Pork and Cashew Stir Fry with Root Vegetables

Stir-fry dishes are great for introducing family and friends to vegetables they may not have tried before, like daikon radishes. This winter root vegetable, which is much larger than the red radish and shaped similarly to a carrot, is frequently used in Asian dishes. When cooked, radishes gain a sweetness that mellows out their peppery spice. This veggie pairs well with sweet carrots and mandarin oranges in my quick stir fry.

Stir-fry recipes are excellent choices for nights when you want a homemade meal without spending too much time in the kitchen. If you prep the ingredients and cook the rice the night before, this meal can be made in less than 15 minutes.
 
Ingredients
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 (6 ounce) center cut pork chop, cut into bite sized cubes
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 large daikon radish, peeled and sliced
4 large celery ribs, trimmed and sliced
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 small seedless mandarin oranges
½ cup unsalted cashews
Prepared brown rice
Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped


Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet. Add garlic and ginger and heat for one minute, until fragrant, about a minute. Add pork and cook for around 4 minutes, flipping with a spatula to evenly brown all sides. Transfer pork to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  2. Add carrots, radishes, celery and soy sauce to the wok or skillet and sauté until tender but slightly crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Peel and separate mandarin oranges and slice each section in half to make sure there are no seeds. Add oranges, cashews and pork to the vegetable mixture. Stir to combine and cook another minute or 2.
  4. Check seasoning and add a splash of extra soy sauce if needed. Serve with brown rice and top with fresh cilantro.

Servings: 2

Pulled Pork Potato Skins

One of my favorite BBQ restaurants in Memphis serves a dish called the Idaho Pig, which is a giant baked potato stuffed with pulled pork and a lot of cheese and barbecue sauce. It is one of my favorite indulgences and the inspiration for this lighter version that is just as satisfying. These potato skins are a crowd pleaser and perfect appetizer or meal for the big game.

I love barbecue sauce, but most bottled sauces are high in sodium. This recipe uses only two servings of sauce for the entire recipe, keeping the sodium down while still delivering a sweet and tangy punch that will make you feel like you are hanging out in your favorite BBQ joint.

Ingredients:
8 small potatoes
2 cups pulled pork (from Slow Cooker Drunken Pork)
¼ cup barbecue sauce
½ cup yellow cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup white cheddar cheese, shredded
16 hot and sweet jalapeño pepper slices
Optional: light sour cream for serving

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Pierce potatoes a few times with a fork and bake for 30 minutes.
2. Remove potatoes, leaving oven on. Let potatoes cool enough to touch and cut each in half. Scoop out a small amount of potato, leaving a divot like space in the potato halves.
3. In a small bowl, toss pulled pork with barbecue sauce and stir to evenly coat. Add equal amount of pork to potato halves and top with two types of cheddar cheese and 1 jalapeño pepper slice.
4. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, until cheese has melted. Serve immediately with light sour cream if desired.

Note: You can reserve the potato that you scoop out and add to mashed potatoes or potato soup for another meal.

Servings: 4 to 8 ~ Serving size: 4 for a meal and 2 for an appetizer

Slow Cooker Drunken Pork

I will always be partial to Memphis-style barbecue sauces with their perfect sweet and tangy combination. However, I do appreciate a good vinegar-based sauce from North Carolina and white sauce from Alabama. This recipe is perfect for entertaining a crowd that may have strong opinions about which state has the best sauce. Simply serve a variety of warm sauces along with your pork and let your guests decide.

Ingredients:
2½ to 3 pound pork butt
1 can or bottle of craft beer, such as IPA
4 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Optional: Barbecue sauce, heated

Directions:
1. Place pork, beer, garlic cloves, salt and pepper in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours, until the meat is tender and starts to fall apart.
2. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let sit until cool enough to handle. Using two forks, shred the pork and discard any bone or large pieces of fat.
3. Serve shredded pork plain or toss with your favorite barbecue sauce.

Note: This recipe is also very adaptable for different meals throughout the week. It makes a great lean protein topping for salads and baked potatoes.

Servings: 5 to 6 ~ Serving size: varies depending on cut of meat