homepage logo

Planning ahead

By Staff | Mar 25, 2016

JANELLE JOHNSON, in green, is joined by her Extension co-workers during last week’s Ag Week luncheon in Le Mars. She said carefully planning ahead in the kitchen will make meal time enjoyable for herself and husband, Ben. Shown from left are Sherry McGill, Ann Schoenrock, Jill Leners, Johnson and Jodi Fisher.



IRETON – With Easter week upon us and a time to share special memories with family and friends, favorite recipes for the occasion most often come to mind, adding more memories to these special gatherings.

So it is with Janelle Johnson, busy not only assisting her husband, Ben, with the couple’s pork operation, but having full-time duties as program coordinator for the Plymouth County Extension office.

“Meal planning has been beneficial, not only in my Extension position, but at home as well,” Johnson said. “Fixing meals and making baked goods was always a part of my life growing up in Minnesota and still is today.”

Marinated pork tenderloin is shown served on a bed of rice.

“I learned many great tips and recipes from my mom,” she added. “My parents also raised hogs, so many of our recipes revolved around pork.”

She also credits her mother-in-law with sharing new recipes throughout the years.

Johnson said since she and Ben are following the family’s farm tradition, it’s natural they include pork recipes from both sides of the family as often as they can.

Among her favorites is a pork marinade and a barbecue sauce brought home years ago from the World Pork Expo, in Des Moines.

Using a slow cooker for meals at home when there’s often, as Johnson describes it, a daily crunch, has been a kitchen time-saver, she said.

“I use it for many of my recipes and, loving to garden as I do, often use fresh-grown produce,” she said.

Corn and tomatoes get used for salsa, while other garden goods are frozen or canned.

Pork tenderloin marinade

1/2 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons oil

1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)

Mix ingredients and pour in plastic gallon bag. Place two pork tenderloins in the bag and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Discard marinade.

Sin Zin barbecue sauce

1 cup onion, chopped

1/2 cup oil

2 cups white zinfandel wine

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

2 cups brown sugar

1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce

2 cups chili sauce

2 cloves garlic

Bring to a boil and simmer until thick. Refrigerate sauce.

Serve with pork chops, pork tenderloin and chicken.

Rhubarb cake with caramel sauce


1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup butter

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cup sliced rhubarb

1/ 3 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Cream sugar and butter then add egg. Mix.

Add flour/soda and milk alternatively. Add vanilla and beat the batter.

Spread half of the batter in a 9-by-12-inch greased pan. Then add cut rhubarb on the batter. Add the remaining batter.

Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture on top of the batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Caramel sauce:

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup cream

1/4 cup corn syrup

1/4 cup butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all ingredients except the vanilla. Bring to a boil for 3-4 minutes stirring.

Take off heat and add vanilla.

Serve sauce warm over rhubarb cake.

Please Enter Your Facebook App ID. Required for FB Comments. Click here for FB Comments Settings page