Green Chile Enchiladas

For a girl who doesn’t like pork – I sure eat it a lot. Last week I wrote about delicious BBQ pork stuffed sweet potatoes. While that was a new pork dish for us, this one is a classic: Green Chile Enchiladas.
We discovered this recipe quite by accident. I meant to make homemade enchiladas from complete scratch. Then I got busy and forgot to buy half the ingredients. I sent hubby to the store for enchilada sauce – he returned with green chili sauce and the rest was history. This is such an easy dish! 
Are you ready? Ok – Put approximately 3 cups of pulled pork in a bowl, add 1 can of green chiles (4 oz), and a 1/4 – 1/2 cup mexican cheese. Spoon mixture into tortilla of your choice, roll and place in pan. Cover with green chile enchilada sauce (14 oz). Top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. 
This recipe freezes very well. Put together everything and then freeze before cooking. When ready to eat, bake at 350 degrees for one hour (if frozen). 

Pulled Pork & Black Bean Chili


[This is another follow-up to my monstrous bowl of pulled pork. Read about my other meals: Pulled Pork Breakfast Skillets, and Pulled Pork Cheesesteak, or learn how to make pulled pork in your crockpot]



Of all the meals that I have made with pulled pork, this is easily the most time consuming. It was most definitely worth it though. I found a recipe for Black Bean Chile w. Chipotle Pulled Pork on Sippity Sup. The original recipe called for cooking the black beans and pork for hours on the stove, and required a bit more work than I was willing to put in, especially since I already had loads of delicious pulled pork on hand.

I cooked this in my instantpot, but on slow cooker mode, so that I could do everything in a single pot! I also cut the recipe in half, and adapted it a bit for us. This was also my first time using dried beans. Mary’s post on the subject inspired me!

One of the many ingredients in this chili is chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. This is one of my favorite ingredients. I love spicy food, and I love the smoky flavor of chipotle. However, recipes never call for a whole can. I use my food processor, and blend the remaining sauce and peppers up. I freeze them overnight in a small ice cube trays, then transfer to a bag. That way they are always on hand for a recipe, and I am not throwing away old cans. For my tray, 1 cube = 1 pepper.

Black Bean Chili w. Pulled Pork
Adapted from Sippity Sup
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbl Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Large Yellow Onion, Chopped
  • 6 Cloves Garlic Minced (3 Tsps)
  • 3.5 Tbl Chili Powder
  • 3/4 Tbl Ground Cumin
  • 8 Cups Water*
  • 1 Lb Dried Black Beans 
  • 3 tsp Mexican Oregano (Yes there is a difference!)
  • Zest of 1/2 Orange
  • 3 Poblano Peppers, seeded, chopped
  • 2 Cups Pulled Pork
Toppings
  • Salsa Verde
  • Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
  • 1 Cup Sour Cream
  • Avocado Chunks (optional)
  • Queso Fresca
Directions:
  1. Prepare black beans: Rinse, and soak overnight, rinse again 
  2. Heat oil. Add onions and garlic, cooking until translucent.
  3. Add chili powder and cumin, stirring until fragrant, approx 1 min
  4. Add water, black beans, oregano, and orange zest, and poblano peppers
  5. Cook on high 4-6 hours or low 6-8 hours
  6. (Monitor water level, if chili looks to thick, additional water can be added)
  7. Pork can be added during last 1/2 hour, or heated and placed on top. 
  8. Mix chipotle peppers with sour cream. Add more or less to taste. 
  9. To Serve: scoop chili in bowl, top with pork, queso fresca to taste, chipotle sour cream, and salsa verde. May also add sliced avocado, crushed corn chips, hot sauce, ect. 

Pulled Pork Philly Cheesesteak


[This is a continuation of my last post, describing how a family of three managed to eat an entire 8lb pork roast. Read the first post here]

One of the new recipes I tried with pulled pork, was a pulled pork philly cheese steak. This recipe was a total win. I used this recipe, from Simply Gloria. It was so good, this is the only picture I got. We ate them as soon as it came out of the oven!

