Crockpot Tacos al Pastor

In addition to my daily, borderline obsessive, and up to the minute newsfeeds, (Feedly, Instagram, Buzzfeed, TMZ, and Pulse) I have recently become addicted to PureWow and Flipboard.



I am two months behind in reading my in-print magazine subscriptions as it is, so imagine my chagrin at becoming caught up in two additional sites that give me news, fashion, food, makeup, and home decor ideas.


On the positive side, I am expanding my brainpower and becoming (I think) a bit more in touch with the tech world.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking with it. 

All the reading has paid off, though, because I found this recipe on Ali’s site via Feedly, and since we are a serious pork-loving family, I couldn’t wait to try it. And, as an added bonus, it utilizes one of my favorite kitchen appliances, the crockpot. It was absolutely delicious, and while the posse ate theirs in the traditional soft taco style, I thoroughly enjoyed mine over a bed of greens, which made me feel very virtuous.

Until dessert, anyway……

Crockpot Tacos al Pastor – adapted from Gimme Some Oven

  • 1 (7 lb ) bone-in pork  roast
  • 1 (12-oz.) bottle of beer
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 2 cups chopped pineapple
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 3 tbs. chili powder
  • 3 tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbs. white vinegar
  • 1 tbs. ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Tortillas, cheese, salsa, sour cream, and avocado, for serving

Place the roast in the crockpot. Combine the chipotles in adobo, pineapple, onion, chili powder, lime juice, white vinegar, cumin and black pepper in a blender.  Blend until the mixture is completely smooth. Pour the mixture on top of the pork, then pour the beer into the crockpot.

Cook on high for 6-8 hours, until the pork is completely tender and falling off the bone. Shred the pork into a large bowl, and pour the juices over it, mixing to combine. Serve with tortillas, cheese, salsa, sour cream, and avocado.

Pork Ragu

I don’t know about you, but Sunday is one of my favorite days of the week. I suspect that it’s most likely a throwback to my childhood, when one Sunday a month, Mom would spend the better part of the day cooking up a big pot of sauce for our dinner. The process was an event in itself, as she would shoo us kids (and Dad) out of the kitchen so there weren’t any distractions, and begin what I now recognize as a true labor of love. The sounds were unmistakable – the pots being pulled from the cabinets, the chopping of the onions, the blender grinding up chunks of bread for homemade breadcrumbs…….. and it didn’t take long until the house was filled with the aroma of her delectable homemade meatballs, spicy Italian sausage, and falling-off-the-bone meaty pork ribs…..mmmmm.

Eventually, Dad would sneak into the kitchen and slyly steal a meatball or two….and feign innocence  when questioned by three sets of eyes wanting a bite as well. It wasn’t fun being at the bottom of the food chain….

While I don’t have her recipe for that treasured family piece of history (something about copyrights, patents and not in my birthright……), one bite of this sauce immediately transported me back to those Sunday evenings, when dinnertime meant pasta, sauce, wine, and bread…. all while surrounded by your family.


Pork Ragu – adapted from Bon Appetit

  • 1 1½-lb. boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil, plus more
  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 sprig oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 14-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup dry red wine

Season pork with pepper. Heat ¼ cup oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Sear the meat, turning occasionally, until browned all over, 10–15 minutes; transfer to a large plate.

Drain all but 2 tbs. fat from pot. Reduce heat to medium and cook onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Tie rosemary, oregano, and bay leaf into a bundle with kitchen twine; add to pot along with pork, tomatoes, and wine. Add water just to cover meat and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer, until meat is very tender, 1–1½ hours.

Discard herb bundle. Using 2 forks, shred meat in pot; cook, uncovered, over medium heat until sauce is thickened, 8–10 minutes. Serve over pasta with freshly grated cheese.


Pork and Poblano Pepper Tamale Pie

Now that the posse are back in school and life has resumed a bit of normalcy, I have found the time to get back into my exercise groove. Let’s be honest here, I just didn’t make the time over the past 6 weeks.


After completing my 30 day workout challenge to myself (and succeeding!), I took a break and enjoyed myself immensely over the holidays. Now, however, with a wedding to plan (sweet!), a house to build (yay for a spacious abode!), and three (count’em, THREE!) epic birthdays coming up in less than 6 months, I need want must have my exercise time to sort everything out in my head and plan accordingly.

And while I might not be able to micro-plan every event, I can at least figure out dinners a bit ahead of time.


