkphotoFor working families, that makes for a great lunch. But with a 4- to 5-pound roast, there’s still plenty of pork for other things. Barbecued shredded pork is one such option. All you need to make your sauce can be found in the pantry or the refrigerator. And throw in some nice buns or hard rolls and you have a meal that’s almost as good as the original.

Barbecued Pork
2 pounds pork, cooked and shredded (from a roast preferably)
1 cup ketchup
1 cup water
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
4 tablespoons brown sugar
|4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 dried cayenne pepper, with seeds, chopped
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Saute onion, garlic and celery in olive oil. Add other ingredients except pork. Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add pork and continue to cook for another 20 to 30 minutes. Serve on buns.

Barbecued Pork Chops

You don’t have to go Kansas City or Memphis for fall-apart barbecued pork these days. Just about every large restaurant across the country has either baby back ribs or pulled pork on its menu. But you can have them in your own home just as easy.

bbqporkchopsThese pork chops are baked to perfection, moist and full of flavor. Sticky and sweet, they also are easy to prepare on a busy day. They would be excellent with coleslaw and beans, but my favorite way is with mashed potatoes, whole-kernel corn and baked winter squash.

Barbecued Pork Chops
4 pork chops, any kind
4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
4 tablespoons, Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 small, dried cayenne pepper, chopped
1 cup ketchup
1 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
Saute the onion, garlic and celery in olive oil. Add remaining ingredients except pork chops. Bring to a boil then simmer sauce until thickened. Place pork chops in Dutch oven and cover with barbecue sauce. Place in preheated 325-degree oven. Bake for 2 to 3 hours or until meat falls apart. Serve with mashed potatoes, whole-kernel corn and baked squash.
Note: For added flavor, you can add some commercial barbecue sauce such as KC Masterpiece.



Crunchy Honey Garlic Pork Chops

Summertime is conducive to grilling, but people shouldn’t forget about their stove and oven just because all of their friends are cooking outdoors.

choppersPork chops are one of those foods that are equally good cooked indoors or outdoors. But if you’re looking for the quickest way, the friendly confines of your kitchen is the place to be.

Here’s a pork chop recipe that a friend recently posted on Facebook that looks awfully good to me. It has some sweetness (honey and brown sugar) as well as a little snap (cayenne pepper).

Crunchy Honey Garlic Pork Chops

6 to 9 pork chops (not too thick, you can use boneless pork loin)
2 eggs
4 tablespoons water
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Canola or vegetable oil for frying chops
1½ cups honey
½ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon ginger
Dash of cayenne pepper (to your taste)
½ cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons butter
Whisk the eggs and 4 tablespoons water together in a shallow dish. Mix the flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in another shallow dish. Dip the chops in the flour, then over into the egg. Then back over into the flour mixture once again.
Be sure to get plenty of flour on in this last coating, then shake them a little and place in a pan with about a half inch of oil. Be sure the oil is hot, but not too hot or the chops will cook too fast. You need to get it good and hot and then turn to about medium.
Cook for about 6 minutes on each side. Try not to turn more than twice or your breading will come off.
Remove from the pan to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Saute the garlic a little in the butter. Add the honey, soy sauce, brown sugar, cayenne, and ginger. Bring to a boil then reduce to low and simmer for about 5 minutes. Watch this carefully because it will foam and might boil over.
Pour ½ of the glaze over the pork chops. Flip them over and pour the other ½ over the other side. Place uncovered in a preheated 350 degree-oven for about 20 to 25 minutes. This sets the glaze and finishes them to be sure they are cooked through.

Skillet Vegetable Medley

Skillet meals are quick and easy and are perfect for on-the-go families. And fresh garden vegetables can’t be beat for this type of dish.

vegskilletRatatouille comes to mind when many people think of something like this. Ratatouille is usually served as a side dish, but like other vegetable skillet dish also may be served as a meal on its own, accompanied by pasta, rice or bread.

We recently had a tasty meal of fresh veggies from the garden that I prepared in our large cast-iron skillet. It contained tomatoes, peppers, onions, cabbage, Swiss chard, spinach, zucchini and okra as well as a couple of slices of side pork, a little garlic and some Mediterranean seasoning salt.

The meal, which came together in less than a half-hour, was delicious.

Skillet Vegetable Medley
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 slices side pork, diced
12 small tomatoes, skinned removed
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 medium zucchini, sliced
6 to 8 small okra, sliced
½ cup cabbage, chopped
2 cups Swiss chard, chopped
2 cup spinach, chopped
½ bell pepper, chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, diced (optional)
1 tablespoon Mediterranean seasoning salt
Pepper to taste
Saute side pork with onion, garlic and celery. Add remaining ingredients and simmer to ½ to 1 hour.
Yield: Serves 2 to 4.

Easy Sausage and Bison Stroganoff

It’s hard to beat a meal of fresh vegetables from the garden, especially when you’re talking green beans, cucumbers, lettuce, Swiss chard and spinach. And if you add a casserole made in a skillet, it’s all the better. And throw in some homemade peanut butter cookies, and the meal is complete.

Sausage_StroganoffThat’s what we had for supper tonight with relatives from Cincinnati who are in town visiting.

Later, I’ll share the cookie recipe. Meanwhile, here is the tasty recipe for the Sausage and Bison Stroganoff, which I put together on short notice and can be ready in less than an hour.

Easy Sausage and Bison Stroganoff
½ pound ground bison
½ pound bulk pork sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
1½ pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1¼ cups chicken broth, divided
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
|2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (optional)
1 tablespoon paprika
Hot cooked noodles
In a large skillet, cook sausage and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in mushrooms; cook for 1 minute. Add 1 cup broth, Worcestershire sauce and pepper; cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until heated through.
In a small bowl, combine remaining broth and flour; stir until smooth. Gradually stir into skillet. Bring to a boil; boil and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat; add sour cream. Stir until heated through (do not boil). Add parsley if desired. Serve with noodles.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per 1-cup serving: 415 calories, 31 grams fat (15 grams saturated fat), 81 milligrams cholesterol, 832 milligrams sodium, 16 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 14 grams protein.

Skillet Pork Chops with Green Beans and Red Potatoes

One-dish dinners are great for the busy cook. In fact, they’re often the only way to go for those households where both parents work. But you don’t have to fall into that category to enjoy the simplicity of such a meal.

b3c1cc2c-7175-442a-a02a-b317b93e046bThe following is a great option for everyone: stay-at-home moms; single moms or dads who work but also double as chauffeur for their on-the-go kids; retirees such as myself who keep busy with gardening, coaching and the like; and yes, those families where both parents work.

And as with other one-pot meals, cleanup is minimal.

Skillet Pork Chops with Green Beans and Red Potatoes
4 pork chops
1 10¾-ounce can cream of mushroom soup
1 small onion, diced
4 red potatoes, sliced
1 14½-ounce can green beans, liquid reserved
½ cup fat-free sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute chops with onion in cast-iron skillet in olive oil until browned. Arrange chops (with sauteed onions) in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Layer potatoes and beans on top of chops. Season with salt and pepper to taste. In a medium bowl combine soup, sour creams, Worcestershire sauce and half of reserved liquid. Pour mixture over chops and potatoes. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Uncover and add remaining reserved liquid. Bake 30 minutes and serve.
Yield: Serves 4.
Note: Chop can be cut into smaller pieces before baking.