Pork Carnita Nachos W/Chipotle-Lime Crema via Brittany's PantrySo.  There is this big game coming up.  Maybe you have heard of it.  Its called the Super Bowl.

I only mention it because I happened to be visiting some hardcore football fans the weekend the competing teams were selected and I actually witnessed the games.   Not being a huge sports fan, it may come as no surprise that this is the first time I have ever done that.  And I must admit, it was seriously cool.  I have no official affiliation with any team so I will be cheering for the Seahawks because my sister lives in Seattle, and because I thought their crazy comeback in the last game was pretty darn awesome.  Those are good reasons, right?

I might as well and just show my true colors.  My favorite part of Super Bowl Sunday (like this isn’t a teensy bit obvious) is the food.  Don’t judge.  The dips, the cheesy foods, the salsas and chips, the burgers and hot dogs…all winners.  This is the first year in awhile that I am not sick and pregnant, taking care of a baby, or alone with small children because my husband is working.  We are going to an actual, official, bonafide Superbowl party!!  I realize how pathetic that sounds and, no, I don’t get out much.

In the spirit of the upcoming game, I wanted to bring to the event something new.  Something outrageous.  And something goooood.  I recently discovered pork carnitas at our local Mexican restaurant and I cannot. get. enough.  How have I been missing these my whole life and why has no one told me about them before?  If you are unfamiliar with them, carnitas are usually pork braised in orange or lime, and then crisped up before nestled in a warm tortilla and slathered with toppings of choice.  I know.  Amazing, right?  No matter how many times I eat them, I still want more.  So I decided to experiment and make them myself.  Research shows very little continuity in recipes so I created my own based on the flavors I noticed when taste testing them at every Mexican place I could find.  Phew!  It was tough.
Pork Carnita Nachos W/Chipotle-Lime Crema via Brittany's PantryIn order to make them more party friendly, I decided to shred the meat over chips and turn them into nachos.  The mix of textures is incredibly satisfying.  Cunchy, creamy, tangy, meaty, cheesy-hard to resist, right?  I solve that problem by choosing NOT to resist them.

I love to squeeze a lime over my carnitas just before I inhale delicately enjoy them for a meal, but a cool dollop of sour cream is my favorite part.  I decided to combine the two (using plain yogurt instead as a healthy substitute) and just drizzle it over the whole darn thing.  Fresh lime + creamy yogurt = addictive sauce on every bite!  So much easier to munch on with a crowd!  Crema is just a fancy word for a Mexican sour cream, so my version is a very loose interpretation of that!  But tasty.  Very tasty.  These are just so darn good, you may be too distracted to watch the game.
Pork Carnita Nachos W/Chipotle-Lime Crema via Brittany's PantryThis picture is actually a different batch from the photos above.  Notice the crazy amount of cheese.  Ooey, gooey, goodness.

Carnita Nachos W/Chipotle-Lime ‘Crema’
You can easily make the pork on a weekend and either chill it for later in the week, or freeze it for later in the month.  Either way, it makes for a speedy meal to throw together.  Make sure to serve any extra crema on the side.  Its spicy and tangy and incredibly awesome with these nachos.  Feel free to slather it on anything else that sounds good too!

For the pork:
4-5 pounds pork butt, boston butt, or pork shoulder, trimmed of its large fat cap and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
1 large onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 c orange juice
1 c chicken broth, homemade or canned
1/4 c lime juice

Don’t trim the meat too much!  All that fat is flavor, baby!  Put all ingredients in a large slow cooker and turn on high for 4-5 hours, or low for 6-7 hours, or just until the meat holds it shape, but is tender and easily pulls apart with a fork.  Remove the meat with a large, slotted spoon and discard the cooking liquid.  Freeze, chill, or make nachos!!

For the crema:
1 c plain, fat free greek yogurt, such as Chobani
2 T fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp ground chipotle pepper
large pinch of salt
black pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and set aside.

For the nachos:
large corn tortilla chips (the hint of lime ones are stellar here)
shredded pork
1 c canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 large tomato, chopped, or 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 green onions, chopped
2 c shredded cheese, jack, cheddar, or a mix of both
quartered limes for garnish
Chipotle Lime Crema

Layer the nachos in a cast-iron pan or another oven proof pan or platter.  Start with a generous layer of chips, then break up the chunks of pork, covering it with as much as you like.  Note: you will only use about half of the amount from the recipe above.  Next, sprinkle with the black beans, then the onions and tomatoes, and lastly the cheese.  Tuck the whole she-bang under the broiler until the cheese melts, remove (with hot pads!!) and drizzle generously with the crema.  Serve with lime wedges to squeeze on the nachos and any extra crema.  Enjoy!

