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Simplifying her kitchen life

By Staff | Oct 24, 2014

EMILY GROW gets some help from two of her daughters, Reagan and Payton, while preparing a supper.

JEFFERSON – A farm wife who is mother to four girls and works off the farm has devised a way to simplify her life – at least in the kitchen.

Emily Grow, husband Cory, and daughters Madison, Payton, Reagan and Kennedy, live outside of Jefferson on their family farm.

Grow said her family became stuck in a routine of rushed meals for supper, so she developed a plan.

“We had fallen into that rut, ” Grow said. “I was a working mom, Cory was busy, we had been eating the same things, so I decided to break the cycle.

“It was a New Year’s resolution; I began making a weekly menu.”

EMILY GROW organizes her menu for her family months in advance and simplifies things by always preparing a certain food for a particular night of the week. Wednesday night is pasta night, and linguini with shrimp scampi was the pasta item of the week.

Grow said the weekly menu worked out so well, she has extended meal planning to months ahead.

She also tracks the food her family eats for the entire year, marking if they were a hit at the supper table or a meal that didn’t go over so well, so she is aware just what works for her family and what doesn’t.

Grow said they have an order to what they eat each week so the children know that if it is Wednesday, there will be a pasta dish, and on Fridays, it’s appetizers.

Having menus made in advance, Grow said, has other advantages than just knowing what will be put on her table that night.

“I found that being prepared and making the menus ahead saved me from making several trips to the grocery store,” Grow said, adding that it saves her money.

“Being prepared and making the menus ahead saved me from making several trips to the grocery store.” —Emily Grow Jefferson

She plans for one large shopping trip a month, then an occasional trip to the store for more perishable items.

When making a menu that may contain a new recipe, Grow suggested having a back-up plan for those times when the family may not particularly care for that meal.

Another kitchen time saver, Grow said, is the slow cooker.

Grow said slow cookers should always set it on low or even the “keep warm” setting.

It will more than likely be done by the time the work day is over, she said, and one doesn’t have the worry of burning food.

Meat that is cooked on low will be deliciously tender, Grow said.

Grow’s love of cooking has gone beyond the kitchen and onto the Internet where she writes a blog, “Cooking is love made visible,” a title she got from a sign that is on her kitchen wall.

Grow said she decided to start the blog as a way to share recipes and tips that her friends were wanting.

Grow’s blog can be found by visiting: cookingislovemadevisible.blogspot.com/

Pork chops with onion gravy

4-5 pork chops (Grow uses butterfly cut chops).

1 pressed garlic clove (more if desired)

1/2 teaspoon oregano

3 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 yellow onion, sliced or diced

3 tablespoon all-purpose flour

14 ounces chicken broth

Salt and pepper to taste.

Season pork chops with salt, pepper, garlic and oregano.

In a large skillet heat the oil on medium heat until it sizzles when a drop of water is dropped into it.

Sear pork chops in the pan on each side for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. This will be just enough to brown them nicely.

Remove from the pan. If baking, preheat the oven to 350.

Once you have the pork chops removed, add the onion to the pan, season with a little salt and pepper and saute until the onions are slightly translucent.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add 3 tablespoons of flour to the onions. Make sure onions are mixed and coated in the flour and cook for a few more minutes, stirring them as you cook.

Slowly add chicken broth to the onions and stir until it is smooth and the mixture begins to thicken.

Taste for the right seasoning and add what is desired, if anything.

Place chops in a 9-by-13-inch pan, or, place them in a slow cooker, pour the onion gravy over the top.

Place them in the oven and cook for an hour. If finishing chops in slow cooker, place them on low and let cook for five to six hours.

The slow heat is what makes them super tender.

Slow cooker

whole chicken

4-5 pound whole chicken, insides cleaned out

1 onion, chopped up

1 bag of carrots

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/8 teaspoon red pepper

1 teaspoon rosemary

Italian seasoning mix

Cut onion and place it and carrots at the bottom of slow cooker.

Then mix each seasoning in a small mixing bowl.

Place chicken on a cutting board on some plastic wrap. Rub the seasoning mixture well over the entire chicken, assuring the rub gets under wings and the bottom side.

Add more seasoning mixture if needed. Any excess can be added to the slow cooker, along with the chicken.

