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 // Olive Garden’s Pasta e Fagioli Soup

OliveGarden-1The first soup of the fall season is officially in the bag bowl and boy is it delicious.

OliveGarden-2Olive Garden’s Pasta e Fagioli Soup (via):

2 lbs. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, shredded
1 c. celery, chopped
2 (28 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (16 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained
1 (16 oz.) can white kidney beans, drained
4 cups beef stock
3 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. pepper
5 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. tabasco sauce
1 (20 oz.) jar Prego traditional spaghetti sauce
8 oz. pasta (I like using ditali pasta)

Brown the ground beef in a large skillet; drain the fat. Add beef and all ingredients except the pasta into a large crock pot. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.
Before serving, cook pasta according to package directions, drain and add to soup. Top with shredded cheese and crackers. Good to Know: This recipe makes 12-15 servings! Make sure your slow cooker is big enough with a plan to freeze some for a later date OR simply cut the recipe in half!

Recipe // Crock Pot Roast Chicken

CrockpotchickenHow amazing does this slow cooker roast chicken look? Basically too good to eat, magazine quality, am I right? I’m mighty impressed if I do say so myself. Now for the truth…I wish with every ounce of cooking talent that I was the one who so perfectly created that gorgeous cooked bird and could claim it as my own. Unfortunately in reality when I attempted the Crock Pot Roast Chicken recipe from the extremely talented Iowa Girl Eats mine turned out in the mangled mess you see pictured below. Don’t let the photo fool you though, the recipe was beyond easy (less than 10 minutes of hands on time), tasted delicious (so tender it was literally falling off the bone), and would be a perfect way to get shredded chicken for other recipes!

Chicken-1Crock Pot Roast Chicken (recipe via):

3.5 – 4lb whole chicken, giblets and neck removed
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1-1/2 teaspoons black pepper
6 ripped sheets foil, crumpled into balls

Place the six foil balls in bottom of crock pot. Pat chicken dry and remove skin if desired to lower fat content (chicken might be slightly less juicy.) Combine butter and extra virgin olive oil in a small bowl then stir in spices. Brush all over chicken, including under skin, then place chicken breast-side up in crock pot. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 6-7, or until meat is tender, and thigh can be easily removed.

Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli

BeefandBroccoli-2My favorite slow cooker recipe for EASE – two step recipe made even simpler with precut beef and preminced garlic. Seriously, dump it in and come back later. My least favorite recipe for FLAVOR – I personally don’t like soy sauce, but my mom and Justin do so I wanted to at least give it another try. They absolutely LOVED the taste of this recipe, I didn’t as much. Could I eat it? Absolutely! Would I chose to eat it over this recipe? Not a chance. Would I make it again to curb Justin’s Chinese food craving? You betcha!

BeefandBroccoliSlowCookerSlow Cooker Beef & Broccoli (adapted from):

1 lb beef stew meat or boneless beef chuck roast, cut into strips
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons sauce (taken from the crockpot)
2 cups broccoli florets (used fresh leftovers from this recipe)
white or brown rice (I used 1 cup of Uncle Ben’s Instant Brown Rice)

In the Crock-Pot, whisk together beef broth, soy sauce, dark brown sugar, sesame oil, and garlic. Gently place beef slices in the liquid and toss until coated. Cook on low for 4-6 hours (I cooked for 6 the first time and my beef ended up shredded, the second time I cooked for 4 and the beef stayed chunky).

When done, whisk together cornstarch and 4 tablespoons of the cooking liquid in a small bowl. Pour into the Crock-Pot, mix well, and cook on low for an additional 30 minutes. Toss in your broccoli, then serve over hot rice.

Yields 3-4 servings | 10 minutes prep | 4 hours and 30 minutes cook time