Pork and Poblano Tamale Pie – adapted from Epicurious

  • 2 ounces fresh poblano chiles* (about 4 large)
  • 1 large green bell pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen corn kernels, thawed (or 1 15 oz can, drained)
  • 2 tbs. vegetable oil or olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds trimmed boneless country-style pork ribs, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cups chopped white onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup purchased salsa verde (tomatillo salsa)
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Cornbread topping:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cups (packed) coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream

For pie filling:  

Char poblano chiles and bell pepper directly over flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Transfer chiles and bell pepper to large bowl; cover and let steam 10 minutes. Peel, seed, and coarsely chop chiles and bell pepper.

Coarsely puree corn kernels in processor and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork with pepper. Working in batches, add pork to pot and sauté until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to medium bowl. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pot, then add chopped onions and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add ground spices, garlic, and oregano; stir 1 minute. Return pork and any accumulated juices to pot. Add salsa verde and bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover partially and simmer 30 minutes. Add chopped chiles, chopped bell pepper, and corn puree to pork mixture; cover partially and simmer until pork is very tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour 15 minutes longer. Season pie filling to taste with coarse salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Pie filling can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Rewarm pie filling, stirring over medium heat, before continuing.Transfer pie filling to 10-inch-diameter 2 1/2-inch-deep ovenproof skillet (preferably cast-iron). Stir in chopped cilantro.

For cornbread topping:  

Preheat oven to 400°F. Whisk flour, yellow cornmeal, baking powder, and chili powder in large bowl to blend. Whisk milk, melted butter, and egg in medium bowl to blend.  Stir in shredded cheese and drop cornbread batter by large spoonfuls atop pie filling. Spread cornbread batter evenly to cover pie filling completely.

Bake tamale pie until cornbread topping is deep golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Serve tamale pie hot, passing sour cream alongside.

Southwestern Spiced Pork Tenderloin

I have been meaning to post this fabulous pork tenderloin recipe for oh, about a month now.

Scratch that……it’s been almost 8 weeks.

I’m having a tremendous amount of trouble concentrating these days, and I think I’ve finally figured out why. My mind has turned into a puddle of half melted Jell-o from dealing with two hormonally imbalanced teenagers.

What is it with these two lately? I swear, from the moment I get up in the morning, until I make my final escape at night to the solace of my room, I can not do A.SINGLE.THING.RIGHT.

at all.


When they want something, of course, it’s all sunshine and rainbows.


When something isn’t going their way, or they are somehow “inconvenienced” by an errand I have to run after I pick them up from school, their moods quickly go dark and there is a whole lot of huffing and puffing.

Every day, I have a new appreciation for the patience and fortitude my parents possessed to cope with my two brothers during their teen years.

Not me, of course…. I was the good child.🙂

Cut to the sound of my father laughing out loud in 3…..2…….1…….

Southwestern Spiced Pork Tenderloin – adapted from Food 52

2 to 2 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin (usually 2 tenderloins)
1 tbs chili powder
1 tbs cumin
1 tbs smoked paprika
2 tbs cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
1 tsp vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place a cast iron skillet or roasting pan in the oven as it is heating.

Pat the pork dry and cut off any large pieces of surface fat. Mix together all the spices in a small bowl and rub them into the surface of the pork on all sides.

Remove the hot pan from the oven and swirl the oil to coat the bottom. Set the pork in the pan and return the pan to the oven. Roast for ten minutes, then flip the pork to the other side. Reduce the oven temperature to 400°F and continue roasting another 10 to 15 minutes, until the internal temperature of the pork registers 140°F to 145°F in the thickest part of the meat (20 to 25 minutes total).

Transfer the pork to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing. For extra-thin slices for sandwiches, cool the pork completely, then refrigerate before cutting.


Herb Marinated Pork Tenderloin

Tomorrow morning, my eldest child is going to board a commercial flight and fly alone for the first time ever.

Alone. Single. Solo. Unaccompanied and unescorted.


While I am confident that she’ll be just fine, she’s a bit…… nervous. Which I can completely understand, because I know it’s not the flying part that makes her (or me) tense, it’s the process of getting through security unscathed. It can be a real pain sometimes (and I am always the one that gets stopped – clearly I’m a sketchy individual), but hopefully Austin airport won’t be too crazy at 5:00 a.m.

So night, I’m having a little going-away soiree for her – a party for two, really, it’s just she and I – and I’m making one of her favorite dinners – Chicken Milanese with Lemon over Arugula.

And then we head to bed extra early since we have to be up at 3:30 a.m.



