Pork Carnitas with Cilantro Jalapeño Sauce

Guess what day it is????????? Taco Tuesday!!  I wanted to share with you one of my favorite taco recipes, pork carnitas.  Please note that this is my take on pork carnitas and probably far from authentic but I love them.  I am a huge taco fan and I’ll tell you right now you’ll see a lot of taco dishes from me. I started making these tacos a few years back and I just love them.  In my book tacos are like their own food group just like bacon! LOL Maybe I’ll try the Taco Diet.  Is there such thing?  Haha! But really, I love making tacos.

So this is my pork carnitas recipe.  There is 2 ways you can make these pork carnitas. You can make them in the oven or in a pressure cooker.  I’ve done it both ways.  Check out the recipe below.

Pork Carnitas

Ingredients:

The pork:
3lbs -boneless pork shoulder, cut in bite size pieces
1T Oil
1/2 C Chicken Stock, no salt
2 Jalapeño , diced
1 large onion, cut in chunks or diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cilantro bunches, chopped
2 oranges, juiced and cut into chunks
2 limes, juiced
1 T onion powder
1 T garlic powder
1/2 T cumin
1 T chili powder
1 t salt
1 t pepper

Directions: In a large bowl mix all above ingredients together well. Cover and put in the refrigerator for 2 -3 hours.

To bake: Preheat oven 300°.  On a large cookie sheet lay out the pork mixture. Bake for 1.5- 2 hour turning every 30 minutes. Depending on the oven it may take longer to cook. Once completed turn on broiler and cook for 5-7 minutes. Turning once.  This will give a slight crispy texture to the pork. KEEP AN EYE ON IT or it will burn!  Feel free to omit that step.  I don’t use the broiler in my house often because it makes my dogs very upset. 🙂

To use a Pressure Cooker:  This step is a lot easier in my opinion and I feel like the meat comes out better.  Add the mixture to a pressure cooker and let it come up to pressure and cook 55-65 minutes on medium heat.  Make sure there is plenty of liquid in the pot as you don’t want it to burn off. (And it will happen)  Add extra orange juice and chicken stock.   Once done, remove from the heat and let come down to pressure.  (I prefer the pot that goes on the stove and doesn’t have a quick release. Maybe I’m old school! lol) Once you open the lid you should have perfectly tender meat smelling so amazing.

Once meat is cooked, give it one last mix and remove any big chunks of the orange pieces and then it’s ready for the tacos.

8-12 Tortillas (flour or corn) (Amount will vary)

Toppings:
Chopped Onion
Chopped Cilantro
Queso Fresco
Chopped Avocado
Cilantro Jalapeño Sauce (See Recipe Below)

Cilantro Jalapeño Sauce:

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 cup sour cream
1 cup lite mayonnaise (or regular)
1/2 cup pickled Jalapeños or 2 fresh
2 T lime juice
1/2 -3/4 powder Ranch packet
2 T milk or buttermilk
1/2 t salt

Directions: Add all items above to a food processor or a blender and mix till smooth.  You can add more of an ingredient to taste.  If you want it spicier add more jalapeños or less spicy use less jalapeños.

Notes: You can omit the milk if you’d like.  When I put on tacos I always try and thin the sauce out slightly.  I’ve had family make this with Greek yogurt and sour cream which still had a great taste.  I’ve made this less fat with light sour cream and mayonnaise it comes out just as well and is a little more guilt free.  It’s great on tacos and can be used as a dip if you omit the milk.  It will thicken up as it sits in the refrigerator.  If that happens you can add in some extra milk or lime juice.  It’s great on anything actually.  I’ve used it for a taco salad and used as the dressing.

To assemble tacos add meat to your warmed tortillas, add your preferred toppings and sauce. Then enjoy!!

Note: This will make plenty of meat. It’s great for left overs!

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Lemon Lime Cake

Over the weekend I wanted to make a dessert.  I’m not a baker at all.  I’m trying to get more into baking slowly.   My Mom has made so many yummy desserts, cookies and candies over the years and I’m trying to take after her a little bit.  I felt like something sweet this weekend and I decided to make this super easy cake.  I mean it’s very simple.  I figured I’d start with baby steps.  My Mom got this recipe from my Aunt and has been making it for 30+ years.  It’s very light and refreshing and great for the summer.  It’s  not usually something I’d make in September but with this heat wave it was perfect.  This is very similar to a poke cake.  If you like lemon and lime and a simple cake recipe you’ll love this.  It’s very delicious.  Check out the recipe below.

