Cuban Pork (without my Cuban roommate)

So this is my first attempt at Cuban and my first time eating Cuban food and let me just say – Delicious! This recipe also has the benefits of being part of weight watchers – aka low calories and healthy. However the butter cheese potatoes that went with this dish, not calorie friendly.

Recipe:
Ingredients:
– 1 lb pork tenderloin (remove excess fat)
– 2 Sweet potatoes
– 1 and a half diced canned tomatoes with green chilies (around 14.5 oz) spicey
– 2 garlic cubes
– 2 tbsp cilantro
– 2 tbsp lime juice
– 1/4 cup orange juice
– 1/4 tsp ground cumin
– 1/2 tsp salt

Now this is another recipe that should be a gimmie, but it proved otherwise. The first struggle came upon trying to find limes. For some reason, I couldn’t find limes for the life of me – so I went with lime juice that we have in the fridge from making margaritas…..slash a chaser.

The next struggle came with peeling the sweet potatoes. Yet again, I miss my peeler cause peeling sweet potatoes proved to be more challenging than normal potatoes. A lot more challenging. Maybe the potatoes weren’t ripe, but how do you know when potatoes are ripe? I will Goggle that later.

After cleaning the pork and adding that two the sweet potatoes, I added the can and a half of tomatoes with green chiles. I ended up estimating what I thought 14.5 oz were, because I couldn’t find a 14.5 oz size of spicey diced can tomatoes with green chiles. The salt, garlic, and cumin combined with the other flavor as the pork and more sat in the fridge over night.

The next day, I set up the crock pot to cook for 7 hours. The only slight hiccup came when I asked my roommate to turn the crock pot to warm after 6 hours because I did the math wrong. An hour later, I texted my roommate back about turning the crock pot back on to make it to 7 hours. From then on smooth sailing!

Review:

Success! Even with the botched segments, it was very good and felt very filling. I don’t know if you need a side because by itself it is delicious. Seconds were taken again by those who enjoyed the dish!

The Nitty Gritty:
– Total cost: $8.00
– Total time: 8 hrs (if you have a peeler it will be much less)
– Serving size: 3 – 5

Pork You so Delicious

This recipe was another find of my roommates and man oh man was it amazingly delicious!! We ended up having a last minute dinner party, and this provided the perfect main dish. I ended up needing to double the recipe due to the group size, but it worked perfectly.

Recipe:
Ingredients:
– 4 lbs. pork tenderloin
– 2 teaspoons ground sage
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon pepper
– 2 garlic cubes (a Trader Joe’s favorite of the house)
– 1 cup of brown sugar
– 2 tablespoon of Cornstarch
– 1 cup of water
– 1/2 cup of balsamic vinaigrette
– 4 tablespoons of gluten free soy sauce

First thing’s first, I made the spice rub of ground sage, salt, pepper, and garlic. I put this on the tenderloins (I ended up buying three) and this went into the crockpot container over night. Then I made the glaze – brown sugar, cornstarch, water, balsamic vinaigrette, and soy sauce and that also sat in the fridge over night due to time constrictions the next day.

After cooking the pork for 6 hours on low, the apartment smelled absolutely amazing. In fact, everyone who walked in the house kept commenting on how great the apartment smelled. It made me feel like a professional cook.

An hour before the party started, I poured the glaze into a sauce pan and put it on low until the glaze thickened. Then, I ended up pouring half of the glaze straight into the crock pot. Our boiler doesn’t really work, so I thought that this would be better. I put the crock pot back on low with the lid half-on, half-off cause I thought this would let the water evaporate. However, I didn’t want the pork to go dry, hence the lid half-on, half-off. In the end, I’m not to sure this mattered, but I’d like to think it did.

When it came to serving, I kept the extra glaze on the side and people just poured it over the pork. Also, the pork wasn’t served in a whole piece, but in shredded portions because the pork fell apart coming out of the crockpot.

Review:

HUMUNGO success!! Everyone loved the dish and it was paired with some amazing potatoes a la my roommate and the Brussels sprouts made by a friend that paired perfectly with the glaze. I would totally make this dish again!!!

