Today we're talking about some seriously amazingly delicious pork...pork carnitas. So tender, so versatile, so flavorful. Am I making you hungry yet? I sure hope so!
I don't know if I have mentioned this before or not, but last year we bought a hog. As in an entire hog in our deep freezer. At first I thought it was a challenge to use so much pork. Then as I got more used to cooking with pork and coming up with more ways to use it, I discovered I really like cooking with pork. There are so many things you can do with it... like make amazing pork carnitas.
In fact, I used our last cuts of pork shoulder to make these carnitas. We have almost finished our entire hog. Luckily our new hog will be here soon. â
Doesn't this look delicious? Tender with a little crispness on the edges. The sugar in the cola helps give the meat its flavor and caramelized crispy edges. I do not promote drinking cola (just ask my kids and husband, ha ha), but I make an exception here. If you don't want to add cola, you could use broth instead.
I made this for my son's birthday party last week and used two cuts of pork shoulder. I did not weigh them so I am not sure how many pounds of meat I cooked. It was a small party at which we fed about a dozen people. What you see pictured in the skillet is the leftover meat so this does make a lot and is perfect for parties. (Also, the leftovers are amazing.) It is really fun to serve with chips and salsa, guacamole, fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro etc. I found these little "street taco" sized tortillas at the grocery store and they are perfect for carnitas and especially for little hands at kids birthday parties.
(Food photography tip: Take pictures of leftovers the next day to make use of natural light. Also a great tip when you are a busy Mom hosting a 10 year old's birthday party. It's so much easier to focus on taking good photos when you are not busy and feeling rushed.)
4 or more pounds pork shoulder ( also known as Boston butt)
Small amount of oil
1/2 T. (approximately) fresh ground salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 T. oregano
1 sweet onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C. orange juice
1 C. or more real sugar cola
Fresh squeezed lime juice and more fresh ground salt and pepper for flavoring the finished pork.
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Cut the meat into chunks and season with salt, pepper, oregano, and cumin. Brown the meat in a small amount of oil (I use coconut oil) in a large dutch oven.
3. Then add onion, garlic, orange juice, and cola.
4. Cook covered in the oven for 3 to 3 1/2 hours or so, until the meat easily shreds with a fork.
5. Remove any bones and shred the meat adding extra cooking liquid back to the meat. If you like you can put the meat under the broiler to crisp the edges for 5 to 10 minutes. (Meat pictured was not crisped under the broiler.)
6. Salt and pepper to taste and squeeze fresh lime juice over the top.
I serve in an iron skillet because I think it looks attractive, but it is also handy for re-warming the meat on the stove if desired. When re-warming, add a small amount of cola or broth to the skillet for moisture.
I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.
One of the fun things about blogging is getting to try new products and since we are into more natural healthy things, I was excited to get a box of ARCTIC ZERO® Fit Frozen Desserts® on my doorstep. Yes, it was delivered to my house via the magic of dry ice and a cooler box.
I'm not one to shy from healthy fats, but I would like to reduce our sugar intake so I jumped at the chance to try Arctic Zero. The creator of Arctic Zero made it for his Mom who suffered from Type 1 Diabetes. It is low glycemic making it a great choice for anyone trying to reduce sugar intake. It is sweetened naturally with monk fruit. It is made with hormone-free whey protein and is lactose free, GMO free, and available in gluten-free options. Arctic Zero is also certified kosher.
I should mention that Arctic Zero Fit Frozen Desserts are frozen very hard and have to thaw for about 15 minutes or you can pop them in the microwave for about 30 seconds before serving. They have to thaw a few minutes to make them scoop-able.
We had a lot of fun trying all of the flavors and deciding on our favorites. My husband and I both love Cookie Shake. It is our favorite. It reminds me of those pre-packaged frozen solid chocolate milkshakes from grade-school (in the 80's) that were a special treat if I was lucky enough to have been given extra lunch money. It also reminds me of one of my greatest weaknesses...fudgesicles.
If you haven't figured this out already I really like chocolate or rather I LOVE all things chocolate so my second and third favorites are Cherry Chocolate Chunk and Rocky Road Trip. In full disclosure, the only one I really didn't like was Cake Batter. It was very plain and didn't have enough flavor for me.
If you are like me and have a huge sweet tooth but want to consume less sugar, give Arctic Zero Fit Frozen Desserts a try. Arctic Zero Creamy pints are fat free and only 35 calories per half cup serving and 150 calories for the entire pint. Arctic Zero Chunky pints are low in fat (1-2.5 grams) and only 75 calories per half-cup serving and 300 calories for the entire pint, allowing you to indulge without guilt. They also contain 3-4 grams of protein and 2-3 grams of fiber per serving and would be perfect for smoothies and shakes.