The only change I made was that I used a bag of frozen peppers and onions. I always have a bag of those in my freezer. It’s great for many dishes, including fajitas and sausage and peppers. Usually, I have quite a few bags of frozen veggies in the freezer. Frozen veggies are often cheaper then fresh, you can coupon for them, they are picked at their peak and frozen quickly, making them just as nutritious as the “fresh” options and most importantly, they keep! Want to know more about the health & safety of frozen veggies? Here’s an article or two.

Pork, Pork, and More Pork

I ended last week by throwing a gigantic 8-lb Pork roast into the slow cooker. I put the other one in the freezer for later. Pulled Pork is a staple in this house. Once done it practically falls apart, but it can still be shredded with a mixer. Considering how much pork I made, I’m glad I shredded it with the mixer! That still leaves one question, what does a family of three, do with this much pork!?

We ate pork all week, and didn’t get bored. It addition to the usual pork quesadillas, and BBQ pulled pork, we made a variety of dishes, including BBQ pork grilled cheese, green chili enchiladas, BBQ-Ranch Salad, Pulled Pork Philly Cheese Steaks, and Pork & black bean chili. So many different delicious recipes, they are not going to fit in one blog post, so you’ll have to check back!

One of the first *new* dishes I made with the pork, was a breakfast pork skillet. We’ve gone to a few brunches, as this amazing restaurant, called Egg Harbor. They make the most delicious skillet breakfast. I’ll have to try my hand at a few other copy cats. I found this recipe, from the The Black Peppercorn, but modified it for our dinner.

Pulled Pork Skillet

Ingredients: 

  • 3 Tbl Oil
  • 2+ cloves garlic
  • 1 Bag Ore Ida Potatoes O’Brien
  • 2 Cups Pulled Pork
  • 1/2 Cup BBQ Sauce
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • 1/4 Cup Cheese (Pepper Jack, Mexican, Monteray Jack)
  • Eggs*
*We used two eggs per person. This recipe yielded a total of four large servings, for a total of 8 eggs

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in pan. Add garlic, cooking until fragrant.
  2. Add frozen hash browns. Cook for approx 10-15 minutes until the hashbrowns are cooked through, and begin to crisp on the outside
  3. Add pork, BBQ sauce, and salt & Pepper. Continue cooking for another 10 minutes. 
  4. While cooking, fry eggs over easy (or to preference) in a separate pan
  5. Add cheese to skillet, stir and allow to melt.
  6. Serve pork on plate with 1-2 eggs on top.
The left over pork skillet reheated great, I just cooked fresh eggs. 

Quick and Easy Burritos

Burritos are quick, easy, cheap to make and versatile.  They can easily be customized for your individual tastes, and are freezer friendly.  My favorite way to fix them is to fry them until golden brown in a small amount of oil, turning over halfway through. (If they are frozen when you start, be sure your heat is low so that the center has time to heat through.) You can also microwave them or bake them until heated through. I learned to make them from Mexican friends when we were living in Mexico.  When my kids were teenagers, this was a favorite snack to hold them over until the next meal, and the best part was that they could make them themselves.

The picture above is one of Kayte’s burritos (she likes lots of cheese).  All you really need is a flour tortilla and some refried beans, but I prefer to add cheese and usually some kind of meat.  Leftover cooked chicken or pulled pork works well, or I sometimes use a piece of bacon (cooked).  Let your imagination be your guide!  They are surprisingly delicious if you stop there, but adding any combination of toppings right before serving (chopped tomatoes, salsa, sour cream or feta cheese, shredded lettuce or cabbage) takes them over the top.

They are quick and easy to put together.

  • 1 Soft-taco size flour tortilla 
  • 2 heaping tablespoons refried beans (homemade or from a can)
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded or cut in a strip
  • Meat of your choice (optional)
  • Toppings (optional) – salsa, chopped tomatoes, sour cream or feta cheese, shredded lettuce or cabbage, chopped onions)

Put a line of refried beans down the center of the tortilla, top with cheese and meat (if using). Fold the ends in and then the sides over until you have formed a roll.  That’s it!  If you are going to eat it immediately bake, fry, or microwave – you can even eat it without heating if you like since all the fillings are already cooked. This makes one small burrito.  Either make several of these for one serving, or use a larger tortilla, increasing the filling ingredients as needed. To freeze, wrap tightly in parchment paper, foil or plastic wrap and put in a freezer baggie.  I prefer parchment paper, because it can go right into the microwave without unwrapping.