The Nitty Gritty:
– Total Cost: $27.00 – mostly on the pork
– Total time: 8.5 hrs including prep
– Total servings: 10 – 12

Chicken Korma (More like Spicy Chicken)

So this is my second attempt at a more rigorous recipe, and this time I forgot a few things and had a few technical difficulties.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1.25 lbs of Chicken Breast (Three large ones) cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 2 potatoes skinned and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (14.5 oz) – this was supposed to be stewed (whoopsies #1)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 large onion coarsely chopped

Now this one was a challenge for me. It all started with the grocery shopping. I had a majority of the items, but I needed to buy 1 can of tomato. Now perhaps I was distracted, but instead of buying stewed tomatoes in a can, I bought diced tomatoes (whoopsies #1). But oh well, time for the prep and cooking.

Prep was fairly straight forward, until I found that I was missing my skinner (the thing in the kitchen that helps peels apples, potatoes etc. – perhaps peeler is the proper name). So peeling the potatoes went from a 3 minutes mission, to a 10 minutes mission with a knife and a very nervous peeler. Next came the onion and this is how it ended: Image Image

I began to cry so badly while cutting my onion, that I went into the resource bin and I pulled out my roommate’s google used for science experience. This proved to a be an awesome prevention against onions, and will probably be my go to from now on.

The next step came in cooking. However, even this step did not happen smoothly, as we had a power outage. No one is sure for how long this happened, but my roommate came home to find all of the power out… (unpredictable whoopsies #2). This means that I have no idea how long I cooked the dish, because I had it on low when I put it on, but then we switched to high due to the power outage.

When we finally came home from getting our nails done (yes it was a tough day), my roommates and I got ready to serve the dish. Here is where whoopsies #3 and #4 come into place. I forgot to take out the cinnamon stick, so instead of not having a cinnamon stick, we had one (this was not supposed to happen – but I don’t think it hurt the dish). Also, I forgot to add the 1/2 cup of yogurt (hence why it is not in the ingredients). So we didn’t have anything close to chicken korma, but more a chicken and rice dish (my roommate provided the brown rice).

Review:

As my roommate so eloquently put, “If you are aiming for chicken korma, you might as well give up now, because this isn’t it. But it is a good chicken dish.” Everyone went back for seconds, which I vote as a successful dish. Next time I know how to fix it, so it is actually chicken korma – 1) get the right kind of tomatoes, 2) take out the cinnamon stick and 3) ADD THE YOGURT!!!

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Total Cost: $12.00 – I had most of the spices, so I only bought chicken, tomatoes, potatoes
  • Total Time: ??? – Prep was 20 minutes, cook time – I have no clue
  • Serving Size: 4 + (we all had seconds, but I still have left overs)

Taco Bowls

My roommate found this AWESOME recipe, and we decided that we had to try it. Mind you, even the website labels it as an easy recipe. So I was pretty pumped when I made the recipe without any major mistakes! The coolest part came when the chicken seemed to melt “off the bone” in a bone-less chicken breast, much like the pulled pork from earlier on in the blog.

Recipe: 

Ingredients:

  • 1½ lbs. chicken breasts
  • 1 (16 oz.) jar salsa medium spice
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained 
  • ½ lb. (8 oz.) frozen corn 
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder 
  • ½ Tbsp cumin 
  • ½ Tbsp minced garlic 
  • ½ tsp dried oregano 
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper 
  • ¼ tsp salt 
  • to taste cracked pepper 
  • 2 cups dry rice 
  • 8 oz. shredded cheddar 
  • ½ bunch cilantro (optional) 

Grocery shopping for this dish proved to be pretty minimal. I had all of the spices at home, cheese and rice from two weekends ago Mexican food night with my friends, so all that was left to buy was some cilantro, chicken and salsa. After talking with my roommate, we thought adding a medium spiced salsa would keep it within our newly acquired spice realm. (We both remained firm mild salsa eaters until recently when our other roommate inspired us to try spicing it up). Baisically, in no way could I screw up the shopping list.

When making the crock-pot (all of the ingredients except for the rice, cilantro and cheese), I somehow managed to miss read the amount of cumin needed. Now luckily I had yet to add anything else to the crock – pot, mostly because it bothers me when all of the spices do not go in at once, so I made the 1 tbsp of Cumin into 1/2 tbsp. I work during the day, and no one was gonna be home before the hours of 6, so mathematically, I couldn’t start the crock-pot when I normally take off the for the day, so I prepped the dish the night before. This allowed for the chicken to soak up the black beans, salsa, corn, and spice rub for about 8 hours before I started the crock-pot. 

