One-Half Pork Loin, 5 Diverse and Tasty Dishes

by Gina Blitstein · 0 comments

I was recently shopping and came across a lovely half pork loin at an awesomely affordable price. Since it’s just my husband and I, though, 4+ pounds of pork is a lot to deal with at one time. Even with my famous creativity with leftovers, I was afraid that it would either spoil or we’d become “porked out” and not want to eat it all.

Either scenario would be wasteful and run counter to our frugal lifestyle. That’s why I decided to portion-out the raw pork loin and freeze it in single-use packages. I simply sliced to pork into ten approximately one-inch slices – like boneless pork chops – thinking that would be the most versatile way to deal with it in the future.

I used two pork slices immediately on the following dish:

Pecan-Crusted Pork Patties


2 one-inch slices of pork loin

Flour for dredging, seasoned with salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, dehydrated bacon bits, granulated onion, dry mustard and paprika

1 egg + 1 T water, beaten

1 c finely chopped pecans

Vegetable oil for frying


Pound out the pork slices very thin, less than ¼” thick.

Heat oil in frying pan to medium-high.

Dredge pork in seasoned flour on both sides. Dip into egg; once coated, press into minced pecans, coating both sides. Place into heated oil and brown on both sides until pork is cooked through, about 10 minutes total.

Pork patties could be served with applesauce on the side. Sweet potatoes or squash makes a tasty accompaniment.


Now to consider those other packages of pork… I generally cook in a free-form manner rather than following a recipe, per se,  so I can take advantage of what I have on hand rather than feeling the need to buy particular ingredients every time I cook a meal. That’s why the following are meal “ideas” rather than actual recipes. I hope they inspire and liberate you as they do me in the kitchen.

Oriental Pork

Cube the pork and marinate it in soy sauce, garlic, orange juice and vegetable oil. Stir-fry with your choice of vegetables (broccoli, pea pods, celery, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, Chinese cabbage…). Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Serve with steamed rice or noodles.

Barbecue Pork

Slice pork thinly and saute in vegetable oil with minced onion, salt and pepper. Add barbecue sauce or create your own with ketchup or tomato sauce, brown sugar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke. Simmer to allow seasonings to permeate pork, then serve on buns with coleslaw and/or corn on the cob.

Mexican Pork

Pound the pork to ¼ in thickness. Dredge in flour seasoned with salt, chili powder, cumin, granulated onion. Saute in olive oil until browned on both sides and cooked through. Serve with refried beans and tortillas; garnish with salsa, sour cream and shredded cheese.

Greek Pork

Season pork “chops” with salt and pepper. Brown on both sides in olive oil. Combine lemon juice, honey, garlic and oregano and pour over pork in pan. Reduce heat to low and simmer about five minutes. Add vegetables (zucchini, spinach, tomatoes…) around pork and allow to cook until crisp-tender and pork is cooked through, about 10 more minutes. Pour sauce remaining in pan over pork. Serve with oven-roasted potatoes.

Don’t be intimidated by a large amount of meat. The prices are often lower on larger cuts than on smaller packages of the identical product. With a little prep work, you can cut a large portion down to manageable sizes and with a little creativity, you can create several distinct meals from one thrifty purchase.

How do you utilize a large quantity of meat?

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