The past few days have been simply gorgeous outside! It’s been sunny and in the low 80′s outside, which means it was time to clean up the yard and sit outside.
This year, the yard took quite a beating. Between Super Storm Sandy, snow and a few wind storms, we are missing siding, had more than our fair share of branches and leaves everywhere, and let’s not even talk about the green hue my normally white house has turned.
Since I am still semi sidelined from the plague, my activity has come in the form of clean-up. Lots of raking, bagging, weeding and digging through the shed to find the cushions for the patio set. The one thing the nice weather always makes me crave is grilled food. There is just something about sunshine, fresh air and a warm breeze, that makes me crave a juicy burger, fresh grilled veggies or maybe some kebabs!
I had the grand plans of cleaning up the yard, giving the grill some TLC and making a yummy meal to be enjoyed al fresco. I went to the grocery store with a list in hand, purchased meats and veggies to be prepared over the hot coals, but then never mustered up the energy to actually give the grill that TLC that it desperately needed. Sigh. On the bright side, the yard is clean and we can sit out there, so there is a small victory.
The nice weather still had me craving “warm weather food” so I took to Pinterest and found a recipe to fit my craving.
I have a major love for Mexican foods. Tacos, burritos, guacamole, flautas, you get the idea. So I obviously got super happy when I found a recipe for beef carnitas that I could cook in the crock pot. I normally only use my crock pot in the winter time, but that baby will now be used in the warm weather as well. It really makes sense when you think about it. Most of the time when the weather is nice, you are at the beach, park, pool or just enjoying time outside. It’s hot outside and you don’t want to stop what you are doing to go inside and make the house warm by using the stove or oven. Most people turn to grilling instead, but why not toss your meal in the crockpot before you set out on your summertime adventure, and come home to a meal that just needs a pretty paper plate and some condiments?!
This recipe was super easy to prepare and I love that it required no added oils or fat!
Crock Pot Beef Carnitas Tacos
(original recipe found here, thanks to Pinterest)
2 lb flank steak
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped (remove the seeds and ribs if you prefer less spice)
For the Spice Rub:
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Optional Serving Items:
avocado slices (I made a fresh guacamole)
Mix all of the spices together in a small bowl. Rub the spices well all over your flank steak. (Think massage here!) Once the spices are rubbed in, place your steak in the bottom of your crock pot.
Next, cover the flank steak with all of the chopped onions, tri-color peppers and the jalapeno pepper.
Set the crock pot to LOW and cook for 8 hours.
When time is up, remove the flank steak from your crock pot and begin shredding it with a fork. Once shredded, you can put it back into the crock pot and toss it with the juices as well as the peppers and onions, or transfer everything into a serving bowl and toss.
Heat your corn tortillas in a skillet on the stove (or wrap them in a damp paper towel and heat for a few seconds in the microwave). Spoon some carnitas on a tortilla, then top with a squeeze of lime and your favorite toppings.
I served these with some yellow rice as well some corn and black beans. It was super tasty and very easy, which are all major requirements for dinners in this house!
Do you have any warm weather meals that you like to prepare in the crock pot?