Refrigerate and allow to sit over night so the rub soaks in.

The next morning, remove chicken and add 2 cups of water to the bottom of the slow-cooker. Do not pour the water over chicken. Return chicken to cooker and set on low and let cook for eight hours. It can also be set on high for four hours.

Oven roasted salmon with Parmesan mayo crust

16- to 20-oz. salmon filets, skin on

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Additional Parmesan cheese, freshly grated as desired

A few dashes of sweet paprika

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a shallow roasting pan with foil. Rinse the salmon with cold water and dry thoroughly with paper towels, and place in roasting pan.

Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Mix the mayonnaise and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl. Spread completely over the salmon. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese on top, and add a few dashes of sweet paprika.

Roast for 12 to 14 minutes (depending on thickness of salmon).

Remove from oven; carefully slide a wide spatula between the skin and meat to separate from the skin and serve.

Beef and broccoli

1 pound boneless beef chuck roast, sliced into thin strips

1 cup beef consumme

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon sesame oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons sauce from slow cooker after being cooked

Fresh broccoli florets (as many as desired)

Hot cooked rice

Place beef in a slow cooker.

In a small bowl, combine consumme, soy sauce, brown sugar, oil and garlic. Pour over beef. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

In a cup, stir cornstarch and sauce form the slow cooker until smooth. Add to slow cooker and stir well to combine.

Add broccoli to the slow cooker. Stir to combine.

Cover and cook an additional 30 minutes on high (the sauce has to boil for it to thicken).

Serve over hot cooked rice.

Linguini with shrimp scampi

1 pound linguini

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 large shallot, finely diced

5 cloves garlic, sliced

Pinch red pepper flakes, optional

20 large shrimp, about 1 pound, peeled and deveined, tail on

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 lemon, juiced and zested

1 1/2 teaspoon dried basil

One 28 ounce can whole tomatoes, broken up

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves

Parmesan cheese for garnish.

Cook linguini according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, add the shrimp to a large skillet and over medium high heat add the butter.

Cook the shrimp until it is pink and add garlic and shallots.

After the shrimp is fully cooked (which only takes a few minutes), turn the heat down to medium low.

Add the remaining of the ingredients and simmer on low while stirring frequently until heated through.

Drain the pasta and mix in the oil, this keeps it from sticking together.

Pour the sauce/shrimp mixture over the pasta and mix together well.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese for garnish and serve.

Apple pie bars


3 sticks unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup light brown sugar

12 Granny Smith apples (about 6 pounds)-peeled, cored and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup water, if necessary


3 cups quick-cooking oats

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled

3/4 cup chopped pecans

Making the crust:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 15-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

At low speed, beat in the flour and salt until a soft dough forms.

Press the dough over the bottom of the prepared pan creating an even layer. Bake in the center of the oven for about 20 minutes, until the crust is golden and set. Let cool on a rack.

Making the filling:

In an extra large skillet, melt 6 tablespoons of the butter with 1/2 cup of the light brown sugar. Add the apples to the skillet and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon and nutmeg.

Cook until the apples are caramelized and tender and the liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes longer; scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the skillet and if necessary, add up to 1/2 cup of water to prevent scorching. Let cool.

Making the topping:

In a large bowl, mix the oats with the flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Using a pastry blender to cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Stir in the pecans and press the mixture into clumps.

Assemble and bake:

Spread the apple filling over the crust. Scatter the crumbs on top, pressing them lightly into an even layer.

Bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour, until the topping is golden; rotate the pan halfway through baking.

Let cool completely on a rack before cutting into 2-inch bars.

(Note: Bars can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.)

Calico beans

1/2 cup bacon, chopped

1 pound lean ground beef

1 15-ounce can pork and beans

1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained

1 15-ounce can butter beans

1 15-ounce can lima beans, drained

1/2 cup ketchup

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup chopped onion

3 tablespoons white vinegar

1 teaspoon mustard

Place bacon and ground beef in skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain and set aside.

In a four-quart slow cooker, mix together the bacon, ground beef, pork and beans, kidney beans, butter beans, lima beans, ketchup, onion, vinegar, and mustard.

Mix meat and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.

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