Lemon Lime Cake

Ingredients:
1 package lemon supreme cake
2 packages lime jello
2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups cold milk
1 package of instant lemon pudding
5 oz cool whip (little more then half of cool whip container)

Directions: Bake cake according to directions on the box.  In a bowl mix 2 packages of lime jello, 2 cups boiling water, 1/2 cup cold water, mix together.  Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.  Remove cake from the oven and let cool at least 20 minutes.  Poke holes all over the cake.  Don’t forget the edges.  Pour the lime jello over the top of the cake evenly so the jello mixture gets into the holes.  To make the topping add 1 1/2 cups cold milk, 1 package of instant lemon pudding and cool whip. Mix well till incorporated.  Spread topping over the top of cake and refrigerate for 4 hours before first serving.  Its best the longer it sets.  Note: If you it eat it too soon the cake will be rather wet let it sit longer.

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Complete Skirt Steak Dinner!

Tonight I had my favorite meal of meat and potatoes. I have 4 separate recipes in this post.  The marinade for skirt steak, the Chimichurri sauce, a potato recipe and a mushroom dish. It is a complete steak dinner.

I had been wanting to make skirt steak and I decided since it still feels like Summer here in Chicago I’d do it today.  I made the marinade yesterday and had the meat marinating all night.  It’s a good habit to marinade certain meats.  Marinades add flavor to the meat, moisture and also some marinades help tenderize meats.  Unfortunately, skirt steak isn’t super tender which is why I marinaded it over night.

I went to the grocery store yesterday and had the butcher show me the skirt steak  and the piece he showed me was too thin.  I wanted to grill it and not have it turn into shoe leather.  He then showed me the premium skirt steak.  This piece of meat was HUGE!  I had him cut it in half and he offered to remove the excess fat and also tenderize it.  This was great!  I figured one less thing I had to do.  I paired the grilled skirt steak with a chimichurri sauce and a new potato dish and a deconstructed stuffed mushrooms.  Take -a look at my complete steak dinner recipe below.

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Skirt Steak Dinner with Chimichurri

Marinade:

Ingredients:

1 cup oil
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 T Worcestershire
2 T red wine vinegar
2 limes, juiced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 T onion powder
1/2 T garlic powder
2 t chili powder
2 t paprika
2 t salt
2 t pepper

2 lbs skirt steak, trimmed

Directions: Whisk all ingredients in a large bowl.  Add in the meat and mix well. Put in the refrigerator for 4-24 hours.  Rotating the meat a few times. Once ready to cook, heat grill on high heat.  Let excess oil drip off and add to the grill. Cook 3-4 minutes on each side. Note: Cooking time will vary on the thickness of the beef. My skirt steak was pretty thin and I wanted to cook it on high heat and fast.  Once cooked, cover with foil and let rest 5 minutes.  When ready slice the skirt steak and top chimichurri suauce.  See recipe below.

Chimichurri Sauce

Ingredients:

1/2 C & 1T olive oil
2 bunches cilantro, stems removed
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, stems removed
3 garlic cloves
1 small red onion
2 limes. juiced
1 1/2 T red wine vinegar
1 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t Salt
1/2 t Pepper
Sprinkle: Red Pepper Flakes

Directions: Add all ingredients to a food processor.  Pulse several times until all is minced up.  Add more oil as needed. Once completed you can add to a mason jar or container and put in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Notes: If you have a lime that seems a little to firm it may not produce a lot of juice.  You can place in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds which will help get as much juice as possible. Also, watch the amount of garlic. It can become overpowering in the sauce.  If this happens you can add a small, I mean small amount of sugar. Like no more than a half of teaspoon.  This will help mellow out the flavor of the garlic.

