SOURCE: National Pork Board

September 19, 2011 13:12 ET

Slow Cook Your Way to the Table

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - Sep 19, 2011) - (Family Features) With busy schedules, demanding jobs and outside distractions, it's no wonder that 57 percent of families do not eat meals together every day, according to the "Journal of American Medicine."

However, research shows that eating together as a family has many benefits including better academic performance, greater communication and improved nutrition.

Enjoy more family meals together by reducing the time spent on preparing a meal. With the help of America's favorite protein, pork, and a classic kitchen ally, the slow cooker, gathering the family around the table is a cinch. Featuring many versatile cuts that can be easily prepared and cooked low and slow, pork is a juicy, tender and flavorful centerpiece for gatherings of any size, whether it's a weeknight dinner or a large family reunion.

Try these tips for your next easy and delicious family dinner:

  • Make it Lean: According to the newly introduced MyPlate from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, lean protein is a core element of an overall healthy plate. Fresh pork is a delicious way to meet the new dietary recommendations and can readily be paired with fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Pork cuts from the loin such as a loin roast or chops are a delicious, leaner alternative for your next "low and slow" meal.

  • Keep it Together: Help roasts keep their shape during slow cooking by tying them with cotton kitchen twine (also called butcher's twine). If you don't have it on hand, use unwaxed and unflavored dental floss.

  • Spice it Up: Pork pairs well with so many flavors -- experiment with different spice combinations to find your favorite. To add a mild garlic taste to your next slow-cooked roast, before cooking, cut garlic cloves into 12 slivers, pierce 12 holes all over the pork with the tip of a knife and insert a garlic sliver into each hole.

For more inspiration and delicious recipes, visit

Slow-Cooked Pork Tortas
Yield: 8 servings

1 2 ½-pound boneless pork sirloin roast
1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup water
8 crusty rolls, split lengthwise
2 7-ounce packages (about 1 ½ cups) prepared guacamole
3 tomatoes, cored and cut into 16 slices

Rub pork roast all over with chili powder and salt. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes.

Transfer to a 3 ½- to 5-quart slow cooker. Add water and cover. Cook on LOW until the pork is fork-tender, 5 ½ to 6 hours.

Transfer pork to a cutting board and let stand 10 minutes. Discard liquid in crockery insert. Slice pork crosswise into 16 thin slices, discarding string.

For each serving, place 2 pork slices in a roll. Top with about 3 tablespoons guacamole and 2 tomato slices. Cut in half crosswise and serve warm.

Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 400; Fat: 12g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Cholesterol: 90mg; Sodium: 640mg; Carbohydrates: 36g; Protein: 38g; Fiber: 3g

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