Bring new inspiration and variety to your weeknight meal planning by adding pork to your shopping list. Most cuts take minimal preparation time and the savory flavor pairs well with almost any ingredient you already have in your kitchen, as well as your family's favorite side dish.
Take it straight from Top Chef All-Stars winner Richard Blais who recommends starting with the versatile meat to get juices flowing. "Pork is my go-to ingredient when I want to experiment with flavors, or create a terrific meal for family and friends."
One of the most versatile cuts is the perennial favorite, the pork chop. From bone-in to boneless, it tastes great stuffed with peppers, topped with pineapple (see recipe) or straight off the grill brushed with sweet-and-sour sauce. Here are a few tips to spur some inspiration for you:
* Experiment with spice. Sweet and smoky is a tried and true combination that can be perfected with so many variations. Try smoky paprika or chipotle alongside sweet cinnamon or brown sugar for a rub, marinade or sauce that is sure to please.
* Think fruit. Pairing pork with fruit enhances the natural sweetness and maximizes flavor. You have heard of pork chops and applesauce, but why not try peaches, pears or strawberries to take your dish from traditional to inspirational?
* Take it to the grill. Your favorite recipe might recommend cooking your chop in the oven or in a skillet. Instead, fire up the grill to get a nice smoky flavor.
For more inspirational ideas and pork recipes, how-to videos and more information, visit www.PorkBeInspired.com or www.Facebook.com/PorkBeInspired.
Chili rubbed pork chops with grilled pineapple salsa
4--pork bone-in rib chops, about 3/4-inch thick, trimmed
1--tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2--tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
3/4--teaspoon garlic powder
3/4--teaspoon onion powder
3--slices pineapple, cut crosswise about 1/2-inch thick, trimmed OR 3 slices canned pineapple, drained
1--jalapeño pepper, halved lengthwise, seeds and veins removed
1--tablespoon lime juice
Salt, to taste
In a shallow bowl, combine chili powder, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Sprinkle both sides of pork with spice mixture.
Prepare a grill to medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate. Grill pork until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Grill pineapple (if using fresh) and jalapeño until lightly charred, two to three minutes per side. Remove chops from grill and let rest five minutes.
Meanwhile, dice pineapple and finely dice jalapeño. In a medium bowl, combine pineapple, jalapeño, and lime juice. Season to taste with salt.
*Or substitute any store-purchased fruit salsa.
Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 180; Fat: 6g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 50mg; Sodium: 470mg; Carbohydrates: 10g; Protein: 20g; Fiber: 1g