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Sliced Potato Crisps:

Ingredients:
1 large baking potato, sliced 3mm thin
4 T butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t parsley
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 425°.  Rinse large potato and slice with a mandolin using 3mm setting.  Line a cookie sheet with foil, spray with cooking spray.  Line the cookie sheet with the sliced potatoes.  In a bowl melt the butter and add the garlic, parsley, onion and garlic powder.  Brush half the butter on the potatoes and place in oven for 15 minutes.  Remove the potatoes and brush with remaining butter mixture and put back in the oven for 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

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Deconstructed Stuffed Mushroom

Ingredients:
16 oz sliced mushrooms
2T butter
1T olive oil
2T cream cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, Italian seasoned
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper

Directions: Heat a medium sauce pan on high heat.  Add olive oil to pan and then the garlic and mushrooms. Cook until they start to soften about 4-5 minutes.  Add in the butter, spices, and the breadcrumbs and mix well. Finally add in the cream cheese till melted and then remove from heat and serve immediately.

Note: This is my exact recipe I use to make stuffed mushrooms only it’s not stuffing them it’s mixing it all together.  It taste just like the stuffed mushroom.  It may not be as pretty of fancy but it’s amazing.

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Waffle French Toast

Happy Sunday! I woke up feeling a little better this morning so wanted to make a delicious breakfast.  I am not a huge fan of a sweet breakfast.  Like pancakes or french toast or waffles.  I prefer a bagel or eggs and bacon.  However, this morning I decided to make my waffle french toast.  It’s just like it sounds french toast that looks like a waffle.

I’ve made the egg waffles and also the french toast waffles before but today’s came out even better.  The first time I made it I used a healthy bread that was super thin and today I made it with a much better bread.  It was thick and soaked up the egg mixture without falling apart.  Take a look at the recipe below.  I used a round waffle iron as that’s all I had, but the larger square waffle iron would probably work the best.  Then you can make 2 pieces at a time.

Waffle French Toast

Ingredients:
4 eggs
1/3 cup milk
3 t vanilla extract
8 slices bread, thick
Syrup
fruit, optional

Directions: Preheat oven to 300°.  Whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla.  Heat up waffle iron until ready.  Add bread to the egg mixture and add into waffle iron and close. Cook 3-4 minutes, it may be sooner just check it and see if it’s done enough.  Remember this isn’t like a normal waffle that is completely raw.  The french toast just has the egg that is raw so won’t take as long. Once piece is done, remove and put into a pan and into the oven to keep warm.  Complete for the following slices.  Cook in waffle iron  and continue to add to the pan in the oven.  Once finished top with whatever your favorite syrup is and top with fruit if you’d like then enjoy!

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BLT with Bacon Squares

BACON!!!!!!! Happy Saturday!  Today I went shopping early and got that out of the way and came home and took it easy.  I’m feeling a little under the weather today and didn’t want to over do it.  Tomorrow I need to do some cooking and meal prep so I decided to take it easy today for dinner.  I made BLTs! Who doesn’t love BLTs?  Honestly for me bacon is one of my favor things to eat.  It should have it’s own food group if you ask me.

I decided to try something new.  I made woven bacon squares.  It was something I’ve wanted to try for a while and decided to give it a shot.  I must say that it was much easier than I expected it to be.  The outcome was AMAZING.  I will never make regular bacon strips for BLTs again.  I should have taken photos as I made the woven squares but I will definitely do that next time.

Everything else about my BLT was pretty basic. In addition to the amazing woven bacon squares I used campari tomato, crisp iceberg lettuce, light mayo and white bread, not toasted. It was delicious.  I think it slightly made me feel better.  Bacon makes everything better!!

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Favorite Breakfast Dishes: Savory Edition 2

Happy Friday Everyone!  Favorite Breakfast Dishes part 2 is here!  Perfect time for the weekend.  I’m so excited the weekend is here.  I feel like the week dragged more than normal. It’s been hot here in Chicago, like super hot.  Mid 90’s.  Which is about 40 degrees to hot for me! Just kidding.  I do prefer the cooler temperatures though. I’m looking forward to fall weather and even colder actually.  I want some cooler weather so I can make some soups and chili and just comfort food.  I definitely can’t do that with this hot weather.  Enough complaining about the weather, lets move on to some breakfast talk…..

It’s my 2nd edition of the savory breakfast dishes.  With the weekend upon us I wanted to get this out to everyone today so maybe you can try a new recipe this weekend.  I hope you enjoy these dishes as much as I do.

