Thursday, August 15, 2013

Spiced Pork with Caribbean Salsa

It has been awhile since I participated in the Eat the Alphabet Challenge that is hosted by Brenda at Meal Planning Magic.  This is a great challenge to eat more produce and legumes.  Head over to Brenda's blog to view the challenge details.  She also hosts a 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats challenge that is about to start in September.

It seems like by the time I get the reminder for the challenge each month, I'm already drowning in other things.  However, this month I planned ahead and found this recipe with mangoes for the 'M, N, O' letter challenge.  I love mangoes, but the huge pit often leaves me frustrated.  I have decided only to use them if a recipe sounds really amazing.

I love because her recipes are ones that my husband requests.  I can make Weight Watcher food without it being boring and seeming like healthy food.  She had this recipe that I've been meaning to make for awhile, and seemed perfect to tie in with this challenge.

Spiced Pork with Caribbean Salsa
slightly adapted from
2 pound boneless pork loin
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil 
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 lime, squeezed
1/2 cup fresh orange juice

Caribbean salsa
1 haas avocado, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 large ripe mangos, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped red onion
1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2-3 tablespoon fresh lime juice 
salt and pepper, to taste

1) Using a sharp knife, cut slits into the pork and stuff holes with half of the crushed garlic. Combine the remaining garlic, seasonings, and salt, rub all over pork. Place in a large container, pour the lime and orange juice over the pork; cover and refrigerate 5 hours or overnight, turning pork occasionally so the marinade covers all of pork.
2) The next morning, put everything in the crock pot and cook on LOW for 9 hours.  After 9 hours, shred the pork.
3) Remove liquid from crock pot and reserve. Add shredded pork back to the slow cooker. Add about 1 cup of the liquid back into the crock pot and taste for salt and pepper. Let it cook an additional 15 minutes.
4) Meanwhile make the  Caribbean salsa. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate salsa until ready to serve 

The original version of this is for Jerk Pork, but I can't eat red pepper flakes or spicy seasonings.  I found a home-made recipe for Jerk Seasonings and left out the spices I couldn't have.  In return, I bumped up the heat in the salsa by using a jalapeno that had the seeds left in.  I thought it was very spicy but the avocado and the sweetness from the sugar in the pork counterbalanced it really well.  The meat in this recipe turned out so tender and delicious.  In my opinion this dish wouldn't be the same without the salsa though.  I love the brightness and the flavor that this brings to the dish.
Please check out all the other blog posts and stop by to see the dessert that I have planned for next month's Eating the Alphabet challenge!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Secret Recipe Club: Peach Mango Shrimp Quinoa

This month for Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned Food Ramblings.  Food Ramblings is written by Elizabeth, who writes to hold herself accountable to eating better, cooking more, getting in shape and losing weight by writing her blog. 

Secret Recipe Club

Elizabeth's blog has a lot of great recipes, such as:  French Onion Soup Casserole, Grilled Ratatouille Pasta, and Pretzel Salted Caramel Blondies.  I usually make dessert for the Secret Recipe Club challenges, but I recently started Weight Watchers, so I decided to try something a little more Weight Watcher friendly.  So even though the blondies kept calling my name, I decided to try this Peach Mango Shrimp Quinoa instead.  Drop by her blog to check out the amazing recipes, and if you try the blondies, please let me know if they are as amazing as they sound.

Peach Mango Shrimp Quinoa
from Food Ramblings
1 cup quinoa
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 pound frozen shrimp, tails removed, uncooked
2 cups peach-mango salsa

1) Cook quinoa according to package instructions.
2) At the same time, heat skillet over medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray. Add garlic and cook until starting to brown.  Add and cook onions and shrimp, until the shrimp is pink.  Add peach-mango salsa.
3) When quinoa is done, add to skillet and mix well.

While I loved the flavor of this dish, the salsa I used wasn't moist enough to be considered a sauce.  This left the whole dish feeling a little dry.  I did love that this dish was very easy to prepare on a weeknight.  I definitely want to try this dish again, but using some different salsa.