Pork Carnitas

I teased all my Facebook friends with a post about my delicious meal on Monday. Time to repay them!

This recipe from The Novice Chef has become one of my all-time favorites for dinner. It’s really great for company because it makes a ton of food! Not ideal to make on a weekday, since there’s nearly a 3-hour time investment, but the steps are really pretty simple.

I’ve made a few small alterations, but here’s the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs boneless pork shoulder or pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups hot water
  • corn tortillas
  • avocado, sliced
  • cilantro, for garnish

Directions:

1) In a large heavy bottomed pot, mix the pineapple juice, lime juice, garlic, jalapenos, cumin, salt and water. I’m a sucker for fresh lime juice, but you can always use bottled. 🙂 Add the pork to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for two hours. Don’t stir! Just let the meat cook.

2) After two hours, bring the pot to medium-high heat. Cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all of the liquid has evaporated. Your house is going to smell delicious! Unfortunately, it may also smell like lime and cumin for several days …

3) Towards the end of the timer, you’ll start to hear the pork sizzle. After 45 minutes, let the meat cook some more in bits of fat, long enough to brown at the edges. The meat should be tender and just about shredded.

4) Once the meat is done, lightly fry the tortillas in a small bit of oil so they’re crispy. Then pile on the pork, sliced avocado, cilantro, and a few more squeezes of lime!

Pork carnitas with avocado, cilantro, and lime.

Pork carnitas with avocado, cilantro, and lime.

I’m sure there are tons of other toppings that would compliment this dish, but those are my preferences. 🙂

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Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

My husband really likes the Chicken & Gnocchi soup at Olive Garden. So, he was pretty excited when I found this copycat recipe on Pinterest!

I’ve tweaked it a little bit. For example: no carrots because I’m lazy and I just don’t feel like shredding carrots, or buying a bag of shredded carrots that I won’t use up. Also, canned shredded chicken is easier – and makes my cats very happy. Too bad they don’t like shredded carrots as much as they like chicken juice.  🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 quart half & half
  • 2 cans of minced chicken
  • 16 oz package of gnocchi
  • 14 oz chicken broth
  • 1 cup baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Mince the onions, slice the celery, and mince the garlic.
  2. In a large stockpot, heat olive oil and sauté the onion, celery, and garlic until soft.
  3. Melt the butter, and then add the flour to form a roux. Stir and cook 1 minute until it becomes like a paste. Slowly incorporate the half & half.
  4. Add shredded chicken to the stockpot.
  5. While the soup thickens, cook the gnocchi according to the package directions.
  6. Add the chicken broth, gnocchi, spinach and seasonings. Cover and heat through.
Chicken & Gnocchi Soup

Chicken & Gnocchi Soup

This soup is pretty simple, and it goes great with a nice crusty bread or breadsticks!

And, bonus ! I made another copycat recipe to go along with the soup: Macaroni Grill’s Shrimp & Avocado Crostini. 🙂

Shrimp & Avocado Crostini

Shrimp & Avocado Crostini

This is probably my favorite appetizer of all time! So yummy! Here’s the recipe. It’s a bit time intensive, but so worth it!

ShrimpCrostiniRecipe