My Family’s Top Five Favorite Dinners

I’ve been cooking for forty years. During that time, I’ve experimented on my family with thousands of recipes.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½A fewÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½bombed and they begged me never to make those dishes again! Most were very good and enjoyed again. Some recipes, though, were labeled “definite do-overs” and were requested over and over.

Sometimes simple ingredients, when combined, can create a masterpiece. My Bowtie Chicken Delicious is one of those recipes. For this recipe, you need a large frying pan and a pot to use to cook the pasta. It also is helpful to have a colander to drain the pasta, a cutting board, good sharp knife, a can opener, and a big spoon to stir it with while it cooks. The ingredients are 1 and 1/2 pounds of boneless chicken tenders (or slice your own boneless chicken breasts), a tablespoon of butter, a box of bowtie pasta, a package of Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing Mix, two jars of Ragu WHITE pasta sauces (I use parmesan alfredo or garlic alfredo, but it’s your choice. Don’t be afraid to mix two flavors), and a can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup. Easy simple ingredients, but you will love the aroma this creates in your kitchen! First, bring a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Add a pinch of salt. Meanwhile, preheat your frying pan over medium high heat. Melt butter and add chicken. Sprinkle the entire package of Italian Salad Dressing Mix over the chicken. Stir until the chicken is no longer pink, about five minutes. By now, your water should be boiling, so add the box of bowtie pasta and cook according to package directions. To the chicken mixture, add the two jars of pasta sauce and the can of cream of mushroom soup (do not add water). Cover and simmer until the pasta is done. Drain the pasta and combine with the other ingredients in the frying pan, or just put on a plate and spoon the chicken mixture over. Sprinkle lightly with some fresh chopped parsley if you have it, but this is not required. I serve this with hot garlic bread and a tossed salad or other green vegetable. Refrigerate leftovers, if there are any, and this will be wonderful re-heated the next day.

My family’s second favorite is Pork Chops in Mushroom Sauce. If you have always shyed away from Pork Chops because they came out dry, this is the recipe for you. For this recipe you will need a large frying pan, a 9×13 pyrex glass baking dish, a can opener, a fork to turn the pork chops, aluminum foil, and a spoon. The ingredients are a tablespoon of cooking oil, the number of pork chops you need for your family, one can of cream of mushroom soup for each four chops, Lawry’s Seasoning Salt, and Lawry’s Seasoned Pepper. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While it is heating, preheat skillet over medium high heat. Add oil. Put in pork chops and brown on both sides (they won’t be done at this point, just browned on the outside). Remove pork chops to pyrex baking dish, sprinkle liberally on both sides with Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and Seasoned Pepper. Spoon mushroom soup evenly over the chops and smear with your spoon to cover them. Cover tightly with foil and put in the oven for one hour (no peeking). This are so tender they will melt in your mouth and the sauce is wonderful over mashed potatoes, rice, or noodles. I serve this with English peas and mashed potatoes.

Another favorite of my family’s is my Country Chicken Casserole. This is also wonderful to take to a pot-luck dinner or to a sick friend. For this recipe you will need a two or three quart casserole dish, a spoon, a can opener, and a skillet to use to brown chicken, and a pot to cook the pasta. A collander to drain the pasta and aluminum foil are also handy. Ingredients are a pound of boneless chicken tenders, two cans of Veg-All, a tablespoon of oil, a can of cream of chicken, a can of cream of mushroom, a box of medium shell pasta, a cup of sharp grated cheddar cheese, a can of French’s French Fried Onions, black pepper, and 1/4 cup of milk. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put pot of water on to boil for pasta. Meanwhile, preheat skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and cook chicken five minutes or until slightly browned. By this time the pasta water should be boiling, so add the pasta and cook according to package directions. In the meantime, to the chicken add the Veg-all (drained), the soups (not diluted), the milk, the cheese and sprinkle lightly with black pepper. Drain the pasta and add to the mixture. Mix all ingredients together with large spoon. Pour into the baking dish, cover with foil, and bake in oven for twenty minutes. Remove foil, pour the french fried onions over the top and return to the oven for five to ten minutes until the onions are golden brown. (Watch these carefully as they burn easily). I serve this alone. It has the chicken, veggies, and pasta, so I figure they don’t need anything else with it.

My next dish is one that cooks in the crock-pot. If you don’t have a crock-pot you need to buy one. Most crock-pots come with a recipe book and they save so much time and energy, especially for new parents or working couples. This recipe is called Chicken Tortilla Soup and it is wonderful and creamy. You will need the crock-pot. Ingredients are 1 pound of chicken tenders, a cup of diced bell peppers and a cup of diced onions (buy these in the freezer section of the grocery or buy fresh and dice your own), a bag of frozen white corn, a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, three cups of chicken broth(or about two cans) , a large jar of salsa (mild, medium, or hot depending on your taste), one pound block of velvetta cheese, and tortilla chips. In the crockpot, put the chicken, peppers, onions, tomatoes, chicken broth, and salsa. Cover and cook on high for four hours or on low for eight hours. Thirty minutes before you plan to serve, add frozen corn and velvetta cheese (cut into small cubes to make melting faster). Turn on high for thirty minutes. Serve with tortilla chips. This is wonderful re-heated the next day. Sometimes I don’t have tortilla chips and we just eat it without them.

Our last recipe is pot roast with vegetables. You will need a crock-pot, cutting board, sharp knife, a can opener, and a non-stick frying pan. The ingredients for this recipe are a three pound sirloin tip beef roast, tablespoon oil, a pound of small red potatoes, a bag of ready to eat carrots, two cans of golden mushroom soup, and a package of French’s onion soup mix. Preheat the frying pan, add the oil, and lightly brown the roast on all sides. Remove from heat and put the roast in the crock pot. Sprinkle with the dry onion soup mix. Add carrots and soups., Cover tightly and cook on low for eight to ten hours or high for five hours. The last hour, cut each potato in half and add to the crock-pot. This is a good recipe to make before church. It will be ready when you come on and you’ll have a wonderful Sunday dinner. I serve this with hot buttered rolls.

As you can see from my recipes, you don’t have to be a gourmet cook to make a great tasting dinner from simple ingredients. Anyone can do it. All these are dishes you would not hesitate to serve to drop-in guests, and your family will love them.

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