Arctic Zero Pints are available to purchase at select Target stores, Albertsons, Kroger, Publix, Sprouts Farmers Market, Safeway, Walmart and Whole Foods Market as well as online at amazon.com and arcticzero.com.
Which flavor do you most want to try?
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My husband is one of those who has to have meat at every meal. In fact he eats leftovers for breakfast. He doesn't really like many breakfast foods, but loves dinner food so leftovers for breakfast is his usual fare.
Since we have been so busy and my husband really likes/craves/must have meat to live, I made a crock pot of slow cooked chicken breast last week which we enjoyed in many things all week. We had these taco salads, chicken salad sandwiches, panini's, and burrito bowls which were all fantastic and fairly simple.
I know a plate of shredded chicken isn't much to look at, but this is just to give you an idea of how much chicken I made. I slow cooked 5 chicken breasts all day with fresh ground salt, pepper, and garlic powder sprinkled over it (no measuring, just eyeball it). No need to add water, the chicken bastes itself in the slow cooker. Once the chicken is done, simply shred it and pour any juices left in the slow cooker over it for added flavor and moisture.
Our boys ate dinner at Vacation Bible School every night last week so we were able to get 4+ meals out of 5 chicken breasts. If the boys had been home for dinner, we would probably have only gotten 2 to 3 meals from this much chicken.
In case you are wondering how busy we have been, we have been incredibly busy around here. First, we have four children, including a nine month old who crawls everywhere and has decided he has outgrown naps. He is tired and falls asleep on little car trips around town or when he is nursing, but as soon as I try to lay him down in his crib, the crying starts. It is more like crying/screaming and he sits up the whole time. I have tried to leave him a while to see if he will give up and lay down for a nap, but he is persistent. He literally sits up and cries forever until I pick him up. Luckily he sleeps really well at night, but naps are hit or miss right now. I know this isn't a parenting post, but I will solicit your advice on this one.
In addition to being busy parents, we have done some traveling this summer and have more travels in our future. Packing for 4 kids (including a baby) is no small task. I am a list maker and my to to-do list is looking a little crazy right now. We are road tripping it and I am trying to be prepared for all of the things we will need to travel with kids. We'll see how it goes, maybe I will post our packing/traveling adventure with tips on what worked and didn't work. Any travel/packing tips are also much appreciated.
Making a taco salad is like painting on an empty canvas. You can make it however you like. I started with sweet potato and blue corn tortilla chips then added black beans, shredded chicken, fresh corn, lettuce, and diced tomatoes. We drizzled salsa verde on top before serving. You could also add guacamole, sour cream, fresh squeezed lime juice, shredded or crumbled cheese and of course salsa. So many delicious possibilities.
(To make shredded chicken)
Chicken breasts (desired amount)
Fresh ground salt and pepper
If you want to throw in anything extra, go for it...maybe cumin or cajun seasoning...the possibilities are endless.
Slow cook chicken breasts all day (until done) on low with fresh ground salt, pepper, and garlic powder sprinkled over it (no measuring, just eyeball it). No need to add water, the chicken bastes itself in the slow cooker. Once the chicken is done, simply shred it and pour any juices left in the slow cooker over it for added flavor and moisture. If you make extra, you can refrigerate leftovers and use for several days in all kinds of delicious meals.
(For Taco Salad)
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 to 2 ears of fresh sweet corn, cut from the cob (can microwave a couple of minutes if you want it warm)
Shredded lettuce (I use Romaine)
Diced fresh tomatoes
Shredded chicken (recipe above)
For added flavor you may like:
Salsa or salsa verde
Fresh squeezed lime
Shredded or crumbled cheese
Simply arrange ingredients on plates to make taco salads.
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I know it's July and around 90 degrees everyday, but I had to turn on the oven for these delectable, chocolaty, amazingly delicious cookies with perfectly tender crisped edges and just right centers. I know, so modest, but cookies (and often their bakers, LOL) are not humble.
I like my cookies a little crispy on the edges, but tender in the center and these are spot on. I think about 10 minutes in the oven produced what I think of as the perfect cookie.
I love the combination of dark, milk, and white chocolate chips. I found bags of Nestle triple chocolate chips on clearance at Walmart and knew exactly what I was going to do with them. TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CHIP MACADAMIA NUT COOKIES!!!!!! Need I say more? My son actually made a batch of these without nuts for a 4-H food-a-rama. They were a hit and he is 9, so yes even if you don't have much baking experience, you can make these and they are so much better than store bought.
Look at that perfect crumb. I actually started craving these cookies when editing the photos late one night and raided my frozen stash. Did you know you can freeze baked cookies and they will taste as good as the day they were made? This way they are always fresh. Actually it's a bit of cookie control in our house or the boys would eat them all in one day. I froze several in containers in the freezer so that we can have fresh cookies again and again without having to go to any trouble or heat up the house. Although it doesn't help the waistline when late night photo editing cookie cravings strike.