Carolina Cobb Salad

Carolina Cobb Salad is so full of flavor you don't even need to add a salad dressing! {Brittany's Pantry}Well hello!

For those of you who are noticing that this is the second salad recipe I have posted in a week, I would like to reply with, yes, I realize that too.  And I will not apologize for it, dang it!!

You can never have too many fresh, flavor-filled salads in your rotation and I have been on a particular binge with them lately.  You too?  Oh good.  This particular salad was created when I had something similar in the deli section of a supermarket.  When I started researching the name, Carolina Cobb Salad, I realized that it was just a title.  As far as I could tell, there is no specific formula for this kind of salad.  So after a few tries, I realized that this is the combination that I love.  Then I realized I better right it down before I forget it.  No that that ever happens, but, you know…

You want to know the best part?  The last time I ate this, I skipped the dressing entirely.  There was so much going on in my mouth with the whole crunchy, tangy, crispy, and sour thing, I didn’t even need it.  Which means, you can toss this whole she-bang in a container on your way to work and just grab a fork.  Staying home with the kids, I have been making one for myself and tucking it in the fridge so that I have no excuse not to eat healthy for lunch that day.  Even though, with this salad, it isn’t exactly a taxing experience.  My biggest issue?  Keeping my 2 1/2 year old from stealing all of mine.  So now I just make him his own.  Neither of us miss the dressing and the rainbow of colors is incredibly satisfying on these January days.  Salads for the win!
Carolina Cobb Salad is so full of flavor you don't even need to add a salad dressing! {Brittany's Pantry}Carolina Cobb Salad is so full of flavor you don't even need to add a salad dressing! {Brittany's Pantry} Carolina Cobb Salad
In the interest of keeping this salad healthy, keep your portions of bleu cheese and dried fruit to a minimum.  This combo of flavors is absolutely stellar but if you really need to add dressing, use it sparingly.

Layer on individual plates:
lettuce (I happened to have romaine on hand when I photographed this but use whatever you like)
tart diced apples, such as granny smith or gala (I use 1/2 an apple per person)
crumbled bleu cheese
hard boiled egg
diced cooked chicken or turkey
unsweetened, dried cranberries
cherry tomatoes, or whatever tomatoes look good at the time
Optional: bleu cheese dressing or ranch dressing


Winter Recipe Round-Up

Winter Recipe Round-Up has a few healthy, a few comforting, and few indulgent and ALL of them tasty! {Brittany's Pantry}Brace yourself.  This is not your ordinary recipe round-up.  *Cue dramatic music.*

Delving deep into the Brittany’s Pantry archives, I have pulled forth recipes that I may have posted years ago, but still make on a regular basis. Remember.  Nothing gets posted on this site unless I make for my friends and family.  Not just once and then never again, but food that is reliable and worth a spot on our everyday menus.

But back to the round-up.

No one wants recipes for watermelon smoothies and asparagus salad when it is snowing outside.  What we need is good food we can make during the darker, more dreary months, that keeps us generally eating within the season.  That was one of the things I tried to remember when compiling this list for you.  Also, this is a little bit healthy, a little bit comforting, and a LOT of tasty goodness.  Some of you are after healthy food to help you reach your fitness goals or to add to your already hefty repertoire of good-for-you recipes.  I have some of those for you.  Many of you are after anything that will warm you up when you come in from the sub-zero temperatures outside.  I gotcha covered.  For those individuals that just want a meal that feels like a warm hug from Granny, look no further.  There is a little bit of everything here on this list and hopefully, you will find what you are looking for, and a few things you didn’t even know you were after.  Anything to get us through till spring, right?


Tator-Tot Casserole is a true Minnesota tradition! {Brittany's Pantry}Tator Tot Hotdish: Meat.  Po-tators.  Little bit of veg.  Good ‘ol cream soup.  It is a classic and traditional meal from the North Star State and eating it may just bring out a bit of an accent, dontchyaknow.  This is so comforting it is practically medicinal.  If this hot dish doesn’t warm you to your bones, there is no hope for you.  Also, I am from Minnesota, ere go, this is a hot dish.  Anywhere else in the country and you have my permission to call it a casserole.

The Ultimate Hot Cocoa | Brittany's PantryUltimate Hot Chocolate Version #1: I have several versions of hot chocolate on my blog, preferring to make it with a variety of flavors and methods.  However, this is my general fail safe recipe and I make it all. the. time.  What is better at bringing on that cozy feeling than hot chocolate?

