Honey Lime Chipotle Pulled Pork

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I have recently discovered little cans of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in the Hispanic food section of my grocery store. They are my newest pantry staple. The adobo sauce adds a smoky spiciness to food that really makes the flavor pop.

Honey Lime Chipotle Pulled Pork

This pulled pork recipe features chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, complimented by honey and fresh squeezed lime juice. The pork is sweet, smoky, spicy, and tangy. The best part is that it’s cooked in the Crock Pot! I served this on toasted buns, but it would also be great in tacos or a burrito bowl.

1/2 cup juice from 3-4 limes
1/3 cup honey
1 7-ounce can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (you won’t need the entire can)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
3-4 pound bone-in pork shoulder

Stir together the lime juice and honey in a small bowl. (Note: it may help to warm the honey a bit first.) Add 3 of the canned chipotle peppers (don’t worry about chopping them up) and 2 tablespoons of the adobo sauce from the can to the bowl. Refrigerate the remaining chipotle peppers and adobo sauce to use in another recipe (eggs, roasted sweet potatoes, chicken, etc). Add the balsamic vinegar, garlic, and salt to the bowl and stir to combine.

Pour about half of the sauce into the bottom of your Crock Pot. Place the pork shoulder in the Crock Pot and then pour the remaining sauce over the top of the pork.

Cook on high heat for about 4.5 hours (or low for 8-9 hours). Use a large spoon to skim any excess fat off the top of the sauce, and then shred the pork using two forks and mix well to incorporate into the sauce. Season with salt, if needed. Serve hot and enjoy!

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White Chicken Enchiladas

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Happy New Year! I love how optimistic I feel at the beginning of the year. I’ve got some goals in mind and I’m ready to conquer my bright, shiny new list of “to dos” for the coming year. I’ve got a good feeling about 2014; I think it’s going to be a great year!

Unfortunately, I’ve acquired a bit of extra “padding” from the holidays, so I’ll be working on some healthier recipes for you (and me!). To start us off, how about some delectable white chicken enchiladas, lightened up with fat-free Greek yogurt? These dreamy enchiladas have all of the creamy taste and texture of sour cream (or heavy cream), but without any of the added fat!

White Chicken Enchiladas

2 cups cooked, diced chicken
Cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder, to taste
2 cups shredded Jack cheese, divided
10 soft-taco sized white corn tortillas
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt (I like Fage)
1 4-ounce can diced green chilies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish and set aside.

Add the cooked chicken to a medium bowl and season with cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder, to taste. Add 1 cup of shredded cheese and stir to combine.

Add a spoonful or two of the chicken mixture to the center of a tortilla, then roll up the tortilla and place in the prepared baking dish. Repeat for the remaining tortillas.

In a large sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add the broth and whisk until smooth. Heat over medium heat until thick and bubbly, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the yogurt and green chilies, but do not let the mixture come to a boil.

Pour the mixture over the enchiladas and top with the remaining cheese.

Bake 20-25 minutes and then turn on the broiler for about 3 min, or until the cheese is browned. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then serve and enjoy!

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Mexican Chopped Salad

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I made my Mexican Bean Salad last weekend. It’s a family favorite, but we always have some left over the next day. It keeps great, so we usually just enjoy a “rerun” of the yummy bean salad on day 2. This week I wanted to do something a bit different though, so I decided to make a chopped salad with my leftovers. I just mixed a few salad ingredients into the bean salad and presto-chango. It was so good! The dressing on the bean salad combined with the avocado to add the perfect amount of flavor for a nice, light salad.

I served this salad with my yummy Chile Lime Chicken, which would also be great chopped up and mixed into this salad.

2-3 cups leftover Mexican Bean Salad
4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped into small pieces
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 avocado, chopped

Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl and toss lightly to combine. Serve immediately.

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Burrito Bowl

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Happy Friday everyone! On Fridays I get a bit lazy and slack off on my domestic duties a bit. After a busy week, the last thing I feel like doing is preparing a big dinner. I usually have some extra homemade meals in the freezer, but I also like “re-purposing” leftovers into a delicious new meal like this one.

