Monday, April 29, 2013

Mexican Food CAN Be Healthy!

I was craving Mexican food sooo bad this weekend, but I knew better than to go out to have some.  They always serve the all-you-can-eat chips and salsa while you wait and by the time you get your food, you've consumed 1000 plus calories...and that's not counting the beer and margaritas!  So you are MUCH better off making your own Mexican food at home.

I had an 8 pound Boston butt (shoulder roast) in the freezer taking up space so I decided to try my hand at carnitas (pulled, seasoned pork).  I've made tamales (damn good ones), in the past, so I knew this would be easy.  I searched the Web and found several versions that I liked and then tossed them all out and made up my own recipe using what I had on hand.  It goes like this:

Pork Carnitas

  1. Preheat your over to 400 degrees.  Spray a large Dutch oven with nonstick spray.  Peel and quarter two (2) medium onions and place in bottom of pot.  Wash and quarter two medium oranges and throw them in the bottom too.
  2. Wash your butt and pat it dry (you guys have dirty minds :)...your pork shoulder, that is.  Rub down with Kosher salt and black pepper.  Place in the dutch oven, fat side up, on top of the onions and oranges.
  3. Add one bottle of beer of your choice.  I used a Sam Adams porter left over from the Christmas variety case.  Add the following seasonings to the liquid around the butt:
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 3 bay leaves
    • 1 T garlic powder
    • 2 T lime juice
    • 2 T cumin
    • 2 T coriander
    • 2 T dried oregano
    • 2 T dried cilantro
    • 1 t cinnamon (trust me, it works in this recipe)
  4. Put the cover on the Dutch oven and set the timer for one hour.  After an hour, reduce the over temperature to 200 degrees.  Cook the butt for approximately 2 hours per pound OR until a meat thermometer indicates an internal temp of 205 degrees OR until the meat breaks apart when you poke it with a fork.
  5. When you are certain the butt is done, remove it from the Dutch oven with a slotted spoon or tongs (it should be falling apart) and place the meat in a large baking or Pirex dish.  Shred the meat with a fork.    Discard the excess fat (scrape that s**t off!), orange peel, bay leaves, and excess liquid. Turn off the oven, but returned the shredded meat to the "off" oven to allow it to dry out a bit before serving.
  6. Serve with Mission Carb Balance tortillas (only 3 net carbs & 3 grams of protein).  I have found that the best way to heat them is to throw them directly on a gas burner (turned to the lowest setting) and flip them with a fork after a few seconds. 

Healthy Sides

My side items for this meal included:

  • Homemade quacamole (three mashed avacados, 1/2 chopped red onion, 4 small diced tomatoes, lime juice, garlic sauce, black pepper, and dried cilantro).

  • Cilantro slaw (2 bags of pre-shredded coleslaw, 1/2 diced green pepper, 2 T Hellman's Canola Mayo, 3 T of Fage Greek Yogurt, 1/2 cup Splenda, salt, black pepper, ceyenne pepper, and dried cilantro to taste.
  • Black beans and fiesta corn (all from cans, that I seasoned to taste).

This meal was far better than anything that I could have ordered at one of our local Mexican restaurants.  The best thing about this meal is that I controlled the fat and carbs during the cooking and eating phases and I wasn't tempted to order or eat anything that I would regret later.  Wait, the best thing is that I have a ton of leftovers waiting for me when I get home today :)
Do you have any good Mexican recipes you'd like to share?  Maybe I can help you make a skinny version!  Post below.

No comments:

Post a Comment