Spring Flavors Fill Menu

Spring Flavors Fill Menu

While it is exquisite and elegant enough to serve on Sundays for special dinner guests, my favorite meal is also suitable for a weeknight supper.

The menu includes Rhubarb Pork Chop Bake, Broccoli with Orange Sauce, Poppy Seed Fruit Salad, Macadamia Lemon Bars and Citrus Punch. Together, they make a pretty presentation on the dinner table.

I'll admit, rhubarb is a unique ingredient for dressing up pork chops. My mother, who was born and raised in Germany, had an abundance of rhubarb in our family garden and came up with this creative use.

My family has grown to love the deliciously tangy taste of the chops and dressing. As a single mother, I raised three children and now also have seven wonderful grandchildren.

I've also served this dish to many dinner guests. There are few people who don't like pork chops, so this recipe seems to work well every time.

Few Ingredients, Fine Flavor

Since I've worked away from home all my life, I try to find recipes I can whip up in a hurry on weeknights. Broccoli with Orange Sauce has only five ingredients and is very tasty. The orange juice adds a distinctive citrus accent to this versatile side dish.

For interest and variety, you can use any kind of fresh fruit that you like in my Poppy Seed Fruit Salad. Cantaloupe, honeydew melon, raspberries, kiwifruit, grapes and orange sections are good choices to substitute for the fruits listed in my recipe. In a pinch, I've picked up 4 cups of cut-up fruit from the supermarket to save time.

Whenever I am asked to supply a salad for a picnic or potluck event, I take it along in an oversized glass jar—it's so pretty, it always gets compliments.

I make Macadamia Lemon Bars often for dessert. I love macadamias, so I substituted them for walnuts in a bar recipe I got from a dear friend ages ago. I keep copies on hand since I get so many requests for this recipe.

People always come back for seconds of refreshing Citrus Punch. It has added the crowning touch to many of our holiday meals.

The ample recipe fills two big pitchers or a punch bowl. I garnish the punch bowl with an ice ring and fresh berries or sprigs of mint.

Gifts from Her Kitchen

After a busy workweek, I enjoy entertaining small groups on the weekend. I also do a lot of baking for friends and relatives during the holidays.

It's a great time to fuss a little on fancy cookies and desserts. But the kids always say I can never go wrong with my well-liked banana nut bread and chocolate chip cookies.

I like to experiment with new recipes (I have 300 cookbooks) and especially like to make casseroles, soups, quick breads, cookies and some of the German dishes my mom passed down. My favorites include sauerbraten, Wiener schnitzel and roast pork.

As her only daughter, I helped Mom a lot in the kitchen while I was growing up. My five brothers were voracious eaters! Mother canned everything from our huge garden, such as beans, corn and other vegetables, as well as apples and peaches.

I will admit that at first I did not have a burning desire to learn how to cook, but it grew on me! As a 4-H member, I learned basic food skills. With that, along with my experience at home, I began to really enjoy preparing meals.

Music has been another lifelong interest and led to my career. I've been playing piano and organ since I was very young. For the last 18 years or so, I have worked in the music department at Utah State University, where I am a staff assistant.

I'm also the organist in my church and play my flute and piccolo in a community band. Our band plays in many parades, and we give concerts throughout the Cache Valley.

I swam competitively in the past…and am still an avid swimmer. In my spare time, I like to make pictures by typing characters on my typewriter to form different patterns and designs. Some of these unusual creations have won blue ribbons at county fairs. I've been successful with fair entries of foods and embroidery, too.

Nowadays, spending time with my children and grandchildren is my greatest pleasure. I try to do as much with them as possible. Often that includes gathering for a meal, such as the one I'm sharing with you here. I hope you decide to try it soon…and that it's as popular at your house as it is at mine!