As we were packing to head south in the last weeks of January (yes – we escaped before the snow!), I was concerned because I wouldn't have the time or kitchen in which to be trying new recipes for you. And then I glanced over at my very old recipe box and realized that the answer to my problem was right there in front of me.

February is an "anniversary" month for "Welcome to my Kitchen," since this column first appeared in February 1978. I have (I think) copies of every column that I've ever written but going back through 35 years of files seemed like a daunting task. So I blew the dust off the top of the old recipe box, pulled out a fistful of recipe cards and I'll be sharing some of these very oldies but still goodie recipes with you. Add a side salad or some fruit and you've got dinner!

The first recipe is ripped from the pages of a magazine and is called Hearty Beef 'N Potato Casserole. It appeared in an ad for Durkee Real French Fried Onions and those tasty morsels are sprinkled over the top of the casserole. A note on the recipe reads, "ready to bake in just 15 easy minutes."

My notes on the card for Pork Chops with Amber Rice note that we thought this was "Excellent!" on May 21, 1966 – less than one month after our daughter Ami was born! It has stood the test of time well because Spicer often asks me about this recipe although I rarely ever remember to prepare it. When he reads this column, he'll remind me again. This recipe came from a Better Homes and Garden magazine.

Frankly Cheesy Dinner appeared as a product recipe on an 8-ounce bag of Pennsylvania Dutch Brand Medium-Egg Noodles. (A quick Google search revealed that 8 ounces is equal to 4 cups.) If you can find whole grain noodles, you'll also be adding dietary fiber to this recipe without altering the taste.

To contact Judi Leaming, email

Hearty Beef ' N Potato Casserole

4 cups frozen potato tots

1 pound lean ground beef

1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed

1 (2.8-ounce) can Durkee French Fried Onions

1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of celery soup

1/3 cup milk

1 cup (4-ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese (you can always add more if you want to!)

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a shallow 2-quart baking dish (approx. 8x12-inches). Spread frozen potatoes onto the bottom and up sides of the baking dish. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. While potatoes bake, brown ground beef and drain if necessary. Sprinkle beef, thawed broccoli and HALF of the French Fried onions over the potatoes. In a small bowl combine soup, milk, HALF of the cheese and the ground pepper; stir to blend. Pour over beef mixture. Cover tightly and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes more. Remove cover, top with remaining cheese and onions and bake uncovered for 2 to 3 minutes longer. Serves 4 to 6.

Pork Chops with Amber Rice

4 to 6 boneless pork chops, about 3/4-inch thick

1 1/3 cups "instant" rice

1 cup orange juice

1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed chicken and rice soup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown pork chops in a heavy skillet over medium heat; sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Place rice in a shallow 2-quart baking dish; gently pour orange juice over rice. Arrange browned pork chops over rice. Spoon condensed chicken-rice soup evenly over all. Cover tightly and bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes longer. Serves 4 to 6.

Frankly Cheesy Dinner

8-ounce Pennsylvania Dutch Brand Medium Egg Noodles (4 cups dry)

1/4 cup butter

1/3 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 to 1 teaspoon dry mustard

2 1/2 cups milk

3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 cups shredded American or Cheddar cheese

1 pound frankfurters, cut into 1-inch pieces OR 1 to 2 cups cubed, cooked ham

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a shallow 3-quart baking dish (9-x13-inches). Cook noodles according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, in a large skillet melt butter and sauté onion until tender. Blend in flour, salt, mustard, milk and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer, stirring constantly until mixture is slightly thickened – about 7 minutes. Stir in 1 1/4 cups of the cheese until melted. Toss together noodles and meat with cheese mixture to blend. Top with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes until bubbly. Serves 4 to 6.