Friday, February 21, 2014

21-Day Sugar Detox and Paleo-Friendly Carnitas & Pico de Gallo

I'm nearing the end of my 21-Day Sugar Detox and I wanted to share a couple of recipes that have been long-time favorites that happen to be 21DSD and Paleo-friendly (with a few modifications on my normal serving methods).  While I have made several of the delicious recipes from the 21-Day Sugar Detox book, for most of my meals I sort of do my own thing, simply following the guidelines of approved foods.

I recently made Slow Cooker Carnitas, which have been a favorite among my husband and I (and any company I've served them to) for a few years now.  I also whipped up a batch of my favorite Pico de Gallo which I almost insist on making to enjoy with the carnitas.  Typically I'd serve the carnitas on small flour tortillas, topped with a sprinkle of freshly shredded Monterey Jack cheese in addition to the pico de gallo and guacamole.  In order to make the dish 21-Day Sugar Detox and Paleo-friendly, I omitted the cheese and served mine in romaine cups.  I promise you, the carnitas are so flavorful and hearty and the pico de gallo so bright and fresh, that you won't even miss the cheese and tortillas (however, if you aren't avoiding diary or gluten, feel free to use them).

These carnitas can easily be halved or doubled to feed a crowd.  When serving company, I like to create a full spread for guests to help themselves and fix theirs however they'd like.  Fill up a big bowl with the carnitas, set out plenty of tortillas and romaine cups, bowls of freshly grated cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole, and a few lime wedges.  Everyone will love you and sing your praises, I promise.  Alternately, you can chop up your romaine and serve these as a salad.

When enjoying these on my own, I like to use the Wholly Guacamole Minis which are a perfect size for one; however, when I'm serving company, I prefer to whip up a batch of my favorite Guacamole.


Slow Cooker Carnitas
adapted via All Recipes
serves 10-12

2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 lb. boneless pork shoulder roast
2 bay leaves
2 cups chicken broth (homemade or store-bought - check the label!)

1 fresh lime, cut into wedges for serving (optional)

In a small bowl, mix together the salt, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, coriander and cinnamon.  Rub the pork with the spice mixture, coating the meat evenly.  Place the bay leaves in the bottom of your slow cooker and top with the rubbed pork.  Pour the chicken broth around the pork.

Cover and cook on low until the pork easily shreds with a fork, 8-10 hours.  Once the pork has finished cooking, remove it from the slow cooker and shred it in a large bowl.  Add 1/4-1/2 cup of the cooking liquid into the shredded meat to moisten it, as needed.

You can serve the pork immediately, or pop it under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up a bit.  I like to spread some evenly on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil to my liking.  A squirt of fresh lime juice just before serving is optional, but highly recommended.

(Any leftover pork reheats beautifully under the broiler in about 5 minutes.)

Pico de Gallo
adapted via SkinnyTaste
serves 4-6 as an appetizer, or 10-12 for topping your carnitas

4 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup white onion, finely chopped
3 small sweet peppers or 1/2 of a large bell pepper, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.  For best results, allow the mixture to marinate in the fridge for a 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving.  If you like your Pico de Gallo to have a kick, feel free to add a finely chopped chile pepper or jalapeƱo (the recipe as written is mild).

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