Crockpot-Slowcooker-Apple-Cinnamon-Oatmeal from Brittany's PantryCrockpot Apple Oatmeal: Throw it in the slow cooker and leave it till morning.  Doesn’t get much better.  It is so good and so easy to do, I have lost count of the number of times I make this every month.

Hobo Dinners are a great mess free change from the normal routine! {Brittany's Pantry}Hobo Dinners: Such a great change from the normal dinner and a fun and different way to use ground beef!  Everyone layers what they want in a foil packet, it bakes away, and no mess!

Rum Raisin Rice Pudding via Brittany's PantryRum Raisin Rice Pudding:  Few things will make your toes curl and goosebumps raise on your arms as tucking into a bowl of steaming, creamy rice pudding.  The heat spreads from your tummy out to your fingertips and all is right with the world.  Talk about warming you up.  This stuff conjures visions of ski chalet fireplaces and wool socks.  Trust me.


This Green Tea Smoothie is incredibly fresh and clean.  Soon to be your favorite! {Brittany's Pantry}Green Tea Smoothies: Fresh and clean, these healthy smoothies have a hit of matcha powder that pairs great with the spinach.  Not overly sweet and incredibly satisfying, these are in regular rotation at our house.  A great boost of nutrients when the variety of fresh produce available during the colder months can be low.

Easy Baked Brown Rice is a fail safe, hands off side you will be making again and again! {Brittany's Pantry}Baked Brown Rice:  If you only make one recipe from this round-up, let it be this one.  This healthy dish is simple, but tastes amazing.  It goes with everything, meets a myriad of dietary needs, and bakes by itself in the oven!  How great is that?!  The leftovers are great cold in a tortilla or stirred into scrambled eggs in the morning.

Healthy Black Bean Salsa uses a few pantry ingredients and a few fresh ingredients to make a spiced salsa with a surprise crunch! {Brittany's Pantry}Healthy Black Bean Salsa:  For those of you looking for something deferent to bring to a game day get together besides hummus, I have your solution.  This makes a great winter recipe because the two main ingredients, black beans and tomatoes, come from a can, and the rest of the ingredients are available year round without compromising flavor!  Super good for you and easy to make, this is good on top of a lettuce salad with grilled chicken, or stirred into any manner of dishes. Of course, scooped up with the chip of your choice is good too.

Pomegranate Sorbet W/Mini Chocolate Chips from Brittany's PantryPomegranate Sorbet W/Mini Chocolate Chips:  Tangy and refreshing, this is a stellar treat that won’t undo all your good work.  I make this year round and it always hits the spot.  The best part?  Its practically guilt free.  A scoop or two fits right into a healthy eating regime.

Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps are low carb, gluten green, and so good it will blow your mind! {Brittany's Pantry}Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps:  These just may be the best kept secret on this blog.  The flavor is out of this world and I cannot tell you how freaked out you will be (in a good way) when you finally try them.  Super low carb, gluten free, and using only lean meat, vegetables, and a few spices, you have a meal you could eat for days and days!  Hot or cold, you will clean your plate.  A great, light meal in the middle of winter!


Banana Bran Muffins are whole grain and Oh so tasty! Be sure to freeze any leftovers! {Brittany's Pantry}Banana Bran Muffins: These beauties are one of the first recipes I ever posted and is still one of my favorites. They are cozy and warm and will make your house smell absolutely heavenly. The banana keeps them sweet and the bran makes them filling and hearty. Tucked in the freezer they make a great quick grab and go breakfast.

Simple & Classic Beef Stew is always a good idea.  This paleo version from Brittany's Pantry doesn't ever disappoint.  Simple & Classic Beef Stew: The ultimate in comfort food, this stew never goes out of style.

Bistro Braised Chicken by Brittany's PantryBistro Braised Chicken:  Just like a toasty blanket fresh from the dryer, this dish warms you to your toes.  It has all the comforts of a classic chicken noodle soup, but with a punch of extra flavor and the added plus of being able to eat it with a fork.  Nom.

My Go-To Sloppy Joe Recipe {Brittany's Pantry}My Go-To Sloppy Joe Recipe:  Nothing says comfort like the foods we used to eat as a kid.  This is my fool proof, make all the time, stash in the freezer, finger licking good Sloppy Joe Recipe.  I make it pretty much the same as my Mom taught me, but with a few twists.  It is like eating nostalgia on a bun.  The fact that it isn’t too bad for you is just a great side benefit!

Cornmeal Pancakes W/Maple Blueberry Sauce-Brittany's PantryCornmeal Pancakes W/Blueberry Sauce:  These taste even better than they look.  So comforting you could swear they came from a gal named Flo at your local diner.