"OVER the years, my mom has spent more time in her kitchen than any other room in the house," writes Cris O'Brien of Virginia Beach, Virginia.
"When my two brothers and I were growing up, Mom (Louanne Davis of Jackson, Michigan) made everything from scratch, even sauerkraut. And she canned the harvest from Dad's garden, so her meals were filled with fruits and vegetables. Because she didn't cater to picky eaters, we learned to enjoy a wide variety of foods.
"In addition to feeding her family, Mom prepared meals for church dinners and, as a Girl Scout leader, taught many young girls how to bake. She went all out when relatives came to visit, lining the counter with yummy treats.
"Mom's such an excellent cook that it's difficult to select one 'best' meal, but there's a reason Favorite Pork Chops have that name. The tender chops are marinated for several hours, then baked and draped in a zippy red sauce. The whole family loves them.
"For her comforting Au Gratin Potatoes, she coats thin potato slices with a rich creamy sauce.
"My grandmother taught Mom to make meals as colorful as possible. Mom's Bean Medley gets a rainbow of color from green pepper, tomato and four kinds of beans.
" Chocolate Cake Roll was reserved for special occasions. No one was allowed to sample this delicious dessert until it was served, but it was definitely worth the wait!
"Mom is 76 now and still cooks for my dad and herself. I enjoy preparing her recipes for my husband and two teenage sons. My sisters-in-law use Mom's recipes, too. I hope you'll find them just as appetizing as we do."