Ground Pork to the Rescue! 6 Weeknight-Friendly Dinner Ideas to Make Tonight
When it comes to easy, fast, and wholesome weeknight cooking, chicken breasts and ground beef get a lot of attention. But they aren’t the only proteins that deserve a place in your regular cooking rotation; ground pork is flavorful and kid-friendly, cooks quickly, and is extraordinarily versatile. Check out these recipe ideas and soon you’ll be stockpiling your freezer with it.
Make Breakfast for Dinner
When in doubt, do breakfast for dinner—a crowd-pleaser that never fails to make weeknights easier. But just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Save the boxed cereal for tomorrow morning, and whip up a batch of homemade pork sausage to go along with your scrambled eggs tonight. Sound crazy? Not when you form it into patties and pan-fry it. This surprisingly efficient recipe is all about the seasoning. Made with brown sugar and red chile flakes, it’s a little bit spicy, a little bit sweet, and one of our favorite ways to eat ground pork.
Go Ahead. Have Nachos
Okay, we’ll admit it: Sometimes all we really want for dinner is an enormous tray of nachos. Make this game day snack classic into a meal by piling it high with protein (thanks, ground pork), veggies (hello, cabbage), and, of course, cheese (any kind you want, as long as it melts). If you’re feeling ambitious, you can riff on the Asian flavors in this recipe by swapping the chips for fried wontons. But if you’re short on time and canola oil, they’ll still be delicious with bagged tortilla chips. Don’t forget the fresh cilantro!
Break out the Puff Pastry
Ground pork is easy to prepare. So is puff pastry. It’s about time these two met. Put a little playfulness into dinner with this Pigs in Sleeping Bags recipe—it’s an easy take on Pigs in Blankets, one of our favorite cocktail hour snacks. Instead of miniature hot dogs and canned dough, wrap homemade sausage with all-butter puff pastry dough. Serve with a big green salad, and you’ve got dinner on lock.
Another no-brainer way to cook with the pork-puff pastry combo: Meat pot pies! This recipe calls for both beef and pork, but you can adjust the ratios to suit what’s currently in your fridge; an all-pork version would be equally delicious. Make the filling in a big cast iron skillet and cover the whole thing with a full sheet of puff pastry, or bake in smaller ramekins for single-serving pot pies.
Cheat: Make a Sunday Sauce
Okay, this is a bit of a cheat. Nobody wants to make a slow-simmered ragù on a Tuesday night. But do it on Sunday afternoon, and you’ll be set for dinner all week long. Recipes like this spicy rigatoni or this beef-and-pork combination are perfect for reheating and tossing with pasta, layering into lasagna, piling on top of polenta, or just serving with thick slices of hearty bread and salad.
Ground pork has a higher fat content than many other meats, so use that to your advantage. Mold it into meatballs for a dinner that’s moist and juicy—never dry or tough. Enter the meatball, a.k.a. one incredibly versatile dinner option. The flavors you can add are limited only by your imagination. Stuff them with ricotta cheese and fry them or season them with nutmeg and allspice and simmer them for a DIY take on Swedish meatballs.
Take a Cue from Takeout
Some of our favorite takeout dishes are made with ground pork. Like crispy Thai larb, for example. Sauté the pork with fish sauce, soy, and garlic, plus a little brown sugar to encourage caramelization. Serve it in lettuce cups alongside a cool cucumber salad. Prefer to slurp your dinner? This recipe for soup with rice noodles, mustard greens, and spicy ground pork is customizable (use any greens you have on hand) and weeknight-friendly, thanks to pre-made stock and packaged noodles.