At this point, all that was left to do was to turn on the crock-pot on low for 8 hrs. After 8 hrs, my roommate made some awesome rice (with a variety of brown and white, because we had both in the house), and then I made some homemade guacamole. (This provided to be a new experience for me as well, as I had always seen my mom made homemade guacamole or she had assisted me most of the time in my avocado creation. This turned to be a success as well, maybe I am an actual cook now?). 

Review:

Honestly, I CRUSHED this dish. Yes, it is voted as an easy level, but it was the first time I had no undoable uh-ohs. It feed 4 of us girls with left overs to spare, which I am pumped up to eat later! It was a solid dish, that I do wish had a bit more of kick to it. If I make it again, I will be adding spicy spicy salsa. Also, I would add it to chips and make nachos!

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Total Cost: $8.00
  • Total Time: 9 hrs with prep and cooking (this includes the fact that we made rice after the chicken was ready). 
  • Serving Size: 4 – 8 people (we had seconds, but still have left overs for at least 3 days). 

BBQ Chicken Wings (and I mean the Whole Wings)

Ever since I have become gluten free, I have become even more and more obsessed with chicken wings and blue cheese. I pretty much order only a salad or chicken wings, because, yes chicken wings are that awesome. I followed this recipe, and of course I did hit a few bumps:

Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 pounds chicken wings (and I did whole wings) and chicken drumsticks (not trimmed)
  • 1½ cups barbecue sauce, divided

I made the rub (all of the spices and the brown sugar) within in 3 minutes. Mind you, I messed up the rub. I accidently read the amount of salt as a tablespoon instead of teaspoon. So soon after I realized my mistake, as all of the other spices were stacked up on one another, I attempted to teaspoon out as much salt as possible. Honestly, I have no idea how much salt was left in the rub, but in the end the wings did not taste too salty so I will take that as a win.

I had two amazing helpers in the room, who helped me shake up the wings in the rub. This rub dowsing happened in a large zip-lock bag. Honestly, the boys loved shaking the wings.

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Now, as I had to maintain some attention and entertainment of my two helpers, I did not realize that apparently you have to trim or make the actual wings. As in, wings have a tip that need to be cut off. This I did not do. So we all ate the whole entire wing – attached to the drumstick and the tip. But back to the wings and drumsticks, once they were all shaken in rub (mind you I didn’t have enough rub because I kept the wings as a whole), I then added 1/2 of the barbecue sauce on the wings. I then used my hands to make sure that every bit of the wings was covered before putting the the crock-pot on low for 4 hours.

Once the 4 hours passed, I turned the crock-pot to warm for another hour before having to put the crock – pot in my car for the next two hours. (I had practice and I forgot about it…). Mind you it was 15 degrees out, and the fact that my car doesn’t warm up due to the trunk being unable to fully close, I consider my car my mobile fridge so no matter what none of my food can ever go bad. (This may become faulty logic as it hopefully gets warmer in good old Chiberia).

Post practice, I brought the wings home. I had called earlier and asked my roommates to turn on the oven. Apparently, turning the oven on and broiling are not equivalent. So once I got home and explained that I needed it to broil/my roommates explained the issue, I covered a cookie pan with aluminum foil and then placed the wings (without the juice) on the pan and covered it with bbq sauce. I think I was suppose to use a brush, but we didn’t have one so I used a fork. This is not efficient, so on my shopping list – buy a brush. After 10 minutes of broiling, I pulled out the wings, switched the chicken over and put more sauce on and then put it back in the oven on broil for another 10 minutes.

Review:

Big success! Although, I would have liked the wings a bit more crispy, and I think this would have happened if I had trimmed the wings. So key for next time, trim the wings. Also, this paired extremely well with the sautéed brocolini and asparagus and blue cheese sauce.

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Total Cost: $25.00 – we had the spices, but had to buy the brown sugar, BBQ sauce and chicken.
  • Total time: 6 hr and 30 minutes (mind you two were spent in a car).
  • Serving size: 4 Hungry girls or 4-6 non-super hungry people