2 ¼ C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c butter (2 sticks softened)
¾ C. sugar
¾ C. brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 C. triple chocolate chips (mix of dark, milk, and white chocolate chips)
1/2 C. chopped macadamia nuts
1. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.
2. Combine in your mixer bowl:
3. Beat at low speed until creamy.
4. Slowly add flour mixture and continue to beat until combined.
5. Stir in chocolate chips and macadamia nuts.
6. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper
7. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
8. Drop dough by rounded spoonfuls (or use cookie scoop) onto cookie sheet.
9. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes. Remove cookie sheet from oven and let cookies rest on cookie sheet for 1 to 2 minutes. Then remove cookies to a cooling rack.
Recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies. Adapted from my favorite White and Milk Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies.
Some of my favorite things for baking cookies:
Since my main focus here at Home Ec @ Home is on homemaking and my favorite part of making a house a home is cooking, I have to share this amazing deal on Joy of Cooking. This is the cookbook of all cookbooks that every home cook should have. This is also the best deal I have ever seen on Joy of Cooking. So if you don't already have this masterpiece in your culinary library, check it out.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I will receive a commission if you purchase through my links.
I follow another foodie blog, Our Best Bites, who occasionally posts flashback friday posts when they update photos on old posts. Since I have some old posts in need of updating, I thought it would be fun to do the same thing.
You may have seen my recent post, Turkey Avocado Wraps, well here is another yummy dish made from leftover turkey. Enjoy this delicious Turkey Noodle Soup!
Linking up at Friendship Friday
This might be hard to believe since it is now getting into the low 90's in these parts, but I roasted a turkey the other day. We have had one in our freezer for a while taking up lots of valuable real estate so I decided it was time. I gave it a nice dry brine rub-down and let it marinate overnight (recipe on the way) and roasted it the next day. It was amazing! I made it the same way last Thanksgiving and will never go back to a liquid brine again. It tastes so much better when dry brined. We're talking juicy moist and perfectly seasoned plus it is much easier to handle (than a heavy liquid brine).
Of course the bonus of roasting a turkey in warm weather is all of the delicious leftover cold turkey. Sandwiches, salads, wraps...YUM! And of course the carcass can be saved for a hearty and healthy turkey noodle soup. But if you're not feeling the soup vibes in June, you can always freeze the carcass for fall. Although that throws our making room in the freezer reason for making the turkey in the first place out the window doesn't it? Good thing we have a deep freezer!
Don't these look delicious? I could eat turkey avocado wraps every day in this weather. Cool, crisp, with tender roasted turkey and creamy guacamole spread = YUM!
First I get everything ready. If you happen to have leftover roast turkey... Awesome! If not, you can find some good turkey in the deli or in the lunch meat section of your grocery store. I have been on a romaine kick lately, but you could use any lettuce you like. Romaine does have a nice crisp to it which works well for these wraps. I also bought some nice cucumbers at the farmer's market last weekend and they added a lovely fresh crisp to the wraps. I cut the cucumber in half then cut the half lengthwise into thin strips so that they would lay nicely. My wraps were small, but if you have large wraps, you may not need to halve your cucumber. I also cut some lime into wedges to add lime juice to the avocado.
Next make some guacamole. I like it really simple...mashed avocado, fresh squeezed lime juice, and fresh ground salt (pink himalayan salt is my fave). I use a potato masher, but you can also just use a fork. For more detailed instructions for making guacamole go here.
Then spread some guacamole on the tortilla.
Next press a big romaine leaf onto the guacamole. I tore mine in half since my tortillas were small.
Next layer on cucumber and turkey. Then roll it up to make a wrap. If you like, cut the wraps in half or keep them long.
avocado (1-2 depending on how many wraps you make)
1. Prepare ingredients; wash vegetables, slice cucumbers etc.
2. Mash avocado and add lime juice and salt to taste to make guacamole.
3. Spread guacamole on tortilla.
4. Press lettuce leaf into guacamole.
5. Add turkey and cucumber slices
6. Roll up to form wrap and slice in half to serve.
Here are some things you might like including the very inexpensive potato masher that I use all the time.
As a busy mother of four I rely heavily on simple meals, especially during t-ball season. Most of our games are at night which makes getting dinner on the table quickly a must. We love brats and sauteed mushrooms and onions so I put the two together for a delicious, quick, and easy meal.
We enjoy these brats without buns, cutting them up and eating them with the yummy caramelized onions and mushrooms. The boys love applesauce so I serve this meal with store bought unsweetened applesauce or this yummy homemade version.
Since brats are not pre-cooked, I simmer them in beer for about 12 minutes to let them cook through. I used non-alcoholic beer which I purchased since it is less expensive and we aren't beer drinkers. I just like to have it on hand for cooking. You can also use water instead of beer.
