Pork Carnitas (Slow Cooker)

I was awoken by a crazy person this morning.

Mikey shot out of bed and started dancing and singing about how today is the greatest day out of the whole year. He even went as far as to say that it is better than St. Patrick’s day…March Madness is to Mikey as grand, life-altering events are to most people. Or exciting celebrations like Birthdays, or Christmas, vacations, etc. Those days when you’re so excited you can’t sleep, or you wake up and you’re instantly excited because of the day/days ahead.

I have been hearing only about college basketball for about a week now and all Mikey can talk about is how he is so excited to watch TV for 1,000 hours over the weekend.

That’s where these AMAZING Pork Carnitas come in to play. They are a perfect food for a weekend where you are going to sit in front of the TV and be a complete couch potato. They are also great for all those random guests that will be popping in and out on a weekend like this.

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These carnitas are super simple to make and the best part is that the crock pot does all the work for you. All you have to do is pickle some cabbage, chop some cilantro and onion and sprinkle on a layer of cheese. The flavor from the spices give these a deep flavor that is sure to please everyone! You can make more or less depending on the crowd, just buy a smaller piece of pork (or bigger). We made this for a crowd and it disappeared fast! You just can’t stop eating these little carnitas tacos!

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Squeeze on a little lime juice and hot sauce and boom, best taco ever.

I hope you have an excuse to make these as soon as possible (this weekend seems like a great time). They will make your house smell like heaven for hours and hours and your stomach will be growling in anticipation. The wait is worth it!

I know that our plan is to make some delicious food this weekend and watch a ton of basketball. Thankfully I am 3/4 as excited as Mikey, which means I’m actually pretty excited to watch my team DOMINATE.  My brackets are ready and so am I.

GO BADGERS!!!!!!! And go make some carnitas too.

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How to Build the Perfect Cheese Plate

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I’m from Wisconsin. I love cheese.

My perfect meal is cheese.

Whether it’s paired with amazing wine or beautiful sides and toppings…or straight out of the tub, I love it!

I am no expert on cheese and wine pairings. I just made what I think is a super solid cheese spread and thought I would share the deliciousness with you!

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I had a friend (yes, all this cheese for just the two of us…though Mikey and his cousin showed up later and helped us) over for a cheese and wine lunch (which inevtiably turned into an early bedtime).

I didn’t do much research before I went out and  bought my cheeses and things…I just went with what I love and it turns out I followed a lot of the actual “rules” in making a cheese plate!

I’ll give you a little how-to guide that you can follow. Here is what I’ve got:

1. You don’t need a ton of different types of cheese and you want to avoid anything with “added” flavors. You want to avoid things that have added herbs or spices because they may not pair with all the other toppings you have out. Plus, other additives distract from the true flavor of the cheese.

2. Keep your sauces (mustard, jam, honey) off to the side rather than pouring them over the cheese. That way you can try the cheese alone or with all the other toppings, deciding which pairing you like best.

3. Funky. Creamy. Gooey. Sweet. Salt. I feel like you need to have a few cheeses that fall into these categories. Something to please everyone!

4. Make sure you have your cheese out at the right temperature and pre-sliced or at least have the proper utensils available to slice the it. The last thing you want is for someone to walk away with half your block of Brie because it was too hard to slice.

 

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I wanted to have some other jams and sauces to go with the cheese. I mixed some Greek honey with some toasted pecans and it was great. I also used a spicy pepper jelly and some hot brown mustard. I sliced up some apples and pears as well as some salami.

I picked out a nice French baguette and some gluten free crackers and then some olives, roasted red peppers and marinated artichokes.

I don’t know much about pairing wine with cheese…I just know I like wine, and I like cheese…therefore I eat them together. We had a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Rose and a Prosecco. They were all delicious with the cheeses. DSC_0096

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  • Difficulty: ”easy”
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Cheeses:

Sartori Gold BellaVitano. Rich, Creamy cheese with nutty, fruity flavor. World cheese gold medal winner

Champignon Cambazola black label

Meadowkass Dutch Gouda

Brie Chantelain Double Cream

Wines:

Cabernet Sauvignon

Rose

Prosecco

Sauces:

Pepper Jelly

Brown Mustard

Honey with toasted Pecans

Sides:

Salami

French Bread

Crackers

Olives

Roasted Red Peppers

Marinated Artichoke Hearts

Pear (sliced)

Apple (sliced)

Other optional sides/toppings:

Any type of jam is always amazing when paired with cheese. Flavored honey or syrup is also great. You could serve with any fruit or any nuts. Also grapes and chocolate pair great with wine and cheese!

Stuffed Peppers

One of our favorite comfort foods is stuffed peppers. There are so many different ways to prepare them but our favorite way is this Italian recipe.

I add tons of spices and then top them with a layer of marinara (Mikey calls it gravy, but I’m not Italian..so gravy to me is brown and goes on potatoes) and a hefty handful of cheeses.

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These are also a great meal that you can prep ahead of time and freeze. I made this batch for a friend who is a new Mom and needed something comforting and easy to re-heat.

You can make these in so many different ways. You can also stuff tomatoes with this filling or you can adjust the meat and use either chicken, pork or turkey instead of beef. They are a delicious, low carb meal (but serving them with extra sauce and bread is absolutely delicious!).

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Zucchini Lasagna

I present you with yet another zucchini recipe!

This is a very sneaky zucchini recipe. The Zucchini is masked in a layer of rich spaghetti sauce and creamy cheeses. It is a low-carb version of everyone’s favorite lasagna.

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I went out on a limb in making this and thought it was going to taste terrible and be a flop, but Mikey and I were pleasantly surprised. So much so, that I plan to add this to our dinner cycle and would recommend the recipe to anyone!

I absolutely love lasagna, and Mikey loves all things pasta, so we were very skeptical about this recipe. Especially since we love this Chicken and Mushroom Lasagna and my Mom’s recipe for our easy Favorite Lasagna. But this is a great way to enjoy some delicious zucchinis while they are still fresh and in season.

Mikey and I are planning on hanging out at home this weekend and I hope to spend some time in the kitchen since my list of new recipes is stacking up so stay tuned!!

 

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Three Bean Salad

I have a strange love for beans.

I think it all started with black beans in Chipotle burritos….

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Regardless of where the love began…I thought I would share this 3 bean salad with you!

Mikey and I are cleaning out our cabinets and I realized I had a ton of canned beans we need to use.

I used Kidney, Garbanzo and Cannellini but you could use any bean you like or have on hand!

This is a great, healthy salad that you can make ahead for lunches or dinner.

 

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I used a variety of veggies in my recipe but you could easily swap out whatever herbs and vegetables you have on hand!

I love how colorful this salad looks too. My mother-in-law is a Dietician and people are always asking her for advice. The simplest answer she always gives them is to make sure you eat all your colors. The more colors the better! My father-in-law then jokes that he already ate a bag of M&M’s so he is set for the day 😉

Hope you’re having a great week so far! Monday is over so at least we can be happy about that, right? Try this three bean salad and make sure that you get all your colors (when I say colors I obviously mean Skittles, M&M’s or Trix cereal, hehe).

OH, and if you like beans or the way this salad looks, check out my Mediterranean Chickpea Salad or this simple Chickpea Salad.

 

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