On more SparkPeople members' dinner tables, chicken is stepping aside while lean pork is the star of the meal. I am a big fan of lean pork products for busy weeknight meals, slow cooker Sundays, and tablecloth: and: good china Saturday night dinners. Choosing leaner cuts of pork such as the tenderloin, roast, and chops will bring more flavor to your favorite recipes than leaner cuts of poultry and at about the same price.
Not sure how to cook pork or need some new ideas? Here are a dozen to get you started.
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Roast: Perfect for a weekend get-ahead-of-the game meal for the upcoming week. Remove any fat then place in a slow cooker with 1 inch of low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock or water along with your favorite chili style spices and six to eight hours later (cooked on low), you will have pulled pork cooked to perfection. Enjoy sandwiched between whole wheat sandwich thins or served with cole slaw or whole wheat macaroni and cheese.
Faux Fried Pork Chops: Fried pork chops are a comfort food staple, but you can get all the crunch without the fat. Serve with homemade applesauce or baked apples and green beans for a spin on the classic Pork Chops and Applesauce. Get the secret to perfect faux frying
Orange Pork Stir Fry: Thinly slice partially frozen pork tenderloin into thin strips. (That's a great chef's tip: Before slicing raw meat, freeze it for 30 minutes to an hour, and it will be easier to cut.) Lightly dust in cornstarch. Saute over high heat in a skillet with a teaspoon of vegetable oil. Cook until the pork is no longer pink, remove from the pan, then sauté thin strips of onion, garlic, and green onions in the same pan. Add the juice of one orange and a splash of low sodium soy sauce. Return the pork to the pan along with fruit segments from one orange and cook until warmed. Serve with steamed brown rice and snow peas.
Fruity Stuffed Pork Chops: Cut a small slit in the side of a boneless chop and stuff with about a tablespoon of chopped figs, dates, or prunes. Use toothpicks to secure the pork chops. Bake in a 350 degree oven until the pork reaches 145 degrees or grill. Serve with roasted potatoes and steamed green beans.
Grilled Marinated Pork Chops with Pineapple Salsa: Pork and citrus are perfect together. Marinade chops in low sodium soy sauce, lemon and lime juice for 30 minutes. While the pork is marinating, mix up a salsa side dish. Combine diced pineapple, red onion, cilantro, red peppers, with lime juice.
Pistachio and Cherry Encrusted Pork Tenderloin Medallions: This meal sounds fancy but it is not. Slice a pork tenderloin into 1 1/2 inch medallions, then sear over medium-high heat in a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray. Top with chopped pistachios and dried cherries; bake 10-12 minutes in a preheated 375 degree until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Serve with a spinach salad and side of brown rice.
Roasted Pork Loin with Honey Mustard Sauce: Sear one pork tenderloin on all sides in a nonstick skillet. Transfer to a preheated 425 degree oven and roast until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes, then carve into 1/2 inch slices. Stir up a quick sauce made with Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, and honey to flavor it. Serve over quick cooking bulgur or quinoa with a side of steamed broccoli.
Skillet-Cooked Pork Chops with Warm-Cabbage Apple Slaw: Lightly season pork chops with pepper, then cook over medium heat in a skillet coated with cooking spray. Remove the chops from the skillet, and set aside but keep warm. Wipe the skillet with a paper towel, then spray on more cooking spray. Cook 3 cups shredded cabbage in the skillet until limp and tender, about 5 minutes. Add 1/4 of a red onion, sliced, and 2 sliced apples along with the juice of one lemon and 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds. Cook until apples are warm, about 3-4 minutes. Serve with the pork chops and a slice of rye bread on the side.
Super Fast Pork and Veggie Stir Fry: This is a great way to use up leftover cooked pork roast or tenderloin. Add it to a stir fry for a next-night meal. Change up the traditional rice side dish and serve with whole wheat spaghetti noodles.
Pork Jambalaya: Keep the shrimp but substitute a leaner cut of pork such as the roast or tenderloin for the not-so-lean Andouille sausage in traditional jambalaya. Add heat with peppers or spices.
Slow Cooker Pork with Greens and Beans: This dish is one of my favorite slow cooker recipes for the colder months. It's a full meal that’s ready with almost no effort.
Pork Chili: Swap out beef stew meat with diced pork roast in my Chili Con Carne recipe. Instead of the traditional cornbread accompaniment, serve over cheese polenta.
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