Some meals evaporate from the memory as quickly as they're prepared; others linger in one's thoughts forever.
The latter was true for the first meal I ever fixed for my parents after Hubby and I were wed 41 years ago today. After we said our "I-do"s, we blitzed out of the church parking lot in Texas and headed for our new home in Kentucky. Long months would go by before we would lay eyes on loved ones again. For my parents to travel to Kentucky to visit us in our newlywed apartment was a true red-letter day indeed.
Armed with my Betty Crocker's New Dinner for Two cookbook that was my lifesaver in those first months as a new bride and inexperienced cook, I selected what I believed was just the right meal to serve my parents for the first dinner of their visit. I didn't even consider whether they liked pork chops; in fact, I don't recall my mother ever preparing them as I was growing up. Perhaps she did and I had forgotten, but for me my parents' preferences really didn't count as much as did my proficiency at this one dish. It represented one thing I, as a novice, had mastered on the stove, so Pork and Lima Skillet it would be.
Pork and Lima Skillet was colorful, healthy, and kind of a no-brainer (I really couldn't mess it up much). The limas were frozen, but the recipe would be a wonderful use of limas from the garden for gardeners who like to grow them (hopefully this will be us next year). My parents, bless their hearts, were full of praise for their daughter's fledgling culinary efforts. All these years the recipe has been a favorite and now bears a place of honor in my new cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden, in the chapter entitled "Little Dusty and the Missing Wedding Dress".
Also, a special thank-you to my hubby for bearing with me while I struggled to learn to cook and for being the always-affirming guinea pig for my recipe try-outs (some great and some not-so much) for 41 years. Happy anniversary!
Pork and Lima Skillet
3 1/2 cups fresh (or 2 10-ounce packages frozen) lima beans
5 or 6 smoked pork loin chops
1 teaspoon chicken-flavored gravy base
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
3/4 cup water
Cook limas in boiling water until they are tender. If you are using frozen limas, cook according to package directions. Omit salt in cooking water; drain. In skillet brown chops over medium heat. Remove chops from skillet. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon drippings. To skillet add gravy base. Blend in flour and basil. Add 3/4 cup water; cook and stir over medium heat until sauce is thickened and bubbly. Add limas to skillet; stir to coat with sauce. Arrange chops over limas. Cover and cook over low heat about 5 minutes or until mixture is heated through. Serves 5 or 6.