Cafe Rio Tortilla Soup in a Crock Pot

cafe rio tortilla soup 2
pre-broth
cafe rio tortilla soup 1
YUUUM!!! My one complaint with this recipe was that it didn't make enough! I will definitely double it next time so that I can enjoy leftovers for lunches later on. I was impressed with how similar it was to the real deal. In my opinion you MUST use pico instead of salsa to give it a more authentic flavor. It was easy and delicious...make it! (I found the recipe on Peachtree Cooking)

Ingredients:
•1 onion, diced
•1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
•1/2 tsp cumin
•a dash (or two) cayenne
•1/2 tsp. chili powder
•5 c. chicken broth
•3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
•juice of 1/2 lime
•pepper, to taste
•1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
•2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
•2 Tbsp. taco seasoning
•1 Tbsp. paprika
•vegetable oil (to taste)
•pico de gallo or your favorite fresh salsa (definitely use pico!)
•2-3 avocados, diced
•2 c. pepper jack cheese
•tortilla strips
•cilantro (for garnish)
•lime wedges (for garnish)

Instructions:

•In a small skillet, saute onion in 1 Tbsp. oil until onions become slightly soft. Stir in cumin, cayenne, and chili powder and saute an additional minute or two.
(*I skipped this and just dumped it all in the crock pot and it was fine!)
•Transfer seasoned onions to a small crock pot. Add chicken broth, cilantro, lime juice, pepper and pinto beans to onions and simmer on low-heat for at least 2-3 hours.
 (*also, I didn't grill the chicken, just dumped the breasts and spices in the crock pot as well...easy and tasted great)
•In the meantime, combine taco seasoning and paprika. Brush chicken with oil and rub with taco seasoning/paprika mixture. Grill chicken over medium-heat until cooked through, try to turn only once during the grilling process. After cooking on one side, flip chicken, add small amount of water to pan and cover. Remove from grill. Let rest for 10 minutes and shred.
•In individual bowls layer chicken, about 1/3 c. pico de gallo or salsa, 1/3 c. diced avocado, and 1/3 c. pepper jack cheese. Ladle about 1 cup of chicken broth directly over the layers. Top with tortilla strips and garnish with cilantro, sour cream, and lime wedges, if desired.

Cuban Style Pork

cuban pork
Can I just say that is one of my favorite food pictures?! I love it when a dish photographs so well, especially if it was tasty, because I know people are more likely to try it! This meal, which I saw on The Daily Dish, had been on menu for a few weeks and kept getting pushed off over and over again for one reason or another. I am so glad we finally made it though, Mike and I loved it! I bought a can of black beans with jalapenos and lime juice and the spiciness of those with the sweetness of the pork was a perfect combination!

Ingredients:
- 1 lb pork tenderloin, fat trimmed (I used pork loin chops)
- 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 orange, zest and juice, divided
- Juice of 2 limes, divided
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1/3 cup of water
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Optional: 1 lime, zested and cut into wedges, for garnish
- Optional: remaining orange zest, for garnish
- Optional: cilantro, for garnish

Method:
1. Use a fork to pierce the pork tenderloin (this will help in the marinating process), and then cut the tenderloin into two-inch chunks.
2. In a large ziploc bag or glass container, combine the pork chunks, onion, garlic, the juice and zest of half of the orange (set the other half aside for now), the lime juice, 1 tbsp of olive oil, and salt & pepper.
3. Once the bag or container is sealed, shake up the ingredients to mix them all together, and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes. (Note: the longer you let the meat marinate, the more flavorful it will be).
4. In a large pot, heat the remaining tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat.
5. Using tongs, transfer the pork (only!) to the pot. Leave the onions aside for now.
6. Cook the pork chunks for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until they turn golden brown.
7. Remove the browned pork from the pot and onto a plate.
8. Add the onions to the pot and cook for a few minutes, or until they start to lightly brown.
9. Then add the pork back into the pot and stir together with the onions.
10. Add 1/3 cup of water, the remaining juice of the orange, and another lime's juice to the pot and once it begins to bubble, cook the pork and onions covered for about 15 minutes.
11. Serve and garnish with orange and lime zest, lime wedges, and cilantro (optional).

Pork and Green Chile Stew - Crock Pot

green chile pork stew
You may have noticed I have not been posting as frequently here because it is my busy season with photography. Because of that we have been doing lots of old favorites, super simple stuff or take-out. I have still been trying to mix in a couple new things a week though, because I really do love to try new things, and I have been searching for healthy crock pot meals. Skinnytaste is always one of the first sites I visit and that is where I found this YUMMY stew. I absolutely loved the flavors! Definitely my favorite new recipe in a long time.

