Since having a baby, I’ve learned it’s easiest to simplify just about any activity possible. And by this I specifically mean my family’s weekly meals, and consequently the grocery shopping experience. The available produce changes periodically based on what’s in season, and the availability and price of meat fluctuates as well, but the idea stays the same. Once a week or so I like to throw in a random “creative” meal so that we don’t tire of the same thing over and over. But even when I do this, it rarely takes me off the usual trek through the grocery store. Let’s be honest, the majority of the time my “creative” meal consists of whatever I can find in the refrigerator, but please don’t tell my husband my secret! One constant grocery item I almost ALWAYS buy is wild salmon for the baby and me (husband prefers “meat meat” vs seafood, which is totally fine because quality seafood is expensive and that man is a bottomless pit), but I choose different seasoning combinations almost every week as to mix it up. I also ALWAYS buy large quantities of beef and/or pork for the slow cooker because that is something my husband will eat for breakfast, snack, lunch and dinner… sometimes even dessert. Like I said, the husband can devour some serious amounts of food.
Even though my husband (and I) eat many meals a day, it helps us to stay lean. We listen to our bodies and eat when we are hungry. This meal is a very “clean” combination that your body will break down efficiently. For extra veggies, protein or fiber, we will put the combo over a bed of spinach and arugula or quinoa. Since I got on track and started cooking this regularly, my husband claims that he has noticeably leaned down and insists that we continue doing this or similar slow cook meals. If we run out of the “real” food too quickly, we will sometimes default to snacking, which is okay, but sometimes it goes overboard and there goes all our wonderful progress! (A whole bag of chips or crackers is not recommended, even if it IS organic and gluten free 😉 )
Now because of the baby, I’ve been forced to alter my recipes specifically by using less heat. She’s a huge fan of this slow cooker meal as well. I do miss my cayenne, jalapeno and/or crushed red pepper, but I guess I love her enough to leave it out these days! Ohhh the sacrifices we make 😉 But you can feel free to add as much heat as you want to yours. Also note that because of the not exact sizes of meat roasts, adjust flavoring as you prefer. Did I mention I’m eating this as I type out the post?? MMMMMmmm.
Slow Cooker Mexican Pork & Peppers
- 2(ish) lb Pork Roast
- 2(ish) lb Beef Roast
- 1 1/2 Yellow Onion, Chopped
- 1 Red Bell Pepper (or whatever is available), chopped
- 1 Poblano Pepper, chopped
- 1-2 Jalapeno Peppers (chopped, optional – I leave them out when I plan to share with the baby)
- 1 lb Dry Black Beans, or canned. If dry, soak them overnight – once I didn’t have black beans and I used 2 cans of garbanzo beans instead, also good
- 6 Cloves Garlic, whole
- 3 Celery Stalks, chopped
- 2-4 Cups Broth (I recommend my homemade broth or this one if you buy store bought), if you notice it looks dry while cooking, add more broth. Sometimes the beans, if not soaked long enough, will absorb broth causing the need for more. I also personally prefer a brothy concoction, so it’s really up to you.
- 26 oz Diced Tomatoes (I use this one)
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 2 TBS Chili Powder
- 2 TBS Cumin
- 1 TBS Oregano
- 2 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- Salt to taste (I buy this one at Costco)
Step 1: PLACE IN SLOW COOKER. Place all the above ingredients in the slow cooker in that order, or place the items out of order. It really doesn’t matter because it all mixes together eventually. I simply suggest to place the meat first.
Step 2: HEAT AND GO ABOUT YOUR DAY. Cook on High for about 6 hours or until the meat breaks apart easily. The beef takes longer to cook enough to shred easily, but it’s totally worth the wait.
Step 3: SERVE. I was lazy and starving, so I ate my first helping straight in a bowl from the crockpot. Later I served it over arugula and spinach with some avocado. You could also serve it as lettuce wraps or with lettuce and a tortilla. You could also scramble some eggs with it for breakfast. For easy food preparation later for the baby, I froze small portions in glass containers. She loves this stuff.