The picture above shows the progression from refried beans to cheese to meat (leftover carnitas).  The picture below shows how to fold the burrito.  Once folded, the next step is to cook or wrap for the freezer.

Here is an easy variation that works well for breakfast.  Heat tortilla briefly (microwave or in a dry skillet), fill with scrambled eggs, sausage or bacon (optional) cheese, chopped onion, chopped tomato, shredded lettuce or cabbage, and/or salsa).  
These are so quick and easy that you can have a batch in the freezer, just waiting to grab to take to work for lunch or to make a quick meals when you don’t have much time.

Another Take on Crockpot Pulled Pork

I’ve had so many ideas about what I wanted to post, I’ve been struggling with what to post first. The dinner we ate last night sealed the deal for me.

I made pulled pork in my crockpot for the first time about five years ago. Since then it’s pretty much become a staple in our house hold. Before I post all the details though, I have a confession… Generally when I tell someone I make pulled pork they assume it’s BBQ. I’m really not much of a BBQ person. This pork is delicious and can be used a dozen different ways, only one of which is BBQ! 

The original recipe I used came from Budget Bytes, a budget friendly food blog, but I’ve modified it quite a bit since to make it my own. The original recipe estimates $8.34/recipe or $0.93 a serving, but mine uses a few different ingredients, but I have never recalculated the cost. Typically I purchase pork from Costco, its ~$2.30/lb, but you have to buy 17 lbs. I split this into 4 roasts (you could do more) and pull them out of the freezer when we are in the mood. I think you could get it cheaper on sale, but I think this is a pretty good price. 


Crock Pot Pulled Pork
(Adapted from Budget Bytes)

Ingredients:

  • Boneless Pork Roast (Shoulder roast, Boston Butt, Picnic Roast)
  • 5 Cloves Fresh garlic 
  • 2 Tbl Paprika
  • 1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 3 Cups water
  • 1/4 Cup liquid smoke

Directions:

  1. Mix spices. Rub them all over the roast.
  2. Put the roast in the crock pot. Add garlic, water and liquid smoke.
  3. Cook on low for 12 hours. 
  4. Use fork, tongs, or mixer to shred pork. 

Yeah it is that easy. I love easy.

So now that you’ve made all this pork. What do you do with it? The obvious choice is to pour some BBQ sauce on it, and eat it or put it on a sandwich, but other options range from quesadillas and burritos to omelettes and eggs Benedict to pasta and a baked potato topping.  It’s also delicious in a salad or wrap. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to post some more recipes, on how to use this – so check back! 

Pulled Pork on a Chipotle Southwestern Salad

Freezer cooking session

Kayte and I (Mary) got together this past week for our first freezer cooking session.  Kayte is cooking for a family of four (one of them a toddler) and I am cooking for one.  Her family does not like leftovers, so everything needs to be (or appear to be) freshly made.  Kayte is also staying low-carb, so the meals also need to reflect that. 
We decided to select five recipes and make 3 meals for each of us of each recipe.  The dishes we made are spaghetti sauce, meatballs (made and packaged separately, not in the sauce), rio chicken, cashew chicken, meat loaf and carnitas.  (Yes, we really can count, but decided the meatballs kinda sorta went with the spaghetti sauce, although they can also be used for other recipes.) The special equipment we used was a 6-quart slow cooker, a food processor and an electric pressure cooker. 
A messy kitchen

We divided the shopping, with Mary checking the sale adds, then going to Costco and Publix, and Kayte hitting Bi-Lo and Harris Teeter.  We spent a total of about 30 minutes on Friday prepping and cooking the rio chicken in the pressure cooker, and the spaghetti sauce in the slow cooker.  We got down to business on Saturday, and spent about 3 hours completing everything.  Kayte’s husband was very helpful, taking the kids out of the house (it’s really hard to be efficient with a toddler hanging on your leg, being very helpful with the raw meat, etc.). 

