Recipe // Slow Cooker Carnitas, 3 Ways

Carnitas3WaysMy new favorite Mexican restaurant serves eye-rolling, grunt inducing carnitas so I decided to attempt to replicate them at home so we didn’t have to show our faces in there AGAIN this week. We even got fancy and experimented with different topping combinations with the pineapple and salsa being my absolute favorite. We will definitely be making these again since my slow cooker basically did all the work for me. Who doesn’t love coming home to a house/apartment basking in the smell of a dinner you haven’t slaved over? I know I do! It’s like having an inexpensive personal chef. What is your favorite way to finish off carnitas?

Slow Cooker Carnitas (via):

1 (2-3 lb) pork roast
1 can (15 oz) enchilada sauce (I used red)
1 cup salsa
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon brown sugar
tortillas and toppings (optional: guacamole, sour cream, cheese, pineapple, salsa, lettuce)

Place roast in a slow cooker sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and then pour over the roast. Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or HIGH for 5-6 hours (I would recommend the low setting). Remove the roast from the slow cooker when and shred using two forks (it should fall apart pretty easily). Cover a large baking sheet with foil and spread the shredded meat on top of it. Pour about 1 1/2 cups of the liquid from the slow cooker over the meat. Broil the meat for about 5 minutes, until it starts to caramelize around the edges, flipping once during this time. Serve the meat on tortillas, in burritos, enchiladas, salad or make nachos. Top with your favorite toppings. We used warm tortillas and guacamole, pineapple, sour cream, salsa, spinach, and cheese!!

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Recipe // Hummingbird Bakery Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut_Butter_CookiesPeanut butter and chocolate baked together into soft, chewy goodness and washed down with a large glass of ice cold milk. It doesn’t get much better than that.

HBPBCookies-2Hummingbird Bakery Peanut Butter Cookies (via):

1 stick plus 6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips, chopped
parchment paper

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment or a handheld electric whisk, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Turn the mixer to slow and beat in the vanilla and peanut butter. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt; mix well until a smooth dough is formed. Stir in the chocolate chips until evenly dispersed. Drop 12 equal amounts of cookie dough on each prepared baking sheet and bake 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Let cookies cool slightly on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe // Loaded BLT Sandwiches

LoadedBLTSandwichesClassic BLT’s get even better with the addition of avocado, pepper jack cheese, and spicy Ranch dressing in these Loaded BLT Sandwiches. A great and easy way to update a favorite.

BLT-4 BLT-1 BLT-2Loaded BLT Sandwich (via):

2 pieces of sourdough or bread of your choice
mayo
spicy ranch dressing
1 tomato, sliced
1/2 an avocado, sliced
3 or 4 leafs of iceberg lettuce
2 slices of pepper jack cheese
6 pieces of bacon
ground black pepper

Cover a baking sheet in aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Place bacon on the baking sheet, sprinkle with black pepper, and place into a cold oven. Cook the bacon until the oven is preheated to 400 degrees, continue baking until desired crispiness. Blot the bacon with paper towels to remove grease before adding to the sandwich.

While bacon is cooking, slice the tomatoes, avocado, lettuce and pepper jack cheese. Coat one side of each slice of bread first with a thin layer of mayo followed by a thicker layer of spicy ranch. Assemble the sandwich in this order, bottom to top: bread, lettuce, avocado, hot bacon, pepper jack cheese, tomato, and the final slice of bread. Serve immediately.

Recipe // Creamy Tomato Pasta

TomatoPasta-1We eat a lot of meat. Chicken, turkey, beef, pork, we eat it. There is no discrimination in this household. With my dislike of fish, seafood, and the majority of vegetarian meat substitutes we have been at a loss for ideas for meatless meals that will still taste delicious and keep us full throughout the night. That left us with mainly pasta heavy options (aka carb loading, aka weight gain inducing) like this one. Unlike our usual boring meatless spaghetti nights, this one-pan dish felt straight from the streets of Italy with the addition of tomatoes, spinach, and creamy flavors.

TomatoPasta-2Creamy Tomato & Spinach Pasta (via):

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
15 ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
pinch red pepper flakes (optional, I omitted)
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 lb penne pasta
1/2 of a 9 ounce bag fresh spinach

(for step by step photos check out Budget Bytes here)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender, about 7-10 minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander. While waiting for the pasta to cook, dice the onion and mince the garlic. Cook both in a large skillet with the olive oil over medium-low heat until softened and transparent (about 5 minutes). Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper to the skillet with the onions and garlic. Stir to combine. Add the tomato paste and a ½ cup of water to the skillet and stir until the tomato paste is dissolved into the sauce.

Turn the heat down to low. Cut the cream cheese into a few pieces and then add them to the skillet with the tomato sauce. Use a whisk to stir the sauce until the cream cheese has fully melted in and the sauce is creamy. Add half of the Parmesan to the skillet and whisk until it is melted in. Add the remainder of the Parmesan and whisk until melted in again. Add the fresh spinach and gently stir it into the sauce until it has wilted (3-5 minutes). Add the pasta and stir until it is well coated in the creamy tomato sauce. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm.

Recipe // Hummingbird Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies

HummingbirdBakeryCCTitleEach time we are fortunate enough to visit London we have a mandatory stop at Hummingbird Bakery to devour an embarrassing amount of their famous bakery items. Since London is a ways away, Justin gifted me this book so I can attempt to replicate a few of our favorites at home starting with these soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies.

HummingbirdCC-5Hummingbird Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies:

1 stick plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 3/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
8 ounces chocolate chips
parchment paper

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment or a handheld electric whisk, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Turn the mixer to slow and beat in the vanilla. Add the flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix well until a smooth dough is formed. Stir in the in the chocolate chips until evenly dispersed. Drop cookie dough on each prepared baking sheet and bake 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Let cookies cool slightly on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

HummingbirdCC-3