Tag Archives: Crock Pot

Shredded Pork Tacos (Crock Pot)

Good mornin’ sunshines!

I was coming down with a cold the past few days, but I’m feeling a lot better today–with the morning off, fig and walnut bars baking in the oven, and a trip to the gym after class, I think today should be a good day.

Here’s a recipe for a basic crockpot shredded pork–I toned down the flavor a bit so that it would be a versatile base for pretty much any meal.  First we made tacos, the next day was quesadillas, then we added some BBQ sauce for pulled pork sandwiches.  I ended up freezing half of it so that next week I can take a day off from cookin’, too.

I love when I get to do that.

Basic Shredded Pork

  • 1 pork loin roast
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 T dried cilantro (use less if you have fresh!)
  • sprinkle of Cajun seasoning (optional–I always like to add a little spice to my life)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 C water

Season the roast with salt and pepper, than rub on the chili powder and dried cilantro, finishing with some hot spices (cayenne pepper, white pepper, etc.) if you want a kick to it.  Turn your crock pot on low and spray with canola oil.

Lay down the garlic and onion on the bottom of the crock pot and place the roast on top.  Pour the water over the top and cover.

When it’s cooked through, take two forks and pull apart the roast until it’s fully shredded.  Depending on what you are using the pork for, you can add whatever flavors you want–but it will be tasty enough to stand on its own at this point!

We made tacos–with corn tortillas, plain greek yogurt in lieu of sour cream, a bit of cheddar cheese, lettuce, and some freshly made salsa.

They were good, but became even more delicious when we quickly fried up the tortillas in a bit of canola oil to make them into hard tacos.  You can also bake the corn tortillas up as chips to make nachos or open-face hard tacos.

If you have waaay too much pork to imagine what to do with, stick some in a ziplock freezer bag and put it away for next week.

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time for a Henry update, don’t you?

I was watching Cold Mountain as I blogged this because Eber and Fritz were aghast that I hadn’t seen it yet.  What a great cast!  I’m not by any means a movie critic, but this was a fantastic movie–I laughed, I cried, I cried…again.

Fig and walnut bars will cheer me up!

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Filed under Entrees

Beer-Braised Pork and Bean Soup (Crock Pot)

Wow.  I had the most intense workout ever at the gym today.

I only went twice this week, and not even once the week before (midterms, ya know), so this morning I woke up motivated and ready to get back to my normal routine.  I went to my usual Friday morning total body conditioning class, but our instructer stepped it up fifty notches a notch.  We were lifting weights, doing squats, doing more squats, and workin’ our abs–one set for 45 seconds, rest for 15 seconds, and repeat for a second set. On to the next muscle group, and like so for an entire hour.  My heartrate didn’t go down for a second after the first five minutes of class.

And now I feel like a giant bowl of shaky jello legs.

What a relief to come home to a big hearty bowl of soup–hopefully the last of the “winter soups” for the year.

Beer-Braised Pork and Bean Soup (Crock Pot)

  • 1 lb pork (I used pork chops but I definitely would have used a (cheaper) shoulder or butt roast if I had one around)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 C dried beans, rinsed (I used navy, garbanzo, lima, and black beans)
  • 2 bottles beer–as a non-beer drinker, the type doesn’t matter much to me because it all tastes the same.  Those of you who disagree, use your special microbrews or whatever
  • 4 C beef/chicken/veggie broth
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 t sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

As with all crock pot soups (that’s why I love ’em!) this is quick-‘n’-easy.

Add the pork, onion, tomatoes, and spices into the pot.  Cover with the dried, rinsed beans and mix.

Pour a little beer over the top.

Actually, just pour in a lot.  We’re looking for that beery, cowboy, pork-and-beans on the open range taste here.

Add the broth, give it a good stir, and cover.  Set to cook on low for eight to ten hours.

While your soup is slowly cooking up a storm, check out how adorable Henry is, all snuggled up in his favorite spot on a rainy day:

I’m pretty sure Henry spends at least half of the day on the bed, rotating from the pillow on the left to the pillow on the right to foot of the bed on the left to foot of the bed on the right and so on and so forth.

It’s a good life.

