If, as my mom always told me, food is half eaten with the eye, last night’s dinner was no great shakes. It was colorless. If I’d been serving company, I’d have used some garnishes or a dark vegetable to spark it up. But it was just family (an attitude my dad always fought against, insisting you saved your best manners for your family—I have a hard time getting the grown kids and grandkids to accept that!) On the other hand, the part of the meal that was eaten with the taste buds and not the eye was a great success.
I had to give up some preconceived notions to fix this. Unlike a lot of true gourmets, I have never been opposed to cooking with canned soup. There are some great recipes out there, particularly for cream of mushroom and cream of chicken. But I draw the line, most of the time, at packaged dry mixes. Last night’s recipe used Hidden Valley Ranch dressing—too late I remembered that there are directions online for making your own, though I’m not sure that’s a big improvement. Most recipes call for buttermilk powder, something few of us have on hand. I did find that you can buy it at Central Market for $7.99 a pound. Wonder how long it would take to use up a pound.
Anyway, back to the pork chops. Central Market had big lovely Berkshire chops on sale last week. Even on sale, they were not cheap, so we settled for three chops for the four of us—a good decision since we had leftovers. For years I’ve avoided pork chops because, like chicken, they can be dry if not accompanied by a sauce. But then I found this recipe, and we tried it.
Slow Cooker pork chops
3 or 4 meaty pork chops (not those skinny little ones)
Cream of mushroom soup
Cream of chicken soup
1 packet ranch dressing mix
Put chops in cooker, cover with combined soups, and sprinkle dressing mix over it. Cook on low 6-8 hours. The meat literally falls off the bone and is moist and delicious.
Corn pudding sounded to me like a perfect side for pork chops. I have a standby recipe that feeds two, but I was afraid it wouldn’t be enough. I found a version of that same recipe online that feeds 8-10, so I halved it. It was a great success. I know that because the resident teenager ate three helpings and licked the bowl clean.
Quick and easy corn pudding
2 cups corn kernels (cut fresh off the cob would be best, but I used frozen – be sure to defrost first)
1-1/2 Tbsp. flour
½ Tbsp. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
1 c. milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
If you want, you can chop half the defrosted corn in a process. I skipped this step, but I think it would be a good idea. Mix everything together except milk and eggs. Mix those separately and then pour over corn mixture. Stir to make sure it’s evenly distributed.
Bake at 350o about 40 minutes or until the center is firmly set (it may take a little longer).
Honest, this meal took less prep than anything I’ve cooked in a long time, especially since Christian oversaw the pork in the crock pot in the main house. Took me five minutes max to prepare the pudding, and Jordan cooked it in the house. My toaster oven is not deep enough, and I don’t trust the temperature. I’m lucky to be able to send things into the house when my tiny kitchen isn’t equipped to handle them.