1: Avocado and Tomato Toast

Ingredients:
1 English muffin, toasted
2 large tomato slices
1 medium avocado, ripe
Sprinkle: Salt

Directions: To assemble smash half avocado over each side of English muffin, top with sliced tomato and sprinkle with salt. Simple yet filling and so good. No butter or anything needed. If you haven’t had avocado toast and love avocado as much as I do, I’d give it a try.

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2: Eggs over Tators
Serving: Half  of eggs (2.5 eggs cooked) with Half serving of potatoes (about 3/4 cups uncooked)

Ingredients:
5 eggs
1T water or milk
1 1/2 cups diced potatoes or hash browns cooked (See recipe below)
2 links, sweet turkey sausage, removed from casing and cooked
2 cups spinach, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
3T crumbled feta cheese (any cheese will work)
Sprinkle: Salt and Pepper
Cooking spray, or 1/2 T of butter

Direction: Whisk eggs in a bowl with 1T of milk or water.  Heat sauté pan over medium heat. Once heated add in the butter or spray the pan.  Add the eggs and cook for 1 minutes scrambling.  Add in the shallots and spinach and mix well while it continues to cook.  After about 2-3 minutes add in the cooked sausage and mix well and cook another minute.  Add in the feta and incorporate well till feta starts to melt.  Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper and top over the cooked diced potatoes or hash browns.

Diced Potatoes:
2 cups diced potatoes (you can use fresh or buy the precut ones in the store with hash browns)
1T butter or oil
2t garlic powder
1t onion powder
Sprinkle: Salt and Pepper

Direction:  Heat a medium sauté pan over high heat. Add in the butter or oil let heat for 30 seconds and then add in the potatoes (whichever you prefer) Cook until they are crunch and cooked through about 12-15 minutes.  Times will vary based on your preference of cook. I personally cook them slightly longer as I like them a little crispy. Note: The hash brown potatoes will cook quicker than the cubed potatoes.  This is great to partially make ahead.  I make extra turkey and potatoes and then the day I’m going to eat it I’ll do the eggs with the vegetables.  You can use any variations of veggies you’d like.

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3: Bun-less Egg Sandwich

Ingredients:
2 eggs
2 slices bacon, cooked
1/2 avocado
1 slice low fat cheese (optional)
Sprinkle: Salt and Pepper
Cooking Spray
2 Cooking rings or round cookie cutters

Directions:  Heat small sauté pan over medium heat.  Whisk the eggs in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Add your cooking rings to the pan and spray with the cooking spray and pour the eggs evenly in both rings.  Or if you are using a cookie cutter let the eggs cook about 2-3 minutes in the pan and then use the cookie cutter to cut out the circles. Make sure to use a smaller pan so the egg “bun” is thicker and not super thin.  Cook the eggs and flip half way through.  I liked mine a little crispy so I cooked it longer.  Whatever you prefer.  To assemble place avocado, bacon and cheese on top one egg and top with the other egg to form a sandwich.  You can also make these in the oven with a larger muffin tin.  Bake in oven at 350° for 8-10 minutes.  Cooking times will vary.

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4: Breakfast Pizza

Ingredients:
1 bag shredded hash browns
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
8 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
Sprinkle: Salt and Pepper
Cooking spray

Directions: Preheat over to 400°.  In a bowl mix together 2 eggs, 1/2 cup of cheese, hash browns and salt and pepper.  Spray a cookie cheese with cooking spray. Spread the hash brown mixture on the cookie sheet and form a crust. Make sure it’s not too thick or it will take longer to bake.  Bake the crust 20-25 minutes.  After that remove from oven and top with 1 cup cheese, and sprinkle cooked bacon.  In a separate bowl crack 4 eggs I remove some of the whites to make it less runny. Top the eggs over the crust and bake in oven for another 5-7 minutes until the whites are cooked and yolks are slightly cooked.  Remove from oven and cut and serve.

Note: You can make sunny side up eggs in a skillet and then top over each piece of the crust.  Baking the eggs right over the crust in the oven sometimes makes a mess.  The eggs slide all over the place.  I’ve done this method both way. For a hassle free pizza just cook on the skillet.  Do everything the same on the pizza minus topping with the eggs. When you take the pizza from the oven for the last time it should be the crust, topped with cheese and bacon. Then just plate with a piece of the crust and an egg sunny side up on the top.  You can also make individual portions as well. Mini pizza crusts topped with an egg. It definitely will WOW any breakfast guests.