Carnitas 3 Ways – Part 1 – Street Tacos

In pre-pandemic times I would host many dinner parties and cook for others. It’s obviously been increasingly difficult in the past year to cook for more than just myself and my boyfriend (Who isn’t even with me seven days a week to have all our meals together).


I enjoy batch cooking but I also do not enjoy eating the same thing over and over again. I like variety so one of the things I enjoy doing is reworking leftovers. One way I do this is by making a bit batch of some sort of protein, so then dinners come together quickly with this base already done.


I was in the store the other day and there was a nice price on pork butt so I decided to take advantage. Even though I got one of the smaller pieces it was still over 3 pounds. One of my favorite preparations for pork butt is Carnitas and specifically preparing it in a pressure cooker. I cannot take credit for the recipe that I use, you can find that recipe from My Lilikoi Kitchen here.


I probably made 4 to 5 different dishes this week with all the Carnitas I made. Just my luck that the boyfriend is on a diet so he is reluctantly avoiding some of my cooking. I’m sharing the three ways I enjoyed this protein dolled up most.

The meat after it was finished in the pressure cooker
The meat shredded and finished under the broiler for some crispy edges


FIRST UP – CLASSIC STREET-INSPIRED TACOS

This recipe is not really about quantity but what I like to have on hand when I making tacos. I am a huge advocate of soft corn tortillas, they are my favorite for a taco. Remember you cannot take those puppies straight out of the package and enjoy them they must be heated up. Are usually just warm mine up in a skillet. I have yet to find that Abuela who is going to give me homemade tortillas and right now I don’t have the time to make them myself.

For tonight‘s tacos:

  • Soft corn tortillas
  • Carnitas
  • Cilantro
  • Lime
  • Fresh Guacamole (not pictured)
  • Quick Pickled Red Onion
  • Queso fresco

The picture is pretty self-explanatory assemble with your desired ingredients. I like red or white onions on tacos but when they are completely raw I don’t like having bad breath for days. As I’m getting the rest of my dinner ready I take the diced onion and let them soak in a bit of white vinegar, orange juice, and salt. This takes the “bite” out of the onion while still maintaining crunch and enhancing flavor.

Crock Pot Patates Yiahni

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I haven’t written a post in about a month. I did some traveling, celebrated my birthday, and have been a little swamped at work. One thing I have been doing a lot of those is batch cooking on Sundays. In the spirit of my pantry project, I continue to seek out ways to save money. I try not to buy lunch at work anymore, or I will treat myself maybe once a week. Instead, I bring lunch, easily saving me $40 a week. Plus mall food kinda blows if you have it daily.

I’ve done some fun dishes, like butternut squash risotto that I also rework into arancini, and potato soup remains a favorite. In the meantime, with the weather getting colder I’m missing some of the Greek dishes I’ve enjoyed from my mom over the years, like trahana and Patates Yiahni. The latter is a braised potato stew that can be vegan or with meat. Having a few errands to run today, I decided to experiment with making it in a crockpot. 

What is great about much Greek cooking is the simplicity of the ingredients. For the stew I combined some olive oil, two chopped red onions (you can use any onion, red I just had on hand), a couple of sliced garlic cloves, chicken thighs straight from the freezer, four potatoes, a box of Pomi strained tomatoes, two cups of chicken broth, salt, pepper, oregano, and some bay leaves. Everything went straight in the crock pot, set on high for about four hours. That’s it, and I have lunch for most of the week.

   
   
To serve, add a generous sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese and you can also eat with some crusty bread, but I like it as is.

Summer Lentil Salad

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I love lentils. I believe I have mentioned this numerous times. They are healthy, a great source of protein, and versatile.

This time of year as the weather gets warmer and I like to cook a bit less, I like batch cooking once or twice a week to have lunch for work or a quick meal to share. In comes Lentil Salad. You can put pretty much what you want and it will last about a week in the fridge.


Another great thing about it is that I don’t have a precise recipe. It’s really something I whip together. I think the only constant is lentils and a balsamic vinaigrette.

Here’s what I used in my salad:

  • Greek Lentils (cooked al dente and cooled)
  • Chicken Sauasage (sliced, browned in a pan with a little oil and cooled)
  • Scallions
  • Diced Cucumbers
  • Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Salt and Pepper

Toss it all together and you have your meal! It can be served cool or room temperature. Feel free to experiment! Veggies, goat cheese, ham, other meats, different dressings…just have fun with it!