Healthy Mexican Food: Carnitas and the "Tamale Test"

Jonesing for Mexican food? This is soooo good. It's super tender and moist. For those of you who have issues with meat give it a try. A Crock Pot was a lifesaver in the beginning for keeping meats moist and sliding in the right direction. Make some of my killer guacamole to have with it and the added moisture will help even more.

It's obviously a "gringa version" of carnitas since you all know I'm 1/2 Sicilian and 1/2 British. It's seriously yummy despite me once failing the "Tamale Test." For those of you who haven't heard the story: I failed the "Tamale Test." My last major relationship was with a Latino. So just before Christmas one year my boyfriend's Grandma, Mom and Aunt invited me to their tamale making get-together to "teach me how to make them." OMG! (I was pre-op) they were so yummy. They made meat ones and sweet ones with raisins and cinnamon. I wasn't very good at it. There is a knack. I made one and then they assigned me other tasks. We had a great time though laughing and sharing stories or so I thought My boyfriend and I broke up not to long after. I believe I failed the "Tamale Test."

Actually I found out he cheated so perhaps it was good I sucked at tamales. Have no fear. I didn't fail the Carnitas test this rocks. Hope you enjoy it!

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Shelly's Crock Pot Carnitas

One 2 to 3 lb. Pork Roast (Boneless Picnic Roast)
1 yellow Onion, sliced
3 cloves of Garlic, sliced
2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
A few twists of Black Pepper to taste
1 cup Salsa
1/4 cup Water
Olive Oil

Top with any of the following sour cream, cilantro, grated cheese, my killer guacamole, black olives, chopped onion, lettuce, chopped tomatoes, squeeze of lime.

Place pork roast in a stock pot and brown slightly on both sides about 3 minutes a side. Place in crock pot. Saute onions till slightly golden. Add garlic. Cook 1 minute. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and cumin. Pour over roast. Pour salsa and water over roast. Cook on low for 8 hours or until very tender. When done, remove from crock pot, take two forks and pull the pork apart. Pour juices over meat.

Leftover ideas: Leftover Carnitas can be used in an omelette or breakfast hash with eggs, onions and peppers or made into a "taco salad" with lettuce, cheese, black olives, and tomatoes.

I served it with a version of the traditional Mexican veggie side dish Calabacitas.

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Shelly's Calabacitas

1/2 yellow Onion, sliced
2 cloves of Garlic, minced
2 small Zucchini, diced
2 small Yellow Summer Squash, diced
1/2 cup diced Tomatoes, drained (I used canned S&W)
2 whole Mild Green Chilis, chopped (I used Ortega)
1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon Oregano
Kosher Salt
A few twists of Black Pepper to taste
Olive Oil

Saute onions in butter/oil for about 5 minutes till golden. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add zucchini, yellow squash. Cook till golden. Salt and pepper to taste. Add green chili, herbs, tomatoes, and cook for another 10 minutes or so until vegetables are tender, stirring often.