Ingredients:

2 lbs* boneless pork loin roast, lean, all fat trimmed off (I used the same amount pork loin chops)
salt and pepper to taste
cooking spray
2 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour (I used cornstarch)

3/4 cup diced onion
2 cans (4.25 oz each) whole green chiles, sliced into thick rounds (I used diced)
2 tbsp chopped jalapeƱo, or more to taste

10 oz can diced tomatoes and green chilies - Ro*Tel Mild
1/2 cup fat-free low-sodium chicken broth

1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder

salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste


Directions:
Cut pork into 2-inch pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat a large non-stick skillet on high heat; when hot lightly spray the pan with oil and brown the pork over medium heat on all sides, about 3 - 4 minutes total. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of flour over pork and stir to cook 30 seconds, sprinkle remaining flour over pork and cook an additional 30 seconds.
Add browned pork to the crock pot, along with the remaining ingredients.
Cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours (if using a Dutch oven, cook on low heat for 3-4 hours). When done, adjust season, salt and pepper to taste if needed.
Makes about 5 cups.

*Weight after all fat is trimmed.

Servings: 6 • Serving Size: little over 3/4 cup •  Points+: 6 pts Calories: 253 • Fat: 9 g • Carbs: 5.5 g • Fiber: 0.5 g • Protein: 33 g • Sugar: 1.5 g • Sodium: 836 mg (without salt)

Crustless Spinach and Feta Pie

greek spinach fritata
I had this on our menu for dinner during the week and then ended up needing a breakfast item for a dinner with family so I made it for that. We cut it into 10 pieces, which were pretty small, but with all the other options available it was fine. I think if this is your main dish, it probably would serve 4-6. It is healthy, easily adaptable to make it gluten-free and was pretty tasty too. It was another winner from Skinnytaste!

Ingredients:
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and liquid squeezed out
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup (2.5 oz) reduced fat crumbled feta (I used garlic-herb version)
2 tbsp grated Asiago cheese
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (I used gluten-free all purpose flour)
1 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup fat free milk
1 tsp olive oil
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp kosher salt
fresh cracked pepper to taste
cooking spray

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly spray a pie dish with cooking spray or your misto.
Mix spinach, scallions, dill, parsley, feta cheese, and in the pie dish.
Sift flour and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients to the bowl and blend well. Pour into pie dish.
Bake 28 to 33 minutes or until knife comes out clean from the center. Let it stand at least 5 minutes before serving.

Servings: 6-8 • Serving Size: 1/6th • Points+: 3 pts • Calories: 125.9 • Fat: 5.3 g • Protein: 8.8 g • Carb: 12.3 g • Fiber: 2.5 g • Sugar: 1.7 g Sodium: 433.1 mg

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

slower cooker chicken tortilla soup
The picture isn't great, but the soup was really good and super easy. I adapted it from a recipe I found on All Recipes and it ended up being pretty similar to my go to tortilla soup recipe, but I loved that I was able to make it in the crock pot. It made tons!

Ingredients:
2 quarts chicken broth
8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 T onion powder
3 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (8 oz) package pico de gallo
2 (14.5 ounce) cans peeled and diced tomatoes
3 T chili powder
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can black beans
sour cream, cheese, cilantro, avocado, tortilla strips

Directions:
Dump it all in the crock pot, except the corn and black beans and cook on low for 6 hours. Shred up the chicken, add the beans and corn and let cook another 1-2 hours. Top as desired and enjoy!

Loaded Slow-Cooker Baked Potatoes

loaded slow cooker baked potatoes
Last week we had a lot going on in the afternoons so I tried to plan almost all slow cooker meals for our menu. These potatoes were in the latest issue of Everyday Food and I thought they were such a good idea! Bake your potatoes in the slow cooker?! Why hadn't I thought of this before? You could really top them however you like, but this twice baked potato version with plenty of fresh veggies on top was delicious!

Ingredients:
4 medium russet potatoes
2 T olive oil
10 oz cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
1 bunch broccoli, cut into small florets
salt and pepper (I also used some garlic powder)
1/4 to 1/2 c vegetable broth, hot (I had leftover beef broth in the fridge and used that)
2/3 c low-fat plain yogurt (I used FF sour cream)

Directions:
1. Wrap each potato in foil and place in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low until potatoes are tender, 8 hours.
2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add mushrooms and cook 2 minutes, then add broccoli and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until broccoli is crisp-tender, 8 minutes.
3. Split potatoes, scoop out flesh, and transfer to a medium bowl, reserving skins. Add broth and yogurt to bowl, then season with salt and pepper (and any other spices you want) and stir until combined; divide among potato skins. Top each stuffed potato with broccoli mixture.

Per serving (serves 4): 344 cal; 8g fat; 14g protein; 58g carbs; 7g fiber