PORK = YUM.  I can't believe that there are people in this world that don't eat pork. I can't imagine life without bacon, and not that turkey crap either.  Never eating a fried pork chop?  OMGoodnes!  Never having a pulled pork sandwich - the tragedy!   I know some people think the pig is a dirty, nasty little creature, but dude so are my kids and I still love them! 

When I make pork carnitas I always make extra.  We LOVE left over pork carnitas.  (Thanks again Tracy for sharing your recipe.)  I've used the leftovers for many different things, canrnita flautas (I THOUGHT I had logged my recipe for flautas, BUT when I went to find it to connect the link I can't find it ANYWHERE!!  Did I not give you that recipe?  Really?), burritos, salads and Boy 1 just eats the meat straight without even heating it up. So the other day when I was talking CARNITA talk with Tracy she told me she makes a soup with her leftovers.  GENIUS!  So once again I followed her lead and threw together a pot of soup.   I LOVED it, the kids didn't eat much, but that could have had more to do with the fact that I let them each buy a box of Girl Scout Cookies (with their own money) when a cute little girl scout came around the neighborhood with a wagon full of cookies.  And yes, I let them eat the cookies BEFORE dinner. Not the smartest thing I have even done, but hey, I'm in the business of creating good childhood memories right?  

This is what I threw together and it took all of about 15 minutes!

8 cups chicken broth
3-4 pounds left  over pork carnitas
small onion - diced
juice of 2 limes
3 garlic clove
1 bunch of cilantro
left over black beans
1 can sweet corn
1 TBL Cumin (or more to taste)
1-2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce - chopped
salt to taste

Combine chicken broth and onions, bring to a boil, add all other ingredients, cook for about 15 minutes.  Dinner is DONE!

Toss a few diced fresh tomatoes and some queso fresco cheese on top and you are all set to dig in!  (A little avocado would be good too, I just didn't have any.)

***If you don't have leftover black beans just use:
1 can black beans
1 can chopped green chilis
Don't you love it when people deliver unexpected food to your door? That is exactly what happened a few months back. My friend and neighbor Tracy had a unit party and when it was over she had WAY too much food left so she sent some of her pork carnitas our way. I was in heaven. I ate the carnitas for 3 or 4 days straight. I couldn't get enough. About a month later I was craving them again so I ask her for the recipe. Finally after 3 tries I think I have them down! (Tracy doesn't measure) Now, pull your crock-pot out and get ready to simmer all day!
5 pound pork shoulder/butt roast - trim fat
1 good dark heavy beer
1/2 cup orange juice
juice of 2 limes
1 small onion diced
3-4 garlic cloves minced
3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce - chopped (these come in a can - as pictured - save the left over for another dish)
1 bunch fresh cilantro (give or taken depending on how much you like cilantro)
 start with 2 TBL Cumin, add more at the end if needed 
start with  1 1/2 TBL Adobo seasoning, add more at the end if needed
salt to taste

Toss all ingredients in the crock pot and cook all day (at least 8 hours) the pork will start falling apart, shred with a fork while it is still in the crock pot - it should shred very easily. Taste - add more cumin, adobo and or salt if needed.

There are a couple of things I like to do with the carnitas; 1, make tacos (as pictured) and 2, make flautas! 

Things I like to top my tacos with -
Queso Fresco Cheese

Oh and I LOVE them on corn tortillas, the kids - well they like flour. To each their own. :o)

Serve with rice and beans - and bam, dinner is served!

Chipotles in adobo sauce
A crock pot full of goodness!
My BFF Staci has been waiting a VERY long time for this post. I told her about these tacos at least 3 months ago. I RAVED about them, telling her that they are my new FAVORITE taco - I kept talking about how good they are and how they even beat out my previous favorite - Mexican Street Tacos. She was so excited that she even went out and bought chipotles in adobe sauce at least a month ago.  She phoned me while she was at the grocery store and ask me to send her the recipe.  I'm a slacker; I didn't do it even though I had good intentions of sending it to her right away. Staci however is not a slacker - the past two months in a row I have called her at the last minute and ask her to help me with the battalion newsletter because I can't figure it out, and what did she do?  She dropped almost (yes, almost ;o) EVERYTHING and helped me do the newsletter which is no small task.  It is pain staking for people that have NEVER in their lives done newsletters. I am SO NOT computer savvy when it comes to this type of thing, but she is.  However it still takes forever even when you know what you are doing. Not many friends are willing to help you for hours on end without even MENTIONING that they would really like to have the Chipotle Pork Taco recipe that they ask you for months prior.  So Staci - for you, here is my new favorite, Chipotle Pork Taco recipe.  *Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine - I don't even know what month.