Once the soup is ready (beans tender), remove the pork and pull it apart with forks.  Pork is the perfect meat for slow cooked stews.  Cheap and tough cuts of meat become tender and delicious.  Pigs were born for this.

Is that insenstive?  Sorry.

Open-range rugged rancher pork and beans taste achieved.  Perfection for the last winter soup of the year. 

See you tomorrow for a baking update!

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Filed under Soups/Stews

Meatless Monday: Moroccan Lentil Stew (Crock Pot)

Since I fairly recently made the “Recipes” page of this blog, I had an opportunity to review what we’ve eaten for the last few months.  I was pleasantly surprised to see how many vegetarian dishes I’ve made–looks like my Meatless Mondays paid off!  I believe that we are now officially out of the “forcing myself to do it” and into the “habit/lifestyle” phase.  Even Fritz doesn’t find it unusual to be eating meatless for a few days in a row (minus his lunchtime pastrami sandwiches, of course).  One of my friends posted a “top 30 health foods” list in her blog recently, and I was pleased to see that Fritz and I eat all of them, minus a few–like chard (ew)–on a regular basis.

So one benefit of food blogging–it’s like an intensive, long-term food diary.  Perfect for a little early-March life assessment.

Here’s a recipe for a sassy Moroccan-style vegetarian stew I made in the Crock Pot for tonight.  Set it up before work/school, turn it on low, and come home to a warm bowl of spicy lentils, beans, and vegetables.  Does it get better than that?

(Although I must say that the site I found the recipe inspiration on is written by a woman who apparently ate Crock Pot meals for an entire year.  Um…no.  I like to vary the texture of my meals, thank you very much.  Once a week, tops, is enough for me).

Moroccan Lentil Stew (adapted from this recipe)

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 C carrot, diced
  • 1″ piece ginger,peeled and minced (I used a bit more–I love ginger!)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed (or 2/3 C dried beans, which soaked overnight will equal about a 15 oz can)
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed (2/3 C dried beans, soaked overnight)
  • 1 C dried lentils (I used red lentils)
  • 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 3 C veggie broth, plus an extra 2 C water (more if you used dried beans)
  • 1 1/2 t garam masala (recipe coming soon!)
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1/4 t cinnamon

Set the stage–plug your Crock Pot in.

Done.

Basically, dump all the ingredients into the pot, turn it on low, and go do what you want for a few hours (7, if you had my schedule). 

The more glamorous version is this: chop the veggies first (onion, carrots, and mince the ginger, too), toss those in.  Add the beans and lentils.  Top with spices.  Pour in the can of diced tomatoes and the broth.  Give it a quick stir.  If you used dried beans that soaked overnight, add a few extra cups of water.  Actually, even if you used regular beans, you might want to add some extra water.  Those lentils will suck it right up–but you can always add more when you get home (I did that, too).

The step you didn’t see?  I actually made the garam masala–I’ll show you how to do that in my next post.  Easy, and it smells so good. 

Like I said, cook on low for 6-8 hours, then serve.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

That’s the antique version of Moroccan stew.  Here’s the regular:

Doesn’t that look heavenly?  This stew is nice and thick because the lentils break down as they cook and basically puree themselves (thank you lentils!). This stew also has a sweeter and warmer taste than most stews I make–I think that’s due to the generous amount of nutmeg and cinnamon.  I loved it.  Not overpowering, but definitely distinct.

Want to know the secret to all these patterned backgrounds?  I swore to myself that I would never tell, but I’ll betray my own confidence because it’s such and easy and cheap way to have fun food pictures when you don’t feel like making an elaborate set-up.  I just thought you would like to know.

I bought a humongous book of scrapbooking papers from Joann’s Fabrics at 50% off for $9.00.  There are a couple hundred square sheets of fabulous patterns–I just choose one, rip it out, toss on the table for pictures, and then stick it back in the book for another time.  I literally stumbled across the idea while I was looking for fabric to make pillow covers for the couch.

I love those cheap and easy inspirations, don’t you?

What’s one of the ways that you use everyday items for unusual and creative purposes?

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Filed under Soups/Stews, Vegetarian