Herb Marinated Pork Tenderloin – adapted from Ina Garten

1 lemon, zest grated
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 to 6 lemons)
Good olive oil
2 tbs. minced garlic (6 cloves)
1 1/2 tbs. minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tbs chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 pork tenderloins (about 1 pound each)
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and mustard in a sturdy 1-gallon resealable plastic bag. Add the pork tenderloins and turn to coat with the marinade. Squeeze out the air and seal the bag. Marinate the pork in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours but preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove the tenderloins from the marinade, and pour the marinade from the bag into a small saucepan, and set the pan aside for the moment. Sprinkle the tenderloins generously with pepper. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large oven-proof saute pan over medium-high heat. Sear the pork tenderloins on all sides until golden brown. Place the saute pan in the oven and roast the tenderloins for 10 to 15 minutes or until the meat registers 137 degrees F at the thickest part. Transfer the tenderloins to a platter and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. While the meat is resting, bring the reserved marinade to a boil – lower the heat, and simmer for 5-8 minutes until the sauce thickens. Carve in 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices. The thickest part of the tenderloin will be quite pink and the thinnest part will be well done. Serve with the thickened sauce.

Red Chile Braised Pork

Day one of the six- day heat wave we are currently being suffocated with.

Baby ….. it’s hot out there.

My grand plans for this weekend? Before I get to that, let me tell you, first and foremost, what they don’t include:

…. turning on the wall ovens and baking anything that won’t fit in the counter top oven….

Now ….. onto what they DO  include: breaking out the ice cream maker, slow cooking ribs and chicken on the barbecue (a first for me – usually I do them in the oven first), preparing a few cold salads, consuming copious amounts of ice cold strawberry lemonade, and spending plenty of time floating in the pool under the umbrella.

And daiquiris….. there will be daiquiris…. or maybe mango peach sangria…. hmmmmm…..


Red Chile Braised Pork – adapted from food and wine

The chiles that I used for this dish are a new experience for me, but considering I had such success with them when I made the Grilled Chicken with Board Sauce last week, I was inspired to use the rest here. I was not disappointed – this sauce had lots of flavor but was not painfully hot/spicy. I turned it into a tamale pie, making a simple cornmeal crust and topping it with green onion, cilantro, cheddar cheese, sour cream and sliced avocado. The posse and I loved it🙂

10 guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
10 garlic cloves
1 canned chipotle in adobo sauce
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3 pounds boneless pork shoulder

Using tongs, briefly toast the guajillo chiles over an open flame or in a cast-iron skillet until fragrant, 5 seconds per side. Transfer the guajillos to a blender. Add 2 cups of hot water and let stand for 15 minutes.

Add the garlic, chipotle, black pepper and oregano to the blender and puree. Pour the sauce into a large slow cooker – then add the pork and 3 cups of hot water. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours, or until the pork is tender.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork to a bowl and let cool slightly. Transfer the sauce to a pan and boil it until it is reduced to 4 cups, about 20 minutes.

Shred the pork with 2 forks and return it to the slow cooker along with the sauce. Cook on high, uncovered, until the sauce is reduced and just coats the pork, about 30-45 minutes.

Slow Cooker Kalua Pork

Just on the off-chance that I haven’t mentioned this (at least) a dozen times before, I have a serious love affair going on with my slow cooker.

I can’t help it. They (yes, I have 4) are my favorite kitchen appliance and I rely on them for everything. Cooking, reheating, keeping side dishes warm, baking desserts……..the list goes on. I think I have an addiction, though, because each time I’m in a store, I always stop and check out the latest models. Sometimes, I’ll even get as far as putting a new one in the cart, only to have Sabrina take me by the shoulders, give me two slaps across the face (not literally, of course) and say, “Mother! You DO NOT need another crock pot!”.

And then, I put my head down sheepishly and return the crock pot to the shelf.

I hate it when she’s right.

I came across this recipe for kalua pork two summers ago, when I had a little Hawaiian-themed soiree at the house. We also made Ahi Tuna (Sabrina’s favorite), sesame noodles, and snow cones. It was lot of fun – and considering my crock pot did all the work that day, it was indeed a very easy party for me.


Slow Cooker Kalua Pig – adapted from la fuji mama

5-6 pound pork butt roast
1 tbs. Hawaiian sea salt (coarse sea salt)
1 1/2 tbs. liquid smoke flavoring

Pierce the pork roast all over with the tip of a sharp knife.  Place the roast in a large slow cooker and rub the salt all over the meat.  Drizzle the liquid smoke over the meat. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low heat for 16 to 20 hours, turning the roast over once half-way through the cooking time.  Depending on how hot your low setting is on your slow cooker, you may or may not need the full 20 hours.  When the meat easily shreds with a fork it is ready. Remove the meat from the slow cooker and remove the excess fat. Pull it apart into medium sized chunks and place the meat in a disposable foil pan. Ladle the juices liberally over it, and place it under the broiler for a few minutes to get the meat a bit crispy. Serve over steamed or fried rice, along with extra pan juice. (The kids like theirs with a splash of teriyaki sauce on top as well.)