The beauty of a burrito bowl is that you don’t even need a recipe. My basic burrito bowls consists of leftover carnitas meat (if you haven’t tried my carnitas recipe, you are missing out!), rice, and beans. Then you can toss in whatever else sounds good. Chopped bell peppers, tomatoes, avocado, shredded lettuce, fire roasted chiles, sauteed onions – the possibilities are endless.

Leftover carnitas (or any leftover taco meat)
Leftover brown rice
1 can black beans, rinsed
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Sour cream
Green onions, chopped

Heat the carnitas and the rice in the microwave until warm. (Tip: add about a teaspoon of water to the rice and cover, before reheating. This will prevent the rice from being too dry.)

To serve, place a generous scoop of carnitas, rice, and black beans into each serving bowl. Sprinkle with a bit of cilantro, and then add a spoonful of sour cream and salsa. Top it off with a few green onions. Mix it all together and enjoy your delicious no-cook dinner!

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Oven Roasted Carnitas

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I’ve always prepared carnitas in my Crockpot, but I found myself without a Crockpot the other day, so I decided to try cooking carnitas in the oven instead. Oh. My. Word. I’ve always thought my Crockpot carnitas were really good, but these oven roasted carnitas are amazing. The flavor is doubled, the meat is super moist and tender, and there are all of these little crispy bits that you just can’t get in the Crockpot.  

My husband loved this recipe and said I should only make carnitas this way from now on. The Crockpot carnitas are still great, especially for busy weeknights, but this is the recipe to use if you want really amazing carnitas. I always make a big roast, and then freeze the leftovers for another meal (carnitas tacos anyone?). Also, you will need a large ovenproof pot with a lid (I use an enameled cast-iron dutch oven) for this recipe.

1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (4 pound) boneless pork shoulder roast
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 limes, sliced into wedges

Mix together the salt, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, coriander, and cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Cut the pork roast into several large chunks and trim off any large areas of fat. Coat the pork with the spice mixture.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large ovenproof pot over medium heat. Add the meat in batches and brown well on all sides. Don’t add too many pieces of meat to the pot at once, or else they won’t brown well. Turn down the heat, if needed, to prevent the spices from burning.

Add all of the browned meat back to the pot, cover tightly with a lid and place the pot in the oven. Bake until the meat is tender enough to be shredded easily with a fork, about 2 ½ to 3 hours. This is what it will look like when it’s done. 

Remove the pot from the oven and use a large spoon to skim off the fat from the pan juices. Use two forks to shred the meat and combine with the pan juices.

Serve with lime wedges and tortillas, and prepare for carnita nirvana!

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Mexican Bean Salad

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This colorful bean salad is beautiful to look at and delicious to eat! The flavor is amazing and the crunchy bell pepper and creamy avocado add great texture to the salad. I adapted this from a recipe on Allrecipes. Click here to view the original recipe. This makes 8-10 servings, so plan on having some leftovers. This will keep for several days in the fridge (if it lasts that long!).

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1/3 cup diced red onion
1 cup frozen corn, thawed and drained
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 limes, juiced
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 clove crushed garlic
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 avocado, diced

In a large bowl, combine beans, bell pepper, red onion, and corn.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, lime juice, sugar, salt, garlic, cilantro, cumin, black pepper, and chili powder. Pour olive oil dressing over vegetables; mix well.

Chill thoroughly, and serve cold. Add a tablespoon or two of diced avocado to each individual plate when serving.

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Sweet Potato Bean Burritos

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This is a wonderful, grown-up version of the classic bean burrito. Instead of refried beans, this burrito is filled with black beans and sweet potato blended with flavorful Mexican spices. Add some spicy salsa, shredded cheese and cilantro and oh-baby! The spicy-sweet combination is really delicious, and even my husband (who isn’t a huge sweet potato fan) loved these burritos. This recipe will make enough for 3-4 burritos.

1 medium sweet potato
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
3-4 large wheat tortillas
Salsa (spicy is best)
Shredded cheese
Fresh cilantro

Wash the sweet potato under cold water, and poke it several times with a fork. Put the sweet potato in the microwave and cook until soft. Let cool.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook the onion until soft. Remove the skin from the sweet potato and add it to the skillet, using a spatula to break it up into small pieces. Add the garlic, black beans, cumin, chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently with a spatula, until combined and heated through. Remove from heat.

