Meal planning can save money and time

It can be hard for busy farm parents to find the time in their schedules to plan ahead, but it is well worth the extra effort

It’s really hard to plan meals, hold down a job or run a business, get children to their sports and lessons and make the meals.

Many farm women, like my daughter-in-law, run machinery, care for a family, write advertisements for their purebred operation and keep the cattle records and farm books up to date. They also volunteer in their community and get their children to sporting events.

As a result, time for preparing meals is at a premium. 

Many kitchen appliances are now available that can make it easier to get nutritious meals on the table. One of my friends, Brenda, thinks the Instant Pot with the pressure cooker is a lifesaver. I don’t own one but value her opinion because she puts great meals on the table.

Her recipe for fall off the bone ribs in 30 minutes is delicious.

Tender back ribs

  • 1 slab baby back ribs
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 c. apple juice
  • 1 c. barbecue sauce divided 1/4 cup and 3/4 cup
  1. Liberally salt and pepper both sides of the ribs. Cut the slab in half if it’s too big for your Instant Pot and put in pot. Pour apple juice into Instant Pot, drizzle with 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce and secure lid. Make sure it’s set to “sealing.”
  2. Set it to manual timer for 25 minutes. It will take a few minutes to heat up and seal the vent. Once the timer counts down, let it sit another five minutes and then release steam by turning valve to “venting.”
  3. Turn on oven to broil (or heat your grill) while you’re waiting for the five minute resting time.
  4. Remove ribs from the Instant Pot and place on a baking sheet. Slather remaining sauce on both sides. Place under broiler (or on grill) for five to 10 minutes, watching carefully so it doesn’t burn. Remove and brush with a bit more sauce. Pull apart and dig in. 
  5. If your family likes rice, it could be prepared while the ribs are cooking. Or, you could throw baked potatoes in the oven for one hour at 400 F. You could put a can of cream corn in a casserole and it could cook with the potatoes the last half hour.
  6. Taking the meat out of the freezer the night before or first thing in the morning cuts down on cooking time. 

Slow cooker pork chops

  • 4 pork chops
  • 2 tbsp. onion soup mix
  • 1 can mushroom soup
  1. Brown pork chops in cooker.  Add the onion soup mix and the mushroom soup. Cook on low for six to seven hours. 
  2. Brenda tells me she can cook this recipe in her Instant Pot for eight minutes, which is much quicker than I can cook the same dish in my slow cooker. Remember to let the pressure drop on its own.

Sweet and sourpork chops 

  1. This recipe is good for when you have an hour to cook supper. It is tasty and goes great with baked potatoes. Turn on the oven before you start preparing the pork chops and put the potatoes into cook. 
  • 4 pork chops
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil 
  • 1/2 c. ketchup
  • 1/2 c. pineapple juice orapple juice
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar 
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. chopped onion
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  1. Brown chops in canola oil. Combine and add remaining ingredients. Cover pan and simmer for 45 minutes or bake in oven at 350 F for an hour. Serve with rice or baked potatoes. 

Home-style beef stew with dumplings

  • 4 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 2 lbs. stewing beef
  • 1 1/2 c. beef broth 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  1. Slow cooker method: Combine carrots, potatoes, onions and bay leaf in a lightly greased slow cooker. In a small bowl mix together flour, dry mustard, paprika, salt and pepper. Coat beef cubes with flour mixture. Add to cooker. 
  2. Combine beef broth and salt. Pour over beef. Stir well. Cover. Cook at low setting seven to eight hours or until beef is tender. Remove bay leaf.
  3. Turn setting to high. Drop dumpling mixture by tablespoonfuls onto hot meat or vegetables in bubbling stew. Do not drop directly into liquid.
  4. Cover and cook for an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until dumplings are fluffy.
  5. This recipe can be made in the oven, baking it at 325 F for two and a half hours or until beef is tender. Brenda says you can pressure cook for 20 minutes, and it makes a very tender beef. 
  6. Dumplings:
  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. shortening
  • 3/4 c. milk
  1. In medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening thoroughly until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in milk.

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