Remember Sunday’s pork chops? And how I thawed a pork loin–purchased on sale–to get those pork chops? Well, one pork loin makes more than one meal’s worth of chops, which means that tonight I cooked up the rest of them in this Pork Chops and Hash Brown Casserole. I was originally leaning towards another recipe…a crockpot one with bacon…but then I remembered my brother and his vacation habits.
Let me explain. Our mother’s side of the family shares a family cabin, which you can reserve through my youngest uncle and stay in whenever it’s available. My brother loves to bring his family (he and my sister-in-law have 5 kiddos) to stay there, since they are outdoorsy and enjoy it to the full–AND it’s free. On their way back to Idaho, they often stop in with us overnight, unloading whatever food they have left in their cooler. Not all of that food makes it back to Idaho, meaning that a few times a year, I end up with really random food in my fridge and freezer (some of which I would NOT have purchased myself.) One of those items happened to be a 32 ounce bag of frozen hash browns, and when I remembered its existence, I opted for this recipe with the glee one can only know if one’s fridge and freezer is chronically, crazily crowded. I knew it’d be a gamble with my potato-shy kiddos, but it’s the kind of thing my hubby’s likely to like, so I went to town.
The good news? I’d make it again, and my hubby would happily eat it again. (Indeed, he WILL eat it again. Possibly several times. It made a LOT of pork.) My oldest ate slowly but said she enjoyed it, and my middle–I was shocked!–gave the meat a thumbs up and the rest a thumbs middle. She dawdled over it, but she didn’t make despairing faces or moan and groan, so we’re calling that a win. The bad news? The boy picked out the meat and flat out REFUSED to even taste the potatoes. (He was actually pretty offended at the whole thing. Once everyone’s green beans were gone, however–he’s freakishly fond of green beans–he finally decided he’d deign to eat the meat, since no other food was visible anywhere.) I even offered him a treat–nothing doing. I finally resorted to my fallback plan for his stage of life, which involves giving them a piece of plain bread as a tacit acknowledgement that I don’t want them to be so hungry that they have trouble at bedtime. (He ate it all. He was throwing the potatoes when I got him down from the high chair.)
In other bad news, it’s not exactly the healthiest dish you could serve; on the other hand, I subbed half the sour cream for plain yogurt and used 1% milk, and cream of celery soup isn’t as bad as it might be. I certainly wouldn’t serve it frequently, but I have lots of recipes I only make occasionally for that very reason. Oh, and to get back to the good news? I heeded the USDA’s assurance that pork is now safe at 145, and oh, the tender juiciness!
Bottom line? It’s a tasty casserole, and if your kids eat potatoes, you’re home free!