Heat another skillet over medium heat and coat with a small amount of oil.

Add a tablespoon or two of salsa to the bottom of a tortilla. Spoon some of the bean mixture on top (don’t spread it all the way to the edge), then sprinkle with cheese and a few cilantro leaves. Fold the sides of the tortilla in, and then snugly roll into a burrito shape.

Lay the burrito, seam-side down, into the pre-heated skillet. Cook until golden brown and crisp, then flip and cook the other side.

Repeat for the remaining burritos.

Serve with a green salad for a wonderful meat-free dinner!

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Pita Pizzas

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These little pizzas are a breeze to put together and much healthier than a traditional pizza pie. Since they come in individual sizes, it’s easy to please the entire family, which is often a challenge in my house since my daughter won’t eat pizza with tomato sauce, my husband likes a meaty pizza, and I prefer vegetarian. Have fun experimenting with different sauces and toppings. Below are the recipes for a vegetarian pizza with pesto sauce and a Mexican pizza with salsa sauce.

Vegetarian Pesto Pita Pizza

6 whole wheat pita breads
1 jar of prepared pesto
Shredded cheese
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch of spinach, rinsed and roughly chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Parmesan cheese (optional)
Black pepper (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the pita breads in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake the pitas in the preheated oven for about 5 minutes (this will help keep the “crust” crispy).

Remove the pitas from the oven, and carefully spread the pesto on top of each pita (as much as you like). Top with a small amount of shredded cheese, a few tomatoes, a handful of spinach (really pile it on because it will shrink in the oven), then a bit of feta cheese. If desired, sprinkle a bit of parmesan cheese and some black pepper on top.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is crunchy and the toppings are heated through. Cut into quarters and serve hot.

Mexican Pita Pizza

Whole wheat pita breads
Jar of your favorite salsa
Shredded cheese
Leftover taco meat, cooked
Tomatoes, chopped
Roasted green chilies, diced
Green onions, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the pita breads in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake the pitas in the preheated oven for about 5 minutes (this will help keep the “crust” crispy).

Remove the pitas from the oven and carefully spread each pita with a spoonful of salsa. Top with a handful of shredded cheese, taco meat, tomatoes, green chilies, and green onions.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is crunchy and the cheese is melted. Cut into quarters and serve hot.

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Mexican Baked Fish

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We are trying to eat more fish in our house and I’m always looking for ways to spice-up our fish dinners. This recipe quite literally adds some spice and a lot of flavor to an otherwise ordinary piece of fish. This recipe doesn’t really require any measuring and is very quick and easy to prepare, so it’s perfect for a busy weeknight dinner. Click here to view the original recipe.

1 pound cod
1 cup salsa (mild, medium, or hot – your choice!)
1 cup shredded cheese (I used the Mexican blend)
1/2 cup coarsely crushed tortilla chips
Sour cream
Avocado (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a medium baking dish.

Rinse cod under cold water and use paper towels to dry the fish thoroughly.

Place the fish in a single layer in the baking dish. Pour the salsa over the top of the fish and sprinkle with the shredded cheese. Top with the tortilla chips.

Bake, uncovered, for about 15 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a slice of avocado, if desired.

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Mexican Casserole

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This casserole tastes just like nachos, without the chips! It’s cheesy and flavorful and easy to make. You can adjust the ingredients to suit your family’s tastes. It would be a great recipe to take to your next potluck too! This recipe will serve about 4 people.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 package ground turkey (1.5 pounds)
2 tablespoons diced onion
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped green onions, divided
3/4 cup salsa
1/2 cup black beans
1 – 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (your favorite)
1/4 cup chopped black olives
Sour cream
Tortilla chips (optional)

Heat the oil in a skillet, over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and cook thoroughly. Stir in the diced onion, chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Spread the cooked turkey in the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish (or similar sized dish). Sprinkle half of the green onions over the turkey, and then top with the salsa and black beans. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top.

Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Garnish with the rest of the green onions, olives, and a dollop of sour cream. Serve with tortilla chips, if desired.

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