We ended up spending a total of $122.57, but when subtracting out the unused portions (honey, onions, cashews, parmesan cheese), the meals cost $94.07. We didn’t count the staples that we already had on hand, and this also does not include any side dishes or add-ons that will be needed for serving (such as tortillas, rice, bread, veggies, etc.) .  The meals were divided up with 2/3 for Kayte and 1/3 for Mary.  We each ended up with 15 entrees at an average cost of $4.18 for Kayte and $2.09 for Mary.  A side benefit was five links of cooked Italian sausage (makes a great sandwich especially if you add provolone cheese) and several portions of broth from the rio chicken and the also from the carnitas.  (The broth makes a wonderful base for rice, beans or soup.)  Most of these meals will also have leftovers that we will use for lunches the next day.

Some lessons learned: do as much prep before hand  as possible, such as chopping onions, mixing spice blends, etc.  These tasks can be divided up between everyone cooking and brought with them.  Figure out a game plan for cooking day – what order will recipes be prepared, who will do what.  I ended up doing most of the meat handling such as shredding the rio chicken and carnitas, chopping the raw chicken for cashew chicken, and mixing the raw hamburger for meat loaf and meatballs, since that grosses Kayte out.  Kayte mixed other ingredients, spice blends and sauces, cooked the recipes that needed to be cooked, and packaged (and photographed) the finished food.  The meatloaf and cashew chicken will need to be cooked on the day of serving, and everything else will just need to be briefly heated. Here is a run down of what we prepared:

Rio chicken in pressure cooker
Packaged up, broth in jars

 Rio chicken, fully cooked –  great as a filling for tacos or taquitos, or would be delicious on a bun.  A great side dish, especially with the tacos or taquitos, is rice cooked in the broth – no other seasoning needed.  This is a slow cooker recipe that we made in the pressure cooker.

Free form meatloaves ready for the oven

Meatloaf, frozen raw  – a wonderful Alton Brown recipe that you really should try even if you don’t like meatloaf.  His recipe says to smoke it, but it is good cooked in the oven instead.  In the interest of keeping the carbs low, we substituted BBQ pork rinds for the potato chips.  We also used ground beef only instead of the mixed meats to keep the cost down.  A double recipe was made and divided into 3 large loaves for Kayte and 3 small ones for Mary.  The glaze for the tops (to be added before cooking) was packaged in small ziplock bags and packaged with each loaf.

Chicken & sauce in baggies, cashews packaged separately

Cashew chicken, frozen raw in sauce – needs brief cooking before serving, cashews packaged separately and included with each bag of the chicken and sauce, to be added right before serving.  We both add some veggies, usually broccoli or a stir fry mix, quickly sautéed, but we always have something on hand that we can quickly grab and add when we prepare for serving. 
Spaghetti sauce & Italian sausage
Spaghetti sauce, fully cooked – I don’t really have a recipe for this.  I combine any combination of tomato sauce, canned tomatoes (break up if using whole), fresh tomatoes (whatever I have on hand or is cheapest), diced onion, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, and Italian sausage (optional).  Everything goes into the slow cooker and cooks as long as possible.  It can also be done on the stovetop, once again cooking as long as possible and stirring often.  The Italian sausage can be eaten with the spaghetti or makes a great sandwich, especially if you add some good provolone cheese.
Meatballs

Meatballs, fully cooked – once again, I don’t really have a recipe.  Let me know if you need one by commenting, and I will try to write down how I make them.  Usually I use bread crumbs, but in the interest of going low carb, we substituted almond meal.  We used 3 pounds of ground beef for the meatballs, and baked them in the oven without browning in a skillet first.  The meatballs ended up being pretty big (I was getting tired and just wanted to get them finished!).  If they had been more normal size, we would have had more packages.  We will put them in our spaghetti sauce, but they could also be used for Swedish meatballs or other recipes.

Carnitas, ready for the freezer
Carnitas, fully cooked – this is the best tasting and easiest recipe I have ever found for pulled pork or tacos.  The linked recipe calls for making your own tomatillo salsa, but I use Trader Joe’s Salsa Verde.  It can also be used as enchilada or taquito filling.
Freezer meals all together

In the freezer

Here is the end result of our cooking session. We are starting to plan our next one, gathering recipes and watching sale ads.  Give us your feedback and any tips you may have to make it more efficient.