Sunday, 14 April 2013

Slow Cooker Carnitas - Pulled Pork (Low Carb)

This is actually a Here's What He Cooked blog entry since hubby did the bulk of the work on this recipe. I only dug up a few recipes to work from and he did the rest of the prep, cooking, and serving. He cooked up this pork recipe overnight, so we woke to a great aroma, and had a very yummy lunch!

It's not exactly authentic carnitas due to a few added ingredients and since it was slow cooked it in (diet) cola, but it seemed more carnitas than pulled pork since it was broiled at the end to get some crispy bits, and we only served it with the cooking juices rather than additional BBQ sauces.

Regardless of what you call it, the recipe resulted in a very yummy and versatile pile of pork meat that we enjoyed as-is, but would also be great in tacos or burritos, or served in lettuce wraps as a low carb option.

Slow Cooker Carnitas - Pulled Pork (Low Carb)
Inspired by this recipe


~4 lb/2 kg of boneless pork roast with fatty streaks (leg, shoulder, butt...)
~1 cup cola (regular or diet) OR 1 large sliced onion
vegetable oil
1 large Ziplock bag

Spice Rub
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon corriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped or grated

  1. Combine all spice rub ingredients. 
  2. Cut the pork into 4-5 smaller pieces and apply the spice rub. 
  3. Put the meat into a Ziplock bag, seal, and place in the fridge overnight.
  4. Before placing it in the slow cooker, heat some vegetable oil in a large pan and brown the edges of the meat. 
  5. If you're opting for cola, put the meat and cola into the slow cooker. OR if you're opting for onions, place half of the sliced onions on the bottom of the slow cooker. Add the meat. Top with remaining onions. 
  6. Cook on low temperature for 8-10 hours. 
  7. When the meat is ready, remove it from the cooker, shred using two forks, and serve on a platter. OR shred it onto a baking sheet and broil for a few minutes until some of the meat becomes crispy. 
  8. Pour the cooking liquid into a measuring cup, skim off the fat, and serve as a sauce.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Cheese Stuffed Meatballs (Low Carb, Gluten-Free, etc... no breadcrumbs!)

What's more awesome than a great meatball? A great meatball stuffed with stretchy cheese!!

These can be eaten straight out of the pan, on top of pasta, in a crusty roll,... the possibilities are endless!

Cheese Stuffed Meatballs
Makes about 12 golf ball-sized meatballs

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1-2 grated or finely chopped cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (I prefer fresh, but the powdery canned version would work too)
  • 1 tablespoon dry oregano
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • mozzarella, provolone, or other stretchy pizza cheese cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • vegetable oil
  • 2 cups tomato sauce or crushed canned tomatoes
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Thoroughly mix the beef, egg, garlic, Parmesan, oregano, and ground pepper.
  3. With clean hands, pick up a small handful of the meat mixture and shape it into a ball. Push one cheese cube into the center of the meatball and then close it up so that no cheese is showing. Repeat until you've used up all your meat mixture.
  4. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in an oven-proof frying pan on the stove top. Gently place the meatballs in the pan and allow to brown 1-2 minutes per side. Be careful when turning them that you're not breaking them or the cheese will escape.
  5. Once the meatballs are browned all around, spoon out and discard most of the oil from the pan and pour the tomato sauce on top of the meatballs. 
  6. Place the pan in the preheated oven and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the meatballs are fully cooked.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Bacon and Egg Baked 'Muffins'

There aren't many recipes out there for breakfast muffins that are as simple as this one and call for only two ingredients (or three if you're adding black pepper!). They're simple to make and low carb. They tasted great fresh out of the oven and the plan is to keep the leftovers as quick breakfasts-on-the-go for the week.

Hubby and I used some teamwork to get these made efficiently this morning. I partially fried up the bacon, and then he wrapped one slice around the inside of each non-stick muffin tin and carefully cracked in an egg. Once they were all completed he added a few twists of ground pepper on top and popped them in the oven. Ours only needed to cook for 10 minutes until the yolks were set, but I'd imagine the time will vary depending on the size of the eggs.

I was pleasantly surprised that after leaving them to sit for a few moments out of the oven they all came out of the muffin tins without a hitch! I just used a small spoon to gently loosen the edges before lifting them out.

This is definitely a recipe I'd consider if I were serving brunch to a group of people since the bacon can be prepped ahead of time and the cooking is simple and straightforward.

Bacon and Egg Baked 'Muffins'

  • one dozen eggs
  • 12 slices of bacon (about 3/4 lb based on the thickeness of our bacon)
  • fresh ground pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Cook the bacon in a frying pan until it's about halfway cooked. You want it to be pliable but not raw.
  3. Remove the bacon from the pan shaking or blotting off excess grease and wrap each slice around the inside edge of a muffin tin. It's okay if the bacon doesn't wrap fully around the circumference. 
  4. Carefully crack an egg into each muffin tin, ideally not breaking the yolk. (Don't stress if it does break, it'll still taste good but be a little less pretty!)
  5. Add a few twists of ground pepper to taste.
  6. Place the pan in the preheated oven for approximately 10 minutes. Cook until the egg feels firm and the yolk is cooked through, using a toothpick to test for doneness. 
  7. When fully cooked, remove from oven, let sit a few minutes to cool, then gently loosen edges with a spoon or knife and remove onto a plate.

Pressure Cooker Beef Curry

Despite being in the month of April, having had a taste of warm and sunny weather, and equipping the kids with new bikes, we're still slowly inching our way out of winter. The temperature is still hovering around freezing, and we're still getting a fair number of grey and drizzly days.... Which means it's time for another pressure cooker curry dish!

Cooking curry in a pressure cooker makes for very tender meat in a relatively short period of time. This recipe uses red lentils to help thicken the curry and also adds some tasty protein and fiber. I like to add potatoes to turn this into a one-dish meal for those who don't like rice in my family, but it can also be made without the potatoes, keeping all other quantities of ingredients the same.

The pressure cooker I use is the Instant Pot which is an electric cooker. It's possible that cooking times may vary depending on your method of cooking.

Pressure Cooker Beef Curry
inspired by this recipe

Ingredients in order that they go into the pot:
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons crushed or minced garlic 
  • 2 tablespoons shredded fresh ginger (or about 1/2 tsp dried ground ginger)
  • 2 onions, chopped 
  • 2 red chili peppers, chopped (I sometimes use jalapenos, or even leave peppers out altogether for a very mild curry)
  • 2 lbs/1 kg stewing beef
  • 2 cups/16 ounces crushed tomatoes (or diced or whole depending on whether you like tomato bits in your curry)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste 
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1/2 cup red lentil 
  • 2-3 medium potatoes, cubed the size of your beef pieces (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (a garnish after cooking)

  1. I highly recommend prepping and measuring out all the ingredients before getting started. 
  2. Heat the oil or ghee in the pot.
  3. When the oil/ghee is very hot, add the cumin and mustard seeds and stir for a few seconds until they start to sizzle and pop.
  4. Stir in the turmeric and garam masala.
  5. Next add garlic, ginger, onions and peppers and cook for a few minutes until onions become translucent. You can add a bit more oil/ghee if needed.
  6. Add the beef and brown briefly on all sides.
  7. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, beef stock, red lentils, and optional potatoes. 
  8. Lock on the lid of the pressure cooker, bring to pressure, and cook for 20 minutes. If the meat is not  tender, pressure cook for an additional 5-10 minutes. 
  9. Add chopped coriander and stir through.
  10. To adjust the consistency of the curry you can add more tomato paste or beef stock to taste.