There are few things as wonderful as sharing a good, home-cooked meal with your friends or family, but if you cook every night, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut. Even your favorite dishes, If you prepare them often, can lose their appeal. Sure, you have a pantry stocked with the staples, some fresh fruits and vegetables in your refrigerator, and basics like chicken or pork in the freezer, but how do you combine them to create a unique and delicious dinner?
According to statistics from the National Pork Board, the United States’ consumption of pork has been on the rise the past two years, with the average American eating about 46.8 pounds in 2013 alone. When it comes to pork, chops are a standard; the United States Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service reports, in fact, that pork chops are the most popular cut of fresh pork. So, with all those pork chops being cooked up across the country, how do you avoid monotony?
One of easiest ways to add variety to pork chop dinners is use a variety of herbs, spices, and marinades; even if you cook your pork chops using the same technique (say, grilling) and with the same side dishes (rice and vegetables, for example), infusing a different flavor profile into the meat can make the dish feel fresh and new. Grilled balsamic pork chops with red peppers and rice is a completely different dish than grilled pork chops marinated in pineapple juice and served with the same sides.
Another way to add variety to pork chop dinners is to use the pork chops in less traditional ways; pork chops can be cut up and used in hashes, casseroles, and stir-frys. Just be sure to cut the chops into evenly sized pieces if you're cooking them this way; that will ensure that all the pieces cook evenly and are equally as juicy and delicious.
Need a few good ideas for revamping your pork chop dinners? We can help.
Broiled Pork Chops with Spicy Pineapple Salsa
Chipotle Pork and Pepper Stew
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.