By Diane Turner
The visions of sugar plums have danced out of sight, the turkey and ham is all gone, and picnics and barbecues are still months away. We are now left with the short days and cold nights of winter, and I’m sure that, like me, you are looking for easy recipes to fill your family’s stomachs, so you don’t have to spend time away from them in the kitchen.
Diane’s Lasagna and Crock-Pot Pork Chops are crowd favorites among my family and friends. Both recipes are inexpensive, don’t take long to prep and are sure to please the pickiest of eaters. Hopefully your families will enjoy these recipes at dinnertime. They are also great meals to take to others who may be too busy to cook while tending to the farm.
4 to 6 boneless ¾- to 1-inch-thick pork chops
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup of milk (I use 2 percent)
3 ounces Philadelphia Cream Cheese Spread
1/4 cup of sour cream
1 4.5-ounce jar of sliced dried beef (available near the Spam and other canned meats at Kroger)
For this recipe I use a slow cooker. I start out lining my slower cooker with a slow-cooker liner, which makes cleanup a breeze. (These can be found alongside the aluminum foil at the grocery store.)
Next, mix together the cream of mushroom soup, milk, cream cheese and sour cream. Place half of the pork chops in the bottom of the slow cooker and cover with a layer of the dried beef, followed by half of the soup mixture. Repeat with the remaining pork chops, dried beef and soup.
Cover and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours. The pork chops may appear pink but you can check with them with a food safety thermometer (145 degrees). To finish off your plate, pair with mashed potatoes (Bob Evans are amazing), pan-seared green beans and Sister Schubert’s Parker House Style Yeast Rolls. Serves 4 to 5 and cooking time is 8 to 9 hours.
1 box of lasagna noodles
1 15-ounce container of ricotta cheese
1 15-ounce can of Chef Boyardee pizza sauce with cheese
1 8-ounce can of tomato sauce
1 bag of shredded Italian cheese
1 bag of finely shredded cheddar cheese
1 canister of grated Parmesan cheese
2 pounds of ground meat (I use ground beef)
1 pack of pepperoni
Salt and pepper to taste
This recipe will easily fill a 3-quart baking dish, or you can cut the recipe in half and use a 9-by-9 baking dish for a smaller portion.
First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Next, in a sauté pan or large skillet, add the meat, salt and pepper and cook until browned. If you have purchased noodles that were not oven ready, they can cook simultaneously with the meat (for a 9-by-9 dish, cook 4 to 6 noodles and for a 9-by-13 dish, you will need 6 to 8 noodles).
Drain the grease from the meat and return the meat to the pan. Mix in the pizza sauce, tomato sauce and container of ricotta cheese. Using a soup spoon, take about half of the mixture to cover the bottom of the baking dish. After this, cover the meat sauce with a layer of pepperoni, followed by noodles. Then, completely cover the noodles with layers of Italian cheese, cheddar cheese and a dusting of Parmesan cheese. Repeat starting with the meat sauce and finish with the layers cheese. Cover the baking dish loosely with aluminum foil and cook for 35 to 45 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. The top layer of cheese should be melted when finished. Diane’s Lasagna is best served fresh from the oven along with salad and cheese bread. Serves 6 and cooking time is 45 to 55 minutes.