This week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week, Pork Chops with Apples and Garlic Smashed Potatoes, is deceptively simple to prepare. This company-worthy meal includes a mashed side of baby potatoes, garlic and buttermilk, which makes the potatoes more flavorful without lots of added fat.
For more everyday recipe inspiration, visit Food Network’s Let’s Cook: Main Dishes board on Pinterest.
Get the recipes: Food Network Magazine’s Pork Chops with Apples and Garlic Smashed Potatoes
For a super fast dinner, pound your meat before grilling or sauteing it: Thinner pieces cook quickly (check out Food Network Magazine‘s Pork Scallopini Salad). Pounding also breaks up the connective tissue in tougher cuts, making them more tender. Place the meat between pieces of plastic wrap, and pound to an even thickness with the flat side of a meat mallet, a rolling pinor a small heavy skillet.
When it’s screaming hot outside, the last thing I want to do is slave over a stove. That’s why I set up the slow cooker and let that little miracle worker make dinner for me three times.
Dinner #1: For this mouthwatering pork (pictured above), set a large pork loin (or two) into the slow cooker, slather with whole grain mustard, olive oil, salt, pepper and dried thyme. Cook for four hours, then let it fall apart, right onto your kids’ miniature plates. Save the rest.
Dinner #2: Using a mix of BBQ sauce and plain ketchup (even sweet BBQ sauce is usually “too spicy” for our small kids), heat up the remaining pork in a pan and serve on toasted buns.
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When I was in my early twenties, I went crazy for slow cookers. At the age when most young women are spending their discretionary cash on shoes or nights on the town, I was saving my pennies for a sturdy slow cooker with a built-in timer and an auto-off feature.
In those days, money was tight (as it so often is in those first years out of college) and so I was always looking for ways to trim my food budget. I took lunches to work, had friends over for dinner instead of going out and turned all my scrap celery leaves, carrot peels and chicken bones into stock.
My fleet of slow cookers made a lot of that frugal eating possible. I regularly used a tiny one to make overnight oatmeal (with a little dried fruit, it was delicious and cheap). I made batches of lunchtime soup in an ancient 4-quart cooker I’d gotten for 75 cents at a yard sale. And I bought tough, unlovable cuts of meat and cooked them tender in my oval 6-quart cooker.
Before you start cooking, read these tips
Pork chops aren’t just for the frying pan. A thick pork chop, bone-in or -out, can be just as juicy as any burger when you cook it on the grill. What you need is a good rub (to be delicious) and skewer (to be a hit with the kids).
Our three kids were all born in Italy, where a summertime staple is arrosticini, small cubes of meat (usually lamb) on a skewer, seasoned with nothing but olive oil, salt and the occasional sprig of rosemary. The flavor is delicious, the technique is fun and kids love them for both of those reasons.
Recreating that dish was one of the first things we did when we moved back to the United States this spring, and pork chops do the trick. Use a rub of 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon dried or fresh thyme and 1/4 teaspoon pepper for the whole chops and for one diced up for the kids.
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In most households a glistening baked ham takes focus at the table on Easter Sunday. For many it’s a tradition that isn’t often broken for fear of a family riot. But Easter doesn’t have to be all about ham. If you’re willing to stray from tradition and try a new and different main dish, Food Network has some great ideas for your holiday meal.
How about a rack of lamb or a roast pork loin or maybe even turkey? Lamb is actually a very popular Easter main dish in other parts of the world and pork comes in at a pretty close second. The following recipes are perfect for any Easter gathering, with flavors that bridge the changing seasons. Who knows — your family might just surprise you and love the new dish even more than the ham.
Get the Easter main dish recipes
One of my long-held theories about life is that most people fall into one of two entertaining camps. You are either dinner party people or potluck people. If you’re a dinner party person, the nights when you have friends over are well-orchestrated. You make the entire meal or if you delegate parts of it, you give specific recipe assignments. Wine and beer is planned, purchased in advance and appropriately chilled. Tables are set sometime in the afternoon and there’s always a carefully arranged cheeseboard.
Potluck people are less concerned with the details. They issue an invitation to gather without carefully balancing the numbers of couples and singles. They don’t make the whole meal but instead announce the main dish they’ll be providing and then ask guests to fill in the blanks as they see them. If asked to comment on whether a dish might go well with the planned menu, the answer is always a happy-go-lucky “Sure!”
I have long been a potluck person. I love eating with friends, but rarely can I be bothered with the worry of formal guest lists or long hours of prep time. I am married to someone, however, who is more comfortable when the details are firmly nailed down and so I found myself throwing a very uncharacteristic dinner party last Saturday night.
Before you start cooking, read these tips
On a recent visit to Budapest, the capital of Hungary, I was lucky enough to enjoy a terrific meal at a restaurant called Bock Bisztro, which served many dishes made from Mangalitsa pork. Although I had eaten the meat of this particular breed of pig before and knew just how delicious and fully flavored it could be, this was the first time I noticed how incredibly versatile it is. The meal easily rates as one of my best in recent years.
I hope that watching the Iron Chef’s work with this magnificent beast in Kitchen Stadium will inspire you to go in search of this alternative to traditional pork breeds, either in the restaurants of some of the nation’s top chefs or in your own kitchens.
You won’t regret it.
What is a Mangalitsa pig?
Mangalitsa pigs, or as they are known in their native Hungary, Mangalica pigs, are a breed of hog that is renowned for their deeply flavored meat and for their high fat content. The name Mangalica literally means “hog with a lot of lard.” They are sometimes also known as “wooly pigs” because of the curly haired fleece that covers their body.
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Much like chicken, pork is a hefty meat that can handle the robust flavors and textures of any number of dry rubs, marinades, stuffings and more. When it comes to shopping for pork tenderloins, you have a few options. You can pick up a single, multi-pound tenderloin or look for several longer, skinnier ones that each hover around one pound. Fix your family a dinner of tender, juicy pork using Food Network’s top five pork tenderloin recipes, which are an ideal mix of classic and creative preparations.
5. Pork Tenderloin With Seasoned Rub (pictured above) — Equal parts garlic powder, oregano, thyme, cumin and coriander complete Ellie’s herbaceous dry rub.
4. Mushroom-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin — Sautéed cremini mushrooms, breadcrumbs and garlic are easily stuffed in butterflied tenderloins.
Get the top three recipes »
Alton Brown’s lip-smacking marinade of molasses, apple cider vinegar and dijon mustard will have your family begging for these thick-cut pork chops all summer long. If you don’t have a grill, use a grill pan — over medium-high heat, these pork chops will cook up in less than 10 minutes.
Editor’s tip: Make the marinade the night before — the longer the pork is submerged in it, the more flavorful it will be.
Get the recipe: Alton’s Molasses-and-Coffee Pork Chops
Browse more of Food Network’s pork recipes and head over to Grilling Central for all your BBQ needs.