·         1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
·         1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime rind
·         1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
·         2 teaspoons oregano
·         1 teaspoon brown sugar
·         2 teaspoons chopped chipotle chile in adobo sauce
·         2 teaspoons minced garlic
·         1/4 teaspoon salt
·         Cooking spray
·         1 cup thinly sliced shallots
·         2 teaspoons olive oil
·         8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
Garnish with -
·         salsa
·         tomatoe
·         Chopped cilantro
·         Crumbled queso fresco cheese (if you don't know what that is, just use your favorite cheese...)

Place pork tenderloin between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/4 inch thickness using a meat mallet.  Remove plastic wrap - cut pork into thin strips. 

Combine pork, lime rind, lime juice, oregano, brown sugar, chipotles, garlic & salt.  Marinate for 2-8 hours.

Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat, coat with cooking spray & add shallots to pan; sauté till tender. 

Place shallots in a large bowl.  Add oil to pan.  Add pork; sauté until pork is cooked thoroughly and no longer pink. Add pork to shallots.  

In a nonstick skillet warm tortillas according to the directions on the package.  Spoon pork mixture onto warmed tortillas. 

Top with cilantro, tomatoes, salsa and queso fresco cheese.   

Serve with black beans.  Devour.  SO FREAKIN' GOOD!
I don't really know why Boy 3 picked meatballs, this is one of his brother's favorite meals.  Oh, scratch that - I just ask him why he picked Spaghetti with Meatballs and he looked at me with that look my children get when they have that moment of thinking 'my mom has lost all her marbles' and then he said "I didn't pick it, you made me pick it."  Oh.  Oops...I'm thinking that might take some of the fun out of this venture... (Next time I will let him pick.)

OK, here we go - INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs (I know I should have used the frozen/fresh bread crumbs I have in my freezer, but I totally      didn't think about it until RIGHT now.)
1/2 cup of milk
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 pounds ground pork (you can mix this up and used ground whatever you want really, chicken, turkey, veal...whatever suites your fancy just make sure you have 3 pounds total)
1 small onion diced as small as you can get it (you know to hide it from the kids)
4-5 garlic cloves minced (or more if you dare)
1 TBL oregano
Toss in some parsley if you have it, I didn't.
1 egg lightly beaten
ground pepper
2 TBL olive oil
2 jars of your favorite marinara (our favorite is Rao's - expensive but SO WORTH it!)
1 box spaghetti (No, I don't make my own pasta or sauce)
Freshly saved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese! (Seriously, if you don't do anything else, please don't buy that parmesan that you shake out of a can that DOES NOT require refrigeration.  JUST SAY NO!)

In a small bowl combine bread crumbs and milk.  In a larger bowl mix the ground meat with soaked bread crumbs, onion, garlic, oregano, egg, salt and pepper........
Then smush it all around with your hands!!
I know this picture is a bit blurry, but I LOVE the look on his face!!
Form into big ol' meatballs....
Brown meatballs over medium heat in a little olive oil, flipping until browned on all sides.
Add a jar of marinara sauce to the skillet, cover and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes turning meatballs occasionally. 
While you are waiting boil a large pot of water - cook pasta to desired cookness - drain, add the second jar of marinara sauce to the noodles (we like it saucy!).  Top with a meatball & some freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano -
And EAT!!!
This is a crockpot recipe that will rock your world, just ask anyone that has dinner with us on Pork Green Chili night.  I got this recipe from my MIL many, many years ago, even BEFORE I was married to Hubby and before I had MAD cooking skills!  ;)  If I could make this way back when I was just learning to cook, even my sister Kathie will be able to make it now. 
Here's what you need:
3-4 pounds fresh pork loin steaks (or any kind of pork really)
2 TBL vegetable oil
2 one pound cans stewed tomatoes
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
3-5 fresh roasted green chilies, skins off and diced
***If you cannot find fresh roasted green chilies, you can roast them yourself, or buy 2 cans (which I have been known to do on occasion) of diced green chilies
2-3 fresh jalapenos, diced (deseed if you don't want all the heat)
2-3 garlic gloves, minced
crushed red pepper to taste

Cut pork into bit size pieces, in frying pan heat 2 tbl oil, toss in pork, cook till almost done (just a few minutes). Put everything into the crockpot, cook on medium heat all day. (8 hours, give or take)

Now for the fun stuff....what I like to put the green chili on!  Typically we make smothered burritos, but  you can also do smothered tamales, smothered eggs for breakfast, or just dip flour tortillas in the green chili.  Whatever you choose to do with it will be wonderful, I'm sure.   

When making smothered burritos, I put refried beans on a flour tortilla, add some green chili, wrap it up
(Burrito, also shown with a tamale)
Pour more green chili over the burrito...
Add any toppings you would like...cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, guacamole, black olives, the options are endless.  Serve with chips on the side.  OK, now my mouth is watering I need pork green chili now!!