Versatile pork chops are easy on the budget and easy to cook. You can prepare pork chops by pan frying, broiling, baking or grilling, but for simple cooking with a minimum of clean-up, try pork chops in the slow cooker. Put all the ingredients into the crock pot and let them simmer gently all day. Your slow cooker is an energy saving appliance that can help you cut food preparation time and still serve your family nutritious, home-cooked meals.
When you shop for pork chops you'll see some different cuts in the meat case. Bone-in or boneless and thick or thin sliced chops are common. Boneless thick-cut chops may be partially sliced horizontally to create a pocket for filling, or they may be "butterfly cut" with a horizontal cut almost all the way through, so the chop can be opened or unfolded as a larger piece of meat. Some pork chops are smoked, or cured like ham or bacon. Smoked pork chops may have a ham-like pinkish tinge. Unlike ready-to-eat cooked ham products, smoked pork chops need to be cooked thoroughly. You can prepare all types of pork chops in a slow cooker. Trim away excess fat around the edges of the chops before cooking to reduce the fat content of your finished food.
Main Dish with Soup and Rice
Use low-sodium canned soups from your pantry with rice for a pork chop main dish. Rice cooks the easy way when you combine one can of broth, two cans of condensed soup and one cup of rice in the bottom of the crock pot. For more servings, double the soups and rice in a large cooker, keeping the liquid-rice ratio the same. Simply arrange the pork chops on top of the rice-and-soup mixture and cook on low all day. Try different creamed soups such as celery, chicken, mushroom, asparagus or cheese to add variety. Complement the meat and rice with steamed vegetables and fruit salad. You can also cook the pork chops without rice. Combine a package of dried seasoning mix with a can of condensed soup and pour it over about 2 pounds of pork chops, and slow-cook for about 8 hours. Microwave a bag of frozen vegetables for a quick side dish, and serve a fresh green salad with a creamy dressing to complete the meal.
Sweet and Fruity Chops
Pork chops cooked with fruit are a tangy-sweet way to help your family reach dietary recommendations for fruits. Add canned pineapple bits to the slow cooker with pork chops, and make a sauce with thawed frozen orange juice concentrate, brown sugar and unsweetened pineapple juice. You can also begin with a bed of sliced apples, and sprinkle them with brown sugar, nuts and spices for an apple-sweet treat. Layer pork chops on top of the apples and cook on low. Because the fruits make these chops the center of attention, serve plain vegetables and a green salad with creamy dressing to allow the main dish to shine.
Stuffed Pork Chops
Have your butcher cut pockets in thick pork chops and use a box of cornbread dressing mix as a filling to stuff them. Include some chopped pecans, and add a fresh twist by using orange juice as part of the liquid when you make the dressing mix. For another filling for stuffed chops, stir together crushed croutons, canned corn, chopped onion and peppers. Slow cook stuffed pork chops on low for 6 to 8 hours with a small amount of broth or water. Stir up some shredded cabbage and carrots with creamy coleslaw dressing to accompany stuffed pork chops and serve a fruit crisp or cobbler for dessert.
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