5.26.2015

WE EAT | Crock Pot Pork Tacos + Shopping the Sales

We are at the very end of May (how this Spring season has flown by so quickly is still a question to me), and with that comes the heat of the summer.  I am guilty of seeking my slow cooker out for just those cool-weather comfort meals, but really, the crock can be used year-round.
I have made quiet a few versions of the taco in my day, and still the most effective way to stuff a tortilla would have to be by utilization of the crock pot.  That being said- this recipe is by far the best pork taco we've tried - and we've tried plenty.
I mentioned in the 'grocery games' post I shared last week about shopping the sales, and this week was definitely one of those weeks that it was easy to come up and cook from the sale ads.  With the holiday the weekend, all my regular grocery stops were having great deals - particularly on meat and produce.  I'll get into a few more recipes I'm making this week, but first..
tacos.
Crock Pot Pork Tacos
adapted from Gimme Some Oven 
3-5 pound boneless pork tenderlion
1 (12-ounce) bottle of dark Mexican beer
2 chipotles in adobo sauce
3 cups cubed fresh pineapple
1 small red onion
3 tablespoons chili powder (I used chipotle chili powder)
The juice of one fresh lime
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Corn tortillas
Mango Salsa (recipe follows)
  • Additional Toppings: crumbled goat, feta, quest fresco or cojita cheese (we used pasteurized goat cheese), diced avocado, additional diced pineapple
  • --
  • Cut the pork into cubes, trimming off additional fat as needed.  Add the pork to the bottom of the slow cooker.  
  • In a blender or food processor, add the chipotles, pineapple, onion, chili powder, lime juice, vinegar, salt, cumin, and black pepper.  Puree until the mixture is smooth and free of pineapple chunks.  Stir in the beer until it is combined.  Pour the mixture over the pork, tossing to coat the pork evenly.
  • Cook on LOW for 8 hours (or HIGH for 4-5 hours), until the pork is tender and shreds easily with a fork.  Serve with warmed corn tortillas and Mango Salsa.
Mango Salsa
adapted from Cooking Light 
3 medium mangos, peeled and chopped
1/2 small red onion, diced
1/2 cup red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 small jalapeƱo, diced, seeds and ribs removed
The juice of 1/2 of a lime
--
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Chill until ready to serve
 When you're looking for a pasteurized cheese, check the ingredients label.. and if the ingredients mention 'pasteurized..milk' then you're safe to consume.  Most of the major label food companies  make their product with pasteurized milk.. because it actually prolongs shelf-life.  It will be the specialty brands and cheeses that you'll have to be careful with.
I served these tacos with homemade Fiesta Rice (recipe HERE).  Jordan told me over and over again that he wanted me to make this again- soon.  He usually likes everything that comes out of my kitchen, but it always feels good to hear your hubby sing praises about a meal.  I think what really made the meal was the mango salsa.  Sure, the pork is the star of the show, but the spice from the chipotle paired with the sweetness of the salsa.  Well, thats just got summer written all over it.  
So - how did I shop the sale ads this week?  After they come in the mail on Wednesday, I make a point sometime during the rest of the week to sit down with my marker and prep my grocery list and skim pinterest and a few of my favorite foodie mags and blogs to figure out what I can afford to make that week.  Meat and produce are hands down the most expensive items on my list, so anytime there is a decent sale on those items, I hop on the chance to incorporate them into my meal plan for the week. 
The pork tenderloin was on sale for REALLY cheap - I even ended up getting an extra one an threw it in the freezer for a later date with the crock pot again.  I had saved this pork taco recipe a couple weeks back, and thought that now would be the perfect time to make it!
On the Dinner Menu This Week:
grilled steak, mashed potatoes, tossed garden salad
crock pot pork tacos w fiesta rice
stuffed zucchini boats (I had chicken sausage already on hand)
leftovers
--
Meats on sale: pork tenderloin ($2.97/lb) + steak ($.4.99/lb), chicken breast ($1.99/lb)
Produce on sale: hass avocado ($0.99/ea), mango ($0.50/ea), colored bell peppers ($0.99/ea), red onions ($0.99/lb),  fresh corn on the cob ($0.25/ea), golden potatoes, ($0.99/lb), limes ($0.20/ea), green onions ($0.69/ea), zucchini ($1.49/lb)
Dairy on sale: shredded KRAFT cheese ($1.99/ea), sour cream ($1.83/ea)

Some of my regularly purchased items were on sale, too: like English muffins, strawberries, wheat thin crackers, and watermelon- which is always a win!  When I do have the opportunity to buy more (meats in particular), I purchase extra and freeze for a later use.  Someone mentioned about shopping chicken breast and some other meats in bulk and freezing- and YES, definitely!  I usually buy chicken breast in bulk at Costco about once every two months.. if I cant get to Costco, or don't have what I need on hand, I'll buy it at my regular grocery when its on sale (like it was this week!)

Hoping this is helpful and not completely confusing.  There is a lot that goes into meal planning for my family, and most of which has to do with shopping the sale ads and what I already have on hand in my kitchen.
Happy shopping! 
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9 comments:

Britt said...

Probably a silly question... but, I'm expecting as well-- how can you tell if cheese is pasteurized? I miss goat/ feta something fierce!

Amber Massey said...

Britt- not a silly question! Look at the ingredients list and it should say that the cheese was made with pasteurized milk. If the word 'pasteurized' isn't in the ingredient, I'd pass on that cheese:)

Sara Perry said...

Can't wait to try this pork taco recipe. Do you cut the raw pork up before you put it in the crock pot or cook the tenderloin whole? I might be reading it wrong, but I'm confused by the "cut the pork not cubes" instruction. Also, I recently subscribed to Cooking Light after you mentioned it in your blog, and I'm in love! I just got my first issue a couple weeks ago and I've already tried 4 or 5 recipes, including the chicken and couscous stuffed peppers... delicious! Love reading your blog! Thanks, Sara.

Ashley Sanderson said...

Amazing job! Meal planning is tough! You make it look easy and fun :)

Ashley | The Mrs. & Co.

Elizabeth said...

My little guy has a pineapple sensitivity, any nutritionist suggestions for something I could replace it with in this recipe?? It looks delicious. Maybe Mango? Thanks!

PS: Your blog is quickly becoming my favorite! I now always check here first before checking out my other regular reads : )

Amber Massey said...

Elizabeth- Mango would be an awesome substitute! Thanks so much for your sweet compliments and for reading my blog:)

Laura Darling said...

Thanks for the sales tips! Sometimes I don't do it because it takes more time/work, but when I do take the time it is always worth it!

The Curry Family said...

This looks delicious! Definitely going to try it! And this is probably the silliest question ever, but I'm assuming the beer cooks out? I have kids as well, and so I'm sure it does since you have adorable little girls, and are pregnant yourself. Thanks for posting these recipes, I'm drooling over the mango salsa. Lol

Amber Massey said...

Not silly! The alcohol of the beer cooks out, but the flavor stays. Just like cooking with wine:)

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