While the brats are cooking, I saute the onions and mushrooms in a little oil in a skillet. I used a large package of whole mushrooms and sliced them myself. I always feel like they are fresher if I slice them myself. I recently found some walnut oil on sale at the grocery store and thought it would be fun to try. It worked well for this recipe. Walnut oil is also a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants. You can also use olive oil, coconut oil, or another favorite oil.
While cooking the vegetables, I add a pat or two of butter for flavor and salt and pepper to taste. I love fresh ground pink himalayan salt and fresh ground pepper and use them in most of my cooking. Once the vegetables are tender and lightly browned, I scoot them over to the side of the skillet and brown the sausages on each side until they have a beautiful golden brown sear. I then redistribute the veggies and place the sausages on top for a beautiful presentation.
1 lb. brats
1 sweet onion, cut into thin wedges
8 oz. or more fresh mushrooms, sliced
Walnut, olive, or another oil of choice
1 bottle or can of beer, optional
Fresh ground salt and pepper
1. Simmer brats in beer or water for about 12 minutes to cook through.
2. Meanwhile, saute onions and mushrooms in a drizzle of walnut or olive oil in another skillet. Add a little butter, salt and pepper to taste.
3. Once the vegetables are tender and lightly browned, scoot them over to the side of the skillet and brown the sausages on each side until they have a beautiful golden brown sear. Then redistribute the veggies and place the sausages on top for a beautiful presentation.
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There's nothing like waiting until the last minute, but for some of us, that's when inspiration hits and our best ideas come alive.
If you are one of those last minute creatives, here are a few ideas I hope will inspire you.
For more delicious recipe ideas, go to the recipes heading at the top of the page and use the drop down menu.
So I haven't posted here in almost two weeks...this time of year is crazy busy which hasn't left much time for anything beyond the basics. Stuff like getting to practices and school on time, remembering to go to important end of school year activities, making sure all 6 family members have something clean to wear each day, maintaining a somewhat clean house during the chaos, starting the garden (we are falling a little behind here already), much less meal plan, grocery shop, and prepare delicious healthy meals. Confession: We ate McDonald's in the car on the way to wrestling one day last week. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do and this Mom was in survival mode. But hey, roast chicken and healthy veggies balances it all out eventually, right?
To be honest, I have been relying a lot more on quick and easy meals lately. Life is busy and as much as I love cooking, I am usually stretched pretty thin to get everything done. That's why I love making a roast chicken. It is so easy and delicious.
My favorite way to prepare it is with salt and pepper, butter, lemon, and fresh herbs. I used sage this time because I already had some on hand. I have made roast chicken with potatoes and with sweet potatoes and hands down the sweet potatoes are the best. In fact they are amazing when baked with a chicken. They are so tender soft and pair perfectly with the chicken. Our kids LOVE carrots so I always put in a lot of carrots. I don't even bother to peel them. I just cut off the ends and set them in the pan around the chicken.
So if you are busy like we are and need some easy dinner ideas give this roast chicken a try. It takes a little while in the oven, but once it's in, you can do something else while is cooks. And wow is it delicious! Any Dads out there need a simple and amazing Mother's Day dinner idea? Here it is. You got this.
And don't forget to save the carcass (I know that's a gross word, but I gotta call it something) for the best homemade chicken noodle soup ever. If you don't want soup in the next couple of days, just freeze the carcass for making soup later.
Easy Roast Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Carrots
Fresh herbs; These go well with chicken. thyme, rosemary, parsley, tarragon, marjoram, sage
1 lemon, sliced into rings
Fresh ground Salt & pepper
1 lb. carrots, cut off ends, but leave whole
3 to 4 sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Prepare chicken, removing packet of organs from the inside cavity. Discard or save for later use. Salt and pepper inside the chicken then put a pat or two of butter inside the cavity along with 2-3 lemon slices and some fresh herbs. Set the chicken into a large dutch oven.
3. Pull back some of the exposed chicken skin over the breast. Salt and pepper then stuff with a couple of pats of butter, lemon slices, and fresh herbs. Place carrots and sweet potatoes around chicken. Then salt everything and salt and pepper the chicken once more.
4. Place covered in the oven and bake about 1 hour and 15 minutes to an hour and 30 minutes until it reaches 165 degrees F on a meat thermometer.
5. Remove the lid and put under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the skin.
Because I cook it with the lid on, the chicken is really tender and juicy, but won't have much color so I put it under the broiler for a few minutes before serving to brown and crisp the skin.
Welcome to Home Ec @ Home
Hi, I'm Faith, a former Family and Consumer Science (Home Economics) Teacher turned work at home Mom, bringing you family friendly, homemade recipes and homemaking tips to simplify your life. Join me on my homemaking and mothering journey.
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