Pork Carnitas

carnitas

Quick Post: My son loves taco night, and these definitely hit the spot.  I made the meat on a Friday and didn’t end up using it until a Monday. The advantage to letting it sit, is that the fat will rise to the top so you can remove it. The meat also tasted even better, and I was able to pull off even more fat off of the pieces of meat. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Pork Carnitas – adapted from My Kitchen Escapades

  • 4 pound boneless pork butt, fat trimmed and cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • 2 Tb fresh lime juice
  • 2 C water
  • 1 medium orange, juiced and keep the spent halves

Directions –

1.  Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat to 300 degrees.  Combine all the ingredients in a large Dutch oven, including the spent orange halves and juice.  Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, uncovered.  Once it simmers, cover pot and transfer it to the oven.  Cook until the meat falls apart when prodded with a fork, about 2 hours.
2.  Remove the pot from the oven and turn on the broiler.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat from the pan and place it on a large foil-lined jelly roll pan.  Remove and discard everything from the pot except for the cooking liquid.  Place pot over high heat on the stove and boil until thick and syrupy, about 20 minutes.  You should have about 1 C of liquid remaining when it is finished.
3.  While the liquid is reducing, use two forks to pull each cube of pork into three equal sized pieces.  Once the liquid has become a syrup, gently fold in the pieces of pork into the pot.  Try not to break up the pork any further.  Taste and add additional salt and pepper.
4.  Spread the pork back onto the foil lined pan and evenly spread the meat around so there is a single layer of meat.  Place the jelly roll pan on the lower middle rack of the oven and broil until the top of the meat is well browned and edges are slightly crisp, about 5 to 8 minutes.  Using a wide metal spatula, flip the pieces of meat and broil the other side until well browned and edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes.  Serve immediately in a tortilla with all your favorite toppings.

Tried and True Family Favorites

I have nothing new to share…sorry! But these are some of the meals we enjoyed during these past couple of weeks. All the pictures have links to previous posts, thanks for stopping by!

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It was my son’s 10th birthday over a week ago and he requested this cake. It really is perfect 🙂

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Fish tacos with homemade tortillas and pico de gallo. This is my second time making them and the DH can’t get enough.

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The kids love these pretzel dogs almost as much as I do! 😉

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Buffalo chicken sandwiches! I have been making these for years and they’re a big hit every time!

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Sky high buttermilk biscuits and sausage gravy are my husband’s favorite for breakfast.

Ground Beef Tacos II

When in doubt, ask your nine-year old what you should make for dinner…the boy loves tacos! Any Tex-Mex style foods, really. We haven’t had tacos in a while, so I agreed; searched through Pink Parsley and chose this recipe. M is anti-corn tortilla for some reason, so I haven’t decided if I want to fry up the flour tortillas I’ll be using for these.

Verdict: Yum! The leftovers didn’t last more than one day either! I served this with my fave rice, fresh pico de gallo, pepper jack cheese and lettuce. Everyone enjoyed these and my picky daughter even ate more than a few bites. This is the second ground beef taco recipe that I have posted here, and I’m happy to report that this one is going to be my go-to recipe. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Ground Beef Tacos – adapted from Pink Parsley via Cook’s Illustrated

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped (about 2/3 cup)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbs chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (*I used Mexican oregano)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 pound 90% lean (or leaner) ground beef
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Directions:

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet until shimmering.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes.  Add the garlic, spices, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon and scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent scorching, about 5 minutes longer, until meat is no longer pink.

Add tomato sauce, broth, brown sugar, and vinegar; bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, until liquid has reduced and thickened, about 10 minutes.  Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper and serve with your favorite taco fixin’s.

 

 

Flank Steak Tacos with Avocado Dressing

I haven’t eaten red meat in almost two months! I haven’t been craving it at all, but this recipe sounds good to me. Besides that, we haven’t had a taco night in months, so I know my son will be happy. I’ll serve this with baked brown rice and black beans doctored up with some onion, cilantro and jalapeno.

