Thursday, April 2, 2009

Pork Chops and Rice Casserole

I used my slow cooker more in March than anytime in my life. Due to family emergencies, I pulled out my Crock Pot and tried new recipes that I could only hope would turn out to be half edible. I grew up learning to cook from scratch. Fast food was not as available then as it is now. Slow cooking is far better, cheaper, and more nutritious than most fast food. Most prep time is fast and best of all dinner is ready with a minimal of time spent in the kitchen.

I prefer to use recipes that have been vouched for by another cook which is for me recipes that are recommended by friends and relatives. Cooks Illustrated magazine is a great reference for trying "tested" recipes. Their test kitchen staff has contributed helpful comments on the recipes they've tested. The comments are quite detailed to a point of explaining why foods react certain ways in certain condtions.

I was a bit reluctant to try this pork chop recipe without an endorsement from another cook. I think "eat at your own risk recipes" are safer to be tried as appetizers, then you can take them or leave them. If it's your dinner, you could be looking for a fast food take out. A family member recently told me of a funny experience they had while eating at a friends home. The family member doesn't eat seafood. This being that he really does not like seafood in any form, shape, or fashion. The main course was fish. They politely passed by the main course plate without offending anyone. The next serving bowl that was passed is a nice bowl of pasta. My relative is thinking this is great, I can have a nice healthy portion of pasta salad instead of the fish. As his wife serves his plate with Pasta Salad, the host verbatim lists the ingredients as it is served to his plate...clams, shrimp, and ?? (whatever it was, it wasn't chicken or beef. ) The humorous part of the story was the look passed between the wife and husband as she served him Seafood pasta salad. Love bears all things, even seafood salad. (My next question was "didn't they have a family dog near the dining table?") I'm getting old and some of these family experiences give me quite a laugh. My dad used to say when you chew food that you don't like, it just seems to grow in your mouth. How fast can Pasta Seafood Salad grow?

The following recipe surprised me. It was quite good, simple, fast, and my family liked it. I adapted it from several recipes.

Pork Chops and Rice Slow Cooker Casserole

6 pork chops, lightly brown in skillet

Lightly spray crock pot with Pam or oil.

Place pork chops in crock pot

In a bowl mix 1 can of cream of mushroom soup, 2 3/4 cups of water,
1 cup of white rice. (If you use brown rice, use about 3 1/2 cups water or as needed.)
1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, dash of oregano, parsley, or
your favorite spices. Wisk these ingredients to break down the lumps in the soup. I do not frequently use canned soups in recipes and can honestly say it doesn't taste like a recipe made with canned ingredients.

Pour the mixture over the pork chops in the crock pot.

Place lid on and cook on high about 3 hours or less. (When rice is
cooked, the pork chops will also be done.) You can cook this on low for
about 6 to 7 hours. If brown rice is used it could take an additional 30 minutes in cooking time.

I haven't tried this yet but I think finely chopped green bell peppers and a few spices would also enhance this recipe.

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