WOODWARD – Pork can be a busy cook’s best friend. Just ask Missy Bice, whose favorite pork recipes amplify the flavor, save time in the kitchen and encourage her family to reconnect at the dinner table.
“I like fast, simple recipes,” said Bice, who farms with husband Rod near Woodward, where they run Golden Circle Pork. “If a recipe has more than about eight ingredients, I skip it.”
Time is precious to Bice, whose four children Jacoby, 23; Savannah, 21; Dalaney, 15; and Brylee, 8, are busy with school, jobs, 4-H, sports and farm chores.
No matter how hectic things get, Bice enjoys cooking and likes to make hearty meals for her family. It’s hard not to get excited about pork recipes, she said, because they offer two things every busy cook loves – a small ingredient list and big flavors.
“We go through a lot of pork, from loins to sausage. I cook with pork two to three times a week, because it’s lean, flavorful, healthy and versatile.”
The most important thing is not to overcook pork, said Bice, who helps promote Iowa’s pork industry as a member of the Iowa Pork Producers Association.
She cited the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s current cooking guidelines, which specify that it’s safe to cook pork chops, roasts and tenderloins to an internal temperature of 145 degrees, followed by a 3-minute rest time.
A family tradition
Bice said promoting pork and caring for the land have long been priorities for her family.
“Golden Circle Pork is a name that helps remind us of the importance of keeping our farming operation sustainable,” said Bice, whose farm has been family-owned for more than 100 years.
The Bices, who were honored as 2011 Pork Industry Environmental Stewards, have planted shrubs and evergreens to help control odor near their swine barns, where they raise 6,600 pigs annually.
Careful nutrient management from the swine operation enhances the Bices’ 1,100 acres of corn and soybeans.
Protecting natural resources, producing safe, nutritious food and connecting with the community are important, Bice said.
The family grills pork loin slices for the Lion’s Club dinner each July during Woodward’s Friends and Neighbors Day.
“Producing pork isn’t just a job,” Bice said, “it’s a way of life that’s been handed down to us.
“It’s something we want to hand down to our children.”
Bacon-wrapped pork loin
(Proper cooking temperature is the key to success with pork, said Bice, who was inspired to create this bacon-wrapped masterpiece after seeing a similar creation at a local grocery store.)
1 pork tenderloin (2 to 3 pounds)
6 to 8 slices of bacon
Cookies Flavor Enhancer
Wrap tenderloin in bacon and rub with flavor enhancer. Wrap in aluminum foil.
Put on grill on medium heat for 20 to 25 minutes. Unwrap loin, and put on grill to finish crisping the bacon.
When loin reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees, remove from the grill. Let meat rest for 5 minutes.
(If you don’t want to grill, the bacon-wrapped pork loin can also be prepared in the oven.)
(Bice said her mother often made these tasty ham balls when Missy was growing up. Now they’ve become a favorite with Bice’s children. )
3 pounds ham loaf
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
2 eggs (slightly beaten)
3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 can tomato soup
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Combine meat, milk, eggs and graham cracker crumbs in large bowl. (The mixture will be sticky).
Form into balls, and place into 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
Combine all sauce ingredients, and cook over low heat until sugar dissolves. Pour sauce over ham balls. Bake ham balls at 325 degrees for 1 hour.
Caramelized pork slices
(Jacoby Bice is a huge fan of this recipe, which his girlfriend gave to his mother. While Missy Bice likes to use the America’s Cut for the pork, thinner slices of pork can also work well, she said.)
1 pound pork tenderloin
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 tablespoon maple syrup or pancake syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Cut pork in half-inch slices. Spray non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Heat over medium-high flame.
Cook pork and garlic in skillet for 6 to 8 minutes, turning meat occasionally until pork is slightly pink in center. Drain, if necessary.
Stir in remaining ingredients. Cook about 2 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until mixture thickens and coats pork.
(Since all the ingredients in this dip are in a one-to-one ratio, Bice said, it’s easy to multiply the recipe, as needed. “My kids just devour this,” she said, adding she has used this recipe for years.)
1 pound Italian sausage
1 can diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 8-ounce brick of cream cheese
Brown sausage and drain. Add drained tomatoes and green chilies and cream cheese. Stir until melted.
Put in slow cooker. Serve with scoop-style chips.
Note: Making six times this recipe will fill a large slow cooker.
(Bice credits her mother with this recipe, which is always a hit, she said, when she takes it to family get-togethers.)
10 baking-sized potatoes, peeled and boiled
1 carton chive chip dip
1 8-ounce brick of cream cheese
1 tablespoon garlic salt, to taste
Mash potatoes. Add chip dip, cream cheese and garlic salt. Mix well.
Put in casserole dish. Sprinkle with paprika, and dot with butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Note: This recipe can also be made in a slow cooker.
Jiffy corn casserole
(Bice said late sister-in-law used to cook this hearty casserole. “That’s why this recipe is near and dear to my heart,” she said.)
1 can corn (drained)
1 can cream-style corn
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter (melted)
1 package Jiffy corn bread mix
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Mix all ingredients together. Pour into an 8-by-8-inch or 9-by-9-inch baking dish.
Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes, or until casserole is golden and springs back when touched.
This recipe can be doubled (and baked in a 9-by-13-inch pan) for larger crowds.
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