Big recipes mean good leftovers

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By Sandy Bond

Raised on good old fashioned Southern fried chicken, chicken and dumplings and homemade soups, “food that could feed our large extended family at our homestead in Montana,” Chris Kehs, the new web pressman at Bridge City Publishing, said, “I couldn’t help but be inspired to learn how to cook by both mom and my maternal grandmother.”
Sneaking into the kitchen, he said, he watched both of them working so hard to make that great-tasting food he vividly recalls growing up on.
“Inevitably, I’d get kicked out of the kitchen,” he said, “but I still got a little taste, and it was always so good!”
The son of Carol Sue and Robert Sr., of Yuma, Ariz., Chris and his brother Matt were born in Annapolis, Md., where their parents owned two businesses, a carpet and upholstery cleaning service and vacuum cleaner sales. The family moved to Stevensville, Mont., when Chris was in high school, where their parents ran Envirotech, a cleaning supply business, until 1998. With Robert challenged by the onset of Parkinson’s disease, they retired and ultimately moved to Yuma.
When he was a sophomore, Chris began working on two dairy operations.
“I was so busy, I didn’t have time for both work and school, so I left school. I never did earn my diploma, but I don’t have any regrets,” he said.
“While in high school I met and fell in love with a wonderful girl, Amity Rose, who had moved to our small town from Milton, Wash.” he said.
“She inspired me to become an adult at a very young age.”
After marrying in September 1998, they moved to Utah, where dairies were plentiful, hoping to find work.
After three months of struggling, they went to the local newspaper, “The Herald Journal,” where he was offered an apprenticeship as a pressman.
They are raising three children: Alissa, 14, Anabelle, 11, and Alexander Dean, 5.
Having completed his apprenticeship, the family moved to the West Coast where Chris became a journeyman operator for “The Centralia Daily Chronicle” in southwestern Washington.
The couple separated in 2010, and since then economic hardships have kept them from reuniting. Amity Rose and the children continue living in Arlington, Wash., but the family continues to work hard and communicate, hoping one day to reunite.
Single at the moment, he has time to make three good, healthy meals a day.
“I really like to cook and prepare large portions because that’s the way I was raised,” he said.
His favorites include everything from elk roast, pork chops and sauerkraut, to beef pot roast with all the vegetables including new potatoes and also buttered rolls. Leftovers are always recycled
Nothing tastes as warm and welcoming on a cool autumn day as chicken noodle soup flavored with just the right amount of garlic and onions, the way his mom used to make it, he said.
“My absolute worst cooking experience was making a meal over the campfire for my hunting companions at minus 5 degrees.”
Gardening enhances his meal preparation. As close to organic as possible, he grew a total of 132 plants to harvest this season including garlic, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, carrots, radishes and bell and hot peppers.
He has also enjoyed raising petunias and roses and once grew a rose garden for his wife with 13 varieties of tea and floribundas.
“Music heals my mind when I’m feeling down,” he said, listening to Vince Gill, Alabama, George Straight and Kenny Chesney, but also classic rock and contemporary music as well. He finds immense solicitude in hiking the backcountry or down a river trail. Primitive or modern, he enjoys both types of camping experiences. He has always enjoyed hunting elk, moose, deer and antelope, for which Montana is famous, and is looking forward to hunting pheasant or fishing for walleye in his adopted state.

CHRIS KEHS’ RECIPES

Chicken Breast Salad
4 ice glazed boneless chicken breasts (chopped and sliced in quarters)
1 head iceberg lettuce
1 bunch of radishes
2 carrots
1/2 red onion (sliced thin)
1 cucumber (peeled in strips and then sliced to your liking)
1 cup shredded medium cheddar cheese
2 cloves garlic (chopped and pressed)
2 tablespoons salted butter
Prepare all vegetables in large serving bowl except red onion and cheese. Set aside and put plastic wrap over top. Chill in refrigerator until chicken is cooked.
In a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Add garlic to skillet. Add chicken to pan and cook for 20 minutes or until totally cooked (should be fork ready but not pink.) Let cool for a half hour. Return to cutting board slicing into thin strips across grain of meat.
Take bowl of prepared salad, which is already chilled and prepped. Garnish with red onions and cheese. Use serving platter for chicken and add to your liking. Don’t forget to add your favorite topping and dressing. Enjoy!

Very Veggie Spaghetti
14 to 16 oz. can spaghetti sauce
1 lb. ground hamburger or wild game
1 green bell pepper (chopped)
2 garden fresh hothouse tomatoes (diced)
2 Roma tomatoes (puréed)
2 medium carrots (sliced)
1 large yellow onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (chopped and pressed)
Garden Rotini or your favorite pasta
Brown meat. Drain off fat if using hamburger. Add onion to meat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add green pepper and garlic and diced tomatoes. Continue to cook on medium heat. Add Roma tomatoes. Stir in carrots.  Stir occasionally and add 3/4 cup water if needed and tomato sauce.
Boil 6 quarts of water and add pasta. Cook for about 20 minutes. Add pasta to sauce or serve individually. Garnish with favorite cheese.

Sweet and Sour Pork Chops
3 to 5 lbs. bone-in pork loin chops
1 16 oz. jar Steinfeld’s Sauerkraut
1 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons salted butter
2 large yellow onions (sliced)
1 tablespoon cooking oil
Add 1 tablespoon butter or 1/8 cup oil of your choice to 12-inch frying pan and heat to medium. Brown loin chops on both sides for 5 to 8 minutes and let stand a few minutes while pre-heating oven to 375 degrees.
Coat a 3-quart or larger baking dish with remaining butter. Add loin chops to dish, lightly season. Lay half of onions on top of chops and sprinkle 1/4 cup of brown sugar to onions. Then add one half jar sauerkraut on top of that. Repeat. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes checking halfway through for doneness. Serve with mashed potatoes and pork gravy and favorite vegetables. Enjoy!

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