Verdict: Yum! This was really good. Next time, I’ll make sure to start marinating the steak sooner than I did today (only about 3 hours). The avocado dressing was really good, and will get even better as it sits. Today I tried some of it on this red lentil soup and it complimented the flavors so well. I plan on using the leftovers for sandwiches, salads or as a dip for veggies. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Flank Steak Tacos – adapted from Love at First Bite
For the Marinade:

  • 1 pound flank steak (or skirt steak)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 jalapeno (seeds and all), chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, or olive oil

For Avocado Dressing:

  • 2 avocados, seeds and skin removed
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeds removed
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Serve with:
Corn tortillas, feta cheese, shredded cabbage, cilantro, and lime wedges

In a ziplock bag or glass container, add all ingredients for the marinade, plus the steak. Marinate the meat at least 30 minutes, and up to 6 hours. In the meantime make the dressing.

In a food processor or blender, add all ingredients for the dressing and pulse until smooth and creamy. Put in a sealed container or jar, and place in fridge to let the flavors mix.

Heat a grill, or grill pan to high heat. Grill the steak for a couple of minutes on each side, until steak is seared on the outside and pink in the middle. It will take anywhere from 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of your steak. Take off the heat and let rest for 5-10 minutes before you slice it (make sure to slice against the grain).

Serve the meat in a corn tortilla (for gluten-free, or whole wheat if you prefer), and top with crumbled feta cheese, lettuce or cabbage, lime juice, cilantro, and avocado dressing.

Taco Night!

Taco night is everyone’s favorite night:o) I have used this recipe before and it’s always a hit. Whenever it’s taco night, I always make my “orange” rice. It’s something I grew up eating and all the ladies in my family make variations of my Gram’s. It’s so simple and so comforting to me, and I love that my kids both really enjoy eating it, too. I remembered I had some homemade salsa verde in the freezer that was waiting to be used, so that’s what that green sauce is on the taco. I will be sure to post the recipe for that the next time I make chile verde or my husband’s favorite – chicken enchiladas with roasted tomatillo salsa. I haven’t made that meal in so long – it’s a lot of work and it makes so much food, but the flavor is excellent.

Anyway, these turned out great – the two men of the house had seconds. I however refrained from indulging in more carbs (frown). I did eat a nice green salad with lots of extra veggies, though. I am on my annual “health kick”…well, I guess it can’t be called annual if this is my third time this year. The holidays and all the yummy-bad-for-you-food caught up with me, along with the lack of exercise. Basically I have been feeling uber-blah, so in the past when this blah-ness has reared its ugly head I cut out a lot of junk and add in lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains and cut out lots of empty carbs. I feel a difference within a day of these changes so it’s totally worth it and then I wonder why I don’t eat like this all the time. Oh, yeah! It’s because it takes thought, preparation and discipline! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Shredded Tex-Mex Crock-Pot Chicken – adapted from goodLife(eats)

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (*I used 2 pounds)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup (packed) cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 limes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions:

Heat the oil in a medium sized sauté pan. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the cumin, chili powder, coriander, paprika and garlic and sauté two more minutes. Deglaze the pan with the chicken broth making sure to scrape up any browned bits. Turn off and set aside.

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Add to crock pot. Squeeze the lime on top, add the cilantro, jalapeno, and pour the onion and garlic mixture over top.

Cook on low for 3-5 hours, or until cooked through (different crock-pots cook at varying heats) and tender. Remove chicken breasts from the crock pot, shred and place in a bowl. Scoop out the onions and add to the chicken. Depending on the amount of juices produced, you may want to add some or all of the juice back to the shredded chicken.

For fast and easy soft tacos, add this chicken to taco sized flour tortillas with shredded lettuce, avocado, tomato, cilantro, red onion, and cheese (I like cheddar, pepper jack, or feta best). Add a dollop of sour cream and salsa, too, if you like.